When I think I’ve completed a painting I usually take it out of the studio and prop it up in the living room to ponder during relaxation times. Often this leads my husband to complain about wet paint marks on our newly painted walls. He recently set an easel up in the corner for just this use so that the walls stay clean and I put one of my recent works on it, which looks great! And I then proceeded to prop up my wet painting again. I make him crazy.

However, the propping up also often leads to discussion about our work. I’ve had nice success lately doing water and cloud elements because they are so fluid and free, that it’s just natural for them to end up painterly and loose. But my land elements are still tight. So Andrew and I simultaneously told me to approach the land elements like they were water or air. And so I did. And so I had what I’d call better success making both the sky and land elements more fluid in this desert scene.

High Desert Cloud Bloom, studio oil, 12″ x 24″

While there is still plenty of room for improvement, this one felt looser as it went down and so I want to take that feeling and method into the next piece.

I have a plan.

Each studio piece I’ve been creating lately has been a matter of finding reference materials when I want to do a new piece. However, I want to create a cohesive body of work so the one-off approach isn’t great. Coming up with the “theme” or goal of that body of work is very difficult. And yet I’ve at least had a couple ideas for paintings starting to back log in my brain, which means something is brewing. The first back log item is a stunning, quiet sunset piece in 18″ x 24″. I say quiet because the sky in the reference is empty of clouds and has a layering of stunning, muted colours – which calms the piece down even though there is churning water in the foreground. I like that tension. The colours also play with that theme – the sky is multi-coloured while the fore is almost a black and white scale. Interesting tension again.

And then I have a back logged idea to do a triptych of paintings of empty campground sites. I love the idea of  the potential in the images. The spots are empty but you know there will be and has been plenty of activity in those spots. My mind sees them as lonely yet lovely treed spaces which evoke excitement about the future, about camping! There’s that tension again.

I won’t tease you any more with what I am going to paint. Because you just know that with the sunny weather, I’ll likely get pulled in to more plein air work and/or I’ll go off in another direction. Suffice it to say that the studio is well utilized, as is the living room, as is my brain, in painting. Fantastic.

And the walls will continue to gather wet paint marks. Just because.


Messy Plans