I think of my little paintings as haikus – so much to concentrate into a few square inches, and so much I want to say about October – that splendid month!. Enjoy.
I’m pleased to announce that eight of my large pondscapes form the Inaugural Exhibit at the Brook House Exhibiting Artists Program. My emissaries of autumn look happy in their new (temporary) home!
Not in the pictures….
I never really know what I’ll see when I walk down to the pond, but I always know there will be something spectacular to paint. This past week, everything was glowing gold, a color that signals the end of autumn is close by. Between the trembling and falling leaves, blue sky, and a few scarlet maples hiding(?) behind the birch and willows – well – it was better than fireworks. Returning to the studio I knew I had to find a way to share the experience. Not just the facts, but the feel of all that color and the sense of being immersed in it. Autumn Afternoon at the Pond is my homage to the experience and my way of saying thank you. Details below. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: This painting on panel is all about using primarily soft rubber rollers to apply the paint in layers, intermixing a bit of brushwork for variety. I mix a group of colors, add Winsor Newton Liquin Impasto medium to help with the rolling out and drying, then just begin rolling. The paint application is thin, so that colors can blend and show through. Over the course of a few days, the layers of transparent rolling can really start to glow. I’ve found over the years that too much careful detail can interrupt the feeling of spontaneous arrival – as if we are arriving at a place with a magnifying glass. All that matters is the telling detail – the idiosyncratic moment that captures the spirit of what’s going on, and reveals some careful looking but more joy than determination.
One of my childhood fantasies was to have a treehouse. I suppose that’s one reason why I spend so much time now imagining myself in the trees, whether they are reflected in a pond or a view through leaves from the very heart of the tree. Trees represent something sacred and enduring, a place of respite and, especially now, our most important generator of clean air and oxygen. And they are so graciously beautiful, especially when the breeze ruffles their leaves and creates gentle ripples on the pond, creating confetti-like vibrations of color. Enjoy. Details below.
There’s a phrase from a Mary Oliver poem “….the daily pretensions…” which I suspect stays with me because it sums up everything I hope my work is not about. I’m more interested in what humbly endures, which is where Oliver’s heart resides too. October’s Pond is my lavish scrutiny of the wonders next door (or at least a short way down the road). These days of rampant red and crimson, set against a warm blue, cloud-studded sky, are few in number. It makes them all the more precious. Soon a great wind will come along, followed by a northern cold front, and the color will fly away, to be replaced by the bronze season of oak leaves and frost. Ah well. that will be beautiful too, as long as I remember to really look….enjoy. Details below.
Technical painting notes: The painting began by rolling on a staccato rhythm of roller strokes, using burnt sienna and some burnt umber mixed with Winsor Newton’s Liquin impasto medium and a dash of mineral spirits and stand oil. I manipulated the wet paint with a scrap of plastic bag and solvent, roughly streaking the paint to suggest movement. When this base layer was dry, I glazed parts of the panel then proceeded to use a brush and oil paint to block in the “negative” sky reflections. Interweaving sky and leaves proceeded apace, sometimes usng a soft brush, sometimes a soft rubber roller. I repeated the process for a few days, then worked on finding the branches and some more descriptive stems – again using brush and a narrow roller. Final mostly transparent glazes softened the feel of the painting – suggestive of the warm humid atmosphere of that particular day. The leaves floating onto the water came last.
‘s heart is too
I’ve been visiting the banks of the Assabet River occasionally, enjoying its meanders and charm. These four oil studies show the transition that happens every. The first is from early September, the following three are resplendently late September and October. Enjoy.
There’s a small creek that runs along the studio building – nothing much, but I’ve enjoyed walking my dogs along the parts that are free of poison ivy. We like to pause and watch the drifting leaves and occasional muskrats or ducks as they go about their business. Occasionally we’ve seen a great blue heron, it’s wings spanning the creek from bank to bank. Sometimes the reflections and light are extraordinary. Passing Time, which I began years ago, is a painting I’ve tinkered with – I work on it a bit, then put it aside, thinking it might be finished. I pulled it out again this week, and discovered there was more I could do to enhance the color and light, and especially the feeling of movement. So here it is….maybe finished? Enjoy.
is an homage to our little creek, and to taking the time daily to enjoy its special offerings.