Friday, February 16, 2018

There Isn't Any Sun


Until recently I've shied away from painting on cloudy, rain threatening days.  The main reason is that there isn't any sun, but since there isn't any sun, the light remains constant for a long time.  This 12x16 oil on panel I did on the slope of a hillside off of Route 7 that faces the Hopper in Williamstown, MA near Five Corners.  There's an intervening stand of pines screening the mountains, and the horizontal Route 43 down below contrasts with the undulating mountains above in the distance.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Encountering a New Place


It's always exciting to encounter a new place to paint, this time a farm in Williamstown, MA that I've looked at from a distance for a long time.  This is a contre-jour plein air view of two barns and the space between them, a 9x12 oil on panel.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Geometry of Brooklyn


Spending a few days in Brooklyn has motivated me to paint a Brooklyn painting.  This painting shows the Shuttle overpass at Pacific Street near Franklin Avenue.  A label for a Cezanne landscape that I saw this past weekend at the Met says that Cezanne wanted to paint the hidden geometry of nature.  I like to paint the overt geometry of Brooklyn.  12x16 oil on panel.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Monochrome Morning




On a monochrome morning after a short snowfall I painted on Sloan Road in Williamstown, MA.  The painting is a 9x12 oil on panel.  The view is towards the west and the Taconics.  My selfie stick is long and invisible.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sunny and Windless at the Green River


This morning since it was sunny and a windless 18 degrees I went back to the Green River at Five Corners in Williamstown, MA, where the water bends into an "S".  I wanted to paint the sun reflecting off of the water. The result is this 9x12 oil on panel.  I picked this spot because I wanted to include the tree to counter the strong down flow of the water.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Impossible Painting


Some things are nearly impossible to paint.  This painting shows an "s" bend in the Green River in Williamstown, MA when the sun was striking the surface, a "contre-jour" effect, where I was facing the sun when painting.  The benefit is that the sun is not hitting my panel, but one can only hint at the intensity of the light.  The painting is a 9x12 oil on panel done a couple days ago.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Joyful Barn


This barn is located in Pownal, VT.  Even though it's old and looks no longer used, it was singing a joyful song the other day when I set up to paint it.  The painting is a 9x12 oil on panel.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Cold Torrent


Two weeks ago the Green River was covered with thick ice and snow.  Now all that remains are large slabs of ice on the shore.  And the cold torrent is visible.  When I started this one I wasn't sure what was going to happen.  Nothing was still or quiet.  This is a 9x12 oil on panel done yesterday morning near the Hopper Road bridge in Williamstown, MA.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Still Practicing


Though I usually paint landscapes, I like the opportunity to paint from the figure.  This is a 16x12 oil on panel done earlier this week.

The poet John Keats wrote in a letter dated October 9, 1818: "That which is creative must create itself."  What I think he meant is that one can only learn by doing.  To get better at painting, one has to paint a lot.  Ken Howard quotes the painter Carel Weight: "Painting is rather like playing the piano, you've got to practice every day."

Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Perfect Place


This is one of my favorite views in Williamstown, MA, a look down Blair Road from the top of Stratton Road.  The mountains in the background are the Taconics in New York State.  At this junction both roads are dirt and often rutted, a perfect place for the mud season. This painting is a 12x16 oil on panel.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Cow's View


This 9x12 oil on panel I did a couple weeks ago.  It's another in the Trees and Snow series though this time it represents the stony corner of a pasture.  I've been to this spot many times, but now for some reason the barbed wire fence has been taken down, so I was able to actually stand in the pasture itself, and look back to where I normally stood, on the other side of the fence, the cow's view, so to speak.  I tried to keep things simple due to the complexity of the view.

Another thought from Ken Howard: "If as an artist you are touched by a subject, it will touch others.  If you paint a subject just because you think other people will like it, they never will."

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The River First


This small 9x12 painting I did while standing in the snow at the edge of the Green River last Sunday.  Ken Howard writes: "Corot ... advised that a painter should first establish the sky, because everything else in the picture then relates to the sky, the source of the light."   Of course, in this painting I painted the river first, then the trees, and finally the sky.  However, Ken Howard also writes in the same book: "It is wrong to make rules--on the whole, it is best [to] keep one's options open."

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Sense of Something


This morning I found myself under a bridge looking at the Hoosic River.  Fortunately I brought along some charcoal and a drawing pad so I proceeded to draw.

I've been reading the words of painter Ken Howard from his book Ken Howard's Switzerland: In the Footsteps of Turner:  "Painting is about getting the sense of something and you achieve this by absorbing how it actually works in nature."


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Self-Composing


The third painting from two days ago depicts a barn near the bottom of a steep hill road in Pownal, VT.  It was difficult to make an ugly little painting at a site that composed itself.  The views higher up on this road are breathtaking.  This one is 9x12 oil on panel.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Laocoon and the Disappearing Tree


While still on Burrington Road in Pownal, VT,  working on this ugly small painting, I struggled with this tree like Laocoon and the snakes, with the tree becoming the snakes.  We may think we see trees, or branches, but we really can't see them.  We follow one branch and it disappears.  They all disappear.  We know they are there, but where are they?  We feel them but just can't quite get them to keep still.