Joy in the Morning

TM9502 Joy in the Morning 30×60 oil on panel

Joy in the Morning; the title explains itself. I adore the lush environments found along creeks and rivers where vegetation and water meet, where reality and its counterpart overlap, The subject lends itself to to a more abstract, looser approach, and seems to demand a larger format as well – room to play with tangent, flickering light amidst the bright blues of a reflected sky. I thought of calling the painting “Riverside,” but with this much color, it’s more about my emotional response to the place, the light, and my enthusiasm greeting a new day. I find I keep asking myself is this painting abstract? Maybe, but not entirely. Is it abstract impressionism?  I think that term describes the playfulness of painting with the roller, while the word impressionism reminds one that this is still based on observation. Whatever the proper descriptive phrase, it seems to be the direction toward which I am heading. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9502 Joy in the Morning – detail from upper right showing use of roller, spatter, and brushwork

TM9502 Joy in the Morning – detail from left side

TM9502 Joy in the Morning – detail from center with vegetation overhanging the water

TM9502 Joy in the Morning – detail from lower edge of painting with branches, leaves, and watery ripples

TM9502 Joy in the Morning – detail from right of center

Technical painting notes: There are a considerable number of semi-transparent layers of paint and glaze building this image. I used Winsor Newton Liguin mixed into the oil paint to create luminosity and to speed drying. I also worked from dark to light, with the underlayers of dark green and a brownish black showing through occasionally.

 

In Silence

TM8589 In Silence 30×60 oil on panel

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!

TM8589 In SIlence – detail from left side
TM8589 In Silence – detail from left of center with tree reflections
TM8589 In Silence – detail from center top
TM8589 In Silence – detail from right of center

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.

Anticipating Spring Again

TM9098 Anticipating Spring Again 42×48 oil on panel (third version)

I think it was prophetic, naming this painting Anticipating Spring Again. When I started it in 2018, the title referred to a series of annual woodcuts I used to do, titled Anticipating Spring. It was my way of saluting the end of winter and looking forward to the gentle season of spring each year. Little did I know that this painting would itself become a series. I no longer have a picture of the first version. It was reworked a year later to become the second version. A year can make a huge difference in how one sees a painting, and I realized I could push the painting further. Recently, the second version came back from a gallery, and as I considered it anew, I realized that once again I would have to go back into the painting. I’ve learned so much since last year. Experience told me that I could increase the depth and extend both the the nuances and boldness of the color. Details from the newest version are below (along with the second version).

TM9098 Anticipating Spring Again – detail from lower right with sky through overhanging branches

TM9098 Anticipating Spring Again – detail from upper right with sunlight on young leaves

TM9098 Anticipating Spring Again – detail from left side showing use of soft and hard edges

TM9098 Anticipating Spring Again – detail from low and to the right of center

And the second version of this painting, sitting under the present version…

TM9098 Anticipating Spring Again (second version)

 

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

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