Saturday, December 02, 2006

Over the River

Over the River 9x12
oil on linen
This was painted just before Thanksgiving and I took the title from that famous Thanksgiving song Over the River and Through the Woods. This is a small stream (not really a river!) that empties into a pond. The pond has a dam at one end that regulates the water flow and lets it back out so the stream can continue on its way. The whole reason for chosing this spot was so that I could give my new very small oxhair brushes a work out painting all those tiny bare twigs and branches. Usually I use bristle brushes, they're made from stiff hog hair. They're great for rubbing and scrubbing (yes, I'm a brush abuser LOL). I'm also an impressionist painter and don't like painting in a lot of tight detail. However, I'm moving into a bit of a new direction with my work and I want to include some well chosen areas of detail. The ox hair brushes are softer than the bristle but not a soft as sable (and not as expensive either!). This new direction I'm moving in is going to include doing more studio work based on the little field studies I do outdoors. In my opinion there's nothing that can rival a plein air painting for vitality, freshness and depiction of light. I consider my plein air pieces "finished" works but they are, like most plein air work a very particular genre of landscape painting with part of their charm being the hasty, sense of urgency you get from the raw unpolished look. I am finding that exploring my small field studies, or pochades as they are also known, in the studio as larger pieces is a fascinating process and produces larger more finished works for the galleries. I've just finished such an exercise using Shorebird Sanctuary, doing a studio piece that's 4 times larger than the original posted below. As soon as I can get a good photo of it, I'll be posting an writing about the process and my experience with it.

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