Watching the Wind

TM9162 Watching the Wind 36×60 oil on panel

Working in the studio is not a linear activity, with clear starts and finishes. Watching the Wind is an example. Last year I started the painting after watching trees outside my window during a blustery bright day. The abstract sense of movement and rhythm seemed like a good challenge for a painting, Last week, when a gallery asked to show the painting, I realized it wasn’t quite finished. The mood of gaiety was what I wanted, but the color needed more complexity. I learn with every painting, and the last year had  wrought changes in me that needed to go into the painting. So it went back on the easel. The painting above is the finished version. Below, are details from the new version, and at the bottom you’ll see the version I thought was finished last year…….live, paint, and learn…isn’t life wonderful…

TM9162 Watching the Wind – detail from center top with wind-tossed leaves and more drawing

TM9162 Watching the Wind – detail from right side with additional soft grays

Adding more cool neutral grays and layering more of the calligraphic lines descriptive of leaves in motion added depth to the painting. The painting, as it was completed last year, is below.

TM9162 Watching the Wind 36×60 oil on panel (first version)

Remembered Peony

TM9292 Remembered Peony 24×32 oil on panel

I’ve been revisiting my old monoprint techniques, starting with a dark value and working my way into the light with wiping, lifting, and finally rolls of translucent paint. Pulling an image from darkness can feel like pulling a memory from the darkest recesses of the mind. Chance and the veracity of fiction vs. fact. Do I really remember this?  Or am I  inventing the memory I would like to recall? In any event, the resulting paintings can seem more otherworldly. Either way, I think I’ll try this again. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9292 Remembered Peony -detail

TM9292 Remembered Peony – detail from left side with bud and blossoms

Hydrangea Hedge

TM9291 Hydrangea Hedge 20×36 oil on panel

The hydrangea offers so many challenges. Not only are they lovely in bloom, but the range of colors they assume as they fade is nearly endless. Then there’s the off-symmetry of the flower heads, and how to paint the airiness of them. This painting is based on some photographs I took last summer. After working on a couple of hydrangea paintings, I’m beginning to see the potential for more….enjoy. Details below.

TM9291 Hydrangea Hedge – detail from upper left

TM9291 Hydrangea Hedge – detail from lower edge with fading blossom

TM9291 Hydrangea Hedge – detail from right side showing strong shapes created by a roller skipping across the surface of the panel


That Special Light

TM9290 That Special Light 36×60 oil on panel

It’s the moisture in the air that creates so much luminosity at the coast, but knowing the fact doesn’t take away any of the magic or mystery in that translucent environment. No, seeing through the layers of salt water, feeling the droplets all around you as you look out into the distance – these experiences always feel both new and familiar. The repeating waves carry a sense of renewal and induce a trance. Thoughts drop away and the mind fills with opalescent skies and shades of blue, and green. Like a magnet, the sea hold our attention, and for some of us it keeps a place in our hearts. Enjoy. Details below.

TM9290 That Special Light – detail from right foreground with incoming waves and backwash

Winter Coast, Part 2

Still cold and stormy, but maybe these are the last winter studies for this year?


Winter Waves


Practice, practice, practice they say…..and so I do. Working on studies of a particular subject for years does deepen one’s knowledge and response. It also offers the challenge of finding new ways to interpret the familiar. These four winter studies explore a few of the different moods of winter, with associated palettes. I look forward to the more luminous light of spring….but first there is March….enjoy!


Peter’s Peonies

TM9280 Peter’s Peonies 30×36 oil on panel

My grandmother had a gorgeous bank of peonies curving along the driveway. Every spring, I spent hours sniffing them, and hoping they would bloom at exactly the right time to bring one to school for my teacher. This seldom happened, Peonies bloom when they are ready, not for us, and their magnificent blossoms don’t last long, especially if stormy weather is in the forecast. Last summer, I spotted my neighbor Peter’s peonies in the Victory Gardens. They were blown over by the previous night’s storm, but still beautiful  – perhaps more so because the storm emphasized their fragility. I knew I would eventually paint them. Here they are, in all their glory. Details below.

TM9280 Peter’s Peonies – detail from left side with wind-blown blossoms

TM9280 Peter’s Peonies – detail from upper right

TM9280 Peter’s Peonies – detail from upper edge

TM9280 Peter’s Peonies – detail showing use of brush, rubber roller, and silicone scraper to manipulate paint

Technical painting notes: I used mostly monoprint techniques and soft rubber rollers to create this painting. The base layer was a mix of dark greens and black, rolled onto the panel then manipulated with solvent and rags. I “drew” the image with silicone scrapers while the paint was wet. When the initial layer was dry, I rolled on transparent glazes and painted into the wet glazes to add denser color to the highlights. I used 1-3″ rollers to block in the leaves and flowers, refining some of the strokes with traditional, soft watercolor brushes. A 1/4″ Takech rubber roller was used for finer details. The layering of roller and brush work in wet paint has the advantage of fostering unusual color blends and a variety of soft and crisp edges.