Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Autumn Corn

The cornfields that begin just past our yard and spread out across the road seep into my consciousness and pile up in my mind on to all the other corn I've watched grow over the years.

Feeding Geese

I've returned to this painting after a long hiatus from it and am starting to make some design adjustments. There are still more to come, but I believe the focal point to be developed is the interaction between the hand and the swan's beak. After some reflection I think this is because of it's reference (or rather, my decision to make it a refernce) to Michelangelo's God touching the hand of Adam. Because I got into painting from looking at other paintings when I was a child, I can sometimes be consciously, but hopefully not obviously, referential.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cobalt and Viridian Woods

I've discovered a couple of things about how we see that can be used in painting. One is if you want a birch tree, for example, to glow blue you don't have to paint the whole thing blue. It's better to lay on blue paint selectively, then let the eye do the work of spreading the color, making it more vital and alive.
The other thing is that when colors are closer together in value (lightness and darkness), our brains can't interpret where the objects are as readily as if there was greater value contrast. This causes the things in the painting we're looking at to shift forward and back as the brain tries to determine what is where, creating a rustling effect, like we would feel in the woods.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Stage Two

The second stage of this painting was a quick session to try and establish a color harmony over the burnt umber layout. From here I'll continue to make adjustments and build up a paint surface.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Feeding Geese

The day after my partner's nephew's wedding in CT the family was trading Ziplock bags of family photos. One photo that passed by me captivated my brain and I kept a close watch on it to make sure it was going home with us.
The slightly yellowed colors gave it a unity, the random cropping had stumbled into some kind of non-linear narrative and geese are one of my recuring themes anyway. I immediately knew the painting's size was to be 36"x22". I had a stretched linen already prepared and Monday morning I adjusted the design and roughed it out in grissaille, a practice I rarely do but there were drawing complexities involved and wanted to lock in the composition. This way I hope to concentrate on the color design when I'm painting.
A found photograph is like any found object or subject for painting except that it's already reduced to two dimensions. The challenge is to use the photo, like any subject matter, as a point of departure and not to copy it, but to try and find what triggered my interest and to explore that.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

February Tulips

Going to a wedding in CT through Sunday so no postings until after that. I'll leave you with the forced tulips we leave behind. Please don't forget to water them.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


It's usually good to free myself from the motif even on site, or in this case to play with the painting later in the studio. This can free me up to explore, using the model or motif as a point of departure. Being February in Vermont, it also reminds me of summer in Maine.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In Tandem

Working the on site sketch and the larger piece (old copper roof flashing glued on birch plywood) at the same time. This is one way to approach a painting, to discover things while developing the sketch and working the larger painting simultaneously, and also discovering things on the larger one and using those discoveries on the "sketch". And it's unclear which one will become dominant. Painting, to me, is not a linear process.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Studio Update

Slogging forward for the April show.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


While we're on the subject of re-do's, another painting I reworked late fall was this one, a painting from 2002. I believed in the concept strongly enough that it blinded me to the fact that the painting as it was couldn't support it. A year later I put it away and didn't show it again. I pulled it out early this fall, still believing in the concept, and saw what I could do with it. Sometimes a painting has to go away for a long time so that when I look at it again I can see shortcomings or strengths more clearly.


It's Superbowl Sunday and I was reading about Bruce Springsteen, something about his desire to create "durable" songs. Art is a product of the time it was created in, but I liked that utilitarian description of his, art meant to stand on its own, weathering changing times and interactions with changing audiences. That's what all of us makers of things would like, to make something durable.

Friday, January 30, 2009


This painting was originally finished in 2002. In this case that means I didn't know what else to do with it. It never worked the way I wanted it to; there was a static quality to the design and the point of view was slightly from above, not as it should be if you were standing in the snow and came upon the scene. Still, I thought the concept was worth persuing and sometimes our abilities catch up to our ideas. I simplified it, altered the point of view and found that maybe now I can exhibit it.

Field of Vision

A small composite piece from memory that I've been playing with, this painting will be included in a show I've been working toward for April. There are about five different paintings under this, each one suggesting the next. Like poems, paintings aren't finished, they're abandoned.

Friday, January 16, 2009


In exposing the set up of the pose, I was interested in the abstract qualities of the light stand, blanket, the model, her street shoes; elements only in partial view and cut by the edges of the painting.