Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Quick Impressions

As opposed to slow impressions, I suppose. Today was warmer than yesterday to wander about in the snow. The drawing is on the approach to the colonnade. I was the first one through the colonnade yesterday. It felt strange leaving footprints. The view of the bridge is from the foot bridge. It probably should be bigger. Maybe an oil. I have a couple slow impressions in the hopper.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow and No Snow

The arrival of snow provides the opportunity to do more "graphical" kinds of things, as the above drawing. The painting shows the canal with a little ice on the edge from a few days ago.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

River Drive

There's River Road and River Drive and Rivera Avenue. These are views on River Drive, but not today, because it's snowing.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Third River's Edge

Third River's Edge sounds like the name of a bank, not a river bank. I guess one can get away with a lot more in a black and white charcoal drawing. Color is less forgiving.

Two River Edges

Here are two paintings, same scenes as previous drawings. As you might guess, I am not working today, only painting! These are pastel on Wallis paper prepped with acrylic washes.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pony at River's Edge

There has to be a pony in here somewhere. I may try to tackle all three as paintings. These images are from this afternoon at the river's edge on the New Jersey side.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


The bottom is a 9x12 colonnade oil that I worked on a few days ago. The above is an 8x10 canal charcoal. I usually don't add a figure. Both images pull you in. I probably will do a few more drawings to find another painting.

Monday, December 20, 2010

River Flotsam

This is the pastel version of the river flotsam that has collected on the New Jersey side under the Washington Crossing Bridge on the Delaware River. The boat section that is visible in the upper right is now no longer there since the water is going down releasing some objects to float downriver.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


The bottom image is a pastel view up the Delaware River at the end of the street. The top view is a drawing view of the trash collected by the river under the Washington Crossing Bridge. The river has some ice in it. I hope to do a painting of the drawing's view tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Two Landscapes

These two landscapes are different, and also similar. I am trying to work at making marks, suggestive marks. It was Richard Schmid who wrote that it's a mistake "Trying to paint things instead of color shapes." The bottom is an oil, and the top a pastel on acrylic wash.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Listening Trees

Annie Dillard in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek writes, "I want to think about trees. Trees have a curious relationship to the subject of the present moment...I live with trees. Trees are creatures under our feet, creatures that live over our heads, but trees live quite convincingly in the same filament of air we inhabit, and, in addition, they extend impressively in both directions, up and down, shearing rock and fanning air, doing their real business just out of reach...they abide."

Later she asks, "What if I fell in a forest: Would a tree hear?"

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Modest Weekend

Only a small corn field without corn, and a bush without leaves this weekend.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stream Side

Lately, I have been reading a lot about Winslow Homer. Of course, I tend to favor his late paintings which are more pure landscapes (or seascapes) without all those people. He did preparatory drawings, sometimes years earlier than the paintings that followed, even though he liked to give the impression that everything he did was "plein-air". His drawings are quite remarkable. I hope to say more about Homer in future posts.

The above drawing is from the same location as the previous "weekend drawings".

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Silver Maple Trunks

Early in the morning on my daily walk I continue to visit the colonnade, but I want to do some other images. Last week I sat outside and drew these silver maple trunks in charcoal. This is an 8x10 pastel on uart paper.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Colonnade in the Afternoon

This is the larger colonnade, a 9x12 pastel.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Colonnade Study

Have no fear! This is a study for a larger pastel that will take me a couple of days to complete. I ran up into the woods when the sun broke through the clouds yesterday to get a late afternoon glimpse of the colonnade. The sun streamed directly into the opening just like Stonehenge. It's a 7 1/2 x 10 image with pastel over acrylic on watercolor paper.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Weekend Drawings

Even if I am away from the studio, which I was this weekend, I still carry my bag of stix and charcoal. So, when I had a chance, I wandered off and made four drawings over two days, here presented in the order that I made them.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Last Colonnade

This will be the last colonnade for a while. The above painting is one of last week's oils, and the higher painting is a pastel on Wallis paper with some acrylic wash applied beforehand. It's a view from this morning with sun unlike last week.

Last Fowles quote: " Ordinary experience, from waking second to second, is in fact highly synthetic (in the sense of combinative or constructive), and made of a complexity of strands, past memories and present perceptions, times and places, private and public history, hopelessly beyond science's powers to analyse. It is quintessentially 'wild'...unphilosophical, irrational, uncontrollable, incalculable. In fact it corresponds very closely--despite our endless efforts to 'garden', to invent disciplining social and intellectual systems--with wild nature."

