Back in 2007 I was a brand new baby painter and excited to explore many new subjects! I was totally a novice at plein air painting, but one day I decided to go out and try my hand at it with a local plein air painting group in Venice, Florida.
I remember sitting along side pro plein air painter Karen Hitt, who was painting the same scene with ease and purpose while warning me, a new Floridian, of the dangers of alligators in the immediate area.
This was the painting that I turned out that day:
In some ways, this painting is altogether engaging in its naivete. I truly had no idea how very immature it was at the time! That being said, my love for color was evident, and that is the one thing that I have had to work the hardest at bridling over these last few years.
Although I consider myself a colorist, for artists who do not care for color in the same way that I cherish it, my color palette is a handicap- a drawback to my progress. Workshop teachers have often called my work "garish", and the kinder of the bunch have called it "overly saturated". So I have worked hard over the past couple years to reign in my love for saturated color, usually to the detriment of my passion.
The painting I did last week reflects that restraint, and although I find it rather boring, I admit that it is certainly more accomplished in its restraint than the earlier version!
Last week was a turning point for me in my life and in my art walk. I have been going through some challenging times in my personal life, and that has hampered my creative juices to the extent that I was not even sure I'd be able to turn out a painting for the annual "Light-Chaser" plein air event,
which culminated last week in Sarasota, Fl.
Last year I could not wait for the event! I was stoked! Even painted out in the rain and received an honorable mention for my efforts by juror Morgan Samuel Price!
But this year, it was all just a burden-too much for a spirit that had been squashed by events that were totally out of her control.
Nonetheless, I was encouraged by the fearless leader of the group, Terry Mason, who said I should follow the advice of artist and Florida naturalist Mary Erickson and just "Paint through it!"
So I went out last week on the only sunny afternoon of the entire week and attempted to paint through the sorrows and pains of the last 7-8 months of my life.
The sun was gentle, the colors I saw more subtle, less brilliant. Yet, in it all, I persevered knowing that I have been given a gift by the Creator to create and capture tiny slivers of His creative hand at work, and so that is what I tried my best to do.
There were few people uiing the canoe launch that day at Red Lake, and there were no alligators to be seen. Only the constant presence of that special tree that had inspired me to paint it, as a result of its fresh beauty and total uniqueness.
The waters of the intracoastal carried a gentle rythmn as they flowed past my dancing tree- a name I gave it way back in 2007, when I first discovered it's uncommon beauty. A dancer amongst the straight and stoic! A stoic itself amidst the relentless heat and constant storms of a Florida summer.
Thank-you for reading my blog. I hope that you enjoyed this entry, as much as I enjoyed writing it.
"The Dancing Tree at Red Lake" is available through Galerie du Soleil.