Friday, February 22, 2008

It is Raining

Winter Weather, 2008. oil on panel 8 x 10

In this small painting I am beginning to explore winter/rainy weather. It is something a little different for me since I've spent the better part of fifteen years painting basically only summer. Fall and Winter would roll around and I would just ignore these seasons in my paintings. I was so interested in the painting problems of summer that I didn't think about the other seasons. Then this winter I started thinking how I could paint a valley covered in winter. This is one of my first.

When I told a friend of mine that I was starting to paint a different season, after so many years, he said that at that rate I could paint the valley for at least sixty years.

Sounds good to me.

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Stuff

Between, 2008. oil on canvas 16 x 20

A painting just off the easel.

It will be available at The Vault in March.

Monday, February 11, 2008

For Marilyn

Marilyn's First Sunset, 2008. oil on panel 7 x 8

Here is a painting that I just finished.
It was a gift for my cousin's first child.
It was a joy to paint.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Last of 'em

The Old home place, 2007. oil on canvas, 60 x 66 sold

This is the last large commission I did in 2007. This piece had a couple things that were unsual for me. It features a house and a vineyard. First,I hadn't done a vineyard in some time and second, I have never put a house in one of my paintings. A few barns have found there way into my work, over the years, but never a house.

I generally don't put buildings in my paintings because they tend to give away too much. I like to let the viewer decide how big everything is. And by putting a house in gives scale. I guess I have always liked to make the viewer work a little bit.

Before starting, I thought the house could present some problems, but I figured the vineyard would be easy enough. Boy, was I wrong. When I did the study for this painting I soon realized that if I was going to use any sort of prespective in the vineyard it would mean that I would have to rethink how I paint orchards.

Up to this point I had really ignored the rules of perspective in my orchards. I used color, size and position to make them "lay flat" within the space of the painting. It was also fun to play with flatness of the surface of the picture plane. I like when a painting can be seen in more than one way. And my orchards were great places to play around with this. If you look at them in one way things fell into place, but if you didn't, things look flat with no depth. It depends on how you preceived them. It's a game I like to play with the viewer.

In this painting I realized quickly that if the vineyard was going to be in perspective then the other fields were going to have to be also. I tried to make the orchards how I had always done them in the past and it just did not work. It looked terrible. If I could have been more selective in where the orchards went in the painting I could have maybe gotten away with it. But this painting was a particular piece of ground and so I could not just move things around like I do in some of my other paintings. The trees had to be painted in a way that worked with the vineyard. It was a huge change for me. I did not look forward to making them in a different way.

After much nashing of teeth, many stress headaches, and then sitting in my studio dreading working on this canvas. I just did it. Do you know what happened? I made an effective painting I was really happy with. And now that I think about it a little bit, this painting may have been the breakthough for some of my new work that I have done since. This commission forced me to rethink the valley again, and made me realize that I do not have to do things only one way.

It was liberating.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Clearing Off, 2008. oil on panel, 8 x 7

I can count on one hand how many vertical paintings I have done in the last ten years. I can't tell you why (well, I could but it would bore you to tears) let's just leave it at, "I haven't done any."

In this new group of paintings I have been posting I've done three or four "sideways" paintings. I don't know why I decided to do them now, I really didn't think about it, I just did them. And blow me over they were kind of interesting. It presented a set of different problems for me to think about and got me out of thinking only in one way. It really helps when I don't really care if something works and just see what happens. What's the worse case scenario? I might stumble and have to throw it away? Really, is that such a big deal? It's just a piece of wood or canvas. When I am willing to take chances like that, its liberating and I believe stronger work is the result, even if I have to toss some paintings to get there.

Besides, it's cold I could use the firewood.