Transparent. Reflective. Abstract. Real. All at once.
That’s how I view quick snapshots taken while walking along York Beach, Maine last summer when the water was at least 55 degrees warmer than today. I was playing with my compact camera simply letting it do its thing–opening and closing the shutter and allowing light to come in. It’s these impulsive, unscripted images that allow for some interpretation as well as connections to other seemingly unrelated things. A Mark Rothko painting (famous for his color field approach) for instance, seems to have been inspired by a seascape such as the one I’ve posted here. This kind of simplification can be a show stopper when the rest of the online world is showing/displaying an incredible number of images every second of every day. I’m tired just thinking about it. Thought for today is simple, simplify.
Blue Divided by Blue, 1966, Mark Rothko, 1903-1970.
Here is one good reason why I like working with acrylic paints–they are forgiving. Especially when one idea seemed like a good one until a night’s sleep refocused my aesthetic and I wonder just who thought that color combo was a good idea. I am thankful that I get a second chance–with every single piece of artwork I do. I am never afraid to scrub out, gesso over, tear up, use for collage, cut up for use as mini paintings, or plain just get rid of bad painting. Sounds crazy to some of you but if you are an artist, I recommend you give this a try. You never know what you’ll find the second time around. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.
My season of being a Red Sox fan began in April, only a week or so after the Boston Bombing by terrorists. I was a bit apprehensive about going to the game but we were determined to not let horrible, emotionless, vile people change how we want to live our lives. We did nothing to deserve this act of war.
Torn from the pages of my sketchbook to celebrate the World Series win by the Boston Red Sox in 2013!
The fans seemed happy to be at the ballpark but the air was heavy with concern for what the future would bring after this horrendous event of terror on innocent people–and especially children– simply enjoying a beautiful spring day watching and cheering their friends and family at the end of the Boston Marathon route. Boston Strong images were everywhere at the Sox game and now seemed to be a precursor for what the season could bring.
The color scheme of this 12×6 piece torn from my sketchbook may seem melancholy–although I did not have this in mind when I drew it. I was exploring the design possibilities of the abstract lines and shapes distinctly found in Fenway. I have done others that have evening lighting and more intense color but I happen to like this reserved version. It is available at the Copley Society of Art on Newbury Street in Boston, MA. www.copleysociety.org
Coastal Maine with its crisp whites, deep blues and accents of reds and oranges continue to find their way into my artwork. One day it occurred to me that if Maine redesigned its state flag it could look something like this. Of course inlanders would not be happy so I’ve kept this idea to myself. One visitor to one of my outdoor show in South Portland, Maine this summer laughed out loud when he saw the title and “got” the image. A fun moment. Not a sale but just as rewarding when someone understands that my work is not representational but seeks to propose a different, uncommon way of viewing common views. I abstract elements of a landscape and reorder, repurpose and reimagine all while filtering this input through my head and heart. Whew. Amazing how humans work.
Who would have thought a stroll after a nice dinner at the Lobster Pot would have captivated my artistic eye for so long. A quick snapshot taken one hot afternoon in Provincetown, MA has been the catalyst of many of my artworks. As with many other photos I have taken, as soon as one painting is completed I have another idea to improve/change/renovate the next one. So this one, on the advice of Mary Harding curator of the George Marshall Store Gallery in York, Maine, to “paint bigger” here is one of the results. Raking Light Across at 36×36 gave me the space and opportunity to really dig in and work on the layering of color and texture. It was a blast. More to come.
Scouting out a location in a busy city such as Boston can be an intimidating process. The sheer number of possibilities for making a painting can be overwhelming to evaluate. Choosing just the right location–one with a good view, open space for setting up equipment, safe from traffic, animals, and other oddities is not easy. We found this location on a scouting trip taken with my daughter, Katie Trainor, who lives in Boston and works at Francesca’s Coffee Café on Tremont Street, right around the corner from Union Street Park. Perfect. Her knowledge of the area and my preferences was invaluable to selecting this spot. Just enough area to setup, a beautiful spring day at the pocket park, and of course, proximity to a bathroom :). Sidewalk location was just right to allow me to set up and allow neighbors to get by–and chat. A win for all. The Copley Society of Art PaintOut was one week after the Boston bombing at the Marathon so the city was still reeling. Good to know this event and sale of my painting helped a little to add to the Boston Strong fundraising effort.
