Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Picnic

Claude Monet
Oil on canvas, 130 x 181 cm
Pushkin Museum, Moscow

The Picnic (the original is 6 by 6 meters!) was unfinished and later rolled up and then cut up by the artist. It's also known as Le déjeuner sur l'herbe. There are two large fragments preserved in the Musée d'Orsay. All the versions and fragments show picnic guests in a clearing in the forest of Fontainebleau. [from the Web Gallery of Art]

We're done, thanks.

Bye bye, Winter.
You've worn out your welcome.
Go home, Winter. You're drunk.
Winter: the skunk at the lawn party.
Times up! Get out. Beat it!
The bloom is off the rose, Winter.
Pack it in, Winter. That's all for you.
You've lasted an eternity. Get the hell outta here.
We're sorry, but you're terminated.
And finally: Make like a tree and leave, Winter.

Leaves! I must see leaves. Something green. LEAVES. Leaves on actual trees. Argggggghhhh . . . .

[The Korean War Veterans Memorial, on the Mall, Washington DC]

Friday, March 21, 2014

Bach Brilliance

Happy 329th birthday to Johan Sebastian Bach. And thank you.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

More Bento Ladies

What I especially like about this one is the nifty little outdoor picnic hibachi that the lady in pink is working with. Can't you just smell the teriyaki salmon and hear it sizzling? Spring can NOT arrive soon enough.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sunny Spot

This is another small piece, 5" x 5", done with pastels, on 320 grit UArt paper. It's hopelessly overworked, in my opinion. But I got carried away. I do like that one spot of sunlight, just behind where the two slopes overlap.

It was inspired by work by Gregory Hull.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


This is a very small sketch on UArt 320 grit paper using mostly the new set of Girault pastels that arrived last night : the Brilliants.  Since the Girault line of pastels isn't loaded with what I would call brilliant colors, I was curious to see how they would manage to select a set of fifty so designated.

Verdict: Nice try. Except for some bright and strong reds and oranges, it's a charming set of very usable colors. Nothing outlandish or garish. Or brilliant. Right in line with the Girault philosophy. (Well, there is one fairly outlandish phthalo-like greenish . . . . something. But I'll forgive them.)

I hope to use some of these new pieces to replace some other similar (but larger and softer) pieces in my traveling Sketchbox Double. But I do not ever imagine being able to fit out a traveler with nothing but Giraults. Too many light values and strong colors are missing. Plus, soft light bright pastels are a must for the last layer, as can be seen in this piece. Love that impasto!

. . . and forgive us our tresspasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us . . . 
This is becoming a harder and harder exchange to make. As one grows old, selfish, and self-absorbed, one finds it more difficult to forgive trespasses in others. Not just forget about them and move on, but really sincerely actively forgive. It takes work. Which, now that I think about it, is the whole point.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Desert Breath

This is a land art sculpture in Egypt. It is the most exquisite object I've seen in some time. Click on the Project Page for more views of this wonderful sculpture.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bento Ladies

These Bento Ladies are wonderful.

Where are they? This seems to be a social outing along a wild river. Did they bring the dais with them? Just how many attendants did this outing require? Is the fellow in the rear their sushi chef or a bodyguard?

In any event, we ought to be preparing for picnic season, rapidly approaching. The Bento Ladies are our inspiration.

ADDENDUM : Thanks to all who wrote suggesting source material that my whim of the moment craved. I did succeed in finding some very promising material. Merci beaucoup!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Nothing Flat

It's remarkably difficult for me to find source landscape scenes (that I can steal/commandeer) that don't have central flat, calm, and securely grounded areas situated front and center. You know. Quaint recumbent meadows or serene marshes. Right now I am interested in making pictures of outdoor spaces that are insecure, roiling, precipitous, and worrisome. There aren't a gazillion models out there, in any format. (Other than the classic Grand Canyon overlook pictures.)  I am experimenting with taking larger works and cropping out all but peripheral steep and sloping areas. It's not a very satisfying way to find or create this kind of source material. But, hell, hermits can't be choosy. So oh well.

