Detail of :”COMPANY COMING”
I have been experimenting with the use of acrylic pens and brushes and find they are a nice addition to my painting tools. The use of line is very different and it creates a spontaneous quality that I like. It also helps to differentiate stylistically between acrylic and oil. Check out the GALLERY for details of the image.
Just a glimpse of five of my new small works hanging with my larger pieces at the new Xanadu Gallery in Pinetop Arizona. They look very good together, and read well as a collection.
Here at the studio, I am working on a second tessera canvas. This one … pictured above … is still a work in progress, but is nearing completion.
The work is composed primarily of tessera from one painting that was chopped into pieces and reconfigured into an entirely new image, but it is nevertheless a reflection of the original work. Tessera from other paintings have been added, and like bits of memories that we call on to help us when telling a story, the new bits add depth and interest to the original. So too do the traumas, and joys and grief and love that we experience add color and texture to our memories.
While working on this piece, it was struck by how this image is like my interior vision of myself. I always seem to be stitching together a new version of myself to present to the outside world. Whatever it is I piece together might look solid and cohesive, but is in fact cobbled together with bits and pieces that have washed up on the shore of my life. I would suppose that most people find this to be true. But then again, maybe not. Maybe it is just that I have the time to mull over all this existential dreck while cutting up old canvases.
This image comes from memories of trips that my family used to make on the weekends. We would all pile into the car and head off to the Blue Ridge Mountains for the day. Sometimes it was to pick peaches, sometimes to visit civil war sites, and sometimes just to explore the beautiful region. We always started really early and I recall that the light made everything sort of silvery. It was as if there were a blanket of mist covering everything.
Anyway … in those days there was nothing like the build up of housing that we see today in that region. Everything was really pretty rural and hardscrabble. The roads were not so wide, and the traffic was pretty sparse. The farms along our route were sort of rough and a step away from falling down. There might have been the occasional single pump gas station, or old general store with a wooden front porch. But remember, I am old enough that this would have been at a time when recovery from WWII meant that a lot of men had …BOUGHT THE FARM… a term that means that when the government paid death benefits to the family of a servicemen lost in war, it quite often meant that the family of the deceased could pay off any outstanding mortgage … in effect they could buy the farm. But that also meant that most often there was no longer a young man to work the farm. Hence the general aura of disrepair that prevailed.
However, the effect of that early morning light, and the misty quality of those mornings caused even the most derelict of rundown farmhouses to appear adorned in glory. I have seen the same effect when traveling through hilly terrain during the early morning anywhere the seasonal change from hot days to cool nights causes this glorious morning light. Every body raves about a beautiful sunrise, but this is a whole different thing. This is about the sky giving a benediction to the earth.
Here the effect of the pearly morning light was achieved by painting over a darker night sky and leaving the darkness to grip the morning light at the edges, just as it fades from view. I like the tension that this achieves. I also drew into the wet paint to give the details a delicate feel, in keeping with the lightness of the air. In the end this work proved to be a very delicate, but captivating image.
Summer appears to be over … at least here in New England. Most of my summer was spent visiting with friends, taking day trips, swimming, working on my book project, exercising and eating well.
However, I also spent a good deal of August reorganizing my studio storage space in order to accommodate new works as they come off the easel. It was either that or I was going to have to live in the back of my car. When my show of new works came back at the end of July I had nowhere to store it! So in one memorable afternoon and evening I destroyed 20 or so old canvases that were no longer worth the space they took up. I tossed the old broken stretchers, and in general had a grand ole time.
While making the decision as to which pieces were worth keeping, I also came across several paintings that I felt needed to be developed further. So now my studio is filled with a mix of old and new canvases, as well as the rest of the dreck that lives here on a semi permanent basis … the tape and gloves and papers and sketches, and all the rags and wipes and q-tips that come in handy while painting.
The first one of these earlier canvases to be readdressed is one of my favorites. It was in the show that Ashby and I had this June and July. WATER STRIDERS is quite a large work (48×36) and commanded a lot of attention. However, while it was hanging in the strong light of the gallery this summer, I realized that the upper part of the painting had not been finished with the same nuanced color development that was present in the lower part. So I have reworked the upper part. The result is that the top and bottom are more unified in their technique. At the same time I added a warmer tone to the upper part so that the entire painting has a better balance.Now the cool water reflects the warmer tones of the night sky, and balances the fish and their shadowy underwater world.
The only change to the bottom part of the piece is that I added my signature. It was a bit of an OOPS moment when I found that it was never signed. So altogether a successful rework of a fine piece.
ART SHOW JUNE 2017
Ashby and I are really pleased with our co-operative show of paintings and sculpture in the Gallery of the Avon Pubic Library.
It looks fabulous !!! even if I do say so myself.
We are both blown away by the magical effect of our works hanging together.
If you have not yet been able to get by to view the show, I encourage you to make the time to stop in and enjoy the truly amazing effect of two artistic visions meeting.
