Down at the Creek, a nature inspired series of paintings
The other day I went out with my plein air pack, intending to paint a nature inspired scene down at the creek. As usual, I’m using exclusively Ozark pigments (handmade watercolors) for this. After settling down on one of the big rocks, I started putting some color down on the paper. I heard footsteps in the dry leaves on the ground and when I turned around, I startled a fawn. If I had not also been startled myself, she might have walked right up to me to see what I was doing. But instead, when I turned, she ran off. It was a young fawn, still sporting spots.
I went back to work, enjoying the quiet and cool morning, listening to the water trickle by. I’m not real good at plein air. What I see doesn’t look like what turns up on my canvas. But often it’s pleasing enough, even if it isn’t photographic representation. It always is nature inspired art, though.
However, this time things went more awry than usual. Instead of painting what I saw, I painted what I imagined. And a cast of characters was born from that sideways jaunt.
collection still in progress
Right now, I’m working on the third painting in the collection. As with all of my art, it *is* nature inspired, but it’s not an attempt at realism. It’s closer to whimsy, but I’m really enjoying creating these scenes. I use a combination of real places along the creek, real rocks and photos or observation of critters for models, but they take on a fantasy element as they veer away from reality.
This is the first character. It’s a rock playing the flute. No, I had not imbibed mushrooms or anything trippy like that. The sound of trickling water just played tricks on my mind, and so I painted what came to mind. And there it is.
There are two word possibilities to describe someone who plays a flute. One is flautist, but ‘flutist’, I think, would be more recognizable to people here in the US. Flautist is more commonly used in Europe, kind of like color/colour and gray/grey.
Meanwhile, Monsieur Crawfish danced a little jig. Just because it’s nature inspired doesn’t mean it can’t also be whimsical, right? Well, after this one I thought of several other character possibilities. But first, let me show you this one:
Sal (short for Sally) the Grumpy Salamander
This is the largest one so far, at 9 x 12″. When I’m done creating all of the little mini-scenes, I have a very large 300# paper to move up to. I want to make a compilation painting. This last one will be one large scene that encompasses all of the smaller ones. It’ll be unlike anything I’ve ever tried to paint before, so it’s both scary and intriguing at the same time.
Check back later for more nature inspired art!
When I’m done creating the characters, I’ll start on the large compilation painting.
Thanks for following along!