More October Haikus

TM9367 October Sails By 8×8 oil on paper

Imaging myself as a bird in a tree, surrounded by so much brilliant yellow, what joy!

TM9366 With My Head in a Tree 8×8 oil on paper

On the other hand, stepping back to admire crimson leaves and bare twigs against a cobalt sky, what could be more beautiful? I’m glad I don’t have to choose either or……far or near. Enjoy!

TM9365 Autumn Sketch 8×9 oil on paper

 

Ripple and Shine

TM9352 Ripple and Shine 42×48 oil on panel

One of my childhood fantasies was to have a treehouse. I suppose that’s one reason why I spend so much time now imagining myself in the trees, whether they are reflected in a pond or a view through leaves from the very heart of the tree. Trees represent something sacred and enduring, a place of respite and, especially now, our most important generator of clean air and oxygen. And they are so graciously beautiful, especially when the breeze ruffles their leaves and creates gentle ripples on the pond, creating confetti-like vibrations of color. Enjoy. Details below.

TM9352 Ripple and Shine – detail from right side with leaf and cloud reflections

TM9352 Ripple and Shine – detail from left of center. I used both brushes and a narrow roller to suggest the rippling leaf reflections

October’s Pond

TM9351 October’s Pond 36×40 oil on panel

There’s a phrase from a Mary Oliver poem “….the daily pretensions…” which I suspect stays with me because it sums up everything I hope my work is not about. I’m more interested in what humbly endures, which is where Oliver’s heart resides too. October’s Pond is my lavish scrutiny of the wonders next door (or at least a short way down the road). These days of rampant red and crimson, set against a warm blue, cloud-studded sky, are few in number. It makes them all the more precious. Soon a great wind will come along, followed by a northern cold front, and the color will fly away, to be replaced by the bronze season of oak leaves and frost. Ah well. that will be beautiful too, as long as I remember to really look….enjoy. Details below.

TM9351 October’s Pond – detail from lower left with reflected leaves

TM9351 October’s Pond – detail from right side with lightly floating leaves and reflections

Technical painting notes: The painting began by rolling on a staccato rhythm of roller strokes, using burnt sienna and some burnt umber mixed with Winsor Newton’s Liquin impasto medium and a dash of mineral spirits and stand oil. I manipulated the wet paint with a scrap of plastic bag and solvent, roughly streaking the paint to suggest movement. When this base layer was dry, I glazed parts of the panel then proceeded to use a brush and oil paint to block in the “negative” sky reflections. Interweaving sky and leaves proceeded apace, sometimes usng a soft brush, sometimes a soft rubber roller. I repeated the process for a few days, then worked on finding the branches and some more descriptive stems – again using brush and a narrow roller. Final mostly transparent glazes softened the feel of the painting – suggestive of the warm humid atmosphere of that particular day. The leaves floating onto the water came last.

 

‘s heart is too

Cheerful Young Woods

TM9337 Cheerful Young Woods 36×36 oil on panel

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.

TM9337 Cheerful Young Woods – detail from upper left with tree limbs stretching toward the light

TM9337 Cheerful Young Woods – detail from lower right with sunlight and saplings

Icing Up – November Morning at the Pond

TM9297 Icing Up – November Morning at the Pond 42×42 oil on panel

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.

TM9297 Icing Up – November Morning at the Pond – detail from top of painting with shelf of ice and hoarfrost branches meeting open water and reflections

TM9297 Icing Up – November Morning at the Pond – detail from left side with reflections from pond bank

TM9297 Icing Up – November Morning at the Pond – detail from right side with tangled growth from shore and reflections in the freezing pond

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 Reaches the Pond

TM9294 Spring Reaches the Pond 36×48 oil on panel

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.

TM9294 Spring Reaches the Pond – detail from upper right

Drifting Past November

TM9273 Drifting Past November 42×48 oil on panel

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.

TM9273 Drifting Past November – detail from upper right showing last leaves drifting on a slow current

TM9273 Drifting Past November – detail from left of center with sky and waterside branches reflected in the pond

TM9273 Drifting Past November – detail from lower right showing use of rollers and scrapers to suggest reflected and submerged vegetation

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.