John Fowles writes, "In a wood the actual visual 'frontier' of any one tree is usually impossible to distinguish, at least in summer. We feel, or think we feel, nearest to a tree's 'essence' (or that of its species) when it chances to stand like us, in isolation; but evolution did not intend trees to grow singly. Far more than ourselves they are social creatures, and no more natural as isolated specimens than man is as a marooned sailor or a hermit."
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
John Fowles writes, "In them [the woods] we stand among older, larger and infinitely other beings, remoter from us than the most bizarre other non-human forms of life: blind, immobile, speechless..., waiting... altogether very like the only form a universal god could conceivably take."
Sunday, November 28, 2010
It was a foggy morning when I entered the colonnade...
Fowles writes, "In a way woods are like the sea, sensorially far too various and immense for anything but surfaces or glimpses to be captured. They defeat view-finder, drawing-paper, canvas, they cannot be framed; and words are futile, hopelessly too laborious and used to capture the reality."
Of course, this problem is not restricted to "woods" but to all of life. And, all we have is paper, canvas, words, and imagination.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
One might think the colonnade is a huge hotel, but it's only a double row of pine trees, but I have been lost in the colonnade in the last few days. Over the next few days, I will post a group of paintings of the colonnade that I started on Wednesday.
John Fowles writes in The Tree: "If I cherish trees beyond all personal...need and liking of them, it is because of this, their natural correspondence with the greener, more mysterious processes of the mind--and because they also seem to me the best, most revealing messengers to us from all nature, the nearest its heart."
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Still exploring the possibilities in the colonnade, using a combination of stix, charcoal, and black pastel. Temples and places like Stonehenge started as lined up trees, and now we have trees lined up to resemble temples and places like Stonehenge. The colonnade I would guess dates back to the early 1930s. It's not visible until you walk by the entrance at either end.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Trying to find my way through the colonnade, I'm doing several sketches. I wasn't happy with the pastel I did yesterday. Too static, and the colors don't move me either. I was originally taken by the lone maple hanging on with its yellow leaves, an intruder among the old lineup of pines. I don't want to give up on the colonnade. I need to find a way to convey what it is while making an interesting painting or two.
When I was approaching the colonnade this morning, I saw a large buck run into the colonnade area. When I arrived he was still there. He just stared at me as I walked through. Of course, I told him how beautiful he was, and to stay out of the streets.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
In the park I usually gravitate to the colonnade of pine trees planted many, many years ago. Some of the trees are now falling out of the colonnade. It's hard to avoid verticals when doing trees. John Fowles in The Tree writes that "trees warp time, or rather create a variety of times: here dense and abrupt, there calm and sinuous--never plodding, mechanical, inescapably monotonous." Except maybe in the colonnade. Time is different there, but the mechanical is also present.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
This morning I went into the park with my trusty bag of stix, not tricks. The bottom drawing came from sitting at the base of the tree. The top pastel I developed in the studio later today. I have been reading the book by John Fowles called The Tree. I hope to comment on it later this week.
Friday, November 19, 2010
It's been two years to the day that I started this blog. I have covered a lot of ground in two years, but have stayed in the same places to find my landscape subjects. I hope that those of you who look at this blog now and then have seen some progress, at least in the pastels. This is a view of the canal from early this morning on 8x10 Wallis paper, which received a bit of acrylic wash to set it up for the pastel layers.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
From this image, one can imagine better the early morning view across the Delaware from New Jersey into Pennsylvania. It's at the spot where Washington crossed in 1775. The weather wasn't as nice back then. Oh, I forgot to mention, he didn't have a bridge either.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
The sun had just come over the top of the mountain as I reached the higher field lighting up the tree that stood against the mountain. By the time I reached the tree, my old sneakers were soaked from the wet grass. I couldn't believe my luck, to see the light in the tree.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I often start a weekend thinking I will have all kinds of time to do this and that. I did do this and that, but in terms of painting only a few stix drawings emerged. But, I am hopeful that more good things will come. In fact, I know that will be the case. Working with the stix has awakened me to the possibilities of looser handling of materials, which I want to explore in the next few weeks.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Anyone who has wandered down River Drive will recognize this old wall at the bridge over the creek that flows into the Delaware River. Again pastel over acrylic prepared Wallis paper.
I have been reading George Inness and the Visionary Landscape by Adrienne Baxter Bell. I knew there was something else going on in his landscapes, but I didn't realize the depth of his religious perception of landscape. Also his deliberate going-after suggestiveness in his handling of paint. Here's a wonderful quote in the book from William James, apropos of nothing directly with Inness, "We may be in the universe as dogs and cats are in our libraries, seeing the books and hearing the conversation, but having no inkling of the meaning of it all." Actually, my guess would be that cats and dogs might have a better sense of the universe than people.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
To get to and from the woods, I have to walk along the canal. Such luck. The sun was spectacular this morning. This is another 8x10 on Wallis paper prepared with acrylic wash before applying pastel.
I was reading a review of the Helen Vendler book on Emily Dickinson yesterday. Emily wrote short poems frequently for a period of many years. If the Internet had been around then, she could have done a Poem a Day. Anyway, I was thinking that little paintings, just like little poems, can still have a major impact.
Monday, November 8, 2010
The sun was bright since the leaf canopy is mostly gone. I like those words, "leaf canopy". Sounds like a jungle, even though it's New Jersey. More fallen trees. I was looking at a nice site devoted to drawing trees today, but in the images all the trees are standing up. I look down as well as up and ahead when in the woods. Otherwise I might trip. This one is 8x10 on Wallis paper prepped with acrylic wash followed by pastel.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
In preparation for doing some paintings, I have started a series of color sketches with the art stix to determine what to do next. The first one is from last week at Field Farm. The other four are from today in Washington Crossing Park. The sun makes all the difference. The sun was not out for the first one. Some images I can get out of my system with just a sketch. Others I want to return to, and do something more involved, with more care. But I like the sketches which are done very quickly.
Friday, November 5, 2010
The fall forest floor of decaying trunks and fallen leaves provides an opportunity to use interesting colors. The natural litter in the forest contains zigzags of fallen giants, on the ground for years, which lead your eyes back into the depths of the woods.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
One will always see trees on the ground in old woods, in various states of decay. Some trees may still be halfway to the ground, hung up in other trees. The woods are places where events happen in slow motion, except for falling leaves. You can imagine the sounds that once occurred, unless you believe that a falling tree doesn't make a sound if no one is there to hear it.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
In the last month I have been busy framing pastels, fifty-five for two exhibitions, as you can see from the blurb at the upper right.
I am not out of the woods yet, but I want to do a parallel series dedicated to my favorite road, Stratton Road, a straight dirt road that goes up and down. Actually the images will be those that can be viewed from Stratton Road. The dirt road itself is not as interesting. The above is 8x10 mixed media.