The ephemeral coastline, constantly changing as the tide ebbs and flows, is a complex subject for painting. The geometry of the outcrops and ledges, the whimsy of the water, call combined with the changing mood of the weather – what fun! These two studies, from warmer, then cooler, days began with a dark underpainting. When that was dry, I started to develop the medium values then the lights. Along the way, I tried to keep the feeling of vigor and roughness, for this coastline is anything but gentle. It is full of surprises – changes in coloration in the layers of stone can be quite drastic, especially the nearly black layers. This is a slippery, treacherous place.
Watching the Waves Come In is a long-term series that is always in development. Every time I learn something new I see what effect it will have on my little wave paintings. Or sometimes these small paintings inform my larger work. Either way, they are a delight to paint. I used to use a brush when working on them, but now it is mostly the palette knife, with more attention paid to the viscosity of the paint and the choice of paper – smooth or textured watercolor paper (primed). I look for ways to let the viscosity emulate the action of the water – more like sneaking up on the subject rather than trying to copy a moment or view. This approach, at least for me, yields more of the feel of my watery subject. It also allows for random accidents to influence the painting’s development, and life is certainly about the accidents. Enjoy.
The raw power and quaking tremors that one feels when standing on the rocks can be breath taking. It travels from the feet up through the legs, sort of a deep bass vibration, especially after big storms. These three small paintings, two with the tide coming in, one with the tide going out, provide a 7×7″ version of the experience. Enjoy!
I happen to love luminous gray days by the sea. The value range may be narrow, but the feeling of walking into a (nearly) black and white photograph is soothing. Colors are so full of emotion that a bit of gray can be restorative. It doesn’t make as many demands on our senses. With that in mind, i decided to push the minimalist limits of gray in two small beach paintings. There is still a sense of sound from the waves, and I hope you feel the spray. But equally, I hope you enjoy the subtleties in the palette knife handling of the paint, and the gentle contrasts of warmer and cooler in the grays. In fact, the more you look the more color you will see……..
Icing Up- November Morning at the Pond is part of my continuing series of winter investigations. Unlike the woodland views in winter, this painting looks at the earliest signs of winter as it creeps up on the pond. First there’s the sight of hoarfrost or light dustings of snow on the branches along the shore, or reflected in the open water. Most fascinating to me is the way ice forms on the water, giving it an almost gel-like appearance in some places while remaining open (with sharp reflections) in others. Eventually, a thin skim of actual ice starts to take over. The details are real, but the effect can be quite abstract and magical. I sometimes think this is my favorite time of year – still full of colors and activity, but little by little finding a way to subdue itself. Details below. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: I used a soft rubber roller extensively in this painting, rolling on thin skims of translucent oil paint to subdue color and soften details. Some of the tangled growth was delineated by scraping away paint, some by using a brush to paint in the strokes, and other “lines” were rolled with a narrow Takech rubber roller. The painting was developed in stages, with time for each layer to dry thoroughly before proceeding to next layer.
Early November is gold and bronze, with a touch of lingering crimson, at least around here, but late November shifts into the cooler colors. The dried, pale and papery leaves that hang on all winter are beginning to take over. I love them. So stubborn. Dear November is about the moment of transition. Grays and neutral colors are coming in, and our only memory of summer will be in those dangling, paper-thin leaves. Details below. Enjoy,
It seems odd to be singing the praises of November in April, but with a show scheduled for fall of 2020 at the Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary, I’m excited to be embracing the glorious fall months. The show will be devoted to the woods and trees, including paintings inspired by the visitor center’s glass, two-story observation space which looks out onto classic New England woodlands. I fell in love wit the view through the trees at bird level. Hello sparrow! More to come…..enjoy.
Technical painting notes: The new paintings make more use of the roller than earlier work. The roller allows one to quickly blend and soften edges, The contrast of painted and rolled lines adds variety.