Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Snow's Gone

A little rain, two day's worth, takes away all the snow.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas! This is an 11x14 pastel of the view looking North at the end of Trimmer. The path is still covered in snow.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Early Morning Snowy Woods and Merton

Thomas Merton doesn't have anything to do directly with snowy landscapes, except for the following. In a book that I am reading, Lost in Wonder by Esther de Waal, she writes, "What is peculiarly distinctive about Owen Merton's canvases, exhibited in London galleries in the 1930s to the acclaim of the critics, is how uncrowded they are. He leaves empty space so that it is as though he invites the viewer in to share his experience."

In The Seven Storey Mountain, Merton wrote about his father: "My father painted like Cezanne and understood the southern French landscape the way Cezanne did. His vision of the world was sane, full of balance, full of veneration for structure, for the relations of masses and for all the circumstances that impress an individual identity on each created thing. His vision was religious and clean, and therefore his paintings were without decoration or superfluous comment, since a religious man respects the power of God's creation to bear witness for itself. My father was a very good artist."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Early Morning Woods

This morning it was milder, and I was up with the sun. It's right behind that tree trunk on the right. This pastel is 8x10 on 600 uart paper. Great stuff.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Stopping by Woods after a Snowy Evening

The sun did come out the next day. I have miles to go before I stop.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wintry Canal Already

Looking North during the lull in the snow storm. 8x10 on uart paper.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rooted Tree in December

When I showed some paintings in a small exhibition earlier this year, somebody asked me if I did anything else besides trees. I thought "What's wrong with trees?" This is the same tree with roots that appears further below without snow.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Tree in December

This is the same tree as earlier, except that now there's snow on the ground, and the sun is not shining brightly, but it's still bright nevertheless.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tree of Wisdom

Allow me one more quote from Thomas Merton: "There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness. This mysterious Unity and Integrity is Wisdom, the Mother of all, Naturans naturans. There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fount of action and joy. It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly, saluting me with indescribable humility. This is at once my own being, my own nature, and the Gift of my Creator's Thought and Art within me, speaking as Hagia Sophia, speaking as my sister Wisdom."

This pastel is 8x10 on colourfix paper.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Eloquent Trees

Merton wrote, "I cannot have enough of the hours of silence when nothing happens.  When the clouds go by.  When the trees say nothing.  When the birds sing.  I am completely addicted to the realization that just being there is enough, and to add something else is to mess it all up."

Of course,  trying to make silent trees talk might be messing it all up.  This 8x10 pastel is done on Canson Mi-Teintes paper.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tree Still Life

If I can learn to do still lifes of trees, then I can graduate to pots and pans.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Since I am usually on the New Jersey side, this view would be looking north, with the water on the left where you would expect it to be.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fast Flowing River and Merton

I am still at the river's edge. The water moves quickly. You can hear it. Whooossshh.

In the book, When the Trees Say Nothing: Writings on Nature, a selection from the writings of the monk Thomas Merton, he says: "Man can know all about God's creation by examining its phenomena, by dissecting and experimenting and this is all good. But it is misleading, because with this kind of knowledge you do not really know the beings you know. You only know about them. That is to say you create for yourself a knowledge based on your observations. What you observe is really as much the product of your knowledge as its cause. You take the thing not as it is, but as you want to investigate it. Your investigation is valid, but artificial...There is something you cannot know about a wren by cutting it up in a laboratory and which you can only know if it remains fully and completely a wren...I want not only to observe but to know living things, and this implies a dimension of primordial familiarity which is simple and primitive and religious and poor."

Merton was maybe thinking of scientists. I think of artists. How difficult to know anything, and even suggest what you might think you know or think you see. Merton was the son of two landscape artists, Owen Merton, a New Zealander, and Ruth Jenkins, an American.

Monday, December 7, 2009

La Riviere

The river, the river. Amazing how a few blotches look like something. Like a river. This view is looking south towards the Washington Crossing Bridge. A river also ran through my home town, Manchester, NH. The Merrimack.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

River Bank

I keep wandering the edge of the river. The water rose suddenly two nights ago. Rain up north? Now it's starting to go down again, which makes fresh prints in the mud available.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Same Place Different Time

This is the same spot as the previous pastel, except this is early morning. The other view was at mid-day. And the water is much lower.

I am reading another Czeslaw Milosz book, Native Realm, a biography. He writes, "I did not have the makings of an atheist, because I lived in a state of constant wonder, as if before a curtain which I knew had to rise someday."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Inlet Outlet

This is an exaggerated view of the river's edge just below an inlet where it's shallow causing the tiny rapids that form a v-shape. Often the shallow area is exposed allowing one to walk about thirty feet into the river. As I said the other day, the river's edge is a strange place. It retains a wildness.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

At the Edge of the River

This is a selection from a series of small studies I have been doing of the river's edge. These places can be six to ten feet under water at times, but not right now. The river's edge is like a lost place, an in-between place. I always have a residual dread of coming across something I don't want to see. Usually all I find are old fishing junk, other trash, and footprints, both human and animal.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Late Afternoon on the Canal

The canal is completely changed. The leaves are gone from the trees, except for a few. The water plants have disappeared. The sun reaches through the trees now.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Another November Canal

Another canal view looking toward the Grant Street Bridge.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Back on the Canal

It's fall, and maybe I tried to hard to make this more intense than it is. At least I didn't sign it 'honey'.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Last Lemon and Honey

That's my new signature, just like "Vincent". I never said I was a purist. Getting to this pastel has been a good exercise. Now I can return to landscapes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lemon and Grapefruit Halves with Bowl

This small 5x7 pastel is for Vince and Terry.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Back at It

I have a hard taskmaster, who gives me no respite.

