Sometimes I get into situations when a certain area seems impossible to resolve, even after several attempts. This problem might derive from a too limited scope of input. A restricted set of solutions are reserved for each individual type of area. Some very few examples being the sky and clouds, the bare fields of dry beige gras, the rocky patches, snow patches, and as in this instance: Ice drifting on water. For each type, there seem to be a protocol. A go to solution. Sometimes that falls short.
It works 95% of the time, so why not here? Is there another magic tool in toolbox?
Help might come from rather unexpected sources.
I’m currently making a 130 x180 cm piece for a client. Now, the photo was taken by the commissioner himself, and it seemed a great starting point, however I did not take into consideration the vast area of water in the foreground. This turned out to be my achilleas this time. I planned to construct a pattern of ice to replace the non-event of the dark water of the original picture.
I applied a series of layers, and this usually does the job. After a few rounds, I was at an impasse. I was surely going in circles. One layer after the other. More structures and even more icebergs on top. Too much space and no real dynamic.
As a last resort, I took the painting outside and gave it a heavy rub with sandpaper. This sort of «restart» sometimes gives me a better chance at starting fresh. The sanding created a lot of white and blue grains in the water, a somewhat milky touch. It was starting to look a bit more interesting, but “no sigar”.
Then I heard a faint thunder, shifting winds and at last heavy rains followed suit. In a split second I stopped myself from rescuing the painting into the studio. I simply let the rain hammer the surface for a short moment. Shortly, an amazing structure appeared in the milky white and blue. It was like I was saying: «Well, nature, I can’t resolve this, now you have a go». The randomness of nature can be great if harnessed and captured.