Spring seemed to take a while to come this year, perhaps it was my own imagination — although spring coming early to other parts of the US maybe made spring in Oregon seem late.
In this painting I hoped to capture my sense of relief or joy. The arrival of spring always seems to be such a remarkable occurrence, at once joyous and miraculous and painful.
The inspiration for this painting came from a pencil sketch. I rode my bike out along Old Mohawk Road without a whole lot of time to spare. Early evening, a few cars buzzing by me. Not too far out from the junction with Marcola Road, I stopped, dropped my bike in the roadside weeds, crawled through some blackberries and stepped over a broken fence. I was right at the edge of a green field, covered with the brilliant glow of new growth. The Mckenzie River was out of sight, but close, and the tell-tale towering cottonwoods were nearby, right at the edge of the field.
I sat down to do a quick sketch.
It was a few days later before I got a chance to paint. Those cottonwood trees I saw were probably closer to brown than yellow, but the bare branches were covered with such an exuberant layer of buds, I felt like yellow was an appropriate interpretations. Most of the yellow is just straight cadmium yellow, though I mixed in a little phthalo blue to give it a slight green cast in places.
In one layer I laid down the basic wash colors — blue yellow sky, the yellow trees, brown undergrowth, green-yellow grass in foreground. The distant dark green hills I added in a second layer, as well as the tree trunks.