Friday, April 2, 2021

Wildflower Woods

In the foothills of the Adirondacks, behind our childhood house, were some old railroad tracks. Beyond that was the remains of a Chenango Canal lock, part of the old upstate New York Erie Canal system. By the mid 1960s, it was all decaying and decrepit, but those few miles had morphed into an overgrown magical wooded land, with wildflowers, berry bushes, and a stagnant pond. 

When I saw Gwen's new PaperArtsy botanical floral stamps (EGL13) they reminded me so much of the woods and swampland behind my childhood home, I knew I had to have them.

I set out to try and recreate the feeling of being a child on a hot summer's day, walking carefully through the overgrown woods, searching for ripe berries and blooming wildflowers. I decided to work in my new Dylusions square journal, and started stamping on a page that I had already primed with gesso.

To echo the earthy feel I wanted to create, I used sepia ink.

I added colors for the sky and greenery with some Portfolio Water Soluble Oil Pastels. Next, I added acrylic paint here and there to create the mood of an overgrown mini forest.

The paint obscured some of the stamping, so I decided to stamp on tissue paper, then tore out the images I needed add it on top with matte medium.

It was beginning to look like the woods, but wasn't exactly what I envisioned, so I kept painting.

The page got a little too dark, so I added white. Then it got too murky so I added greens. I kept adding paint until I got a feeling of a verdant woodland.  To create more depth, I stamped a few of the images on the bottom with black archival ink. I kept adding more paint to create shadows and mystery, and also added some red for berries. (There were wild strawberries in the spring and wild red and black raspberries in the late summer--enough to make a delicious pie!)

It was beginning to look like the woods on a summer's day, but I needed a focal point. Fortunately, I had painted some cardstock with the leftover paint. I decided to stamp the painted paper with black ink and see how it looked. And am I glad I did! 

I ended up with a bunch of little botanical paintings that I am saving to use on greeting cards in the future. I added color to the petals and leaves with a tiny brush, and extra black line details with a fine marker.

I chose a big flower with a reddish background and decided to incorporate it into the woodsy painting as a focal point. I liked the contrast of the red with the greens, and decided to attach it with some chunky brass-colored brads. 

While it isn't exactly like my old woods, it does recreate the brilliant sunshine, the thick greenery, and the wildness of that little woods. Sadly, it is only a memory now...developers plowed the land, filled in the remains of the canal, and built houses on the land. I think that, even now, some of the old magic is still in the air and the earth below the homes.


Jill McDowell said...

Linda, ahh you’re bringing me back. I can taste those wild berries now. What a wonderfully delicious page. So my]uch color, depth, and vibrancy. Just beautiful.

Chrissy said...

Looooove all of the paint work! I think you channeled your childhood memories beautifully.