Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Still Nobody Home (oil on canvas, 2012)

I've spent a lot of time this year drawing this old, empty house and the three barns next to it up on the ridge on the Framingham Road, right near the Canadian border. I've drawn it so many times, in fact, that I could probably draw it blindfolded! The house has been vacant for a long time, but there were some people living in it a couple of years ago, squatters or illegal aliens, I suppose. It's sealed up now and the electricity has been disconnected. It's falling into squalor, which is a shame because it's in a prime location with potato fields on both sides and behind it, with a copse of trees in back to the right and across the street is a spectacular view over the Meduxnekeag River valley and New Brunswick beyond. Anyway, it's been a very fertile subject matter and has given me a wealth of shape and color relationships from which to mine images and I'm sure that I will continue to make the most of it for some time to come.

Cat o' Nine Tails (pastel, 2012)

This is a view looking to the west of the old railroad trail that runs from Houlton to Fort Kent, about a quarter mile south of where it crosses the Carmichael Road. I run by here all the time and I've always wanted to draw this view looking through the trees and across the field towards the blue house in the distance. At this time of year, it reminds me of the artwork on the cover of the first Black Sabbath album and I sometimes half expect to see a green woman in a long, black cloak looking at me through the trees.

October Woods (pastel, 2012)

I know that a lot of people in New England love the colors of the foliage in the fall, as do I, but I also love the colors at this time of year when all of the leaves have fallen to the ground and the forests all become a mixture of purplish-browns and orange-browns, punctuated by the warm greens of grass and the cool greens of the pine trees.

Age, Squalor and Dilapidation (oil on canvas, 2012)

(Private Collection)
Another variation on the old Wiley Road potato house (see below), this time in purples and pinks.

Dark Forest (pastel, 2012)

I found a new trail/farm road behind my house, right on the Canadian border and I went exploring there a couple of weeks ago with my son and my pastel gear. I was quite intrigued by this mysterious, dark forest at the far side of a recently mowed hay field with the young pines, basking in the sun to the left providing a stark contrast to the impenetrable, almost black forest in the distance.

Green Manalishi (oil on canvas, 2012)

(Private Collection)
The old, closed up potato house on the Wiley Road, that I've made numerous drawings and paintings of, from just about every possible view, over the past 5 years. It offers a great combination of geometry and wild organic growth and catches the light in marvelous ways throughout the day. I'm much more interested in creating images that communicate personal, emotional ideas through combinations of colors, shapes and textures than I am in merely describing what things look like and I find that once I've drawn or painted a particular subject several times it becomes a lot easier to transcend objective description and focus on the elements that are most important to me.

Impressionist Barns (pastel, 2012)

Looking Up (oil on canvas, 2012)

I did a series of 6 or 7 pastel drawings from the field across the street from my neighbor's sheep farm during some very nice weather back in July. This painting was developed from my favorite elements of all of the drawings.

Hay Bales (pastel 2012)