Kanaka Creek in Maple Ridge holds a high place in my favourite places in the world. A deep canyon of smooth shale shrouded in emerald moss garlands and spunky ferns that grow on the canyon walls as well as in trees 50 feet overhead. Tea coloured water collects in quiet pools and for brief moments the canyon cracks open with sunlight. It’s a magical place, a soothing spa in nature. Painting it reminded me of all the dreamtime I spent there.
Inspired by a photo taken by Randy D., my friend.
12″ x 14″ oil on canvas
Finish to start – a floral aura journey.
I often experience an urge to bust and do something loose and free and gestural. Having done that a few times it usually turns out pretty awful.
But I did more thinking prior to starting it, mainly that it should only resemble a Gerber daisy but not BE a Gerber daisy. It seemed reasonable to start with the real thing. At that point I gave myself permission to wreck it, didn’t matter if it survived the brush lashing. Then it started to take on a shimmer and life that seemed worthy of pushing a bit further. I kinda like it after all, too bad it’s not on a taught canvas – see the line made from the stretcher bar across the bottom?
I can re-stretch the canvas once it’s dry enough.
Wonder if I can do another one….
Through a knot hole gently, I squirmed through this painting. Without a clear view of how I was going to tackle the stone arch I went into areas that I could understand like the light catching the right side which made a sweet spot (for me) where light bends around form, and reflects off the ground etc.
I wanted to stop painting several times because I was being pulled into the details (my brain bouncing over a washboard) but I resisted the small brushes and stayed with marking up the big shapes. This is the feel I wanted, a raw the memory of heat being driven into the land. Blinding beauty, meaning, the tolerance of trees to bear up to such intense heat and light.
I’m beginning to like landscapes a bit more….
I’ve been to Arches National Monument in Moab Utah a couple of times. A memorable place for is sheer raw red rock beauty. It is an intense place. Bitter cold and searing hot all on the same day. I started going to the desert in 1998 and on every visit I sense the land holds the memory of heat. Even when it’s frigid, snowing and blowing, there it is – heat – just under the surface.
If the land had a tangible consciousness, it would remember heat.
I’ve slowly been chipping away at this painting, again because landscapes are not my fav (see yesterday’s post).
Navajo Arch is only one of many, many arches there. Even though it looks like a cave, only a few yards behind my viewpoint, the sandstone ceiling opens up to the sky. It illuminated a dead tree with lots of character, which I tried to paint about 4 years ago and bailed on. Maybe I’ll try the tree again, but for now, I’m aiming to put this one together. Right now it looks kinda cartoony, it will get more attention and hopefully turn out ok.
Below is it’s blocking development…
When the red/orange arch colour went on against the caustic yellow I had to rely on Chevreuls principles of colour; these reds would vibrate differently once the darker cave areas were applied. While it’s intense and surreal to look at, I like the direction it’s taking.
Have you painted a red rock desert scene? Did you have a challenge mixing the right shade of orange/red? I’m not satisfied with my colours yet.
Decided to do things a little differently, Alla Prima, or, all at once (it’s finished).
There is no toning the canvas, no precise drawing traced on, just wild and free!!!
The photo I painted from was taken in the late 1970’s when I lived in Huntsville Ontario. My husband’s parents had a log cottage on a Lake fringing the border of Algonquin Park. Algonquin is 1500 sq miles of canoe routes – a fabulous place to explore. In 2011 I painted the same scene and there is quite a difference. It is included below.
First I mixed the colours that would be used.
Below: Brushed on the main shapes, it helped that the composition was simple.
Below: …and started putting the paint on
Below: This is as far as I could take it without wrecking it after an hour, the finishing touches had to wait – hmmm, I guess not so alla prima after all, oh well. Compared to my usual painting method this is alla prima! The canvas is 8″x16″
Below: it is finished. Canvas reproductions available for $80.00 plus shipping email: email@example.com
Below: the 2011 version.
Spent the morning pushing the wave further into ‘wave-dom.’ This piece has been a real challenge, a few cuss words here and there, but I think it’s getting really close now. As long as it’s done before tomorrow midnight, it’ll be worth the rush.
Not fond of rushing….
click on image to see it larger
Developed the bottom left reflection and the hoop of colour below the “water bowl.” Gotta say portraits are way easier than doing this. But I like a challenge.
Thought my palette looked kinda pretty so included it for you…