Rensing, Week 1

I arrived here at the Rensing Center five days ago, where I was immediately greeted by a small herd of very friendly Saanen goats, a handful of indifferent cattle, and 26 acres of Appalachian woodlands and rolling pasture.  (I was also greeted by some other artists-in-residence and Rensing Center staff.) goats The phenomenally pleasant weather has urged me outdoors, where I've been painting en plein air, using the folding French easel I brought with me. (I used the easel as a carry-on, which was a source of immense fascination for the fine people at airport security.) Working out in the open, with a handheld palette makes me feel very self-conscious- Instead of Courbet heroically venturing out into direct contact with nature, I feel a little more like someone in two thirds of a Bob Ross costume. In any case, I go hours without seeing any other people out here and Bob Ross is a beloved fixture of American television.
View from the back door of my studio.

View from the back door of my studio.

I've taken on the daily task of painting understory and immature trees.  I'm learning a lot about green, as well as the varied pattern, shape, rhythm, and balance of different species. I'm treating these works more like color drawings than paintings- painting only the tree, without context or picture plane- onto a clear, white paper. (Don't tell my MFA students I've ignored the responsibility of the picture plane!)
One of the small tree paintings attached to the blacksmith shop-turned-studio.

One of the small tree paintings attached to the blacksmith shop-turned-studio.

I've got a number of other projects going on, including some night paintings and an absolutely homeric sheet-mulching endeavor in the summer garden. More soon!  
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