Setting Out

TM9514 Setting Out 36×40 oil on panel

My favorite sort of January morning, great light and time enough to take a short hike before hitting the studio. Of course everything I see will find its way into the painting I’m working on, and I guess that’s how it should be. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9514 Setting Out = detail from top center

TM9514 Setting Out – detail from foreground

TM9514 Setting Out – detail from shadows

 

Bright Morning

TM9513 Bright Morning 30×36 oil on panel

Bring the sunglasses! After a fresh snowfall, the sunlight on snow can be blindingly bright. This humble view from a roadside shows how even the simplest things gain some magic with snow. I love the varying color and ice patterns as streams and creeks freeze, and the dancing light snow blown across their surfaces. The jumble of growth along the edge of the woods, buried in snow, deserves another look. Maybe there’s a more abstract painting caught in that thicket? We’ll see. For now, details below. Enjoy.

TM9513 Bright Morning – detail showing frozen creek

TM9513 Bright Morning – detail from edge of woods

Ode to a January Morning

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

Ode to a January Morning has been in development since 2018, and every winter I look at it and say “not done yet….” Today, I took it out again after a visiting the ice pond last week – the place that has always inspired the idea for this painting. Once more I knew it wasn’t finished, not enough depth, not enough mystery, and the brush work looked too planned.  I took out my rollers and started mixing paint, thinking what have I got to lose? Some Bach, a fist full of rollers, and I rolled with near abandon. It felt so good, watching the details disappear under snow and shadow, just like in nature.  I used a brush and my smallest roller to restate some branches under snow, and accented the patch of deep blue open water on the left. As the roller softened and blended colors it created more depth and a luminous  quality to the surface that felt like encaustic. Details below, and at the bottom of this post you can see the earlier version of the painting. Enjoy!

TM9088 Ode to a January Morning – detail from upper right with snow

TM9088 Ode to a January Morning – detail with snow and tangled branches

TM9088 Ode to a January Morning – detail from lower left

TM9088 Ode to a January Morning – detail from upper left with far shore

and the earlier version….

TM9088 Ode to a Winter Morning (earlier version) 36×48 oil on panel

 

December’s Walk to the Woods

TM9511 December’s Walk to the Woods 30×30 oil on panel

Yes, another morning commute to the studio with an irresistible stop to study the new snowfall and patterns of light as the sun rises. It is an unremarkable view  along any country road, but singularly beautiful with fresh snow and early light. I love the subtleties of the winter woods, full of violets and blues with touches of sienna. As I worked on this painting laying in the whites of fresh snow I was reminded of my early days carving negative “whites” into my woodcuts.  Full circle, or almost. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9511 December’s Walk to the Woods – detail from upper right

TM9511 December’s Walk to the Woods – detail from left side

 

 

A weak sun, but the sun nevertheless

TM9510 A weak sun, but the sun nevertheless 30×36 oil on panel

The way sunlight comes up over the ridge and touches the tops of trees with a little warmth while leaving the lower reaches bathed in violet and blue is magical. That arbitrary line signifying vast geometries and unimaginable distance implies many ideas. My own smallness, the promise of warmth somewhere, the swiftness of change, and all this in the intimate setting of an ordinary roadside experience from my commute to the studio. It is worth stopping, choosing the path that might lead into more woods, more paintings. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9510 A weak sun, but the sun nevertheless – detail from shadowed lower left

TM9510 A weak sun, but the sun nevertheless – detail showing the sun reaching the tops of trees

 

Winter Ice Pond

TM9509 Winter Ice Pond 36×54 oil on panel

Something about the way reflective surfaces yield their secrets when you look at them long enough. I’ve been studying an ice pond for quite a few years, learning about the way the thinnest layer of ice intrudes on the open water, the way ripples freeze, the soft tonal colors of ice, the bits of autumn caught in the ice, or poking through, the sky blues slipping between ice and snow – it’s all beautiful and challenging. I suspect I will be painting the ice pond again. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9509 Winter Ice Pond – detail near center

TM9509 Winter Ice Pond – detail from lower edge

TM9509 Winter Ice Pond – detail from upper left

TM9509 Winter Ice Pond – detail from right side

TM9509 Winter Ice Pond – detail from upper center

Technical painting notes: The painting went through many iterations. At one point, it felt too soft and  and “careful” so I started the painting again, right on top of the failed version. I mixed a blue/black color and roughly applied it with a soft rubber roller (again), looking to set the basic gestures and textures of the subject. The bold restart, superimposed on the softer, quieter version, brought drama and strength to the panel. I used mostly rollers to work up the new  version, with some glazing and a little brushwork. The final version still feels like my ice pond, but caught over a sequence of days. It also pays homage to the intersection of nature observed and abstract painting.

 

 

October’s Snowfall

TM9508 October’s Snowfall 36×40 oil on panel

We had an extra early snowstorm this past October. It was destructive, but also absolutely gorgeous. The lingering foliage, coated with snow, glowed, while the bright October light was blinding. I grabbed my cameras and made a dash for nearby woods before it could melt. It felt like walking in a cathedral of light and sparkle, absolutely heavenly, and inspiration for many months to come. Enjoy. Details below.

TM9508 October’s Snowfall – detail with snow-banked brush

TM9508 October’s Snowfall – detail from center top with snow blasted branches

October’s Snowfall – detail at wood’s edge with morning sunlight and shadow

TM9508 October’s Snowfall – detail from shadowed side

Technical painting notes: I used a soft rubber brayer to lay the first values and textures, then worked back and forth between brushwork and roller work to develop forms and layer color.

 

Winter Morning at the Chasm

TM9507 Winter Morning at the Chasm 36×30 oil on panel

There are beautiful mornings and there are glorious mornings – I put this morning in the glorious column. The chasm is almost impossible to navigate in the dead of winter, but with a little imagination and a good zoom lens there is plenty to inspire. I walked the road and tromped into some of the paths. This view across a narrow part of the chasm plays with the opposites of light and shade in a high key. I am especially pleased with the lower right, where the use of semi-transparent paint and a roller worked well to describe deep snow and its luminous light. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9507 Winter Morning at the Chasm – detail with sunlight and shadows

TM9507 Winter Morning at the Chasm – detail