Early Evening at the Pond

TM9058 Early Evening at the Pond 36×44 oil on panel

I love watching the light fade. Colors lose their saturation and everything seems to calm down The nuances become important. In Early Evening at the Pond everything is quiet – no ripples, just a slight current carrying a few stray leaves. Shadowed reflections darkly frame the fading blue sky, and a pale cloud seems to be hitching a ride with the drifting leaves.  It’s a good time to pause. Detail below. Enjoy.

TM9058 Early Evening at the Pond – detail from left side




TM9050 Sing! 36×48 oil on panel

When I see a tree transitioning into color and dancing in the breeze I want to break out in a song. There is still joy in the world, and trees remind me of that fact. That exuberance I see, and want to paint, is a balm for the soul – especially in troubled times. Detail below. Enjoy.

TM9050 Sing! – detail showing use of layered brush and roller painting


Breeze Please Studies

TM9037 Breeze Please #3 7×7 oil on paper

TM9038 Breeze Please #4 7×7 oil on paper

The joy of movement and color when you look up and see leaves flickering against a bright sky is almost indescribable. Almost. And when it’s all reflected in the pond, who can resist?  The sense of abstraction and reality co-existing is part of the fun. More to come….

Link to other Breeze Please paintings.



When Autumn Weaves Its Own Brocade

TM9026 When Autumn Weaves Its Own Brocade 36×36 oil on panel

I saw the first signs of red on the swamp maples this week, and I felt invigorated. Autumn might be my favorite season to paint – all that color! And it ranges from flamboyant to extremely subtle. So I decided to try an interpretation that would include both extremes. When Autumn Weaves It Own Brocade presents complex tree reflections woven with pale gold, softened Venetian red, muted olive green, a little pink, and a good dose of Naples yellow and cadmium orange  in the floating leaves. There’s a film of dust and pollen on the water, which softens the effect of the color, but this is autumn,

When I was studying studio art, I took an introductory tapestry weaving class. I loved the tactile rhythm of slipping the yarns in and out of the warp threads. Working on this painting, I found myself remembering those motions, and the incremental development of the design. I also remembered the gorgeous bolts of brocade I used to see at the fabric shops downtown, and decided to let all those memories work their way into the painting, or is it a tapestry? Details below. Enjoy.

TM9026 When Autumn Weaves Its Own Brocade – detail from upper right with reflections and floating leaves

TM9026 When Autumn Weaves Its Own Brocade – detail from lower right quadrant tree reflections and floating leaves

TM9026 When Autumn Weaves Its Own Brocade – detail from lower left

Breeze Please

TM9018 Breeze Please 30×60 oil on panel

Breeze Please follows up on a series of studies I did earlier this year of wind-tossed trees seen against blue skies filled with cumulous clouds. I enjoyed painting the small studies so much, I couldn’t resist trying a larger version. Going from 7×7 inches to 30×60 inches became possible when I started using rollers to apply the paint. Weaving brushwork and rolling gives me control and abandon, and keeps the marks exciting. Because I wanted the feeling of leaves dancing, I tried to keep a light touch with the roller, letting it “skip” and do its own dance across the surface. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9018 Breeze Please – detail from center with branches and leaves seen against cumulus clouds

TM9018 Breeze Please – detail from left side with wind-tossed leaves

TM9018 Breeze Please – detail from right side showing use of rubber roller and brush to draw lines

Technical painting notes: The painting started in my usual way, rolling on a mixture of raw sienna and burnt sienna paint thinned with an alkyd medium. I did some scraping and spritzing to give textures and a bit of structure, then let the panel dry. When I resumed work, I started defining forms and branches with brushwork, but the feel of the piece was off. Only when I started using a roller to apply the paint did the energy pick up. From that point, I repeatedly defined with a brush then rolled with abandon, layering the two effects and aiming to maintain hard vs. soft edges. As I worked, the color became more saturated – the joy increased. Perhaps the next experiment will be taking the details from the painting and letting them “grow up.”



Being in the Woods

TM9002 Being in the Woods 36×54 oil on panel

As a child growing up in New England, I loved playing and walking in the woods. There were old trails to discover, swamps to muster through, and so many games to share with my cousins. I think one of our favorites was sitting on huge glacial erratics, sucking the juice out of twigs, and wondering about the native Americans who had populated these woods in the past.  With a farm up the road, there was always the  chance of an escapee to spark our imaginations. The woods filled our heads with possibilities. Thinking back on it now, I also remember the smells, all damp and green. Or sometimes warm and spicy, like the fragrant pine needles baking in the sunspots. Being in the Woods is a painting about all these memories and impressions. It is dense with life, tumult, and  glimpses of blue sky in the distance. It’s a close woods, the kind that creeps into and fills old farmland, the kind where one might find a patch of blueberries to pick, or native wintergreen, an oasis of clean air and nature’s own quiet music. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9002 Being in the Woods – detail from upper right

TM9002 Being in the Woods – detail from upper left with leaves and vines, sky beyond

TM9002 Being in the Woods – detail from right of center showing spattered base layer over-painted and over-rolled, use of scraping

Technical painting notes: I started the painting by using monoprint techniques to establish textures and the major shapes and gestures. Wet oil paint was rolled onto the surface and manipulated with rags, a silicone scraper, and splashes of solvent. I used a soft rubber roller to lay down and pick up (transfer) marks across the surface. When the base layer was dry, I used glazes to enhance the color harmony, then worked into the wet glazes with soft brushes and color to refine shapes and establish edges. More layers of glaze enriched the color. To keep the painting from becoming too tight, I used variously sized rubber rollers to make suggestions of leaves and boughs. This contributed to a sense of “openness” within the dense image, and helped to provide depth.

Early Thaw

TM9003 Early Thaw 36×40 oil on panel

Early Thaw is a meditation on the color blue and its interaction with neutrals and the complement orange. It is also my response to a heat wave and mid-ninety degree temperatures in the studio. I needed to cool off, and what could be better than a winter painting to immerse me in a a chill?

That said, I’ve love the very last leaves that cling to branches all winter. They are papery  thin and manage to hold on through all the gales and bluster. I admire them. I see them every year, and they never disappoint, or fail to inspire me. Pale and rather ghostly in contrast to the brilliant blue sky, they always make their presence known. They add a touch of wit to the serious season. Details below. Enjoy.

TM89003 Early Thaw – detail from left and below center with dry, fluttering leaves reflected in water on ice

TM9003 Early Thaw – detail from above center with leaves, branches, and vines reflected

TM9003 Early Thaw – detail from left side

Technical painting notes: I used a soft rubber roller to apply a thin, translucent sheen of pale blue gray to the water, to suggest a hint of ice