Saturday, January 24, 2009

Watch Hill Winter Morning

oil on linen panel 9" x 12"
This painting is a value study and a painting focused on the sky. The darker ground tones helps the sky sing in comparison. Everything is frozen tight, and yet the light dances through the cold space. There is a quality of expectation and an exhilaration at the same time.
In class, we all put our work up for a crit period at the end, and one of the many valuable parts of that process is standing back from the painting and looking at it with a detached eye. Posting items on this blog is another way to acheive that viewpoint. There is a possibility that I will repaint the snow even darker. Usually I look at a painting for a while so that I can see it before I make a decision like that.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ueno Park August

oil on linen panel 24" x 9.5"

This is the painting that I have been working on for the past few weeks, the blog silencing painting for the member show at the Providence Art Club. I wanted to capture the fabulous feeling of being in the cool shade on a very hot day in Tokyo. I have simplified the background buildings, and used the horizontal composition to emphasize the feeling of being under the canopy of beautiful trees. The people in the painting move back through the space.
I am also glad that it is done.
Right now, a little of that heat would be welcome in RI.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Vinyard Winter

oil on canvas panel 8" x 16"
I have been away over the weekend, and painting has taken the backseat to family. That is as it should be, and yet when I came back, I have been working all night on my Member Show entry at the Providence Art Club, and on finishing this painting so that I could put something up on this blog. This is from a photo that is a couple of years old, and the scene had caught my eye from the beginning. I have been working on it over time, looking at the best use values and color to enhance the scene. Right now this is as far as I have been able to take it.
I wanted to show how resolutely the house faces the weather from the open ocean. The low sunlight on the face of the house picks up the strength of the manmade structure. It is nestled in the hills, but clearly taller than the windswept horizontal landscape around it. We can all be brave this way, even as we are worn by time and other storms.
The entry is a longer painting for me, as I am used to smaller formats. This may be a bad week for posting, as deadlines loom...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Angel Window - Grand Canyon

8" x 10" oil paint on canvas panel

This is a painting from 2 years ago done from a sketch during a visit to the Grand Canyon. I pulled it out from the "archives" a few days ago thinking that it was not a total wash. I wish that I had taken a picture of it before I "looked" at it with a brush last night. I did so little, adding a few of the things that I had learned to pay attention to.
The first thing I did was to rub it down with a 50/50 mixture of Liquin and Mineral spirits. That removed dust, and improved the finish texture on the paint surface itself. I recently learned what an important quality that becomes for a painting. I brightened the sky, and added a bit of color where I previously had white rocks facing the sky. There had been two trees on top of the arch in the photo, but I eliminated one to strengthen the composition. A few touches to soften the horizon, a few more blue shadows, a sharper edge to the right of the Angel Window, and now I am very happy with the painting.
It is funny to have such a small painting of such a large area, almost unimaginable.
It is also amusing to realize how close I had been before, and did not have the experience to finish it.
I have been working on a larger painting from Japan for the Member's Exhibit at the Providence Art Club in a few weeks, and have less to show right now on the blog.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


9" x 12" oil on linen
This is the last of the three evening paintings that I have worked on. The other two were posted on December 10th and 11th, but this one resisted being finished. I had to keep adjusting the values to see how to get the effect of the low fall evening light. It has been a process of gradually darkening and warming, adding layers of paint. Paintings seem to have their own personalities, even done in batches. My favorite isn't always the one done first or the easiest. And sometimes, there is one done that just is a throwaway. Or really, a paint over.

Learning to look at the values is a constant learning experience for me. Stan Moeller quotes
watercolorist Charles Reid , "Color gets all the credit, but values do all the work. ..."