|"Late Winter Forest", watercolor, VClaff 2013|
|I've come to an important moment in the development of this new work. I've explored the possibilities of the technique, found its limits and understand a little better how to achieve a balance of allowing and controlling. Last week was particularly productive as I had a day off from teaching, which doesn't sound like much, but allowed a four day stretch to focus entirely on painting.|
|"Winter Mists", watercolor, VClaff 2013|
All the small explorations have given me a confidence about what is possible,
especially in the first wash layers. This week I began to play with sublte details
in the other layers as I get a clearer understanding of where I want to take the
imagery. I also invested in a new brush (more expensive than you might think)
which helps me achieve the detail I desire. I love the new brush, and now
need a few more! I'm reminded of a chalk board in my father's woodshop that
for years had the words - don't use cheap brushes - written on it. I completely
agree. I have a good stock of very good brushes, but each way of working demands
specific tools, and as this work develops, I need different tools for different
details. In the case of these paintings, each layer of paint demands a different
kind of brush.
|"Winter Marsh", watercolor, VClaff 2013|
In the three paintings above, I'm getting at the essence of technique and image.
In the top two, the subtle addition of dimensionality in the darker layer of trees
suggests many directions I might go in. It seems the further I go with this work,
the more expansive I feel. I am deep in the forest now, navigating by my intuition
and possibly with the assistance of an unseen tree-spirit or two.
Pasha is always there to guide me, too, though the last few days of cold and
frozen percipitation, had him a tad on the grumpy side. On a particularly raw
and wet day, I found him perched on the gas heater, enjoying the heat radiating
off of the cast iron.
In contrast to the unfriendly week I posted about last time, this week has brought
some lovely surprises! A gift in the mail from Grace at Windthread really made my
day... a Grass Woman to add to the magic of my studio. She was placed on the
windowsill temporarily until she finds her permanent place. When I looked at her
later in the day, I noticed that she hadn't quite liked the position I had chosen for
her, so instead, had leaned over and grabbed the candle holder. She is keeping
company in the cozy corner with my sculpture Root Grandmother. I'm sure they are
sharing many an important story about roots and grasses together.
I'll leave you with a series of images from my walk yesterday... I walked slowly
and found great pleasure in the last of the winter garden stocks and the vibrant
mosses now visible again as the snow melts.