Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hard to See

Since it was threatening to rain, I worked quickly on this small 8x10 oil sketch.  Right now the corn measures only a foot or less, but later this summer this place will have changed dramatically when the stalks are eight feet high.  However, the trees and mountains will still be the same.  What I especially like about the place are the dirt "roads" used by the tractors and trucks that wind their way through the fields.  There's also an expanse of sky to the left of the mountains usually with great cloud formations.  Somebody has installed a garden, visible at the lower right.  It's hard to believe that this place is actually almost in the center of town, but easy to not see or know it's there.  After forty minutes it started to rain, so this panel received a nice coating of droplets.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Scouting for Places to Paint

Yesterday afternoon I went scouting for new places to paint.  I visited flat cornfields nearby and also the top of Greylock looking for vistas.  I have found a couple spots that I will return to, both up in the air and down below.  In the meantime, as in yesterday morning, I went to Haley Farm at the end of Hopper Road.  I was able to paint this 9x12 oil on panel view because the field I stood in has been mowed for hay recently.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Watch Your Step

This tree is located at the top of the hill behind the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA.  The hill is an active cow pasture, and the cows were there yesterday morning when I went to paint.  The cows stayed out of the way, but one still has to be very careful walking around, if you get my drift.  The trees at the top of the hill have suffered a lot in the last couple years,  presumably due to age and winter storms.  This tree is in better condition than most of them up there.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Looking at the Mountains

This afternoon I had a couple of brief hours, not the regular one hour hours, and so I went up to Sheep Hill to paint and look at the mountains.  The result I kept short and simple,  oil on a 9x12 panel.  The accompanying photo is to show that this place really exists.  In the distance is a view of Mount Greylock with the Hopper.  Somebody asked me once, "Did you just make that up or does it really exist?"

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

No Mas

For the first day of summer, this morning I painted a driveway.  The breeze was gentle and persistent with the sun going in and out.  I pretended that I was in Provence painting on a country road, except the building alongside the driveway doesn't look like a mas, the Provencal farmhouse, but is a Federal style house in Hoosic, NY.  9x12 oil on panel.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Quality Post

Since Facebook, where I also post these paintings, claims it gives wider dissemination to quality posts, this is a quality post.  The quality painting visible here, a 12x16 oil on canvas panel, depicts the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Grand Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.  It is a lively corner with colors aplenty.  I might go so far as to call it a quality urban corner.  I hope you like it, the painting and the corner.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

Black Eye in Brooklyn

The corner of Grand and Bergen in Brooklyn is one of my favorite corners because the car repair shops are so bright and colorful, and the sidewalks and streets are usually full of cars waiting to be fixed.  The front car in this painting has a "black eye" on the passenger side.  But what really got my attention was the position of the white panel truck repeating the appearance of the building in the top left background.  The composition is almost like a pin wheel.  I didn't invent this composition.  I found it.  Of course, I always look here first.  The painting is a 12x16 oil on canvas panel.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Two Natures

The streets of Brooklyn can be exhilarating for a visual artist, a painter, because there is so much to see and respond to.  I might have a different attitude about it if I were not just a frequent visitor and had to live there under difficult circumstances.  Nevertheless, there's an organic nature to city streets, even though they are filled with artificiality and brutishness, that parallels the world outside the city.  Maybe it's the variety and range of visual stimuli in a tight space.  The two "natures" mix when large trees and untended weeds reside with hydrants, walls topped with barbed wire, cars, signs, and buildings and on and on.  This view is of the corner of Grand and Pacific on a 12x16 oil on panel.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Ogunquit Bush and Bellows

When walking the Marginal Way, I couldn't help but see this vigorous bush at the margin.  This is a 12x16 oil on panel.

Because of my attraction to his Monhegan sea paintings, I've been reading about George Bellows.  The book by Mahonri Sharp Young contains interesting comments:

"We like to think the realist vision is a fantasy, but it's solid rock compared to some of our obsessions.  It has a wide appeal because it's widely shared; most people see that way today.  Besides, there's something immensely attractive about Bellows' outlook, something which is still present in the world we deplore.  We try not to find things fascinating or colorful, but they are."

