The Art of Painting

“Guardian of Sacred Spaces” Oil on Canvas, 30″ x 40″

There are as many different ways to create a piece of art as there are people who paint.  All of us have our own vision–be it photo realism, abstraction, figurative, landscape, still life, contemporary or traditional.  I have dabbled in all of these forms and many more.  I have also, within these genres, played with all kinds of media–watercolor, charcol, acrylics, oil pastels, pastels, and of course oil paint.  I have gone from trying to draw and paint as realistically as possible to smearing paint with sticks and rocks to see what it does.  All are valid, and for me there is an important dance between discipline and play.  Too much discipline–as in realistic drawing–can be stiff and too much play can be infantile.  I try to strike a balance and during the process–emotion and meaning trumps.

“Guardian of Sacred Spaces” grabbed my attention when I was riding my horse and found this special place.  I did a small 8″x 10″ plein air (on location) painting.  I was taken by the slow energy of this giant tree and the intimate surroundings it protected.  The colors were dazzling in the late fall and a palette knife allowed me to capture it.  Later, all the knowledge from that day was transferred to a 30″ x 40″ canvas where I had to decide on the discipline of the composition and how much literal interpretation  I was going to do.  I decided the color and emotion of the place were the most important so I chose to use a pallet knife on the large piece as well.  The pallete knife allows me to get pure clean color and also allows me to play with the paint, as in the branches.  The  more I worked on the piece, the more I felt the power of that tree and its protectiveness of the surroundings.  On the way home I saw a deer crossing my street and was able to snap a quick phone shot.  Later while working on it, I felt the deer wanted to go into the background.  Perhaps she had crossed that same place and that is her guardian tree.

This is but one way to create  a piece of art.  I chose the medium and the style for this magnificent guardian and am currently working in a similar manner with other scenes.

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