I've had a hankerin' to do some snowy farm scenes but we haven't had the snow. When I heard the latest storm was just going to clip southern Pa. I decided to jump in the car with my camera and head to taneytown MD to gather a bunch of photos. I was questioning the decision when I got to Hanover PA. there were only flurries. No worries, 5 miles later I could barely see the road! Never got as far as Taneytown. I took a side road through some great farm country and just kept jumping out and clicking away. I was loving it and getting covered in snow. I started to realize I was most interested in the slight variations of dark mass against the very snowy background. Today I will start a series of triptychs addressing this. It would have been fun to paint out of the van but I think I would have gotten it stuck. This is the first single painting. Believe me, it was really coming down!!!
I had a great time last evening at the Chester county studio tour crit. That's critique for my bike racing friends. (not criterium.... my legs burn just thinking about those days) Anyhow, I took the "Ominous sky" piece and the 3 studies that preluded it. The dialogue was wonderful and the suggestions just as wonderful. It's great to hear good criticism. I'm lucky to be surrounded by so many visually astute folks. I appreciate them letting me participate in the group and their being honest. So I took the suggestions into consideration and did touch up the piece.(of course, at the critique I said I probably wouldn't touch it!) but in the back of my mind I think it did need some tweaking and the suggestions were eerily spot on to what was on my mind. Thanks guys and gals for the impetus!! No room for slacking with you all!
The 2010 Chester county studio tour will be in early May. I'm on the wait list for the Reston Virginia show the same weekend. Timing is a Bitc....you get the point. Next weekend I'm in a show in Jersey, it's on my link to shows. I found out today, I'm also in the Richmond, Va. show the first week of May. I'll be updating the show schedule regularly from this weekend on. Forgive my lack of detail, I'm running on 3 hours sleep and working on a painting. I'll be in the van tomorrow afternoon rest assured,painting...There will be no morning painting.............I'm toast.................here's the rework
ps. I see this image is low in light also. There is actually a foreground now. I'll try again later. God I'm tired.................It's not in vain
As I am losing interest in reality persay, I did this large studio piece today. It's from the early studies of the river a few weeks back. I'm paying attention to application in preparation for the egads paintings.(every goliath attempt does surprise) I say losing interest in reality. What I really mean is I'm trying to abandon any attempt at drawing and I simply want to create a believable feeling or sensation. Of course, to do this I need to pay every attention to every detail and yet paint almost no detail! I guess it's really about what makes the artist drawn to a scene and conveying it. WITHOUT ILLUSTRATING IT!
So much for new subject matter. Went back to the same place as previous spot but at night. I thought it might be interesting to do a nocturne there. It was pouring rain,yet I was sheltered very nicely in the sprinter. Opened the side door and proceeded to paint. Had fun with this and am really appreciating the van. I think it was a good decision to buy it. I've included a photo with the light setup.
Did this from yesterdays sketch. The sky and water are more yellow than my monitor is showing. I like the color harmony on this one but sure can't see it on my computer. It's about to pour down rain again so it's off to the van and up the river. I'll try to find a new subject.
Headed out this morning with a plan of doing a 16x20 view of Harrisburg from the west shore. The park was closed so couldn't take the van in. Drove around a bit and ended up in a business for sale parking lot with a great view of the river and the capitol."yeah, it's a sketch and I have a hard time seeing the dome too. And I painted it!" Anyway, the light was changing fast so I had a 9x12 in the van and mixed rapidly and sketched this. I didn't quite get the light but felt good about freedom of brushstroke. I may do a purple/yellow complementery color larger piece from this study. The backlit scene was really nice and want to capture it. At any rate I found a new place to paint.
Ok. So I went to a favorite spot yesterday to paint the bridge during a very heavy rain. Stayed in the van to paint and rain was blowing in through the door. Felt excited to be able to paint in deplurable conditions and remain dry. I asked myself though, "What are you painting ? There's virtually no color, all cool conditions and very little definition." I answered myself "atmosphere." So here is my attempt at atmosphere....during a rainstorm....on the Susquehanna............
Did a studio piece this morning. This is the farm that my parents driveway intersects. Unfortunately, it's been sold and the sale signs went up last week for all the individual lots. The landscape is about to become a bit more grim. Well the deluge is here so it's off to the van and up the river!
The weather has become quite nice. So what do I do. Spend the day organizing show schedules, paying booth fees and applying to yet more shows. Go figure. I also setup my new project. The "Every Goliath Attempt Does Surprise" or EGADS for short.... The photo is my Beauport easel holding the 36"x48" "Ominous Sky" painting. And folks,there is room to go bigger! The palette is also a weight. 3/4" plywood 30" round. I've attached a mylar skin on the top that spins freely of the plywood giving me a very large mixing area that I can rotate. A clamp is also involved to prevent unwanted spinning. The mylar overlaps the plywood so I have something to grab and spin. I will put my slurry of primaries in the center and mix outwards.I'm sure there will be some logistical nightmares once in field. Granted this isn't a terribly portable unit but neither is a 36x 48 canvas! I did get some reference material before sunset so will attempt a studio piece tonight. In addition 2 other pieces will receive an "adjustment". The best news is tomorrow should be cold with heavy rain. Guess who's painting out of the van? Yippee I say, I've always wanted to paint a deluge. Now's the chance. Look out storm chasers...There may be a sprinter on your heels....
