Looking Through

TM9402 Looking Through 42×48 oil on panel

I am walking down a road in October. The sumac glows crimson, the blueberry bushes are every shade of red, coral, and dusky pink. The maples are scarlet, and through it all shines a brilliant blue sky. I am in the Season of Red, and I will dance to its very end.

Looking Through is an ode, a praise poem to a season and a color, but, more importantly, it is about seeing the evidence and then seeing through and in to the other side of evidence, where the spirit resides. Details below.

TM9402 Looking Through – detail from lower left

TM9402 Looking Through – detail from middle left

Technical painting notes: This painting was a long time coming. It was inspired, of course, by the New England landscape, especially the woods, but the freedom to use loose strokes and broad, over-rolls of pure red, then violet and orange came only when I was ready to give up. All my careful months of work had produced a tame, unexciting painting that didn’t feel the way I do in the presence of such magnificence. So I loaded my roller with bright blue and started building the negative shapes of the sky peaking through. Then came swaths of napthol red, then quinacridone violet. Something exciting was beginning to happen. I decided to keep rolling, wet into wet, and see what color mixes would happen, what soft-edged mysteries might be lurking inside the surface. Additional calligraphic strokes with a brush and a narrow roller added contrast and helped to suggest the branches and twigs in an abstract way.

Down by the Pond – January


TM9400 Down by the Pond – January 36×36 oil on panel

Days with strong sun are a welcome relief in January, especially after a fresh snowfall. This painting, from a trek through old farmland, shows a light breeze scattering snow from tree branches. The cow pond is frozen, but still there, and surrounded by brush. The questions is: should I go right or left? Details below. Enjoy.

TM9400 Down by the Pond – January – detail from center right with snow-covered branches and blowing snow

On Winter’s Trail

TM9399 On Winter’s Trail 36×36 oil on panel

The shadows are so long around the winter solstice; ribbons of blue and violet seem to stretch out forever, slipping through and around the woods, the creek, playing hide and seek with the idea of beginning and end. My eye follows  until I get lost in the woods, The faint smell of conifers, a few deep breaths, and it’s already time to turn back toward home. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9399 On Winter’s Trail – close-up view into the woods

TM9399 On Winter’s Trail – close-up of frozen creek and bank

Out Behind Kroll’s Field

TM9396 Out Behind Kroll’s Field #1 7×7 oil on paper

TM9397 Out Behind Kroll’s Field #2 7×7 oil on paper

TM9398 Out Behind Kroll’s Field #3 7×7 oil on paper

Ah the pleasures of winter – this time three little paintings based on memories of trekking through Mr. Kroll’s fields to get to the sledding hill. It was the place to be after school let out, but we had to hurry, since we only had about two hours of light left. From the top of the hill, there were two options. Straight down through an opening in the stone wall, or (more exciting) a steeply banked curve to the right under the barbed wire fence and over a narrow brook. That was the best. Mom never knew. Enjoy.

Winter Melts

TM9362 Winter Melts 30×36 oil on panel

I keep painting this place because is figures prominently in my memories from childhood. It’s a small pond at the edge of a woods, much like the favorite ice skating pond at the back of a field near my childhood home. The local farmer who owned the property plowed the snow for those of us who were lucky enough to trek down after school. I remember bitter cold, the sound of steel on ice, and my amazement at how some kids could really maneuver on their blades! I never developed any mastery of the skates, but the experience was pivotal in teaching me to love being outdoors in every season. Enjoy.

Stopping by the Woods

TM9393 Stopping by the Woods 30×36 oil on panel

When there isn’t any wind, fresh snow can cling to trees for days. Our last snowstorm provided one of these extended displays, with a delicate coating of white snow over everything. I studied the effects all week, from a bright morning, through sun, to the early shadows of December afternoons. Eventually, branches reached by sun emerged from their winter coats, but the understory kept its traceries of blue/gray and white. I loved the contrast of neutral shadows tinged with colorful sunlight. I’m beginning to think those arbitrary shadow lines, so evident in northern latitudes in winter, are one of nature’s most delight conditions to paint. I may have to start another! Enjoy.