Being in the Woods

TM9002 Being in the Woods 36×54 oil on panel

As a child growing up in New England, I loved playing and walking in the woods. There were old trails to discover, swamps to muster through, and so many games to share with my cousins. I think one of our favorites was sitting on huge glacial erratics, sucking the juice out of twigs, and wondering about the native Americans who had populated these woods in the past.  With a farm up the road, there was always the  chance of an escapee to spark our imaginations. The woods filled our heads with possibilities. Thinking back on it now, I also remember the smells, all damp and green. Or sometimes warm and spicy, like the fragrant pine needles baking in the sunspots. Being in the Woods is a painting about all these memories and impressions. It is dense with life, tumult, and  glimpses of blue sky in the distance. It’s a close woods, the kind that creeps into and fills old farmland, the kind where one might find a patch of blueberries to pick, or native wintergreen, an oasis of clean air and nature’s own quiet music. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9002 Being in the Woods – detail from upper right

TM9002 Being in the Woods – detail from upper left with leaves and vines, sky beyond

TM9002 Being in the Woods – detail from right of center showing spattered base layer over-painted and over-rolled, use of scraping

Technical painting notes: I started the painting by using monoprint techniques to establish textures and the major shapes and gestures. Wet oil paint was rolled onto the surface and manipulated with rags, a silicone scraper, and splashes of solvent. I used a soft rubber roller to lay down and pick up (transfer) marks across the surface. When the base layer was dry, I used glazes to enhance the color harmony, then worked into the wet glazes with soft brushes and color to refine shapes and establish edges. More layers of glaze enriched the color. To keep the painting from becoming too tight, I used variously sized rubber rollers to make suggestions of leaves and boughs. This contributed to a sense of “openness” within the dense image, and helped to provide depth.

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