03 February 2014

Small Moments

Sometimes I look around and get overwhelmed, how to capture just one thing, one moment?

In those moments I do something that may be counter intuitive: a quick small painting.

oil on linen panel
©Kelly Medford

This was painted in a long flat valley of just agricultural fields on the way to a place called Morgan Hill in California. I was driving and driving, thinking I would find "the perfect" painting, the one that was just waiting for me.

Instead, as I have to remember over and over again, I choose and compose that perfect painting, it is rarely just there.

I wanted to challenge myself with the effect of looking into the light instead of it being behind me or to one side. This is tricky. Firstly because it is not a pleasant experience looking into the sun (must wear a hat with a good brim and/or sunglasses) and also because the tones can be cooler, bluer and closer together than usual. But not always.

That's the trick: paint every painting as if it were new (which it is), without a formula or idea of I already know how to do this.

Sounds easy, but is it really?

Think about something that you do every day. Do we do those things half on auto pilot? Most likely.

I often times shy away from this type of painting where I am looking into the light. Due to past failures of being able to capture the effect I got the idea that it is too hard.

Silly me!

Instead, like everything else, it just takes practice, lots of failures and the willingness to not know how to do something and see what you can invent in the moment.

This was my little painting for this particular morning in California. What a place. I loved every moment of my time painting there.


  1. Kelly, I love your commentary today, ah, so true! I'm more often than not facing the sun and also wondering, why am I facing the sun? Keeping yourself on the edge is, well, not easy, it means your always looking, often times not in your comfort zone, or in one aspect at least. Thanks! Matt

    1. Hey Matt, yes sometimes looking into the sun is a great idea when you want to get that painting, but as the time passes it seems, well, less than intelligent, right?!
      Thanks for your comments and for stopping by the blog. And happy painting to you- I guess you are dealing with snow reflected light up there, now that's tough!


  2. Auto pilot? Yes sometimes. Sometimes it's good as it helps with dealing witht the unknown, but also as you rightly say here sometimes it's a problem.

    You can tell you enjoyed painting this!

    1. Sue, thanks and of course it is always comforting to know that others sometimes go on auto pilot as well, ha!
      I did enjoy painting this, I so enjoyed California. But don't get me wrong, I'm delighted to be back in Rome too.

      Happy sketching and drawing to you,