Where to spend my summer – virtually. This is it. Especially if I can have a studio overlooking this spot. It’s all a matter of using one’s imagination. Enjoy!
Some trails become a habit. Maybe it’s because they are close-by. I tend to think it’s because they always provide a boost to the spirit and something new to appreciate. I particularly enjoy learning and recording the changes that seasons bring, then incorporating these details into my paintings. Below, you’ll find a few photos showing the development of this piece. Enjoy.
On the first day of painting, I strive to block in the major values and textures. I use a roller to apply thinned oil paint, then manipulate it with mineral spirits and paper towels. I want the feel and gesture of the forms to be established.
The second day started with blocking in the sky and defining the trees. Compositionally, I liked the stalwart tree almost dead center as a focus and contrast to all the diagonals of the granite ledge and uplifted tree boughs. On the third day, I worked on the pattern of light on the granite, and refined the detail in the stone.
On the last day, I decided to bring more light and air into the trees, and lightened the distant ridge so it would recede.
More light and saturated color were added to the overhanging foliage, and reds and violets were glazed onto the ledge in the shadows.
I also glazed more warmth into the stone granite at the bottom of the painting. Finished!
I’ve passed the sign for Clarksburg State Park off Route 2 many times when delivering artwork, and somehow I never took that right turn. Well, I finally did last summer. What a surprise as I climbed the park road and found a basin of light and towering cliffs! I spent much of the morning scampering around the gorge and quarry with my camera. This is the first painting from that day, soon to be delivered to Greylock Gallery in Williamstown, MA. Detail below. Enjoy.
It’s finally here, a perfectly lovely June day. I love the way late May and Early June leaves are so soft and vibrantly green. I feel compelled to touch them, as if they couldn’t possibly be as soft as they seem. Bless them. This is another painting based on the trees and vines overhanging my little creek. Details below. Enjoy.
So much pain and sadness fills the news, and yet we have to find our way. For me, respites are my work in the studio, usually reimagining a walk along the creek or to my favorite pond. It’s a chance to remember that life does go on, the leaves will unfold into summer shade. The poetry of light and color is still here to be enjoyed. It is possible to continue. Details below. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: The painting developed from a fairly abstract beginning, with the main values blocked in and a few directional lines of energy scraped out. While based on the creek by my studio, I have taken liberties, selecting the details I want to emphasize, and using the roller to blur and soften other areas. Generally, I work from abstract to real, then layer in more impressions to get at the essence of the place, not the facts but the feel of what I’m seeing.
Evening Poem is from late in the day, as the light is slowly disappearing. Based on the nearby Muddy River, it is a my ode to the twin necessities of solace and quiet. Details below. Enjoy.
Many of the locales I paint were once farmland. The woods are mostly young, and the margins, defined by old stone walls, are a maze of grape and bittersweet vines, raspberry canes, and wildflowers. It’s a tangle of luxuriant growth bursting with color in the fall. All of that informed Inside Autumn, my homage to the season. Details below. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: I used mostly soft rubber rollers to apply the paint, beginning with a mixture of burnt siennas, umbers, and violets for the first pass. While the paint was wet, I drew into it with scrapers to establish the major branches and vines, then spritzed areas with solvent, which was rerolled to lift and soften textures and color. Some brush work to define negative areas and leaves followed. When this layer was dry, I rerolled burnt sienna over much of the surface and purposely streaked it with solvents and oil, spritzed it with solvents, and rerolled the surface. More scraping defined the tangle, along with some glazing. Using various viscosities of paint, I was able to lay down color or pick it up, revealing underlayers. When dry, I refined the color and edges with brushwork.
Late spring and early autumn share a multitude of yellows, and with that yellow comes a bold dose of sunshine and, dare I say, moments of bliss. Yellow is the color of uplift and joy. It is also a difficult color for the painter, who must find a way to mix a range of yellows without losing the clarity of the hue and its emotional impact. Ever hear of a dark yellow? Rarely, and it’s almost never happy. Hence, my Song in a Key of Yellow is about joy, the seasons, and the music of nature. Details below.
P.S. Do you ever find the bird you know is singing in a nearby tree? I rarely do, but I know he’s in there.