Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Edge of the Wood (pastel, 2011)

Of course, I finally have lots of time to work and now the weather forecast is calling for rain over the next five days. I drew this on Monday (before it started raining). It's done on Arches Cover that I painted a layer of acrylic medium on to. The paper has almost too smooth of a surface, and the acrylic medium gives it an interesting texture for the pastels to cling to and I like the way the brush strokes show through the drawing and prevent me from being too "descriptive".

I live in rural Maine and am surrounded by woods but I generally avoid this kind of subject because it's virtually impossible for me to stand in front of a bunch of trees with a box of pastels and not feel like I'm standing in the shadow of Wolf Kahn, whose work I have admired for many years. However, perhaps in striving to transcend the influence of the masters whose work we admire, it's better to take on similar subject matter, rather than avoiding it, and work through it until we find our own voice. I do know that as a subject, the woods, especially at this time of year when the snow is gone and the leaves haven't come in yet, provides a very alluring combination of deep, atmospheric space and gestural, linear elements that offer a wealth of possibilities to the artist. It also reminds me of my childhood, when I spent countless hours exploring the woods near my home in Massachusetts, all of which have been cut down to make room for suburban sprawl.

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