The combination of Ashby’s and my work creates a wonderful synergy that enhances both my paintings and her sculptures.
In fact, it turns out that you will have some extra time to get in to see the show.
We have been asked to extend the show through the month of July.
So put it on your calendar and stop by during regular library hours.
For those of you that purchased work, I will plan to switch out your pieces at the end of June so that you can arrange to pick up your paintings.
I am actually hoping to produce some new work in similar sizes to those that have sold, in order to be able to make the change-over seamless.
We will wait to see how that works.
Many of you have expressed interest in my show of new work at the Avon Library. It is going to be up for the month of June this year. It is a joint show with my roommate from college … Ashby Carlisle.
Ashby is a sculptor and has an exciting body of work. She is currently working on wall hung sculptures that explore her fascination with the natural world of plant life.
She uses her expertise with paper, clay, and metal to create unique visions that draw one into her world. At the same time she plucks words and language from the cursive illusion of vines and roots and makes one question where words go once they are spoken.
I encourage you to go to her web site www.ashbycarlisle.com to learn more about her work.
We decided to call our show … MIXING IT UP … Our work resonates well together, and creates a nice visual treat when viewed side by side … an unanticipated melding of flavors.
While Ashby’s work is more abstract than mine, it is complimentary in her use of color and line. In addition, because her work is 3 dimensional, it creates a sense of movement and allows her to explore negative space … as do my 2 dimensional pieces.
We also discovered that we were both working toward a more whimsical artistic vision during this past year. That is not to say that the work has become fantastical, rather that it does not always present a vision of the real world.
Color has become an unexpected player in challenging ways. Line has taken on new forms that weren’t supposed to be that way.
And space has been manipulated to illustrate a different world … a world that is more uniquely ours.
It has been exciting to expand our artistic horizons in this way.
I have not abandoned representational work, but now work only from memory. This allows me to paint what is in my mind’s eye, rather than the the camera’s eye. The result has been a more challenging portfolio of images.
The show will be hung in the gallery of the Avon Library from May 30th through June 29th and can be viewed anytime during regular Library hours.
Our reception will be June 1st from 4.30 to 7.
We are looking forward to sharing our new work with you all.
This is the latest progression from my collection: Sticks and Stones. It is a study of color and ;memories that it can evoke.
The title “A SLICE OF SUMMER” refers to the quality of the light and color that reflect the hot summer days of my childhood.
A SLICE OF SUMMER – Progression – First State
A SLICE OF SUMMER – Progression – second state
A SLICE OF SUMMER – Progression – Third state
A SLICE OF SUMMER – Progression – fourth state
A SLICE OF SUMMER 16×30 Final state
HOME FROM THE FARM
Lately, I have found that i really enjoy the process of creating landscapes entirely from memory. After years of painting from reference photos, it is exciting to manipulate reality to fit how the memory looks in my minds eye.
These landscapes are my most recent, and represent three entirely different places in entirely different times, and yet they live concurrently in my memory bank of images. By looking at them next to each other it is evident that I like to simplify and rub off the rough edges and keep only certain parts of a memory. I would suppose that everyone does much the same thing, but in my case it is part of the design process.
The process of designing and creating these landscapes means that certain elements take precedence and come into prominence as the work takes shape. In most cases I am unaware until well into the process what features will become key. Afterwards I always know when it is right, because it fits the memory and feels complete, even if parts have had to be eliminated.
It is a challenge to make these memories come alive, and to be able to share them with others in such a complete way, is very satisfying. Enjoy!
LITTLE CAT FEET oil 16×20 $800
First up on the news front, I want you all to know that sculptor, and fellow artist Ashby Carlisle and I are collaborating on a show of new work to be hung at the Avon Library next June. We discovered earlier this year that our work really resonates when viewed side by side. We are really excited to be presenting our work in this context.
I will keep you posted on dates for our opening reception. Meanwhile if you get a chance, you can check out her website www.ashbycarlisle.com
I also finished another of my precarious landscapes. This one is about the fog of the future, and how reassuring it is to have a bit of blue sky showing on the horizon.
I really like this piece and find that the solidity of the houses … even though they are built on stilts … illustrates how fog, as eerie and unnerving as it can be, still creates a sense of calm and serenity, because one can not look too far ahead.
And, finally this week I admitted that I am not willing to close up my studio to accommodate a Christmas tree and the whole decorating and entertaining schtick … I really can’t afford to loose a month of studio time.
So, instead of my traditional big tree with lights, ornaments, and all the trimmings, I spent the last two days painting myself a christmas tree to get into the festive spirit.
It was fun to let loose with such a random subject. And I have to say that I am enjoying the pseudo tree.
And although I do miss the piney smell and the lights, I don’t miss the mess an palaver that a real tree involves.
THIS PIECE HAS BEEN PAINTED OVER AND IS NOW NO MORE THAN A MEMORY