"We have no tradition of the grand old man in art.  It's not a role our men fall into naturally; mostly they fall into bitterness."

Regarding the effect of success on an artist like Bellows:  "We exaggerate the benefits of failure."

Regarding Bellows ' life: "Nothing bad happened to him except his early death, and that was so unexpected he never gave it a thought."

"It is true:  Bellows appealed to people who don't like art, as Wyeth does today."

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sheep Hill Afternoon

This is a 12x16 oil on panel from Thursday last week when I was painting at the top of Sheep Hill.  It's a view looking north on a sunny afternoon.  When I was there the grass was tall.  However, the path that rings the hill is closely mowed.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Rock Is Not My Palette

A third painting from the Ogunquit weekend: a 9x12 oil on panel, done on Saturday afternoon, behind the Ogunquit Museum of American Art.  When working on this one, a woman who lives and grew up nearby was sitting below looking at the sea.  I had met her earlier when she was planting in her front yard.  Upon leaving, she told me that I was keeping up the old tradition of painting at that very spot.  She added that when she was a child, some painters would even use the rock surface as a palette, and later, when they had gone, the children would come by to use the paint to mark up their faces. Needless to day, I didn't continue that particular tradition.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Bare, Barren Spot

A 12x16 oil on panel done at Ogunquit on Sunday.  I tucked myself into a narrow space at the bottom of a cliff completely in the shade where there's a little stony beach behind the Ogunquit Museum of American Art to paint this view.  It was hot and hazy, and a bare, barren spot.

Ogunquit 50

This weekend I visited Ogunquit, Maine and painted this view behind the Ogunquit Museum of American Art.  It's a 12x16 oil on panel.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Hot and Sunny

Yesterday, back on the hill to look at and paint the mountain.  I set up in a different place and used a different composition this time.   The sky was getting milky, but it was still hot and sunny.  I used my umbrella to shade my panel and my head.  12x16 oil on panel.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Mountains in June

Whenever I visit Mount Greylock as seen from the top of Sheep Hill, I inevitably think of Cezanne's late Mont Saint-Victoire paintings, and I realize that our temperaments differ.  But I can understand his "excitement" when gazing upon the mountain and the sky.  I have a more organic view, certainly less adventuresome.   What I particularly like about the distinctive Sheephill view are the various diagonal planes:  deeply slanting hills, receding mountains, whose heights lead to the development of parallel cloud structures.  This is a 12x16 oil on panel that I did on site yesterday morning.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fairy Tale Street

It's still raining, so I went to Toulouse.  This street reminds me of an old fairy tale that I read when I was a kid.  I don't remember much about it except the pictures of narrow lanes with tall buildings and a boy who jumps off a bridge into a canal to find a lost key.  The painting is a 9x12 oil on panel.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Squish, Squish

With the prospect of rain later today, tomorrow, the day after that, and then the next day, I went out to paint even though the sun was fading away.  I found myself in another field, in a wet lane used only by tractors, which leave ruts deep enough to gather and hold water.  Besides water, there's a lot of green around too. This is a 9x12 oil on panel.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Driest Spot

Yesterday I did my annual homage to the truck at Haley Farm at the end of Hopper Road in Williamstown, MA.  It's a very popular truck even though it's been standing at the same spot for 25 years.  Maybe that's why.  Also maybe because it kind of stands out.

Often you may read about the dos and don'ts of selecting a good vantage point to paint something.  Since this truck is parked in a cow pasture, my selection criteria was simple:  find the driest spot.  The painting is a 12x16 oil on panel.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Bouquet of Branches

Yesterday I painted another pine tree near the pond.  This tree looks like a huge vase or a bouquet of large branches.  The painting is a 9x12 oil on panel.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Large Pines at the Pond

Yesterday I didn't go to Toulouse, but to the pond instead.  I concentrated on some pines next to the pond which appears slightly at the right.  I'm attracted to large pines.  I like their sky holes, the green against the blue.  This is a 9x12 oil on panel.