Sunday, August 31, 2014

On the North Trail

Last October I walked this path on the North Trail at Field Farm and at this spot found a large bear scat filled with apple skins.  I was there painting yesterday, but only encountered one runner and one walker.  Neither were bears.  They carefully and studiously moved quickly around me.  Maybe I was the bear of the day.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Country Landscape

A 9x12 oil on panel done this afternoon at a location near Stratton Road.   I've been experimenting with different panels.  I'm leaning towards the Gessobord so far as the best, though you must understand that money is an object, so my range is limited somewhat.   In this painting I wanted to include the barn to make it more interesting.  The dirt roadway also helps.  And the mountains, and the shadows, and the clouds.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A View at Sheep Hill

A 9x12 oil on panel of a view at Sheep Hill facing north.  I went late this morning and painted through the noon hour, a time when one is advised not to be painting outdoors.   I was situated in the shade under a group of trees, and the landscape remained pretty much the same.  It was the sky that kept changing, and influencing the light on the mountains.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Early Morning Backyards

A 9x12 oil on canvas of some backyards in North Adams near the Hoosic River early in the morning.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Up and Down

This 9x12 oil on panel I started this afternoon on site and completed in the studio afterwards.   Bee Hill Road goes up on the right, and Sheep Hill goes up and down on the left.  I walked up to this point from below Sheep Hill, which wasn't fun hauling my stuff, but a kind lady on Bee Hill, who was curious about what I was doing, offered her driveway for parking next time, which probably won't happen until all the leaves are gone.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Way Above Stratton

This site I selected a while back, though I painted it this afternoon, since I knew I could paint in the shade while looking out into the sunlight.  It's located between a hay field and a cow pasture.  The painting is a 9x12 oil on an Ampersand Gessobord.  Great surface.

It's quite an amazing experience to paint in a place where the only thing happening is you painting a picture.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Stream in Late Afternoon

This is the companion painting to yesterday's early morning stream, except this is from late in the afternoon.  The same stream with the sun coming from  nearly the opposite direction.  For variety's sake, I opted to have stream at the lower left instead of the lower right, and put the existing sand and stones at each lower corner.  Both are studio paintings, which took me most of the day to complete, which is probably why they don't look as flat and simple as the plein air pieces.   How to do something in one hour that would normally take several hours?  Hmm....

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Early Morning Stream

A 9x12 oil on canvas of a stream in nearby New Lebanon.  I keep searching for ways to deal with green.  This painting depicts the stream early in the morning.  It's a typical, often painted kind of scene, which is why I painted it.  Why restrict yourself to something that's never been painted before, and what would that be?

In the Green Landscape

The 9x12 oil on canvas covered panel that I did yesterday afternoon.  I have to try something else now, maybe brick walls.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Above Stratton

Yesterday morning I scouted the location with the 8x10 art stix drawing, and this morning I went back to paint the 9x12 oil on panel of the barn below a slope facing the Taconics in the background.  This location is above Stratton Road, which is out of sight.  The sketch was done from a point further away, but I decided to get closer for the painting.  Not sure why.  Maybe I liked the tree going over the edge of the mountain.  But I also like the tree below the mountain edge,  so I may do this one again sometime.  I went out again this afternoon, but will post the resulting painting tomorrow when it's supposed to rain.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Two Landscapes

The top painting is  9x12 oil on panel done this afternoon from a slightly different location near the top of Stratton Road.  That's Blair Road, with which Stratton intersects, in the middle ground, and the Taconics in the background.   The bottom image is an 8x10 pastel of a field not far from Stratton Road but much further downhill.  The view is looking north with the same mountains you have seen before.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Next To Stratton

The Art Stix drawing I made a couple days ago when the weather was nicer.  The 9x12 oil painting I did this afternoon when the weather was not so nice.  It started to rain a couple times,  but I persisted and the rain went away.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Overlooking Stratton

Of course, overlooking Stratton is the last thing I can do in my walking life, but at the top of Stratton I can look over it facing north.  Strange word 'overlook' which also defines its opposite.   Staying in the studio has its benefits, where I worked on a familiar view previously painted, drawn, and photographed.   I did try to get out three times today, but seem to provoke the rain every time.  The above is a 12x24 oil on canvas.

