My current painting in progress is one of the buildings on the grounds of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, located in Springdale, Arkansas. Dr. Carter’s Office was moved to the museum at a later date, but started life in the late 1880’s in Elkins, Arkansas (Washington county).
I’ll be out there at the museum on June 12 painting plein air (weather allowing). Not only that, throughout the month of June, I’ll have a small exhibit inside the museum of some paintings and a display case to show the tools and Ozark resources I use to create my art. This painting will be one of the ones on exhibit.
This is one small part of an event called ASSEMBLY, made possible by a collaboration between INTERFORM and the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History. There will programs to do with all kinds of art (visual, audio, performance) on June 12 all over downtown Springdale. I’m honored to be participating!
The paper is Arches hot press, 140#, size 12″ x 16″.
The first thing I do is look over the reference, pick out my colors, and just let it percolate in my mind for a day or so. The act of choosing the size, orientation, taping the paper and getting out the paints is a sort of ritual that seems to help me get started. But then after this part, it takes me some time to actually put the first marks on the paper. Some of that is due to procrastination, but I’ve found I just need time to think about it first. And sometimes I just don’t have time to start right away.
My Reference: Dr. Carter’s Office
Eventually, usually within a day or so, I work up the nerves to put the first marks on the paper. I use one of my non-staining paints to freehand an outline.
I don’t know why, but I resist the temptation to use straight edges and pencils to do my outlines. It’s just that I like the entire thing to be done freehand, and with only Paleo Paints from Ozark pigments. And so this building will not be perfect. But I think I like the character it has already.
I’ve only found one source of stable blue pigment, and it does come from a plant. We don’t have any stones or bones or clay that offers a blue. There are other plants that will give blue, but none have been even the slightest bit lightfast. However, the juice of dayflower petals is very long-lasting. It passed my lightfast test with flying colors. But I can’t make paint from it. I just soak the flower petal juice into blotter paper and then wet the paper when I need some blue. It’s very water soluble so definitely wouldn’t work for dying fabrics you intended to wash, but for art on paper, it seems to work great.
Well, in real life Dr. Carter’s Office is a lot sturdier looking and better aligned than what I’ve done. I don’t mind it having some character, but the peak of the roof being out of line is going to bother me. So I’ll work on fixing that next.
“Dr. Carter’s Office” is done
The original and prints (and notecards) are for sale, though it will take me some time to get them listed in the shop. If you’re interested in the original, please email me at [email protected] Thank you for reading about my process!
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 now 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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