The title says it all. It’s about looking at slices of the pond and focusing on the abstract relationships. In this case, a pattern of blue sky and cumulous clouds underneath emerging duckweed and reflections of scrub along the pond edge. Spring is fully here, finally. Details below. Enjoy.
Studying the pond, I am constantly surprised by what I see. This time it’s the reflections of cumulous clouds underlaying reflections of stalks and other growth, then superimposed with emerging duckweed. It all seems so abstract and unreal, but it is there. So are the seasons – new growth next to last year’s floating leaves. Each day brings its own presence. Detail below. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: This painting was begun using monoprint techniques on a primed and sanded panel. Thinned, dark oil paint, applied loosely with a soft rubber roller was then manipulated with solvents (streaked, spritzed, etc.) to achieve a textured and interesting base. Next came transparent glazes, then wet into wet brushwork to define major sky areas and bring out the detail in the reflected vegetation and stalks. Once this layer was dry, additional layers of detail work brought the “place” into focus. I used thinned applications of semi-transparent paint applied with the roller to bridge some of the masses. THe floating leaves were last, scraping out the center veins with a silicone scraper.
November is a dark month at my pond. Everything goes silent, the days shorten, and films of ice form and reform on the water, obscuring and blurring both reflections and the mysterious shapes beneath the surface. I love the quiet colors of November and the mood of introspection. Even the pond seems to be looking within. Details below. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: The painting is based on sketches and photographs from the site, but once the painting was underway, I let my intuition and memory lead. The accidental dark shapes and textures on the base layer (achieved using monoprint techniques) were so interesting I decided not to bury them under leaves. The pond revealed itself through the process of painting – who am I to interfere?
The rapid cycling last winter between frigid temperatures and thaws produced incredible patterns on the pond. I did many photographic and oil studies of the ice as it melted and reformed, embracing and embedding leaves in its surface. The results are both terribly abstract and exactingly realistic – a hybrid condition that I love. The painting was constructed using many techniques, starting with monoprint-based rolls of thin, dark paint which were spritzed with solvents, re-rolled, scratched and wiped into, then glazed. I was looking for a few bold, dark shapes that would anchor the composition – dark enough to glow through the later layers of transparent ice. The base layer also set the ground of textures. Details suggesting leaves were developed with soft brushes; additional glazes introduced more color. While the paint was wet, I used a roller loaded with transparent soft grays, off whites, and blues to subdue the detail and suggest the ice layers. A few final edges were delineated with more brushwork, layered spatter, then more rolls. The process was partly intuitive, partly based on myriad photos and studies. In many ways, the painting has a strong kinship with pattern painting. Details below. Enjoy.
April seems so slow to arrive, then suddenly the pond is filling with movement and sound. Daily, I see something new to paint and share. Enjoy. Details below.
I’ve been hanging out watching vernal pools, a favorite spring activity of mine. So much is happening below the surface. This painting is based on a vernal pool in Concord, Massachusetts shortly after a tadpole hatch. The little swimmers are darting all over the pond agitating the water. So cool. Detail below.
Fenway Open Studios April 30 and May 1, 30 Ipswich Street in Boston, Massachusetts I will beopen noon to 5pm both days. Masks needed to visit studios, plus an outdoor tented exhibit, bands, ice-cream truck, and grand opening of the non-profit Fenway Gallery. Hope to see you!
An intimate little view of grasses sprouting at the shallow end of the pond. I found this painting when I was cleaning up for open studios – it wasn’t finished, though I had started it years ago. Sometimes it takes a long time to figure out what a painting wants to be. With much more experience now, it was easy to put the finishing touches to it.
April is a month of rapid change at the pond. At the start of the month, the water is crystal clear and the reflections sharp and cold. By later in the month, duckweed flecks are beginning to appear, the shallow grasses are nudging up, and the water is full of ripples suggesting tadpoles and peepers below the surface. I want all of it in my paintings. The tempo of ripple and the hum of life is so musical and subtle. To keep that mood while I’m working in the studio, I usually play music that echoes the feel and tempo of what I want to create, setting the pace of the brushstroke. For this painting, I chose John Cage (especially his work on the toy piano) and a cd of Philip Glass, played by Bruce Brubaker. The tonality and rhythm evoked water, and Cage’s toy piano had a spirit of innocence and joy about it that said spring, at least to this artist. Details below. Enjoy.
I will be opening my studio for the
Annual Fenway Open Studios
April 30 & May 1
11AM to 5PM (I will be open noon to 5 both days, studio 103)
30 Ipswich Street, Boston, Massachusetts
Masks strongly recommended for visiting the individual artists’ studios. There will also be an outdoor exhibition, music, and ice-cream, with our block of Ipswich Street closed for the celebration.
The grand opening of our non-profit the Fenway Gallery is Sunday, May 1, with reception at noon.