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I’ve started painting again, keeping toward the abstract, still experimenting with water-color and oil pastel, letting them show me how well they play together.

I’d been inspired by some of Rick Steven’s paintings, his intense close-ups of trees and barks. I love the colors, the texture, the shapes.


The painting above was my initial attempt. At first it seemed too vertical, too placid, so I began to build up the horizontal elements, the “foliage,” and finally came to the place where it seemed “done.”


Next I wanted to do a close-up of a shapely tree trunk, and again I was dissatisfied. Too vertical, no clear focus. So I began to add areas of “lichen,” I suppose you could call it, at the lower right and upper left. Something to attract the eye and allow it to move up or down the trunk. At some point it too seemed “complete.” This one may be my favorite of the three. I like the richness of the colors, the texture.


I’m not sure where the last one came from. I wanted to add a human element into the natural, something partially hidden, peeking out, more figurative than figure. The blue sprite appeared. But further down the tree trunk another face emerged, unbidden. With that addition, the painting took on a more ominous than playful feel. Not what I had intended at all. I’m not sure I like this one.  But it haunts me.