Sunday, January 29, 2012

Newbury at Night - start 14" x 14" oil on board

I am experimenting with an idea for a nocturne from photo reference of Newbury Street at dusk.  I love the backlit glow of the buildings and people and the exodus of cars from the city onto the Pike.  They hit the ramp across Mass Ave and merge with a stream of taillights migrating west.  Meanwhile, pedestrians meander the streets, moving to a variety of different destinations at different paces.  The painting is about these contrasting energies. I have washed in light, shadow, silhouettes and am pushing around a few of the elements to make sure I convey the movement, which is the focus - in a very small piece of geography there are many stories, most unaware of the others in close proximity.  Night.  I'll keep you "posted".

Friday, January 20, 2012

Direct the Eye with Color

       I am beginning my new class session today.  We're focusing on color for the next 7 weeks - a good choice for winter, when color outdoors is a little more elusive.   This morning's class is about choosing your color notes as part of the overall design and leading the viewer's eye with those choices.  The students will choose still life props from a selection of strongly colored choices.  When there's a lot of vivid color (or neutral color) you adjust your choices to direct the eye to the center of interest.  Of course, there's a lot more to directing the viewer's eye; but in one class, we'll concentrate on one component of the equation, and I'll reference the others more tangentially.  

 Look at the image here, which, by the way, belies the snowscape outside my window this morning.  This shows my block in, and finished painting for "Breakfast Al Fresco", painted outside in our neighborhood during the local art festival one May day.  You can see in the initial block in, that the strongest color notes lie in the bottom left, red shirt, yellow table, blue flowers.  Those decisions were made at the start of the painting.  My idea was to invite the viewer to the table in this lovely outdoor setting.  I lay in those richest notes very early, and kept them throughout.  The luscious greens, flowering plants, everything else are just slightly less in chroma.  Of course, there are a lot of other elements drawing your eye down and to the table, but for today... chroma is key. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Colored Pencils oil 5 x 7

$150 & $10 s&h

I have been playing with color in my studio; trying out some new ideas for the next session of my painting class beginning later this week at North River Arts Society in Marshfield.  I've been having a great time doing a series of small paintings; ideas I'll work on with my students.

I love color; juicy, bold, exciting, joyful color.
Whether high chroma; like "Colored Pencils", or more subtle, or a range of low to high chroma; I enjoy thinking about the color, its relationship to the other passages in the painting; the overall harmony - the entire process.
When I began to paint years ago in my mother's studio; I remember looking at a still life she had set up with lovely ironstone cups,  a sugar bowl and some other neutrals.  Where to begin?  I looked at my limited palette; most of which I still use today - a cool and warm yellow, cool and warm red, cool blue, perhaps a warmer blue, cad orange, cool green and white.  Much like a writer facing a blank page; you have to start somewhere.  You have to do something... so I began mixing and discovered the sheer joy of creating the desired color from the paints on my palette.  There's something about making color that activates the senses; it's obviously visual; but tactile as well.  Very satisfying.  Very. 

Sunday, January 01, 2012

End of Day oil 9 x 12

We finalized our plans yesterday for this summer's sojourn to Monhegan Island.  It has become an end-of-year ritual; dates are fixed on the calendar; and more than a few minutes are spent anticipating the reunion with friends, games, conversation, sights, smells, salt, and long, joyful hours at my easel.

Here's a painting from one of my favorite spots on the island, late in the afternoon sitting out on the jetty as the shadows creep down Manana. When I see this painting, I hear gulls, laughter of children on the beach, the crunch of boats pulled up on the sand, and the lap, lapping of the waves on the rocks below me. 

May your new year be more joyful than not.   Happy 2012.