Less is More

I’ve been struggling for inspiration for the past couple of months. Just not producing any work that I have been happy with.

A few days ago, I began a study of one of my most oft-painted subjects — the view out my window across a pasture. I began with some washes as an underpainting. When it began to dry, I began to add texture and interest in the washes.

It’s not a great piece, by any means, but it was interesting enough to me to be worth keeping.

It reminded me that sometimes the answer is less detail, not more!

Quick Chix

Last week, I tried to do quick, impressionist sketches working directly with pen and ink, followed by wash.


Sadly, a few days later, my lovely Amelia was snatched by a predator at dusk. I am heartbroken, left with just a few feathers….sometimes, life on the farm is tragic….

Scenes from Belleville

I spent yesterday at the Hameau Farm artists’ retreat, organized by Susan Nicholas Gephart, who was there to offer professional guidance along with James Farrah. It was a bit overcast, but the sun did come out for a while. I painted a number of subjects, but spent most of the afternoon producing two variations on a pasture.

The first (and ultimately more successful, I think) had a bit of help from James, after I went to him asking for help in rescuing my work. As usual, I was struggling with values, and, as he pointed out, also had problems with chroma. Some magical strokes later, the work suddenly made sense again. I went back to it today and softened a few of the dark edges, and added just a bit more color to the fall foliage.


The second version I started after my ‘rescue’ consultation, trying a few techniques that James suggested, including painting skies and washes with the side of my brush, and adding more intensity to the sky. (Of course, in this version, it ended up a bit too intense!) But it was a good exercise, and I want to explore this a bit more in the coming weeks. I also need to figure out how to better ground the cows, without getting too focused on their immediate surroundings….