Monday, March 30, 2009

Windy River

8"x8" oil/panel

I walked out my front door and thought, hhmmmmh a pretty nice day. Two blocks later I arrive at the river. A consistent 20 mph wind and bright sun. Both in my face. My eyes were watering to the point I had to remove my glasses and find some clean cloth to wipe them.(There is always a chance I have oil paint on my hands so I try not to use them directly for wiping my eyes).

Set up sitting on a park bench facing north. Wind and sun brutal. I've recently been holding my panels in my left hand and painting with my right. This way I don't need an easel. It feels very free and few people come around to watch. I just sit down and paint. So I did this one in a very uncomfortable state of being. I stuck to it and changed very little back in the studio. It is a raw piece done on a raw day! The spring green grass is very deceiving. It didn't feel like spring.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Susquehanna Rocks

12"x 12" oil/gessobord

Been very busy again. Finally got out to paint this afternoon. At least it wasn't raining, although we could use it. With my latest hesitation to paint bridges I firmly planted my feet on the banks of the Susuehanna with the mighty Rockville bridge BEHIND ME! Yes, I faced upriver and picked three rock masses to anchor the painting. The mountains here dive steeply towards the river making composition challenging.

On another note I was tagged by Jala Pfaff. I promise to get to my tagging duties very soon.(I promised Loriann too, I didn't forget Loriann). I will get to tagging some folks soon! Not sure that came out right?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Backlit Bridge 2

I had issues with yesterdays painting. I made the mistake of having 2 things that interested me. One was an interesting backlighting of the island ( i know, what island?) and the moody lighting of the bridge. 3/4's way through I messed up the island and mixed warm and cool colors on the canvas. This perturbed me but I kept going.

After a nights rest I couldn't forget this error and realized the problem. Upon further investigation I saw that my distant island looks like a close up weed grouping competing with the bridge. Well the trusty knife came out and scraped the unbelievable island into oblivion.(also known as a paper towel). The bridge, while not being an accurate linear rendering, I felt stuck with my original color and light attempt and sufficed as a focal point. Again I'm going for light and nothing else. I hate reworking but this needed something.

I'm beating a dead horse and won't attempt another bridge painting for at least...... a day.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Backlit Bridge

8"x8" oil/panel

I can't think of anything easier to paint than a backlit bridge at sunset. Not!!! But i tried it anyways. I spent many years drawing architecturally accurate renderings of buildings and bridges and the like. Slide rules and t squares were standard fare. In the end they have no life. Just a drawing. When I drive or walk along the river I get a sensation of the river. It is subtle. These are not sensationalist paintings. I am trying to capture the river or whatever I paint as a real moment in time. I struggled alot with this one. Constant construction/deconstruction. The only thing I felt was right was the initial horizon line. The more I sketched in the less I liked. I finally decided to just paint, ignoring the majority of the sketch. Constant struggle. There were moments I felt good things were happening but very few. Most of the time it felt hopeless. I didn't have a composition even! Then I just tried to " feel" the scene. Convinced it was a failure I let loose and addressed the few thoughts entering my mind. Back to the basics. I applied paint as my past has taught me in vague planes. Really breaking it down. After bringing it into the studio I made very slight adjustments but I think they helped immensely. After what I thought was a worthless venture, I now think I made progress. It is beginning to feel like the river, not a rendition of the river.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spanglers Mill

14"x 11" oil/panel

I've rediscovered a spot where I fished for trout many years ago. It's an old mill along the Yellow Breeches Creek. The dam has been removed. I'll say that every direction I looked this afternoon could have been a painting! I tried to capture the height and uniqueness of this place. The towering forms in an almost abstract manner, all the while bathed in wonderful sunlight which is at a premium these days.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

susquehanna afternoon

6"x 6" oil/board

another day along the river. It became overcast when I started.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Susquehanna Sunset 3

8x8 oil/hangable panel

Another sunset, yet doesn't appear to be. Total clear sky, so I looked south down river. Came up with this image. I honestly am not sure what happened here. The time of day appears completely wrong yet while painting I was pretty sure it was accurate. I'm going to study the river till I get it right. Ouch, painting is tough!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Susquehanna sunset 2

6"x 12" oil/hangable panel

Another quick sketch of the river at sunset. Can't say if the sun moved by circumference or diameter, obviously both in degree. A cold front moved through today and the sky showed it. Temps today were 50s but the sky shows whats to come. Cooler tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Travers Farm

6"x12" oil/hangable panel

Mid 6os this afternoon. The farm has finally thawed out and the grasses are rapidly becoming more and more of that spring green color. The cut corn fields are turning into fields of mud and the birds are calling all around. Went with a scene looking into the sun. Almost backlit but the sun was high enough to allow a touch of warmth in the dark areas.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Susquehanna Sunset

8"x8" oil/hangable panel

I did a very rapid sketch of the sunset over the Susquehanna river this evening. A beautiful evening finally! The sun moved the distance of its circumference in the time I had to paint before setting.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


6"x6" oil/hangable panel

Another study. I premixed all colors to avoid blending.

