Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Amish piece

Ok, so when we last saw the "Rumspringa" piece I had happily scraped crackle paste on the  hills. After letting it have a really good drying time it developed some lovely cracking.

These pictures where taken after I had filled in the cracks with paint.
I wanted a dark paint to seep into the cracks but I didn't want it to discolor the rest of the crackle paste. I very carefully, actually with my finger, applied gloss medium to all the flat areas of the crackle paste. I'm sure there is probably a better way to do this. I was protecting the bulk of the crackle paste with the medium. After that had dried and I carefully ran a wet brush with dark paint over the cracks I could wipe the flat areas clean. 
I didn't do the gel medium part one time and found that the paint had stained the crackle paste and it was almost impossible to get it to the color I really wanted it without disturbing the paint already in the cracks.
Now the fun part, layers and layers of paint. I applied a very diluted paint with a very porous sponge.  A dear friend of mine applies hers with a crumpled up tissue, something I think she learned how to make rocks in a watercolor class.

Wisconsin has gorgeous dirt.  It's dark and rich looking.  We even have a town nearby called Black Earth. As you move up the state and west you find wonderful hills, mounds and valleys and outcroppings. Many areas with outcroppings are actually unglaciated areas and what you are seeing in the bottom of an ancient sea bed. Lots of limestone and other beautiful colors. Some day I will sit down with a geology book and study what causes that wide range of colors, from orange to red in the limestone.
This is where I left it last night. I have to say I get so lost in the process I have to stop myself from adding to many layers before they have had a chance to dry or for me to evaluate how it looks.

I found myself sponging on color and thinking about the Amish, especially this community. Rich soil, good farms but not enough land for all the sons. 

I thought about the kids stopping school at 14 and 15 and working on the farm. I thought about this Rumspringa period of their lives and how hard a decision it was to make. Stay with their families, all they have ever known, close knit communities or leave and join the 21st century and be banished from everything you ever knew.

It's a painful decision for a child to make and even these young adults, in body, are still children when they experience our world.

To never see your parents, brothers and sisters or community again? Leaving the community is not an easy decision. 

I've been told that about 80% of the children do decide to move to the next step and stay in the Amish faith.

Even losing 20% of your children to the English will devastate a community.

I'm pleased, at this point, with the painting. It is bleak, it does look fractured as if pieces have been removed from the landscape. 

Still more to do, though.


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