May Madness Day 5: Walk in the Woods

I was trying to capture on the Gessobord (5 x 5″, as before) the feeling I have when walking in the woods in autumn.   This is the kind of path where those reedy grasses are everywhere and the sun is filtering through the leaves and you’re drinking in everything.   And I just feel like dancing!    I haven’t decided, but I may develop this further. I’ll sleep on it and see.

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Oh, how I love the woods!  I just love being surrounded by the trees, with leaves falling all around, the sounds of the birds, a little breeze, the smells, the crackling sounds……what a sensual experience it always is, but particularly in the fall. As much as I love the spring, I already can’t wait for October!

I would love to know what this painting might evoke for you. I wish you peace and warm, gentle breezes.

68 thoughts on “May Madness Day 5: Walk in the Woods

  1. I love autumn. October is probably my favorite month of the year, and I love being out in the woods. In all honesty, though, I’m not sure I get “autumn” from the painting. To me, it’s more reminiscent of the scorching hot summer days we have here. I think of autumn as a little more muted. That’s not to say that I don’t like the painting. I like it a lot. I like the foreground — I see it as tall grass — and I know exactly what this reminds me of now. When I was growing up, we had huge “plume grass” bushes. Every year at the end of summer, my grandfather would set fire to them to burn them off. It was always an exciting night, watching the sparks shoot up to the skies. That’s exactly where this painting takes me. Back to my childhood and the yearly burning of the plume grass. Now, actually, that was at the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, so I guess you have captured a time right between the two seasons for me. You’ve also called up very special memories, and I thank you for that. Overall, I don’t feel “autumn in the woods”, but that’s obviously because my personal experience with the plume grass influences what I see. It will be very interesting to read other comments and learn what the painting evokes in others.

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    1. It will be interesting, Judith and I thank you for taking the time to tell your story – and what a cool story! Wow, if a painting called up something like that for me, I would like it too! I think that’s what I’m really beginning to appreciate about abstract work – people can bring so many of their own experiences to the piece and who knows where it leads me or them? I kinda like that! Thanks again!

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      1. That’s so true about bringing our own experiences to abstract art. I think this is why the abstract appeals to imaginative people…but not so much to the rational sort, if you know what I mean. Some folks can’t see beyond the surface marks to create their own stories. To me, this is what makes abstract art not only beautiful but fun. I love how one painting can evoke many different responses.

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        1. Thank you, Judith! I’ve been thinking this as well! I am loving creating abstract art lately and my husband and I are empty nesters. My daughter loves the images I send to her via text, but my husband is so literal that it’s rare for him to like one of my abstracts. When he likes them, I know that almost anyone will lol! But you’re so right! I think it takes a very imaginative mind to really love abstract art. I’m so glad you see it the same way!

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          1. I love abstract art — unless it’s too geometrical. I guess I don’t like imposing any sort of “order” on my imagination. Rothko, for example…I know people love his art, but it just makes me feel confined or limited. Just give me a Jackson Pollack any day!

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      1. I really do. Though it’s a little sad to see summer go, I love the autumn colors… brilliant sunsets, crunchy leaves, the smell in the air. The colors you used are among my favorites, and you used them beautifully.

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          1. That’s cool. So you darken it to brighten it? Sort of like layering darker shades in photos to enhance the subject? I’ve read a few things about the use of different paints and surfaces, and I always thought it was fascinating… the different mediums and surfaces to express a specific look and texture.

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            1. Well, in this case, it was almost a little too hot, so I was thinking of making a thin opaque film with titanium buff (think light beige) and acrylic glazing liquid (an acrylic medium that helps to extend the paint without breaking the formulation down plus a retarder to extend its working time to about 10 minutes or so, so you can blend it out before it dries), and possibly going over the entire surface just to push it back a bit. Or maybe just pushing back from the top of the line of reeds back. And then adding something else to that top part. But I’m not sure what. Sometimes when you get started, the answer reveals itself. So in this case it would be adding a fine layer of opacity to make it a little less flaming hot. Have you ever thought of trying your hand with a paintbrush?

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              1. No, I never have. Well, maybe when I was a lot younger, but not seriously. I’ve read quite a bit about the methods and I’m familiar with some terminology, but I don’t think the talent is there… all my eggs are in one basket, I suppose. I have a lot of respect for those who can do it. It’s a tremendous talent that I admire. Your description of your work is inspiring: the experimentation and consideration of your options… you’re already seeing it finished, aren’t you? Or at least finished in the way that you want it to be. To me, that’s the truest sign of an artist.

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                1. I appreciate your confidence in me. I can see the next stage but I can’t see it finished. I’m not sure what to add after the “push back” layer. Until I know what that is, I hesitate to change it. But I probably will. Unless you really like it as is – I’d be glad to send it to you. Btw, I don’t think all of your eggs are in one basket at all. You’re a gifted photographer, writer, wouldn’t surprise me one bit if there was an artist in there too. Particularly if you are or were fascinated with it in the past.

