Saturday, April 29, 2017
The weather improved again in the afternoon yesterday, so I went to the pond once more. I notice that I'm in a rut: my last three plein air paintings have had a tree repoussoir at the side. I'll work on that. This is a 9x12 oil on panel.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
A 9x12 oil on panel of a pond in Hoosick, N.Y. The afternoon started cloudy but the sun appeared near the end of this painting, so I went with the flow. It's happened often enough, that when a painting is approaching completion, I am prepared to take advantage of a sudden positive change. Situational painting. Of course the water just kept moving the entire time.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Down to the sea. The high road, Israel Head Road to be exact, in winter in early morning in Ogunquit, Maine, goes down to the sea. I love high views of the sea where the water rises above the roof line. This particular view is full of complexity below but not much above, where a telephone pole crosses the horizon. A 12x24 oil on canvas.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Monday, April 24, 2017
This morning I went back to the old farm house at the end of the dirt road. The shadow was creeping down the side of the side porch, so I marked off where it was, and painted real fast. By the time I was done, the shadow was all the way down like a curtain to the floor. But I managed to capture where it was when I arrived on the scene. It helped to have done the preparatory watercolor a few days ago. What I found interesting to deal with was that the shadows were full of light.
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Many years ago I spent a few days on Monhegan Island. I remember walking out of the woods and encountering a painter hauling all his stuff in a cart going in where I came from. I asked him where he was going. He said that he didn't know, but he would know when he got there. For some reason that episode has remained in my memory. Maybe because I'm always encountering the difficulty of figuring out where to go to paint.
When one is looking for a place to paint in a place much larger than Monhegan Island, which is about any place, it's hard to know where to go, never mind figuring out if you have reached it. Anyway, last year I noticed this spot on Rockwell Road in Lanesborogh,MA. That's the road that goes up to Mount Greylock. I went there this morning, and painted this view at the turn just before the Welcome Center. Unfortunately the gate leading up past the center is still closed. But it was a great view with Pontoosuc Lake in the far distance. The painting is a 9x12 oil on panel.
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Friday, April 21, 2017
Despite the weather forecast, the sun came out for a while so I went out and painted again. This is the old barn at the end of the dirt road. In fact, this view shows the end of the dirt road. Every time I walk this way, I am attracted to the beautiful curved form of the road juxtaposed to the roof shape. All the shapes seem to fit nicely together. This painting is a 12x16 oil on panel.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Another plein air painting, an 11x14 oil on multimedia board, showing the old farm house at the end of the dirt road in the middle of the afternoon on a bright sunny day. The white washed side is now the shadow side.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Yesterday was another gorgeous day at the end of the dirt road. I was attracted to how flat the whitewashed side of the old farm house appeared in the sunlight. I got far enough away from the building to have the mountain in the background frame the roof. An aspect of painting landscapes at this time of the year is dealing with grassy surfaces that are in the process of changing over from brown to green. Because of where I was set up, there was a lot of grassy area to deal with.
The peculiar thing about this 19th century building is that it has a relatively new roof. I learned yesterday (from the man who put on the roof, of all people, who I encountered at the old farm) that it was to preserve the building until the owners could decide what to do with it. This painting is a 12x16 oil on panel.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
A view of part of the barn that is just beyond the old white farm house at the end of the dirt road. Of course there are mountains all around, since this place is located in a narrow valley. I was struck by the comparison of the shadowed barn side with its point and the evergreen in the background. The barn is just like the house: all four sides are different. This is an 11x14 oil on multimedia board.
Monday, April 17, 2017
This morning's 12x16 oil on panel painting of the old farmhouse was done from a different perspective. I walked around it and found a different view. The seldom seen back part of the house shows greater disrepair.
In any case, to get a different perspective on what it means to paint, consider this: I've been reading about one of my favorite 19th century painters, Eugene Boudin. In 1874, he was invited to show in the first Impressionist exhibition, though the participating artists were not yet called 'impressionists'. What got my attention is the following sentence: "Besides the painters who would become famous--Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Degas, Sisley, Pissarro and Berthe Morisot--the first group included the names of Lepine, Guillaumin, Bracquemond, Cals and de Nittis, not to mention another seventeen artists who are almost unknown today" (E. Boudin by Jean Selz). Imagine for a moment that you are one of the seventeen. You might think you now have it made. I'm going to be famous. Of course, none of them probably actually did think that since they all really wanted to be in the academic exhibitions, and in 1874, no one knew what would happen. But they probably didn't think they would disappear. In the end, one has to work/paint for a different reason, especially since one cannot control what will happen.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
This morning I painted an old, empty farmhouse on site. The painting, an 11x14 oil on multimedia board, is nothing great, but at least the location is at the end of a long uphill, dirt road. The last time I saw this building it was surrounded by snow, so the dark windows were more impressive. I hope to do more painting at this place as the spring and summer months evolve.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
Shadows are things which you can walk through, but they are still quite visible. The shadows on this 11x14 oil on multimedia board can be found on Seabring Street in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn.
