The first snowfall is like Christmas morning to me! I took an early walk to get some photos before it melted. Everything looked beautiful with a sugar-coating of snow.
In the studio it was like an episode of Project Runway, in the challenge where designers are asked to create a trendy new look from some item of old clothing. (Sorry, Project Runway is another weakness of mine.) Can you guess what my old item of clothing was? It was the painting of reflections in Weir Pond from Day 5. I actually covered most of it with paper, some of which was tissue paper that allowed the original painting to show through. I highlighted some of the original tree reflections and then coated the tissue paper with a thin wash of silver paint. And then I turned the painting upside down! Here is the redesigned version:
Today I finished another version of the reflections in the wetlands, this time focusing on textures and colors. I applied the different textured papers to a support of watercolor paper. I then applied dilute acrylic paint, which has the appearance of watercolor. Finally I mounted the piece on white matboard.
I have been reading at night about the Weir family and the American Impressionists (John Twachtman is a new favorite of mine). I have also been reading book 1 in "A Game of Thrones." After all my blogging about the trees and lichen at Weir Farm, I came across two terms in "A Game of Thrones" that are Weir appropriate! "The weirwood's bark was white as bone, its leaves dark red, like a thousand bloodstained hands." "Beneath the shadow of the First Keep was an ancient lichyard, its headstones spotted with pale lichen." What does this mean? Maybe I am running out of things to blog about!
The geologist in me really loves these rocks. The weathering, lichen and moss make an ordinary rock look like a landscape in an aerial photograph, or a planet observed from outerspace.
A friend from work sent an email today saying that he hoped painting everyday wasn't "weiring" me down (ha ha). Sometimes it is wearing and wearying, particularly when one doesn't achieve the hoped-for results. Today, however, I achieved what I had hoped for! It is abstract, but it has the interesting texture of the moss-covered rocks here at Weir Farm. And it also has that distinctive palette that I captured in my first painting on Day 2.
In addition, I should note that I made apple sauce and curried carrot soup. Comfort food!
An afternoon walk in the woods with my husband and daughter was lovely. J. Alden Weir and his fellow Impressionists retreated to Weir Farm with their families and I think that was the right idea!
Mossy rocks, strange lichens and exposed tree roots are abundant at Weir Farm. To capture these textures, I have been experimenting with handmade papers, tissue paper, a paste called absorbent ground, and coarse salt (which reacts with the watery acrylic paint) (left).
It is exciting to spend so much time focused on painting and creating, but also strange. So it was very nice to be visited today by a friend from high school and her husband who live in Connecticut. I'm looking forward to a visit from my family too -- it is very strange to be without them!
A "Palace Car" is what every artist needs! J. Alden Weir had one, and did a painting of it (left). In fact, one is supposed to sit inside the Palace Car and paint what is outside. It is very useful to have a Palace Car when the weather is inclement; however, one also needs oxen to pull the Palace Car around to afford oneself the best views! The middle photo shows a replica of the Palace Car (which I thought was a play house when I first saw it), and the photo on the right is one I took this morning of the same gray barn in Weir's painting.
Today was rainy so after a morning in the studio, I took a little field trip to the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum located in the next town over, Ridgefield. I loved the two installations by David Scanavino: the one on the left was constructed of linoleum floor tiles (you could walk on it!) and the one on the right was construction paper pulp and glue applied directly onto the wall. Texture is what I am striving for in my mixed-media pieces so I thought the paper pulp was fabulous. Now I need a blender...and not for mojitos!
Here is a pastel painting of the view from J. Alden Weir's studio that I completed today:
Well, here are the reflections on Weir Pond, or possibly some upside-down trees. The composition is strange, but I do like the colors. I have two other pieces in the works, and I am starting to see a Weir Farm palette emerge: gold, moss green, sky blue and dark brown with purple undertones. Color seems to be the unifying theme at this point, as I am experimenting with all different kinds of media: pastels, acrylics, textured papers, and mixtures thereof. It is fantastic to have so much studio space with several easels and work tables going at once.