Monday, April 30, 2012

New Video

This month we did an interview in the studio. Allen put together this video which tells a bit more about Lennox Woods, my thoughts on the project and the exhibition.  If you enjoy it, please consider sharing it via the share buttons at the bottom of the post!

The Ancient Forest-desktop from Deborah Paris on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

New Work

Autumn Arrangement
20 x 16

As I have mentioned, I have resigned myself to painting at least a season behind what is actually happening in the Woods. My field work- drawings and color sketches- keep me busy gathering reference and ideas for finished work. As I work, I also am working on studio paintings from previous seasons. In this particular case, I am two seasons behind!

Here is the underpainting for this piece. I use a dry brush technique and keep the paint transparent at this stage. I use a cloth to wipe out lights and create the drawing of the foreground elements. This particular one was done in the studio but for a small painting like this I may do the underpainting onsite.

The challenge in this piece was to retain the atmosphere and mood, while creating more detail and drawing in the foreground elements.

Here are a few details. I used opaque mixtures to define the foliage in the foreground, keeping the shadow areas transparent.

The trees in the distance were scumbled numerous times and sky color dragged over their edges too.

The trunk of the foreground tree was done with opaque mixtures laid on in discreet strokes to mimic the bark of this hickory tree.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Luna Moth Hunt!

(photo credit: Steve Whalen)

It is spring in Lennox Woods. That means many things, among them, luna moths! Luna moths are glorious large pale green moths which inhabit woodlands of deciduous trees. As caterpillars, they especially like hickory and sweet gum, which we have an abundance of at Lennox Woods. The moths emerge in the spring for about one week to mate, lay eggs and then die. So the opportunity to see them is quite limited.

This past Wednesday evening Dr. William Godwin, an entomologist and curator of the East Texas Natural History Collection in Frost Hall at Jarvis Christian College at Hawkins, Texas , and our friend B.F. Hicks from Mt Vernon, TX, an amateur naturalist, came out to the Woods for a luna moth "hunt". Other friends from Clarksville and Mt Vernon joined us, and of course Allen Phillips was there to capture it all on film. (Photo credits below: Allen Phillips)

Dr. Godwin set up a mercury vapor light and several sheets to reflect the light. He explained that we would attract all sorts of interesting insects (which we did) but that the moths generally come out after about 9:00 PM.

It just so happened that an almost full moon framed by beautifully illuminated clouds kept us entertained while we waited for the moths to arrive. And when they did, they came in droves! We had as many as forty or fifty fluttering around the light and in the woods nearby. It was magical!

I plan to do a series of drawings, dry points and etchings of the flora and fauna of the Woods as part of the exhibition, so the luna moths will certainly make an appearance in my work. Allen is preparing a film clip of the evening's activities which I'll post soon.