Thursday, May 30, 2019
Many, many years ago, while I was walking down Witherspoon Street in Princeton, NJ, passing a wine shop, one of the clerks motioned me in, and said I had to try a sample of a French wine from Saint-Emilion. He was so excited about the wine because as soon as you tasted it, the wine literally gave you the sensation of expanding in your mouth. That was the only time I've ever had that experience. The result is that since then I've always had a fondness for the words "Saint-Emilion" and was fortunate to visit this wine center a while back. This small painting depicts one of the side streets of Saint-Emilion. 6x8 oil on gessobord.
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Two views of the studio wall from this morning. I splurged recently to frame the large painting (3x4') with the hope of selling it. The painting, which depicts the underside of the Gowanus Expressway in Brooklyn, came about due to a commission that didn't work out.
This small painting is a souvenir of the time I spent in Aix-en-Provence. I would pass this fountain daily on my way to and from French language class. The location is the Place des Quatre Dauphins at the intersection of the Rue du 4 Septembre and Rue Cardinale. In hindsight, I probably should have spent more time wandering in Le Tholonet in the footsteps of Cezanne. 6x8 oil on gessobord.
Monday, May 27, 2019
So this morning I went to the farm on Luce Road in Williamstown, MA to make a painting of the gate with the mountains in the background. I posted a drawing of this view a few days ago. When I did the drawing the two paddocks nearby were empty, but today there were three horses present, including a mother and daughter. The daughter Carmelita is just over a week old. I found out from the owners who came by to admire her.
Saturday, May 25, 2019
Here's the painting from the other day: a cow's view of the Hopper from the corner of the pasture. The gravel road, barn and the flowering trees, besides the sky, help offset the various spring greens. 9x12 oil on panel.
Friday, May 24, 2019
It was raining slightly when I started this painting today but I figured it wouldn't last. I had to paint since Mount Greylock this time had a real "grey lock" covering its summit. After I finished the painting, I thought I'd better find some views with something more to help offset the spring greens. I was hoping the mountains would be enough. Unfortunately there are not any red poppy fields around. 9x12 oil on panel.
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Earlier today I went out to try to "complete" a sketchbook. Probably like most artists, I have piles of sketchbooks in which the last couple pages are blank. I hate seeing a blank piece of paper. It's hard to "complete" a sketchbook, since it often means carrying at least two when you go out sketching. The sketchbook I took with me today spans three years. Here is a sampling of drawings from it with the farmer's gate the latest drawing from today. By the way, I wasn't able to do the last blank page, since I had to rush home to avoid a rainstorm.
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
This is where I was this afternoon, painting in the cow pasture, gazing, not grazing, at the Hopper in the distance. At one point I included a cow in the painting, but then I removed it: too schmaltzy for me. 9x12 oil on aluminum panel.
A different kind of urban scape this time: A small painting, just for the heck of it, of the plaza in front of the church dedicated to Mary Magdalene in the town of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume in Provence. It was like a stage setting with a wedge of sky. 6x8 oil on gessobord.
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Two pencil drawings done last week in the suburban backyard. I was scouting these views and compositions for the time when I return in the next week or so. Hopefully the weather will allow me to paint some variation of them.
Monday, May 20, 2019
Franklin Avenue approaching Dean Street in Brooklyn offers a bunch of diagonal handrails, which have always appealed to me. Maybe because of their complexity. The perspective of receding rooflines across the street offers a softer, contrary diagonal. 6x8 oil on panel.
Sunday, May 19, 2019
Access to the top of Mount Greylock became available yesterday, but I drove to a lower point to view the mountain instead. Here's Greylock from the top of Sheep Hill. Sheep Hill is visible from the top of the mountain, but harder to find. 9x12 oil on panel.
Saturday, May 18, 2019
Yesterday I drove by this spot on Route 2 in North Adams, MA and needed to return to paint it today. At this point the Hoosic River flows under Route 2, which is to my back. The mountain in the background of the painting is Mount Williams. The green still says spring. Your may find it hard to believe that this is a city view. 9x12 oil on aluminum panel.
Friday, May 17, 2019
If you are a landscape painter, and it rains all the time, a day without rain is a welcome gift. I was able to paint outside in the backyard again yesterday. It's amusing how one can use sheds compositionally in a picture to support a mass of trees and foliage, while when you are physically in the backyard, this aspect is easily overlooked (pun intended). 12x9 oil on aluminum panel.
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
This painting I started six years ago, and it's been sitting around all this time. Occasionally I would see it when I searched for something else. Now I've finished it, or taken it further. It depicts a view from slightly off the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Maine. 9x12 on panel.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Monday, May 13, 2019
This was my first plein air painting this year done early in January. I've been ambivalent about it. That day I found myself in a cow pasture staring at a small stream. In his journal, the painter Josef Czapski quotes Paul Valery, who said, "God made everything from nothing, but the nothing shows through." In Czapski's case, he used the quote to refer to his simplified paintings. In my case, since I was trying to paint something from nothing, the nothing is evident.
The suburban backyard series: the same shed from the position of the seat behind the tree seen in a previous posting. It's that diagonal shadow going in the opposite direction of the leaping pine tree that I found appealing. Approximately 12 x 9 inches. Pencil on paper.
Sunday, May 12, 2019
The suburban backyard series also includes drawings. This one is approximately 12 x 9 inches.
In the biography of the Polish painter Josef Czapski by Eric Karpeles, one encounters the story of Degas and the poet Mallarme. Degas complained that he had too many ideas for a sonnet he was working on. Mallarme replied: "But Degas, it's not with ideas that you make verses, but with words." Czapski, upon hearing this story again, responded with the famous words that Ingres urged upon Degas: "Make lines, lots of lines!"
Saturday, May 11, 2019
A suburban backyard painting for which I don't have an easel in situ image. 10x8 oil on panel.
A poem by Zbigniew Herbert called "In a Studio" has the following lines:
when the Lord built the world
he furrowed his brow
calculated calculated calculated
that is why the world is perfect
the world of the painter
and full of mistakes
The poem is an interesting take on the problem of evil, and creativity. I'm happy to live in the world of the painter.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
This is yesterday's afternoon painting of the path up the hill behind The Clark Art Institute. I stood a little closer and to the left for a different perspective. The path lies on the hill like a ribbon. I have to try painting it from the top looking down. I'd probably have to be in a tree for the best view. 9x12 on gessoed aluminum panel.
Monday, May 6, 2019
In the past month I've sold two paintings of this view, the path on the hill behind The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. So, pardon me, I went there this morning to paint another. I also went there this afternoon to paint another. This one is from this morning. 9x12 oil on panel.
The corner of Atlantic Avenue and Grand Avenue in Brooklyn, where there is so much stuff: a "Palace" for hamburgers, ever changing graffiti, automobile and pedestrian totems, and other signs of civilization. I'm not being facetious. 6x8 oil on gessobord.
Sunday, May 5, 2019
In its diagonal cast across the pier and fence, the shadow from the shuttle bridge appears to have a bite taken out of it. The shapes of things are always amazing when seen on a flat surface. The view is Pacific Street looking toward Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn. 6x8 oil on gessobord.
Saturday, May 4, 2019
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Another urban painting, this time in Brooklyn, a view of Prospect Place near the corner of Classon Avenue. The light was just right to make the triangular building edge so prominent, a dark into light, while the mail box is a light into dark form. The car, it just helps to push up and offset the triangle. There are always so many things to see where there is nothing to see. 6x8 oil on panel.