New England’s ancient mountains and old fault lines yield wonderfully complex geology – and great places to learn some rock climbing. As kids, we scrambled around embracing the rough stone and glorying in the feeling of strength and power that came with conquering each new outcrop. This spot was a favorite for beginners. Such unadulterated pleasure!
I started a group of Chasm studies on tinted paper in March, just before the covid virus stopped everything. It’s time to go back and finish them! Climbing Up was painted on a soft tan prepared paper, with the hope that some of the warmth would show through the transparent oil paint colors. ENjoy.
Where to spend my summer – virtually. This is it. Especially if I can have a studio overlooking this spot. It’s all a matter of using one’s imagination. Enjoy!
Some trails become a habit. Maybe it’s because they are close-by. I tend to think it’s because they always provide a boost to the spirit and something new to appreciate. I particularly enjoy learning and recording the changes that seasons bring, then incorporating these details into my paintings. Below, you’ll find a few photos showing the development of this piece. Enjoy.
On the first day of painting, I strive to block in the major values and textures. I use a roller to apply thinned oil paint, then manipulate it with mineral spirits and paper towels. I want the feel and gesture of the forms to be established.
The second day started with blocking in the sky and defining the trees. Compositionally, I liked the stalwart tree almost dead center as a focus and contrast to all the diagonals of the granite ledge and uplifted tree boughs. On the third day, I worked on the pattern of light on the granite, and refined the detail in the stone.
On the last day, I decided to bring more light and air into the trees, and lightened the distant ridge so it would recede.
More light and saturated color were added to the overhanging foliage, and reds and violets were glazed onto the ledge in the shadows.
I also glazed more warmth into the stone granite at the bottom of the painting. Finished!
I’ve passed the sign for Clarksburg State Park off Route 2 many times when delivering artwork, and somehow I never took that right turn. Well, I finally did last summer. What a surprise as I climbed the park road and found a basin of light and towering cliffs! I spent much of the morning scampering around the gorge and quarry with my camera. This is the first painting from that day, soon to be delivered to Greylock Gallery in Williamstown, MA. Detail below. Enjoy.
It’s finally here, a perfectly lovely June day. I love the way late May and Early June leaves are so soft and vibrantly green. I feel compelled to touch them, as if they couldn’t possibly be as soft as they seem. Bless them. This is another painting based on the trees and vines overhanging my little creek. Details below. Enjoy.
So much pain and sadness fills the news, and yet we have to find our way. For me, respites are my work in the studio, usually reimagining a walk along the creek or to my favorite pond. It’s a chance to remember that life does go on, the leaves will unfold into summer shade. The poetry of light and color is still here to be enjoyed. It is possible to continue. Details below. Enjoy.
Technical painting notes: The painting developed from a fairly abstract beginning, with the main values blocked in and a few directional lines of energy scraped out. While based on the creek by my studio, I have taken liberties, selecting the details I want to emphasize, and using the roller to blur and soften other areas. Generally, I work from abstract to real, then layer in more impressions to get at the essence of the place, not the facts but the feel of what I’m seeing.
Evening Poem is from late in the day, as the light is slowly disappearing. Based on the nearby Muddy River, it is a my ode to the twin necessities of solace and quiet. Details below. Enjoy.