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  • Writer's picturesharonkingston

Fog Suite 3: Potters Clay

The two paintings in fog suite 3 are both warm muddy colors: potters clay and rosy peach. I knew right away that I wanted them grouped together, and square and suggestive of a foggy earthen field.

A couple years ago I started exploring mark making. Up until that point, my paintings were void of mark--it is in fact my signature. A pristine surface absent of brushstroke or line and evoking air and atmosphere and light. But making marks can be fun and I wanted to find a way to use line that was my own unique method.

I painted rose hips (my first exploration of a new mark making) using the side of a piece of cardboard and other tools, some of them squeegee tipped brushes. I love how the line/image is pulled out of the paint rather than drawn on with paint. It is similar to how my atmospheres come about. They are not painted on with one layer, but rather are layers upon layers that build the color and the light. It's called indirect, I guess if you have to assign a name to it. So making my marks with a reverse method seems right in line with how I do things.

These areas of mark making are multi-layered. Sometimes blurred and obscured and painted again. The depth comes about from that layering and repainting process and not perspective. I love the balance of the light filled atmospheric foggy sky and the tangled web of drawn grasses or weeds. I've used this mark making method for painting water and trees also. It is definitely a method that I wish to develop further and find ways of adding it to more of my work.

Potter's clay from fog suite 3 is inspired by a foggy meadow of grasses from one of my walks in Whatcom Falls park. It reminds me of the fields that I roamed and played in growing up. We were so free back then and nature was our playground. I think of my late father and brother always and how their love of the outdoors shaped me and my almost obsession with spending time in the open air and woods.

This beautiful poem accompanied me on the process of painting this work.

Toward evening, as the light failed,

and the pear tree at my window darkened,

I put down my book and stood at the open door,

the first raindrops gusting in the eaves, a smell of wet clay in the wind. Sixty years ago, lying beside my father, half asleep, on a bed of pine boughs as rain drummed against our tent, I heard for the first time a loon’s sudden wail drifting across that remote lake— a loneliness like no other, though what I heard as inconsolable may have been only the sound of something untamed and nameless singing itself to the wilderness around it and to us until we slept. And thinking of my father and of good companions gone into oblivion, I heard the steady sound of rain and the soft lapping of water, and did not know whether it was grief or joy or something other that surged against my heart and held me listening there so long and late.” – Peter Everwine

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