Stormy Weather Makes Progress

I got out and painted yesterday despite the impending storms. It was wild out there.

Stormy Weather At Sunset Point, Overton Retreat 2017

Stormy Weather At Sunset Point, Overton Retreat 2017

I went down what I, affectionately, call my blackberry path. in a few weeks there will be blackberries galore down there for feasting - a black bear's dream. I set my paints up at Sunset Point- nothing more than a wooden platform with a couple of benches facing west. In my hiatus from Tennessee, I had not been down there in three years. I was shocked to see how much the plants had taken over. It was like walking into a jungle. The wildness of the place assaulted my senses. The wetness from the previous night's storms made every leaf drip with life. I had to paint it. Where to begin?

Like my painting skills, it all seemed so unruly. I set myself up and did my preliminary sketches. It was hard to make that sketch with all the flora encroaching on my mental space. In that kind of situation everything demands to be painted and only uber attention to simplifying my values (darks and lights,) begins to bring everything back into focus. I ended up using a pallet knife to paint the painting with. My idea was to hurry up and just get those color notes down before the clouds spilled over. It was like having a massive timer above my head. There was no wiggle room for dilly dallying- I had to paint FAST.

Painting that fast can be helpful in one's daily practice. It forces me to not get too precious with my paintings. There is no opportunity to overwork it. Granted, the pallet knife can feel like you are frosting a cake, instead of painting. The combination of using a pallet knife and having the threatening clouds above me, forced me to choose only one thing to focus on. I chose to focus on the values; I focused on making sure my darks were DARK. By mixing Phalo Green ( I did not have my preference of Veridian with me,) with Ultramarine Blue, and Alizarin Crimson, I managed to make the very darkest of greens to imply that feeling of unending mystery that happens in the dark depths of a jungle. Yes, my eyes could see more detail in those dark shadow areas, but I let it all fall off into oblivion.

The last details that were left were the foreground leaves. I painted them in warmer tones of green because warm tones move forward, but I ended scraping it all off and replacing it all with tones of mint. An unnatural move, for sure, but I did it to keep the sense of storm around me.

I leave you with a video of where I was painting.

Until next time,

Carolina

Begin Where You Are At

The biggest question one may have when you begin to learn how to paint is "Where do I begin?" The only answer to that is to begin where you are at. The key to making it work for you, is to check your ego at the door. When I decided to start this blog, things were going pretty smoothly... then I had a few months of total craziness. I won't go into the details, but suffice it to say that I had to shelf the project of getting this website up and going, and I stopped painting for two entire months to take care of things. Am I back on my feet? Have things cleared up? Well... no. But I can't go without painting any longer; so here I am.

In my hiatus from my paints, I moved house. I set a specific date in mind to begin painting again, and SWORE to myself that I would share it regardless of how it turned out. Going through the myriad of boxes to find all my gear (backpack, hiking boots, painting supplies, easel, tripod, etc.) was no small feat. By the time I got my act together and set out painting, I did not get very far before "seeing" my first welcome-back-painting. it was right in my driveway.

 

Headed Up The Driveway, Overton Retreat 2017 oil on gessoed board 9x12.

Headed Up The Driveway, Overton Retreat 2017 oil on gessoed board 9x12.

I am on a mission to learn how to paint. I want to paint what I am feeling. In the painting, above, that is what you are seeing- how I was feeling at the time: ALIVE. I was living life at the edge of my skin. It is not the best thing I have painted, but I need to begin somewhere. The place to begin is wherever you are, at whatever skill level you are at. Just, begin.

I hope you like it.

Carolina