Warmth and hope
January in Alaska. I stand on the warmer side of the glass. Cold dark trees give me an idea. Grab the pochade* box and mount it on a tripod in the dining room. Smell of oil rises from paint squeezed out.
Cup of tea.
Faint blue patch of sky at last above the horizon.
Large brush pushes paint around on canvas.
Outside, pinks and peach and lavender take over the blue sky patch.
Light. Warmth and hope rise again.
Tree shapes reach out to the light. I paint sky colors and then back to the stand of trees. Back and forth. Add the fallen tree with snow pile on it. Define shapes with more dark. Push paint until I don’t know what the next brushstroke should be.
Frustrated, I step back fifteen feet to look at it.
Surprise. It works. The light jumps out. Trees stand strong. Loose, bold and free brushstrokes, patterns of light and dark, warm and cool tones tell the story.
I am not sure if the painting is about First Light or if it is more about the joy of painting. Putting one color next to another and delighting in the way the notes of color make a harmony.
The painting works for me, but does it work for you? Do you see something different in it?
I hope this makes you want to go to a window and feel the sun warm your cheeks. Treat yourself kindly, like you would treat a dear friend. Stop beating yourself up and be warmed by the light or by knowing the sun is shining on the other side of the cloud.
I hope these suggestions make a difference in your world today.
*Pochade—What is that?
A pochade box is a compact portable painting studio in a small box. It holds tubes of paint, brushes, palette and the lid will hold the canvas upright and secure so it can be painted. The bottom of the box often has an insert that will fasten onto a tripod turning it into an easel. Some pochade boxes also hold the finished wet canvas securely within to protect them and make carrying a wet painting out of the field easier. Painting in the field ‘en plein air’ means painting outside looking directly at the subject. Is it painting plein air when the artist stands on the warm side of the glass? There are different opinions on that question.