Inside Autumn

TM9358 Inside Autumn 30×60 oil on panel

Many of the locales I paint were once farmland. The woods are mostly young, and the margins, defined by old stone walls, are a maze of grape and bittersweet vines, raspberry canes, and wildflowers. It’s a tangle of luxuriant growth bursting with color in the fall. All of that informed Inside Autumn, my homage to the season. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9358 Inside Autumn – detail from left of center

TM9358 Inside Autumn – detail from right and below center showing layered use of scraping, spatter, glazes and viscosity rolls to suggest autumn colors and textures

TM9358 Inside Autumn – detail from lower left edge

TM9358 Inside Autumn – detail from left side

Technical painting notes: I used mostly soft rubber rollers to apply the paint, beginning with a mixture of burnt siennas, umbers, and violets for the first pass. While the paint was wet, I drew into it with scrapers to establish the major branches and vines, then spritzed areas with solvent, which was rerolled to lift and soften textures and color. Some brush work to define negative areas and leaves followed. When this layer was dry, I rerolled burnt sienna over much of the surface and purposely streaked it with solvents and oil, spritzed it with solvents, and rerolled the surface. More scraping defined the tangle, along with some glazing. Using various viscosities of paint, I was able to lay down color or pick it up, revealing underlayers. When dry, I refined the color and edges with brushwork.

Song in a Yellow Key

TM9438 Song in a Yellow Key 42×48 oil on panel

Late spring and early autumn share a multitude of yellows, and with that yellow comes a bold dose of sunshine and, dare I say, moments of bliss. Yellow is the color of uplift and joy. It is also a difficult color for the painter, who must find a way to mix a range of yellows without losing the clarity of the hue and its emotional impact. Ever hear of a dark yellow? Rarely, and it’s almost never happy.  Hence, my Song in a Key of Yellow is about joy, the seasons, and the music of nature. Details below.

P.S. Do you ever find the bird you know is singing in a nearby tree? I rarely do, but I know he’s in there.

TM9438 Song in a Yellow Key – detail from right and above center showing movement through use of soft and hardedges

TM9438 Song in a Yellow Key – detail from right side with leaves and pale blue sky beyond

TM9438 Song in a Yellow Key – detail from center

TM9438 Song in a Yellow Key – detail from lower right

Inside a Red Tree (during migration)

TM9437 Inside a Red Tree (during migration) 42×48 oil on panel

I ask myself (and the tree) this question: What are we experiencing? Is it the wind tossing us around? The birds chirping wildly about the joys of spring and autumn? Are we lost in the sheer joy of color and air? If I say this painting comes partly from imagination and partly from observation, will the tree agree? I hope so. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9437 Inside a Red Tree (during migration) – detail from upper left

TM9437 Inside a Red Tree (during migration) – detai from right of center with leaves dancing to the music

TM9437 Inside a Red Tree (during migration) – detail from left of center showing layered paint application of rolled and brushed paint

TM9437 Inside a Red Tree (during migration) – detail from below center looking through leaves toward sky beyond

Technical painting notes: I’ve been relying more and more on my soft rubber rollers to both move the paint around and to “draw” into the paint (narrow roller from Takech). The mix of accident and intention, along with the layering of mechanical strokes and brush-made strokes adds a level of liveliness to the painting.

Poem in a Time of Longing

TM9434 Poem in a Time of Longing 36×40 oil on panel

There are so many forms of longing. I used to do a print or painting every year in late winter titled Anticipating Spring. They were about longing for warmth and color after the extremities of winter. This year is different. Winter hardly came; I’m almost still waiting for it. And spring, well, it doesn’t feel like it’s coming either.  Watching spring from inside, avoiding parks because there isn’t room for enough distancing – this isn’t the way spring feels. While I was working on this pondscape, I kept looking at it upside down – the landscape was there all right, but it didn’t feel appropriate right side up. That’s how crazy everything is. Upside down feels normal. Oh well, at least the colors feel right. I saw that green yesterday, mixed in between winter’s leftover grasses and bare branches. I can still enjoy color! Details below.

