New Painting – Surge

Early Fall is my favorite time of year here in Portland. We haven’t yet reached the endless soggy days ahead, and the sun is often out but there is a gentle cooling breeze in the air. I love driving my son to school on these Fall mornings. The sun has just come up and the colors and shadows are so intense under a rapidly changing sky. While we wait outside my daughter likes to point out the different colors in the sky – “Look! There it’s purple! And over there it’s orange!”

One such morning I sat admiring the way the rising sun reached through the buildings to cast its light on an old apple tree when a flock of crows burst off its branches as one. They rose up in all directions, soon circling together above until they landed on the branches of a massive douglas fir. It was a stunning outburst on such a quiet morning and when I got home I hastily sketched it out and began painting.

Unfortunately at that point the piece was not at all what I had pictured in my head. I tried again, with the same results. Frustrated, I put the pieces aside. Every time I saw the tree I was reminded of the painting, of the image in my head and my inability to translate it onto paper. I finally realized that what I wanted out of the piece was the feeling I got from watching the crows exploding from this old, tangled tree. I had been trying to paint it too literally.

So I tried again, and even with this basic sketch I was already happier with the results.

art new gouache sketch tree crows

I carried on, layering gouache over and over again until I found the rhythm I was looking for. I am so happy with the results. I imagine the crows surging out of the tree as one, off to conquer the world.

art new gouache painting tree crows cosmic

“Surge” © 2009 Lesley Atlansky

I’m pleased to say that after posting it to Redbubble Surge was added to the featured art on the site’s homepage. What a thrill!

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  1. August 12, 2009

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