HOW do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside—
Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!
Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850–1894). A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods. 1913.
In case you are curious, here is how I started this painting. First I identified why I wanted to paint the painting: I loved the movement of the swing and dappled light of the trees in the background. Then I planned my approach: I started on sanded Wallis paper that I under painted with pink and red pastel, and then washed with denatured alcohol. I chose those colors because red is the compliment of green, and this panting is mostly green. Then I drew a skeleton of lines in light blue so I wouldn’t get lost, next I put in my darkest darks in a dark blue green (it looks almost black in the photo, like a true impressionist, I never use black). I unified shadows and darks and added and deleted until I had roughly an S shaped composition of darks. I liked the tension of the tire swing being cropped out. After I had the groundwork established, the rest was just play! What I am most pleased with in the finished painting: her feet.