Painting #26

This is my freshly completed painting #26, paint still glistening wet.

#26: 17 May 2016 (Oil on Panel, 10 x 8 inches)

I had a long battle with the foreground, initially I had a more shallow type of marsh in mind, as you can see from the under-painting below.

In the end I wiped the entire foreground and opted for a more uniform, dark and somewhat abstract foreground. It is dark and contains a lot of red and blue contrasts which I rather like.


When I started my current painting mastery attempt, I was quite fond of the texture of the Acrylic Gesso showing clearly, but now I am not so sure. After I finish my next painting I am going to try primed good quality canvas which I will mount on sturdy board and see how it goes.

I am drawn in many parts of my being to marsh landscapes with warm textures in twilight – land of ducks and geese that have the urge to travel long distances. Hunting season is starting and in the morning I will soon hear shots on the river. I understand the hunting instinct, but the thought of a duck seeking his mate as darkness falls leaves me quiet and withdrawn.

I leave you with a poem by the brilliant, late Shinkichi Takahashi, translated by Lucien Styk in his book, Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breezes Enter.

Braggart Duck

Duck lives forever,
daily. Waking, he finds
he’s slept a billion years.
The very centre of the
universe, he has no use
for eyes, ears, feet.
What need for one
who knows his world
of satellite stations?
Freed from time,
changeless. Duck’s not
sharp as dog shooting
through space, a rocket.
Besides he’s
been there already.

Shinkichi Takahashi

10 thoughts on “Painting #26

  1. I think the finished painting is gorgeous. It’s very interesting to see it next to the original underpainting. It’s really “speaking” to me. I think it’s calling me home, helping me see that gentle landscapes like this are what I want to paint with my watercolors. I look forward to more. I’ll admit I don’t completely understand The Braggart Duck, but that’s all right. As Zen master Hakuin said, “Is that so?” I enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind comment. I am so glad there is something of value for you, perhaps helping you decide the fundamental question that I think haunts all aspiring painters: “what should I paint?”. I have a few thoughts on this question and will post something about this soon, I hope it will help you also.

      Oh yes, I have to confess I understand very few of Takahashi’s poems, but perhaps that is why they succeed – they are pointers to the emptiness where our True Self resides? I find if I connect the start and end verse lightly, I inevitably end up in “don’t know” which leaves me much safer and compassionate in life than “knows it all”!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Painting #26 is just beautiful and serene. The texturing left by the acrylic gesso establishes a rhythm like waves on a calm ocean. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your encouraging comment. Interesting for me that you like the gesso texture showing. I am going to try a few paintings on canvas, let’s see how it goes and then decide?


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