Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Gowanus-A Work in Progress

So I've got 4 new paintings started. The weather has been warmer, that is over 50 degrees, and has peaked around 70 for a few days here. I've found that the temps need to be above 50 for the paint to work right for me...any colder and it sort of beads up on the surface as the paint gets thinned out. I guess it's also a comfort thing...hard to paint when you can't feel your fingertips. The light is very beautiful right now, the sun's position causing sharp shadows with a slightly grey-blue-purple cast. The sun's still relatively low in the sky, but with the spring equinox and the time change, things are noticably changing. Actually, the most beautiful time I want to paint is at dusk...a golden light with the sky turning a deep cobalt color as the sun sets.

The canvases I've been working on are a proportion that I like; a ratio of 2:3. I've bracketed them incrementally: 10" x 15"; 12" x 18"; and 14" x 21". There's something pleasing about this relationship which works well in a landscape format. With smaller, quick paintings like these, I pre-determine the size, rather than working out the size based on a drawing or idea. For these, I've started with a sketch book drawing, then sized up from there, using a grid and an appropriate canvas. I'm working on half of them during overcast days, half on sunny days, this way whatever the weather, I've got a spot to go to and something to paint. Since they are relatively small, my goal is to finish them in about 2 or 3 sessions, with some extra fine tuning in the studio.

Sketch book study
It's starting to bother me how really disgusting the Gowanus Canal area is. I'm not sure if the garbage problem is getting worse or I'm just noticing it more. This sign is close to one of the locations I'm painting from:

I like how the color of the sign works well within the painting, but somehow the warning becomes more and more disturbing the longer I think about it. What a complete environmental disaster this place has become.

"Kentile Floors" in progress


  1. Yes, the Gowanus area is confrontational in its dirtiness! You are right in the middle of it. I love the back ground buildings in the distance in the last one (the last Kentile painting!). I want to see close ups of all of them!

  2. I really appreciate the assertive quality of your work. There's a lot of confidence here and it's appealing in spite of what you must be experiencing in person.