3 persimmons

6"x12" oil/hangable panel

Back to some fruit. Went with natural north light this time. It almost seems a crime to not put these great little persimmons in better light but I wanted the challenge of tough light. In my studio the setup is a good distance from the windows so light is, shall we say, limited. After several nights of splash and dash nocturnes it was difficult to attain the frame of mind to really see the subtle variations of this setup. This one could be tweaked for sure but I will leave it alone. Maybe try another one

Friday, March 13, 2009

Market Street Bridge Nocturne

6"x12" oil/ hangable panel

Harrisburg has many bridges crossing the Susquehanna River. This is yet one more. It is underlit during the evening hours and then lights out. This view is directly across the road from the Art Association of Harrisburg. Got out of the car for this one. A dim street light illuminated my panel and a stronger battery powered light lit my palette. Basically, I didn't know what I had until I could see the painting in good light. I didnt shine the palette light on the painting because I wanted underworked spontanaity.
When I was at the art students league, one instructor had his students paint in very low light conditions doing still life. I thought he was crazy until I tried it. I found colors I never would have thought of!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Capitol Dome

6"x6" oil/hangable panel

Here is the capitol dome. I'm really enjoying moving paint at night. Cloudy day but the lighting of night is very interesting. The wind was blowing 30 mph but in the car total serenity!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Harrisburg Nocturne

6"x6" oil/ panel

Worked from the top down as I held this 6 inch panel in my left hand. Painted in the car with dome light on my panel and battery light on palette in passengers seat. This is a messy prospect but an interesting feeling. Almost Voyeuristic. Not quite plein air but viewing the city from a private space and trying to capture it on the street. I'll be doing more of these. Have to figure out how not to destroy the interior of the car!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

8"x8" oil/gessobord

Today yields overcast skies yet again. I stayed with only cool colors however this scene appears to be lit. The sky changed many times. For awhile it was rather dark and that was the sky I liked. Think I lost it though. A safe place to paint. The rolling farmland of Cumberland county. No gymnastics today!

railroad bridge

11"x14" oil/panel

I did this painting yesterday. It's just across the river from my house. I stayed close by since I had a commitment to oblige during the afternoon hours. A gray day so I picked an object with strength and shape and the reflective properties of water work well cloudy or not. I just found out I was accepted into the 2009 Carmel Art Festival Plein air competition in May and the Montauk fine art festival also in May. With this exciting news propelling me to get out and paint I didn't feel the pain near as much as I normally would have when I crossed the railroad tracks,easel and paintbox in tow, slid-tumbled-fell down the steep incline and ended up at waters edge. Note the dirt in the paint. It was just as eventful getting back up the hill with a wet painting! The red seen in the painting is in fact permanent rose. The red not seen on the rear of the panel is in fact blood.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Church on Boas st.

8"x8"/ gessobord

This is what I see everytime I enter my studio in daylight. I always stare when there is good light for many minutes. However this is only the second time I've painted it.Done very rapidly and was most interested in the sun vs. shade shapes and complementary colors. Scraped it then redid it. A very basic sketch.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

turnip revisited

6"x6" oil/ hangable panel

I decided since today is a square root day 3/3/09 I should do a square painting with a root veggie as a subject. Well yesterday was such a day so I cleaned the turnip and tried it again. This time the purple was more prevelant and I tried to clean the edges a bit. Finally I ate it raw with horseradish. I love earthy tasting things and this worked well. Who needs cumudin when you can eat turnips and horseradish?

Monday, March 2, 2009


6"x6" oil/hangable panel

Did a study of a turnip and tried to capture the root vegetable quality of this subject. Kept it dirty as if freshly pulled from the ground. The benefits of eating root veggies are many. I wonder what the benefits of painting them are?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hillside Pines

8"x8" oil/gessobord

Another study of pine trees. On a gray day the values of color in pines still intrigue me and make a nice complement to the winter landscape. They always make a nice dark mass. I enjoyed the solitude of this site and liked having a gray day since my umbrella is scrapped.