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.


Watching a Breeze Unfold #2

TM9099 Watching a Breeze Unfold #2 36×60 oil on panel

Watching a Breeze Unfold #2, now it’s becoming a series.  The city planted some young trees in front of Fenway Studios, and I am fortunate to have one in front of my studio. For two years I’ve had the pleasure of watching my tree grow, and worrying for its health in high winds. Watching the branches toss and sway may have contributed to this painting, which continues the theme of movement. Good luck little tree. I look forward to seeing your leaves again come spring. Enjoy. Details below.

TM9099 Watching a Breeze Unfold #2 – detail from center

Watching a Breeze Unfold #2 – detail from upper right

Watching a Breeze Unfold #2 – detail from lower left

Technical painting notes: I used a soft rubber roller for much of the paint application.


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

Watching a Breeze Unfold

TM9083 Watching a Breeze Unfold 36×54 oil on panel

More and more, my paintings are becoming studies of movement, sometimes water, sometimes air. Watching a Breeze Unfold is clearly the latter – a prolonged look at branches swaying in the breeze and a study in soft and hard edges. Close proximity of warm and cool colors is a second theme, one that evokes the liveliness of summer growth. These close-up studies from the ponds and creeks in the woods offer opportunities to paint realistically while “seeing” abstractly. What could be more fun? Details below. Enjoy.

TM9083 Watching a Breeze Unfold – detail from center

TM9083 Watching a Breeze Unfold – detail from left side

Looking Leafy

TM9082 Looking Leafy 36×40 oil on panel

Painting all the vegetation along the pond’s edge was so much fun I decided to concentrate on more vegetation, but this time interweaving the painting with layers of contour drawing done in charcoal. It felt so liberating. I’ve always loved drawing, but letting it work somewhat independently of the color and painted shapes is a new experience – one I intend to explore further. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9082 Looking Leafy – detail from left side showing use of opaque vs. transparent pigments

TM9082 Looking Leafy – detail from left of center showing use of charcoal drawing layers between thinly rolled oil paint and layered brush work

Technical painting notes: I started the painting with a roll up of oil paint, which was manipulated with rags, a scraper, and mineral spirits. When it was dry, I started blocking in the shapes with brushes and the roller. Some of the linear drawing work was done with soft charcoal, some with a brush. I kept overlaying drawing and describing the leafy shapes, hoping to achieve a sense of movement and the elegance of the swaying and tangling leaves and vine.

Snowing in the Woods

TM8912 Snowing in the Woods 44×36 oil on panel

With record-setting cold for the last weeks, there are only two choices – embrace winter or leave, and I choose to embrace it. Snowing in the Woods is a glimpse of our first snowfall, a light one that brought several inches of glittering white sparkles. The bittersweet berries slowly disappeared as the silence descended. Details below. Enjoy.

TM8912 Snowing in the Woods – detail from above center showing use of palette knife and spatter

TM8912 Snowing in the Woods – detail from foreground with young trees and bittersweet vine

October Morning

TM9086 October Morning 36×36 oil on panel

The fuchsia and salmon reflections of leaves sparkling in the water one morning caught my eye, and I started thinking about this painting immediately. I knew abstract patterns and rhythms would be the basis of the painting, while the pale blue sky would set the mood. But how to accomplish it? A few months later, I plunged in with a roller charged with burnt sienna paint and just kept rolling, letting the pattern of darks determine my moves. Spattering into the wet paint and re-rolling it muffled some marks and exaggerated others. And that is the accidental magic of letting the tools lead the way. At the end of the day, I left the panel to dry, knowing that when I came back later in the week, the painting would “paint itself.” A good start is everything. The staccato blue and fuchsia marks of the ripples were pounced with the roller, and the dried, pale tan seed heads along the shore were achieved with both the roller and paint brush, offering a neutral relief to the bright colors. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9086 October Morning – detail from left of center

TM9086 October Morning – detail from upper left