New Paintings to Greylock Gallery

TM9667 June Morning at the Pond 36×42 oil on panel
TM9278 Notes from the Garden – Happy Hydrangea 30×40 oil on panel
TM9664 Notes from the Garden – Clematis 18×30 oil on panel

I just delivered a new group of seasonal paintings to the delightful Greylock Gallery in Williamstown, Massachusetts -If you are heading to the Berkshires, check out the new series!

https://greylockgallery.com

Notes from the Garden – Wisteria

TM9670 Notes from the Garden – Wisteria 30×18 oil on panel

Who doesn’t enjoy watching summer with its progression of blooms, all so lovely? If I had a yard, I would find a place for Wisteria, preferably gracing a porch. They are so showy and elegant. This portrait is happily based on a friend’s fabulous garden. Thank you, Chris, for sharing it with me; now I would like to share it again! Details below.

TM9670 Notes from the Garden – Wisteria – detail from upper left
TM9670 Notes from the Garden – Wisteria = detail from center right

Notes from the Garden: Happy Hydrangeas

TM9278 Notes from the Garden: Happy Hydrangeas 30 x 40 oil on panel

Distance can be good. I painted Hydrangeas on a sunny morning a few years ago, and for some reason kept it at the studio. I found it again when I was recently reorganizing, and decided it needed more life. The painting was satisfactory but lacked a sense of the life spirit of the hydrangeas – how they felt. Back on the easel. The newer version, retitled Notes from the Garden: Happy Hydrangeas, feels more real somehow. These hydrangeas are really saying Good Morning to me, and evoking my reaction of Good Morning to you too! Details below, along with the earlier version of the painting. Enjoy.

TM9278 Notes from the Garden: Happy Hydrangeas – detail from upper right
TM9278 Notes from the Garden: Happy Hydrangeas – detail from lower center

Technical painting notes: When I decided to rework the painting, I started by rolling and smudging brighter blues in the sky, then rolled semi-transparent grays and green into the flowers to create more interesting surface textures, (and to obliterate my idea of what the hydrangeas looked like). With the new surface, I went back to developing the lights and contrasts in the flower heads, rolling then adding details alternately. With the flowers becoming mor interesting, I acted similarly with the leaves, using small rollers alternating with brush work. I wanted to catch a sense of abandon, the way air circulates through the plant and the plant dances with that breeze.

(first version) TM9278 Hydrangea Morning 30 x 40 oil on panel
(final version) TM9278 Notes from the Garden: Happy Hydrangeas 30 x 40 oil on panel

Notes from the Garden: Peony Morning

TM9665 Notes from the Garden: Peony Morning 20×30 oil on panel

Flowers have personalities. Daisies seem hopeful and full of humility. Roses are elegant and, especially the famous ones, seem rarified and even haughty. But the peony is just as gorgeous, sometimes even more fragrant, but also more casual. They seem careless, tossing those blossoms casually in the breeze, even leaning through their fencing to say good morning and offer a sniff to anyone who chances to pass by. I love them. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9665 Notes from the Garden, Peony Morning – detail from center
TM9665 Notes from the Garden: Peony Morning detail from lower edge
TM9665 Notes from the Garden: Peony Morning – detail from left side

Notes from the Garden – Clematis

TM9664 Notes from the Garden – Clematis 18×30 oil on panel

My dog Boo and I take copious walks around our neighborhood, but one of our most favorite is the walk to the Victory Gardens. Established during the Second World War, the gardens were created to help feed the population during wartime. Now, run by local volunteers, the gardens are still thriving with many more flowers and perennials, along with herbs and vegetables. There are demonstration plots for teaching purposes and a handicap-accessible garden with growing beds on higher benches. Boo knows where to find his friends with water bowls and treats, I know where to find choice opportunities for painting subjects and a chat with friends. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9664 Notes from the Garden – Clematis – detail from left side
TM9664 Notesfrom the Garden – Clematis — detail from center
TM9664 Notes from the Garden – Clematis – detail showing use of layered roller strokes

Technical painting notes: I used Speedball soft rubber rollers to apply the first blocking-in of forms and colors, switched to soft brushes to develop details, then went back to rollers and mostly transparent pigments to finish the painting. Going back and forth between roller and brush introduces some chance effects that work well to suggest movement and the feel of air moving around the subject. Below is a photo showing the result of the first day’s work.

TM9664 Notes from the Garden – Clematis – showing the result of first day’ of blocking in masses and colors with the roller

As I worked on the painting, I found the need to add a hint of the chicken wire fence behind the clematis. The geometric linework contrasted in a subtle way with the organic shapes. One of the things I love about the Victory Gardens is the way everything overlaps, due to the tight quarters.

Notes from the Garden – No Rain Yet

TM9409 Notes from the Garden – No Rain Yet 42×42 oil on panel

One never knows how a painting will evolve. The inspiration for this painting came while I was sitting in a parking lot during a sudden spring shower and looking out through a drippy windshield. I liked it so much I started photographing through the windshield. The blurry effect of the gray tones and springy yellow greens really sang. Later, in the studio, I painted No Rain Yet, which you can see below.

TM9409 No Rain Yet 42×42 oil on panel

No Rain Yet eventually went to a gallery just before the pandemic started. Nearly three years later, I asked for it to be returned – I loved the painting, but with three more years of experience I could see a way to bring the painting farther. The gallery graciously said fine. Looking, I began to see garden forms and a way to bring in some detail and more depth. What fun. I retitled the painting Notes from the Garden – No Rain Yet to honor the original and the new. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9409 Notes from the Garden – No Rain Yet – detail from upper right
TM9409 Notes from the Garden – No Rain Yet – detail upper left
TM9409 Notes from the Garden = No Rain Yet – detail from lower edge

Notes from the Garden

TM9532 Notes from the Garden 20×36 oil on panel

What to do with the scraps of wood panels leftover from the large paintings? Fool around with some fun garden paintings. These smaller paintings are all about a change of palette and lots of little experiments, like taking a break after the complicated work. They also tap into the part of me that loves working in a garden. Enjoy.

Visiting the Greenhouse

TM9196 Visiting the Greenhouse 20×30 oil on panel

Greenhouses are magical places. In the dead of winter, you can walk in and forget your winter blues. There is light, the smell of damp earth, and so much life. I visited a greenhouse last winter, and found, nestled among other plants, these camellias bursting into bloom. I took dozens of photos and pondered what I might do with them. I loved the camellias, but I wanted to include their friends. I also wanted to play with the shapes that a roller can make (and the translucence of thinly layered paint films), contrasted with an independent gestural line – two ways of describing a form. Visiting the Greenhouse is the result. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9196 Visiting the Greenhouse – detail

TM9196 Visiting the Greenhouse – detail showing brushwork and use of roller