New Roof

New Roof – Watercolor – 21 x 29 inches.

“The world is overflowing with things to paint, waiting only for you and your imagination. Your final assignment of this course is to paint a watercolor of any subject you wish.” One would think that after three months of drawing and painting under my direction, the students would have been happy to be set free, to paint whatever they wanted and not what I told them to paint. But no, of all the assignments during the semester, this one caused them the most dismay. Why? I wondered.

A few said that “the real world was intimidating;” there were too many subjects to choose from. They felt lost: “How do you choose?” My advice was “if you’re in doubt, just paint whatever happens to be in front of you.”

That watercolor class ended a long time ago and I forgot about the assignment until one morning when I looked out of the window of my studio and saw the house next door getting a new roof. This painting has nothing to do with dreams or mythology or symbolism or any of the other things that make me wonder. It’s just the result of being in doubt and following my own advice.

5 thoughts to “New Roof”

  1. The shadows create interesting contrasts and the shapes on the roof are not often seen so I think “the roof” is a fun place to contemplate 🤔

    1. Your comment is really a good one, Susan, because it was the shapes of the roof and the shadows that caught my attention in the first place. Thanks!

  2. That could be Howard roofing, in his youthful hippie days?! I can really picture you, at your studio window, while painting this. Love it 😍

  3. I understand as you suggest that the choice of subject for a drawing or a painting can be quite random or spontaneous, but that choice might also present some real challenges. So, under certain difficult circumstances, one might move on to a different subject. One could, I suppose, choose to paint a white-out blizzard, for example. That ought to be fairly easy. (But wait a second, you did paint something related, a subtle treatment of a feature in the snow: “Nunatak.” That, however, is another story.) The choice of subject for “New Roof” must have presented a number of difficulties: the many and varied planes, all of that HVAC equipment, several (6?) chimneys, at least seven windows with reflections, gabled roof, tar paper in the moment of being lowered then attached to the plane of the roof, eave supports, vent stacks, workers, wood, stone, fiber, and so on and so on. No detail seems left out (check the downspout bottom left). The details, the perspectives, in short, the requirements of the subject demand talent, experience, skill and audacity in the choice. Then you choose to render this complicated scene in watercolor, which at least in the layperson’s mind is more associated with the blurriness of impressionism. A difficult choice rendered superbly

    This is “tour de force” stuff. If the owners of the house didn’t buy the painting, they are missing something really exceptional.

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