Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Forty-three Days of "Shelter in Place" Produces Twenty-eight Paintings

We are all living in challenging times--not just in our neighborhood, nor in our county, nor in our state or country. This has and is a global issue. Italians sing to their communities from their balconies. Every evening at 7:00 p.m., New York City residents open their windows to salute the city's medical workers with sound. The Blue Angels perform fly-overs. Neighborhoods are having happy hours from their driveways. 

Here in Blue River, Mike and I are living in our own 6 acres of paradise. We have spent some time being stewards of our land. I've pulled weeds, done some transplanting, mowed--Mike has worked on his raised beds, gotten out the weed-eater, and cleaning out the woods. Together, we reinvented a small portion of our backyard, removing plants that had taken over and sculpting a new rock feature where one can sit and ponder the pond.

Preparing meals, and watching "The Sopranos" almost every night has been our way of reconnecting at the end of the day. (Mike has gone back to making sour dough bread.)

I have never been a plein air painter, nor have I painted flowers or landscapes as a rule. But on March 31, 2020, looking at the unknown timeframe of an empty calendar, I decided to "paint my own backyard." Everyday for 30 years I have looked out my kitchen window at this captivating scene, and thought "Monet would paint this."

And so I finally put together a small tote of painting equipment and pledged to do a painting a day. Well, I didn't make it, but I did paint 28 paintings in the last 43 days. 

It has been a period of freedom and learning. Am I great at landscapes or flowers? No, but I've gotten better. Almost every day I've picked up a brush and forged ahead. I really renewed my joy of painting with transparent watercolors. There is a difference between painting an idea (my usual mode) to just putting paint to paper and trying to communicate what you see and feel--loving watching the colors bleed into one another. 

And really, I got better with time. Just the process of re-educating myself with the skills I began with and have put aside over the years. Some of the paintings have been improved by a trip to the studio. By lifting paint and using gouache paint on some, they have certainly gotten more pleasing to my eye.


An example of before and after the studio.

I hope not to bore you, but feel free to scroll down and see some of the paintings I have created over the last 43 days. All are my interpretation of places or flora around our property. 

Do you have a favorite? What have you been doing to keep from going crazy?