Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Pastel

A pastel, 9x12, of Stratton Road, mid-afternoon.  The road is slowly going uphill before it bends sharply right and downhill, becoming Blair Road.

I recently saw a reproduction of the Georges Seurat painting, The Gravelines Canal. Petit Fort-Philippe, painted in 1890, in the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  Its bright sunlight and stillness, great depth, and lack of people, have always struck me.  I could never paint as tightly as Seurat, but his landscape compositions are appealing.  He visited the northern coast of France several times in the summer to paint "marines".  Richard Thomson in his book on Seurat writes, "It was perhaps in the Honfleur group that Seurat achieved his first maturity as a landscape painter, marrying his remarkable eye for effects of light and atmosphere to his formidable conceptual faculties as a pictorial architect."

When I was a kid I told my grandfather, who was an architect, that I wanted to be an architect.  He was pleased.  I never became an architect.  Now I want to be, and hopefully am, a pictorial architect.   Thomson notes that Seurat peopled his landscapes with posts, bollards, and anchors.  I use cars for my Brooklyn pictures.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Two Deans

The top 9x12 oil is Dean at the corner of Grand, and the bottom 11x14 oil is Dean between Grand and Classon.   Shadows, sidewalks, curbs, trees, and streets, plus a few cars.

Dean at Underhill

A 9x12 drawing made with charcoal, white pastel, fingers, and side of hand.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fourth Avenue

A 9x12 pastel of Fourth Avenue near Carroll Street in Brooklyn.  I have been changing my approach to pastels, trying to use them in layers, keeping them loose and allowing the layers to show, building up as in an oil painting using fixative to simulate drying, sort of the way I imagine Degas worked.

Yesterday marked my fourth year with this blog.  I wish I had time to improve the blog, but I would rather paint.  At least the paintings have improved.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bergen and Grand

An 18x24 oil of the corner of Bergen and Grand in Brooklyn.  More feeling than judgement?

Friday, November 16, 2012

November Canal Drawing

Above is this morning's walkn-draw effort, approximately 9x12".

The following quotes are from the Seurat drawing book cited yesterday.

"Where the draftsman is a scribe and the writer a maker of of signs, the origin of man's intellectual mastery of the world appears with such clarity that Paul Valery's apotheosis of drawing sounds less exaggerated than it might: 'Possibly, drawing represents the mind's greatest temptation.'"

Drawing as the apple from the tree of knowledge.

"Though drawing stood at the inception of form-making activity and painting was originally not much more than drawing with color added, drawing nevertheless increasingly received its status and the conditions of its procedures from its relation to painting.  Drawing came to mean design...Doni...saw a connection between disegno and the creation of the universe, and Vasari called it the father of the three arts of painting, sculpture, and architecture.  But the disegno concept paid its greatest tribute to the archetypical nature of drawing by making it a synonym for the faculty of apprehension itself.
           Zuccari surpassed even this notion by recognizing disegno to be a sign of God in man..., thus exalting it to the 'principle of universal creativity.'"

Drawing as the insight into the mind of God.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


A street view in Brooklyn, Underhill towards Dean. 11x14 oil.

Another variation on feeling and judgement, this time from the Introduction to the book, Georges Seurat: Drawings by Erich Franz and Bernd Growe:  "Most of us tend to think of the world as a conglomeration of separate things that we understand by attaching names to them; with Seurat this accumulation of discrete entities merged into a continuum of the visible.  In Seurat's drawings we experience things that we had conceived as irreconcilable opposites merged and manifested as compelling synthesis--rational judgement combined with emotional immediacy, and ideal generalization with unique and transient individuality.  They show us that these opposites can enter a visual unity without being reduced to a mere gray twilight of compromise."

Those words summarize what I want to accomplish visually.

Monday, November 12, 2012


A street in Brooklyn, Classon toward Dean.  9x12 oil.

Reading the catalogue Pierre Bonnard: Early and Late, I came across Bonnard's words, "Drawing represents feeling: color, judgment".  I'd like to have both...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Back On!

When in doubt start with a drawing.  Actually, the only doubt I had was, after almost two weeks without electricity and running water, if the power would ever come back.  Take nothing from granted.  I did start painting again this weekend while located elsewhere, and hope to have some new work to post soon.