Thursday, January 14, 2010

Summer Remnants, Preserved

textured acrylic on stretched canvas
20 x 24 inches

I think this is finished now. Late in the fall, there was a frosty night, and toward morning an ice rain fell briefly, glazing the tops and stems of grasses and weeds along the edge of my garden. This week, I decided to capture the sense of wonder I had that morning when I went out. This is built up with layers of glaze overlaid to develop the stems and seedheads, and then with repeated thin layers of heavier, lightly tinted gel to give it dimension and texture.

It was cold and windy all week, and I was recovering from a cold with laryngitis, so I alternated short stints of painting with feeding the wood stove, fixing cups of tea or soup, and snuggling under laprobe with a book and cat. A good week.

Images of detail from painting:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Watching the Wind: still in progress, I think

Watching the Wind
textured acrylic on stretched canvas, 16 x20 inches

I laid down the base for this painting sometime in December, using a base color from another painting. Then I set it aside until the image became clearer in my mind. In early January, while I was at a spiritual retreat in the Catskill foothills, a massive, intensely cold stormfront covered the entire Northeast. We were at the edge of the storm, where winds were intense and randomly changing direction as the storm rotated. creating a layered whiteout that was constantly changing. I was entranced by the way the tiny particles of snow flowed with the eddies of the wind, making what is ordinarily invisible visible. and making what is ordinarily visible invisible.

At home, I pulled this canvas out, and began to paint what it felt to be in the midst of that amazing storm, using layers of tinted white. I'm not sure it is finished yet, but it is close. I set it aside while I worked on another painting, and each day look at it, waiting for it to tell me. I think it is asking for another layer. Tomorrow when the light comes, I will see.

Detail photos:

Monday, January 11, 2010

In progress: still unnamed

textured acrylic on stretched canvas
16 x 20 inches

I have two paintings in progress right now. I like working this way.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Stinkingwater Pass

Stinkingwater Pass 1
16 x 20 inches, oil on stretched canvas

Yes, that is a real name of a real place, and (of course) it is located in the western mountains I love. Where else would have a name like this?

The pass is in central Oregon, about 30 miles east of Burns on Highway 20. a narrow, winding, two-lane highway through the Strawberry Range. Elevation 4848. As I approached the pass near noon early in September, I was struck by the contrasting masses lit up by the sun, and found a wide spot to pull off on. I was tempted to set up my easel, but there really was no room (my car barely fit) and it would have been dangerous.

So I walked back down the highway to the place my jaw dropped, and took quite a few photos, some from the middle of the highway (watching carefully for traffic; fortunately, there was little). Back at my car, I made some rough pencil sketches, just blocking in the masses. And that was that.

Until a couple of months after I got home. On one of those incredibly dreary mid-Novermber days, I went through my photos, and found myself again drawn to those massive shapes. I had to paint them.

The first painting I did using the photos to help me place and shape the masses, but drew on my memory for the striking color contrasts that caught my eye. And then I found my little pencil sketches, and did another painting, smaller, imagining myself still there, with quick, loose strokes, plein air style. I like them both.

Stinkingwater Pass 2
11 x 14 inches, acrylic on hardboard panel