Artist’s Musings

a pair of geese flew by; outside my studio window; i’m glad elephants don’t fly

I went outside to Make a field study, and came home with a sketch and a bag of trash

What a beautiful day, so I went outside to do a field study of my favourite subject, the wet land between Kennett Square Legacy Field and Red Clay Creek. While I was sketching, I sensed that my new neighbour was suspicious of my presence, so I introduced myself, and pointed out to her where I live. She became relax, but still cautious. You can never be too cautious.

 Sketch of protected wet land between Kennett Square Legacy Field and Red Clay Creek

Sketch of protected wet land between Kennett Square Legacy Field and Red Clay Creek

I went on with my sketching, but something was distracting and annoying me—litter scattered about the field. There was also a twin-size mattress. I have seen this mattress sitting outside a house close by, so I know who dumped it in this field. 

How does an artist paint a landscape with products of human carelessness scattered about this land? I can ignore, complain, or do something about it. I tried ignoring it, reasoning that when the tall plants grow back, everything will be hidden from sight, but the distraction was too much for me to continue with my work, so I went back to the house for a trash bag.

I carefully walked about the field picking up the litter that I could safely reach. Then I dragged the mattress into the open. I hope the city will remove it. After over an hour, I ended up with a bag full of trash.

(Update: The mattress was promptly removed by a city staff on the same day! Thank you.)

After properly disposing the trash, I went back outside to paint, but the sun moved. This is the sort of stuff the Sun does. I do not know why. Painting this one was a bit tricky because the sun was shining on the panel. What I have learned from previous experiences is that if the colours look “right” on the panel in the sun, then it will look dark when viewed indoors. This time I remembered to make the adjustments while I mixed my paint. I made my colours look “brighter” and “richer” looking under the bright sunlight. For example, the water pump house was very red under the sunlight, but when viewed indoors, it came out “right”.

 The Pump House and the wetland (Kennett Square). Oil on panel, 8 x 12 inches.  

The Pump House and the wetland (Kennett Square). Oil on panel, 8 x 12 inches.