Winter may be waning, and I for one am ready. The snow has mostly missed us here on the eastern shore, but the cold has stayed beyond it's welcome. I can't wait to paint a sprig of forsythia from life as it blooms along the bank by the studio.
During one of the many light snows this Winter in Greensboro, my wife Ruth and I watched the sun rise through new fallen snow on the road to the river. The snow clung to every branch and ice covered what snow could not. It was magical. I watched a barred Owl glide silently by us in the half-light as the sun peaked over the hill, heading to a grove of pines. The holly trees by the river cast an emerald glow over the snow by the water. It really was magical.
In the studio, I've been experimenting with claybord, a product made of masonite and a thin layer of clay, manufactured by a company called Ampersand. after some fits and starts, I have learned to like the way the surface behaves with watercolors. At first, the paint resists the clay surface but after an initial wash the manner in which the paint can be lifted and moved about is really interesting. Like egg tempera, watercolor on claybord can go back and forth between lights and darks, opaques and transparent layers.
I'm also looking more deeply at combining very quick, loose effects with extreme detail in my pieces on paper. The more of these I complete, the more I like the effects. On the surface these paintings look simple, but making the transition from loose brushy strokes to photorealism takes some thought. I do love the results. When I finish a painting that combines these two techniques, and do it right, the paper just feels right. I have to do more of these.
See you in the studio soon!