I had been mulling over the idea to paint today's subject for many mornings, dating back to our first "Operation Sunrise" coffee clutch together... now two winters ago. The subject in this painting can be found dead to the south from "Islesview" and includes Pine Island... home of our new friends, the Frost and Keats families. Deb and I wait for the sun and its glorious entrance each and every morning... coffee in hand. It is the way we choose to open each and every day. It is the scene I search out... every night before I shut out the lights and retire for the evening. It is indeed a subject that I am familiar with. But much more than that, it is a scene that inspires my soul and arouses within me deep feelings of peace and contentment. I feel I have captured both the pictorial essence of this beautiful quiet morning moment and the inner feelings of awe and respect that I experience as well each morning.
The term "cross-pollination" describes the process in Nature by which bees, other insects and the wind unknowingly disperse and transfer the pollen from the anther of one flower or plant to the stigma of another... thereby completing the necessary contact for fertilization and reproduction. "Self" pollination may also be achieved from the male to female parts of the same flower. However, it is found that cross-pollination provides stronger and more vigorous seeds. I have chosen to use this model from Nature to describe the creative process and thinking used, whereby the actual painting of this subject emerged from the first "pollen"grain of thought. I have chosen to carry forward many "grains of pollen"... carried from many other "flowers" to create this piece... hoping to produce that more "vigorous seed."
The first "grain of pollen" is my chosen painting surface. It was designed to beused as a panel in a kitchen cupboard door. The bevelled panels are removed from the door and the outer frames have been used by Deb to frame many of her stained glass pieces. Every time that I passed the stack of varied sized panels, I postulated their further use as a painting surface... due to their flat, smooth space bounded by the sharp bevel. Late in the summer during a lull in the action, I primed this panel on both sides with double coats of gesso to seal the wood. I followed up that priming when they were fully dry with two coats of sprayed on acrylic flat black paint. This added a further sealant function... but more to the point, it offered the black ground that I wanted to paint on.
I always intended that this panel would be used to paint this particular subject and I actively watched during the remainder of the summer months... then into and past autumn right up to yesterday morning. A comment regarding how beautifully peaceful from Deb resonated strongly with my own feelings at the moment.Carpe diem! These two "grains" of pollen/thought were carried into the plein air painting process that would commence right after morning duties and lunch were out of the way.
Earlier in my morning rising ritual, I had been browsing the blog of my very talented Scottish artist friend, Keith Tilley. We had chatted about the glorious light in his most recent water color entitled "Dawn of a New Day." Keith prefers a panoramic format for his masterfully rendered... expressive and always light-filled water colours. Most often, his scenes depict the wild and "unpeopled" wilderness reaches within his region. He noted that perhaps "dawn" as the subject was appropriate for his first post for 2014. So in my post, there is added a further pollen grain of influence. All of these influences merge with my own mind and hand to cross-fertilize... and make possible what lies before you. Check out Keith's masterful work at his blog www.keithtilley.blogspot.com
The one major obstacle in my mind which delayed my beginning the painting was the deep distance factor between myself on the mainland and the island grouping located approximately one mile away. That large and empty void of water space in between caused me to hesitate and almost abandon the idea. I had toyed with putting existing resident flocks of geese, bald eagles, or boats in that zone to fill it... however, I wanted the complete absence of anything but the landscape forms and sky in the picture. When I watched the eagles fishing the ice floes and shorelines daily, I asked myself, "I wonder how this scene looks to them... with their unique aerial perspective soaring high above... and looking down upon it?" It was then that I added my own version of their incredible "binocular vision". This powerful physical attribute equips them to easily discern objects/prey and movement at vast distances and as well several feet below the surface of the water. I decided to add in that "pollen grain"... and fetched my binoculars to take to my painting site across the road with me. Using them at appropriate moments and in my own fashion... I re-constructed a compressed version of the actual reality which permitted a closer look at distant details and as well... allowed me to manipulate the distraction of the too deep middle ground. Major hurdle removed... ready to paint!
Here are some photos to explain the structure of my new painting surface... with possible extensions of
Here is the wooden centre panel of the kitchen cabinet door... used horizontally... gessoed white first ... then toned with two coats of black acrylic paint... the outer frame part of the panel carefully masked by easy-to-remove light touch painter's tape up to the perimeter edge of the intended image zone. Ready to get at it!
This is the 2 inch outer frame which houses the panel being used. It could possibly be painted and used as yet another part of the final painting presentation... thereby creating an alternative "no cost" framing option. Your choice and ideas! The cost? Less than $10.00... and they come in varied sizes and formats.
This is the reverse view of the frame the inner edge has a rabbet... or rebate... which means set back to allow the panel to be slid into place. One end has a slit however to accommodate and to hold the panel in place. One could easily router out and eliminate this slot area with one easy motion to complete the rabbet all around the entire inside perimeter. A perfect frame for a canvas or panel to be accommodated.
Here is the raw outcome resulting from the one and a half hour plein air outing. It was painted quickly using roughly laid in initial and varying tones of turpentine washes... NO DRAWING. In this way, I established the shapes I wanted in all sectors... the water the land and the sky. I pulled the more interesting afternoon light for the sky from the right and out of the actual image plane over into the area which best represented where I wanted the light. It created both the mood and the sense of drama that I wanted. I simply transposed it to where it was needed to provide the effect I desired.
Up close for detail and colour...
The cold came on strongly at 4:30pm. Though the light was still there... it too was changing rapidly and I have learned from previous self-inflicted failures... not to "chase the sunlight"! I brought it inside and returned after evening dinner to add these few extra shifts in value and refining of the play of light and shapes. This is what I refer to as...
taking full ownership of your creative expression. Paint what's created on the inside... as an expressive and personal response to what you've been inspired by... from the outside!
" January Thaw, Rockport" - oil on wooden panel - image size 10x17 inches
Here is the final painting with the tape easily... and cleanly removed leaving a black outer "frame". All that remains to be done to complete this for hanging is to spray the entire area... frame included with a matte or semi-gloss varnish finish when dried. That choice is personal.
I believe that my attempt to embrace some of my resolutions has been both successful... while at the same time enjoyable to carry out. Certainly, my sense of wonder.... and choosing to follow whimsy as my guide added a child-like flavour to this exercise. It provided an innovative and inexpensive way for me to create paintings on a new and pleasing painting surface. The added ability to eliminate rapidly rising framing costs and to add yet another slant to presentation in our gallery is both exciting... and satisfying. I have moved the marker... and truly feel that I was working outside of my own proverbial box... that we artists unconsciously entrap ourselves by too closely hanging on to our own personal preferences... or imitating those of others we see and admire... too much. It was pure FUN!
Stay tuned for more "play"...
Good Painting... Playing and Hunting... to ALL!