Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Painting A Tractor

Trying to get back into the rhythm of studio and plein-air painting, I kept thinking of Brian Sweetland, the superb outdoor painter, whose memorial retrospective I saw last year at the Southern Vermont Arts Center.  He loved painting farms, and there was an entire wall devoted to small paintings of tractors.  So I went out and painted a tractor.  Haley Farm at the end of Hopper Road has six working tractors that were all available yesterday afternoon for any painter who happened to come by.  The above is an 8x10 oil on panel.

Monday, August 31, 2015

No Comfort Zone

A last batch of four drawings from a drawing session this time at the Shoestring Press in Brooklyn.  I read something recently about the value of getting out of one's comfort zone in order to grow mentally and spiritually.  Drawing the figure, especially if one doesn't do it often, certainly is a way to get out of one's comfort zone.  There's no faking what you can and cannot do, and discovering what you need to learn and work on.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Drawing in New York 2

Two more drawings, different model, different session, different location, but also led by Simon Levenson in Manhattan.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Drawing in New York

I've been away, to Brooklyn, but still painting and drawing, mainly drawing.  My son, a fine draughtsman, arranged for both of us to attend life drawing sessions run by painter Simon Levenson in Manhattan.  Above are two drawings from the first session.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Eyes Moving

This is an 8x10 oil painting that I did a couple weeks ago trying to capture as quickly as possible the clouds forming over the mountain top.  There's a row of trees bordering a pasture in the foreground.  As you can see I painted the trees quickly as well.  Gruppe in his book on color says that the eyes move quickly over what they see, and he advises doing the same when painting.  The brush doesn't move as quickly sometimes.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Postage Stamp Sky

This little 8x10 oil on panel I did Monday this week in the afternoon at Haley Farm at the end of Hopper Road.  Trying to avoid the heat by setting up under a tree, I could only see distant fields, trees, mountains, and an enormous sky, which I tried to paint on a postage stamp.  I didn't set out to repeat the trees in the clouds, but it seems to have worked out that way.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Brooklyn at District in Pittsfield

Today I installed eighteen larger paintings of Brooklyn scenes in the Pittsfield restaurant District. District is the sister restaurant to Public, located in North Adams. I hope you get a chance to visit District, located at the center of Pittsfield on West Street, and see the paintings. There's plenty of free parking close by. The exhibition will be up for four months.

In the Sun

This 10x10 oil on panel painting is closer to what I want in paralleling the structures with the mountains.  When I arrived yesterday morning, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, but they started to appear so I put them in.   I worked under my umbrella since there's no place to escape the sun where I was standing.  The painting took one hour to complete.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Paralleling the foreground roofs and the distant mountains is an interesting idea, but it probably needs more space around it to work well.

Monday, August 17, 2015

No Clouds

This 10x10 oil on panel painting I did last Friday morning.  When I arrived at the high meadow the sky was cloudless, everything illuminated equally, and quite flat in appearance.  So I decided to paint anyway.  I felt it was like chiseling out a pattern in low relief.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Little Big Sky

This 8x10 oil on panel of the clouds is the only one left of the group that I have photographed.  It was also done last week in the morning looking south from the high meadow.  I had a busy weekend with no painting, so I have to rely on previously done paintings.  I wrote "in the morning" because the clouds were holding back, and became more dramatic only as the day went on, but I was there when the clouds were like this.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Simple Quick

This 8x10 oil on panel I did last week.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Clouds and Mountains

A day later.  No bull this time.  This is a 12x12 oil on panel done yesterday in the morning at the same location from a different position.  The previous day's painting of the same shed was done in the afternoon when the sun was also in a different position.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Beauty and the Bull

This time a view of the clouds and mountains with a garage and shed, which are there, set against the background to provide contrast.  

I was joined by Walt Pasko,  who has been painting plein air for a long time.  His venerable Gloucester easel reflects the fence posts.

The fence, though it has four strands of barbed wire and sturdy posts, is not as strong as it seems.  While I was painting, I heard a loud snort behind me.  Someone on Facebook had joked recently about meeting a bull.  Well, I turned around and there he was about ten feet from me, and on the wrong side of the fence, my side, that is.  He had already run by Walt who was painting higher up.  The bull was big, dark and powerfully built.  He whined a little when I looked at him, and continued to run down the hill.  I saw him again a few minutes later.  Somehow he had managed to get through the fence (again), and was slowly walking back up the hill, but this time inside the pasture.  Nature is a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Small and Large

Here are two skies looking in the same northeast direction from the high meadow, done five days apart.    My little 8x10 panel is insufficient to capture the enormity of the sky and clouds.