Winter's Garden
2011, 24 x 12 inches, encaustic on panel

The idea for this painting came during winter while I was still living in Charleston, from a memory of something I experienced each morning when the light was just so: winter sky against a nearly bare tree still holding on to a few orange-brown, withered leaves.  The painting is informed by feelings evoked by this scene- the poetry of the image- not the imagery itself.

After leaving Charleston and settling on the Texas coast, I began work on this painting.  Originally the large beige-blue area was meant to be cold, pale grey-blue.  (Beige wasn't part of the plan.)  But it wasn't working with the rusty orange.  What happened next was this:  In an attempt to "join" the orange and grey-blue, I added thin veils of warm beige over the grey-blue.  This is very interesting to me; for in the painting, I see that Charleston memory combined with the colors of a Corpus Christi sunset!  The "then" and the "now", however unintentional.

I decided to keep the title "Winter's Garden"because that's what I wanted to recall while painting this piece- winter's light and remnants of life from a tree that didn't quite shed its leaves- even though the finished painting has elements of both Charleston and Corpus Christi.

It hit me, again, the importance of place and memory in my work.

You can see the painting in several stages here and here.


Pete Hoge said...

I am challenged by the
tall format of the picture,
but I like the cloudy
field to the right of the
positive form.


Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...


Yes, there's definitely a warmer element now, which wasn't part of the original plan. Our sky here on the Texas coast is usually hazy -almost dirty looking- during the day, giving way to phenomenal sunsets. It amazes me how much it's affected this painting.

The tall format challenged me, too, but I wanted to exaggerate the strong vertical imagery of that wintery scene in Charleston, for it stuck in my memory as such.