One of my favorite stories from childhood was Hansel & Gretel. Perhaps that is where my addiction to sugar began. I also learned, in that book, that the woods are a scary place - a place to stay away from, a place to fear. I must say, the woods out my door has more than it's fair share of critters; slithering ones, middle-of-the-night-birdseed-stealing ones, turn-my-plants-upsidedown-looking-for-grubs ones ... and you can not imagine the cacophony that goes on as soon as the sun goes down. Despite all of that, the woods are magical. Lately I have been spending a lot of time in the woods.
A few mornings ago, I woke up and went out for a hike out my door. I wasn't but a few minutes into it when this appeared -
It looked like the handy work of a pastry chef gone wild. It was every where. It looked like someone had put the star tip on the pastry bag, filled it with pink frosting and went on a major squirting spree. A squirt here, a squirt there.
And then ... while the racoons were hanging naughtily from my bird feeders and I was sleeping ...
BOOM - all the Mountain Laurel on the mountain exploded open at once.
Proof positive that magic exists.
Now that I am an adult, the woods hold a magic spell over me despite there being no sugar to be had. This is the view from my studio. I have lived in this house for almost 4 years now and I am constantly thinking that I want to paint the woods, but every day comes and goes and the sheer grandeur of the woods in it's crazy, haphazard perfection scares me off.
Not today. Today I stood up to the woods. I was determined to face my fears and paint ... the only difference between today and all those other days I was scared off running with my tail between my legs, is that I made up my mind that I would not paint one stroke of what I SAW, but rather my painting would be the result of me continously asking myself HOW DO I FEEL?
I set up my easel & another easel as a makeshift work station (I am too lazy to bend down to get my paints.)
Now that I have taken Flora Bowley's class, it is fairly impossible to fathom painting without my fluid acrylics.
I did try to keep my paint choices limited - it can all get overwhelming ... actually, it can become a downright cluster in a matter of seconds when one is away from one's regular painting space - even if said painting space is no more than ten feet away.
I took a HUGE deep breath, looked at the woods before me, and asked myself "HOW DO I FEEL"? Now, I did have to ask myself this over and over again for the entire four hour painting session. Most of me wanted to default to my standard of painting what I see when I attempt to paint nature outdoors. But I kept at it, only painting how the woods made me feel.
When I look at the woods, this is how I FEEL.
The woods aren't so scary any more.