Early summer is such a delightful time to enjoy the woods. All the greens are singing, the light is exuberant, and, with a bit of bug protection, the trails are readily accessible. This stand of pine and mixed saplings was singing the praises summer this week. I couldn’t resist. The feeling of lift, as though the trees were all members of a gospel choir, provided the context for my approach to the painting. Rhythm would rule, supported by as many shades of green as I could mix. The painting speaks of joy, but is also a praise poem to trees and the work they do keeping our dear planet as healthy as possible. Trees deserve our support and protection. Details below. Enjoy.
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.
Spring is elusive. The first hints of its arrival come by smell. The air is warm enough to sense dampness, then the smell of wet earth. At the pond, ice melts and sky reflections return. Soon the first greenish-yellow leaves will be arching over the bank, reflected in the water. Spring is a season of soft edges. In this new painting, I left the winds behind and concentrated on the stillness and subtleties of spring, and the harmonies of color that slowly emerge in April. There is a gentler mood. Details below. Enjoy.
The stately silence of late autumn is the subject of Drifting Past November. Glowing with rich crimson, violet, and touches of sienna, this pondscape shows the season’s last leaves floating on a slow current. Waterside branches overhang the water, their reflections (and a few pale leaves) captured in the still water. The play of dark, emotional reds against calm blues, and the streak of slant light illuminating the current, speaks to the low sun and deep shadows that signal the season. Details below. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: I used oil paint mixed with Liquin Impasto medium to roll on the first layer, manipulating the soft rubber roller so that it would skip and dance across the primed panel. Silicone scrapers were used to “draw” the stems and suggest the plant materials. I used soft paper towels to wipe out lights, then added more color by rolling a wet-on-wet glaze onto the panel. When this first layer was dry, I repeated the use of rolled glazes, occasionally drawing with a brush to bring out details. Repeated roller and brushwork, using primarily transparent pigments, provided enough detail and the glowing color. I wanted the mysteriousness of November – more suggestion and less exacting detail.
Winter’s big, open, wind-swept spaces have their own stark beauty. These studies, two from the coast and one overlooking a snow-covered pond, offer longer views. The colors are muted. The air is crisp, clean, and cold. You can hear the silence. Listen again. It won’t last.
Painting the landscape (almost) daily makes one intensely aware of nature’s changes – the angles of shadows, the quality of the light as the sun gets higher in the sky, and the changing colors of the ice and snow are all evidence of the year’s passing. Winter’s Creek #7 is clearly deep winter, with its deep shadows. February Morning is lighter and seems a bit warmer with the sun higher in the sky. In Sugaring Season Starts the snow is thinning and there’s a hint of melt water in the creek. More to come…enjoy.
Into the woods on a brilliantly sunny day, with long blue shadows and snowy arches overhead – this is January, and this is the entrance to winter’s cathedral. The silence can seem holy, because it is. Winter’s dormancy covers the life hidden beneath snow – a time of rest before the tumult of spring. Details below. Enjoy.