TM9434 Poem in a Time of Longing – detail from upper left with light and clouds

TM9434 Poem in a Time of Longing – detail from upper right with reflections and a few lost leaves

TM9434 Poem in a Time of Longing – detail from foreground with reflections

TM9434 Poem in a Time of Longing – detail from right side with winter’s grasses and early greens

 

 

Blow Wind Blow, Blow My Woes Away

TM9433 Blow Wind Blow, Blow My Woes Away 42×48 oil on panel

When I started this painting I didn’t know what was coming, for me, for the people I love, for all of us. It might seem strange to paint a full blown autumn tree while a pandemic rages in April, but it isn’t. I find myself wanting to embrace everything and everyone I love, but I can’t, so I’m touching the word virtually, through painting. I want to pour colors onto a panel – maybe in hopes it will cheer me and others. At the same time, the pandemonium rages on, and the urge to express motion, and the feeling of everything changing, is the only constant. Maybe this painting is wishful thinking. Or a prayer. I can’t say for sure; I paint. Details below.

TM9433 Blow Wind Blow, Blow My Woes Away – detail from right of center showing blue sky and clouds through swaying branches and leaves

TM9433 Blow Wind Blow, Blow My Woes Away – detail from left of center showing layered roller strokes

TM9433 Blow Wind Blow, Blow My Woes Away – detail from lower right

Oh Breezy Day

TM9431 Oh Breezy Day 34×40 oil on

Some  paintings seem to pop out of no where. Oh Breezy Day started as an interpretation of trees and boughs overhanging a vernal pool – lots of reflections amid the fresh colors of spring. It was quite realistic. When I revisited the site later in the week, it was a breezy day. Wind was dancing with the leaves and clouds, and the feeling had changed entirely. I liked the dynamic of all that movement, and completely reworked the painting to capture the feel of the second visit. The new painting reminds me of a series of studies I did a while back called conversations between clouds and leaves (you can see them by going to the drop-down menu above, look for small pondscapes, cloud-gazing). Art is a spiral that keeps glancing off the past. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9431 Oh Breezy Day – detail from upper right

TM9431 Oh Breezy Day – detail from upper left

TM9431 Oh Breezy Day – detail from left side

TM9431 Oh Breezy Day – detail from lower right

Technical painting notes: This painting started with a roll-up of thinned, dark, blue/green oil paint, which was manipulated with solvents, scrapers, roller, and finally spatter to create an interesting pattern of lights and darks. When the base layer was dry, glazes were added and details worked up with brush and roller. As the painting evolved, I used the roller to “glaze” semi-transparent color and blur edges to suggest movement. Final details were accentuated with a small brush and saturated color.

 

Wetland Spring – Early Light

TM9413 Wetland Spring – Early Light 36×60 oil on panel

I’ve been in the studio looking at paintings on the wall drying, and stacked against the wall waiting for galleries to reopen to accept delivery of new work. It’s a conundrum. Do I continue working as if everything will resume? And how do you do that when surrounded by so much heartache? I don’t know the answer. I do know that when I looked at Wetland Spring – Early Light, I realized it might not be finished. It’s still about the season when spring and winter grasses are in a sort of equilibrium, jostling each other. Spring will eventually overcome the papery detritus of winter. but the reworked version introduced more grass, and a bit more green. Why? Maybe because living with the pandemic requires more hope (green) and more effort by many more people (the added grass). Strange. Landscapes always tell a story, including a metaphorical story.

Wetland Spring – Early Light also looks backwards to wonderful, historic Japanese screens of autumn grasses. Like life, the painting is a tapestry interweaving old and new, life and death, the world below and the world above. Details below. Nimaste.

TM9413 Wetland Spring – Early Light – detail from upper left edge with reflected cloud and grasses

TM9413 Wetland Spring – Early Light – detail from upper right

TM9413 Wetland Spring – Early Light – detail from lower center edge with reflections and grasses

TM9413 Wetland Spring – Early Light – detail from left edge with reflections and papery white winter grasses

TM9413 Wetland Spring – Early Light – detail from left of center with bright cloud reflected in shallow water, old and new emerging grasses

Earlier version of painting.

TM9413 Wetland Spring – Early Light (earlier version) 36×60

Technical painting notes: Much of the work on this painting was done with soft rubber rollers. I used the width of the roller at times, but also rolled out paint using the edge of the roller. Selective brushwork manipulated the color and added variety to the strokes.

 

 

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