Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Art of Repetition

Is my newest painting "Mangrove Highlights" just a repetition or did I try something new? I have wanted to paint more mangroves ever since the first two, "Mangrove Roots" and "Mangrove Shadows" ( go to http:/ to view) but have not been able to find just the right mangroves to paint. I have kayaked for hours on the Estero River taking hundreds of photographs of the mangroves there, same in Matlacha, Estero and other local areas, all to no avail. I finally decided that I had to go back to my favorite bunch of mangroves and like Monet's famous haystacks and other subjects, as well as other artists, paint the same subject.

As an artist I have always tried to make my work original as well as pushing each new painting beyond the previous one in quality. I never want to become the type of artist that keeps repeating their work and never trying a new angle, a new color, a new technique, etc.

So what is different between "Mangrove Roots" and "Mangrove Highlights" other than size? The main thing I set out to achieve with "Highlights" was brighter colors. I made the sky much brighter and used generally stronger colors throughout. I also wanted to draw focus to the front waters with the dappled highlights as well as light blue and a touch of white ripple highlights dancing on the front waters. Finally I added more interest with the new mangrove plant nested among the front roots.


I also plan on painting more mangroves from a whole new batch of photographs I took last week. I checked when the highest tide of the month would be and when I got there I went wading and climbing through the mangrove trees. With my camera in one hand and the bug spray in the other (the mosquitos were hungry in the flooded mangrove forest!) I shot the beautiful blue waters, the red, red newer roots, the twisted shapes of roots and branches splashed with dots of dappled sunlight, and the hypnotic abstract reflections on the gentle waves.

I wish the camera could catch it all, the feeling of being surrounded by those enchanted trees with roots and branches that merge and twist and reach and drop, and walk out right into the ocean. Native Americans even called them walking trees. What kept going through my head was, this is the real "Magic Kingdom" of Florida. It was magic indeed and I only hope that I can capture just a little bit of it in my paintings.

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