Early September is deceptive. It feels like summer, but there are a few signs of the cool weather to come – a slightly redder tint, a golden tone, a less humid sky. This quiet view at mid-morning is typical. Nothing loud or showy, just a bit of bedrock, a scattering of juvenile pines, and drifting duckweed. Maybe the beaver will come by later. Details below. Enjoy.
The inspiration for Winter’s Sunlight comes from old fields and woods surrounding a cow pond. A common enough sight when I was growing up, and a place all of us loved (for fishing, skating, and general exploring). Our first snow storm of the season brings its own magic to this favorite place. Details below, along with a sneak peek at the painting in progress. Enjoy.
And below, a look at the first and second day’s progress:
The line between abstraction and realism is almost non-existent. Impressions, nuances, an impulsive color or gesture – these elements can determine the context in which we re-cognize a place or an emotional state. Ode to the Winter Ice Pond is based on my (sometimes) daily observations of a local ice pond freezing in winter. It records the changes, from open water to the first scrim of thin ice to frozen ripples. Some of the gestures are from grasses caught above and below the water, or the reddish branches that can seem so vibrant when stripped of their leaves, or outlined with snow. Is it realism? abstraction? impressionism? I don’t like categories. I just love to look, and then paint. Anything else I leave for you to figure out.
This painting went through a number of transitions, I thought it would be interesting to share its development.
Details from the finished painting.
Technical painting notes: While the colors of winter at the ice pond are somewhat limited, I used warm and cool versions of the blues, greens and reds to keep the painting’s palette interesting
Joy in the Morning; the title explains itself. I adore the lush environments found along creeks and rivers where vegetation and water meet, where reality and its counterpart overlap, The subject lends itself to to a more abstract, looser approach, and seems to demand a larger format as well – room to play with tangent, flickering light amidst the bright blues of a reflected sky. I thought of calling the painting “Riverside,” but with this much color, it’s more about my emotional response to the place, the light, and my enthusiasm greeting a new day. I find I keep asking myself is this painting abstract? Maybe, but not entirely. Is it abstract impressionism? I think that term describes the playfulness of painting with the roller, while the word impressionism reminds one that this is still based on observation. Whatever the proper descriptive phrase, it seems to be the direction toward which I am heading. Details below. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: There are a considerable number of semi-transparent layers of paint and glaze building this image. I used Winsor Newton Liguin mixed into the oil paint to create luminosity and to speed drying. I also worked from dark to light, with the underlayers of dark green and a brownish black showing through occasionally.
It’s a crisp, cold, sunlit morning and I’m hiking to the ice pond where the farm used to be. Last night’s snow has sugared everything, Sunlight peaking over the ridge brings the illusion of warmth, and much cheer, to one of my favorite places. Details below. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: This painting utilized brush and roller to both paint and obscure details. I wanted to capture the spontaneous impressions of hiking through young woods, with all the tangles and vines – especially the abstract the quality of the chaos. I also wanted the essential gestures of the geographical place to be present, or at least glimpsed, Surprise and recognition, warm and cool, hard and soft – these were the ideas I kept in mind as I painted, looking for balance.
Which Way to Go features a new, looser approach to brushwork and color. Based on old pastures returning to a woodland state, the painting is also about finding one’s way when faced with many choices. Paths and trails always beckon, but often we don’t know where they will lead. In this case, I also don’t know if this looser approach will be a false path or one worth taking,….only following the path further will tell. Details below.
One interesting part of painting a location over time is watching all the changes. I recently revisited a favorite haunt, and discovered the beavers had been very busy building a new dam.. It was beautifully engineered. It also assures that I will have continued access to my well-protected pond and wetlands. Great allies. I thank you. Details below.
Watching the sun come up over the hill and sneak it’s light into the woods is a favorite morning ritual of mine, and winter is the best time to watch. Suddenly, the world brightens and stripes of white appear. It brings a smile to my face. Off-Trail is about these moments in a pristine world Detail below. Enjoy.