TM9358 Inside Autumn 30×60 oil on panel
Many of the locales I paint were once farmland. The woods are mostly young, and the margins, defined by old stone walls, are a maze of grape and bittersweet vines, raspberry canes, and wildflowers. It’s a tangle of luxuriant growth bursting with color in the fall. All of that informed Inside Autumn, my homage to the season. Details below. Enjoy.
TM9358 Inside Autumn – detail from left of center
TM9358 Inside Autumn – detail from right and below center showing layered use of scraping, spatter, glazes and viscosity rolls to suggest autumn colors and textures
TM9358 Inside Autumn – detail from lower left edge
TM9358 Inside Autumn – detail from left side
Technical painting notes: I used mostly soft rubber rollers to apply the paint, beginning with a mixture of burnt siennas, umbers, and violets for the first pass. While the paint was wet, I drew into it with scrapers to establish the major branches and vines, then spritzed areas with solvent, which was rerolled to lift and soften textures and color. Some brush work to define negative areas and leaves followed. When this layer was dry, I rerolled burnt sienna over much of the surface and purposely streaked it with solvents and oil, spritzed it with solvents, and rerolled the surface. More scraping defined the tangle, along with some glazing. Using various viscosities of paint, I was able to lay down color or pick it up, revealing underlayers. When dry, I refined the color and edges with brushwork.
TM9437 Inside a Red Tree (during migration) 42×48 oil on panel
I ask myself (and the tree) this question: What are we experiencing? Is it the wind tossing us around? The birds chirping wildly about the joys of spring and autumn? Are we lost in the sheer joy of color and air? If I say this painting comes partly from imagination and partly from observation, will the tree agree? I hope so. Details below. Enjoy.
TM9437 Inside a Red Tree (during migration) – detail from upper left
TM9437 Inside a Red Tree (during migration) – detai from right of center with leaves dancing to the music
TM9437 Inside a Red Tree (during migration) – detail from left of center showing layered paint application of rolled and brushed paint
TM9437 Inside a Red Tree (during migration) – detail from below center looking through leaves toward sky beyond
Technical painting notes: I’ve been relying more and more on my soft rubber rollers to both move the paint around and to “draw” into the paint (narrow roller from Takech). The mix of accident and intention, along with the layering of mechanical strokes and brush-made strokes adds a level of liveliness to the painting.
TM9431 Oh Breezy Day 34×40 oil on
Some paintings seem to pop out of no where. Oh Breezy Day started as an interpretation of trees and boughs overhanging a vernal pool – lots of reflections amid the fresh colors of spring. It was quite realistic. When I revisited the site later in the week, it was a breezy day. Wind was dancing with the leaves and clouds, and the feeling had changed entirely. I liked the dynamic of all that movement, and completely reworked the painting to capture the feel of the second visit. The new painting reminds me of a series of studies I did a while back called conversations between clouds and leaves (you can see them by going to the drop-down menu above, look for small pondscapes, cloud-gazing). Art is a spiral that keeps glancing off the past. Details below. Enjoy.
TM9431 Oh Breezy Day – detail from upper right
TM9431 Oh Breezy Day – detail from upper left
TM9431 Oh Breezy Day – detail from left side
TM9431 Oh Breezy Day – detail from lower right
Technical painting notes: This painting started with a roll-up of thinned, dark, blue/green oil paint, which was manipulated with solvents, scrapers, roller, and finally spatter to create an interesting pattern of lights and darks. When the base layer was dry, glazes were added and details worked up with brush and roller. As the painting evolved, I used the roller to “glaze” semi-transparent color and blur edges to suggest movement. Final details were accentuated with a small brush and saturated color.
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 the painting.
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.
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.
TM9422 Looking Up, Looking Down 36×60 oil on panel
Painting is an adventure. I started this painting almost two years ago – a somewhat abstract view through trees in early winter. I worked on it off and on all year, tinkering with the mood, the amount of snow. and, finally, the intensity of the wind. Eventually, the painting became a blizzard with white out conditions. I wasn’t sure a white whirling void was really my intent, so I put it away for a few weeks. When I returned to it, I knew the winter had to go. I couldn’t stand looking at the blizzard – so cold. I picked up a roller and started attacking the panel with yellows and grays, greens and blues. It certainly changed the mood! At some point, it struck me that I was painting a brilliant, partly cloudy sky, and at the same time the yellow shapes began to resemble blossoms. Oh dear, I thought. Where did that come from? I took out my collection of photos from the Victory Gardens and shots of my friend Christine’s garden and started to purposely paint the gestures of flowers and leaves. The painting is certainly about transitions and spring, and the joys of looking up and down. I think it also is about learning to trust intuition, letting go, and having loads of fun skiing along the edges of the roller shapes and dancing with the lines. Details below. Enjoy.
TM9422 Looking Up, Looking Down – detail from lower right showing layered use of brush and roller strokes
TM9422 Looking Up, Looking Down – detail from upper right
TM9422 Looking Up, Looking Down – detail from upper center
TM9422 Looking Up, Looking Down – detail from upper left with clouds and blossoms