Drift

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.

Da Capo

TM9023 Da Capo 36×40 oil on panel

It’s a process of discovery and rediscovery. The first time I paint a place, I’m learning how to translate it into two dimensions, but every subsequent painting becomes more of an investigation into the spirit of the place and the effect it has on me. Da Capo (which means from the beginning) is my repainting of a familiar beach. In fact, it echoes one of my earliest seascapes. The fog bank brings a quiet, almost melancholy light to the painting, alleviated by hints of blue sky and sunlight skimming the tops of the bank as it breaks up. Da Capo also refers to the painting’s primal subject, for in the beginning god created waters…..

TM9023 Da Capo – close-up from lower right showing sand and foam

Coastal Quartet

There

 

There are two ways to look at the tides along the coast – they are either arriving or going out. I love both situations, with their subtle surprises and nuanced colors. This quartet of small oil paintings on prepared paper are part of an ongoing series of investigations and experiments, all done with the aim of understanding a beloved, and very complex, ecosystem. Enjoy!

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.”

Studies

 

The Poem in the Wave

TM9015 The Poem in the Wave 40×50 oil on panel

Poems have a beautiful way of finding and expressing the telling detail, then placing it in a unique context. When I saw this wave the morning after a storm, I was struck by the roar and the weight – all that sand being lifted and dragged by a powerful force. At the same time, the water was almost dancing, as if with the sheer love of being able to push and carry so much terra firma. I knew I would have to paint it. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9015 The Poem in the Wave – detail of sand-laden wave

TM9015 The Poem in the Wave – detail from right side

Blue Cursives

TM9014 Blue Cursives 34×40 oil on panel

Watching the waves come in induces a strange state of both mindfulness and self-disappearance. I become so aware of the nuances of form that I forget my self, and yet I feel so present – it’s an odd sensation. Time quickly follows every watery movement, and synchronistically stands still – it seems brief and eons long. Perhaps it’s these dualities that make wave and wavescapes so entrancing. I get lost in it all, and maybe that’s the point. Enjoy!

Bay of Fundy Studies

 

The Bay of Fundy is an amazing phenomenon and place. The enormous changes in sea level leave one continuously startled. Land comes and goes, along with the weather and the fog. As a subject for painting, I can’t think of a more satisfying challenge. The stark, stony northern environment, the vast space, and the intricacies of the shallow bays and tidal pools, plus the muted colors – everything I love!  Enjoy.

Technical painting notes: I used mostly a palette knife on the first study, with plenty of Winsor Newton Liquin medium to make the  paint feel slippery, like the condition I was painting. I also used a pencil to scrape and draw into the wet paint. The second view began the same way, but I decided to try rolling across the sky, then used the paint on the roller to drag the sky reflections down to shallows. A bit of scraping livened the foreground, where various seaweeds formed desultory patterns on the coarse sand.