Sunday, November 8, 2015

Fall Events

Upcoming Exhibitions:
"Passages" Annual group show celebrating 10 years of Horton Hayes Fine Art

Opening Reception Friday, November 6, 5-8pm

Horton Hayes Fine Art
30 State Street
Charleston, SC 29401

"A Feast of Planes"

Exhibition of recent paintings by:

Michael Ananian
Lin Chen
John Dubrow
David Gloman
Marcus Michels
Stephanie Pierce
Eleanor Ray
Francis Sills
Kimberly Cole Trowbridge
Jordan Wolfson

Curated by Professor John Lee
through November 6th 

Andrews Gallery College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, VA
link to Andrews Gallery College of William and Mary
Thanks to Palmetto Magazine for the profile in their latest Fall/Winter issue!

Link to "A Matter of Perspective", Palmetto Magazine

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sketches and Drawings from Europe

     I had an amazing adventure this summer with my family traveling around Europe at the end of July and beginning of August.  We traveled for almost 4 weeks and our trip included: Florence (with overnight trips to Rome and Venice), Paris, and Marlow, England.  We rented apartments in each city, which gave us a great 'homebase' with a kitchen and more room for everyone. The weather was drastically different in each place, so we packed for the heat (in Italy, the hottest heat wave in 130 years) to cooler, almost autumn-like weather in England. My wife and I both brought painting gear, and we managed to get some work done. I drew in my sketch book, and had a half box French easel with an umbrella. For the paintings, I worked on Arches oil paper with a small panel of gatorboard to tape the paper to. I brought brushes and palette knives, and bought the paint and solvents when I first arrived in Florence. Some of them smeared in transport, so I had to repaint some areas when I got back to my studio. Here are some of the drawings and oil sketches I did while I was there:

near the Duomo, Florence 8.5" x 11"graphite
Florence courtyard, 8.5" x 11"graphite
Ponte alle Grazie, oil and graphite on paper, 9"x12"
Along the Arno, oil on paper 9" x 12"
Florence courtyard, oil and graphite on paper 9" x 12"
Jasper on the train to Venice, graphite 8.5" x 11"

Fountain in Florence, oil and graphite on paper 9" x 12"
Rome, graphite on paper 8.5" x 11"
Paris studio, oil and graphite on paper 9" x 12"
Paris studio II, oil and graphite on paper 9" x 12"
Paris studio III, oil and graphite on paper 9" x 12"
Parisian rooftops, graphite on paper 8.5" x 11"
Marlow hedge, oil on paper 9" x 12"
Oak in Marlow, graphite on paper 8.5" x 11"

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fort Moultrie jetty

14" x 21"
15" x 23"
14" x 21"
     I started these 3 paintings in May, and worked on them most of the month, rotating through each one depending on the tide and weather. I was little more limited with the 2 paintings of the retaining wall, as the spot I was painting from was only accessible when the tide was out. It's a great spot to paint, a small cove at the tip of Sullivan's Island, with the famed Fort Moultrie a few hundred yards in. I had remembered the retaining wall, with it's large rocks and old pier stumps, as something that I wanted to paint; their muted earth tones creating interesting textures and shadow shapes.
     It was a challenge to paint these, as the tidal shift puts an extra element of pressure to capture the transient effects of nature on the scene. The sun became brutal by midday, bleaching out the colors on my palette and the surface of the painting. After each session, I had to tweak things in the studio a bit, reducing its whiteness and punching up the tones.
     These will be in a group show, "Passages" at Horton Hayes gallery this fall in Charleston. Besides referencing the way your eye takes you through different passages of paint across the canvas, this spot is also, literally, a passage for the ships that come in and out of Charleston harbor everyday. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Porch at night

     I've had this idea for a painting of our porch for a few years now. It's a space we use a lot, mostly in the Spring and the Fall, when it's neither too hot or too cold outside. I started doing drawings for this one in March, testing out a few different angles and sizes in my sketchbook:
sketchbook 9" x 12"
sketchbook 9" x 12"
     This last drawing is larger and I experimented with having a figure in it. Painter John Hull came to my studio at the start of this painting and he told me how he makes cut outs of figures on paper and moves them around within a drawing of the space he is painting. I tried this with my daughter posing on the bench, but I felt that the space would seem too crowded with a figure.

pencil, 21" x 18"
     In my interiors, I've been investigating these near and far spaces, and the porch offered a perfect stage for this indoor/outdoor space. I was interested also in how different light is portrayed in a single image; string lights vs. fading sunset, warm interior space verses cool outdoor space. The composition ordered itself symmetrically, but I was interested in how the triangles re-iterated themselves and how your eye bounced around the patterns. The symmetry deflected at times by the thrust of the table and glow of the drawing on the easel.
      From the drawings I blocked in the darks on a toned linen canvas. I took progression shots along the way, usually after each painting session: 

   The table in the foreground was initially empty, but one night while I was set up painting, my wife walked through from outside and placed the flowers in the vase on the table. I put them in quickly that night, perfectly serving as a counterpoint to my daughters drawing on the easel across from it.
     The painting slowly built up over a long period of time, the sweet spot of the session being when I raced to set things up so I could get those 15 minutes of purple/blue light as the sun finally sunk. Trees in the distance dissolving into fuzzy silhouettes against the sky.  I worked on this one vigorously over 3 or 4 months, usually about twice a week for 2-3 hours at a time. As the painting went on, I started working more and more without the motif, in my studio, tweaking things here and there, building up the surface and marks. Here's the finished version:
oil on linen, 22" x 24"

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Red Bud tree

     My studio has a small deck that spills out into our backyard patio and garden. Ever since we planted it there 4 years ago, I watch for the bright purple flowers of the red bud tree to appear outside my window, marking the start of spring. The color of the flowers is actually so intense and bright, that I couldn't mix anything close to it with the colors on my palette. It's almost like a neon fuscia...do they make cadmium purple?
     I set out in about February, with my sketchbook to prepare a composition. I knew that I only had a small window of time to get this done, before the petals fell and the new leaves appear.
pencil on paper 9" x 12"
     After determining my spot to paint from, I glued down a sheet of 22" x 15" Arches Oil paper to a panel. I've been working on this paper lately, but wanted to try it on a larger size glued down flat (the jury's still out on whether I like this better than linen...)
     I lightly sketched everything out and waited for the buds to appear. I didn't photograph after every session, but here are a few shots in progress:

    I didn't really get to resolve the painting before all the flowers dropped, so I might continue it next year at the same time. Spring has arrived and I've been busy outside doing some plein air work, so check back soon for some new work...