Down by the Creek

TM9430 Down by the Creek 36×40 oil on panel

There’s something about the overhanging branches and brilliant blue sky, all casually displayed in the slow current of the creek that charms the spirit. I love my creek. It’s close by the studio, so I dash out to visit it often. Maybe it isn’t green yet, but that just takes a little imagination and memory. It will come. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9430Down by the Creek – detail from upper right

TM9430 Down by the Creek – detail from upper edge showing use of roller, scraping, and brushwork

TM9430 Down by the Creek – detail from left of center with reflections and flotsam

TM9430 Down by the Creek – detail from lower edge with sky reflections and floating vegetation

TM9430 Down by the Creek – detail from upper left with reflections

Technical painting notes: I used a blue/black roll up of thinned oil paint to block in the major shapes, and used a scraper to draw into the wet paint and indicate some of the branches. I spattered thinned green oil paint in some areas to add subtle color. When this base layer was dry, I worked with brushes (mostly angled watercolor brushes) to start blocking color into the sky reflections, and foliage. Selectively, I used square tipped nylon brushes to refine details, and to paint color into the scraped linework of floating grasses. Some use of thinned oil paint rolled over nearly finished detail work softened areas, lending a touch of mystery to the feel of theĀ  painting.

Wetland Spring – Early Light

TM9413 Wetland Spring – Early Light 36×60 oil on panel

I’ve been in the studio looking at paintings on the wall drying, and stacked against the wall waiting for galleries to reopen to accept delivery of new work. It’s a conundrum. Do I continue working as if everything will resume? And how do you do that when surrounded by so much heartache? I don’t know the answer. I do know that when I looked at Wetland Spring – Early Light, I realized it might not be finished. It’s still about the season when spring and winter grasses are in a sort of equilibrium, jostling each other. Spring will eventually overcome the papery detritus of winter. but the reworked version introduced more grass, and a bit more green. Why? Maybe because living with the pandemic requires more hope (green) and more effort by many more people (the added grass). Strange. Landscapes always tell a story, including a metaphorical story.

Wetland Spring – Early Light also looks backwards to wonderful, historic Japanese screens of autumn grasses. Like life, the painting is a tapestry interweaving old and new, life and death, the world below and the world above. Details below. Nimaste.

TM9413 Wetland Spring – Early Light – detail from upper left edge with reflected cloud and grasses

TM9413 Wetland Spring – Early Light – detail from upper right

TM9413 Wetland Spring – Early Light – detail from lower center edge with reflections and grasses

TM9413 Wetland Spring – Early Light – detail from left edge with reflections and papery white winter grasses

TM9413 Wetland Spring – Early Light – detail from left of center with bright cloud reflected in shallow water, old and new emerging grasses

Earlier version of painting.

TM9413 Wetland Spring – Early Light (earlier version) 36×60

Technical painting notes: Much of the work on this painting was done with soft rubber rollers. I used the width of the roller at times, but also rolled out paint using the edge of the roller. Selective brushwork manipulated the color and added variety to the strokes.

 

 

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Up in a Tree

TM9429 Up in a Tree 42×48 oil on panel

Often, a painting can provide a place of escape and refreshment. I was thinking about this while “social distancing” and thought about the wonders of hanging out with birds in a tree, especially in October. With this in mind, I started a new painting full of bright colors, blue skies, and a few cumulous clouds – ready for a few misplaced travelers? The details below give you an opportunity to use your imagination and move inside and around the tree. Have fun.

TM9429 Up in a Tree – detail from right side with swaying branches

TM9429 Up in a Tree – detail from upper left

TM9429 Up in a Tree – detail from lower edge

TM9429 Up in a Tree – detail from upper center

TM9429 Up in a Tree – detail from left side

TM9429 Up in a Tree – detail from upper right

Technical painting notes: Most of this painting was done with soft rubber rollers, with some brushwork to define edges and add variety to the stems and branches

Hiking to the Chasm 2 & 3

TM9425 Hiking to the Chasm #2 7×7 oil on paper

TM9426 Hiking to the Chasm #3 7×7 oil on paper

More studies from Purgatory Chasm – a perfect place to wrestle with the geometry of glacial chaos!More in the works…enjoy.

 

Hiking to the Chasm

TM9424 Hiking to the Chasm #1 7×7 oil on paper

Spring is quickly arriving, and it’s time to plane field trips with my students. we are hoping to spend some time at Purgatory Chasm in central Massachusetts – sketching and photographing, observing and soaking up the dramatic tectonic and glacial chaos of this piece of geography. It is a spectacular place to paint. And a challenge. While the trees haven’t leafed out quite yet, they will soon. I will be posting sneak peaks at the coming season, and views from various points on the way to the chasm. Enjoy!

Let the Moments Coalesce

TM9427 Let the Moments Coalesce 42×48 oil on panel

For me, every painting is a summation of individual, observed moments, not necessarily a static view. For instance, Let the Moments Coalesce is a combination of discreet observations taken over a few weeks in spring. The reflected reeds, papery white in color, are from the earliest spring, when snow has melted and the air starts to warm. The specks of floating duckweed arrive later, often bringing the first signs of green and yellow. Spring’s violent winds can scatter baby leaves and buds on the pond’s surface. Of course eventually leafed out trees become the main reflection. I prefer paintings that are about transitions, that explore how we see, and how what we see affects the way we record our impressions. Spring is a gentler season. It requires a gentler stroke and palette, some softening of the edges. Enjoy. Details below.

TM9427 Let the Moments Coalesce – detail from upper left with reflected reeds, floating leaves and duckweed

TM9427 Let the Moments Coalesce – detail from left side

TM9473Let the Moments Coalesce – detail from lower center with reflected trees and

Joyful Spring

TM9423 Joyful Spring 42×48 oiil on panel

Spring is the anticipation of green, of sunlight, and of the wonderful sweet smell of moisture in the air. Joyful Spring combines those attributes with an oblique view across the wetland, filled with reflections and the straw color of winter’s grasses. I think it’s the juxtaposition of long-dormant with new that intrigues me. The neutral gray/tans of winter allowing the newly emerging yellow/greens to seem even brighter and more alive. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9423 Joyful Spring – detail from upper right corner with reflections, grasses, first signs of duckweed

TM9423 Joyful Spring – detail from upper right quadrant

TM9423 Joyful Spring – detail from upper left

TM9423 Joyful Spring – detail from lower left

Technical painting notes: I used several soft rubber rollers to apply paint – 1/4″, 1.5″, 2″, 4″. I also used silicone scrapers to draw into wet paint. These tools, plus my regular soft brushes, allowed me to vary the quality of the linework in the painting.