What we find in the woods is mysterious and true

TM9696 What we find in the woods is mysterious and true 36×36 oil and pencil on panel

Many people ask why I spend so much time rambling around Hamlen Woods, painting the same swamps and trees, pond and creek. Why not go to (fill in the blank). They don’t understand that every visit is new. I know the heron’s favorite trees, where the ferret swims, where the snakes like to sun in the fall, and where ducks like to wade the path to get to the bigger pond. Also the best spots for blueberries, the shallows where the frogs hold forth, and when to photograph the swans without scaring them. In winter, I study ice patterns, and they are always different. Last week I saw columns of crystals growing in the shallows, connecting the icy surface to the pond floor. I never see the same thing twice.

And then there’s what happens when I return to the studio, full of ideas, sounds, and visually memorized details to paint. Each painting session includes whatever I saw (and felt) from my last visit, merging into one visual statement that somehow expresses another aspect of the place.

What we find in the woods is mysterious and true is certainly an example of this hybridization. It also delves further into my experimentation with rollers and pencils as tools for painting. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9696 What we find in the woods is mysterious and true – detail from left side
TM9696 What we find in the woods is mysterious and true – detail from upper left
TM9696 What we find in the woods is mysterious and true – detail from lower left
TM9696 What we find in the woods is mysterious and true – detail from center showing use of transparent and opaque paint
TM9696 What we find in the woods is mysterious and true – detail from upper right

Technical painting note: Since the captions describe some of the process, let me just add that while the linework variations are becoming more diverse, I am also interested in the contrasts of transparency vs. opacity, and letting some of the thinly glazed substrate show through in the final painting, making the layers more obvious and enhancing the sense of depth.

Spring in the Woods

TM9646 Spring in the Woods 36×44 oil on panel

The woods are a sacred place in so many ways – a place to refresh and unwind, a vital habitat, a generator of oxygen and trap for carbon, a protector and filter for aquifers. My paintings are a way of honoring their importance to all life and a way to bring the woods into my heart and home. The trees are among my heroes. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9646 Spring in the Woods – detail from upper left
TM9646 Spring in the Woods – detail from center
TM9646 Spring in the Woods – detail from left side

Poem from the Berkshires

An ordinary

TM9339 Poem from the Berkshires 36×40 oil on panel

An ordinary corner from the back of the field, but isn’t it also extraordinary? So much lifeĀ  – these trees are creating rich loam, oxygen, and nesting sites. They provide cover for small animals and shade for us. They can calm the soul and bring joy to the eye. An eloquent subject for a poem. Enjoy. Details below.

TM9339 Poem from the Berkshires – detail from foreground with brush and roller application of paint

TM9339 Poem from the Berkshires – detail from lower right with young pine