This one is 5" x 5" and is quite rough. I am not sure I like all the light specks of paper peeking through. This was done on an old piece of Wallis paper that has the deep grey tint, so I was reluctant to muddy it up with an underpainting. Next time I'll chance it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cantilevered Tree Line

This one is 5" x 5", cropped. It started with a much large nearby tree on the left side. But as I worked the dark green limbs and played around with the foliage mass, that big tree kept growing across the page. Eventually it covered almost the whole left side of the sheet. Too big! The distant line of trees on the ridge line got lost in the shuffle. So I extended the 'scene' further to the right, and re-cropped into a square. I like it better now.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mozart Miracle

Happy 258th birthday to the miracle that was and still is Mozart.

[This a portion of a portrait painted by Joseph Lange, Mozart's brother-in-law. More here.]

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Small and Square

This is a smaller one, 4" x 4". I like the red glow behind and inside the trees. I'm not sure what it is, but I like it.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Then what isn't, indeed?

Adapted from Is This Art? (2010), Maciej Ratajski

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Daily Pastel Again

This is 5" x 5" and is another in the series of daily (well, almost daily) pastels.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Daily Pastel

This is another in the series of daily pastels. This is 5" x 5", which seems to be a optimum size both for speed and for avoiding being intimidated by the whole daily concept.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Small Pastels Daily

This is one of a series of small pastels that I am planning on completing every day.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Two Dimensional View

More monotypes today. My goal today was to try to achieve some depth. To leave the 2D realm behind and see if I can make pieces that you can peer down into.

Mixed results so far.

More here.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Grip It and Rip It

This is another of my gelatin monotypes. Fun with geometry!

The gelatin print process is an interesting exercise in envisioning the result of various sequences of events. Mentally keeping track of the probable outcome of alternative catenations is a real trick. Because (naturally!) as the process unfolds in real time, who the heck has time to keep notes? Yeah, okay, hold on. What did I do first on this one? Oh ha. Best to just let 'er rip.

More monotypes are in the portfolio here.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Jelly Belly

These are monotypes made with my brand spanking-new gelatin printing plate. Great fun and the potential to make a whopping big mess.


My portfolio of Gelatin Monotypes is here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Park Slope Texture Re-Attempt

This is about 7-1/2" x 9" on textured board, done with pastels.

Here I chose a board that was lilac-toned and textured with random-directional strokes of the brush that I used to put on the ground. Next, I decided  where the foreground/background ridge line was going to be -- where the tree is growing -- and put down a more radical texture below it, using wrinkled tissue paper and bright white ground.

I am not sure if this is a too-obvious use of texture. Yeah, that's supposed to suggest a grassy, weedy foreground. But not scream it. (And perhaps the background slope could have been less textur-y.) So we'll see how I end up liking this notion.

Wait! I wonder if this piece would benefit from some more radical cropping too. Hmmm. Take some of the bottom off and align the ridge line more at the one third mark. Lower in the frame.

Anyway! It was inspired by Donna Timm's wonderful red box, in this posting on WC.


Bonus! ---> The Road Lined with Trees, from Heirloom Philosophy

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Growth Time Lapse

Delightful two and a half minute long vid. Watch THIS.

Texture Experiment

This is about 6-1/2" x 9" on watercolor paper prepared with a radical texture and pastel ground.

My plan on this one was that the heavy texture would preclude any kind of fussy mark-making. That it would force me to be looser and freer.

Wrong. I kept dabbing and stabbing at it and fooling around with it all day yesterday until it wailed STOP. A lesson I need to learn is how to s-t-o-p.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Wolf Kahn

This is a treasure. 

I found it on Casey Klahn's website. Thanks again, Casey!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Yellow Tree Line

This is about 9" x 12" done with pastels on sky-blue tinted sanded paper.

It's inspired by the plein air paintings of BJ Stapen.

I am enjoying the notion of a very high (or non-existent) horizon, where I can play with the layers and the texture of the intervening mid- and foreground. Kind of the exact opposite of my skyscape interest of a month ago.

Que sera, sera. You gotta follow your nose.

This is about the same size, but done on salmon-tinted sanded paper. Quite a different all-over tone and mood.

This was my first piece painted on Sennelier La Carte pastel card. The sanded surface is delicate and can be dissolved very easily with just a touch of moisture or a drop of water, leaving a plain shiny white card stock below. Interesting. (Annoying?) I have a stack of this La Carte paper and need to begin to use it!