While walking the dog this morning, I paused in the midst of the forest and looked around at the sea of green: everything was nearly the same green, the ground had a green cast from the reflected light, the light itself bounced around green, and though it was as delicious as a Kurasawa film, and the richness of the color was as stunning as a club to the head, there was no way to paint it. I might as well just use a house brush and cover the canvas with the one color. There were slight variations in tone, and little details everywhere the eye moved, but it was too, too much. Spring has arrived and suddenly the world is a green jungle; the trails are overgrown, the ferns are as thick as herds of sheep, and I find myself walking with one arm raised in front of me to ward off the spider webs that are now suddenly crisscrossing the path. Life asserts itself and I have to take a step back to reconsider my approach to this dance I have been dancing, where Life shows something wonderful and noteworthy and I try to find a way to translate that into paint, all the while trying to learn the language necessary to talk with a brush.
I have been trying to get out more, paint from life, and work up speed while doing it. One of the readiest subjects is down at the lake, where I can at least lounge in a chair while painting familiar subjects like Phantom Bluff. I'd say it was taking the lazy way out, except for those 290 steps on the climb back up to the house. Some of the work I have done outside seems like a failure until I look at it under proper light, and then I see a little something in it of value, something about the quality of the color and the light effect, but in the end, many of these fall short because they are a little brutish and roughly painted. Painting is a pasttime that is constantly humbling (much like golf) and it takes real dedication to a goal not to become discouraged.