Off Trail

TM9242 Winter Walk in the Woods #27 6×6 oil on paper

TM9241 Winter Walk in the Woods #26 6×6 oil on paper

It’s a little tricky going off trail, but worth it. The first small painting is from a creek in the White Mountains off interstate 93, while the second is a bit of ledge (buried by snow) at Hamlen Woods.¬† Enjoy.

Technical painting notes: Both paintings are on prepared paper. I use rag watercolor or printmaking paper, and shellac it on both sides to isolate the fibers from the oil in the paint. They are meant to be shown in frames, matted and under glass. Doing hundreds of studies and small paintings allows me to experiment and try out new ideas easily.


A Quiet Snowfall

TM9242 A Quiet Snowfall 36×40 oil on panel

Most of my paintings these days have an unexpected trajectory – I start with an idea, then it suddenly morphs and I end up in a new place. This view near the edge of my pond is an example. I fell in love with some recent photographs of the spot taken this past October and November. The olive greens and russets were beautiful together, and the arc of land with a hint of the pond and creek beyond formed a good contrast with tall foreground trees. I thought the golden light would set the mood. I started painting, and it was looking pretty good……

….until I found a picture from the same spot, one I had taken last December. Oh the magic of a snowfall! Suddenly all those russets looked brown and unexciting. With the painting nearly finished, I didn’t want to stop, but I couldn’t continue either, so I picked up my trusty rubber roller and started painting in snow. Immediately, the magic was back. I plunged on, switching to a brush occasionally. The silence of falling snow was now the subject of the painting, an all-enveloping silence; it was the music I needed to hear. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9242 A Quiet Snowfall – detail showing snow clumped on boughs

TM9242 A Quiet Snowfall – detail

Technical painting notes: I suspect that the motto of the post is to trust your instincts. The painting started with a roll-up of dark rusty burnt siennas, and umbers, mixed with violet. My aim was to set the patterns of light and dark, and establish some subtle textures that would “show through” the transparent glazes I would later apply. I used a scraper to remove paint, allowing for a suggestion of the weeds and underbrush in the foreground and tree trunks in the distance. When the base layer was dry, I glazed in color and started working with brushes and my roller to refine the forms and details. Then the breakthrough¬† – switching the season to early winter. I used a roller and brushes to “lay” snow on everything (shades of gray, violet, and blues, mixed with Liquin). I also spattered pale blue/gray and white for snow.


Winter’s Trek to the Pond

TM9244 Winter Walk in the Woods #29 6×6 oil on paper

TM9243 Winter Walk in the Woods #28 6×6 oil on paper

My imaginary (or is it anticipatory?) rambles through the winter woods continue with these two vignettes down by my favorite pond. Working with the strong white shapes I’m reminded of the days when I used to do woodcuts….more soon.

Heavy Snows – Two Studies

TM9240 Winter Walk in the Woods #25 6×6 oil on paper

TM9239 Winter Walk in the Woods #24 6×6 oil on paper

It’s the drama of all that bright white and cold blue that prods me to paint winter again and again. These two miniatures say it all – winter can be enjoyed, but you’ll need that long underwear and lots of layers! Enjoy.

To the Summit

TM9237 TO the Summit 30 x 50 oil on panel

I was looking through old photos and studies from a hike I took years ago up Mt. Champlain in Acadia. It reminded me how much I love that mountain. I’ve climbed it with friends, with my husband in winter, and with my first dog, a feisty little Boston Terrier. We all enjoyed it many times. But I’ve never done a larger painting of it. I guess it always intimidated me – but not anymore. This new painting shows the ocean off in the distance, and the kind of luminously moist air you feel and see near the coast. I think I’ll need to go there again this spring, and perhaps do more paintings based on some of my other favorite mountains. Enjoy.

TM9237 To the Summit – detail

Another Walk in the Woods

TM9227 Winter Walk in the Woods #16 oil on paper

TM9224 Winter Walk in the Woods #13 6×6 oil on paper

TM9226 Winter Walk in the Woods #15 6×6 oil on paper

My creek is freezing up and hiding under the snowfall, but it is still there, leading me into the heart of this woodland.


Winter in the Woods

TM9228 Winter Walk in the Woods #17 6×6 oil on paper

TM9225 Winter Walk in the Woods #14 6×6 oil on paper

TM9229 Winter Walk in the Woods – Toward Dusk 6×6 oil on paper

The season of deep blues and violets has arrived! I started a group of small snow studies in anticipation of the season, and the weather obliged with an unexpected dump of heavy wet snow.¬† The three studies above are my way of playing with it by manipulating the color and mood. More to come…enjoy.