Thursday, December 13, 2007

Revisiting Summer

I took a break from painting Texas hill country this week to complete a farm scene from our time in the Mid West this past year. This piece was a fun one to work through. I took my time with it and really concentrated on capturing the intensity of the full daytime sunlight. I used a light cadmium lemon throughout to achieve this. I think there is a nice rhythm in the way the stream leads your eye back in harmony with the trees. The hardest factors here were keeping the red barn in the distance (because red of course tends to come forward) and properly representing the reflected light in the water which is in total shadow. The end results are one of my favorite pieces I have done in the past month or so.

This piece has been listed in my store on eBay if you would like to see more info and/or detail.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Texas Hill Country

After months of letting this blog sit quietly waiting for a new post... here I am. I would like to apologize for the fact that I have not been more diligent in my posting! Here's to the future... it's the first day of the rest of my blog posting life.

So we are in Texas, in hill country for a few months. This is our first time here and let me tell you if you have not spent any time in Texas it really is big. Bigger even than you may think it is. We are continually wowed by just how vast it is. We arrived in state a little over a month ago and have seen the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Austin and San Antonio as well as many of the small ranch towns that dot hill country. Currently we are outside of Kerrville near Fredericksburg. I have been painting the Texas landscape for a month now and have found a few challenges here.

The first being the harsh sunlight. The second being the density of the foliage (I am always searching for that one singled out interesting tree with a great unobstructed view of a hilly background) and the third being the barbed wire fences which deny my access to many a perfect view for a painting! Each locale we have traveled through has presented it's challenges whether it was clouds of biting insects, lurking alligators or here, the worry of being nailed by a deer hunter in white tail season while scouting for a scene to paint. But you learn to work around them all eventually!

My latest piece I have completed here is a view of the Guadalupe River which flows just out back of where we are camping. It's late morning light on a relatively clear day. I strove to capture the rich hues of the foliage and the distinct blues and reflective qualities of the river itself.

I was thinking of George Inness while working through this piece... Fall colors, contrasting orange hues with the blues. I simplified the hills in the distance in order to bring the eye to the trees as a focal point. This river is lined with really great trees. Some of them are a real challenge to capture because of their enormity.

I hope to travel down to Bandera over the next week or so to work and also to complete another piece or two from the river banks where we are here. I will also be visiting the museum for The Cowboy Artists of America. There are several artists I am interested in which are members of this group. If anyone reading has any recommendations for this area fire away!

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Maine Landscape

I have been looking forward to painting in Maine again. Now that we are here it certainly does not disappoint. It's been over two years since we have been up this way and even longer than that since I really focused on painting this area. We spent our first eleven days just south of Portland in the Scarborough Marsh. This is a fantastic place to paint. The marsh is ever changing with the tides and the weather. It is most beautiful at sundown or early in the morning with fog hanging over the area. The above piece was done in late afternoon on a really wet, overcast day when the tide was going out...hence the muddy shoreline. The marshland grasses are really lush and there are abundant species of wildflowers along the trail and waters edge. I tried to convey the rich, green quality of the landscape in this work along with the softened atmosphere due to the moisture hanging in the air. The muddy shoreline was the most challenging aspect of the work... but I finally settled on it as you see it here and I am content with results I achieved.

We are now up in Camden, ME where the mosquitoes are the size of hummingbirds and hang outside the screen door with intense almost ferocious attitude and intent....waiting for you to open the door a quarter of an inch so they can sneak in and assault you. If I survive the bugs I plan to do a few pieces featuring the Camden Harbor and need to get out to pin down a few more locations to paint while here too. Anybody out there know the area and have a few suggestions? I love to get off the beaten path.

For anyone visiting this area don't miss the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland. They have a nice collection of Andrew Wyeth's work.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

I'm Back!

Wow...sorry for the looong lag in posts there. Things have been crazy for the past few weeks. We brought home a new puppy and a few days later left to go out to Martha's Vineyard for a week. We have since returned and are now settled in to a new campsite up in Southern Maine. I have not been painting as much for the past few weeks due to all the activity and moving around...and Rudy (the puppy) has demanded a ton of attention as well.

I did get tons of great photographs during our stay on the island and while I prefer to paint from life I will use the pics over the next few months to do a few works from the Vineyard. I did paint out with my Father and his best friend Allen Whiting a few times. Allen has a sheep farm in West Tisbury which has been in his family for several generations. It is a wonderful place to paint with old barns, pastures, woods and of course...sheep. Allen is also a painter and it is always a pleasure to hang out with he and my Dad and put paint to canvas.

The above shot is an old truck overgrown with foliage and over taken by rust out back on the farm. My Father has painted it a few times... it's a great nostalgic and sentimental image for me. You can click on the photo to see a larger version of it. I do have a Whiting farm scene on eBay right now which can be seen by clicking HERE.

I'll post my new work from Maine over the next week or so. We spent the day yesterday out on Cape Elizabeth and I am finishing up a coastal piece. Maine is one of my favorite places to paint so this Summer should bring some great paintings.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

RISD Museum and Second Dam Pond

This newest work is of an area where we used to hang out when I was kid much the same as the last piece. This is a fresh water pond in the woods of Swansea near the old historic town center and Abrahms Rock. We used to fish, swim and canoe the waters here. Bethany and I hiked back the other day to check out the old dam and see what the area looks like after all these years. I was surprised to see a few houses on the other side of the creek but otherwise it's all pretty much as I remember. I like the results I achieved in this piece. I tried to capture the true light and atmosphere in mid afternoon on a sunny, humid day.

Today we drove into Providence to visit the RISD Museum of Fine Art. They have a surprisingly nice collection there. The museum houses several pieces from Sargeant, Monet, Renoir and an impressive array of other American and French Impressionists. The main hall of the gallery is hung in the traditional salon style from the late 19th century. It's brilliant to view upon entering the room but does make study of each individual work impossible which is a little disappointing!

I did photograph one piece which really accurately represents the technique of peinture claire I was discussing in my last post. The work is by Theodore Robinson and has that luminous quality I have been interested in. Even the shadows are infused with light in this landscape which brings the whole tonal quality up and creates an entirely different atmosphere.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Peinture Claire

This is my newest work to come off the easel this week. Having arrived back in New England where I grew up (we have been away for 18 months) I was anxious to head out to one of my favorite places... Sakonnet Point. As a kid we used to hang out on the point and snorkel for lobsters and crab. It is a really beautiful place with clear waters and abundant with bird species and sea life. I have had it in mind for quite some time as a place I wanted to revisit and paint. We hit it on a perfect clear, sunny day at low tide. The transitions in color in the water are incredible here and I knew the effect created on the shoreline where the water is as clear as glass would be a challenge to capture on canvas.

I came recently upon a term in reading a book on Impressionism... Peinture Claire. The definition given is this: Painting expressing light by means of a predominantly pale luminous tonality.

This concept intrigued me and I thought Sakonnet Point would allow me the chance to explore this technique a bit. I decided to try bringing the darkest tones up a few notches to infuse the entire piece with more light and hopefully a more luminous quality. This term continues to fascinate me and I am curious if anyone else out there has also experimented with anything in this realm? It seems something you could really push into with interesting results.