Still in July 2018, and still in Qatar visiting Rob, I decided to try a 3rd painting. I’d do another kestrel and see if I could do it better this time. Because it was so hot outside during daylight hours, there wasn’t a whole lot else to do all day other than read or watch television, or write (which is what I had intended to be doing until I found the paints). The first painting of the building was on a postcard, and the second was about a 5 x 7″. This would also be 5 x 7″, because the options were either postcard or 5 x 7″. I didn’t have any other paper with me.
This is the story of my journey into the world of being a watercolor painter. My angle on this is a bit different than most other artists, in that all of my paints are made from pigments I’ve gathered myself. I call these paints ‘Paleo Paints’. By working with the rocks, bones, and pigments of my surroundings, I feel as if I am working with the soul of the Ozarks.
Previous Entries for this Series of Posts:
* First Painting
* Second Painting
The 3rd Painting
Before I gathered up my paints and left for Qatar, I hadn’t given much thought to what I might paint. However, I’d saved a couple of photos a friend of mine posted to his Facebook timeline. Terry Stanfill is a photographer for Eagle Watch, in Gentry, Arkansas. During the week before I left for the trip, he’d posted a couple of photos of American kestrels. I contacted him to get permission to use them for models. I had three of them set aside. The last post featured the first of them. Today’s post used the second.
Predators and Prey
The balance and interconnectedness of all life fascinates me. The idea that to live, most living things must kill, is also a point I find interesting. I think that’s why I like birds of prey so much. They’re very important to the ecosystem, and so are the small animals they hunt. Too many critters on either side of the equation indicates an out of balance system. For this painting, I would include the prey as well as the predator.
Except for the black, I was still working with the same set of paints I started out with. Russet from sandstone, yellow from sassafras leaf, and the gray from black-eyed susan flowers. I also had some of the powdered rock, which I used for the background as a rub, for both the first kestrel and this one. But by this time, I had some black that I’d made from a charcoal briquette used for burning incense. It was the only thing I could think of that I’d find locally to get black. I think I mixed it in the corner of my black-eyed-susan gray, but I’m not sure. So, it wasn’t an ‘Ozark’ pigment, but I was happy to have it.
By the time I finished this one, I felt more confident in my ability to paint. I felt that with more practice I could become better at it and the thought was exciting. By now, though, I had found out Uber existed in Qatar and I began going out to buy groceries while Rob was at work. After a couple of excursions, I gained confidence in going out into the city alone and started doing a little sightseeing by myself. So this was the last painting I’d do until I got home in a couple of weeks and could make some better paints.
Madison Woods is a self-taught artist who moved to the Ozarks from south Louisiana in 2005. In 2018 she began experimenting with watercolor painting, using her local pigments. She calls them Paleo Paints, and her artwork features exclusively the lightfast pigments foraged from Madison county, Arkansas. Her inspiration is nature – the beauty, and the inherent cycle of life and death, destruction and regeneration.
Her online portfolio is at www.MadisonWoods.art.
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