Seeing as my productivity in watercolor has been severely curtailed by the three little bodies that are my full time responsibility, the completion of a new painting is a bit of an Event. (And if new paintings are becoming rarer, I can elevate my prices, right?)

Green Fungus, which is clearly a working title, may only be 6″ x 6″ (I prefer to think of it as 36 square inches) but its completion means that I can now claim my muskeg paintings as a series.

When I started looking at my reference photos in preparation for this piece, I felt rather intimidated. So much detail in such a small space. But as I worked on it, inch by inch, I found myself getting lost in the fun of delineating negative space, dripping color wet-in-wet, and varying curvy and spiky brushstrokes in leaf and spruce needle shapes.

I used the salt technique for this one as well, and for some reason, the salt really got glued down to the paper, and didn’t brush off like it is supposed to. With the result that the subsequent glazes over the salt-crusted areas had some of that salt sparkle bleed through, one of those “happy accidents” that we watercolorists are always raving about.

I wish we all had a little bog within walking distance – I really can’t think of a better place to take myself when I want to be alone, to cry, pray, dream or philosophize; to experience the cleansing from the details that anchor our souls to the earth. I was surprised to find that I had that same liberation while painting the swamp, though on a smaller scale, and I want to use my Secrets of the Muskeg paintings as mnemonics to bring me back to the essentials when I get bogged down in life’s minutiae.