2 new plein air gouaches / more gouaches discovered during studio cleanup / by Philip Tarlow

5:35 PM: i ventured back out to the creek at about noon today. i went further up the trail & found a spot in the shade, where i could set uo my little table & 3 legged stool, & spread out my palette, brushes, water & tubes of gouache colors.

i started painting on a 13x15” arches paper surface that was prepared years ago & turned up during our cleanup, with a light tan ground. as with all my plein air gouaches, the brush strokes happen swiftly & with certainty. slow & cautious doesn’t work. i let the creek direct my mood & the movements of my arm & hand. if i’m especially on, the result is one of my 10’s. obviously, i can’t allow this awareness into my consciousness in that moment. so the process is most accurately described as a meditation. just as, during a meditation, you repeat the mantra & then allow it to disolve, the same process is in play during a session of plein air painting.

when the sun found me, i had to wrap it up & move all my materials about 10 yards, to another spot in the shade. stay cool & just do it.

next, i took a smaller surface, this one with an uncharacteristic reddisg undercoat, applied years ago in a way that left visible brush marks. normally i wouldn’t paint on such an aggressively red surface. finding it buried in a pile of prepared surfaces during our cleanup yesterday turned me on, so i took it with me. still not sure eabout the outcome.

BELOW: 3 of the gouaches we found while cleaning up after the flood in my studio. on the right is a small painting of david hockney photographing his dog, painted in 1994.