(Video) Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with A Green Painting

Saint Patrick is the primary patron saint of Ireland, who was a missionary there in the second half of the fifth century. There is a lot of legend and lore surrounding him, most notably that he drove snakes out of Ireland and that he used the Shamrock to illustrate the concept of the Trinity to Irish pagans. As a teenager he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and forced to work as a shepherd but he eventually escaped back to Britain. Later he went back to Ireland as a missionary, and that turned out to be his life’s work.

St. Patrick’s Day

From what I can tell about the March 17 celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is it is an excuse to drink beer during the Lenten period. The consumption of alcohol and meat is typically forbidden during this time of fasting. So in the middle of Lent, there’s a feast to enjoy some meat and booze. (Anybody want to verify that for me? I’ve done a little checking around, and so far I think I’m pretty much on track.)

Since shamrocks are green, and Ireland itself is remarkably green, people traditionally wear green clothing on St. Patrick’s Day.

So with all that in mind, I set out to make a green painting just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve put together a time-lapse video. If you enjoyed it, please share it with a Tweet or a Facebook post. Thanks!

Step-by-Step: How I Painted This

  1. I started with an all-pink canvas inspired by a dream I had. I know that sounds weird, since pink isn’t a color I typically use (and neither is green). But it looked all right in my dream so I figured I’d give it a try.
  2. Then I added yellow masses, dripping them onto the canvas the way I’ve been doing lately.
  3. Once the yellow dried, I spread emerald green on the canvas with a painting knife. I used a large, wet brush to spread it further, wiping up excess paint so the pink and yellow can “bleed” through. The pink takes on a purplish tone in some spots.
  4. Once that was dry, I gave it a horizon line with dark green and built it up into a mass. I love painting light colors on top of dark colors since it gives it a certain luminosity. Light seems brighter in the midst of darkness.
  5. Next, I lightened up the portion on the smaller side of the “horizon.”
  6. The horizon is too high on the canvas, and the whole thing feels flat, so I took the painting knife and added a bright red-and-orange band between the light and dark areas.
  7. Now it is clear the orange needs to be more prominent. The pink is virtually nonexistent now, and that’s okay. As it turns out, is a story about green and orange. A little dark purple gives it some depth.
  8. Finally, I just kept pushing the light and dark areas and the bright and dull areas until I got it where I wanted it. My goal was to make it green. Accenting that with a complementary red-orange brings it to a new level

This is one of those pieces I could probably keep pushing for a long time, experimenting to see where it “wants” to go. It was fun pushing myself to use a completely different color scheme and painting technique than I’m used to!