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                  1. I think that whenever there’s passion involved in creating something, it’s art. It’s subjective and not all things are relatable to everyone, but if the joy and the hard work is there, it’s art. That’s a very loose interpretation, but I believe it. My photography is a happy accident. I fell into it because it interests me, but I have no background in it, just a decent eye, and I enjoy it. Writing, though, is a lifelong obsession and I do it mostly for myself, but I’m happy when others enjoy it and “get it”. That said, I’ll leave the painting to those who know what they’re doing. I think another aspect of artists is that there’s always that “I don’t know if I should, but I’m going to anyway” aspect. I’d love to see the before-and-after versions. I think the creative process is fascinating.

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  2. I have to agree with MiC above. It reminds me of those intense summer days when you’ve put down your book and are lying in the sun. You open your eyes slightly and squint at the sky and this is the sort of effect you get. I love this. At the risk of being too literal I can almost hear the waves breaking on the beach and the sound of children’s voices in the distance…

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    1. Aww Michael what a kind comment! I’m so happy that this scene is what’s evoked for you. I’m so jazzed, as I felt completely infused by nature painting this. I luckily found some wonderful colors and used so many in my frenzy to find autumn that it would have been an embarrassingly long list! Thanks so much for your comment!

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        1. Thank you. I found out last fall that painting trees in watercolor is really hard for me, but painting my feelings about the same woods is much easier. Drawing is so much easier than painting, I think. I’m really enjoying abstract painting a lot now, but I would like to feel way more competent with realistic painting too! Thanks for your encouragement, Michael; it means a lot.

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  3. It is so illuminating to read both your vision of this painting and the replies from your admirers. Here in Kamloops B.C., I painted a watercolour with an intensely orange sky, trying to mimic the July sun, and found it shunned by viewers at the Gallery because it so reminded them of the devastating forest fires our Province gets nearly every year that they wouldn’t consider buying it. But indeed this is very reminiscent of October (my birth month) and a brilliantly vibrant time on our calendars!

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    1. Thank you so much, Lance! My birth month too! I knew we both loved autumn for a reason! :))) I was wondering if including my vision up front may sway the viewer’s perception and thus be a no-no, so I’m glad that you enjoyed it. And wow, I see what you mean exactly about releasing a piece with one intention and it conjuring up something entirely different to the viewer. Thank you for that story. I’m sorry it happened but you’ve illuminated my morning with that! Thanks as always for your comment.

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  4. HI Laura: In order to get a feeling or mood from your artwork, I look at the piece first before I read your description. The first thing that came to mind was an active volcano we saw far in the distance in Hawaii. We were on a cruise ship sailing away from one of the islands one night, and they told everyone to find a spot and be still. Then they turned out all the outside lights. Because of all the darkness around us, off in the distance we could see the volcano and the flowing, bubbling lava activity, and the colors were very similar to what you used today. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and your painting evoked many moods/feelings – all beautiful – in the beholders (observers) today. Isn’t that one of the goals as an artist? Awesome job! Thanks for taking me back to Hawaii!.

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    1. That sounds so perfect, Jill! I was thinking of you while painting these colors! I do like most oranges, but the reds that are almost like orange (and the oranges that are almost red) are too bright for me, lol. All of the colors of fall thrill me! What a nice image to conjure up. Oh, there is nothing better than a weenie roast. Campfires = weenies to me. 🙂

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  5. I love Spring and Fall too. Fall is when I get to break out my favorite clothes, tall boots, wool skirts, turtlenecks, Blazers, and hunt for fall colors in nature.

    This painting feels more like Summer …August when it’s super hot, and there’s not a breeze anywhere. On days like that I want an ice, ice cold beer in a pre-frozen mug. Blue Moon with a thick slice of orange in it works for me.

    Lovely warm colors, and thought provoking narrative!

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  6. For days now, Canadians have been watching images of real wildfires devouring the landscape. So it is probably not surprising that my first thoughts are of hot flames and smoke billowing upward, moving relentlessly over the landscape, devouring those dry grasses. So real life is definitely affecting my reaction and the impact of this piece.

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  7. From childhood I’ve been crazy over colors, whether it was something as small as the 64-box count of Crayolas to the multicolor flower beds my mom grew, and as soon as the trees became their most brilliant at the height of fall, I would gather the most colorful leaves, liquid gold, vivid orange and startling scarlet.

    Autumn leaves will never fail to delight. Indeed, there were times, I thought they appeared lit from within, and Laura your wanderlust Autumn abstract painting does this very thing to my senses. Thank you for sharing you paintings on your blog.

    Connie

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