Thursday, November 3, 2011
Hurry Up And Wait
Several weeks ago as I was watching TV while eating my usual breakfast of oatmeal, eggs with a mug of bourbon, I happened to glance away from Natalie Morales (something I rarely do) and saw a beautiful sight; the way the morning sun had back-lit the big old maple tree that looms over my back yard. I loved the way the leaves glowed on one side of the tree while on the other were a cool veridian. I thought the way the lavender of the trunk played off against the golden green glow of the grass was really cool. I was transfixed. Something that I had seen countless times before now begged to be painted. So as soon as Ann Curry came on, I quickly turned off the TV, (something I often do) and raced down to the studio to grab a panel to commence work.
I'd love to tell you how I turned out a masterpiece as a result, but the sad truth is that after a few days of work on it, the weather turned against me. For what seemed like a month the sun didn't shine in the morning, if it came out at all. In the meantime, the leaves dropped off the limbs and covered the grass. By the time the sun made it's return appearance, the shadows had changed position, and the leaves were gone, altering my whole design. I needed to work on it from life because no photo was going to catch the nuance of color I wanted to convey. (Trust me-- I took a ton of photos, and not one was worth anything). So now my panel sits quietly on a shelf in my studio waiting for next fall.
This is the steaming mess as I last left it-- a hodge-podge of underpainting colors. But I'm positive that next year it'll look really good!
Mark Twain once noted that experience means recognizing a mistake the second time you make it. Undeterred by the vagaries of Nature, I stumbled upon another scene that got me all worked up to paint. But instead of relying on morning light, I needed to have afternoon sun. And not any old sun, but the last ten minutes of sun from a clear, cloudless sky. Hey, that's not asking for much, right? Here's a fun thing to try on your own: pick any time of day and see how often the weather is exactly the same from one day to the next. Spoiler Alert: It's pretty damn rare.
Here's where the picture stands one full month later.
Hell, the moon has gone through another full cycle since I started. Oh well, at least I got a lot farther along on this than the other one.
This one has a good chance to be finished, though. After all, I am almost done, and I managed to get some local color notes on it when I had the chance. The good thing is that next week the clocks change so I won't have to wait so long for the sun to set. And many of the elements really won't change that much. Dead leaves are dead leaves, right? The pumpkins won't turn into carriages, or anything.
Gues I'll have to wait and see.