Painting Rituals

One of my painting habits is to not clean off my palette until I am finished the painting I am working on. I use a metal tray for mixing my acrylics on and when I’m finished I soak it in water, the acrylic softens up and I peel it off.

Some artists are able to work on multiple paintings at one time. However I don’t have the time or space and so that mean I work, as often as I can to try to finish a single painting. Unless it’s starts to irritate me and that’s when I abandon it and start a new one. I don’t have many painting orphans but I’d rather take space from the painting than keeping working on something that I’m struggling with. I find time away means I can approach everything with fresh eyes.

So this I’m my last palette from the painting I completed today. Now that I’m finished my lasted tree painting I’m prepping my canvas and cleaning up to start fresh.

The latest painting is on a 12×36 canvas so it is super awkward to photograph but I like that it emphasizes the verticality of the trees.

This current series of paintings is based on the idea of forgotten urban trees. I’d just attended a landscape painting workshop and the artist was talking about being an outdoorsy, hiking type person and talking about all these provincial parks that he had visited. Driving home I noticed a row of gnarly trees coming into town and thought I would much rather paint the trees that have been planted and left to fend for themselves. The ones that are used to beautify cities but are also ignored and forgotten. The ones that are a little bent, a little dead, and have their own beautifully, ugly qualities.

I have no interest in hiking, none at all. So my trees are the forgotten trees. The trees that have thrived, or not within an urban environment. You would probably drive right past them and think “the city needs to do something about that eyesore” and forgot about it a second later.

You’ll notice the lilac white band across the painting. That is the hint of the highway that this tree lives beside. The highway is not the subject but the context. I didn’t want anyone to believe that this tree was situated anyplace but beside the highway so that band is the reminder that despite the situation, the context, this tree has continued to grow and make the best of its situation. Without been very obvious about it. In the future I might add vehicles but, for now I’ll stick to the subtle.

This painting is part of a series of paintings that I am making for a regional art exhibition. This year it is in Tumbler Ridge,BC and I plan to have three paintings ready for the end of April. I already have two finished but I’ll keep painting and then choose from what I’ve finished. This is the last one I finished.

So plan today is to finish prepping the next canvas and sketch out my painting. Another tree coming up!

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