The colonnade represents an old attempt to subdue and train the 'wild', but it has fallen into neglect, and wild nature has taken it over. I think I need to be wilder in my oils.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Luce Road Bend and Sojourners with Gifts

The first painting is from the colonnade. The top pastel is the bend in the road that leads up to the farm and the mountain, the entry point to a remarkable place.

I want to give Fowles a rest. I recently read another interesting book however, The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World by Lewis Hyde. Here's a quote that grabbed me:

"We are sojourners with our gifts, not their owners; even our creations--especially our creations--do not belong to us. As Gary Snyder says, "You get a good poem and you don't know where it came from. 'Did I say that?' And so all you feel is: you feel humility and you feel gratitude. Spiritually, you can't be much poorer than gifted."

Also from the Hyde book, I learned that Ezra Pound wrote a short poem titled "The Tree". Its first line is, "I stood still and was a tree amid the wood".

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More Colonnade

I am actually buying a little time while I work on other paintings by posting the paintings I did last week. This one's a little Cezannesque, after the fact.

John Fowles writes, "In a wood the actual visual 'frontier' of any one tree is usually impossible to distinguish, at least in summer. We feel, or think we feel, nearest to a tree's 'essence' (or that of its species) when it chances to stand like us, in isolation; but evolution did not intend trees to grow singly. Far more than ourselves they are social creatures, and no more natural as isolated specimens than man is as a marooned sailor or a hermit."

Monday, November 29, 2010

In the Colonnade

John Fowles writes, "In them [the woods] we stand among older, larger and infinitely other beings, remoter from us than the most bizarre other non-human forms of life: blind, immobile, speechless..., waiting... altogether very like the only form a universal god could conceivably take."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lost in the Colonnade

It was a foggy morning when I entered the colonnade...

Fowles writes, "In a way woods are like the sea, sensorially far too various and immense for anything but surfaces or glimpses to be captured. They defeat view-finder, drawing-paper, canvas, they cannot be framed; and words are futile, hopelessly too laborious and used to capture the reality."

Of course, this problem is not restricted to "woods" but to all of life. And, all we have is paper, canvas, words, and imagination.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

In the Colonnade

One might think the colonnade is a huge hotel, but it's only a double row of pine trees, but I have been lost in the colonnade in the last few days. Over the next few days, I will post a group of paintings of the colonnade that I started on Wednesday.

John Fowles writes in The Tree: "If I cherish trees beyond all personal...need and liking of them, it is because of this, their natural correspondence with the greener, more mysterious processes of the mind--and because they also seem to me the best, most revealing messengers to us from all nature, the nearest its heart."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Exploring the Colonnade

Still exploring the possibilities in the colonnade, using a combination of stix, charcoal, and black pastel. Temples and places like Stonehenge started as lined up trees, and now we have trees lined up to resemble temples and places like Stonehenge. The colonnade I would guess dates back to the early 1930s. It's not visible until you walk by the entrance at either end.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Colonnade and Buck

Trying to find my way through the colonnade, I'm doing several sketches. I wasn't happy with the pastel I did yesterday. Too static, and the colors don't move me either. I was originally taken by the lone maple hanging on with its yellow leaves, an intruder among the old lineup of pines. I don't want to give up on the colonnade. I need to find a way to convey what it is while making an interesting painting or two.

When I was approaching the colonnade this morning, I saw a large buck run into the colonnade area. When I arrived he was still there. He just stared at me as I walked through. Of course, I told him how beautiful he was, and to stay out of the streets.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tree Colonnade

In the park I usually gravitate to the colonnade of pine trees planted many, many years ago. Some of the trees are now falling out of the colonnade. It's hard to avoid verticals when doing trees. John Fowles in The Tree writes that "trees warp time, or rather create a variety of times: here dense and abrupt, there calm and sinuous--never plodding, mechanical, inescapably monotonous." Except maybe in the colonnade. Time is different there, but the mechanical is also present.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Tree

This morning I went into the park with my trusty bag of stix, not tricks. The bottom drawing came from sitting at the base of the tree. The top pastel I developed in the studio later today. I have been reading the book by John Fowles called The Tree. I hope to comment on it later this week.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fall Canal and Two Years

It's been two years to the day that I started this blog. I have covered a lot of ground in two years, but have stayed in the same places to find my landscape subjects. I hope that those of you who look at this blog now and then have seen some progress, at least in the pastels. This is a view of the canal from early this morning on 8x10 Wallis paper, which received a bit of acrylic wash to set it up for the pastel layers.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

View Across the Delaware

From this image, one can imagine better the early morning view across the Delaware from New Jersey into Pennsylvania. It's at the spot where Washington crossed in 1775. The weather wasn't as nice back then. Oh, I forgot to mention, he didn't have a bridge either.