Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Joy of Man's Desiring

Out Highway 20 at Arbor Ridge road is an unnamed garden center housed in an old barn faced with galvanized sheet metal. On the morning that it caught my eye, the nearly noon sun was barely peeking over the edge of the 'cowboy town' facade where it happened to strike a few purple muhly grass in full bloom and the variegated yucca beside them. Ever since then I've been determined to capture that muhly grass and the lovely rusting wall.
In the actual painting that deep watermelon halo on the muhly grass is hardly noticeable behind the creamy salmon froth of light. I just haven't figured out how to quiet rambunctious reds in Photoshop without losing the jewel-tones in the other colors.
Joy of Man's Desiring
9x9" Wallis Professional Sanded Paper

I've been trying a new approach this week. I didn't use an under-painting, but used the brown Wallis paper, and did a very loose color study on a scrap piece to work out most of the values and color choices. I just wanted to see how throwing down color fast and loose would work out. I knew I'd make color mistakes and was happy to scrub over them until I got closer to what I wanted. In that process I discovered the joy and necessity of that delicious grass apron, which I extended for the painting. In that discovery the final painting became all about the three color fields, with the elements themselves as mere excuses for placing and layering those colors.

As I considered the title for the finished piece, this indulgence in the joy of color brought to mind Bach’s famous treatment of the old hymn, and suddenly the fact that the subject was a garden center became essential. What better place to see the joy of man's desiring than in the plants he grows to recreate the Garden?


  1. nice riot of color Carol Anne. It truely is a good representation of the hymn.