Some paintings seem finished, until they don’t. Homage, a painting I thought I had finished, recently looked at me from the studio wall and said not yet! I agreed. It needed something, but I wasn’t sure what. So I put the painting back on the easel and dove in, lightening the trees on the sunny side, developing the distant ledges with more definitive highlights, adding more leaves floating on the current, and then it came it to me – bring some sound into the painting with water sheeting over the rocks. It isn’t the torrent of spring melt, but the quieter sound of summer’s flow. I also brought more light into the shadows, and reworked the balance between all the parts of the composition. It might be done. Details below. Previous (unfinished) version below the details. Enjoy!
I find myself alternating between close-up, more abstract images from the landscape and stepped back views. Understanding the details and perspective of the grand view seems to “ground” me, and also informs my interpretation of reality and freedom to invent. Homage is a recent painting that honors ancient mountains and the tremendous forces that erode them. It also contrasts the delicacy of trees clinging to the granite with the rough, fractured rock and silken water. The close-up details below show the use of monoprint techniques to build textures that suggest stone or foliage. Enjoy!
A walk in the woods – destination a beautiful Adirondack pool. You might think of lots of green leaves and green light (or gold and orange in autumn), but so often the woods is full of a rainbow’s worth of gray – stones, cliffs, ledge, tree trunks, lichens. The green is as likely to be moss. My recent perambulations around Purgatory Chasm State Reservation in central Massachusetts and a trip to the eastern side of New York’s Adirondacks inspired a host of ideas for paintings (stay tuned for those!) and certainly informed my approach to this painting. I wanted to contrast the heaviness of the granite with the mirror- like pond at its base – and explore a palette of neutrals with touches of warmth.
The photo below shows the initial application of a base layer of color. You can see me wiping out the forms, and developing a bit of texture.
To the mountains! The recent and inspiring drive to and around Saratoga Springs, New York brought back memories of hikes around the Adirondacks and the beautiful, yet intimate, views to be found there. Again, the theme of life struggling to find a foothold is evident, and the remarkably complex geometry of old mountains wearing away provides the context. Adirondack #1 is the first of what I hope will be a series of new paintings based on the natural environments found in New England and New York’s mountains.
Why the shift in subject matter? It is partly the outstanding beauty of the region that inspires me, but also the chance to paint hard surfaces after so many months working with water. And a change of palette. And the challenge of figuring out something new. And…I’m sure many more reasons that I can only guess at now….