Wednesday, November 13, 2013

pine needles, fragments



 I've been painting evergreens, lots of them. A large canvas divided into grids (again) with two or three trees in each square. I started out simple, but I keep adding layers and thinking about all the ways we see them--close up, at a distance, layered with other trees, in the forest, against a house, in the house...soft needles, sharp needles, spruce, pine, fir, cypress, juniper...


When I paint something realistic I'm more interested in the idea of the thing, the sense of it, than the thing itself, so it becomes semi-abstract (or semi-realistic) like a quick glimpse out the window or a memory, or a line in a poem. Edges, fragments.


One of the things I like about painting-- I don't have to think, (beyond simple questions of color and composition). I'm completely absorbed in the moment. Like a dance or jazz--improvisation, meditation.

29 comments:

  1. Simple questions of color and composition? I'm envious if those are simple questions. I suffer with both. I do like the idea of taking the thingness out of the thing. It's much more interesting.

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    1. Color is simple (easy) because I love it so much. Compositions I keep simple because that's what appeals to me these days-- I'm at a time in my life where I'm avoiding complexity and frustration when possible.

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  2. I hope we get to see it soon. I loved your other green paintings.

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  3. Will you show us these paintings? :)

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    1. Keep forgetting to take my camera!

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  4. Well? Let's see it - don't be shy. We're your biggest fan club. You can do no wrong with us.

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    1. I actually don't know what that sign means - I'm still internet illiterate mostly.

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  5. One of the things I like about evergreens is the accumulation of needles underneath, Not only does it influence our visual perception of the trees and forest, it also engages our senses of smell and touch, As we walk in the woods, the feel of dried needles is so different from that of old leaves.
    --Jim

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    1. Beautifully put, Jim. I want to steal that paragraph.

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  6. Color is the most beautiful puzzle! I can't think of anything more fun than losing myself in it for hours. I love reading about your process.

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  7. I love your description, comparing it to a line in a poem. Sounds like a great meditation, and this is the right season!

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  8. Replies
    1. Hi Ela--thanks for visiting all the way from Poland!

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  9. I've been focusing on needles a lot lately. As I walk Max I notice them since most of the leaves are down and they are what's left. There's one particular one which I think is a very large juniper, blue berries. My neighbor has two giant blue spruces, talk about color! Looking forward to seeing your vision of them and your peception of the colors. Green again :)

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    1. I think it's one of those things that once you start noticing--you see more and more. I love blue spruces.

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  10. I love pine trees. They look complex, yet simple somehow. And they smell so refreshing and invigorating. Can't wait to see your interpretation.

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    1. I often just see them as background--but now that I'm paying more attention, I'm enchanted by their variations.

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    2. Have you seen cryptomeria? They are stunning and the cones are very interesting. We have two very old ones at the farm. I have been taking pictures of them. I would have loved to paint them if I knew how to paint.

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  11. being completely absorbed in the moment...how I would love to slip into that! Even when I'm doing my yoga thoughts creep into my mind...

    This is almost how I think of photography. I try not to concentrate so much on the actual picture as a whole, but more so a feeling using colors and other like elements to convey that feeling. I do hope you show us your painting.

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    1. I don't think I've ever been as thought-free as while painting--it's pretty wonderful.

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  12. I guess it's not a piece of cake to simplify the painting as to compose short verses like tanka.
    Have a good weekend and enjoy your time and painting.

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    1. You made realize that I am trying to both simplify and complicate at the same time. Story of my life.

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  13. Ive always been a little bit intimidated to think of painting a pine tree, but I want to because I love them so much. the looks and the smells and the memories of them. I hope with all my heart you will be showing the painting you are working on of the pine trees. it sounds like something I would love. I am in to doing painting on layers too.

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