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.


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.

Winter Excerpts

TM9103 Down by the Beaver Dam 7×7 oil on paper

Like recent years, this winter has gone back and forth between bright snows, deep cold, and short thaws. Down by the Beaver Dam is from a recent walk after heavy rainfall, one that cleared away most of the snow. I thought the overwhelming gray and brown would be depressing, but then I found this one patch of ochery winter grass and a spot of blue Рthat was it Рthe next subject. Of course the following day it snowed again, a gentle, frothy snow that cleaned everything up, at least temporarily, resulting in Winter Walk to the Pond.

TM9100 Winter Walk to the Pond 7×7 oil on paper

Anticipating Spring Again

TM9098 Anticipating Spring Again 42×48 oil on panel

I think it must be a universal yearning, the anticipation of spring. It usually sneaks up on me in mid-February after another big snow storm. This time, that desire jumped straight in to my painting. Overhanging branches beside a local creek provided the forms for the painting, but as it evolved the palette kept lightening and brightening, until the mood was clearly sunshine and spring. Even the gestures in the paint seemed ready to jump for joy. Working with brush and rollers again, I followed those impulses, curious where they would lead me. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9098 Anticipating Spring Again – detail from left side showing various applications of paint with brush and roller

TM9098 Anticipating Spring Again – detail showing suggested leaves and branches

TM9098 Anticipating Spring Again – detail from right side

Ode to an Early Snow

TM9089 Ode to an Early Snow 30×50 oil on panel

Some paintings seem to emerge. and it’s not until they are finished that you begin to realize what happened. Ode to an Early Snow is one of those paintings. The inspiration was a walk in the woods after an early snowfall. Leaves were still clinging to many trees, and their russet tones, framed and dusted with snow, sparkled. The weave of bare branches, provided an angular counterpoint.

I started the painting with a roll-up of black, Venetian red, and burnt sienna oil paint, which was manipulated with solvent, the roller, and scrapers. The tools provided a base for further development, with strong colors and contrast. At this point, I was reminded of Jackson Pollock’s paintings, with there all over patterns and subtle color effects. I watched the painting dry for a few days, and mulled over the next step. White and blue were necessary to set the season, so I started with a brush loaded with blue, and the rest evolved quite quickly. I soon realized that the painting was a compendium of impressions from my walk through the dense undergrowth, the lower story, of my favorite woodland park. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9089 Ode to an Early Snow – detail from right side with snow-covered branches and clinging leaves

TM9089 Ode to an Early Snow – detail from upper edge left of center with blown snow

TM9089 Ode to an Early Snow – detail from lower edge right of center showing snow-covered branches and falling snow

TM9089 Ode to an Early Snow – detail from lower left side

Winter Views


The walk to the woods offers its own rewards. Enjoy.