September (detail center)
Last September my painting comrade and I set off outdoors with very large canvases (at least for plein air). The hike itself was quite an undertaking, making our way through tall grasses and the kind of weeds that tangle around ankles in order to trip and maim. Trudging through the dense unruly field and uneven ground resulted a few tip-over’s for our gear-laden wagon, but we soldiered on. The destination?-a heavenly perch on a field of purple alfalfa, garnished with loaves of earthy hay that had been sitting since June.
September (detail left)
The view from the hill looks down at least half a mile to a vineyard and beyond to an open field speckled with a few distant farmhouses (omitted from my painting).
We painted from afternoon until early evening and were completely immersed in our work. At one point I shifted my eyes to check the light and there before me stood the silhouette of a little woman. At first I thought she was an aberration, but then Dora saw her too. It turns out this wee Irish lady caught sight of us from her farmhouse below. Overcome by curiosity she climbed through the tangly weeds and made her way through muddy vineyard rows (in her proper shiny shoes and tidy cloths) just to see what we were ‘up to’. I love that-artists aren’t the only curious thrill seekers. But the encounter did put the kibosh on painting any further, which was fine as I managed to get down the composition and build up some of the masses enough to use as a guide when I resumed the work. But it is another that I put aside in hopes to get back to it in this new September. And I did, however this time working in the studio by intuition and recall. I thought I would post it as some passages are perhaps not yet resolved. Right now I am too close and need to look again with an objective eye.
September, oil on canvas, 24x48in, 2011