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.
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.
In Silence explores the poetic qualities of color contrasted with the absence of light. It looks at the drama of autumn, that time when we turn from bright days full of color to the deep, darkening mysteries of winter and night. The right and left sides of the painting, with reflected trees and sky, mirror the soft air and vibrancy of fall while framing the dark center. Is this, too, a reflection from deep woods? Yes, but also a metaphorical entrance into the darkness of winter. The mood is quiet; the few floating leaves suggest time’s passage and form a bridge across the center. Details below. Enjoy!
Technical painting notes: Some paintings take a long time to finish, and this is one. I worked it up to a degree of finish, and hung it in the studio so I could ponder how to finish to it. I liked what I had, the balance of light, color, and darkness, but the center seemed a bit flat. It took a few years to figure out that small touches of golden light in the dark woods (center) made the whole painting sing. Certain things can’t be hurried.
Every year it’s the same – I wait for the maples to turn intensely red so I can legitimately use my red pigments. For a landscape artist in New England, this is a rare and special event lasting only about two weeks at most. It’s like a burst of fireworks – you dare not blink. These maples are by my favorite pond. The reflected autumn blue sky and clouds frame the maples, while the drifting willow leaves are a reminder of other trees nearby. Details below. Enjoy.
Yes, I thought this painting was finished when I posted it earlier in the week, but then nature intervened. The morning after I posted it, I was driving to the studio and the sky was spectacularly blue with glorious white cumulous clouds (after a considerable number of gray days). I looked at the painting and thought “why not?” The blue skies and clouds completely change the mood of the painting. I loved the darker, grayer version – it had a melancholy elegance – but for me right now, I want the hope that blue skies can bring. I think we all need it. Details below. Enjoy.
The painting retains its basic composition based on woodland reflections in shallow water, but with the change in sky color there is a gentleness. The next to final version, without the blue sky, is below.
Some paintings provide a passage into insight. The idea of allowing more of the abstract underpainting to show through in the finished painting was one of my goals in A Deeper Look. I began the painting in my usual way, but if something interesting started to happen, I let it. As the painting progressed, I realized that I was sensing both the water and the woods – almost independently. The painting was starting to feel more like my experience of the place. It was a thrilling moment. Finishing the painting meant restraining myself from painting too much – only just enough to provide a clue or hint at what I saw. This way of working is more interesting, and allows the mysterious quality of the woods and pond to dominate. A celebration moment. By letting go, the reflection I was painting became more otherworldly. Like seeing through Alice’s looking glass, an alternative reality emerged – one more interesting than I could have imagined. Details below. Enjoy.
Rounding the corner on summer – tonight the forecast is for a chilly night in the 50’s – hurrah! This most recent Last Days of Summer painting depicts the pond with lingering morning shadows. I suspect the next will have more yellow! Enjoy.
Number eight in the Last Days of Summer Series, and you can certainly feel fall around the corner. The colors in some trees are taking a slightly golden cast, and the sienna-hued shrub in front says it clearly. I know it’s a cliché, but I live to enjoy the seasonal changes. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: Working on this little fellow, I found myself getting too tight, trying to include too much information. To keep the broader gestures strong, and subdue the detail, I used a palette knife to restore the impression and “smear” some of the detail. When I lose the “big picture” details are meaningless.