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


When the Rain Stopped

TM9154 When the Rain Stopped 36×40 oil on panel

It is called a conservation area, and I understand the value of the diverse habitat, the necessity of wetlands for preserving clean water supplies, but all that disappears when I’m walking the trails. Then, the woods become restorative – a place where calm can seep into your very bones. Wind in the trees, the “plop” of a frog jumping, birds singing, and the ever-present stealth of the heron stalking, I long for it when I’m away, and breathe more deeply when I’m there. I hope you, too, enjoy a visit via this painting. Details below.

TM9154 When the Rain Stopped – detail from shoreline

TM9154 When the Rain Stopped – detail

Then the Sun Came Out

TM9153 Then the Sun Came Out 36×40 oil on panel

A break in the clouds lets afternoon sun illuminate the top of the dune. This painting is based on a visit to Crane Beach about six years ago. I spent a good part of that day hiking the trails and photographing the various types of vegetation while waiting for the clouds to finally give way. By the time the sun poked through, my camera’s batteries were spent! I could only sit and memorize. Ever since, I’ve been thinking about those dunes and wondering how I might capture the incredible light and atmospherics. This past week I finally took the plunge. I originally thought I’d paint the dune in full sun, but as I worked, I realized that leaving the foreground in shadow would be more true to my experience and memory. So there it is, a pale blue shadow encroaching up the dune, juxtaposed with a ribbon of sunlight. Enjoy. Details below.

TM9153 Then the Sun Came Out – detail with sun glancing off summit of dune

TM9153 Then the Sun Came Out – detail

TM9153 Then the Sun Came Out – detail from shadowed sand with encroaching grasses

Technical painting notes: I used a soft rubber roller to lay in a range of gray browns initially, then wiped and manipulated the paint to create subtle textures for the areas of  vegetation. A little spatter with mineral spirits created variously sized “dots” emulating sand. When the base layer was dry, I blocked in the sky and distant dune, then used a roller charged with semi-transparent grayish paint to block in the patches of sand on the primary dune. The grasses were partly suggested using the roller on its edge in a rocking motion. When this layer was dry, I glazed color into some areas, adjusted the luminosity of the sky, and used a soft brush to vary the intensity of color and value in the sand.


Dune Quartet

Nothing happens in isolation. These small dune studies, done in preparation for larger paintings, may, instead, lead to a whole new color-field direction for my coastal work…..

Late Summer on the Dune

TM9147 Late Summer on the Dune 36×44 oil on panel

There’s such a challenge painting dunes – the grasses and vegetation, the shifting sands, the soft and muted colors later in the year. I think it’s all those in-between colors that first drew me in, and the open space. There’s also a quality of emptiness, despite the vibrant life that calls this environment home. The dunes, being un-anchored, also remind me of the transience of life. Things happen and disappear. I think on that. Details below.

TM9147 Late Summer on the Dune – detail

TM9147 Late Summer on the Dune – detail from right side showing distant sand and vegetation

TM9147 Late Summer on the Dune – detail from foreground showing use of spatter, scraping, and roller

Technical painting notes: I used many monoprint techniques on this painting, beginning with a roll-up of umber and sienna oil paints which were manipulated  to capture the broader shapes and gestures of the scene. Scraping and blotting, spatter, and pressing textures into the wet paint gave me myriad textures to emulate plant growth. When the base layer was dry, I used spatter, brushwork, and more scraping to define areas. Very thin applications of paint (with roller and brush) established the sand. I liked the vague edges of rolling “sand” over “plant”, and decided to keep the lower part of the painting more suggestive, (the dunes are about shift and change). Details were developed in the middle ground, contrasting with the darker band of sea and sky above it.


May Morning

TM9146 May Morning 36×48 oil on panel

May Morning is my homage to spring, that gentler time of year. While I was working on the painting, I was imagining sitting on the outcrop with a sketchbook and a thermos – a delightful way to enjoy the fine weather. Details below, Enjoy.

TM9146 May Morning = detail from left side

Technical painting notes: I built the painting in layers, starting with a roll-up of umber and burnt sienna oil paint, which was manipulated with rags  and mineral solvents to block in the larger forms. Spattering laid a base for the granite. Later additions, painted with a brush, dabbed, and stippled, suggested the foliage and water. I used a thin film of grey, transparent paint (rolled on) to help establish the granite. Spatter and stippling brought it into focus.

TM9146 May Morning – detail – ledge and its reflection

Corot’s Morning

TM9143 Corot’s Morning 36×36 oil on panel

I began Corot’s Morning last winter, on a day when I was yearning for the warmth of spring. The first day and layer of painting went well, with the major shapes blocked in using monoprint techniques to create textures “behind” the leafy trees and water reflections. After weeks of drying, and much thought, I finally picked up the brush again and finished it. Now it can join two previous paintings in my series devoted to the idea of painting alongside the great landscapist Camille Corot. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9143 Corot’s Morning – detail with foreground reflections

TM9143 Corot’s Morning – detail from left side