The quarry that yielded the little fishies (previously posted), is also home to lilies arrayed in a gentle arc along the shallow side. I’ve always loved the way solid granite sets off the softer aspect of water. It also speaks to a sense of time, with granite changing ever so slowly while the pond changes by the hour. Details below. Enjoy.
Fall is coming. I see it every time I mix a green and find I have to add more yellow ochre or red oxide. The warmth of the color in the vegetation seems to need a balancing of neutral gray, as if late summer’s slightly tired exuberance desired a calm vacation. Now You See It is about looking, then looking again. It’s also about the joy of a new brush (but more about that later).
All summer I’ve been missing the usual flock of ducks I used to see at the pond. I don’t know why they are gone – perhaps they’ve just moved deeper into the woodland swamp and out of sight. I miss their quacks and the noise they make as they slurp duckweed. In fact, I miss them so much I decided to paint a couple into the painting. Being shy, non-urban ducks, they like to find places to hang out where they aren’t too obvious. It might take you a while to find them. Details below. Enjoy.
Did you see a duck?
Technical painting notes: The details below show the layering of textures and the way some of the verticals are painted and others are achieved by scraping away paint. Getting back to the new brush – I used a 3/4″ watercolor wash brush, square-tipped, with extra soft hairs to paint the spaces between tree trunks. The flexibility of the brush allowed me to vary the density of the paint and get an almost twinkly effect of light – great fun.
Working with the pond as my source, I can’t help but return to the lilies, but exploring the abstract possibilities inherent in reflections is equally important to me. This version of opening lilies is also a study in mood and color – a late summer here comes the golden season rendition. The repetition of vertical elements (painted directly with paint application and indirectly by scraping out) sets up a rhythm that is in keeping with the upthrust of the buds. Details below. Enjoy.
It took a long time to complete this painting, which is based on a particular spot at the pond. I’ve painted the location in summer and fall a few times, but Jazz Spring finally expresses the essence of the experience and locale for me. The multitudinous elements of reflection, ripple, and surface vegetation interact to create an almost cacophonious rhythm and “sound”. It’s the energy of spring. I also included a new friend who hung out with me all morning recently when I was on a photo shoot. Details below. Enjoy.
Looking for the Little Fishies is based on a morning spent with a bag of breadcrumbs at the quarry behind a friend’s house in Gloucester, Massachusetts. It was June, and the inquisitive little fish were only too happy to surface for bread crumbs. They never stopped moving, however, so photographing them was catch as catch can. While I was focused on the fish, a frog happily sat on a rock just 18 inches away, partially submerged, and kept me company for at least three hours. I can’t tell you how many fish are in the painting – you’ll have to count them yourself. I can say the pattern of floating leaves, reflections, and shadowy fish can become hypnotic. Detail below. Enjoy.
A recent afternoon spent kayaking on the Charles River provided an opportunity to look at some lilies close-up. Oh they are lovely – especially just before fully opening – and when they are just past their peak. This small oil portrait is one result of the afternoon. I’m sure more will follow. Enjoy.
Every painting finished is a lesson learned, and with that lesson I gain a new set of eyes. Over the past few weeks I’ve worked at going more deeply into the painting. The result? I’m rethinking paintings that I thought were finished, and reworking them. Finally, May got the treatment this week. Looking at it anew, I realized I could bring the two halves of the painting into a tighter composition by emphasizing the zig-zag horizontals stretching across the water. This would also add to the feeling of seeing through the water and reflections to a glowing lake bed illuminated by pockets of direct sun. The first version is below, for comparison. Below that are two details from the newer (final) version. Enjoy.
Details from the final version.