Off-Trail

TM9499 Off-Trail 30×30 oil on panel

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 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.

TM9499 Off-Trail – detail from left side

 

Fresh Snow

TM9497 Fresh Snow 30×30 oil on panel

I find myself wanting to get away from these contentious times. Wipe out the anger and frustration surrounding me, sow a bit of peace and respect across this country I so love. But first, I have to calm down, Some people pray or meditate to chase the demons. For me, painting is the best way. Fresh Snow is my most recent foray into a calmer mindset. A depiction of silence, untouched by humans (yet). Working on it, I could feel my heart rate slow, my focus improve, and a measure of peace return. It’s like magic.

I think there’s another reason for painting snow scenes. With global warming, winter is shrinking. The glory of this amazing season is disappearing. I don’t want to forget what we are losing. Winter has always been such an important part of being a New Englander. It sets the rhythm of our lives. I must paint more ways to remember it, and the special feelings it brings.

Ode to a Winter Morning

TM9088 Ode to a Winter Morning 36×48 oil on panel

It might not be winter yet, but Ode to a Winter Morning certainly anticipates the brisk, electric blue mornings on the horizon. Based on my many early morning walks into the woods, this painting features the tangle of branches (some snow covered, some shaking off their crystals) that greets me at the start of the path. Deeply shadowed by a hill to the east, the sun’s warmth is just beginning to reach the woods further up the trail. These winter mornings are all about the silence between steps of crusty snow and ice. I look forward to more……details below.

TM9088 Ode to a Winter Morning – detail from upper left with sunrise coloring the woods

TM9088 Ode to a Winter Morning – detail from lower left showing use of spatter, roller, and brushwork

TM9088 Ode to a Winter Morning – detail from lower right with bare winter twigs

First Signs of Spring

TM9496 First Signs of Spring 36×48 oil on panel

The first blush of color after winter seems so exotic and filled with hope. By some standards, it’s more of a variation on gray, but we know better than to believe that. Those wisps of pink and green are harbingers of brighter colors to come. Another sign of insipient spring is the softer quality in the air. Ice and snow are gone; the water level is high, cold, and clear. I wish I could hold on to the season – but I’m sure I’ll look forward to painting the next. Enjoy. Details below.

TM9496 First Signs of Spring – detail from left side

TM9496 First Signs of Spring – detail

 

Quiet Day at the Old Quarry

TM9495 Quiet Day at the Old Quarry 36×36 oil on panel

It’s an interesting contrast – in the beginning, quarries are incredibly active places. Quarries like this old granite quarry were actively worked using much manual labor (often immigrant labor). That labor allowed for the construction of some beautiful edifices modelled on classical architecture, reinterpreted for the needs of the times. Now, the quarries offer a glimpse into New England geology and a place to enjoy the serenity of nature. Detail below. Enjoy.

TM9495 Quiet Day at the Old Quarry – detail

 

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.

Watching the Maples Turn

TM9494 Watching the Maples Turn 36×54 oil on panel

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.

TM9494 Watching the Maples Turn – detail from left side with reflected sky and maples, floating leaves

TM9494 Watching the Maples Turn – detail from upper right

TM9494 Watching the Maples Turn – close-up of reflections

Looking at “A Deeper Look” again

TM8494 A Deeper Look 30×54 oil on panel

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.

TM8494 A Deeper Look – detail from upper right

TM8494 A Deeper Look – detail from lower left

TM8494 A Deeper Look – detail from left of center with woodland and cumulous reflections in shallow water

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.

TM8494 A Deeper Look 30×54 oil on panel