Over a year ago Frans Carlson requested a painting. Since one of his life-long hobbies was photography, I asked that he email me personally meaningful snapshots.
One of the scanned photos he sent showed a beloved, but dusty, Chevrolet and a contented family cat, both catching the warming rays of the morning sun. The photo was a bit faded and color-shifted. Dark shadows cast by the barn-like garage obscured some of the Chevy's details. Nonetheless, the nostalgic quality of the photo spoke to me of a time far more gentler and far less complex.
I wanted to know more about the Chevy's form to fill in the missing details. I sent the image to my life-long friend and car aficionado, Don Colucci. He quickly wrote back that the vehicle was a Chevy Truck, vintage 1947 to 1954. I did an internet search and found a few pics.
I started and stopped and started again to draw and paint the image, but a year ago I was just beginning to rediscover and reconnect to the fundamentals of oil painting. Should I include the cat, the garage, the ladders hanging on the garage wall? I re-reviewed the internet pics and found the composition that had been so evasive; a restored model had been closely cropped to emphasize the nose, grill, and headlights!
Although I focused on the truck's front end, I found that there is a greater degree of precision required in capturing the man-made attributes of a solitary mechanical device than those of a nature-made vista.
I don't really know if the Chevy was a 1947 model, but the painting's title reminds me as to why I was attracted to this particular bit of nostalgia.
I could not resist contributing to Alice Thompson's latest art challenge, "The Secret Garden." Alice asked, "Do you have a secret garden? Do you retreat to a pond, park, tree or nursery? Do you have a small patch of earth to cultivate? If so I’d like for you to paint that and tell us about it."
The challenge appealed to all my interests, gardening, landscape architecture, flowers, browsing nurseries, Spring, parks, and botanical gardens. A recent spring visit to Descanso Garden, past visits to Filoli, our community greenbelts, flowers in our garden, and even parks I've had a hand in designing yielded a multitude of images from which to choose. However, I finally decided I needed to capture a vignette of the magnificent abundance of wild flowers and lush native growth we are currently experiencing in southern California.
The heavy winter rains brought forth an incredible array of colors and textures in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. The trail and scenery that inspired my painting is near the Nix Center at Little Sycamore Canyon.
This past spectacularly clear Monday I completed most of the painting "en plein aire." I further refined it, Thursday, in Victoria Templeton's Painters' Connection class. Today, Friday, my wife and I had a very pleasant and easy hike down the trail.