"Algonquin Woodland Broadloom" - oil on canvas 20x16 inches
A very simple line map to start
Into the zone!
"Spring Tumbles In at the Log Dam and Chute"- oil on canvas 24x18 inches
My annual spring foray to the Park was, as always... thoroughly enjoyable... exciting... enriching and inspiring! The weather was nothing short of perfect for plein air painting and the Park... all but stripped of her winter vestments. Lakes usually covered with ice thick enough to support one contained mere shards along their sides. Creeks... surprisingly too... lacked their usual surging, anxious and torrential powers. All of these indicators simply support the reality that the weather has not been what is expected... anywhere on this planet. Disturbing really!
Going into the Park, I sighted my first moose of the year... a very unhealthy and weathered looking young bull standing almost in a stunned state alongside the highway. Male moose are less their antler rack at this time of the year. I stopped and approached quietly... keeping my usual safe distance... but soon realized that his obvious rough looking condition was not the results of a hard winter. There was a sad tiredness in his eyes... a helplessness really and I couldn't help but approach her more closely than usual. There was a vagueness... a sense of broken spirit - a loss of that essence of freedom which sets wild things apart from even human kind.
In our painting time together on the weekend, David explained that this moose likely was a victim of the ticks carried into the Park by white tail deer. They have been ravaging the moose population as well. This particular parasite, once limited in range to the Eastern Seaboard of the US has now entered our northern reaches as well. This tick is dangerous to humans as well because the tick is a carrier of the potentially fatal Lyme's Disease.
David and I stepped right into action on Friday afternoon heading to a site I had chosen on my trip through the Park on my trek to Whitney. It was a familiar swampy setting with jutting dead black spruce spars... with fugitive pockets of ice and snow laced into the hodge-podge of fallen timber. Perfectly... and uniquely... Algonquin Park! I had not painted for three weeks... so that the first half hour of work was just a struggle... my brush feeling more like a big broom.... the canvas a mere and meaningless clutter of marks rather than markers.
I made the decision... to simply dive in and let go of the control I was seeking... and to paint intuitively... simply responding to shapes... rather than attempting to manipulate using line. From this point onward, the painting "painted itself " really to the finish and the jpeg is unchanged... as I brought back on the day after two hours of painting. I think that it is... finished! I like it best... perhaps... because I persevered... caught the moment and won the day!
Early, after a great breakfast, I set out alone to scout out the site for my evening painting demo. I had chosen it before arriving from previous photo reference in my computer files. I wanted to get a feel for the site as it currently appeared... to refresh my meory with new detail and freshness.
Saturday was again a second perfect day weatherwise... and I managed two decent sketches... and might even have attempted as third... was I not "on tap" to do the demo for the group of twenty-five artists attending this Paint Out. Saved my energy... and that turned out to be a wise decision... given the stress and pressure that three disruptive members inflicted upon me and the other twenty-two respectful and interested audience during the entire course of the demo.
If you read Robert Genn's Twice-Weekly Newsletter this week on the subject of "Talkers and Doers" you will note from his comments and experience that this phenomena which I experienced was prevalent and predictable everywhere. That does not make it easier to tolerate or direct a full and pleasurable experience for everyone... BUT... narcissists (Talkers)are incapable of feeling empathy- they simply are aware of only one thing... satiating their Mount Everest sized ego! I delievered my demo to the "Doers." Enough said on the matter!
I simply chose to use the strategy that I practise on location. I "zoned out" the disturbing influence and simply delivered the demo rapid fire within an hour. I then wrapped up the demo by apologizing for my "quiet" ... and my need to withdraw to complete my task. I then revealed the core of preparation that I had gone through prior to delivering the demo and fielded many good questions regarding the my painting process.
I have included the demo piece... unaltered after delivery (as are all sketches shown in this post), along with the sketch references that I made on Saturday morning to give me the feel of being on location. The black and white ink sketch was my reference to give me the drawing set up. The painting was accomplished purely from memory... helping to create an intuitive and fresh look... I believe.
I had such a highly productive enjoyable weekend of painting... great food... renewals of old and valued friendships. My deeply felt thanks to friends David and Diane Kay... my wonderful hosts at the East Gate Motel in Whitney... and owner Steve and Lisa at The Mad Mushers for their consistently superb evening cuisine! Thank you all!
Now all speed forward... All hands on deck ... in the final packing mode... Rockport on the radar!!!
Happy Easter... and Happy Spring to All!
Good Painting to ALL!