Saturday, May 31, 2008

Painting in Hope Valley

"Summertime, and the living is easy..Fish are jumping, and the cotton is high ... "

Well, almost summertime. I went out painting with fellow Tahoe artists Bonita Paulis and Penny Shrawder yesterday, to a beautiful area just south of where I live called Hope Valley. It was the first day of good weather in quite a while, and I was desperate to get out of the studio. The recent rains have made all the greens greener in the landscape, and that warm lushness is perfectly complemented by the blue snow capped mountains in the distance.

There were people fishing on the river, and the occasional whoops and cheers indicated that the fish were indeed jumping (albeit on the end of a line, sadly) There was some curiosity about these three smudged women standing at easels on the riverbank, but thankfully the fish were of more interest and we were left alone for the most part.

I was interested in capturing some of the energy of the landscape, rather than try to make a finished piece.

I gave a demonstration at Lake Tahoe Community College on Tuesday evening, to the ceramics students. I had been asked to paint some of my Kokanee on clay, in the loose style of my mixed media pieces, and then if it went well to show the students how I did it. It did go well actually, I was pleasantly surprised at the watercolour effect the glazes made. Explaining something you do instinctively is a little challenging, and it's been many years since I taught. Being able to paint at the same time as talking took the pressure off though, as it's easier to show someone how a flick of the wrist can mimick the movement of a fish tail in water than try and shape your words around the motion. I'll post the demo pieces once they are fired.

With this in mind, I approached this landscape with the same idea of looseness and confidence in your instinct. It was so refreshing and liberating. I was also aware of the value studies we did with Carol in Santa Fe, and found myself boldly laying in light and shade in an abstract way. I'll be returning to the valley with my oils in the next few days if the weather stays good, I'm excited about this composition now, and want to take it to towards a finished piece.

Apple Values
Oil on Canvas Panel
Email me if you would like to purchase this painting