Friday, February 14, 2014

Mountains On My Mind


Valley Farm, mixed media painting by Amanda Baer Boggs

I've had the Blue Ridge Mountains on my mind again, especially this week. Last year, you may recall, I painted a mixed media mountain themed piece for my husband's Valentine's Day gift. Right away, he requested a companion piece. I painted the view from Beech Mountain last year, but he wanted an Elk Mountain piece to depict a favorite farm of ours. If I could pick out any farm on Earth it would probably be this one. It's nestled in a little valley on Elk Mountain, but is still high enough to have spectacular views. It's flanked by a large pond and woods. It's just a storybook sort of farm.

My reference photo from Elk Mountain in Asheville, NC

However, the loveliness doesn't change my perverse nature; I just don't like being told what to paint! I think many artists are that way. The minute you dictate a subject, all inspiration flees. My grandfather had an oil painting depicting a Viking ship. He got it when he commissioned the painting and told the artist, "Paint anything but a boat; I have too many paintings of boats." Well, after that, all the artist could think of was a boat! Luckily, the painting turned out well and Grandpa always had a funny story to tell.

It's just so true, though, that inspiration is a mysterious and fleeting thing. It took me a while to get into the mood to paint this piece. Poor Jerry had to wait a long time. If I don't have the right feeling about a piece I know it's not going to turn out as well as it should, but finally I got into the proper spirit. This is probably because my mind has been dwelling in the mountains recently.




We planned a trip up to the Asheville area, including Elk Mountain, this weekend and weren't sure we could go with all the snow. The train ferrying my mother-in-law to babysit was cancelled for two days, so we didn't know if we'd get a sitter. The train ran late today, however, but it did run, so when she arrives we'll be on our way. We had to change our supper reservations to 10PM, though!

Applying the collage layer

As with last year's piece, I started with a collage layer and then painted over it with oils. If at all possible when doing collage, soak the papers in water and dab them dry before you apply them. This will keep them from buckling. I learned that trick from Paul Hartley, a wonderful painting professor of mine at ECU. He would actually work in collage on glass, backwards. He applied the collage, then painted behind it. Then he peeled the whole thing off the glass, applied it to a board, and painted over top of it. The resulting pieces were remarkable, beautiful mind teasers. It was impossible to tell what was collage and what was painting. He was, needless to say, an incredible talent and could paint photo-real depictions of almost anything. We lost him way too soon. Another great professor of mine, Craig Malmrose, advised Yes glue for papers too delicate to soak. Although he taught typography he was talented with graphics as well.


I'm pleased with the way this painting turned out. I like it much better than last year's. That one looks like a crazy person painted it, and it's in my bedroom so I have to see it every day. The new one is smoother, and it's a good companion piece to the other. I think I will enjoy it more!

May you have a wonderful Valentine's Day and a lovely weekend!

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