Sunday, November 25, 2012


I would like to begin this occasional series – About This Painting - with Dark Forrest

 Dark Forrest…Acrylic…. 30x40”

Dark Forrest was not only one of my very first acrylic paintings, but I think, one of my best.  It did not start out that way.

In 2006 I began thinking about working on canvas, rather than paper, because of the cost of getting my pastels, watercolors, and clay mono types framed for protection and exhibiting.  The clincher came when a gallery to whom I submitted my portfolio wrote back saying they loved my work but did not take anything framed under glass.  That did it for me; I purchased the necessary materials and went to work.  The result, after a great deal of frustration, wiping out and starting over, was Dark Forrest.

It took me less than a dozen brush strokes to realize that working with acrylics on canvas was totally unlike watercolor on paper.  Struggling with brush strokes and color mixing, I bungled my way through the sky.  It was a disaster that I tried correcting by painting over with a different color, also a failure.  Disgusted with myself I began scraping away the paint and to my great delight, I liked what I saw.

At this point I had only a vague idea about what I wanted next…a colorful, loosely rendered tree line making the horizon the point of focus.  Again, I struggled with colors, and even more so with the brushwork.  And again, the paint went on, and come off, until I put the brush aside and began playing with the palette knife.  After several trials and errors, I ended up with the rest of my painting, and I was pleased.

In the process of this work I learned several techniques that I have continued to use in selected paintings, either exclusively, or in combination with other techniques.  It is a rare painting in which I have not used a palette knife at some point in the work. and I continue to render trees and foliage abstractly with the knife, carving out the trunks and branches to expose colors below.

1 comment:

Kim Leslie said...

Stunning. I've just started painting with acrylics myself. I am transfixed by this piece.