Path into the Woods

TM96324 Path into the Woods 7×7 oil on paper

:This study of an alternate path through the woods on a snowy day is full of the sunshine that is so dear in January. There are so many trails in these woods. I can’t help but think of Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken:

“………And I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Over the years, I’ve walked many of the trails, and I am still finding more. Best is when I get off the trail, keeping the position of the sun in mind, and start exploring. I call it tromping the swamps. In winter, the abstract patterns of ice and frost collecting around clumps of grasses is so visually exciting. It was the inspiration of my large painting The Winter Pond. I look forward to working with the subject again when the temperature drops. In the meantime, I’ll try a few new trails…….Enjoy.

Scarlet Leaves (in progress)

Diptych Scarlet Leaves leaning against the studio wall to dry after first day of work.

Today I started work on a diptych to be titled Scarlet Leaves. I set up two tables to hold the panels, then worked with dark oil paints to establish primary forms and rhythms. I used burnt umber and black mixed with Liquin Impasto medium to speed drying. A mix of mineral spirits and stand oil loosened the paint so I could push it around. It was also used to thin the paint for spatter, then rerolling. creating textures, soft edges, and interesting accidents. it will take a few days for the surface to dry enough for the next layer of work. At this point, I have an idea of where I want the image to go, based on observations in the woods. The interesting part will be keeping the feel of what I saw, but allowing the accidents and interesting mishaps to inform the final result, bringing a sense of chance and the unexpected (which is also a part of being in the woods) to the final painting.

Winter Creek

TM9621 Winter Creek 7×7 oil on paper

Some places haunt us – they enter our hearts or psyches and take up residence. This creek in the mountains is such a place for me. Maybe it’s the music of the flowing water surrounded by silence, or the arrangement of open space and woods, but it excites me every time. Winter may be the best, as with the sun coming out after a gray morning. Whatever the secret is, I choose to simply enjoy it.

More Deep Snow

TM9610 Deep Snow #3 7×7 oil on paper
TM9611 Deep Snow #4 7×7 oil on paper

Two more little babies from the Deep Snow series, which could also be called a walk in the woods. These two are based on winter walks at Purgatory Chasm. Not an easy hike, but so worth it, especially with fresh snow and sunshine. Enjoy!

The Winter Pond

TM9619 The Winter Pond 36×54 oil on panel

Some paintings are years in development. The initial idea seems like a good one, but the artist’s skills aren’t yet up to the challenge. The Winter Pond is one of those paintings. Every winter I worked on it, then got stuck. But today, I realized where it had to go, and how I might get there. I think the solution was partly in taking bigger risks, losing the brush, and embracing every rubber roller in my arsenal. The colors are based on my pond/swamp, and the gestures, but I took liberties with placement and angle of perception. Letting the abstract qualities dominate brought the painting closer to the feeling of the place and that cold time of year when there is some meltwater but still a lot of ice and snow. I also gained some insights into how I might tackle some larger paintings or diptychs……..the fun begins! Details below. Enjoy!

TM9619 The Winter Pond – detail from center
TM9619 The Winter Pond – detail from right side
TM9619 The Winter Pond – detail from left side

Into the Woods

TM9587 Into the Woods 7×7 oil on paper

Winter is a very abstract time – the shapes and colors of life are lost under ice and snow. I think it is this abstraction that draws me toward painting winter. I love abstract expressionism, but it isn’t innately my personality. When I choose to paint winter, I can trick my brain into thinking more abstractly. Such a treat to be able to experience that change in my way of being and seeing. I start many paintings intending them to be quite abstract, but they usually turn into some kind of view, and definitely have a sense of place. So, I keep trying.

Into the woods is clearly a place, a time, a subject. But this demure setting on a winter day in dimmed light keeps some sense of its abstract underpinnings. Often, it’s that tenuous line between abstraction and reality that is most intriguing. Enjoy.

Morning after the Blizzard

TM9595 After the Blizzard 7×7 oil on paper

The drama of blizzard gives way to the joy of sun returning, and a chance to go outside and find out what happened. I adore the subtle colors as the light returns, and the mysteries of what lies beneath the lumps of snow. Enjoy.