Lately,  I have been reading the poetry of Derek Walcott.  In a biography by Bruce King, Derek Walcott: A Caribbean Life,  King writes in relation to Walcott, who always wanted to be a better painter than he is a poet,  "Painting was about painting, not story, not morals.  Amateurs were concerned with subjects.  Good painters were concerned with making, with workmanship."  This comment certainly applies to Walcott the excellent poet.  But it also reflects the confusion many people have about painting.  I'm happy to see that the difference between amateur and professional painters is not tied to money.

Monday, August 11, 2014

On the Road

The routine of doing an Art Stix drawing this morning and then the painting in the afternoon worked well today.  The differences in the two, besides the media, is due to the time of day.  I tried to be as direct as possible when applying paint, but that's not uniformly possible.  The sky needs to go in early for example, with the knowledge that non-sky paint will be applied over it later.  However, it only took me about an hour to do this one.

The painting is a 9x12 oil on canvas of a stretch of Stratton that I have done many times.  Except that this time I placed myself in the field and in the shade far enough away to escape the dust clouds from speeding drivers.  Stratton at this point is a dirt road, and it's hot and dry.  Tomorrow and the next day rain is in the forecast, so I will be in the studio.  While painting, I had a visit from someone who lives nearby, and asked for and received permission to park at their place, so I will have an opportunity to do more paintings from a nice spot on the road.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Two Stix and a Painting

The 9x12 painting I did this afternoon on the same ridge above Stratton, but looking down an almost perpendicular driveway that makes the meeting of Blair and Stratton Roads actually a three-way intersection.   The 8x10 art stix drawing I did this morning to scout out the view, hence the shadowing is different.  The other stix drawing is the prep I did earlier for yesterday's painting.

Today I learned that I still approach outdoor painting trying to do it in stages, as in a studio.  But I only have an hour or so, so I must forget the stages and immediately get the right color and value, and put it on.  Any finessing can be done at the last minute.  Easily said.  I do like doing the art stix preparatory drawings, which set my compositions up, only leaving the painting to be done!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

In the Air

This is the view from the ridge at the top of Stratton looking back down the road, a 9x12 oil on mdf panel.  I deliberately tried to be lighter in value to avoid indoor shock.  Cars kept racing up the hill creating dust clouds that would flow over me despite my higher vantage point.  I can understand why people like to paint at the shore; not as hot and more contrast,  and no dust.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pain Air

This morning I did the colored stix drawing on a rise overlooking Stratton and Blair, and in the afternoon returned to do the oil painting.  It can be shocking when a painting done outdoors is seen indoors.  What you thought was bright and light turns out to be dark and heavy.  Also one loses track of time, but if you spend more than an hour on a small painting, then that extra effort usually goes into destroying the painting.  I have another related view lined up for tomorrow, and will try it again.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Catching Up

A day to catch up:  the first drawing was done this morning at the top of Stratton again.  This time I was standing on the edge of Stratton looking down Blair Road.  The trees are recognizable but from a different angle.  I was not able to get back there to make a painting.  I'll do that in a week or so.  The next two drawings were done last week.  The pine tree is located on the pasture loop behind the Clark, while the other tree is on Stratton Road.  It holds the birdhouse.  Finally, the 8x10 painting I did in June  at Field Farm.  It's a view of Greylock.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Still on Stratton

Again, this morning I went up to the top of Stratton Road and walked into the field but this time looked north, and did the drawing above.   I returned later in the afternoon and first reworked yesterday's painting a bit.  It is the view looking south with the Taconic mountains visible on the horizon.  I wanted to simplify things.  When I got around to today's painting, simplification was still the goal.  In the north view you can see the mountain known as "The Dome."  The panel I used was pre-toned, which I think helped.