Painting Amelia as Temperance continued, adding Prussian blue to the shadows of her pants, extending and correcting the shape of the left leg, and defining the shadows of the face and goggles. I worked at the hair on the left side of the face, and will need to bring some whites back into that area before Iâ€™m able to bring a layer of Raw Sienna into the hair. Some white highlights on the face completed the work for the day. She will need more flesh on her face and some commitment to her hands, which are very rough, having had no attention at all so far beyond the first layer.
This morning I continued to work on the panel for a private commission I have been asked to complete before Christmas. It’s a smaller version of the As the Crow Flies piece, with the birds coming from an acacia tree. The acacia is a tree that has become very meaningful to me, as the tree from whose wood the ark of the covenant was made, and as a symbol of regeneration and eternal life. The tree is so full of life that it has been known to begin to sprout even after it has been cut into planks and used to frame buildings. It may be a source for mannah, as the gum arabic that seeps from it is highly nutritious, and the tree is one of the only living things in the Sinai desert.
Working here in the forest is a completely different experience to my time in the studio. This morning my hands were so cold that I found it hard to separate the tissue paper from the gold leaf while putting it down onto the sticky surface. But a raven spent his time chatting with me while I worked and two deer jumped through the brush on the other side of the valley and I’m very happy to be here. Sounds travel a long way here – a barking dog half way down the canyon makes the entire place echo. A leaf falling can sound noisy. There are no cars, no internet, no phone service, little distractions from reading, writing and learning how to live.Â
By the way, the raven’s chatter sounded uncannily like laughter, and I got into quite a dialogue with him. Despite his amusement, I kept working through the cold, and by the time I was finished he’d lost interest in my efforts.