Ethereal - A Spontaneous Approach

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Ethereal - A Spontaneous Approach

[Oil on Canvas, 36” x 48”]

Sometimes I have a theme in mind when I approach the canvas. Other times, I simply allow my intuition to flow through. This painting is a great example of what can happen when I drop rigid expectations and embrace spontaneity. Perhaps it’s the artist’s way!     

The only tangible feeling I had in mind while painting this piece was that I wanted to capture something intangible. I love the way oils blend into each other to create dreamlike textures and forms. With that in mind, I chose a color palette that reflected an airy, sublime mood: Magenta, Raw Umber, Indian Red, and Rose Madder.


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As I painted one spontaneous stroke after another, I started to see a heavenly composition on the canvas. Adding some Ultramarine Blue to the mix added a more dynamic depth to the wispy forms, which to me, resemble divine light pouring forth.   

I completed this painting in just two days, and I’m satisfied with the celestial, elusive feeling it captures. I imagine the lower half of the composition is a cliff edge, perhaps on the side of a mountain. Beyond that is a burst of bright, white light, the strokes wafting from the right side of the canvas to the top-left.   

The mixture of warm tones and Ultramarine create a compelling focal point, one that invites the eye to dance around and appreciate the unique textures. I find the darker form on the left-hand side visually intriguing, a great way to break up the upper and lower halves of the canvas without disrupting the fluidity of the composition.

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Ethereal seemed like the perfect name for this piece, as I approached it without attachment to the outcome. Interestingly, I ended up capturing this fleeting moment of magnificent sunlight descending on a natural landscape.