6x8 inches, acrylic, with collage elements
This autumn tree, dappled with sunlight and shadow, is my second effort for the Virtual Sketch Date. It started out to be a regular acrylic painting, but along the way it became something a little different. My usual medium is watercolor, but I had an urge to try acrylic, because I wanted rich color and texture. My skills with acrylic aren't wonderful, and it took me lots of adjusting to get the balance of lights and darks right. Even then, there was too much fussy detail in the background. So I tried something I'd heard of, but never tried. I took out an envelope of tissue paper that I had previously coated with matt gel varnish and thinned down acrylics, intended for a different collage project, and I attached them to areas of this painting with gel medium. This had the effect of both simplifying the background and adding texture. I also added a few leaves made from torn paper. Since that color had never been mixed, it was bright, and made some interesting shapes in the foliage. I was happy with this technique, and will try it again.
If you'd like to see the original reference photo, go to the Virtual Sketch Date site. Tomorrow there will be links to other people's interpretation of the tree. It's interesting to me to see all the ways artists approach a challenge like this. http://virtualsketchdate.blogspot.com/
I can't let November 22nd pass without a quick thought about this being the anniversary of President Kennedy's death. It's strange to me that I need to check my scrapbooks to verify the exact day my parents or grandparents died (late in March, some time in July), but this date arrives each year with an imaginary black border around it. Of course when my friends and loved ones pass it doesn't make screaming headlines, school isn't dismissed, television doesn't cover it all day for a week. It was cold in 1963. My dad had gone north to hunt deer with his high school buddies, and Mom was planning to take me and my younger sisters and brother out to the Traveler Restaurant for a rare meal away from home. I was in seventh grade, in Elsie Cooper's math class when the announcement came over the PA system, and we all were released home for the day. Mother picked me up from the 1887 building that housed our junior high, and we drove straight to my grandparents' house to watch the news on their black and white television. We all cried, and when we went out that night for our special restaurant night, the hot beef sandwich was dust in my mouth. Dad came home without a deer. I'm not sure why this seems so important today. There have been other assassinations, other screaming headlines that filled the country with horror, but that day was the one that made me truly aware of a larger world outside my small sphere. May it never happen again.