Saturday, February 28, 2009

Canal Series

It's starting to look like another series.  Every time I walk along the canal, I am amazed.  Yesterday there were two swans in the canal.

One last word from Sue Gussow: "...while the eye's focus is akin to a camera's focus, it does not record information in the same way.  Unlike a photograph, a drawing is made over a period of time, whether minutes or hours.  The eye focuses and refocuses as the hand draws."  

Friday, February 27, 2009

Shaped Vision, Clutter Pastel

This is another view of the same tree with the arching trunk in the early morning.  Trees on the other side of the canal are reflected in the canal background so they all seem to be on the same plane. 

More words from Sue Ferguson Gussow: "It is from the humble particulars of our daily lives that larger abstractions may be formulated.  In our observations we are confronted by a visual world of vast complexity and density.  To reduce this agglomeration of color, texture, detail, and overlap to coherent imagery, we shape what we see."  This is what she wrote when introducing clutter drawings,  drawings made of some found site,  left as is, which one "shapes" into coherence.  I suppose this is my clutter pastel.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pine Tree on the Canal

This is a view of the canal from the shady side facing the sunny side and the bridge at Grant Avenue in Titusville, NJ.  The tree is very distinctive.  Again, bright and cold in the early morning.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Canal Break

This is a view of the canal this morning: sunny, chilly, and no ice.  I took a break from painting pine trees in the park, though I did walk by them. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

More Early Morning Sun and Tagging

Two more in the Washington Crossing Park series of early morning sun pastel images.

Recently I was "tagged" by Loriann Signori, a terrific pastel landscapist and waterscapist, who occasionally paints donuts.   The deal is that I must list seven things about myself that people might not know, and tag seven other blogs.  I can list 7 things:

a) My middle name is the French Henri, making my name Robert Henri Lafond, which I find amusing.  I have inherited the art spirit.
b) Many years ago, I discarded a large set of Rembrandt pastels, thinking I would never use them.  There's a lesson there.
c) I worked in an art museum for almost 20 years as registrar.
d) I painted abstract pictures for over 20 years, all in oil.
e) My favorite artist is Richard Diebenkorn, who died too early.  His Ocean Park series is probably one of the greatest group of American paintings ever made.
f) I rode a bicycle  over 500 miles in a week for charity ten years in a row.  I now walk for exercise.
g) In fact, I have no qualms lugging my guerrilla box with pastels in a backpack for several miles to where I want to work (in warm weather).

The seven blogs, in no particular order, are:

a) Peter Fiore's Landscape a Day, a very new blog.  Peter Fiore lives near the Delaware River, and paints beautiful scenes in which the river seems to be just beyond the horizon.  See his web site for more.
b) Learning to See, a blog by Paul Foxton, who returned to drawing and painting after "a gap of many years."  He paints beautiful still lifes, and has great passion and discipline.  
c) A new blog by Victoria Ryan, who does wonderful pastel landscapes.  See her web site for more.  
d) A blog by Sheila Evans,  who does closeups of leaves and flowers in pastel that are extraordinary.  
e) Bill Cone's blog, where you can see his pastel paintings of rocks in western landscapes.  He is a master.
f) Simon Jones, a painter in oil who does very unusual, dark, whimsically odd, fascinating paintings.
g) A blog by Keith Wilkinson, called Filbert and Rigger, whose landscapes I like because they are very painterly and always interesting.

I have not notified these wonderful artists that I have listed them.  They certainly will appreciate the publicity, as meager as it is, but I am not sure they will like the tagging part, so I am chickening out.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Early Morning Sun

These are two pastel images that I worked on in the last couple days as part of my early morning in the park series.  They are 8x10 on Colourfix paper.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Early Morning Fog

Washington Crossing Park 6
Early Morning Fog
pastel on Canson paper, 5x7

This morning the air was warm and the park was filled with fog.

In her book, Architects Draw, Sue Ferguson Gussow writes, "...drawing is thought extended through the fingertips.  Strands of thought appear as marks on a field of paper: the eye perceives the embryonic image, the thinking/marking process takes place, the drawing emerges."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Next Painting

This is the next pastel painting in what will probably be a series.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Early Morning

I am still in the park pretending it's early spring.  

The Feb. 13th edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education had an article on Sue Ferguson Gussow, who teaches freehand drawing at Cooper Union.   When she was warning students about overdrawing, she said, "Every drawing, every painting, is really about the next painting anyhow."  

I have been trying to understand what that means.  It strikes me as being true.  We make choices when we draw or paint.  We must live with them, and not try to introduce the choices we didn't make in the same work.   We can save them for the next painting.   I am certain there are other ways of looking at it as well.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Site Visit

The weather was warmer, so I visited the site, and did a couple sketches outdoors.  The above pastel is based upon the sketches.  

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Washington Crossing Park 2

I have so many pictures with the same title, I better start numbering them at least, though that isn't too informative.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Second Version

Here's the slightly larger version.  I will try to do something more exciting tomorrow.  I love trees.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Walk in the Park

Late Sunday afternoon, I took a walk in the park.  I will do a slightly larger version of these trees and maintenance shed this week.  This pastel is 5x7.  Trees are just as lively without leaves.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Two Tomatoes

This is the best of three still lifes, each with two tomatoes, that I did this weekend.  I will be moving back to landscapes this week.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More Ice and an Exhibition

The canal ice disappeared last night. This is what it looked like on Saturday morning before the changeover.

Twenty seven of my pastel paintings are on exhibition from today until February 25 at the Holy Family University Art Gallery in the ETC building at the northeast Philadelphia campus. If you are in the area, please come and see.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Frozen Canal

I wanted to write something about Zen, paradox, duality, and art, but all I came up with was a frozen canal.  

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Eternal Barn and the Ice Canal

As you can see, I did spend time doing the barn again.  It looks like a house, except it has no glass in the windows, and two broken garage doors on the hidden side.  You can see right through this barn.

Then I moved back to the frozen canal, where the sun was also shining.

I would like to return to Christian Wiman one more time.  In the last paragraph to the article I mentioned earlier he writes: "Art--including our own, perhaps, especially our own--should help us to integrate existence rather than mark it off.  We should learn to see our lives as one time rather than a series of separate times...Our most transfiguring spiritual experiences are merely the experiences we were trying to have all our lives, which is to say that we are not so much transfigured as completed."