Autumn with Mr. Inness

TM9164 Autumn with Mr. Inness 42×60 oil on panel

Pretending to paint alongside one’s heroes can become addictive. George Inness, the nineteenth century American landscape painter, has always been a favorite of mine. His later, autumn views were particularly beautiful in their apparent simplicity and rich color. When I finally had an opportunity to see them up close at the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, New Jersey I was astounded by the abstract gestures and freedom of expression. Inness was so far ahead of his time.

Autumn with Mr. Inness is my homage to his work and a way to immerse myself in his aesthetic sensibilities. While I can never actually meet him. I can enjoy an afternoon with him in my imagination. Details from the painting are below. Also, you can follow a link to a wonderful example of Mr. Inness’ work.

TM9164 Autumn with Mr. Inness – detail fromabove center with reflected foliage, floating leaves, and pine needles

TM9164 Autumn with Mr. Inness – detail from right side with reflected and illuminated tree


Wake Me Up, September!

TM9163 Wake Me Up, September! 36×36 oil on panel

Wake Me Up, September! is one of many paintings that will be going to shows later this year. I’ve been fooling around with color and new ways to layer it, enjoying a bit more saturation too. I think it’s partly because autumn is so bright, but it’s also a new appreciation of what saturation can accomplish – the way it delivers a thrill. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9163 Wake Me Up, September! – detail from left of center showing loosely painted layers of brush and roller-applied paint

TM9163 Wake Me Up, September! – detail from upper right

TM9163 Wake Me Up, September! – detail from lower edge of painting with cloud reflection


Ode to the Frail and Fluttering Leaves

TM9160 Ode to the Frail and Fluttering Leaves 36×54 oil on panel

Another interpretation of looking through trees – a bird’s-eye view, maybe? I don’t know if I’m swooping in to land on a branch, or studying the whole scene in the pond’s reflection, but it’s a tumultuous world of light and color and I’m loving it! Details below. Enjoy.

TM9160 Ode to the Frail and Fluttering Leaves – detail from lower edge showing soft focus roller paint application with sharper edged brush work

TM9160 Ode to the Frail and Fluttering Leaves – detail from right of center showing brush and roller paint application

TM9160 Ode to the Frail and Fluttering Leaves – detail from left side with sky and clouds

Technical painting notes: Adding Winsor Newton Liquin Impasto Medium to the oil paint speeds the drying and makes rolling out color easier. I often use half medium/half oil paint when rolling. It also increases translucency and provides a kind of glow as the colors layer over each other. When working with the roller, remember you can let it “hop, skip, and jump” its way across the surface, or use the edge of the roller for thinner lines.

Ode to a Color Beyond

TM9159 Ode to a Color Beyond 42×48 oil on panel

Sometimes I can’t believe what I’m seeing, especially in the fall. Neon reds – crimson, fuchsia, coral, cranberry – each color singing at full strength across the meadows and woods. It’s an extravaganza for the eyes. Ode to a Color Beyond describes one of those days, with brilliant trees and a deep blue sky reflected in the pond. White clouds provide relief and balance.

As to the title, at first I thought I would title the painting “Ode to a Color Beyond Belief.” And it is still about that, but by dropping the word belief, the title broadened to include the space beyond, the idea that the color is seen in more than one place (the pond reflection, the actual trees). It also implies that the color is beyond both belief and expectations – which is true. It’s a celebration of red and a time of year and a place – and the pure joy color can deliver. Enjoy.

Watching the Wind

TM9162 Watching the Wind 36×60 oil on panel

Watching the Wind continues my exploration of the effects of wind on trees – now a quickly developing series.  The city planted some young trees in front of Fenway Studios, and I am fortunate to have one in front of my studio. For two years I’ve had the pleasure of watching my tree grow, and worrying for its health in high winds. Watching the branches toss and sway may have contributed to this painting, which continues the theme of movement. Good luck little tree. Enjoy. Details below.

TM9162 Watching the Wind – detail from upper right

TM9162 Watching the Wind – detail from left of center looking through blowing leaves

TM9162 Watching the Wind – detail from lower left side showing use of line and soft focus shapes to create space and imply motion

Technical painting notes: I used a soft rubber roller to apply a “disturbed” layer of blue/black oil paint to the surface of the smooth panel (using mineral spirits and plastic wrap to lighten and move the paint, creating interesting streaks and gestures. When the dark layer was dry, I used Winsor Newton Liquin alkyd medium to apply thin glazes of color. While the glaze was wet, I began blocking in the major sky shapes with a soft brush, then established the pattern of branches and twigs. I tried to take advantage of the accidental effects showing through from the first layer. Once this second layer was dry, I used Liquin Impasto medium mixed into my paint to roll on thin layers of color, using the roller to “draw” the overlapping shapes of leaves. More glazes followed. The repeated layering of roller work and line work, soft-focus and crisp line, increased the sense of space and implied movement


Watching Waves with a Friend

I was watching waves after a storm when I met this little friend.

Autumn Falls In

TM8579 Autumn Falls In 48×36 oil on panel

As a close observer of ponds, I’m particularly attached to the multitude of colors and flotsam that seep into the pond in late September and early October. Every shade of red, vestigial greens, and notes of burnt ocher and sienna.  Autumn Falls In is about the way everything seems to end up in the pond – every  pine needle and maple leaf, every patch of blue sky and cloud,

TM8579 Autumn Falls In – detai from lower right with floating leaves and reflections

The painting took a few years to finish. I worked on it and sent it to a gallery, then recently reworked it again when it came back to the studio. A year or two can make a huge difference in the way one sees something – both what one actually sees, and one’s skill’s for interpreting what’s seen. Autumn Falls In, the first version, is below. You’ll note that there was less red, and the larger, floating maple leaves are more numerous and lighter in tone in the final version (above). I also increased the “light” in the painting for a less somber mood.

TM8579 Autumn Fall In 48×36 oil on panel