Thursday, December 23, 2010

Misty Morning, Clouds in the Sky (Pastel, 2010)

(Private Collection)
I did this a couple of weeks ago but have been too busy with holiday activities to get it posted.This was done in a field not far from my house on a Saturday morning after a couple of warm days and lots of rain washed away all of the snow (which has since come back). Working in the cold is never very comfortable, but the urgency to finish before I can't feel my fingers anymore always seems to give the work an energy that I like. I was standing in quite a bit of mud while I drew this and I learned that I should add a small tarp to my backpack that I can lay on the ground for working in such conditions, to keep all of my pastel boxes from getting covered in mud.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Home Before the Monsters Come Out (oil on canvas, 2010)


This is the old Henderson barn, on the ITS trail where it crosses the Wiley Road. I've drawn and painted this subject several times over the years. I was out for a run one evening about 4 weeks ago and, having failed to anticipate how much shorter the days were getting, I found myself with three miles still to go before reaching home and darkness quickly approaching. (Since moving to northern Maine from suburban Massachusetts, I have developed a strong dislike for running in the dark - way too many wildlife encounters, including several skunks and a large bull moose!) As I approached this old barn, it was silhouetted by an amazing pink and orange sky. I never saw skies like these in Massachusetts. I've drawn the barn itself so many times that I could easily do it from memory. I did several unsuccessful color studies in pastel – I think the problem was that they had too many colors and the barn wasn't dark enough. Then, one evening last week, I was walking out to my studio from the house and looked out across the street and saw a similar pink and orange sky behind my neighbors field, with a row of trees in back. The trees were almost black and the field was barely discernable. I grabbed my pastels and a scrap of paper and did a quick little drawing, which became the impetus for the color scheme in this painting.

The Light Is On, But Nobody's Home (oil on canvas, 2010)

(Private Collection)
I was out walking on the trail that goes through the woods around Deep Lake, where I have been numerous times before. I ended up staying straight where the trail turned left to circumvent the lake and ended up at the base of Front Ridge. I climbed the steep ridge and came out across the street from this old house. I did several drawings and a couple of color studies in watercolor before embarking on this painting. I've driven by this house many. many times, but never noticed it. That's why I prefer to go out looking for subject matter on foot rather than in a car, which is the reason that most of the subjects of my paintings are within walking distance of my house. It's evident that nobody lives in this house (In reality, those reddish plants in front of the door extend all the way up the facade to the second story windows, but I "trimmed them back" for compositional reasons.) but, interestingly, that big light that sticks out from the top of the garage comes on every night when it gets dark.

We've Met Before (pastel, 2010)


We had some very nice weather towards the end of last week. Of course, it's been raining all day today and the weatherman is calling for temperatures in the 20's by the end of the week and maybe some snow on Saturday. If I had any sense, I'd have spent the weekend raking up all of the leaves in my yard instead of wandering around in the woods making pastel drawings.

Vacant House (pastel, 2010)


I would love to know the story behind this house. It's about 2.5 miles down the road from where I live. Last year a crew came and dug out beneath the entire house. I used to run by it sometimes and the house was up on cement blocks with a hole about 6 feet deep dug underneath the entire house. I thought maybe they were putting in a septic system or something. The hole got filled in, the construction vehicles left and the house has sat there empty ever since. I drive by this house almost every day and the section on the left always casts interesting shadow patterns on the section on the right. I've been wanting to draw it for a while, but it's right on US Hwy 1 and there's no place to park or set up an easel. Last Friday I stopped in at the house next door and the nice folks who live there were kind enough to let me set up on their property and make this drawing.

Mailbox (oil on canvas, 2010)

(Private Collection)
Some paintings come together fairly quickly; when I'm working outside from direct observation, they have to. Not this one. I started this back in early October. I went out to paint on the first day, but it was too windy and cold to set up, so I sat in my car and did a pencil drawing and then a pastel. I went back the following day, in similar high winds, armed with several plastic shopping bags with big rocks in them that I used to anchor my easel and the little folding table that I set my palette on. It was bitterly cold and very windy, I but proceeded to work anyway, blocking in my composition and then mixing some colors. I turned around for a second and the wind lifted my palette, covered with piles of paint, right off the table and sent it flying over the fence to my right, eventually landing about 15 feet away, face down of course, in the horse pasture. I capitulated and packed my stuff up and brought everything back to the studio where I proceeded to labor over this painting for the next two weeks, making several trips back to the site. I was trying to capture an interesting sort of diffused light as the sky was mostly overcast with small pockets of light poking through a few small holes in the pervasive cloud cover. This gave everything a distinctive glow, with very few strong areas of light and shadow.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Monticello Town Line (oil on canvas, 2010)


