Absorbed by Beauty — Painting at Jello Mold Farm

July 2, 2015

“The exceeding beauty of the earth, in her splendour of life, yields a new thought with every petal.  The hours when the mind is absorbed by beauty are the only hours when we really live, so that the longer we can stay among these things so much the more is snatched from inevitable Time.”
— Richard Jeffries

Poppies, Jello Mold Farm

Poppies, Jello Mold Farm

Watercolor sketch of poppy

Watercolor sketch of poppy

I have a terrible track record with painting outdoors, especially if I have my camera along and know I will be taking photos, too.  I find it easy to pull my camera out and snap shot after shot, but it feels like a hurdle to set up my watercolor supplies. Countless times I have carried my painting supplies with me on trips and outings and left them in my bag, unused.

No, now when I think about it, it is not the physical act of setting out paper, water and paints that proves difficult — it is the mental adjustment I need to make before painting . Slowing down, forgetting to feel self-conscious, becoming absorbed, etc.  All processes that I find easier to embark on in the privacy of my home when I am alone.

But I do want to get better at painting en plein air.  So I packed my little palette of travel paints, a sketchbook, a brush, and a water bottle in readiness for my daytrip to Jello Mold Farm.  On the drive up to the Skagit Valley, I thought I might set a goal of painting 12 sketches in one hour, an exercise to free me up because I would have to work too fast to think much.  And then I discovered that I had not packed any pencils, so I had to skip my usual step of making a light pencil drawing before applying the paint.  This was going to be a day of experiments!

Here are my sketches from Jello Mold Farm.  I simply could not sustain my focus beyond seven sketches, so I stopped.  Still, it was rewarding to have made an attempt at working outside.

Watercolor sketch of poppy and pods

Watercolor sketch of poppy and pods

Watercolor sketch of poppy

Watercolor sketch of poppy

Fallen poppy petal

Fallen poppy petal

Watercolor sketch of poppy petals

Watercolor sketch of poppy petals

Poppy seed pods

Poppy seed pods

Watercolor sketch of poppy seed cases

Watercolor sketch of poppy seed cases

Sweet peas

Sweet peas

Watercolor sketch of sweet peas

Watercolor sketch of sweet peas

Another watercolor sketch of sweet peas

Another watercolor sketch of sweet peas

 

 

 

 

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5 Responses to “Absorbed by Beauty — Painting at Jello Mold Farm”

  1. Diana Studer Says:

    How do you feel about no pencil sketch?
    To me today’s work has a vibrant vitality.

    • Rosemary Says:

      It’s always a bit scary to start with a blank sheet of paper and no preliminary pencil sketch. However, for the sweet pea and poppy petals, this immediate approach seemed to capture their lightness and frilliness. I need to do this more. It was fun.

  2. mzuritam Says:

    Really nice! I’ve been meaning to do plein air but it’s been raining a lot. And I’d rather take photos and enjoy them later and just soak up the “plein air”. Ha. I love your post. Keep it coming. You inspire me to “get back to work” seeing the world with a different eye than the camera.

  3. Carol Says:

    These are wonderful Rosemary and to think you just cranked them out in an hour (or less) makes them all the more impressive.

  4. bluebrightly Says:

    Good for you…I scold myself for not getting out my watercolors. It’s probably been ten years. SO much easier to use the camera! So I’m impressed, and I know you had a wonderful time. I want to see the seed cases closer! And Jello Mold Farm? I haven’t seen that one!


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