Painting wit Corot

TM9113 Painting with Corot 36×40 oil on panel

I suppose it could be call a conceit. A series of paintings based on imagining what it would be like to paint alongside Corot – at his ponds, in his favorite weather and time of day. Painting with Corot is the third in my series, in which I explore various ways of capturing the feel and mood of Corot’s work, but informed by techniques and approaches from my own work. This straightforward view of a June morning at “our” pond shares Corot’s soft focus and close values, and his delicate touch. It also speaks to the sense of calm and serenity that so evidenced Corot’s sensibilities. Detail below. Enjoy.

TM9113 Painting with Corot – detail from left side

Technical painting notes: Unlike Corot’s views, this painting has little real brushwork. I started it with a soft rubber roller loaded with thin oil paint, which I manipulated using monoprint techniques. Much of the foliage was built up with daubs of paint applied with crumpled plastic wrap. A few glazes balanced the color. Most of the brush work was limited to the tree trunks and branches, and a bit of duckweed.

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Return to Bass Rocks

TM9109 A Day at Bass Rocks #48 7×7 oil on paper

TM9110 A Day at Bass Rocks #49 7×7 oil on paper

Bass Rocks, in Gloucester, Massachusetts, is a favorite subject for many artists. Not only is it strikingly rugged, but it’s easy to get to. Setting up to paint on those jagged rocks is a problem. Many artists manage it quite nicely, but for me, I’d rather stand there and imagine painting it, then take lots of photos. Back at the studio, I paint – no wind, rain, or sunburn. These two studies from low tide show the fissures and abrasion caused by the relentless seas. Stubborn rocks, stubborn sea, and I guess stubborn me. I love figuring out these little paintings. Enjoy.

Each Moment Finds Its Mirror

TM9106 Each Moment Finds Its Mirror 36×54 oil on panel

Each Moment Finds Its Mirror began in response to a subtle, but beautiful, gray fall morning. The pond was beginning to ice up, and the mood was somber. But before long, my mood didn’t match the one expressed in the painting. A few mild days, and some good news from one of my galleries, and suddenly the painting was becoming sunnier and sunnier. Before long, the greens of early summer were creeping in. It happens. Each of my paintings begins with a response to nature, but they are all expressions of my mood as well. It’s the intersection of the personal and the perceptual that most excites me. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9106 Each Moment Finds Its Mirror – detail from upper right with sunlight bouncing off reflected clouds

TM9106 Each Moment Finds Its Mirror – detail from upper left with reflected trees and passing clouds

TM9106 Each Moment Finds Its Mirror – detail from lower center with reflections showing layered scraping and brushwork, glazes, use of roller in base layers

Cloud-gazing in July

TM8711 Cloud-gazing in July 36×48 oil on panel

I began this painting in 2016, then put it aside when it was almost finished. The reason? I didn’t know haw to finish it. It was mostly good, but the parts weren’t adding up to a comprehensive whole. This week I put it on the easel and decided to try again – and it worked. I saw a way to soften some parts, distribute the color more broadly, and intensify the effects of the sunlight on the clouds. Sometimes it just takes more experience, and the knowledge thus gained, to see the problems. Finally, my view of brilliant white clouds, reflected in a pond, began to sing. Enjoy. Details below.

TM8711 Cloud-gazing in July – detail from upper left with sunlit cloud reflections

TM8711 Cloud-gazing in July – detail from lower left

November’s Pond

TM9105 November’s Pond 36×36 oil on panel

I was reading somewhere that deep violet is the designer’s choice color this year. How odd. Does that mean reddish or bluish violet, or eggplant? Or does it mean the in between mauves? For this landscape artist, violet is the color of November and even winter. Being in the season, I decided to let my November pond impressions guide me toward an interpretation of this rich palette.

November’s Pond is a study of the way reflections are muted as the water develops a thin film of ice. Some of the dark forest reflections show near the top of the painting, but as the ice forms in the foreground all is muted. Occasional fallen leaves interrupt the surface, but they, too, are the softened color of late fall – reminiscent of brighter days but paled by time. The mood is quiet and reflective, like the season. Detail below. Enjoy.

TM9105 November’s Pond – detail from upper right quadrant with reflected trees and floating leaves

Technical painting notes: I used a roll-up of violet/umber oil paint as a base for this painting, using silicone scrapers to take away the paint for tree trunks and spritzing with solvent (then blotting) to interrupt the surface and create texture that might be reminiscent of the pebbly texture of some new ice. I also re-rolled some of the spritzed surface to soften the textures. When the base layer was dry, I painted the negative shapes of light, again using the roller to soften edges of the brushwork. Glazes, followed by the details of the falling leaves, brought the painting to near completion. I let it dry. Additional glazes to strengthen the blues and semi-transparent rolled color in the lights extended the value range. Adding additional leaves in a variety of close colors emphasized the surface plane of the water and increased the color range of the painting.

On the Second Day

TM9047 On the Second Day 36×40 oil on panel

Why the second day? On the first day, so many expectations need to be filled and realized – hopes, fears, wishes. On the second day, expectations have receded into the background and one can see what is actually there, begin to settle in to the moments that are offered, see the gorgeous reality as it presents itself – forget everything else. I like the second and third and fourth days best.  Enjoy.

Nothing Less, Nothing More

TM9048 Nothing Less, Nothing More 36×60 oil on panel

I think of the beginning –  air, water, land – and that sound. So primal and so eternal. It is the simplicity of these three elements interacting that intrigues me. Endless permutations and configurations, governed by precise rhythms. I can lose myself in the intricacies, my arm following the curve of a wave, my face feeling the imagined spray. Working with brush, roller, and paint I can share the moments.

Technical painting notes: The painting began with a roll-up of dark blue oil paint on the white, primed panel. I used solvents and linseed oil to manipulate the paint, spritzing the surface with droplets of the solvent then re-rolling the surface to create the impression of layered, active, water. A small amount of burnt umber was rolled into the foreground to suggest the beach. When this base layer was dry, I began refining the structure of the waves using traditional brush techniques and translucent pigments. Layers of transparent glaze were interwoven with the brushwork to create depth and luminosity. I experimented with spattering droplets of thinned white paint or solvent into the glaze to suggest spray along the wave’s crest, and used spattered and rolled white paint int he foreground to suggest the foam (air) in the restless water.