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Evolution of a Painting: Banyan Tree Series- Part 2

Detail from Banyan Tree Painting

A detail from a painting in my Banyan Tree Series.

You’re back!

Thanks for bearing with me on my previous long-winded explanation.  I hope it was helpful in describing how I got from there to here.

Where is here?  Here is taking an idea and creating something out of it.  Those banyan trees became a catalyst for a new exploration in my art.

There was something about those banyan trees that fascinated me.  I think I used the word, ‘audacious’ to characterize them in my blog post from last year.  I wrote:

They grew like weeds on the sides of buildings, through walls, and in the middle of city squares.  They were dense, twisted, and thrust their branches out towards the sun in whichever position pleased them.  Often a thick root would shoot from one of their upper branches into the ground- as if their portly trunk wasn’t enough!

Banyan Tree Detail

I discovered wisdom hidden in the nooks and crannies of the Banyan Trees.

My first step was to do a few sketches to get a feel for the trees and my approach to them.  I found that this was a very loose and freeing exercise, that I could be very liberal in my design and colors because the banyan trees themselves were so varied and diverse.

Banyan Tree Paintings on Paper

Mixed Medium works on paper

I took those drawings further by creating a series of works on paper with watercolors, oil pastels, and other mixed medium.  I spent a few days creating dozens of them, but in the end I only chose a handful of them that I deemed worthy of my vision to sign and frame.

I was itching to get back into my acrylic paints and had a small canvas calling to me.  So I began developing a painting that followed the same path as I had with the works on paper, but found that what works in one medium doesn’t always translate as well to another.  I had to rework it many times to get it to breathe on the canvas.

Spirit of the Banyan Tree Painting

Spirit of The Banyan Tree- 11″x14″- Acrylic

I decided to focus even further into the trees.  The subsequent paintings became more expansive in movement and design, yet honed in on only a small portion of the trees, as if through a magnifying glass.

Spirit of the Banyan II- 16"x19"- Acrylic

Spirit of the Banyan II- 16″x19″- Acrylic

I do want to make mention of a technique that I used in these paintings.  As I was priming the canvas, I embedded natural materials into the paint.  I used feathers, pistachio shells, and sticks- as well as paper and string- to give the paintings depth and texture.

Spirit of the Banyan III- Acrylic Painting

Spirit of the Banyan III

These last canvases are painted with a spectrum of colors that hint at the natural world but aren’t necessarily found there. (At least, not all at once!) The natural world intensified!  I also attempted to create a dialogue among those nooks and crannies of the banyan tree, using multiple layers of paint and even adding a few metallic colors.

The result is playful, exuberant, and full of life and movement.  They are my new favorites!  They look nothing like my first attempts.  Yet, I could not have created them without first developing my previous drawings and paintings.

What’s next?

I’m not done yet!  I still feel as if there is more to explore in those banyan trees.  But I’ve developed a new set of eyes from my trip out West which has inspired me to take more liberties and widen my range.  To quote from this blog post about it:

“…I’ll be experimenting with a wider spectrum of colors and investigating textures, layers, densities, and translucencies.  I’ll be taking more liberties and breaking more rules.”

Landscape out West

The inspiration I gleaned from the landscape out West is sure to infiltrate my future work.

I can’t wait to get started and will be sure to show you my work as it develops.  Perhaps there will be a Part 3 in a few months!  But along the way, be sure to like me on Facebook, where I will periodically post works in progress as well as inspiration I discover in the process.

Have a glorious week!

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