unfinished swamp painting / debriefing w details


I got a start on painting the reflections. Now I feel better about it because that was a real hang up. I’d put some dark green in the reflections today, but it’s still smeary from yesterday, so, maybe later or tomorrow. That’s one reason I think amateur status is better for me than professional. There’s no reason for me to rush through something difficult. I imagine if I was a real pro and art paid the bills I’d hate it pretty quick, like a real job. hahaha I can’t take the pressure.IMG_2419

The sun was streaming into my apt when I took this photo. It’s showing the colors better. You can see some detail in the Spanish moss. I like to blob in some paint and scribble through it with my palette knife to make textures. The green needles on the left will get another glaze because that’s part of the foreground and still unfinished.IMG_2422

I like this section at the top left of the painting because it shows aerial perspective from far away and from close up it shows layers of glazes working. It’s a secondary focal point because orange and blue are complimentary colors. There’s a tint of orange in the leaves and that’s enough contrast with the blue to pull the viewers eye into that area to rest.IMG_2424

It’s fun when branches make windows and you can see the background between them. This is a way to give the painting more depth. The trees and branches are giving the painting rhythm. It could be a modern jazz rhythm because I can’t dance to it. (metaphorically speaking)

After I finally made some progress on the reflections I can visualize how to finish this painting  but it still needs a lot of work on the reflections and cypress knees in the foreground.

I feel like this painting reveals a lot about me if anyone can analyze it. It might look like realism to you but it’s not much like reality. I’ll see if I can get a photo of the swamp for you to compare to my painting when I finish it.

I think it’s not realism or impressionism. I sure didn’t capture a moment. I’m capturing a whole season. At no point in time did the swamp ever look like this. I’m trying to think what style or “ism” my painting fits into. would you call it contemporary classicism? abstract expressionism? I don’t want to sign my paintings any more. Anyone that knows my paintings will know this is mine.

12 thoughts on “unfinished swamp painting / debriefing w details”

  1. The commentary helps understand how not simple this is and how you built it up.

    I didn’t read your commentary before I wrote about ‘Starry Night’ but what you are saying is not different from what van Gogh accomplished: this is a representation composed of what you actually saw across a whole season and also what you worked out on the canvas in an act of imagination and workmanship to represent this swamp, not in a moment of time but in a season.

    It has been instructive to follow you! Thanks!

    I think labels are a prison. Somewhere I read that the abstract expressionist, Jackson Pollock, said that some days he paints representationally and sometimes he does not and too bad, basically, if people get upset! I am with him.



    1. I saw the similarities in what you said about Van Gogh and what I’m trying to do too. Thanks for articulating it.
      Pollack had the right idea. Sometimes I’d just like to feel I would fit in with a group. Guess I should make up my own damn style. hahah

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like your paintings. They remind me of my childhood, when I climbed trees and explored and enjoyed nature more.

    I once wrote a sonnet called “What Is a Tree?” You can read the entire poem on my website. This is how it ends:

    Reductionistic science counts as loss,
    And poetry’s conceits are just a gloss;
    A tree is life; our highest praise is dross.

    Although we can get closer to understanding a tree with science, poetry, or painting, we still don’t really understand the nature of a tree’s existence or awareness (according to the book Brilliant Green, plants have more senses than humans). In the last line of my poem, I meant to imply that trees (and all other living things) are our equals, so we should respect them, but not praise or denigrate them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Those are some very nice thoughts! I love the poem too! thanks for sharing! Interesting, what you say about trees having senses. I think it’s only my imagination but sometimes when I’m observing nature I get the feeling it’s observing me observing it! haha

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe it’s not your imagination. Maybe we just don’t have the apparatus to fully detect plant emotions and reactions with our own limited senses. There is another book that I have only partially read called The Secret Life of Plants. In that book, someone connected a lie detector device to a plant, and the plant apparently reacted when the person merely thought of burning the plant to test its responses.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. We’re at the northern most corner of the semi tropical zone here because of the Spanish moss. Palm trees aren’t native here, but some are planted close to the ocean front. Thanks for your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

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