I live in Indiana and Indiana is a state that has four seasons. Spring is a season of beautiful pastels and vibrant reds and yellows (think daffodils and tulips). I paint Spring often, especially Spring flowers and flowering trees. During Spring the breezes are soft and fresh and the colors speak of rebirth. Fall in Indiana is a vibrant period of fiery reds, yellows and oranges. The maples blaze and lines of visitors roll through the state parks viewing the Fall foliage. It is a final burst of magnificence before Winter descends on the state. The drying leaves rustle and swirl like the long satin skirts of debutantes leaving a ball. Summer and Winter are not my favorite seasons and I rarely paint them. Why Summer? Everything is green! And the greens are basically the same greens. I get saturated with green. Walking at the State Park last year I finally understood why I am not inspired to create summer landscapes. I do love to create Summer still lives that include reds – cherry tomatoes on the vine and sparkling geraniums. But generally I don’t paint landscapes and when I do they aren’t very exciting.
That takes me to Winter. If we have a diamond surfaced blanket of snow and a big blue sky, Winter is beautiful but lately that has not been the norm. It is brown and gray and in March even the browns and grays are muted and faded. Walking at Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park last Sunday I challenged myself to really look at the colors. To be specific and to find the beauty. I saw shrub stems that were a lovely lavender-red. I saw mosses that were a neon chartreuse green. And, because our Winter has not been a cold one, I saw green grass peeking between the straw colored dead grass. I thought about words that I would use to describe the Indiana Winter and the ones that came to mind were spare and sparse. I wanted to use all of this information to create a tiny painting using my new acrylics. My thinking process led me to “minimalism” and eventually to color field painting … at first simple, spare and plain but paintings that with long looking become meditative and complex with soft edges and textured surfaces. Now color field paintings are usually large paintings. For more info click here . I particularly like the color field paintings created by Kenneth Nolan and Mark Rothko. My challenge to myself was to see if I could create an interesting, exciting color field painting using colors I saw at the Park. I worked with three shades of brown and two shades of green. The background is a color called Champagne that is really lovely. I must say I did not realize it was metallic until after it dried! Oh my, Linda…pay attention!!!! Mistake or happy accident? The viewer decides.