Chasing the light during a visit to Maine
Finishing a plein air painting in the studio is often inevitable, especially when daylight is waning and you need to leave the location, knowing that you won’t be able to return. The painter tries to grab the beauty of the moment and rely on memory and a photograph to finish the scene. It’s much like watching a flower fade in front of your eyes.
I don’t think these flowers will fade much, however, until frost. They are from a massive teepee of zinnias that are planted in the garden of my Maine hosts Amy and Will. Like an ode to the last bits of summer, zinnias capture the light and make me smile with their cheerful color and stubbornness to last as long as they can.
Technical notes: As a demo for Will’s painting students, I poured the sky using M. Graham cobalt blue and a small amount of Holbein permanent alizarin crimson. I painted this on a sheet of Twinrocker paper and liked how the cobalt granulated nicely with a lot of water. Paint sits differently on this paper than the Arches I’m familiar with; it’s an interesting surface that I will use again. For drawing before painting, I’ve been using water-soluble pencils and pastels (instead of pencil) for recent plein air work. I like that the drawing washes away when a wet brush hits it.
Watercolor with water-soluble wax pastel underdrawing
Twinrocker cold press, 200 lb, 11.5″ x 17.5″