Spring Begins in the Shallows

TM9529 Spring Begins in the Shallows 36×36 oil on panel

In early April the water in the pond is cold and deepest blue, but as the days warm an explosion happens. Suddenly, there are bubbles and blips as frogs frisk. Duckweed starts to appear along the edges, stray debris floats by, and a green sludge of life blooms. The water seems so dense! Through it all, one can see white clouds and blue sky. It is an amazing and supremely hopeful occurrence. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9529 Spring Begins in the Shallows – detail from upper left
TM9529 Spring Begins in the Shallows – detail from left side
TM9529 Spring Begins in the Shallows – detail from center

Later that Morning

TM9530 Later that Morning 36×40 oil on panel

Taking the same route regularly offers a wonderful opportunity to see and study the roadside view in changing weather conditions, and to watch trees grow and mature, or suffer the hardship of storms. It becomes a ritual of perception; thinking about how to paint what I see, anticipating what I could see. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9530 Later that Morning – close-up from upper left
TM9530 Later that Morning – detail from lower left side
TM9530 Later that Morning – detail from right of center

Poem in the Woods

Poem in the Woods is from an afternoon ramble through woodsy swampland. Yes, the ground is spongy, and there are lots of switchbacks when the way is blocked by water that’s too deep, but the the rewards of experiencing the reflected world are worth the slight inconveniences. I love the various dimensions, sky reflections, tree reflections, the leaves floating on the surface of this shallow water….it feels a bit unearthly and yet at the same time so deeply of the earth. Enjoy. Details below.

TM9528 Poem in the Woods – detail from lower right
TM9528 Poem in the Woods – detail from upper left

Roadside Stand

TM9527 Roadside Stand 36×36 oil on panel

You can be driving along and suddenly a particular stand of trees catches your attention. This stand of pines, mostly young, reminds me of pictures taken at family reunions, with everyone crowding in and the children in front. While I may not be a portrait artist, I couldn’t resist painting this family. Enjoy.

Open Secrets

TM9523 Open Secrets 42×48 oil on panel

A few record-setting warm days last week prompted me to bring out a painting that has been in the works for a while. Based on my delight and sense of wonder whenever I am in the presence of trees, this painting delves into the canopy (again) and ponders what we hear as well as see Рthe music of trees rustling is present, as is the sense of a community of leaves, each leaf bearing its own song, its own secrets. I imagine all these songs being carried off with the wind. So public. Such open secrets. There is so much we need to learn about trees, their inner life, there deep connection  to our own existence. The solace and joy they offer us. Details below. Enjoy

TM9523 Open Secrets – detail from center right

TM9523 Open Secrets – detail from top edge

TM9523 Open Secrets – detail from upper left and center

TM9523 Open Secrets – detail from lower left

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Technical painting notes: I used a soft rubber roller to layer dark oil paint onto the surface of the panel, blocking in the pattern of darks and lights and trying to achieve some interesting textures and roller strokes. When dry, I worked up the pattern of leaves, branches, stems, and sky with soft brushes, exaggerating value contrasts with the intent of covering this stage with multiple rolls of fairly transparent oil color glazes.  Days of rolling and rerolling wet glazes produced the soft focus I was hoping for, and helped to suggest both movement and the mysterious life of the leaves. Highlighting a few areas with additional brushwork completed the painting.

First Signs

TM9522 First Signs 36×92 diptych oil on panels

Late winter can seem so devoid of color, but then one warm day brings a melt, and suddenly that crisp blue sky and reflecting water reveal the poetry of the season. The dried winter grasses along the pond edge seem to dance in the breeze, and a hint of green hovers in the water – where from? I hardly know, but it feels like magic. First Signs is about early spring and its energy. I invite you to join me on this extended walk along the pond path. Enjoy. Details below.

TM9522 First Signs – detail from upper right

TM9522 First Signs – detail from top with reflections and dried grasses

TM9522 First Signs – detail from center left

TM9522 First Signs – detail from right panel with reflections and swaying grasses

TM9522 First Signs – detail from lower edge with meltwater and sky

TM9522 First Signs – detail from left side with winter’s grasses overhanging the pond

Meltwater Season

TM9520 Meltwater Season 36×54 oil on panel

March is a strange month – full of bluster and cold, while at the same time offering glimpses of warmth. Colors are muted, but the varieties of ice can be amazing as ponds and creeks go through cycles of freezing and thawing. Meltwater Season is mostly about the scrims of ice vying with passages of open water, ice floes below the surface, frozen bubbles and air pockets, and the frame of snow and ice retreating along the shore of this glorious in-between season. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9520 Meltware Season – detail whre shore meets pond with ice and snow

TM9520 Meltwater Season – detail from left side with thin ice

TM9520 Meltwater Season – detail from lower center with last scrim of ice over liquid water

TM9520 Meltwater Season – detail from upper left

Technical painting notes: I developed the painting in layers, starting with rolls of deep browns and blueish grays. These were followed by some intricate brush work to describe underlying vegetation – which was followed up with more roller work with semi-transparent paint to “bury” the details under snow and ice. Below is the painting at mid-stage in development.

Everything that could be seen, and some that couldn’t (aka Winter Morning)

TM9521 Everything that could be seen, and some that couldn’t (aka Winter Morning) 30×60 oil on panel

My winter walks in the woods provide a complex feast of interlocking bare branches and tangled vines, all partially adorned with ice or snow. Painting the wild exuberance of all that rhythm can be intimidating. Studies and smaller paintings can help the process, but sometimes it’s a leap of faith that’s required. So dive I must, wielding multiple rollers and a few brushes loaded with paint. It is an invigorating way to paint. I think the result does describe the woods and season I love. Details below.

TM9521 Everything that could be seen, and some that couldn’t (aka Winter Morning) – detail from left side with burdened branches

TM9521 Everything that could be seen, and some that couldn’t (aka Winter Morning) – detail from lower right

TM9521 Everything that could be seen, and some that couldn’t (aka Winter Morning) – detail from lower center with snow and ice on bare branches

T9521 Everything that could be seen, and some that couldn’t (aka Winter Morning) detail from center, top to bottom

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