Inside October

TM9059 Inside October 34×40 oil on panel

Part of the thrill and challenge of working on a series is looking for new ways to interpret the theme. With that in mind, I’ve been restudying two artists whom I’ve admired for a long time – Joan Mitchell and Willem De Kooning. Both artists really knew their way around paint – how to layer, scrape, articulate, splash, and smear. In other words, they created rich surfaces full of abstract gestures. My own affinity for Mitchell’s nature and poetry-inspired canvases might seem  obvious, but her bravura brushwork and bold freedom has also inspired me. De Kooning’s restless scraping and repainting created rich surfaces and a sense of depth. While his particular women-as-subject doesn’t speak to me, his techniques do. Inside October is my first larger attempt at letting some of their approaches weave into my own pondscapes. It’s a variation on the “what if…” game. Can’t wait to try another. Details below.

TM9059 Inside October – detail near center showing use of monoprint techniques, roller and brush work, and scraping and spatter

TM9059 Inside October – detail from right side looking through leaves toward a cloud



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


At Bass Rocks

TM9042 A Day at Bass Rocks #44 7×7 oil on paper

So many artists have loved and painted Bass Rocks in Gloucester, Massachusetts. It might be the rugged and colorful fingers of granite clawing out to the sea, or the elevation – just high enough to raise the horizon line and provide a different perspective from the nearby beaches. As an artist, I know it could also be the difficulty of anyone climbing out to watch over your shoulder as you paint or sketch. It is public and private at the same time.I was out there recently, and, as usual, found much inspiration for more coastal paintings. The first study, at the top, is looking directly out to sea, while the rest of the gallery concentrates on the rocks. Enjoy.

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


TM9024 Drift 32×46 oil on panel

It seems like I’m always hovering around bodies of water. Drift is based on a nearby creek. The creek itself is quite narrow, lined with an assortment of shrubs and overhanging trees, grapevines, bittersweet, poison ivy – all the usual suspects. I walk its length most days, looking for interesting reflections, bits of white clouds in the water, wildlife, and anything that might be swimming. Recently, I saw gorgeous white blossoms drifting on the current. They had fallen from a flowering tree – I don’t know its name. I knew they had to go in a painting. The turquoise and ultramarine speak to the blue sky of that day, with its bright white clouds.  Dancing branches overhanging the water seem to want to tickle the flowers, interrupting their stately progression downstream. A humble creek can be magnificent. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9024 Drift – detail from left side showing creek with overhanging branches

TM9024 Drift – detail from center with fallen flowers drifting on the current

Technical painting notes: The painting shows my use of a soft rubber roller to apply some of the paint, especially to suggest a breeze riffling the overhanging branches. I used a silicone scraper to initially draw the branches into the base layer, then selectively colored them. Alkyd glazes were used to build up color.