In the most recent leg of my painting journey I started to follow a method in which I first do a pastel study of the subject I have in mind. Once I have the concept nailed down in the most abstract manner possible, I decide if it warrants a larger version in oil.
Oftentimes the pastel version is so abstract that it is not fit for public consumption. But sometimes it is a real honey (and even more so in a frame, even an inexpensive photo frame):
In the case above, this was based on some memory notes and photos of the Waikato River’s edge – one of my favorite spots just a few minutes walk from my home.
Now, when doing the oil painting I put away the photo entirely and just use the pastel as a reference. I try to keep the paint as thin and dry as possible at the start, with the brush moving all the time. At the end I put in a few juicy highlights:
I have been pondering this strange universe even more than usual. I often watch debates about the existence of a higher being. In meditation all those questions disappear into the most beautiful silence, something indescribable in its sacredness and generosity. Right here now.
Belief in a higher being or not, I will always – in my moments of solitude – sing praise to dappled things:
The image above is another oil version of the dappled shade in the shallows on the banks of the Waikato River. I sing praise in my own way, in agreement with Gerhard Manley Hopkins:
Glory be to God for dappled things— For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise Him. Gerard Manley Hopkins, this version copied from Poets.org
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