River Residue – Watercolor

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TITLE: River Residue. Original watercolor by Woody Hansen  (To see a framed version of this painting or to learn more, click image)

Ever notice the residue left behind along the banks of a large river after high water of winter or a damn release? All kinds of flotsam and debris are brought downstream , including uprooted trees, broken tree limbs, branches, twigs, etc. These items are then filtered downstream by healthy trees, branches, and bushes. The elements can provide a artist some surprising configurations that are an oasis to the imagination..

Thus are the beginnings of River Residue. The painting starts on location at the American River Parkway during a Free Friday outing. Ironically, there hadn’t been any high water for several months, but apparently previous images provide fodder for the imagination.

The origin of this painting lies, not in a planned illustration, but more as a loose, non-objective underpainting. Later in the day the painting is set aside in the studio with no plan for completion. Months pass by as it remains in a pile of unfinished neglected paintings, each of which is passed over for what might be deemed as more important paintings.

Eventually, River Residue reaches the top of the “To Finish” stack, where it is taken to completion in the studio environment. At times I enjoy encouraging a painting to evolve, to allow the imagination to run free, to a state in which the painting begins to “talk” to me. In this case, as shapes, colors, and values gradually emerge, my thoughts drift to mental images of the unique areas of a large river that contain a form of chaotic beauty in their own, right. Now give it a title and it’s finished!

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