Chaw'se Oak

"Chaw'se Oak" 20" x 20"-- Acrylic on birch panel

This huge, majestic oak is nearing 400 years old. She is rooted at Chaw'se--Indian Grinding Rock State Park in Volcano, where she is lovingly cared for along with many other huge oaks, cedars and pines.

My past ventures into the world of acrylics have been disappointing. I never liked the plastic quality of the paint, never liked the colors or how they interacted. HATED how fast they dried. I struggled to get enough light into my subject. Then about a year ago, I was watching my friend Nancy Roberts paint with acrylics. It looked like fun. Then I watched my friend Melissa Doyel paint with acrylics. It looked like fun-- AND I heard myself say "I can't do that." WTH. I told Nancy that I really wanted to experiment with acrylics again. She did more than encourage me, she gave me a supply list!!!

I ordered some colors, brushes and canvases. I watched some videos on YouTube. Not helpful. They didn't paint like me, they didn't paint my subjects....blah, blah blah. I started a couple of things. The paint dried funny. The colors were weird. Then I got a couple of smallish birch panels. I decided to paint a couple of my watercolor subjects in acrylic. OK- small success, not so much struggle, more...experimenting. Then a shift happened. It was subtle at first, but has been building momentum. I was working on a watercolor project and something kept saying to me "wouldn't this be fun to paint in acrylics?"

First I finished three small landscapes with wildflowers. I liked them. I have been wanting to do a series of paintings about Chaw'se. It is a deeply spiritual place. My native friends still use it for ceremonies and celebrations.

This painting came together so easily--it was definitely a break through painting. I love the colors, the texture of the bark and the foliage! I love painting nature :)

...acrylics don't suck...

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