TM8352 Spring Finds Its Way 30×30 oil on panel
You can actually see spring squeezing its way into the woods, leaving new growth along the pond edge (including bright green skunk cabbage), and bringing that characteristic tinge of red to the new growth on shrubs and trees. I happen to love that twiggy in-between season before everything starts leafing out, so here’s to early spring – Salut!
Enlarged details below:
TM8352 Spring Finds Its Way (detail from center of painting)
TM8352 Spring Finds Its Way (detail from middle left of painting)
Photgraphic study showing lily pads in late afternoon light
Photographic study – lily pads and tree reflections, nearing sunset
Field trips to the pond at Hamlen Woods always yield interesting subjects for paintings. These photos, along with others I’ve taken recently, will provide inspiration for a group of new pondscapes. I never rely on one photo for a painting, but use artistic licence to combine, exaggerate, and edit many photos - all in service to a series of paintings that will capture the feel of the place.
TM8351 Ode to a May Afternoon 24×24 oil on panel
Ode to a May Afternoon is inspired by the Hamlen Woods Conservation Area in Wayland, Massachusetts. I walk the perimeters of the lake and pond almost daily at this time of year, alternating between morning and afternoon so that I can study and record the different effects of light on the changing landscape. The previous morning’s stiff breeze was evident the following afternoon. All the pollen had been pushed to one end of the lake, creating a golden green carpet under the flowering trees and shrubs. I took lots of photos, and hope to do some paintings concentrating on just the delicate surface of the water, with all its various plants and reflections. Stay tuned! Larger details from the painting follow.
TM8351 Ode to a May Afternoon 24×24 oil on panel (detail of woods from middle right showing painted and scraped tree trunks and branches)
TM8351 Ode to a May Afternoon 24×24 oil on panel (detail of flowering shrubs, showing solvent spatters blotted then adjusted with opaque highlights)
TM8350 May at the Upper Falls 22×24 oil on panel
Halfway through spring and the colors are getting brighter. This slope above the Upper Falls in Newton, Massachusetts is alive with new growth. I’m always surprised by the way spring almost echoes fall with its proliferation of yellows. Enjoy!
Technical painting notes – The painting started with a roll of mostly bunt sienna and umber, which was blotted to reveal lighter shapes, such as the stones. A spattering of solvent was blotted, creating textures throughout most of the surface. These textures, when glazed and painted over with semi-transparent paints, help to give the feel of leaves and stones. Some of the tree trunks were scraped away with a silicone clay-shaping tool (detail below).
TM8350 May at the Upper Falls 22×24 oil on panel (detail of tree trunks, water)
TM8349 Ode to Summer 36×36 oil on panel
A perfect early summer day at the beach, with the waves performing their hypnotic effects, and I’ve lost track of even the idea of anxiety. You can too. Enjoy!
TM8348 May Reaches the Pond 22×22 oil on panel
It always seems like spring will never get here, then in just two days, everything is green and blooming. I’m also struck by how red the tree buds are, and how the yellow green of early May is so strident, as if to say “Look! I’m here!” This view from the Breakheart Reservation, a state park in Saugus, Massachusetts epitomizes the first days of May. Enjoy!
Technical painting notes – continuing the pond series with techniques borrowed from the monoprint process, I rolled a first layer of paint using a soft rubber brayer, then scraped, wiped and blotted the surface to get a basic composition and forms. I wanted to contrast the softness of the trees with the hard angularity of the ledge, and also figure out a way to suggest trees and shrubs that weren’t in full leaf yet. Below is a detail from the middle right side of the painting, showing a close-up of the shrubby growth.
TM8348 May Reaches the Pond (detail from middle right)
TM8346 Young Tree Embracing Its New Greens 22×22 oil on panel
A new locale! Driving home via an alternate route last week, I found a lovely pocket park in Newton Upper Falls, nestled along the Charles River off Route 9. A few visits, and I present the results. May greens are announcing their appearance, even though they are flanked by last year’s leaves and dried grasses. This little tree, with its toes in the Charles River, looked both proud and demure. I had to paint its portrait. One difference between this locale and mu usual pond sites is the geology. At Upper Falls, the ledge isn’t massive, integrated granite, but rather a conglomerate rock made up of rubble compressed – love those glaciers! Enjoy.
Technical painting notes – Unlike the April pond paintings, with the arrival of warmer temperatures (barely!) I decided to start with a warm sienna violet base color rolled onto the panel, with additional spots of warm gray and olive green. Spritzing blotting, dabbing provided textures. When the base was dry, I developed the details with thinned oils and alkyd glazes.
TM8346 Young Tree Embracing Its New Greens (detail of tree)
TM8346 Young Tree Embracing Its new Greens (detail of dried grasses and water)