Friday, October 30, 2009

Junkyard Late Afternoon
oil on canvas
12" x 16"
I've never been interested in a pituresque scene. Never been much interested in a nice view. I am always drawn to the juxtaposition of opposites and the visual dynamics encoded in shadow and light, as well as relative color intensity. Once a place and subject present themselves I simply need to become lost in the process and let the subject take care of itself. I used to do a lot of paintings in old junkyards because no one would bother about what I was up to and it was a wonderful source of the machine made subjects being slowly taken back by nature.There aren't many such places left as the suburbs gentrify the countryside. The old cars have been compressed and trucked away for salvage.

Summer Day Near Town
oil on panel
8" x 11"
I was standing knee-deep in grasses and saplings, trying to get the sharp sky cutting through second growth trees as the breeze made them wave and flutter. There is something that attracts me to the chaos of nature at the edge of towns or farms or other places people have carved out. I guess it is all about the juxtaposition of order hard won and free-form tangles and energy. This one allows the free and energetic to dominate.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pears with Silver Dish
oil on panel
The eternal battle to grab shadow, light, color and space. Perhaps a draw.

Pines Overhead
oil on canvas
9" x 12"
On a day when I was despairing of finding anything to paint I found these pines near a busy road and a bike path on the edge of town - no place picturesque or special, just some trees that had survived about 20 years judging by the size. It isn't funny how something on the margins of the everyday
can encompass a precious moment in time.

Late Afternoon on the Potomac
oil on canvas
9" x 12"
The river can be a tunnel for wind but also for light and shadow because of the rows of trees that line it on both banks, once I get away from any towns or bridges. This is the shady side of one of the many islands that can be found in the river above White's Ferry. The quiet and peace can be magical in the late summer, punctuated now and then by the rumble of a train passing on the Maryland side.

Above The Fence Line
oil on panel
7" x 22"
A late Ausust day on the edge of an old farm already being torn down and cut up into lots. The wind and sky seemed to be full of nostalgia for what once was and full of portent of what was coming. OK, maybe I was overreacting to something inevitable.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Treetops and Clouds
oil on panel
9" x 12"
A late summer morning with a hint of fall yet to arrive. The rapid execution didn't allow for any thought of subject, instead a total absorption in the light and shadow of the moment.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Late Afternoon
13.5" x 9.5"
oil on panel

We were on a lake with family and the kids were still small then and just having a great time swimming and paddling around in the canoe and rowboat and picking blueberries - this was just a quiet moment after dinner and just before gliding out for some fishing just at dusk.

Edge Of The Farm
8.5" x 11.5"
oil on panel
This was done during a time when a local farm had been closed down and sold for development but the project was held up in court for a couple of years - so I had an idyllic time just driving my truck in amongst the ghostly barns and sheds and setting up where I pleased and painting. This was a corner near the fence line and I was in love with a silvery old tree that swayed and creaked in the summer winds.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Brisk Day On The Lake

oil on canvas
6" x 14"
Out on my row boat on a day when we'll have white caps later because the wind is coming up and the day has the feeling that is quintessential Maine for me. I guess that is what I was after more than anything elese.

Monday, October 12, 2009

From Down in the Creek
oil on panel
9" x 12"
It is part of the difficulty of the whole enterprise, this painting from nature, the question of what, where, and why. Henri Cartier-Bresson said that "It is putting one's head, one's eye and one's heart on the same axis", one of the best explanations of this controlled madness that I've yet found. Which arrangement of shadow and light - which unusual point of view - which simple thing will trigger the beginnings of a painting cannot be foreseen and, for me,  it is never just a pretty scene. One has to be willing to go out each day and venture into the uncertainty, searching.  Like a prospector, if a good vein is found in a place, no matter how ordinary or unusual, the painter will mine there as long as he can make it pay out. I've been back to this little creek many times in all times of year, always finding some small visual incident that captures my attention.
I'm sure I will return.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blowing Up
oil on panel
8" x 12"
The weather blows right up the lake from the east
and the clouds are racing and scudding and piling up over head.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Summer Trees
oil on panel
6.5" x14"

Along an old fence line on an abandoned farm, everything about high summer seems to be here.

Barns and Sheds on Field's Farm
oil on panel
8.5" x 11.5"
I was caught by the dramatic left to right slant of the land and the big oak to the left as the buildings appeared to stretch out with the topography. I'm a sucker for big old trees.

Summer Sunset on the Lake
oil on panel
10" x 12"

Out in my aluminum row boat, anchored against the current in Lake Pocomoonshine.  My son kayaking nearby, casting for small mouth and drifting past to see my progress. Racing the dusk and its attendant mosquito swarms. Dropping brushes in the boat in the hurry to grab that spectacular moment even as it slips away - I guess that is one of my primary motivations - to try and compress time, space, and energy - a physicist with a brush.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Approaching Storm
28" x 28"
oil on canvas
"Let me seize the air pulsing down these hills,
kissed by a moment's cold frolic,
thoughtless of the strangling calendar.

Let my feet swirl freely among the blonde tangle-grass,
my head planted among intemperate clouds,
at one with my precious delerium.

Nothing lives as sweet as these hours poured out upon the land,
standing at the edge of mystery while boldly greeting the day
with my imperfection, held out as an offering.

I am never far from these fields,
held as they are in my deepest times.
Their wind-sounds find me in the night,
slant light running loose
among shadows in my eyes."