Sunday, August 30, 2009

Canal on Sunday

I had to share the swans, but I didn't just look for the swans.  It was a beautiful day after a stormy night in which we lost power for about eight hours.  But all is restored.

Swans in the Canal

A while back my wife and a friend rode their bikes toward Lambertville and saw two swans nesting.   They said the egg was huge.  I finally made it up there, and you can see the result of the egg:  the middle "youngster" who is as big as the parents.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Field Trip

I took a side field trip, way off the canal path.   Not sure this hangs together, but it is what it is.  Milosz once said, "What matters is the inexhaustible riches of the reality before our eyes.  It's a bit the way a painter feels about the world when he is arranging colors in harmony on canvas.  I doubt he does this with a clear conscience, because the world around him is one of such inexhaustible depth and complexity.  He evokes that world.  Arranging colors harmoniously on canvas is a paltry thing compared to what calls out to be explored."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Another Canal Reflection

When you look into the canal, you see its surface, its bottom, the sky, the upside down trees from the other side, and the plants on the near side.  Sometimes you see turtles with tiny heads sticking out of the water and their carapaced bodies below the water slightly out of alignment,  or geese floating like British men o' war, with their legs churning below the surface.  Whether the sun shines or not,  there's always flickering light and shadow.  This morning I saw two people sitting in chairs fishing.  They weren't working very hard at it, maybe mesmerized by staring into the canal.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Canal, Puddle, and Path

I promise to get off the canal path soon, but I am having fun with all the possibilities.  I walked 45 minutes towards Lambertville, and then turned around heading back home.  This big puddle covered the entire path near Church Street.  I have been reading Czeslaw Milosz lately.  The following is from the poem Bobo's Metamorphosis, section V:

I liked him as he did not look for an ideal object.
When he heard: "Only the object which does not exist
Is perfect and pure," he blushed and turned away.

In every pocket he carried pencils, pads of paper
Together with crumbs of bread, the accidents of life.

Year after year he circled a thick tree
Shading his eyes with his hand and muttering in amazement.

How much he envied those who draw a tree with one line!
But metaphor seemed to him something indecent.

He would leave symbols to the proud busy with their cause.
By looking he wanted to draw the name from the very thing.

When he was old, he tugged at his tobacco-stained beard:
"I prefer to lose thus than to win as they do."

Like Peter Breughel the father he fell suddenly
While attempting to look back between his spread-apart legs.

And still the tree stood there, unattainable.
Veritable, true to the very core.

Substitute canal for tree.  I like "accidents of life" and love the line "By looking he wanted to draw the name from the very thing."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Walking North

This is the view walking north on the canal path towards Church Street. I did three sketches leading up to this pastel.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Canal Reflection

I have found that doing a small black and white charcoal sketch before launching into the pastel painting is a useful exercise.  Learning the landscape so to speak.   I only explore a small stretch of the canal but it's quite enough.   Someday, when I have the time and the weather cooperates, I will do paintings of the canal going north towards Lambertville.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Puddle in the Path

I continue walking the path with its occasional puddles.  The view is across from St. George's Church.  I love seeing the sky below on the path, as well as above in

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Canal After Rain

When it rains, the canal path gets almost as wet as the canal.  Actually that's not quite true, but you know what I mean.  

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Still on the Edge

I am still on the edge of the canal, and not tempted to jump in.  Maybe the top one is too abstract.  Someone said, "What is it?"  Sometimes, this time, it's necessary to recollect why one tries to make art.  It's so easy to get  distracted and lose sight of the real reason.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On the Canal Path

Several sketches led up to this pastel, though it may not look like it.   I hope I am on the right path.  I am trying to move in a different direction.  Time will tell.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Three Steps

Finally the pastel painting.  I probably should have uploaded these in reverse.  This is a view of the canal and path at Trimmer.  8x10 on uart paper.   Sort of a Seinfeld picture, a painting of nothing much, just a path, a canal and some trees and grass.  Here I am just trying to counter the enormity of the overbearing green with some variety.  

Then I did a pastel sketch.

First I did a charcoal drawing.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Back Yard

What's in your back yard?  Yesterday, I did the charcoal drawing, and today I did the pastel of the Delaware & Raritan Canal looking south towards Faherty's.   Sometimes I think it would be nice to live along the Maine coast, or in New Mexico.  What great pastels I could make.  But thinking about other places may lead me to overlook what's in my back yard.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Low Clouds

After a night of rain, the sun was pushing through low rising clouds on Stratton Road.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bright Barn and Bright Ideas

This is a barn found on Route 43 in Williamstown, MA. It was one of those days when the sun kept appearing and disappearing. 8x10 on uart paper.

In the book How I Paint: Secrets of a Sunday Painter, a misleading title since he paints on every other day as well, Thomas Buechner writes "I am still uncomfortable with the person who says 'I've decided to be an artist' or 'I make art.' To me that's like saying 'I've decided to be a master' or 'I make masterpieces.' We can only decide to try."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More Subtle

It's early morning in the farm scene directly above, as well as at the foggy canal.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Last Catching Up

Then I just walked up the road, and I was finished for the week.

Catching Up III

Then I did more barns in Hancock.  I was away for too long.  But it was good,  like a self-administered pastel clinic.

Catching Up II

Then I did some barns.  The one with the cupola is in Heartwellville, Vt.  The others in Hancock, Ma.  I like the barn without walls.

Catching Up

First I did three more garden pastels.