Sunday, July 31, 2011

Left Behind

This weekend I visited the old, abandoned farm house again. I don't quite understand my fascination. Maybe it's like looking at a self-portrait. The barn is near the house, and in better shape. The paintings are oils, all 8x10.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Two Views

Two views of the same thing, bottom one in oil and the top one in pastel.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Graphic Equivalents

There are a couple paintings in the oven, which I am taking time with, but every day I walk, and I draw. Over the weekend, I reduced my pencil to a nub, by drawing, and sharpening, and drawing, in the field. I have a pencil extender which is quite useful.

In his book Landscape into Art, Kenneth Clark writes, "...Rembrandt...was one of the most sensitive and accurate observers of fact who has ever lived, and one who, as time went on, could immediately find a graphic equivalent for everything he saw. In his landscape drawings of the 1650s, every dot and scribble contributes to an effect of space and light..." Graphic equivalents. Dot and scribble. I like that.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mountain Background

When in doubt about what to do next, I took my own advice: draw some more. The mountain is visible in the background.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fixer Upper

The only thing new in this scene are the overgrown weeds. The house and barn dominate the hill top just below where the mountain rises. Corn fields separate the house from the mountain, which is out of view to the right. Future images will show the mountain side.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ancient View

When I finish this series I might have figured out how to do these paintings.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Abandoned Farm House with a View

Only time for a charcoal drawing this evening. The long gone owners of this abandoned farm house had quite a view from the front porch, whose roof has now collapsed.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Abandoned Farm House

I am feeling my way around this old, abandoned farm house, which I found this past weekend.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


When I was sketching this driveway, the owner came out to find out what I was doing. As a result I received, like the gift of grace, another way into the fields of yesteryear. I plan on doing more drawings and paintings, in addition to all the other subjects I want to tackle, on this topic as well.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mountain Pond

This is the 9x12 pastel on colourfix suede with prep washes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Two Pencils

Instead of taking my own advice, I started to work with two pencils, the dark carbon, and the lighter ebony. Smudging happens. The above is a 9x12 drawing for a painting of the same size that I will complete tomorrow. I have been using the two pencils in my sketching walks. The results are more vibrant than could be attained with just one pencil.

One writer described Bonnard's paintings as "happy." I would say that they contain a deep joyousness, which is tempered by a sadness. Just look at Bonnard's self-portraits where he reveals the sadness. However, his colors and, even more, his compositions, reveal someone who deeply cared.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Drawing with Bonnard

The three soft, dark pencils that I purchased are the Prismacolor Ebony, the General's Carbon Sketch, and the Derwent 9B Graphic. The top image was done with the Ebony, the middle with the General, and the bottom with the 9B Graphic. The General is the softest and darkest, but it smudges badly requiring fixing. I usually only want to carry a pencil, a tiny sharpener, and pad when I go walking. The 9B Graphic is soft but not very dark. A lot depends upon the paper, I know. For this series, I am using a small Strathmore 400 series Sketch pad. The Ebony is dark and doesn't smudge. I will try just the Prismacolor Ebony for now. I just have to avoid the temptation to keep adding tonal values.

In the catalog for the Bonnard exhibition at Giverny, Bonnard in Normandy, Laurie Hurwitz writes, "Filled with doubts, the artist confronted his uncertainties by concentrating on drawings. 'I draw incessantly,' he wrote 'and after drawing comes composition which must act as a balance. A well-composed painting is half finished.'"

Friday, July 8, 2011

Berkshire Pond

These two images represent a much smaller domestic pond instead of the Mediterranean. I will be bouncing back and forth between here and there. Planning on doing more pencil drawings, I just acquired some soft, dark pencils. The above drawing was done with a 6B pencil, which is not dark enough. Every morning, and some evenings I have been walking and drawing, filling up sketchbooks with quick and not so quick drawings.

Around 1913 Bonnard underwent some kind of artistic crisis. He responded by drawing a lot for the next several years besides painting. He apparently felt that he had been overemphasizing color over form. He wrote, "I wanted to forget everything I knew, I sought to learn what I didn't know..." In any case, instead of waiting for a crisis, I am learning that drawing a lot just opens up new ways and ideas. I don't think I am forgetting too much, but I am learning what I don't know.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wandering in Another Place

Another view of Nice. 9x12 pastel.

In the catalog Bonnard and His Environment James Elliot wrote, "Sometimes, having mixed one of his burning hues, vermilion or magenta or violet blue or peacock blue, and applied it to the work in progress, he would wander around the house from canvas to canvas, finding little places where he could insert what he had left over."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

View of Nice

This is a 9x12 pastel of a view of Nice from Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat, a peninsula that juts into the Mediterranean.

When I wrote earlier about Bonnard's drawing, I didn't mean to imply that he prepared specific drawings for specific paintings. Apparently he drew, and then composed paintings from many drawings. He would pin canvas to a wall, and then paint on the canvas. If his composition required expansion, he could easily make it larger. Sometimes, he would work on more than one painting on the pinned canvas. Later he would cut out the painting and mount it to a stretcher. He always painted his landscapes in the studio, never working outside, except for drawing.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mediterranean Blue

I am a sucker for blue and more blue: Cezanne's views of Marseilles, or these views of Nice from Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat (not by Cezanne).