Third painting in the texture series

As my final piece exploring texture in my series paintings, I wanted to work with a softer texture. Considering I had worked on creating paintings that were representative of glossy textures and rough textures, I wanted to challenge myself to do something a little softer with this one. However, I wanted to keep up the pattern of choosing slightly less “loved” textures in the painting. Growing up, I had a picture book that was called “Animals Nobody Loves” by Seymour Simon and was a book filled with photos and facts about insects, arachnids, reptiles, and amphibians. As a kid, I loved all things creepy and unusual. This has carried into my young adulthood, and has taken the form of loving the horror genre, scaley animals, and squeamish is the last word anyone would use to describe me. Thinking of a softer texture that wasn’t related to human anatomy (or just something that wasn’t too bodily, such as hair) and a subject that wasn’t an animal, was difficult at first. I pined over what texture that could be, that could still fit my theme of unusual and less-comfy subjects. Then, on a dreary Monday morning, I noticed how much texture there was on a mossy tree trunk I was walking by. I immediately took my reference photo and knew I had determined what my final painting would be. What I really loved about choosing a moss-covered tree, was that it had both the tough texture of the tree bark, but also the softer, spongier texture of the moss.

I dove into this painting knowing I wanted to paint with many layers. I began with my darks and created rough ridges with black and brown paint to create a lifted wedge of where the bark of the tree lifted up as if it was being pulled off. I covered the canvas alternating between light and dark shades of browns and mauves, and then silvery/blue greys which was the most prominent color of the tree bark. Once I felt happy with the layers and thickness of the paint, I started my first layer of moss. The whole process of making progress on this painting was a push and pull, a tug of war, between building upon the bark layers, and the moss layers. I went over each many times to try to achieve the best overlapped look of bark covering bark, moss covering bark, and moss covering moss. I used my palate knife to apply most of the paint for the bark as well as the dark ridges and cracks in the bark. For the moss, I wanted to apply the green using a sponge to enhance the texture of the moss. I think this approach was more affective than the little bit of brush painting I tried for working on the moss.

Overall, this painting is not my favorite of the three, however, I am happy with how the texture of the tree and the moss turned out, which was my main objective. I decided to title the piece based off of the weather the day I took my reference photo, and as a refection of the type of environment I think of when I hear the word “moss”. Although moss might not be as strongly disliked or elicit as strong of a feeling of discomfort or disgust as intestines or the scales of a reptile might, I think it is still an unusual texture that leaves people with shivers down their back and grows in places that are foggy, thick, and deep.

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