Friday, April 7, 2017
If who's on first, and what's on second, I know this tree is on third, Third Street approaching Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn. When I saw it in the shadow, but against the sky, I had to paint it somehow. The painting is an 11x14 oil on multimedia board.
Thursday, April 6, 2017
It may be obvious that I prefer to paint the smudges and mess of the city, not the straight-edged girders and clean shadows. This painting depicts the metal fence along Carroll Street near the bridge over the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. It's an 18x24 oil canvas.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Thursday, March 30, 2017
This one does not look too simple, but to paint something this complicated, I actually had to simplify quite a bit. It's an 11x14 oil on multimedia board. The view is looking north on Bond Street at President Street in Brooklyn.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
If you were to take the walkway that goes around the Whole Foods supermarket at Third and Third in Brooklyn, you would see this view of the Gowanus Canal where it forks into two directions. That building in the background does have the funny cubist shape. The Gowanus Canal is beautiful when the light is right. This is an 11x14 oil on multimedia board.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
This time a 12x16 oil on panel of the terminus of Sterling Place at Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn, where there's a supermarket and parking lot.
I've just finished a book titled "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield. It's not as bloody as it sounds. We are our own worst enemy through finding excuses to avoid creative work. The author calls it "resistance" and, in this case, it's not a good thing. An important quote from the middle of the book: "The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work. The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like." Yes, "rewards" are active beings, and "professionals" are not people who get paid to make art.
Saturday, March 25, 2017
The corner of Grand Avenue and Dean Street in Brooklyn, another 11x14 on multimedia board. This is a late afternoon view with bright areas of sunlight and deep shadows between buildings. I like the "outrigger" feel about the composition.
Friday, March 24, 2017
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Have you noticed that when you are standing at a street corner waiting for the light to change, you might glance up the street, and a glance is all you get, and then you walk on. This glance is an 11x14 oil on multimedia board. It depicts the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and St. Marks Avenue in Brooklyn. I did it like the previously posted painting: I painted three areas with three shades of gray, and then worked in some color.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
An 11x14 oil on multimedia board: a view of Bond Street near Carroll Street in Brooklyn looking south. First I painted three shapes in three shades of gray, and then worked in the variations, for a simple harmony.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
An 18x24 oil on canvas of the Union Street Bridge in Brooklyn. I'm always intrigued by the ways to bisect a canvas in both directions and put stuff in each section so that it doesn't look crossed. Of course I like the bridge too with the late afternoon light and shadows.
Saturday, March 4, 2017
This 12x16 oil on panel depicts Bergen Street approaching Washington Avenue in the early morning. The sky was overcast except the sun had opportunities to poke through brilliantly. It's when the sky is dark that the sunlight appears brighter.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
I've always had a special place in my heart for Edward Hopper's "Early Sunday Morning" painting. His painting is spare and abstract compared to my baroque version with fire escapes and cars. Mine is a Saturday afternoon view of Third Avenue near Carroll Street in Brooklyn. It's an 18x24 oil on canvas.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Nothing fancy here. Just some grays with some spots of color. A look down the street, Grand Avenue towards Prospect Place in Brooklyn. I wanted to get that stop sign warning in the upper right corner and the trash cans at the left. Otherwise, everything fell into place, and is left up to your imagination. A 12x16 oil on panel.
Monday, February 27, 2017
We're not close to the Fourth of July, but I saw the flag displayed on Grand Avenue near Bergen Street, and a street sign bent in a complimentary direction, and it's a colorful location, and so forth and so on. So I painted this 12x16 oil on panel.
