I’ve enjoyed a fabulous week along the Wicomico River in Maryland, painting and visiting with friends.

rocks among the marsh grass

The water lapped at the rocks behind me. I turned and decided to paint them.  It’s been a while since I tackled painting a pile of rocks.  As the wind picked up the gentle smacking sound grew louder.  The sky darkened, clouds swirled and I felt like I wanted to paint in that spot forever.  It’s been a great week.

5″ x 5″ oil sketch, en plein air, rocks, water and marsh grass

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I missed the warmest, sunniest part of the day.

Pine Tree oil sketch

Afraid that the wind might pick up and the sun stay behind the clouds I quickly set up my easel on the front porch.  The clouds allowed the sun to cast shadows intermittently, creating a kaleidoscope affect of shapes and patterns within the pine tree.  This is one of two, thirty minute sketches I painted before my nose got cold and the sunlight no longer struck the branches of the giant pine.

Oil on gessoed birch panel

Another Sunrise over Randy's Barn

When I work from reality it seems that I have to bore myself almost to death before I can allow myself to let go and manipulate the scene or object I’m painting.  I’m locked, blocked and altogether hindered by my eye, brain, and hand coordination.  Once I reach the point where I am totally bored by my painting, I stop looking at the scene and focus only on what I see on the canvas.  Often I will make arbitrary strokes hoping to breathe a bit of life into the image.

The shift from left brain to right brain activity is a physical sensation, as subtle as the popping of a soap bubble.  Once I am in right brain mode it is incomprehensible to me that I had interpreted the scene in such a lifeless manner.  I wish that I had taken a quick snapshot of the sunrise painting I did this morning before my right brain stepped in.  I would have liked to post both the before and after versions of the painting.  The first version had more hard edges, less variation of edges from sharp to blurred.  Even the most subtle change in an edge allowed more movement through the space of the scene.

Last night I primed fifty more little boards.  By the time I have painted all of them I hope my right brain has influenced my left brain enough for it to stop getting in the way when I paint.