Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Late December Canals and Van Gogh

Completed today, two views of the same stretch of the canal, the first 12 x 24 in oil, and the top 9x12 in pastel.

Lately, I have been reading the new biography of Van Gogh by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith. One reviewer claimed it read like a novel, but if you have held a romantic view of Van Gogh, read his letters and saw the movie Lust for Life as a teenager, then you may find this biography tough going. Not because the book's not well done, but because it may challenge your view of Van Gogh. He must have had a personality disorder of some kind hindering his ability to behave normally. Of course, if he had been a normal person, we would not have the great art that he created in the last four years of his life. He really did suffer enormously. I am only up to year 1881 so far. He was fluent in English and French (self-taught) besides his native Dutch. Multi-lingual people are usually highly-gifted.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Simple Canal II

This is the oil version of the simple canal. Mid-morning. Breezy. 12 x 24.

River Drive

This is River Drive early in the morning. 9x12 pastel.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Washington's Beach

One last visit to the usually desolate beach visited once a year by "George Washington" and his 18th century supporters.

Washington Crosses

Merry Christmas. In the first photo the re-enactors gather on the Pennsylvania side earlier today. The next photo shows the first boat landing at "my" beach. It ended up a bit further north than planned, so the crowd was thin at this point. In the next photo, everybody moved over. The last photo shows the fourth and last boat landing again at the same beach. Washington is visible in the center. Once a year on Christmas day the usually deserted Delaware beach is mobbed with people.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Simple Canal

A simple rendition of the canal in the morning facing south near Washington's Crossing. 9x12 pastel.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I may be done with this beach for a while. Who knows?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Early Delaware Beach

This morning was overcast and darkish at the river's edge. This is just about the spot where "Washington" disembarks from the boat when he reaches the New Jersey side during the re-enactment. Usually there's nobody there.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Soft Spot

You may think the soft spot is in my head, but I have a soft spot for this soft spot on the Delaware river. If I do it about a dozen times, maybe I will learn one thing or two. This view is also early morning (this morning), but earlier than the first painting.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cooler Beach

This is a view of the same place this morning. I almost fell down in the mud (more mud!) at the edge of the river. Much colder.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Delaware at Washington's Crossing

Early morning at Washington's Crossing at the edge of the Delaware River looking north on the New Jersey side. Sandy beach from the flooding. 8x10 pastel on Canson Mi-Teintes Touch paper.


This view is from the edge of a corn field looking north into Vermont. It's an 11x14 oil like the previous painting.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Looking Beyond the Corn Field

In the book The Old Way of Seeing, Jonathan Hale writes, "I am walking in the country, thinking about lunch and the bad thing someone said, or the good thing I will do, tramping along, when I stop for a moment...and suddenly it all comes in: yellow trees, fields, shadows--the country is full of shadows. The sensation is a kind of visual listening. In this state, perception is more vivid, colors are deeper, the world looks at once more real and more magical."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Two Barn Monte

Again, I extended a 12 x 12 barn into a 12 x 28 barn. Only because I didn't like the 12 x 12 barn. Not so sure about the 12 x 28 yet either.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cold Drawing and No Lion

This morning I worked this one quite quickly since my fingers were cold. There are some paintings coming along but they are not yet ready. This past weekend I went looking for the mountain lion since there was snow on the ground. No footsteps were to be seen near the barn.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Unsegmented Corn Field

This oil painting is one piece 12 x 24. A familiar view of the late cornfield, now mud site.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Four Canals

This weekend I couldn't paint because of other obligations, but I did get a chance to walk 'n draw on the canal. Of the numerous drawings I did, these four are representative. Drawing does lead to new ideas. I have been using an unusually shaped Strathmore sketch pad that measures 5 x 12".

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Obsession and Landscape

This is a 7x14 pencil drawing in preparation for a slightly larger painting. I often think of the "archetypal landscape" of Anselm Kiefer when I do these tiny landscapes, and because they are so small, they are like his huge landscapes in opposition, if that makes any sense. But I don't have the rawness, the woundedness he displays, because I am not quite pursuing his interests, or maybe being pursued by them. Mark Rosenthal in a 1987 Kiefer catalog states that his paintings have "...the blackened, scorched earth [as] his central motif, his Mont Sainte Victoire, as it were, showing the province of the landscape to be human suffering, not the glory of nature." His obsession is the soil burned and soaked in blood. Cezanne's late obsession was the unobtainable mountain (like Moby Dick). Nevertheless, any repeated landscape motifs acquire some hint, some flavor, some meaning of previous, obsessed-over landscapes, even if they don't deny the "glory of nature".