Sanctuary #2

TM9677 Sanctuary #2 36×40 oil on panel

My favorite pond in Wayland is coming back to life after a few rainy days. Yesterday I saw the great blue heron stalking his preferred spot for breakfast, and the frogs are back. Green, a color that had all but disappeared this summer, is gaining its spring freshness again. The reappearance of life at the pond brought smiles to the faces of fellow hikers whom I met. The mood was hopeful, something I hope comes through in this new painting.

TM9677 Sanctuary #2 – detail from center right showing use of brush and roller
TM9677 Sanctuary #2 – detail from lower left with reflections

Sanctuary #1

TM9676 Sanctuary #1 36×36 oil on panel

I have been thinking about the word sanctuary. Recent events in the news illustrate again the desperate need to provide sanctuary for all. Earlier this week I was walking the perimeter of my favorite pond, welcoming the recent rain and relieved to see the frogs and fishies are able to swim again, a reprieve from our summer-long drought – a sanctuary, however brief, from the effects of climate change. I too need this sanctuary in the woods, away from the vehemence and anger of politics.

So, what is sanctuary? A place to rest and repair heart and soul, to recover, to resume the work and joys of life with a degree of hope. Providing sanctuary is about empathy and taking responsibility for more than one’s own life.

TM9676 Sanctuary #1 – detail from center left
TM9676 Sanctuary #1 – detail from upper right

Spring Lost, then Found

TM9673 Spring Lost, then Found 36×44 oil on panel

It is always a variation on a theme, this return to spring at my pond in the woods. I think I know the place, but winter changes it. The same happens with the panel and the idea. I think I know the subject and how to start the painting, but then the painting takes off in a different direction as I follow an impulse or take advantage of an accident. In the end it is still about the place, but more. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9673 Spring Lost, then Found – detail from lower center with bullhead lilies
TM9673 Spring Lost, then Found – detail from upper left

Technical painting note: The beginnings of a new beaver lodge in the upper left were a challenge. I painted the intertwined branches compulsively, and though it was exactly what I saw, it didn’t work with the rest of the painting. Eventually, I took a roller full of gray paint and interrupted the branches, then rolled in some green too. Now it felt like it belonged without calling too much attention to itself. Apology: I regret that I couldn’t get a jpg that showed the range of the greens in the painting, but that is the digital dilemma.

Drifting Past November

TM9273 Drifting Past November 42×48 oil on panel

There’s a poetry that I hope to achieve in all my paintings – a sense of mystery and the tension between what can be described and what can only be felt. Drifting Past November was slow to evolve. It’s based on late fall by the creek, with reflections from over-hanging branches and a few leaves floating by. I brought the painting to near completion but didn’t know how to finish it. The “place” was described, but the delicate feeling where loss and beauty intersect was missing. Living with it on the wall of the studio for a couple years gave my thinking time to evolve. No longer fearing a “mistake” I added layers of red gesture drawing based on the overhanging leaves and heightened the lights. The combination of more layered glazes and brushed and rolled detail work increased the complexity and added to the sense of depth, as well as making the color more exciting. I emphasized the contrast of hard and soft edges as a metaphor for what is present and what is disappearing. Details below, along with the version that hung on the wall for two years.

TM9273 Drifting Past November – detail from center
TM9273 Drifting Past November – detail from upper right
TM9273 Drifting Past November – detail from upper left with floating leaves and reflections
TM9273 Drifting Past November – detail from lower right
Earlier version of Drifting Past November

The Green Voice of Summer

TM9411The Green Voice of Summer 36×54 oil on panel

There’s a gentleness to late spring and early summer, and a quiet harmony of color, especially in the greens. The Green Voice of Summer explores some of the close harmonies of the season with a somewhat abstract view of my favorite pond and its reflections. Unlike many of my autumn pondscapes, this painting whispers its mood and message. You have to stop to hear it, as did I last July when the idea began to form in my imagination. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9411 The Green Voice of Summer – detail from upper right with reflections
TM9411 The Green Voice of Summer – detail from upper left with reflections
TM9411 The Green Voice of Summer – detail from right of center with shadowed reflections

Poem from the Garden #1

TM9671 Poem from the Garden #1 30×36 oil on panel

This summer ‘s record-setting heat resulted in a hothouse studio. Under these conditions, the paint gets sticky and trying to brush it across a surface becomes impossible. A palette knife, in part because it can spread the paint faster, works better. So does a roller. Poem from the Garden #1 is my first larger painting executed almost entirely with palette knife and roller. With the new combination of tools, I realized the movement of the paint itself was more interesting, and the richer surface added a new depth. A breakthrough? I think so, even a whole new way of thinking about what I love best – maybe a new series titled Poems from the Garden? I almost feel like a kid again with a new toy. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9671 Poem from the Garden #1 – detail from center showing layering starting from dark to light values
TM9671 Poem from the Garden #1 – detail from lower right showing layered roller and palette application of paint
TM9671 Poem from the Garden #1 – detail from lower center

Technical painting notes: I used some Winsor Newton Liquin to thin the paint so that it would be somewhat runny on the knife and would spread quickly. I wanted a clear, clean, lush feeling to the stroke. When I started rolling over parts of the knife work, the roller did its magic of blending some areas and lifting and repeating marks – something so distinctive to roller work and so much fun. The tools encourage a looser, more impulsive way of thinking. I love it.

New Paintings to Greylock Gallery

TM9667 June Morning at the Pond 36×42 oil on panel
TM9278 Notes from the Garden – Happy Hydrangea 30×40 oil on panel
TM9664 Notes from the Garden – Clematis 18×30 oil on panel

I just delivered a new group of seasonal paintings to the delightful Greylock Gallery in Williamstown, Massachusetts -If you are heading to the Berkshires, check out the new series!

https://greylockgallery.com

Notes from the Garden – Wisteria

TM9670 Notes from the Garden – Wisteria 30×18 oil on panel

Who doesn’t enjoy watching summer with its progression of blooms, all so lovely? If I had a yard, I would find a place for Wisteria, preferably gracing a porch. They are so showy and elegant. This portrait is happily based on a friend’s fabulous garden. Thank you, Chris, for sharing it with me; now I would like to share it again! Details below.

TM9670 Notes from the Garden – Wisteria – detail from upper left
TM9670 Notes from the Garden – Wisteria = detail from center right