This is what I saw when arriving at the Phoenix Hill Farm on a gorgeous fall day here in New Hampshire. The textures, color, building forms, wildlife, compositional possibilities stared me in the face as I roamed the property to find a spot to settle down to begin the process of Continue reading →
Isn’t there so much to love about this overcast view? Neutral greys of the sky and reflections on the water are what forms the foundation of this scene. The tree trunks and foliage interrupt the Continue reading →
The beauty of classic architectural details, color, and building forms are recognized by everyone. To the point of boredom to some. Isn’t it amazing that a visually interesting collection of forms–built for a specific Continue reading →
So here’s how it all begins. A beautiful view from a tropical island accented with a cool rum drink, a fresh sketchbook, well-used color palette, and the thought that this no-holes-barred way of interpreting what is in front of me is about to begin anew. Continue reading →
I am excited to be part of this inspiring workshop to be held in September 2012. Registration is now ongoing for The Beauty of Light– Plein Air Workshop on Cape Cod.
Looking for a workshop that will challenge your current working approach in watercolor, add energy, and try new techniques under experienced helpful eyes? Try my “Catch of the Day” plein air watercolor session–a very different working approach than working in your studio.
Or are you interested in learning techniques to capture the essence of a scene, using line, color washes and inspiring notes, try my “Sketching on the Run” workshop session for any level artist working in any medium.
To most this is a window. To an artist it frames the landscape in ways that you might not have considered. A single pane window offers a broad view taking in the entire landscape. Segmenting it into 4 sections creates a simple way to check the viability of a single composition–a handy ready-made composition tool. Combine two side by side or vertically and you have a simple way to find a strong design option. Try it–you’ll like what it can do for refreshing your tried and true compositions.
Here’s a wonderful example of an analogous color scheme and a great example of camouflage in nature. Analogous colors are those that are found right next to each other on a color wheel, or are very similar in color and tonality such as the leaves and Thomas’ fur. The warm tones of the oak and maple leaves match his burnt sienna-colored fur very well. His darker fur and nose direct your eye toward these areas because they are different tones and color than the rest of the photo–and his face is the real area of interest–as most portraits are. The soft greens at the left side help to bring some variation in the overall color palette yet does not detract from the main area of focus.
There are plenty of examples in nature–and hunters experience this natural camouflage on every outing making it pretty tough to get their prey in the rich textures and colors of the woods. (As an animal lover, I’d rather hunt with a camera.) But I appreciate the challenge of hunting and the skills it takes to be successful. Fishing has the same camouflage effect–every try to find a fish in a stream? The sunlight and shadows as well as ripples all contribute to the complexities of light and form–making it a close to perfect camouflage.
And Thomas, he’s an excellent dog, well-behaved and a very patient model.
I’ve been waiting for the stuff to fall from the sky that simplifies the landscape, provides a smooth landing for chilly shadows, and acts as a perfect foil for crystal clear blue skies. For a long time, a snow-covered landscape has been so much more appealing to me than a drenched-in-greens landscape. I love the way a winter snowfall covers over the extraneous details and forces us to see the simplicity of forms.
The challenge for artists of all kinds is how to deal with the color of whites Continue reading →
Is there anything that comes close to being more appetizing?
Ok. I admit it. Sparkling, colorful sweets call out to me at any pastry shop. And this one in Boston near the statehouse was screaming–you must at least take a photo if you’re not going to take me home to gobble me up. I find these simply irresistible Continue reading →
This perfect summer day included a patient grandchild who willingly sank below the surface to help make a cool photo. I loved the way the water glistened over her skin while her dark hair delineated beautiful facial features. Timing was everything–many clicks later–as water holds still for no one. The pool provided the expected blues while Emily’s skin provided a subtle warm golden tan, a complimentary color for the blue. The dark accents of her facial Continue reading →
You might think this tree trunk is blocking the view of this antique colonial home in the village of Goffstown, NH. But the way I see it, it has created bold abstract forms contrasting against the bright whites of the white clapboards. And this stark color change from white to dark gray called out to me to take a closer look. Continue reading →
If you’ve travelled to Italy you are familiar with the extraordinary works of art everywhere you turn. And in this case, even the iron fences surrounding landmarks are works of art. The curves, the gracefulness of the circular patterns and how they are Continue reading →