Tuesday was a gorgeous day – clear blue skies, 72 degrees and no wind. I haven't been able to ride my bike much in the past month since we had so much rain in September. I thought Tuesday might be the last day this year that I would be able to get a nice, long bike ride in, but it was also a perfect day for painting and I didn't have time to do both since I had to be home by 2:00 when my son gets home from school. I'm glad that I decided to paint.

October Monday (oil on canvas, 2010)


I painted this on Monday. I started working on this a little before 11:00 and thought I had enough a time to do a painting before I had to meet my son Damien's bus at 2:00 but when I pulled my watch out of my pocket to check the time it was 1:50 and the painting was only about half done. Fortunately, I was was set up on a dirt tractor path, about 1/4 mile from the road, so I was able to just leave my stuff there and rush home to meet the bus. (If I'm not there when the bus arrives, they won't let him off and he'll end taking an hour-and-a-half bus ride to Houlton and then back to the school.) I got there just in time and I had Damien change into play clothes, gave him a snack and we went back to my spot so I could finish this. While I was working, Damien took a couple of my paper towels and laid them on the ground behind be, next to a mud puddle, and got himself a couple of sticks and proceeded to make a Jackson Pollack-style drip painting in mud on the paper towels. It turned out to be a good thing that I had him change his clothes, since he was covered in mud by the time we headed back to the house.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Where No Curtain Hung (oil on canvas, 2010)

(Private Collection)
This house on the Canadian border used to be really nice and I always loved the color of it. It's been vacant for over a year now, evidenced by the fact that the lawn has become a small meadow, some of the windows are broken and the arial TV antenna is hanging limply from the roof on one side. It's too bad, really. I'm not sure if the owner passed away or just moved. Maybe it's in foreclosure, but there's no sign anywhere. Anyway, the house being vacant made it easy for me to set up my easel in the driveway and do this painting. There was a strong wind blowing from the west, which was to my back, but I was able to park my van right behind me, which helped a little, although I found that I had to tie a plastic bag with a big rock in it (I always tie one to my easel to keep the canvas from acting as a sail and blowing the easel over.) to the little TV dinner table that I set my palette up on, to keep it from blowing away.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Easy Livin' (oil on canvas, 2010)


John Constable is one of my heroes. The first time I saw his "Hadleigh Castle, The Mouth of the Thames — Morning after a Stormy Night" at the Yale Center for British art in New Haven my knees gave out and I dropped to the floor and wept. Years later I read that Delacroix had a similar experience when he first saw Constable's "The Hay Wain" in the Louvre. Despite a relatively late start as an artist, meager sales and continually being rebuffed by the "established" artists of the Royal Academy (Constable wasn't voted in as an R.A. member until he was 52, at which point the president of the R.A. stopped by his house to inform him that he had received enough votes to finally be admitted, but that he, the president, had voted against him and felt that he didn't deserve the honor.) he continued with his studies of painting directly from nature, eventually becoming one of the most important of British artists and, either directly or indirectly, influencing every painter who has ever stood outside with a brush in hand and attempted to make art based on the natural landscape.

One thing that Constable was repeatedly criticized for by his contemporaries was his, in their opinion, over-use of the color green. There's a great story about Constable standing outside on a lawn discussing art with some other painters and one of them remarked the the best color for grass was the color of an old Cremona violin. Constable went into the house and returned with a violin and laid it on the grass at the speakers feet. Once, after he had become a meber of the Royal Academy, one of his paintings "Water Meadows Near Salisbury" was mistakenly put into the room filled with work by non-members that was to be juried in. Upon seeing it, the other R.A. members, not knowing that it was Constable's painting, were quite severe in their criticism, with one remarking "What is that nasty green thing?!" Constable picked up his painting and left.

This is a painting of the back of Fred and Inez's house. It has a lot of green in it (in case you were waiting for me to get to the point). I did a series of pastel drawings of this view, none of which I was completely satisfied with, and then did this painting based on everything I had learned from the drawings.

