Friday, June 15, 2007
So now I am fixing them up. The first one went well - at least I thought it did before I looked at this before-and-after blog post. This is a small painting, 6" x 9" or so, of a back-lit wave. The sun was low on the horizon and so intense that I had to squint the whole time I was painting; eventually my eyes started to sting and I had to keep one of them closed it was tearing so badly. When I got the painting inside I thought it looked washed out - not surprising when you are painting in such strong light (makes it hard to see the values). Karen had the same wave in her painting and she had a much better underplane on the bottom of the wave -it really looked like it was coming out over the rock - and a better silouette of the shadow side of the wave aginst the ocean. When I saw hers I made an immediate mental note to fix mine as soon as I got home and it was the first one I pulled out to rework in the studio.
And I do think I did well with it, but, but, but...something is always lost. Looking at the two images side by side I think I lost a little of the joie de vivre that was in the original sketch and I see that I could have gone in a completely different direction - I could have kept it in a very high impressionist value range, moving and singing in atmosphere, water, and light - Turner and Monet linking arms and dancing. Must fix it - next time.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Saturday, June 09, 2007
When I teach still life classes I encourage the students to bring in things that they want to paint. One night someone showed up with a Russian figurine of a laughing rabbit (I thought it looked more like a pig) and some lettuce and carrots from her garden. “Okay” I thought “let’s not be judgmental. This is what she wants to paint.” Only one other person showed up that night. He loved the fauves so we set up a still life for him with very brightly colored objects and a contrasting brightly colored background. Neither of them really wanted a critique, they just wanted to do what they do and have me give them a pat on the back from time to time. So there I was with 3 hours to kill (back patting doesn’t take very long). Luckily I had my paint box and a good canvas. I thought I might paint alongside them as a demonstration, though I knew they could care less. It was a tough choice but I went for the pig-rabbit. I painted freely and rather effortlessly knowing that I would wipe it out at the end of the class. It looked ridiculous as a figurine so I tried to breathe some life into it. To my great surprise I painted so well that I didn’t want to wipe it out. I showed it to Elizabeth when I got home and she just laughed and laughed…..
Friday, June 08, 2007
Sometimes I go off in odd directions. Often I find myself revisiting what I call the sins of my youth. Although I claim to have been bored by childhood I must have had some fun because all of my “sin” paintings are cheerful and lively. Twinkies and Superheroes is pretty typical. How can you not love a painting with Spiderman flying through the middle of the piece?
I wonder what art historians will have to say about this piece. “I see the influence of Warhol and the pop art movement. The comic books were obviously inspired by Lichtenstein and the cupcakes by Thiebaud. Of course Koons had a tremendous effect on his work.” Actually none of those things are true, although those artists have made such subject matter acceptable to those viewing my work. My work is indebted to the old Dutch still life painters, Claesz and de Heem; and to Hals and Titian and Velazquez and Van Dyck…..
Thursday, June 07, 2007
I’ve always loved peonies. I grew up with them. My mother had them in the backyard. Pink and white, beautiful. She would cut them and bring them, and their delightful fragrance, into the house. It is one of my favorite childhood memories.
When we moved to Vermont there were peonies, pink Sarah Bernhardt peonies, on the property. I painted them and showed it to my mother, telling her it made me think of her and how much she loved peonies. “Peonies!” she replied “Blah! I hated those things. Every time I cut them the house was full of black ants!” …..
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
On the Easel went on the road and out to sea yesterday. Elizabeth took the ferry to Monhegan Island for a week of seascape painting and I hit the road delivering paintings to exhibitions at the Salmagundi Club and the National Arts Club. Testing the Water went to the NAC. It was painted in the studio from a plein air sketch done on a 6 week painting trip to northern England. The combination of grandeur and intimacy fascinated me as did the subtle appearance and disappearance of sunlight.
Ah, back to the studio today. A day to finish nearly completed paintings. It was a bit like playing scales and etudes for the first hour or so. Then, as my palette warmed up, the finishing glazes began to materialize. My palate took over, adding a little salt and pepper, perhaps a touch of cinnamon.....
Sunday, June 03, 2007
This painting is called "Harbor Rain"; It is one of the results of my last trip to Maine.