Rather than smile shyly and scuff my shoes on the ground while you gush forth with compliments I’m just going to say it right up front: This is a mighty fine painting. I love it, in fact.
I knew the minute I saw this grove of trees south of the Platte River by Kearney, Nebraska it would make a wonderful painting. The dark silhouette of the trees, the stragglers – or leaders, depending upon your personality, intrigued me. I could even feel my arm move to create the brushstrokes I would use.
I don’t usually spend a lot of time in preliminary work. Despite the best efforts by teachers along the way to convert me into doing things "The Right Way", I don’t do sketches before hand to test compositions and values and color schemes. For me it’s a quick sketch on the canvas to note landmarks, a glance at a color wheel to focus my thoughts and then jump right in before my brain has time to get in the way.
©2011 Patricia Scarborough 18x24 oil
Working this way requires a delicate balance, kind of like riding a bike down a steep hill. Equilibrium between experience and improvisation will get you to the bottom with limbs intact - most of the time. Often enough to get me back up to the top of the hill to try it again, anyway.
That may be partly why I love this painting. It’s the sweet memory of the ride, dodging potholes and parked cars with confidence, finding myself at the bottom of a steep hill with no real idea how I got there.
It's probably not a smart way to work. I crash as often as I succeed and have the scars to prove it.
When the ride is good though, oooh, baby, it is soooo good.