Five O'Clock Shadow (oil on canvas, 2010)


This is a view looking south down the Currier Road, which eventually becomes a dirt road when it crosses into Houlton. I found this view while out riding my bike recently and went back and did a couple of pastel drawings at different times of the day. This was based on one done in the late afternoon. I have a drawing done early in the morning, with the sun on the other side, which is completely different color-wise, and I may develop that into a painting as well. I imagine this will be a nice spot to work from once the snow arrives.

Clouds Moving In (oil on canvas, 2010)

(Private Collection)
I did this a couple of weeks ago during a plein air painting workshop that I had in back of my studio, This is the view looking north from the field behind the studio towards the McGuire's house and the back of the old School's barn, which I have drawn and painted numerous times. It started out as a very sunny day, clear blue skies and quite warm but by about 11:00, the clouds had begun to arrive en masse. It's always a challenge to keep up with the ever-changing weather when working outside. The pressure of having to work quickly can force some interesting pictorial solutions. The field between my property and the red barn is farmed by the Fosters and has had potatoes in it for the past few years, but this year they grew wheat instead. The field had just been harvested and tilled, leaving that strip of light brown which created a nice transition from the foreground to the buildings and trees in the distance. Of course, as soon as we finished the workshop, the sun came out again.

Shipping Container (oil on canvas, 2010)

(Private Collection)
I have been a little slow about posting images here, but I have actually been very busy working. This painting was done in mid-August and is based on a pastel drawing that I did from the field behind the shed that is in the painting "Height of Summer" below. I don't know what it is aout these hay bales, but I find them very interesting, especially during those times of day when the sun is low in the sky and they cast long shadows. This painting is bigger than any thing that I've done in a while, 28 x 42. I started working on it before going down to Ogunquit for a few days vacation, but wasn't able to resolve the picture before leaving. Upon my return, I felt that the field in the foreground was much too green. The paint had dried so I scumbled some oranges and yellow greens on top of the dried paint and was able to produce some interesting textures, especially where the original green color showed through.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Corner Fence (oil on canvas, 2010)


My wonderful neighbors, Fred and Inez, have a farm up on a hill where they raise sheep, along with some hens, cows and lots of hay. I have drawn and painted their barn from the bottom of the hill looking up. I have been wanting to get a look at the farm from the back so last Monday I went up there in the morning and they gave me (along with armloads of delicious squash from their garden and some fresh eggs!) permission to roam around their property with my paints and pastels. I headed way out back to do a view of the main group of attached barns from behind, and on the way I was struck by this solitary tree, which had a very strong presence all by itself surrounded by pastures and hay fields. It turns out that at 9:30 in the morning the view of the back of the barns meant that I'd be staring directly into the sun so I decided to focus on the tree instead. In spite of the intense heat (it was in the 90's!!) and spilling my jar of paint thinner all over my palette of colors, I was pretty pleased with this little painting. As I told Fred that morning, I could easily spend months up there and not run out of interesting things to paint. I spent the rest of the week doing pastel drawings of the view of the back of their house and the path leading to it from the back fields. I will try to post some of those soon.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Height of Summer (oil on canvas, 2010)


This is a view of a shed off of the Framingham Road. It's actually almost directly behind my house; if I were to walk a mile and a half through the woods I'd end up right here. I've run and ridden my bike past his building countless times over the past four years and have always wanted to paint it but it's very far from the road. I walked down the dirt road that leads past it and worked from the other side. I did some pastel drawings and then worked up this fairly large painting (30 x 36) back in the studio. I had to go to Massachusetts for a few days and tried to finish it before I left because I like to work up the whole painting while the paint is still wet and pliable. Plus, my process involves mixing up all of my colors before I start to paint, so I like to finish a painting before all of the colors dry up. I was unable to finish before leaving, however, so I had to work on it when I returned and, although I had to remix a lot of colors, I fond some interesting textural effects that resulted from applying layers of wet paint over paint that was tacky or already dry.

Air Conditioner (pastel on paper, 2010)

(Private Collection)
This was another image done during the "Paint Presque Isle" event (see post below). The skies were completely clear by the morning, but by afternoon large cumulus clouds had begun to roll by, periodically blocking out the sun. I did a big walk around downtown with my backpack full of pastels, without much sunshine. Just as I'd decided to head back to the car and drive somewhere else, I passed this alley and the sun came out and I saw my subject. When I was a kid, I used to go to karate lessons in an old building like this and we used to enter and exit through the back door via an alley that looked very much like this. I could help thinking about those days as I worked on this.

