The Yellow Line

This is a drawing, a chalk pastel, and an oil painting done over the last two weeks.  All reference the same photo    The original photo was taken a few months ago, obviously before fall was in full swing.    The image is titled The Yellow Line after the thick band of sunlight that breaks free of the treeline and runs at an angle across the picture plane.  To me the sunlight is the focal point of this image.  I have drawn and painted this image several times, here are just three examples.  As with the pond series, there is a benefit to focusing on one image or scene for an extended period of time.  This allows the painting process to become more sophisticated and refined with each attempt.  This is also of course why artist do studies to be more familiar with the subject.  However, I have never been comfortable with the word study and consider each of these to be individual works of art.

Pond Study Excerpt

Today I did number 14 in  my Pond Study Series.  You can see the dulling of colors, which is a departure from my usual palette.  The lone willow tree just right of the center is holding onto its foliage, as is the adjacent pine.  The other side of the pond grows more and more bare.  Strangely, the sky seems perpetually grayer than usual.  I purposefully limited my palette in composing this painting.  I used only ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow, burnt umber, and titanium white.  I think this limitation forced me to stay within a certain range of tone throughout the piece.  I want to continue with this practice in having painting related goals for future pond studies.  I continue to learn not only about observation of a subject matter but also about paint manipulation.  I am allowed risks and experiments through the repetition.  I would suggest this kind of project for any artist.  This should be done periodically through any artists career as an opportunity for growth and discovery.  For future pond study pieces I will limit palette, mark making, and time of execution.  It is a strange feeling, that I am somehow becoming connected to this scene.  I am seeing my own personal transformations through the land’s seasonal phases.

The Pond

I have already taken several pictures of the nearby pond for reference in photos.  I have also been drawing the location regularly to become more intimately familiar with it.  By observing the same place day after day I take ownership of it.  It somehow becomes mine in a way and I feel responsible for it.  I notice details about it that I would otherwise overlook.  In a sense, it is much like getting to know a person.  I have seen oranges emerge subtly in the last few days.  I have seen the lily pads fade away.  I have seen the way that the sky and time of day shift the palette harmony of the entire scene.  There is much calm in watching.  There is a peace to just observing, painting, and observing again with no definitive end result.