16 Jul, 2009 A Day Off… Almost

After the events of the last few days, Carl and I figured we would take today to recharge a little and get our affairs back in order. Do the things that get pushed aside when busy doing the creative stuff in the field; more laundry, back up footage and photos, write some more and so on. I even decided that I would not paint today. Not even look. Help to see things fresh again later.

Things unfolded as planned, not that eventful, but necessary. After supper, when all was done and I sat around, I started to think about this creek just outside of camp that I had walked over to days before. A pretty little thing dotted with arctic cotton, its the source of the camp’s drinking water. Coming down from the mountain in the distance, it flows crystal clear glacier melt water. I also noticed how from a certain angle another mountain, Mount Tammia, made for a nice backdrop. I even thought that it might make a nice little painting. But this was my day off, enough of that. Ten o’clock rolled around. The sun is now dipping a little lower through the night and casting a slightly warmer tone onto the landscape. I was tired of reading. I thought again. Maybe I could take a walk over there and take out the watercolours for a bit. There would be no harm in that, right? After all, I haven’t used them in years and I’ve been dragging them around for the whole trip. It wouldn’t be as big a commitment as pulling out my oils, with the easel to set up and all. I could call more of a play session, not really work. With it all justified in my mind, I strolled over.

Almost an hour later, as I lay brush to paper, I stopped. I now remembered why I haven’t used watercolours in years. They frustrate me. The lack of body and richness compared to oils. The building up of colour in layers, trying to leave tones transparent for lighter parts of the painting. Not being able to change my mind freely part way through a piece to improve the composition. I couldn’t take it anymore. I had tried. I went back to camp, grabbed my easel and oils, came back, and set up a 12” x 9” panel. Ahhhhh, that’s more like it. I guess I’m an oil painter at heart after all. I made it to my sleeping bag by about 1am. At least at had part of the day off.

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