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If Thursday was paint paint paint, Friday was no painting whatsoever. Still feeling unsure of my themes and how my disparate painting styles would form a cohesive idea, I napped on it a bit and then jumped into helping out in the kitchen in preparation for a swing concert being held at the house Friday evening.

Frida and I made potato birds nests (easier said than done...peel and spiralize potatoes and sweet potatoes, saute in olive oil, form into tiny "nests" on parchment lined muffin tins, take out when just crispy but not burnt) with mushroom compote and homemade pesto topping. They turned out really yummy, and with a spiralizer, would be easy to replicate (although not quickly).

The swing/jazz band that came to play was really fun and brought a following of swing dancers with them. A true party atmosphere with at least 30 people at any given time. I listened and hung out for a while but when I headed up to bed at 11pm, the party was still going strong!

swing dancers dance in the living room to an Albany based jazz band

Saturday morning saw a house so full of people that all three bathrooms seemed to be continually occupied. Some of the band members and friends of the other residents had spent the night (have no idea where!) and we were bursting at the seams with friendly morning chatter over bacon and coffee.

As people started to dissipate throughout the morning, I set up my painting camp in the kitchen. My plan was to lay down some neutral base tones of grey and white with a palette knife, on which I would layer my landscape paintings (assuming it might be warm enough to paint outside, which it was not).

With the first pass though, I liked the base layer so much that I forced myself to stop there (sometimes knowing when to stop is so difficult; Should I keep going? I don't know, I like it now. But maybe it could be better? But what if you mess it up? etc etc etc).

So as I created base after base, they each became slightly more of their own abstract landscape painting with added details and more neutral colors (think tan, black and olive). Finally something was resonating!!

painting in process palette knife technique with white and grey acrylics

I came into the week thinking about muted landscapes...and that's exactly where I ended up. But not in the way I thought I would get there. I had a vision of painting outdoors, creating detailed landscapes and then covering them up with soft thin layers of watery whites and greys to create a misty abstraction. When in fact, I needed a more direct approach: start with a limited color palette, the broad sweeps of a palette knife (as opposed to tiny brushstrokes), and a freedom of form to push the paint around with the movement of my hand, arm and whole body.

So is there where I end up? Not quite....

Tags: abstract art. abstract painting. acrylic. Albany. art. art inspiration. artist in residence. artist resistance. Arts Letters & Numbers. Arts Letters and Numbers. Averill Park. black and white. Earth Day. landscape painting. landscapes. monochromatic. nature. new paintings. New York. New York artist. NYC artist. NYC painter. painting. retreat. spring. Spring 2017. transitions. upstate New York.

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