Summer Atlas, Part 1
On this last day of summer I write about the “Summer Atlas” series of 29 artworks, which began in early June with the purchase of a new brush. I decided to challenge myself to use only that one brush, and my Holbein “Irodori” Antique Watercolors (does anyone know why a Japanese company would use a Dutch name, Holbein?). First I made squares, like pixel marks. Then I swerved the brush moving it until no paint was left in the brush. While painting this outside I heard a Wood Thrush sing for the first time in our lower forest. Online I found the notes of it’s song transcribed, so I added that on translucent paper along with a painting and drawing of the bird singing.
H.D. Thoreau wrote, “This is the only bird whose note affects me like music. It lifts and exhilarates me. It is inspiring. It changes all hours to an eternal morning.” Yes! And, “There is nothing tumultuous in his song. He launches forth one strain with all his heart and life and soul, of pure and unmatchable melody and then he pauses and gives the hearer and himself time to digest this, and then another and another.” The flowing marks and reflective mica express my similar sentiments.
Soon after I received a bunch of new materials for my birthday; my son sent Arches watercolor paper, 9×12″, a size I have rarely used and some Daniel Smith Primatek watercolors and a whole set of new brushes, all shapes from my husband. Most of the painting/collages from the series were done on this paper.
With some birthday money I bought a 36 color set of Kuretake watercolors to use with the Irodori colors. The grids I draw are intended to translate as map sections, quadrants. Up on our hillside my husband is developing a fig orchard, about 50 trees so far. The dehydrator is working around the clock, as I write. Dried figs are something to look forward to in the winter.
I was completely soothed in a salt water pool many times and inspired by reflections, represented by the mica in this painting. Feeling supported by water, seeing only shades of blue refreshed my spirit from sluggishness of summer heat.
I was wondering if I could still paint very realistically…so I tried my hand at a pear, peach and apricot. All the petals and leaves in the map grid were chosen from plants close at hand.
The next large painting is “40th Parallel”, which has a old map of Colorado. For years I lived near Baseline Road in Boulder, which is named for the 40th Parallel. So I traveled there through art. I copied the words written in the lower hill area in this blog post. This and “Mound Hacker”, below were inspired by Nona Orbach’s project of Mound Hacking.
The sky is deep, it’s a nice large day. All the marks represent treasures found under the contour lines of the mound.