Maine Public Service Co. (oil on canvas, 2010)

(Private Collection)
I did this yesterday as part of the "Paint Presque Isle" event sponsored by the Aroostook Partners for the Arts. Artists worked all day in the city of Presque Isle and the work was auctioned off in the evening. This is a view of the Maine Public Service building on the State Street hill. I don't like to spend a lot of time traveling around looking for subject matter, which is why most of my work is based on subjects within a couple of miles from my house. As a result, I spend a lot of time looking at fields, woods and old barns and farm houses. It's always refreshing to be able to work in a more urban environment and I don't mind talking to the occasional curious passerby. This was done in the parking lot behind the Northeastland Hotel, where I registered for the event. I was initially drawn to the shadow patterns cast by the awnings and the compositional possibilities created by the diagonal of the hill and the church across the street.

Red Maple Tree (oil on canvas, 2010)


Small painting (8 x 10) of the red maple tree behind my studio. I did this as demo during a plein air painting workshop.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Encounter with an Old Apple Tree (oil on canvas, 2010)


I finished this last week, based on a series of pastel drawings that I did during late May and early June. I went back to this location a couple of weeks ago with a smaller canvas and the grass and weeds were so high that would have needed a machete to get anywhere near this tree. The neighborhood where I grew up in central Massachusetts abutted some land that had at one time been an apple orchard and I used to love finding old trees like this in overgrown fields and climbing up into them with my friends.

Still Life with Cheap Wine Jug (oil on canvas, 2010)

(Private Collection)
Painted in my studio last week during and after my Thursday evening open-studio class. Years ago, when I was in college, my focus was on printmaking and in an attempt to develop my own visual language, I spent a long time focused on monotypes and etchings of groupings of non-descript bottles, pitchers, mugs, etc. and then had a wonderful teacher introduce to the work of Giorgio Morandi, who continues to be an influence. (As a sidebar, I was down in New Haven, CT last Friday at the Yale University Art Gallery and spent about 20 minutes studying one of Morandi's still-life paintings.) This sort of work always brings back fond memories of those days.

Sherman Barn on an Overcast Day (oil on canvas, 2010)


I had a day out painting with a couple of my students a few weeks ago, down in Sherman. We set up in front of this old barn but the sky was covered in a thick blanket of dense whitish-gray cloud, threatening to rain at any minute. Luckily, we were able to work for a couple of hours before it started to sprinkle. We packed up and went back to one of the women's house for a critique (and some coffee!) and, of course, by the time I left to come home, the sun was shining in a clear blue sky.

Crooked Barn (2010, oil on canvas)

(Private Collection)
I did a painting of this barn earlier in the year, based on drawings that I did on location. This small painting (10 x 20) was done on location about three weeks ago. I find the S-curve of the roof line extremely interesting, but most people, when they see the paintings of this building, have trouble believing that it's really shaped like this, but I can assure you that it is.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tree in the Middle (oil on canvas, 2010)

(Private Collection)
This was painted outside a week ago last Friday. There once was a railway that ran through my town but the tracks were removed during the 1980's and the trail is now used for recreational vehicles. I often like to run out there and one evening, the night before I did this painting, I was on my way back from a run and I noticed what appeared to be a small structure (doghouse, maybe?)in the woods to my right. I followed an auxiliary trail in that direction to investigate. It turned out to be just an old tank, perhaps used for pesticides, that was half buried in a mound of dirt in the woods. On my way back to the main trail I saw this view.

Normally, my impulse would have been to do this as a long horizontal composition, but I didn't have any canvases in that shape so I had to use this "almost-a-square". I was trained in art school to think carefully about the compositional structure from the outset of a picture and to be sure that the composition is solid before introducing color. I usually work out the composition in washes of burnt sienna until I am happy with it, before I start mixing my colors. However, I wasn't able to get this one to work. I have been studying a lot of the abstract expressionist painters over the past few years and started thinking about their method of just going into the painting and making the composition "work" during the painting process, rather than mapping it out beforehand. I adopted this methodology while painting this picture and found it both challenging and invigorating. The bottom third of the picture presented a major compositional problem, but ultimately, by introducing a piece of the path that I was standing behind in the lower left corner and creating diagonal movement with the yellow dandelions, I was able to make the composition work in way that I was pleased with.

