Recently, I participated in my very first You tube challenge. It was a lot of fun! The challenge was to make some sort of art work using green gold. Well, that’s one of my paintbox favourites (yes, I do say that about so many of them).
To me green gold is the colour of sunlight dancing across grassy fields so I knew that I would have to paint some sort of landscape scene. I ended up painting a vineyard.
Want to see?
I paint because it makes me feel happy, and this painting certainly did that. So of course I had to do some more. That’s why the series this month is vineyards.
Painting the vines when the rising sun anoints the uppermost leaves with green gold is of course delightful.
But vineyards are like strong women - they look good in all sorts of colours. Autumn hues and rosy skies are just as fetching.
Spending time painting vineyards is almost as good as being a little girl wandering in wonder through the vines.
As I painted one vineyard scene after another I was trying to figure out exactly what it was about them that was so pleasing.
It’s those rows, I think. I love their orderliness. For me its the best kind becasue I tend to think of it as neat-ish. They are not the sort of steely precision that comes from industrial manufacturing.
They are living, growing things so there is an organic flow to them. Its the sort of organised chaos I find quite soothing.
It’s the way I remember that near enough is quite often good enough. It needn’t be all or nothing, it’s just fine for it to be all or something.
Perfect imperfection - that’s what it is.
This is something that often speaks to me as a painting subject. This link will take you to my Rambling Roses series, which you might enjoy if the idea of embracing imperfection appeals to you too.
Aside from the inspiring blend of organic form and formal lines, I adore the undulation of the rows that comes from the vines yielding to the natural curves of the land. The rows stay together but dip and sway across the landscape. Such a pleasing rhythm - that is a big part of what is soothing to look at I think.
Doesn’t this quote from Thomas Merton sum it all up so well?
I find the blend of organic form and formal lines very inspiring.
The bushes are the same, but not identical. The rows are consistent but they yield to the natural curve of the earth where they must. So they seem to me a bit of a paradox. A tidy mess, perhaps you might say.
In that I see the message of balance. Neatish is good enough.
It is the balance point between conformity and liberty. The more I think about it the more I realise that it is not just the subject that speaks this message of balance, but the way I choose to paint them too. Art is a wise friend - if you are into that sort of thing, of course.
I think it is why I love this style of watercolour so much. I like to paint in a free and loose way, letting the watercolour do what it will. You can see what I mean in this video.
I do want a recognisable subject, so I have to pay enough attention to the conventions of proportion and form and value. Somewhere in the middle I hope to find the perfect balance.
Not so loose and untamed as to be a hot mess, not so overly articulated that it loses its joyful expression.
Just like a good life I think.
Enough structure and discipline to be able to achieve a goal or two, but a willingness to yield and adapt where necessary and never to lose sight of the joy.
So this is why I paint.
When you paint you really look at what you see around you. And if you want to find them, you see so many metaphors for life in the natural world. Ways to embrace ease and make the most of our time here.
(If you want to see the many other reasons I can think of to paint you could click here)
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