"Twist and Shout" Plein Air, 9x9 inches, Williamston MI...
This painting is from the favorite swamp for a couple of years spanning 2006/07. The painting was an opportunity to isolate and simplify, something I didn't find easy when I initially was confronted with this subject.
The swamp was packed with mature trees and had been initially a woodland that was wet, became boggy and later was flooded as part of a county drain commission project to direct farm runoff.
Beautiful light on the tree forms, from the period of my peak painting here...
This information was given me by locals over the course of the first few months of painting there.
A condo project very nearby and a small subdivision within a half mile leads to walkers and bikers along the adjoining roadway. When painting here, my set up is highly visible me accessible to the local exercise gang.
I eventually heard the pieces of history that explained why there were so many large trees in such a wet location as well as why the trees in the far half of the swamp had been "topped", their upper third broken off – tornado.
This close looking and seeing, which are a large part of painting en plein air, and what a friend of mine says would make me a good biologist, also feed my curiosity in ways that distinguish me in conversations – people simply do not notice the world around them.
But I've found that folks do notice when the details of beauty are present in a familiar subject but interpreted, focused upon. Reading how the brain works, how the nervous system functions, and the tracks of evolution and perception's biases, leads me to see an artist's successful isolation, composition and deployment of their materials as far more complicated than I would have thought...the things we do easily appear less complicated.