The Border (oil on canvas, 2010)

(Private Collection)
This is based on the view from the field behind the Dulin's old barn, looking east into New Brunswick. I did several drawings and a small oil study of this view a few years ago, with the intention of developing it into a painting, but at the time I did not have a long horizontal canvas so I ended up re-working the subject as a vertical composition. I went back up there a couple of weeks ago with my paints, but the field was being cultivated, so I did this from memory back in the studio. Working from direct observation is always educational and I find that I learn a great deal in the process, especially since the color relationships and compositional structures in nature almost always seem to be perfect. However, when working from nature, there is always the temptation to include too much descriptive information and I enjoy the challenge of working in the studio and trying to make the picture "work" in a purely abstract way.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rusted Roof (oil on canvas 2010)

(Private Collection)
I went out Monday with a couple of students to paint and I did this small painting (10 x 12), with a couple of changes back in the studio yesterday and this morning. This old barn is on the Wiley Road and I've painted and drawn it numerous times, but never from this angle. I'm working on a pretty good sunburn on my left arm and the back of my neck and if I had any sense, I would have chosen a view that would have put me in the shade, but I like this composition. It was amazing watching the sun move as I worked. When I started mixing my colors, the little room on the left was completely in shadow and when I started packing up three and a half hours later, the entire left side of the barn was in sunlight.

We met Dale Henderson, who owns this land (He has several newer, functional potato houses just behind where I was standing.) He told us that his grandfather Tom erected this structure in 1912 and that they're going to tear it down this year (before it falls in on its own). Too bad for me, as I quite enjoy it as a subject matter. I'll have to get a few more paintings done before the demolition takes place.

Orange Truck (oil on canvas 2010)

(Private Collection)
A couple of Littleton potato barns, north of the Station Road about a mile from my house. I started this on location last Monday evening and worked on it in the studio over the next several days, with daily trips back to the location throughout the week. At first I chose to leave the truck out, but the painting wasn't working. I went back the following night to have a look and try to figure out what was wrong and I realized the I needed to put the truck in. The sky was much greener at first and the painting wasn't working at all, the green in the sky disrupting everything the picture (like a dinner guest who's had way too much to drink...). Friday night I painted the sky with a blue that was more on the violet side and the whole thing just came together.

Arledge Barn on a Spring Day (oil on canvas 2010)


(Private Collection)
I painted this on location last Tuesday. It was a beautiful day, although a bit hot. This old barn and field are part of Fred and Inez Arledge's sheep farm, just a few miles from my house, and I've drawn and painted it many times over the past few years. The geometry of the hillside and the collection of old barns continues to hold my interest. Fred and Inez are extremely nice people. A few months ago they invited us up to see the new lambs that had been born and I got to see the inside of those barns. My kids really enjoyed feeding the lambs from a bottle and picking up the chickens. One of these days I'd like to see if Fred will let me paint the inside of the barn, but my allergy to hay might make that difficult. While I was painting last Tuesday, their two big, white sheep dogs started barking at me from the top of the hill and slowly made their way down as I set up my equipment, growling and barking the entire time. Eventually the settled in at the bottom of the hill, just to the right of where the painting ends. The barking and growling was a bit of a distraction as I started to work but once I got focused, I couldn't hear it anymore. An hour or so later I noticed that the dogs were no where to be seen.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hilltop Farm (oil on canvas 2010)

(Private Collection)
I painted this earlier today, over on the Framingham Road. Despite getting eaten alive by black flies and having a gust of wind blow my easel over, with the painting face down in the grass, knocking my table of paints and jars of solvent and oil all over the ground on the way, I was pretty happy with it.

Hole in the Sky (oil on canvas, 2010)


I finished this painting last week. It's based on some pastel drawings that I did about a week and a half ago, looking up at the front ridge here in Littleton from a field down below. I was out there this morning and everything is a vivid green, quite a difference from just ten days ago. I liked the composition, but I had a lot of trouble getting the undersides of the clouds right in the pastel because I just didn't have the right color on hand. All of my choices were either too blue or too gray. I tried blending blues and grays together, but the pastel became too dense and lost the airy quality that I wanted. I am always eager to start a painting based on a pastel drawing that I don't feel was successful, as it gives me another chance to solve the problem. When I make a pastel drawing that I'm happy with, doing a painting from it seems pointless.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ruby in the Dust (oil on canvas, 2010)


