Monday, March 9, 2020

March... the Time When Spring Tosses Winter to the Side of the Road

March is such a mysterious month. A month like none other really. It seems to change day to day... and if one is attuned... one will easily note that changes do occur hourly.

Looking into the ravine located just to the east of our building a new pink haze dominates the crowns of the trees. That haze is attributable to the newly opened buds... all within the same hours today.

Other new "happenings" coincide with these just mentioned. Every day this week, skeins of noisy, excited Canada geese... migrating to northern summer nesting grounds high overhead signal yet another annual change.

Noisy American robins dart here and there perhaps in search of food... but more likely are establishing territorial claims.

I could go on with observations that tell me... that spring is in the air. However, I have chosen to couple up my most recent painting completed this week with a poem entitled March... ironically written exactly eight years ago on Friday, March 9th, 2012.

Ironically???... I wonder!


Yester week's deep drifts of powder are all but vanished,
Bone-chilling cold... by a warmer sun has been banished.
White isles of snow in a tawny ocean of brown,
The air is perfumed pungently by the smell of bare ground.
Winter's ermine mantle has become rather ruddy,
Sullied by the rain and by thawing fields muddy.

High winds play tag through the now budding bough,
The quiet of winter replaced by new birdsong now.
Long quiet streams awaken from their sleep,
The dark rushing waters have a promise to keep.
Together... these harbingers trumpet the arrival of a king,
The coronation of Hope... and the arrival of Spring!

Here is the initial white chalk drawing on a 24 x 30 inch birch cradle board  panel, toned with black gesso. I find such mapping easy to interpret and easy to change randomly if necessary'

The painting process nearly always begins for me with a lay in of the lightest area... the sky. I work slowly through the middle ground... leaving the forground to be resolved last. Here, the greater amount of detail and exact colors are placed  to draw the viewer deep into the background.

Here I have "danced in" the snow patches and posts which create an interesting visual composition and pattern. All that remains to be done now... is "to push and pull" tonal values to balance and correct earlier interpretations. I also take time to add in what American Impressionist Master Emile Gruppe called... color surprises, This strategy encourages the brain of the viewer to search for these bits of eye candy.

Here is the final product... "March... a Time When Spring Sets Winter By the Side of the Road."

I hope that you can feel the joy that Spring delivers to my soul. Whether in verse ... or in paint the Natural World and its wonders continue to sustain me and to help me to continue to believe... the "Goodness exists. (Thank you to a fav Quebecois writer/novelist, Louise Penny for this wonderfully uplifting thought,)

Happy Spring Painting... to ALL!

Rich blessings of Joy and Good Health!

Monday, March 2, 2020

"What a Difference A Day Makes... " Part Two

And what a difference - when one is prepared physically and mentally to paint... be it inside or outside. It is the state of mind that sets the tempo for success in creating anything.

Certainly on this occasion, the weather was more than cooperative... providing sunny conditions and without gusting winds to provide further discouragement.The extra snow that had fallen overnight further created interesting contrast and shadows to enliven the dull grayness of the previous day.

I considered scrapping the first misfire, but decided against it.. just to prove to myself that something positive is gathered simultaneously along with "failure." It is a point of view really. Is it really total failure... or could it be changed into a... learning opportunity.

I had seen David's quick and successful response... even in the drabness of the first outing, so why not keep the perspective and shape into my own new view using the positive aspects offered today! Onward...

I will fast forward the process right to the finished result. One two and a half hour session... and done. Sign it!

"Spring... is just around the Corner" - oil on canvas 10 x 12 inches

Sure is beginning to feel that way...

Good Spring Painting... to All!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

"What a Difference... A Day Makes..." Part One

Yes... the title of my post for today is derived from a soothing hit pop single by Dinah Washington in 1956. Today... some forty-four years later her soothing voice "speaks " still to me and rekindles a sense of peace and possibility.

Combine this with the plein air painting experience that I was blessed to share with my long time friend David Kay and one can easily understand how painting... and music can shape one's state of happiness.

Today's post comes with  a strangely unexpected  twist. Scarcely one day after the huge success we enjoyed together at Smuggler's Cove, David and I came face to face with winter weather that was much less encouraging, or forgiving... especially for me!

Heading out to our second site located right across the road in historic Barriefield Village, we recognized immediately the challenge ahead of us. The wind strafed our roadside set up. So we decided to paint under the overhanging lid of the trunk. It was indeed a very cramped space, but despite this fact David immediately launched into his usual setup... including two bungee cord straps to secure his easel to the trunk of my van.

I, on the other hand tried to summon enough courage to even kick start my own set up. So blustery and punishing was the wind and drizzle, I even considered just watching David work. But I finally and reluctantly, I decided to join in "the fun" with him.

Though I searched diligently, I found no success in finding my own kit... including my paint box, or my paints. Then, I pictured them... nestled together in a warm corner of my small apartment studio.

Euchred - is the word that comes to mind. Another "E' word.  Embarrassed also comes to mind. David doesn't rub it in... but his puckish smile achieves a similar result. What a gaff!

At least I had my easel and a burnt sienna toned 10 x 12 inch canvas. David graciously offered a small pointer bristle brush and permission to dip into his titanium white on his palette. I did so and managed to carry this failed orphan home at the end of a very much shortened on location session.

Here is that misfire... unabridged in my studio. David came back with something much more substantial. Good on you David! Your inspiration will power me to step up to save face at least... on another day!

                                                       The drab site...

                                   The unfinished  "Black Sheep" version

Look at the rich color... dynamic composition and certainty of his brushwork! Bravo David! I'm inspired!!!

Stay tuned...

Tomorrow... and I'll be prepared!