I painted this in a dizzy flurry of color, as if I had just jumped off the swing myself.
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.
A Something in a Summer’s Day
“A something in a summer’s Day”
by Emily Dickinson
A something in a summer’s Day
As slow her flambeaux burn away
Which solemnizes me.
A something in a summer’s noon —
A depth — an Azure — a perfume —
And still within a summer’s night
A something so transporting bright
I clap my hands to see —
Then veil my too inspecting face
Lets such a subtle — shimmering grace
Flutter too far for me —
The wizard fingers never rest —
The purple brook within the breast
Still chafes it narrow bed —
Still rears the East her amber Flag —
Guides still the sun along the Crag
His Caravan of Red —
So looking on — the night — the morn
Conclude the wonder gay —
And I meet, coming thro’ the dews
Another summer’s Day!