Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Drawing Seven

The seventh 8x10 drawing of a Brooklyn street in pen and ink, some pastel and charcoal, with touches of water added with a brush.

(Nevins and Butler, Brooklyn)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Drawing Closer

The sixth 8x10 drawing of a Brooklyn series: pen and ink with touches of pastel, charcoal, and water (and brush).

(Bergen Street near Vanderbilt, Brooklyn)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Drawing Brooklyn

Number 5 in the series: an 8x10 pen and ink drawing with touches of pastel and water.

(Bergen Street, between Washington and Vanderbilt, Brooklyn)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Drawing Closer

The fourth 8x10 drawing in a series on Brooklyn.

(Carroll Street and Third Avenue, Brooklyn)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Keep Drawing

A third 8x10 pen and ink drawing, with slight touches of pastel and water,  of a Brooklyn street scene.

(Nevins between Butler and Douglass, Brooklyn)

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Second Drawing

A second drawing, 8x10 pen and ink, with touches of water and pastel, of a street corner in Brooklyn.

(Corner of Atlantic and Grand, Brooklyn)

Thursday, December 25, 2014


A couple days ago I started to do pen and ink drawings of Brooklyn.  They have a few touches of pastel and water.  I think I will concentrate on doing a few for a while.  Merry Christmas!

(Corner of Grand and Fulton, Brooklyn)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


An 8x10 pastel on paper of the pond at Field Farm, partly frozen.

In Landscape Into Art, Kenneth Clark writes that "... landscape painting, like all forms of art, was an act of faith..."  I hate that past tense.  As people lost faith in the systematic orders of religion, the 19th century landscape painters placed their faith in "nature" but even that now has faded away.  Clark writes, "In the last few years we have even lost faith in the stability of what we used hopefully to call 'the natural order'..."  Where does that leave us?

To me, it comes down to whether one sees the universe as ultimately benevolent, or indifferent.  Faith is still necessary.

Monday, December 22, 2014

North Trail, Looking South

An 8x10 pastel of the North Trail, looking south, at Field Farm.  When I draw or paint "nature" the challenge is how to make sure what originally moved you is still present, even though what you do is only a ghost of what is "real".  Nature is messy, so that it's easy to be messy in response, or the exact opposite, so unmessy that the point is missing.

Kenneth Clark in Landscape Into Art writes how, starting with Gauguin, artists made "museum art" basing their art upon the images of other artists and cultures instead of working from nature.  But using nature as a direct source of inspiration only started sporadically in the late 18th century, paralleled academic art throughout the 19th century with Corot and the Impressionists, and now runs parallel to the new academicism of "museum art".  The idea of going to nature for inspiration may seem an ancient tradition, but it really isn't.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

No Skating on Thin Ice

An 8x10 pastel of the corner of the pond at Field Farm.  After weeks of no sun (at least that what it seems like), the sun shone yesterday for most of the day, so I was out.

As I continue to read Kenneth Clark's Landscape Into Art, I find thought provoking comments, such as, "Impressionism is a short and limited episode in the history of art, and has long ceased to bear any relation to the creative spirit of the time."  A lot of people today call themselves "Impressionists".  The plein-air movement sees itself as a continuation of Impressionism.   What are all these people doing working outside the "creative spirit of the time"?  Yes, the next question is, "What is the creative spirit of the time" as far as painting is concerned?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Italian Souvenir

An 8x10 oil on canvas of a crowded beach and waterfront at Marina Grande in Sorrento, Italy.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mountain View

An 8x10 pastel of an late afternoon view of the Taconics from a cornfield.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Landscape Into Art

I keep doing these ink drawings when wandering around the landscape.  These are two of the best from the recent group.  Both are 8x10.

For a much needed refresher, I've been rereading Kenneth Clark's Landscape Into Art.  He writes, "Facts become art through love, which unifies them and lifts them to a higher plane of reality; and, in landscape, this all embracing love is expressed by light."  A little further on, in Chapter 2, he adds, "Bellini's landscapes are the supreme instance of facts transfigured through love.  Few artists have been capable of such universal love, which embraces every twig, every stone, the humblest detail as well as the most grandiose perspective, and can only be attained by a profound humility."

I've never tried to paint like Bellini, nor do I think it's necessary to be able to pursue the love that Clark writes about.  It's a stance, an attitude that one has to be awake to.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Actually Not Much

An 8x10 oil on canvas of a view through the Sweet Brook garage window with Mount Greylock in the distance.  The workbench is covered with plastic bins, tools and tubes.  Actually it's a painting of a lot of paint marks, touches, and blotches that might resemble the above.  Actually, it's a painting of not much.  The kind of stuff we see everyday.

Friday, December 12, 2014


Another 8x10 oil on canvas interior, this time with Minnie the cat looking out at the birds visiting the feeder.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Inside Out

A small 8x10 oil on canvas of the view out the dining room window with snow falling outside.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Folding Chairs Everywhere

One thing leads to another, sometimes quickly.  Here's an 8x10 oil on canvas painting of a view in the Sweet Brook Farm garage.  Artists have been painting folding chairs for a long time.  I was looking on Pinterest today.  Folding chairs everywhere.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


An 8x10 pastel on watercolor paper of a tiny portion of the interior of the barn at Sweet Brook Farm.  The weather outside is terrible, so I'm working inside.  But I've been wanting to do interiors for a while.    I'm starting out by doing a bunch of drawings and pastels, and will try to do different kinds of interiors to see what happens.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Three Interiors and a Statement of Faith

Three drawings, 9x12 charcoal, pastel, (and ink in the last one) of interiors, with and without windows. I'm visualizing out loud, feeling my way forward with some new (and old) ideas for me.  

An essay by Robert Hass on the photographer Robert Adams led me to the book Why People Photograph by Robert Adams.  I discovered that he's as brilliant a writer as a photographer.   He writes,

"The plateau [north of Denver] has been a focus of my work for twenty years both because it was near my home and because the location was and is characteristic of the American West in general, and even of the world.  Though not many landscapes are at once as beautiful and as damaged as this one, most are, as we have invaded them, similarly discordant. A typical vacant lot today is likely to have in it not only scattered vegetation but broken asphalt, styrofoam, and abandoned appliances; the air many times smells of wildflowers and rain, but as likely also of oil or sewage; there may be audible the call of the dove, but often against some sterility as the flapping of a plastic bag caught on barbed wire.

  If the state of our geography appears to be newly chaotic because of our heedlessness, the problem that this presents to the spirit is, it seems to me, an old one that art has long addressed.  As defined by hundreds of years of practice--I think this history is vitally important--art is a discovery of harmony, a vision of disparities reconciled, of shape beneath confusion.  Art does not deny that evil is real, but it places evil in a context that implies an affirmation; the structure of the picture, which is a metaphor of the Creation, suggests that evil is not final."

Indeed, this is what I believe, and want to believe, despite the often encountered contrary evidence.

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Collection of Marks on Paper

I've been working on some new things, which may not be ready for a while.  Here is a selection of the ink drawings that I have done in the last month while out walking.  They are basically a collection of marks, mostly well-placed, which might resemble landscapes.  I like the challenge of doing them with what are crude instruments.  The second one from the top is the Hopper.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Another Entrance

A 9x12 pastel view of the Hopper trails entrance from a few weeks ago.