Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Well, today was my first full day back in the studio since being sidelined by the crud last week. I lasted four hours until standing at my easel had totally exhausted me, then I spent the rest of the evening trying to be an interactive mom while lying on the couch. Hopefully things will go better tomorrow, because I don't want to waste the time when Aspen is with a sitter!!
Anyhow, I managed to spend an hour at the easel last week and finished this painting of aspens that I had started the week before. I don't know why, but I have the hardest time painting aspen trees. I swear, I've probably trashed more paintings of aspens than any other subject matter. They totally frustrate me because I would love to be able to paint them well - I love the way their white trunks just glow in the landscape and their knots give them character. (It also doesn't hurt that the galleries are always asking for them and they always sell!)
Anyhow, since I'm not under much pressure to meet deadlines right now, I've been tackling some scenes that are challenging for me, and this was one of them. For starters, it's got the aspen trees which I know are always hit or miss for me. Then there's the fact that there is no strong light and shadow pattern on the grassy hillside, which I have a hard time with because I'm so much more comfortable with strong value contrasts.
At last year's OPA national show, I had my work critiqued by one of the master signature members, and his main suggestion for me was to explore more intimate scenery and concentrate more on the character of the trees and plant life in the foreground of my paintings. So that's sort of what doing a painting like this is all about - it's all very organic, much more so than my usual subject matter of mountains and vistas.
I don't know if I really succeeded here or not. It looks nice in a frame, and I like the luminous color of the aspen bark, but I'm still not sure about the hillside. Oh well - I'm learning!