pruning and editing

Yesterday was a winter anomaly. A day in the high 50’s with sun shining.

Well, OK it’s almost March, but in these parts the snow can seriously fly this month.

prunings on the ground

30x22 charcoal, ©2012 Nanci Erskine

So, after consulting our recently made list of “stuff that we need to do around the house outside” I set out to get some pruning done on some bushes.  There is a lovely place by the side of our house where a natural doorway is made in a tangle of trees and shrubbery, that fleetingly bloom in late spring- but with winter snow loads, and time, it can get a bit out of control- bending and spreading in ways that become too dense; starting to shade out a bed where I put in some lilies a few years back.

As I began to sort and cut, deciding which branches and twigs to eliminate, I was struck by how analogous this process is to what I do in the studio with drawings and paintings now.  First, the impulse is to let things fly and get too overgrown,  and then I am compelled to go back in and start wacking away; removing and letting air and space back into the work.

It’s a process I like and find challenging, because it often means painting over passages, and then repainting on top of that, or scraping off something and rehashing how it works.

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About nerskine

I've been a painter for about 30 years. I also draw and make monotypes, linocuts and other prints. I like tangled stuff.
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3 Responses to pruning and editing

  1. Hunting says:

    I’m going to replace a flagstone path that people don’t actually walk on with a stone dust path where they do walk. This would be, I suppose, an example of pentimento.

    • nerskine says:

      Nice- a comment from a gardner! You have reminded me of the local university redoing the quad area and not deciding where to pave paths until they saw where the grass was worn from student footsteps. Very smart.
      Responding to the layers of information on the canvas of the landscape!

      • Hunting says:

        That’s exactly what the university did in the town where I grew up (long ago). Must be a well-known administrators trick!

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