September at the Pond

TM9506 September at the Pond 36×40 oil on panel

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.

TM9506 September at the Pond – detail from center top

TM9506 September at the Pond – detail from right side showing use of monoprint techniques to achieve textures

Morning’s Sunlight

TM9504 Morning’s Sunlight 24×24 oil on panel


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.

TM9504 Morning’s Sunlight – detail

TM9504 Morning’s Sunlight – detail from finished foreground showing use of brushwork and spatter

And below, a look at the first and second day’s progress:

TM9504 Morning’s Sunlight – first day’s progress, mostly working with a soft rubber roller and thinned paint to block in major color areas and a few prominent forms

TM9504 Morning’s Sunlight – second day’s progress, painting blended sky, then bringing in detail with brush and roller in the rest of the painting as I wait for the sky to dry


Ode to the Winter Ice Pond

TM9503 Ode to the Winter Ice Pond – final version 36×54 oil on panel

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.

TM9503 Ode to the Winter Ice Pond – Day 2 with all the primary masses and values blocked in

TM9503 Ode to the Winter Ice Pond 36×54 – Day 3 many of the details have been strengthened and multiple glazes brushed on to the panel to intensify the color, however the sweep of grasses and reflections on the left side was too pronounced and moved the viewer’s eye too quickly. – this would need to be resolved resolved, along with intensifying the feel of ice, frost, and more layering to create depth

TM9503 Ode to the Winter Ice Pond – final version 36×54 oil on panel

Details from the finished painting.

TM9503 Ode to the Winter Ice Pond – detail from right side with ice forming – I softened the edges with semi-transparent, gray-violet glazes

TM9503 Ode to the Winter Ice Pond – detail from upper left

TM9503 Ode to the Winter Ice Pond – detail from lower edge, softened and smudged will rolls of nearly transparent grey glazes

TM9503 Ode to the Winter Ice Pond – detail from upper right with ice and frost – the soft rubber roller was used to smudge the wet paint of the calligraphic frosty grasses, then used again to soften the glow of the sheen on the ice forming around the grasses

TM9503 Ode to the Winter Ice Pond – detail from lower left with slight ripples and open water

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

TM9502 Joy in the Morning 30×60 oil on panel

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.

TM9502 Joy in the Morning – detail from upper right showing use of roller, spatter, and brushwork

TM9502 Joy in the Morning – detail from left side

TM9502 Joy in the Morning – detail from center with vegetation overhanging the water

TM9502 Joy in the Morning – detail from lower edge of painting with branches, leaves, and watery ripples

TM9502 Joy in the Morning – detail from right of center

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.


Ode to a January Morning

TM9088 Ode to a January Morning 36×48 oil on panel

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.

TM9088 Ode to a January Morning – detail from shadowed foreground

TM9088 Ode to a January Morning – detail from upper left looking through brush and trees to ice pond and sunlit shore

TM9088 Ode to a January Morning – detail from left side with tangled branches and snow

TM9088 Ode to a January Morning – detail from lower right

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

TM9501 Which Way to Go – 36×40 oil on panel

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.

TM9501 Which Way to Go – detail from upper right with distant path

TM9501 Which Way to Go – detail from center

Winter Light

TM9500 Winter Light 36×36 oil on panel

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.

TM9500 Winter Light – detail from left side with new beaver dam

TM9500 Winter Light – detail


TM9499 Off-Trail 30×30 oil on panel

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.

TM9499 Off-Trail – detail from left side