I've exhausted my ability to concentrate on these peppers. A nice breakthrough for me tonight. I'm closer to achieving the knife look with brushes. Good texture and the ability to get more directional stroke work is what I'm after. This latest piece left me satisfied. The peppers are tough subject matter. In artificial light they appear waxy and very little color change is apparent. The highlights are overwhelming. It just didn't work to put them in. I instead landed on the gesture of the subject. The flow of the peppers length and the kinks that appear within were most interesting. The broken edges and loose brushstrokes to convey them grabbed me.The unique shapes of each pepper kept them interesting. Now, how to take this larger scale...plein air... again huge volumes of paint involved. I touched up yesterdays piece with tonights palette and enthusiasm. I think they now make a nice evolution triptych.
It's interesting. The more I attempt to focus on a particular subject the less intereseted I am in portraying in it's real state. But that's my whole intention!!! Art is crazy. Maybe I have an issue with focus. I continually want to tear down subjects to the bare essentials. My interest in archetypes could play a role. Representation and abstraction. A fine line indeed. One thing is for sure. I have zero interest in photorealism........At least for now............
This morning was cold...real cold... So cold in fact that iguanas are falling from the trees in Florida. Sorry, I couldn't resist. It was on NPR.I think they would be dying here in Pennsylvania. I did this one out of the van again. I had the propane heater going so my right hand was warm my left was numb. That's the difference a foot makes when the wind is blowing directly through the door and it's in the single digits. I do love the river when it's about frozen over. Not sure I quite captured it but the morning sun hitting blue mountain was quite nice also. The house.........well it's chilly....not frozen... just chilly. The space heaters are preventing a disaster from occuring. New furnace tomorrow supposedly. I never count my chickens before they hatch.
My furnace decided to play it's swan song yesterday. It wasn't a very good tune. Nor did it smell very good. The cracked heat exchanger allows soot to enter the vents and heating oil stench fills the house. On top of that ( of course you shouldn't run the furnace) I decided to keep running the beast til they could come Monday to give me a new furnace. It's an old leaky house so carbon monoxide shouldn't be a big issue. Well it decided to not start. I cleaned the burner and had random success. Tonight, when I tried to fire it again a nice big fireball rolled out of the rear of the furnace and smoke filled the basement. All right, I surrender!!! So the last few hours were spent installing electric heaters and a kerosene heater just to keep pipes from freezing. The good news is this weekend should be the coldest in years. Yes, that's sarcasm. Yes that's reality. It could be worse. We could lose electricity. A couple inches of snow predicted tonight but no big deal. Also, I painted an apple in the throws of my beloved propane flame thrower.
Did a head of garlic tonight. The color changes are very subtle. I had my eyes on a pear but alas it had turned.... basically to liquid. I'm enjoying painting again with the flame thrower propane heater in studio. I recognize a minor issue with this one but will not touch it. I'll just be sure to not make the mistake again.
Ok. So what do you do when you feel like you don't even know how to paint anymore? Apparently, I go to the grocery store and buy persimmons.....to paint.....) All jokes aside, I feel like my landscapes are getting haphazard. I strive for loose and believable but they're becoming hard to believe I feel. The weather can make it tough to concentrate as well as many other things. This time of year is tough. I usually turn to still life now and I've finally realized why. It requires total concentration. Granted my studio isn't much warmer than the van(I'm using the same propane heater in studio) but I really enjoy setting up a single object and observing the light. I imagine being an ant and crawling all over the subject noting each color change. It's a far cry from my approach to landscape but a very complementary one. I actually ripped through this one pretty quickly. I will now devote many hours to intense still life study while doing some landscape when appropiate. The next studies should prove a new dedication to observation.
I'm distraught with painting lately. Even in the comfort of the van, I can't make heads nor tails. Maybe it's the wind...maybe the fact that the furnace is sucking huge volumes of fuel... Frankly I hate winter these days. I do find beauty in winter landscapes so I will soldier on.
inside the sprinter. note the propane heater. it's 20 degrees outside with a 25 mph wind blowing.
see the easel and stool. the propane heater is keeping things comfy.
Brutal wind and cold today. Looks pleasant. It's 20 something degrees with a huge wind, plus I'm along the river at fort hunter. Big wind along the river. Inside the van.... nice..... propane heater is kickin.....I'm parked so the wind doesn't enter the truck. This piece is ok but I'm more excited about future work out of the van. Come summer the van wil be full of show stuff but for now it makes a great studio!
I did this piece in 1998 at a Pratt Manhattan course. Never showed it. I had every intention of covering it with new thick paint and giving it a new life. I learned a big lesson. No matter what I added I inevitably wiped it out. Every time! For 2 hours! I thought things were going well and I got that sick feeling of "I'm destroying something".So my lesson was- Once something is done don't try to redo it. Start anew. I'm not terribly happy with this piece but I was absolutely miserable trying to change it! I think this philosophy applies to many things in life. Not just painting
Here is the last triptych in natural light. WYSIWYG
I am an oil painter. I paint mostly from direct observation both indoors and out. I studied at the Art Students League Manhattan under Daniel Dickerson. In my work I strive to maintain a balance between abstraction and representation all the while keeping atmosphere most important. View my show schedule to see where I'll be exhibiting.