Hydrangea Hedge

TM9291 Hydrangea Hedge 20×36 oil on panel

The hydrangea offers so many challenges. Not only are they lovely in bloom, but the range of colors they assume as they fade is nearly endless. Then there’s the off-symmetry of the flower heads, and how to paint the airiness of them. This painting is based on some photographs I took last summer. After working on a couple of hydrangea paintings, I’m beginning to see the potential for more….enjoy. Details below.

TM9291 Hydrangea Hedge – detail from upper left

TM9291 Hydrangea Hedge – detail from lower edge with fading blossom

TM9291 Hydrangea Hedge – detail from right side showing strong shapes created by a roller skipping across the surface of the panel


That Special Light

TM9290 That Special Light 36×60 oil on panel

It’s the moisture in the air that creates so much luminosity at the coast, but knowing the fact doesn’t take away any of the magic or mystery in that translucent environment. No, seeing through the layers of salt water, feeling the droplets all around you as you look out into the distance – these experiences always feel both new and familiar. The repeating waves carry a sense of renewal and induce a trance. Thoughts drop away and the mind fills with opalescent skies and shades of blue, and green. Like a magnet, the sea hold our attention, and for some of us it keeps a place in our hearts. Enjoy. Details below.

TM9290 That Special Light – detail from right foreground with incoming waves and backwash

TM9290 That Special Light – detail from left side

TM9290 That Special Light – detail

Winter Coast, Part 2

Still cold and stormy, but maybe these are the last winter studies for this year?


Winter Waves


Practice, practice, practice they say…..and so I do. Working on studies of a particular subject for years does deepen one’s knowledge and response. It also offers the challenge of finding new ways to interpret the familiar. These four winter studies explore a few of the different moods of winter, with associated palettes. I look forward to the more luminous light of spring….but first there is March….enjoy!


Peter’s Peonies

TM9280 Peter’s Peonies 30×36 oil on panel

My grandmother had a gorgeous bank of peonies curving along the driveway. Every spring, I spent hours sniffing them, and hoping they would bloom at exactly the right time to bring one to school for my teacher. This seldom happened, Peonies bloom when they are ready, not for us, and their magnificent blossoms don’t last long, especially if stormy weather is in the forecast. Last summer, I spotted my neighbor Peter’s peonies in the Victory Gardens. They were blown over by the previous night’s storm, but still beautiful¬† – perhaps more so because the storm emphasized their fragility. I knew I would eventually paint them. Here they are, in all their glory. Details below.

TM9280 Peter’s Peonies – detail from left side with wind-blown blossoms

TM9280 Peter’s Peonies – detail from upper right

TM9280 Peter’s Peonies – detail from upper edge

TM9280 Peter’s Peonies – detail showing use of brush, rubber roller, and silicone scraper to manipulate paint

Technical painting notes: I used mostly monoprint techniques and soft rubber rollers to create this painting. The base layer was a mix of dark greens and black, rolled onto the panel then manipulated with solvent and rags. I “drew” the image with silicone scrapers while the paint was wet. When the initial layer was dry, I rolled on transparent glazes and painted into the wet glazes to add denser color to the highlights. I used 1-3″ rollers to block in the leaves and flowers, refining some of the strokes with traditional, soft watercolor brushes. A 1/4″ Takech rubber roller was used for finer details. The layering of roller and brush work in wet paint has the advantage of fostering unusual color blends and a variety of soft and crisp edges.

From Elizabeth’s Garden

TM9279 From Elizabeth’s Garden 20×36 oil on panel

I’ve been rethinking my approach to painting my garden subjects, looking to include more of the mystery and poetry inherent in the subject. With that in mind, perhaps less is more? This new painting leaves more unsaid – I tried to capture the feel and gesture of the flowers but leave the mystery. In some ways. it resembles a series a small monoprint and colored pencil works on paper I did many years ago, also of garden subjects, but somewhat fanciful. The great spiral at work again, revisiting familiar ideas in new and, in this case larger, ways. And thank you Elizabeth!¬† Details below.

TM9279 From Elizabeth’s Garden – detail from upper right showing evidence of scraping and rolling

TM9279 From Elizabeth’s Garden – detail from lower center

Technical painting notes: I used my soft rubber rollers extensively on this painting, both to lay in the dark base layer (which was then manipulated with rags to suggest highlights and silicone scrapers to “draw” the shapes and forms). Transparent glazes were added later, then refinements were painted using a brush, manipulated with rollers. The layering of brushwork and roller work helped to keep the image suggestive and not too defined. Subtle color effects were a by-product of the wet into wet rolling.

Hydrangea Morning

TM9278 Hydrangea Morning 30 x 40 oil on panel

Maybe it’s still winter outside, but my thoughts are turning toward spring and summer – especially working on garden-themed subjects for my paintings. Hydrangea Morning, with its light, sunny palette reminds me of morning walks with my dog along the streets of Boston, and especially through the Victory Gardens. We stop and sniff, saying hello to our favorite specimens. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9278 Hydrangea Morning – detail from upper right with breeze-blown leaves and blossom

TM9278 Hydrangea Morning – detail from upper left showing use of roller and brush applied paintTechnical

TM9278 Hydrangea Morning – detail from lower edge with close-up of blossom

Technical painting notes: I used my soft rubber rollers extensively on this painting. For the first layer, I rolled a mixture of dark greens mixed with black and brown, then proceeded to wipe away the highlights. I spattered solvent on the panel, then re-rolled areas to lift and distribute paint. Scrapers were used to draw the image, especially for stems and leaves. When the first layer was dry, I rolled on transparent color to block in the leaves and blossoms, letting the roller skip and jump across the panel.  Some brushwork helped to define the patterns, which were then re-rolled to suggest motion. For the flowers, I purposely picked up dots of tinted white paint on the roller and rolled out the paint, letting chance intervene.