From a Walk in the Woods 1-4

One can never do enough studies; nature provides such continually changing subject matter.  This past week I visited some favorite woodlands, camera in hand. Back at the studio I couldn’t wait to record what I had seen and felt. The smell of pine needles baked in warm sun, new leaves bursting everywhere, and the glittery look of sun on mica-laden ledges. The four studies above will find their way into larger paintings, but first I might have to go back to the woods for more studies. Oh fun!

Technical painting notes: All the paintings were done on prepared, heavy weight watercolor paper (primed with a coat of shellac front and back). I used a palette knife and lots of Winsor Newton Liquin Impasto medium to lay in a base arrangement of dark shapes and colors. Later, I blocked in the sky and refined the trees and rocks with a brush and more palette knife work.  The layering process and use of Impasto medium creates a rich surface –  more of a finished painting than a sketch, though still fresh.

For the Love of Snow

TM8862 White Mountain WInter #1 6x6 oil on paper

TM8862 White Mountain WInter #1 6×6 oil on paper

TM8864 White Mountain WInter #3 6x6 oil on paper

TM8864 White Mountain Winter #3 6×6 oil on paper

TM8863 White Mountain WInter #2 6x6 oil on paper

TM8863 White Mountain WInter #2 6×6 oil on paper

TM8852 Snowfall at Purgatory Chasm 6x6 oil on paper

TM8852 Snowfall at Purgatory Chasm 6×6 oil on paper

TM8851 Roadside Snow 6x6 oil on paper

TM8851 Roadside Snow 6×6 oil on paper

I understand it’s early November, and I’m glad it’s raining outside, but I love painting snow. All those white patterns abstracting the landscape beg to become a composition. This week I visited my imaginary winter and played with scenes from a few favorite locations. A private vacation, if you please, achieved in the studio. Enjoy.

A group of eight new 6×6 oil on paper paintings were delivered to Greylock Gallery in Williamstown, Massachusetts this week. If you are in the area, stop by, or preview Greylock Gallery’s website with the link to the right.

October’s Quarry

The dramatic confluence of stone and autumn’s colorful trees is the subject of this recent series of 6×6″ oil paintings.

 

New England Woods

 

Every day exploring New England is a gift, especially the opportunity to paint rock walls in the woods. The four small paintings above depict “regular” days, nothing special happening, just the confluence of light, nature, fresh air, and paint. Enjoy.

Technical painting notes: Again, I used textured and smooth papers. The first two paintings are on textured paper, and you can feel how the texture informs the feel of the rock surfaces. The last two paintings are on smoother paper.

A Day at Bass Rocks

Bass Rocks is impressive – a stretch of honey and rust-colored rock ledges facing out to the Atlantic on Cape Ann. The constant force of waves and winter ice breaks the rocks into a myriad of sizes and  has created a vast, complex geometry of fractures. When you stand on the ledges at high tide or after a storm, the violence of the pounding surf translates into tremors that start at your feet and rise through your whole body. I love it. It’s the energy and exuberance  of the place that I try to capture in my paintings from Bass Rocks. Enjoy.

 

Shining Rocks

Shining Rocks describes many places in New England that I love, but the inspiration for these small paintings in particular is Purgatory Chasm, a state park in Sutton, Massachusetts bordering the town where I was raised. The park is situated along a dramatic geological fault line. Rock formations line a natural gorge in the woods. The trees’ roots do their best to find sustenance in the scant soil covering granite and schist. Large quantities of mica and quartz sparkle in the sun. It is a remarkable place. The paintings below are explorations and studies. More will follow, as I refine my ability to “see” what’s there and figure out how I want to paint not just the place, but the spirit of the place too.

 

Technical painting notes: All of the paintings relied on a palette knife to describe the forms, with brushwork limited to sky and a few tree details. I wanted to capture the rough and tumble quality of the place, and the sense of surprise when the ground drops. Each painting starts with a rough, abstract base layer utilizing Liquin Impasto medium. A silicone scraper is used to suggest the trees. When this layer is dry, I go back in to define the sky and trees more thoroughly, again using Liquin Original and Liquin Impasto mediums. I’m looking for the major forms and colors, without too much detail, at this stage. My goal is to become familiar with the subject and figure out diverse ways to describe it – in service to starting some  larger paintings.