Today’s Plein Air session took us to Acadia University. We had to be very quiet as we were surrounded by students studying for their end of year exams.
There was a big box hedge in the foreground that I was planning to paint which would have obscured most of the green and but let the conservatory lights shine through. Wanting to just sketch the rooftops and the hedge, I realized I needed to put in what was behind the bushes first because you could basically see through them. The summertime greens would have been muted by the dark wash of the hedges and the lights in the building would pop with the contrast. However, as plans often go astray, some preliminary feedback suggested I leave it alone. So, here it is, off season, and with the foreground left out. I still think I could have rocked that hedge!
This is the last one of the marsh series I was working on. It’s a heavier composition with increased detail and thicker pigments. Mayan dark blue (luv the darks) accents the drama of the startled pheasants. A little gothic perhaps, with the rotting tree trunks and the greasy marsh water. Hopefully it’s tempered by the weak glow of sunlight in the mist. Tension is created by contrasting the slow entropy of decay with the wing beats of the excited birds. Can you hear them in the stillness?
My goal in this series is to explore texture, depth, and atmosphere. This has a richer feel but used basically the same limited palette as the last painting. I used a few taller grasses in the foreground and mid-ground to create depth. I also used darker tones in the foreground. A small redwing blackbird in the rushes on the left may add more interest but that might be stretching things. Let me know if you agree.
It was a wild morning with high winds and mixed snow and rain. Our Plein Air session was spent in the local Art Can Gallery owned by Ron Hayes. The large windows in the cafe looked out over the Habitant River. There were 200,000 plus without power including us but we were comfortable inside and enjoyed coffee brewed on the propane stove.
I’ve been experimenting with masking fluid but my biggest decision was whether to include the trees in the foreground. We talked about knowing when to stop and when to add more. Just as the session ended the power came back on.
Back in the home studio, I decided to add a single tree.
In the fall geese arrive on the marsh by the hundreds. It’s impossible to escape the honking of such a large group. Limiting both palette and the number of geese in this 7×10 watercolour suggests the scene without the intrusion of noise on a still autumn day. Perhaps the hunters will miss these three.
A few days ago my brother was telling me how much he was really looking forward to hunting geese with my husband, once he got his health back.
Yesterday, because of someone’s generous gift, he had a heart transplant operation. He won’t wake up from surgery for a few days yet. Visiting is restricted and I’m recovering from a head cold so I have to bide my time. My sister and niece are doing an amazing job coordinating things on the home front and the support from family and friends has been wonderful.
Painting today between updates helped pass the time. It was a perfect spot and made me remember our hunting conversation. I was able to hold my brother in my thoughts and paint while he is asleep… busily stitching everything back together.
I wish this were a less serious post but the waiting is the hardest part.
We have nothing but gratitude for the surgeons, staff, donor, and donor’s family who made this possible. Please sign your donor card and let someone know your wishes.