I continue to ponder on Cezanne. Here's a perspective from Denis Coutagne: "...the artist has often inspired the word 'heroic,' not only because of his lofty ambition but also because of the discrepancy between his exceptional genius and the rather awkward, unyielding talent with which he had to cope. The glory of the consequent paintings is that they seem so manifestly to be the record of a great soul mortally engaged in winning dominion over his own conflicted nature, which, thanks to the dynamic complexities of the art, becomes an expansive trope for modern civilization striving to wrest order from the chaos of post-feudal existence." The claim for the expansiveness of the trope might be too grand, but nevertheless Cezanne is a heroic example to those who study his paintings, which is a trope enough for me.
Friday, February 24, 2017
A 12x16 oil on panel of Grand Avenue approaching St. Marks Avenue in Brooklyn. The first thing I saw was the puddle of water. I also liked the shadow of the car that you can't see. The puddle is always like an eye of the sky in the ground. Shadows of things you can't see have always appealed to me from the time (and earlier) that I read that Pissarro was criticized for introducing shadows of trees that were not visible into his paintings. How unorthodox!
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
This past weekend I visited Brooklyn, and got re-inspired with the city. It was warm, and there was little snow to be found. I like late afternoon views with shadowy foregrounds and sun-lit backgrounds. This is a view of the corner of Classon Avenue at Dean Street. It's a 12x16 oil on panel.
Friday, February 17, 2017
This is the fifth studio chair painting, another 20x16 oil on multimedia board. I started doing these paintings after I looked around the studio for Morandi type still life bottles and tins. All I saw were chairs. But unlike Morandi, I don't think I'm going to paint chairs for the rest of my life. You may notice the pipe. I put it there both for Vincent and Thor. The painter Thor Wickstrom noticed that the pipe was missing from the previous chair done in homage to Vincent.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Probably I should entitle this post "Homage to Vincent" since he used his first name to sign his painting of the chair in his room at Arles. This is my third studio chair painting, a 20 x 16 oil on multimedia board. It's also an "as found" painting. Vincent, you're welcome to come in, take a seat, and rest a while.
Monday, February 13, 2017
From yesterday before the snow started falling: a 9x12 charcoal with touches of pastel drawing.
I've been reading a lot lately on Paul Cezanne and it hit me the other day that no one wonders why Sisley painted the way he did, or Monet painted the way he did, or Pissarro, and so on, but when it comes to Cezanne, the writers all try to figure out why he painted the way he did. Richard Shiff wrote a book about it. Rilke and Merleau-Ponty have interesting things to say about it. Fortunately, I don't think it will ever be settled.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
There's another studio chair lined up, so to speak, though I probably won't get to the studio until Tuesday because of the snowstorm going on now, Sunday. In the meantime, here's another 'looking into woods' drawing from the other day. This view I found while wandering around not far from the back of my house. In the summertime it's usually too overgrown there to think about poking around. Besides it's the snow ground that makes everything so graphical.
Saturday, February 11, 2017
An oil painting of a stuffed chair in the studio, which just happens to have on it a black horse stuffed animal with a small stegosaurus stuffed animal on its back. I didn't move anything, except my location until I found what looked like a good vantage point from which to paint all this stuff. This painting is a 16x20 oil on multimedia board.
Friday, February 10, 2017
Today I started another painting of a studio chair, but in the meantime here's another "looking into woods" drawing from the other day. This one is not too complicated. I did go out on my snow shoes also today to look into more woods, since we now have enough snow, but it was too cold to do anything other than keep moving. I did scout out an area that I have never visited before, a luxury of snow shoes.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
While looking around the studio for those Morandi bottles to make a still life, I realized that, though there are few bottles, there are chairs everywhere. So I selected some chairs in one spot, as is, not changing anything, even leaving the dolls underneath them on the floor. I started this painting several days ago, a 20x20 oil on panel.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
This one I did the other day on a treed ridge between two hayfields. It was windy and cold, and my fixative started to misbehave. I was looking straight down into the trees where there was little daylight or treeholes. I stood on a line of coyote prints.
Monday, February 6, 2017
Sunday, February 5, 2017
Saturday, February 4, 2017
This 9x12 drawing is more structural and grid like. I like how the bands of gray in the distance blend with the verticals that are closer, not just in the drawing, but on site as well. At this spot, the edge of a pasture usually unapproachable without a tractor, one sees over the gully of stream, into a cornfield, and then a band of trees. The vertical trees tie the bands together.
Friday, February 3, 2017
Thursday, February 2, 2017
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
This set of tree trunks is set off quite a bit from the road but is attractively visible. I had to walk across the icy corn field and then along a creek to reach it. Probably was a bush once, and it has become wild on the edge.