I’ve been experimenting with these grass paintings lately. Not like I haven’t painted grass before, but it’s usually more of a background element, or part of a larger piece…where these are, spare for a couple small flowers here and there, more or less all grass.

12×18 oil on panel

12×12 oil on panel

Sounds super boring, and some parts of them can be! same as with any painting. But I’m finding them to be a pretty enjoyable exercise in composition, brushwork and abstraction. It’s less about painting each individual blade of grass, same way you wouldn’t usually paint every pore on someone’s face, but more finding the value patterns, shapes, and right texture noise to mimic what’s there.

Here are some Process and close-ups that I think do a lot to explain the general approach to these

Here they are all framed up. Plywood from the Home Depot never looked so lush and fancy! 😛

 

I posted a couple of these on my Instagram, and had a few folks comment about how they wouldn’t know how to start something like this. I find the trick is not to rush through it, to take my time and work deliberately and carefully, same way I would paint a portrait of someone. I try to approach these nature based paintings same way I would a person. I’m trying to be very specific and not idealize what I’m trying to capture, and I think with these grass paintings in particular it rings especially true, due to the proximity of the subject.

18×18 oil on panel WIP. Top is the current monochrome underpainting, and the bottom is a quick digital mock-up planning the next color washes

If you’d told me Back in art school that I’d eventually find myself painting “grass portraits”, I wouldn’t have believed you, but here we are. It’s 2019, and I’m out here in the woods painting pictures of the ground. I’ve even been neglecting different parts of our property in effort to create a range of different types of and levels of ground cover. Looking forward to later this summer when the grass starts dying so I can change the palette up a bit.

Dunno where all this is gonna go really. But I’ve found that for my personal efforts especially, I tend to paint better pictures when I’m engaged in the subject matter. And for some weird reason these have been scratching that itch lately. Gonna start a couple of larger ones soon which I’m kind of excited about as well. Really. 😳

oh and just so this post isn’t all grass, here’s another smaller foresty thing I’ve been picking at here and there. It’s on the smaller side, 12×18 inches on panel. Still feel like I want to mess with this a little bit more, but I think it’s probably about 80% complete now.