Sunday, February 22, 2015

I Want It to Be Spring!

Tulips and Daffs, gouache, 2.5" x 3.5" on  Bristol Vellum
Alstroemeria, 2.5" x 3.5" on Canvas Paper
It's February 22 and the temperature in Amherst hasn't risen above freezing throughout the entire month. The mean temperature has been 12.8 degrees Fahrenheit. We've endured some record low air temperatures, with wind chills that haven't been seen here in almost a hundred years. We've had snow nearly every day for two months. Niagara Falls, a mere ten miles away, is frozen. If you live in the northeastern US, you understand. Alaska has had a warmer winter than we have.

And I want you to know that I am ready. for. spring.

Usually it's hard for me to paint against the season. When the snow was falling on my New Mexico home I would paint snow most of that time. I've discovered a lot about the snowy place I now live, and enjoyed painting it, but I can't take any more snow right now! So, given the choice of putting the paint away and hiding my head under a thick blanket, or painting what makes my heart soar with delight, even when it isn't the season for it, I decided to paint. These two paintings are the result.

Tulips and Daffs 
You can see the dry-brush strokes a result of dragging my angled shaper over a rag to remove most of the paint. I used creamy gouache, like thin mayonnaise, swathing the paper in a nice layer of paint, and then dabbed off the excess, so that I could go back in with the negative shape strokes to define the flowers, leaves and stems. The Bristol Vellum develops this texture as a result of way the paint is applied.

Favorite part: Those two white dabs near the upper tulip that catch your eye. I like the contrast and interesting shapes. The quickness of the strokes is evident. That pleases me, too.

Canvas Paper mimics the look of woven canvas, which I used to advantage in this painting. The texture shows where the lighter paint covers the darker strokes. I placed dry-brush effects on the leaves to enhance them and draw the eye there.

Favorite part: The color of the foliage. This green is very blue, a color that takes a little doing to get right. Too much blue and it reads as plastic looking! This time I think I got it right.

I'm refreshed by the flowers and will probably continue to paint against the season. Flowers? Maybe. Maybe a short visit to New Mexico, via my photographs.

And spring will come. Thank God!

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