May greens surround me. Still rich with spring growth, the woods challenge me to capture the quiet awakening of nature from it's winters sleep. Leaves still unfolding and buds pushing up and out from the bed of Autumn leaves. I have my subject before me, a pool of crystal clear water trapped off from the flowing Fox River by a thin strip of land. Surrounded by old trees with their roots exposed from high-water times, the pond is cool and dark under the canopy of spreading branches. Greens are rich in various hues, some yellowish-green while others are near blue. Through the trees is the silver sheen of the river rushing by carrying clouds and blue sky along in its ever-moving waters. The distant shore is awash in morning sunlight calling for paler yellows to be laid out on my palette. Reds of autumn are left in their tubs - only Alizarin Crimson makes it to my palette to add richness to near black tree trunks.
A robin flutters down to snare an unsupecting worm that lingered too long feasting on the moist leaves of autumn. Nature, the master of recycling, provides for all. The still water of the pond has ducks sleeping peacefully among the tangle of tree roots. I sketch out the roots and the ducks onto my canvas before they decide to leave. I'm on my way, though never really sure where to begin a painting when out there in the wild. Only when something truly strikes me do I jump into painting. Interplay of darks and lights brings out the stillness of the pond. Ducks ready for breakfast fly off only after I have them in my painting.
It's a great feeling to accomplish little things like that. The ducks were an unexpected treat. Now I'm free to relax and take my time with the rest of the painting. Two hours pass and I am in my van with half a great painting on the passenger seat as I leave my favorite park. Rewarding myself with a chocolate shake, I head to my studio to finish out the day working from a live model. Life is good.