Poem from the Garden

TM9535 Poem from the Garden 20×36 oil on panel

The sensuality of peonies in full bloom is extraordinary,. Painting that sensuality, and trying to convey an invitation to draw closer and take a deep breath – well, that is the challenge. Portraying every detail might seem like the right approach. But, seeing too much might actually inhibit the sense of mystery and the feeling of scent in the air around the flowers. In Poem from the Garden I chose to work broadly and use restraint painting the details. The loosely rolled underpainting, full of unexpected shapes and textures, was almost interesting enough without additional work. A few simple glazes and limited opaque highlights extended the range of tones and provided just enough information to establish that this is, indeed, a poem from the garden. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9535 Poem from the Garden – detail from lower right
TM9535 Poem from the Garden – detail from left of center showing broadly rolled paint with overlaid glaze and selectively defined portions of blossoms and leaves

Notes from the Garden – Abundance

TM9534 Notes from the Garden – Abundance 20×36 oil on panel

Nature loves to fill a void, and the garden is no exception. Actually, I prefer a little chaos. Too much order is boring. So here’s too enthusiasm among the blossoms! details below. Enjoy.

TM9534 Notes from the Garden – Abundance – close-up from upper right
TM9534 Notes from the Garden – Abundance – detail from lower left with hydrangea surrounded by volunteers
TM9534 Notes from the Garden – Abundance – detail from right side

Technical painting notes: This painting began with a roll-up of thinned burnt sienna paint manipulated with rags and scrapers to block in the major shapes. After the first layer was dry, I used alkyd glazes to introduce color (thinned terra rosa and some olive greens). While the glaze was wet, I started defining flowers and leaves using brushes and a heavier bodied paint. I used a roller charged with transparent paint to blend and break up the patterns, introducing some chaos. Further linear definition with cool, bluish gray greens and yellows offered contrast to the broad, rolled shapes and blends. I emphasized the yellow shades as a way to bring sunshine and warmth into the painting.

Notes from the Garden – Hydrangea

nc TM9533 Notes from the Garden – Hydrangea 20×30 oil on panel

The garden has been a theme in art for a thousand years. With such a long history, and works from so many cultures across time, the question is what more can I add? The short answer is I don’t know! But the only way to find the answer is to start painting/playing. The pleasure of the pursuit might be enough, but maybe someone else will find pleasure in these paintings too, and that would be even better. More than that, only time will tell….details below. Enjoy.

TM9533 Notes from the Garden – Hydrangea – detail from center
TTM9533 Notes from the Garden – Hydrangea – detail from upper left

Technical painting notes: I started by rolling a thinned, payne’s grey oil paint on the panel with a soft roller, using the roller marks to block out the lights and darks. Selective wiping clarified some shapes. I let this layer dry, then used alkyd glazes to bring in color masses. From this point, it was a game between painting the “correct” details and taking advantage of the scattered and arbitrary roller strokes and accidents to build an interesting image.

Notes from the Garden

TM9532 Notes from the Garden 20×36 oil on panel

What to do with the scraps of wood panels leftover from the large paintings? Fool around with some fun garden paintings. These smaller paintings are all about a change of palette and lots of little experiments, like taking a break after the complicated work. They also tap into the part of me that loves working in a garden. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9532 Notes from the Garden – close up from center showing use of saturated color vs. gray tones
TM9532 Notes from the Garden – close-up from right of center showing use of roller strokes and brush

Youthful Woods

TM9531 Youthful Woods 36×40 oil on panel

Another road trip delivering artwork, and I am always amazed at how lovely the passing landscape is. So many new leaves! And the May flies hatched this week. I’m hoping to start more paintings based on these little trips around New England. It’s love renewed, getting out into the stony geography and mountains. Enjoy. Detail below.

TM9531 Youthful Woods – close-up from bottom edge of painting

Spring Begins in the Shallows

TM9529 Spring Begins in the Shallows 36×36 oil on panel

In early April the water in the pond is cold and deepest blue, but as the days warm an explosion happens. Suddenly, there are bubbles and blips as frogs frisk. Duckweed starts to appear along the edges, stray debris floats by, and a green sludge of life blooms. The water seems so dense! Through it all, one can see white clouds and blue sky. It is an amazing and supremely hopeful occurrence. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9529 Spring Begins in the Shallows – detail from upper left
TM9529 Spring Begins in the Shallows – detail from left side
TM9529 Spring Begins in the Shallows – detail from center

Later that Morning

TM9530 Later that Morning 36×40 oil on panel

Taking the same route regularly offers a wonderful opportunity to see and study the roadside view in changing weather conditions, and to watch trees grow and mature, or suffer the hardship of storms. It becomes a ritual of perception; thinking about how to paint what I see, anticipating what I could see. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9530 Later that Morning – close-up from upper left
TM9530 Later that Morning – detail from lower left side
TM9530 Later that Morning – detail from right of center