Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Hampshire

     I just spent about a week up in New Hampshire with friends, and was able to get quite a lot of painting done. Thanks to a sitter for our 2 year old, and camp for the older kids, I had large chunks of time to paint and draw. I did these all in and around Harrisville, which is an old mill town situated around a few lakes and streams. The mills were initially set up over the creeks for the production of weaving fabrics, but many have been re-purposed as studio and office space. I was immediately drawn to these buildings and the series of locks used to regulate the water flow. I'm usually drawn to things in the landscape where man and nature meet, whether harmoniously, or not. The weather was perfect, so most of the time I found myself lost in what I was doing, investigating these news forms and terrain.
     All of these are on oil paper; something that I'm still excited about. The paintings were able to dry really quickly because of the absorbancy of the paper, but most of them are done in one shot, usually 2-3 hours. We're definitely planning on a return trip next summer, possibly for a longer amount of time. There was just an endless possibility of potential paintings that I kept seeing, so I'm looking forward to returning again for more time with our friends and more paintings.

apple trees and moon; 9" x 12"
goat shed and field; 9" x 12"
lily pads and rocks; 9" x 12"
reflection; 9" x12"
Abandoned cars; 15" x 22"
Mill; 15" x 22"
Waterfall; 15" x 22"
waterfall (II); 22" x 15"

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


     Recently, I've been making a conscience effort to bring some more of the aspects that I like about drawing, into my oil paintings. One of the things I like about drawing, is the ability to make a continuous mark, which for me is usually in charcoal or pencil. There is a certain feeling of 'flow' for me in drawing materials; you don't have to stop and reload a brush. There is a certain energy I feel that gets transferred into the drawing because of this. Also, the space of the paper feels different to me, than a canvas....more of a field to pull things out of, rather than an object bound by edges.
     Perhaps the first step I thought was just to start painting on paper. I knew I was going to travel this summer, and needed a painting support that could be compact and light. The local art supply store suggested a new oil paper from Arches. I bought a few sheets and decided I'd try it out by painting some of the flowers that were blooming in our yard.

15" x 22"; Oil/graphite on paper
     This was the first one I did, and I liked it immediately. When doing these quick 2-3 hour paintings, if it's going to be a good one, I always get a feeling within the first 10 minutes. It definitely happened on some of these.  Working on the paper, turned out better that I expected. I really like the absorbency of it; marks 'freeze' when you want them to and I'm able to work back and forth between the pencil and the brush. I can incise marks into the wet paint or scrap it off to reveal the paper. With the paint thinned out, I can work the surface similar to a watercolor, or go on thickly with a palette knife.
     I ended up doing 6 of these, over about a week. One a day, usually for about 2-3 hours in front of the motif. It was amazing to watch the different flowers change, not only day to day, but also through the length of the painting session. The leaves and petals are continually drooping or moving because of the light. I was able to track all these minute movements while trying to complete the painting. They were all then quickly framed up and sent to Kenise Barnes Fine Art in Larchmont for inclusion in her summer show 'Cool and Collected'. Here is a review that appeared in the Wall Street International magazine.

Hibiscus blooming; 22" x 15"
Hibiscus; 15" x 22"
Lily blooming; 22" x 15"
Lilies; 15" x 22"
Petunias; 15" x 22"