Monday, February 20, 2012

Harford County Icon

 I came across this tractor sitting like a monument in a field near Norrisville at the crack of dawn.  It seemed to have a light of its own as the sun struck it. You can often find these old machines on the side of the road as you drive around, (sometimes with  for sale signs) as testaments to an earlier way of life in the county.  I am focusing on  a series of Harford co. images. There are moments and places  around here that quite beautiful. I love the burst of cadmium red in a green landscape.When the paint dries I plan to resolve the background a little more, but my intention was to be very gestural with the paint. Always wanted to do a tractor painting and here it is.    10x10in oil  

Friday, February 17, 2012

Winter Sun Along Castleton rd.

 11x14in pastel

I painted this little pastel in the studio from pictures I took on a winters evening near Darlington, MD. This little house was an African-American school house that the community has preserved as a memorial. It is a beautiful building in its stark simplicity.
I was extremely fortunate to catch this moment of sunlight. It was gone in seconds. I plan to make this a study for a larger work that focuses on the house and not the sky. The sky was  interesting  attempt as it is comprised of a half dozen blues,yellows,oranges,and greens in many crosshatched layers. The light,wispy branches were done with a paintbrush brushing OFF the pastel and I was really happy with using violet as a shadow instead of a darker red. This is also my attempt to paint smaller pastels just to see how difficult they may be. I am used to larger pieces where I can really open up. 

Monday, February 6, 2012


 This is my second attempt at an unconscious painting. It started again as a landscape then I added five figures at the botttom. They were definately male and the seemed to be dancing. They reminded me of the Apostles so I put an ascended figure in the sky. I then took out the apostles and left the ascended figure. None of this was planned. One decision led to another. 10x10in oil on birch panel

The Three Graces

 This one came purely from the unconscious.  I had been painting all day and felt truely alive and charged up. I had finished my work and had a palette full of paint and instead of putting things away I picked up a blank canvas and started covering it with the leftover color (or non- color in this case I had been working on the River Walker painting) I was inspired by Robert Stark and the small landscapes he constructs from memory when he has paints from his palette leftovers. I thought maybe a landscape would emerge. Instead these three figures emerged. They started out as cedar trees but were more like figures so I went with it and these three female forms emerged. I added the Moon tto complete the feeling of the godesses walking throught the night of the imagination. 12x12in oil on canvas

Night Church

  I have painted this church before only in daylight , never through the windshield of my car at night. This little  Methodist church is a roadside icon on a hairpin turn in Baltimore Co. It is always lit like a beacon in the dark. 6x6in oil on birch panel

River Walker

Keene Valley NY in the Adks is a town where artists have painted since the 1800's, most notably Winslow Homer. Pat Kirmer is a contemporary artist still painting into his 80's. He is a  very tall gentle- man who is often seen walking with his wide brim hat to and from his painting sojourns on Johns Brook. He does wild linear abstractions based on the patterns and colors he observes in the water as it cascades over the rocks. He was a student of Diebenkorn's who told him to "never underestimate the element of suprise " in a painting. I placed Mr. Kirmer in one of his own drawings. It was great fun to try to reproduce "Kirmer-like" marks on the painting.Every great painter has his own "handwriting" and Kirmer definately has his.     

Mt Carmel Chapel

 For some reason I am drawn to old churches.Is it the simple timeless architecture or the remnants of my  Catholic faith finding expression in the elements of sun and shadow?    This 100 year old stone church is behind the supemarket on a busy highway near my house. The low winter sun turned the cedar tree a color that when mixed on the palette looked almost pure orange. I loved the shadow cast on the church.  12x12in oil on panel

Dawn on the Severn

 Finally finished this pastel last night after putting it aside for months.This was started on a very warm early summer dawn when the rising sun was slightly overcast and the colors of the morning were pinkish and yellowish whites. I finished the background in about an hour. It was the sails in the foreground that gave me such trouble,  but think I finally resolved it by working from some reference photos. My style is so linear and the sails needed to be softer. It was a magical moment on the river.You think river =blue but the color range at different times is emmence. Well, I haven't  tackled cloth before in pastel so there it is.18x24in.  pastel on sanded paper