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.