To recover from the swing painting project, I picked up a piece of Mexican bark paper and decided to draw a little landscape. This is the finished piece. Don’t you just love the sound of that…finished. The paper is somewhat soft, with swirls of bark fiber throughout. Most of what you can buy at the art stores are shades of cream, tan, or brown. I thought I would like to try blue, since there are so many great drawings on blue paper. When the paper arrived, I was surprised (almost horrified) to see that it was Easter egg blue. Not to be discouraged, I took out my diluted amber shellac and gave it an artistic couple of brush strokes to stain the paper, and I was off. The photo reference was from a trip to Pagosa Springs, Colorado where my men and I hiked to Four Mile Falls. I tried to use the grain of paper to mimic the rock faces and the ridge line from where the fall originated. I used black and white charcoal and found that the paper, while plenty durable and heavy weight, did not hold many layers of charcoal. Next time I am going to try drawing on the back of a piece of this paper. The blue is not nearly so vivid. In fact it is almost a cool gray, but the back is much more textured, showing the design of the wooden board on which the bark fibers were originally pounded flat and dried to make the sheet of paper. Kinda cool.
The other cool thing about this piece happened to me upon finishing (there’s that terrific word again) it. I was struck by the image of this running water flowing between the two towering trees in the foreground; one alive and the other dead. The following verse immediately came to mind:
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants – Deuteronomy 30:19