Park and Canal in November

I took a break from the still life studies.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Last One for a While

A pastel painting and a charcoal pencil sketch in preparation. Scale has been an issue. I added the larger objects to avoid the lemon looking like a grapefruit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ein Anderer

No remarks today.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Getting Closer

The next one may be it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Occasionally, I get obsessed with something, like painting something over and over. Lemon and honey are my haystacks, except the time of day and the light is always the same.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

En Maison Air and Monet

My latest 5x7 Lemon and Honey painting done indoors en maison air.

I have been reading the excellent exhibition catalogue Monet in the 20th Century, in which Paul Hayes Tucker writes:

"When Sargent came to see him at the Savoy in 1901, the American expatriate was more than a little amused to watch him desperately search through more than eighty canvases stacked up in his suite trying to find just the right one when the effect he was working on happened to change. Even Monet knew it was a little absurd.

It is therefore understandable that he worked on many of these paintings as much in Giverny as he did in London...His decision to complete them in Giverny, however, cost him some public-relations points; a reporter found out and leaked that the great impressionist was painting his Londons away from the sites and, worse yet, was relying on photographs. When Monet learned of the article, he erupted in a rare display of public anger."

Friday, November 6, 2009

Honey and Lemon 3

I spent part of yesterday roaming through the galleries of the Denver Art Museum. One space had a short film on the artist Daniel Sprick, in which he said that it's a myth to think you are working for yourself. "If you're doing it for yourself, you wouldn't show it to anyone." This still life, like the previous two, is 5x7 inches.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Honey and Lemon 2

Another small still life. I am going to do variations with a few objects until I get it right.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Honey and Lemon

I have plenty of materials for landscapes, but it's time to do a few still lifes. This is just a warm up.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Late October Corn Field

The season comes to a fiery end.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Alas, Poor Yorick, after Delacroix

A high school class mate was kind enough to keep a painting that I did back then for an English assignment. I wanted to discard it at the time, but she asked for it and saved it all those years. I am grateful to her. She recently found my blog, and asked if I wanted the painting back. Of course, and now I am burdening you with it. What strikes me, beside my musings then, is that my paint handling, especially in the sky, is not that different from the pastel painting I did a couple days ago.

I will return to painting tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Canal on Sunday Revisited

This is a larger 11x14 version of a canal painting that I did back in August. I did this one as a commission. I like it better too. Though I will continue to do 8x10 paintings, I really like the 11x14 size. This is on colourfix paper, which I prepared with a combination of wash and rub-in colors.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I like to think that patience is one of my virtues, especially when working with people, but sometimes I don't have it when it comes to making art.  Especially when I realize how much more work I must do before I reach the fluency that I admire in other artists.  But that's the way it is,  and fortunately I do enjoy the work.  It's just that sometimes,  I want to leap ahead, but have to put in the necessary work, and be patient.
This is a view looking west down Blair Road. 8x10 on uart paper.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spying the Canal

Taking a break from long views to look into the canal. This view is near the only memorial to an American spy, John Honeyman, in Washington Crossing Park, NJ. 12 x 12 on colourfix paper. First square!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Late Day Long View

Another view looking towards the Taconics from Stratton Road. This pastel is 11 x 14 on colourfix paper.

The following comes from a book titled Silent Fire by James A. Connor: It is an art, the root of all art, the contemplative gaze mastered by poets and painters, the contemplative hearing mastered by composers, the contemplative touch, the contemplative smell, the contemplative taste. You can eat the world as painters eat the world, dance with the universe as if it were all music.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Different Long View

This view is from Stratton Road, but looking west down Blair Road. The Taconics are in the distance.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Above Five Corners

You may say the view can't be real. I say it's one of the most incredible spots I know. By the way, if you think I am in an 8x10 rut, I plan on making some pastels in different sizes soon. The method behind my madness is that I want to be able to frame something quickly. I don't have time or inclination to cut mats, or make frames.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Another Long View

The view of Mount Greylock and company from Route 7 approaching the five corners is always amazing. This is from across the high school.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Long View

I have wanted to do long views for a while. Only time will tell if it's a beneficial path. What happens when I finish a picture is that, whether I like it or not, I am committed to it enough to put it here, which I sometimes regret, and you may too. Sometimes what I thought was not so great turns out better over time, but more often what I thought was splendid, I put away in storage. I have about 90 paintings on view in my studio space. I retire a few each couple weeks to make room for the new ones. (I also will revise a painting and put it back up.)