Looking Through

TM9402 Looking Through 42×48 oil on panel

I am walking down a road in October. The sumac glows crimson, the blueberry bushes are every shade of red, coral, and dusky pink. The maples are scarlet, and through it all shines a brilliant blue sky. I am in the Season of Red, and I will dance to its very end.

Looking Through is an ode, a praise poem to a season and a color, but, more importantly, it is about seeing the evidence and then seeing through and in to the other side of evidence, where the spirit resides. Details below.

TM9402 Looking Through – detail from lower left

TM9402 Looking Through – detail from middle left

Technical painting notes: This painting was a long time coming. It was inspired, of course, by the New England landscape, especially the woods, but the freedom to use loose strokes and broad, over-rolls of pure red, then violet and orange came only when I was ready to give up. All my careful months of work had produced a tame, unexciting painting that didn’t feel the way I do in the presence of such magnificence. So I loaded my roller with bright blue and started building the negative shapes of the sky peaking through. Then came swaths of napthol red, then quinacridone violet. Something exciting was beginning to happen. I decided to keep rolling, wet into wet, and see what color mixes would happen, what soft-edged mysteries might be lurking inside the surface. Additional calligraphic strokes with a brush and a narrow roller added contrast and helped to suggest the branches and twigs in an abstract way.