Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Problem of Green

Everything is now green.  The ground is green.  The trees are green.  If you want to paint landscapes, what do you do?  Green is unavoidable, though there are ways to make green work for you, instead of against you.   Well,  that's the theory that I am using to deal with green.   This is an 8x10 pastel view in Washington Crossing Park looking towards the soccer fields,  which I did on location looking at all that green.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hopewell Exhibition

If you are a Hopewellian, please see my exhibition of 23 landscapes of Washington Crossing Park and the D&R Canal at the Hopewell branch of the Mercer County Library.   The exhibition will run through the month of June.  If you are interested in purchasing a landscape, the framed 5x7's are $50 and the framed 8x10's are $100.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Another Hopper Painting

Another view of the Hopper from near the entrance to the Haley Farm trail to Stony Ledge.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Early Space Between Houses

This is a charcoal drawing that I pulled out of storage last year for possible inclusion in an exhibition.   I looked at it recently and recognized an early depiction of space between houses.  This drawing dates to around 1986.

Another Hopper View and Infinity

The Hopper, one of my favorite places, seen from Haley Farm.  8x10 on colourfix paper.

Another thought from John Ruskin in Modern Painters:  "The moment that we trust ourselves, we repeat ourselves, and therefore the moment we see in a work of any kind whatsoever, the expression of infinity, we may be certain that the workman has gone to nature for it; while, on the other hand, the moment we see repetition, or want of infinity, we may be certain that the workman has not gone to nature for it."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hopper Two

This is a more studied view of the Hopper and a field in foreground.  The Hopper is the place where the mountainsides all run down together and meet forming a basket type valley.


I was able to work outside again, but the farmer was also working his tractor.  He kept getting closer, and the dust was flying.   I worked faster and faster, and then he drove away.  It's tough to work outdoors if one cannot do it often.  It requires persistence and frequency.

Friday, May 22, 2009

View of Hopper

I had a chance to work outdoors today. This is a view of the Hopper in Williamstown, MA. 8x10 on Canson paper.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Green, Green

A little geometry in nature.  Washington Crossing Bridge pier in the Delaware River. 5x7 on Canson paper.   Looks like a You Tube screen.  Just click on the button to see the river flow.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Power of Suggestion

This 5x7 pastel  shows a small overpass on River Drive right next to the Delaware River in Washington Crossing Park.

Ruskin in Modern Painters says, "...every touch is false which does not suggest more than it represents..."  A few paragraphs later he expands on this in his delicious style, when complaining that Claude Lorrain painted a wall "in one dead void of uniform gray."  Ruskin writes: "Nature would have let you see, nay, would have compelled you to see, thousands of spots and lines, not one to be absolutely understood or accounted for, but yet all characteristic and different from each other; breaking lights on shattered stones, vague shadows from waving vegetation, irregular stains of time and weather, mouldering hollows, sparkling casements--all would have been there--none, indeed, seen as such, none comprehensible or like themselves, but all visible; little shadows, and sparkles, and scratches, making the whole space of color a transparent, palpitating, various infinity."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bridge, Ruskin and Cubism

This is a view looking south down the Delaware River and Washington Crossing Bridge on the New Jersey side.

I don't think John Ruskin would have appreciated Cubism.  Writing about the experience of looking at a foreground while the background becomes indistinct, and vice versa, he says, "... for if we represent our near and distant objects as giving both at once that distinct image to the eye, which we receive in nature from each, when we look at them separately... we violate one of the most essential principles of nature; we represent that as seen at once which can only be seen by two separate acts of seeing, and tell a falsehood as gross as if we represented four sides of a cubic object visible together."  

Friday, May 15, 2009

Another Walk in the Park

This scene displays one of my usual walking places in the park.   8x10 pastel on colourfix paper.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

NorthWest Hill Road View

This is a fast 5x7 pastel sketch of a view between two barns on NorthWest Hill Road in Williamstown, MA.    

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tree and Shadow

This is a tree and its shadow on Longview Terrace in Williamstown, MA.

John Ruskin writes in Modern Painters: "...there is no climate, no place, and scarcely an hour, in which nature does not exhibit color which no mortal effort can imitate or approach.  For all our artificial pigments are, even when seen under the same circumstances, dead and lightless beside her living color; the green of a growing leaf, the scarlet of a fresh flower, no art nor expedient can reach; but in addition to this, nature exhibits her hues under an intensity of sunlight which trebles their brilliancy, while the painter, deprived of this splendid aid, works still with what is actually a gray shadow compared to the force of nature's color."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Johnson House

This is a different view of the Johnson House in Washington Crossing Park. I am doing verticals with the idea of trying to slice up the space on the surface, while keeping the sense of depth at the same time.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sentry House

This is the sentry house outside the Johnson Ferry House at Washington Crossing Park. Actually I am not sure what this little house is. An out house? Somebody told me that an in house means running water.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

In the Park

This is a vertical 7x5 pastel. Just trying something a bit different.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Forsythia and Dirt

This is a forsythia bush, now completely gone, or completely green, in Titusville, NJ.

In Modern Painters, John Ruskin says the following about dirt: "...this ought to be noted respecting modern painters in general, that they have not a proper sense of the value of dirt; cottage children never appear but in fresh got-up caps and aprons, and white-handed beggars excite compassion in unexceptionable rags. In reality, almost all the colors of things associated with human life derive something of their expression and value from the tones of impurity, and so enhance the value of the entirely pure tints of nature herself."

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I can't let spring depart without at least one attempt at a forsythia bush. This is an imposing bush on Route 2 in Williamstown, MA.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Still There

Except this time I tried an 8x10 vertical instead of horizontal pastel.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Between Space

This is obviously the same theme again. I don't know why I am obsessed with spaces between houses.

I mentioned earlier that I was reading Modern Painters by John Ruskin. He writes about the "one thing wanting" in some artists: "...Love: There is no evidence of their ever having gone to nature with any thirst, or received from her such emotion as could make them, even for an instant, lose sight of themselves; there is in them neither earnestness nor humility; there is no simple or honest record of any single truth; none of the plain words nor straight efforts that men speak and make when they once feel." It's a negative way to say how he thinks a landscapist should approach his art.