Monday, January 31, 2011

Looking Over

This is another drawing from this weekend. I have a couple things started, but they are not ready: one is half completed, and the other is in my mind.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


With my stix crayons, I did some sketching this weekend. It seems that sometimes weekends provide less opportunity for serious work, and more for just poking around. I do want to pursue the less obvious angle or viewpoint, but I am not there yet.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I think I might just start doing pictures of spring time. This is an 11x14 drawing of the Delaware at Washington's Crossing. In these conditions, he would not have made it across unless he used the bridge.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mountain View

Another 5x7 petite feuille. Aiming for simplicity, quickness, the squinty-eyed impression. Some work better than others, but some work.

Snow in Black and White and Color

The bottom is an 11x14 charcoal drawing of the Delaware River shore at Washington's Crossing. The top is a 5x7 pastel of a snow field in shadow off Stratton Road. I'm just playing around waiting for the next snow storm.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cold Bog

Not cold blog. Cold bog. 5x7 pastel. A quick visual thought.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Washington's Crossing

Washington has already crossed the Delaware, but they haven't put the boats away yet. This is a 9x12 oil that I started this weekend. This is a view from the New Jersey side looking over the Delaware to the eastern coast of Pennsylvania.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Snow Brook

This is an 8x10 pastel over acrylic washes on uart paper. I started it yesterday. I am also working on an oil painting that is almost finished. I love to paint in oil, and it's influencing my handling of pastel in a good way, I think. Colin Page (see my link at right) recently wrote about the pleasure of "smearing" paint. I completely agree with him, and Stuart Shils, who inspired Colin Page to talk about it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Large Canal

This is another large (11x14) charcoal drawing of the canal from the bridge at Grant Street at early morning. I love moving charcoal dust around a paper surface with my fingers. Touch, wipe, touch, wipe, push, and smudge, and touch and wipe some more.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Big and Tiny

This is a 5x7 pastel over acrylic washes of the large tree and view at the top of Stratton Road. I have been looking at Degas. I like the way he cuts forms abruptly with picture edges, and how he places the forms in unusual and striking relationships in the foreground and background. Of course, his forms are bathers and dancers, but the same can be done with tree limbs, snow banks, and mountains.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Yellow Road

This is an 8x10 of the yellow road on the colourfix suede paper.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another Miniature

A yellow road, I wanted to paint a yellow road. 5x7 pastel over acrylic washes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Three Miniatures

The bottom is an 8x10 oil of the Hopper with Greylock at the right, another version of what I have recently done in other media. The top two are 5x7 pastels on acrylic washes. I think I am going to do a bunch of the small views until something starts to move somewhere. The small things force me to generalize, keep it simple, and not get bogged down in details.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Just Sketching

Just sketching and searching around a bit at the moment.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Early Morning after Snowfall

The pastel view of the snow and tree and canal and bridge at Grant Street in the early morning sun.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pointing to a Snow Tree

This tree appears to have leaves, but it's all or somewhat all snow. The sun is behind the tree. I am looking for an image that expresses hope and joy. Hard to do with a cold, snowy scene, though I was exhilarated to be there, on my snowshoes no less. I might attempt a pastel version of this one. This is another 'big' drawing.

I continue to read Annie Dillard. The following is from Living by Fiction: "...You know how a puppy, when you point off in one direction for him, looks at your hand. It is hard to train him not to. The modernist arts... have gone to a great deal of trouble to untrain us readers, to force us to look at the hand. Contemporary modernist fine prose says, Look at my hand. Plain prose says, Look over there. But these are matters of emphasis. So long as words refer, the literary arts will continue to do two things at once, just as all representational painting does two things at once. They point to the world with a hand."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cold Canal

The canal is beautiful but not if you are a duck. This is a large drawing, the first. 11x14. OK. Large for me.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter Trees

This drawing is made with stix, charcoal and some pastel. The snow and variable sunlight lead to a lot of flattening and meshing of the landscape in the park, which I hope to demonstrate in a series of drawings over the next few days.

I am also working on an oil version of yesterday's mountain, which will take a couple days. Oil and pastel demand different approaches.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Greylock Hopper View

First the stix drawing followed by the pastel painting. The drawing is a study to figure out how to approach the painting, what to do and what not to do. Very useful in this instance. This is a cliche view of the mountain, so what to do? Use everything available to make it as interesting and intriguing as possible.

Greylock Hopper is not the long lost brother of Edward. Herman Melville knew the mountain as Saddleback. He wrote Moby Dick in Pittsfield, MA. The window above his writing desk has a direct view of "Saddleback" from a different angle. From that perspective people have suggested that it looks like a whale.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Greylock Mountain is visible from Sloan Road to the right of the Hopper, and at the back of this 8x10 pastel on acrylic washed Wallis paper painting.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Working On

These images have been posted in the order that I worked on them. The first one is a 12 x 16 oil, a view of the Delaware River from the footbridge. The canal is in the lower left corner. So there's a canal, a path that used to be a railroad bed, a road, a river, and a bridge over the river. I am not sure I can photograph something much bigger than this with my set up. It helps when the image is not shiny in spots, like a pastel or a drawing. Maybe I should do some large drawings. I was thinking about that today. A whole series of large drawings.

The top two are stix and conte crayon drawings made to help determine what to paint next.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

South Trail Not So Rough

This is the pastel painting version of the previous art stix and conte crayon sketch.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Roughing it

This is a rough sketch of the painting I plan to do next. It shows the South Trail exit at Field Farm with Mt. Williams and the Hopper in the background.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Jersey Oils and the Tree with the Lights

These two oils I started last week and finished today. The lower one depicts how primitive the river's edge can be from its rising and falling. The top one is the frozen canal with a cedar tree. Fortunately for the ducks, the canal is no longer frozen.

One final quote from the magnificent Annie Dillard book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: "Then one day I was walking along Tinker Creek thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame. I stood on the grass with the lights in it, grass that was wholly fire, utterly focused and utterly dreamed. It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen, knocked breathless by a powerful glance. Gradually the lights went out in the cedar, the colors died, the cells unflamed and disappeared. I was still ringing. I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck. I have since only very rarely seen the tree with the lights in it. The vision comes and goes, mostly goes, but I live for it, for the moment when the mountains open and a new light roars in spate through the crack, and the mountains slam."

This is why I paint and draw, to see the tree with the lights in it, though I seldom see it.

Berkshire Drawings

The last few days have consisted of gathering materials instead of painting output, but I did a few drawings with art stix and conte crayon. On a couple of the drawings I have experimented with pre-scoring the paper with a dull knife so that some branch lines appear. Happy New Year to everyone!