What I learn from ants...
Just to warn you, this is no botany monologue. I mean, I love nature as much as the next guy, but everyone has their limit. My limit is mass quantities of ant colonies in and around my house. This year it's been all-out war. In prior years we've had a general detente, with only a few exceptions: like when I disturb a nest while weeding under the magnolia tree and find my legs and arms covered with panicking ants. But this year the little bastards made their move and built freeways, overpasses, subways and country roads next to and inside the walls of our home. I don't believe in using a lot of chemicals, so did a google search on various homemade deterrents. Yes, I did use a couple of the basic ant & insect home defense type chemicals to start with but moved to non-toxic means for the daily battles. Today I miraculously happened to be by the kitchen sink just in time to see an invasion of at least 50 optimistic ants making their way through a tiny space at the base of the window. (They're dead now) but that's the first lesson to be learned:
I am approaching art and life with these attitudes as this plein air sketch I did in Washington illustrates. It was a cold and windy day so I knew my time was limited. (Optimism) I started with decisions of composition and line, laid in a transparent red oxide wash, wiping away the light areas and defining the major shapes. Because I was shivering and holding my tripod to keep it from blowing over, I sped through the drawing and aimed for getting the shadows and hues down. (Persistence) I had to stop when I couldn't take the climate another minute even though I knew the painting had many issues. (Failure) Later, in the studio, with memory, sketched and photo reference, I returned (Reconnoiter) to the painting and faced the challenge.
8/30/2019 12:26:26 pm
Really proud of you for your persistence and open-hearted desire to improve and improve. My comment on this one, is that though the finished painting is good, I wildly prefer the sketch. You are a worker Wendy and you will work and work until you get it down. But there is something to be said for haste and trusting yourself to get the essence quickly. That's what I think you did with the sketch, that got painted over in the final version. But then, I'm a great believer in less is more.
8/31/2019 03:47:19 am
Gosh you are a great writer as well as artist! And I can say I knew you when....
8/31/2019 10:41:52 am
And I wildly prefer the 2nd effort...that's what makes life interesting,, we're all so wildly different!!!
8/31/2019 07:33:15 pm
I appreciate the comments! When I was posting the two photos, before and after, I could appreciate things about both of them...the wonky little tractor in the plein air piece appeals to me, but the corrections of perspective, distance and the barn shape in the studio piece was what I was aiming for while out painting by the pond in the first place. It’s crazy how you think you can see and think you are reproducing something only to later do the face-palm. However, I genuinely enjoyed painting only plein air for 2 weeks and actually have a couple that I haven’t changed a bit!
9/1/2019 05:24:22 am
Excellent article! Great art! Good job Wendy
9/13/2019 07:40:22 am
Thank you so much, Janie!
9/2/2019 01:57:01 pm
I really love the finished painting....it is so peaceful and beautiful. It's a great depiction of rural life out here in the county by the pond. Your ant tales are hilarious....you are a really good writer. Hmmm maybe a story book about ant adventures along with cute illustrations......
9/13/2019 07:42:58 am
Thank you, Gay...what I really should do is paint the same subject many times over until my brain sees what my eyes see. I'm glad you felt the peacefulness; that's what I was going for!
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Hello! My name is Wendy and I am passionate about oil painting! Whether in the studio or out in Mother Nature, I get lost in the experience of capturing on canvas the moment and the feel of what I am painting. I pour my love and energy into every single piece of artwork and I hope it shows! This blog is a place where I can use words to talk about art, painting, life, faith, things that make me laugh, and things that inspire. I love every response, so don't be shy about leaving a comment...