This old shed is in back of the empty house that I did a painting of last week (see below). When I was looking at the back of the house for the other painting, this shed was on my right. I went out there on Friday and Saturday last week and did a few drawings and the worked the painting up back in the studio over the course of this past week. After many years of neglect, the shed is falling apart, I really like the way the roof line, which I'm sure was straight at one time, has taken on a prominent curve as the building has begin to sink into the ground, providing a nice compositional foil to the rectangle of the picture plane. I took some liberties with the doors - they aren't that white, since at least half of the paint has peeled off, but the painting felt better like this. I borrowed the title from a line in one of my favorite Neil Young songs.

Show at Wintergreen Arts Center

The Wintergreen Arts Center, 149 State Street in Presque Isle, ME will be hosting a show of my work in their Barresi Financial Gallery during the month of May, 2010. The public is invited to the opening reception on Saturday May 1st from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. The show will be on display until May 31st. The gallery will be open during regular Wintergreen Arts Center hours, Monday through Thursday from 2:00pm to 6:00pm, Friday 9:00am to 6:00pm and Saturday from 10:00am to 12:00pm.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In Back of an Empty House (oil on canvas, 2010)


(Private Collection)
This is the back view of an old house just north of the Houlton town line. I did a painting of the garage, viewed from the left of this painting, about a year and a half ago called "Halloween". This house has been empty and for sale since before we bought our place up here, four-and-a-half years ago, and it's really starting to fall into disrepair.
Once in a while a painting comes together fairly easily. This was not one of them. I worked on this for three weeks, returning to the subject many times, and scraping off and re-painting most of the picture two or three times. It's probably not apparent in this small jpeg (The painting itself is about 20 inches by 36 inches) but the surface shows a lot of the struggling and re-working that went into the process of creating it, which I rather like, as opposed to a slick, polished surface. Aside from appealing to me on a purely aesthetic level, I find that the "battle scars" on the painting capture the feeling of the subject matter.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

House on a Hilltop (2010, oil on canvas)


(Private Collection)
I started working on this little painting last weekend while the weather was lousy. It's based on some drawings that I did back in September. This house sits all by itself on top of a steep hill on a dirt road about 2.5 miles from where I live. I had done a pastel of it that I liked except for the composition, which was a significantly taller rectangle, with a bit more sky and a lot more of the field in the foreground. It's been hanging on the wall in my studio since I did it back in September and from time to time, I would get out a sketch book and do pencil drawings, trying different compositional options, changing the shape of the rectangle, the position of the horizon and the scale of the house. Composition is very important to me, but I try to avoid the "tried-and-true" compositional cliches which, although they certainly do work (I suppose that's why they've become cliches...), tend to lack a certain spark of originality that I admire in many of my favorite artists (Rembrandt, of course, as well as Edward Hopper, Richard Diebenkorn and Andrew Wyeth always had surprisingly original compositions). Anyway, I tried this long horizontal with the size of the house diminished and it seemed to show some promise so I did this small painting.

I paint almost entirely with a palette knife, usually with the canvas lying flat on a table so that I can walk 360 degrees around it while I work, and for the past couple of years I have been consciously working on building up a very thick, painterly texture on the canvas. I have included the close up below (you should be able to enlarge it if you click on the image) to show the texture of the paint in this one, which isn't usually apparent in these small images.


I have never really liked paintings that have a slick, refined surface, where the artist almost wants the viewer to disbelieve that they are looking at paint. I've always preferred paintings where the process, the materials and the movement of the artist while they worked are very apparent.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Late Afternoon January Light (oil on canvas, 2010)


My painting process involves mixing up a palette of colors, from the three primaries and white, for each painting before I begin to actually paint. This can take anywhere from 2 to 16 hours, sometimes spread out over multiple days. I spent three days mixing colors for this painting and then my son got sick and I was confined to the house with him for four days, until I in turn got sick, a sinus infection and then bronchitis, which laid me up for almost a week (I'm still coughing, almost three weeks later...). By the time I got back out to the studio to work, all of my colors had dried up and I had to start over. The subject for this painting is the twin barns on the old Anderson farm, almost directly behind my house on the Canadian border. I painted these barns in the fall a few years ago, when the field in the foreground was filled with a bright gold canola, just about to be cut.