June 2017

I realize this happens every year but it is always exciting to see spring.  The fresh warm air, the new birds in town, the longer days. Whats not to like?  So I needed to get out of the studio and I decided to do a palette knife painting on location in Shenandoah National Park.  The spot I chose was McCormick Gap Overlook, which is the first overlook heading north from Afton Mountain.  Palette knife painting will keep colors fresh as they do not blend paint like a brush. I used a wax medium to soften the surface and extend the paint.  I also like to use a hard surface, such as a luan door panel that I prepare with Gesso and oil priming.  This can take a beating better than canvas.  I have had the wind take a canvas off my easel in the mountains before and it was not pretty.  The palette knife effect is more color and texture and to some extent, more expression, unlike the realistic handling I do so often.  I work hard to fill up the panel and get my first coat of paint down.  Spring is an inspiring time but it moves quickly so I have to act fast.  I came back the next day and it had seemed the colors had changed on the trees.  I could see the color move up the ridges of the mountains.  The next week, leaves appeared that were once buds.  I look forward to seeing spring emerge this way.