LICHEN MIST   30" x 30”   May 29, 2013   

 

The oak forests of the southern coast of Martha's Vineyard are a dense patchwork of lichen-covered bark—probably a result of the salt air and humidity captured between the trunks.

 

I was still a beginner with oil paint at the time and felt like I was on a high-wire, trying to achieve perfect color fields in each stripe, perfect edges—with no betrayal of uneven stripes, bleeding color or revealing brush strokes. A mistake would be aesthetically costly. My hand had to be steady.

 

So I settled on repeating two colors—a sort of sage green (in both senses of the word)—and a pale grey infused with white. These colors captured lichen and mist for me, or seeing lichen through mist, or something vaguely like this.

 

This painting was an act of restraint and containment, an exercise in humility, an important rock from which I could spring later.