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PLEIN AIR 2017

Trying to update this page - please bear with me through some technical difficulties!




August 24th? 2017
Lake of the Woods, Ontario
Oil on Canvas, 24 x 36in

This was a somewhat more radiant tumult. I felt thwarted by this but am coming around.



August 14th 2017
Lake of the Woods, Ontario
Oil on plywood, 20 x 30in approximately 

This I painted when very upset by events in the US that week. It was a tumult frame of mind, producing a tumultuous sunset.


July 26th 2017
Lake of the Woods, Ontario
Pencil sketch

I'm not sure who he is but he asked to be drawn and when I saw him, I felt I have or will know him forever.



July 30th 2017
The Boathouse, Lake of the Woods, Ontario
Oil on Canvasboard, 16 x 20 in

I painted this inside the boathouse on a sunny, windy day outside. Like the one below,it was a sketch I tried just to get back into the painting way of processing. What was dumb was that it was so bright out and dark in that I couldn't see my colours properly. It was frustrating but I had to choose either to give it up & waste the paint or see it through. I chose the latter. My fixation was on the colours I was trying to blend, the drawing & perspective were not important as is apparent.


July 30th 2017
Lake of the Woods, Ontario
Oil on Canvasboard, 8x10 in

This and the following painting are reversed in order but I don't trust this web platform enough at the moment to fix it. It was just a quick sketch to shake off the rust.


July 31st 2017
Oil on Canvas, 16 x 20 in
Lake of the Woods, Ontario

A nice sunny, windy day - still shaking off some rust but feeling better about how it was coming out.


"Gloucester Blue" 
The Sargent House Museum
July 2nd 2017
Gloucester, MA
Oil on Aluminum Panel, 12 x 6 in

I was grateful to have the opportunity to paint at the Sargent House garden on an absolutely glorious summer day. I opted for a spot in full sun and was careful for the sake of being able to see my palette consistently to position myself so that even through the course of the 5 hours I was there no shadows would hit me. The downside of course was that it was a very hot day - not only was I roasting, but also the board I was working on! Generally I think of myself as relatively intelligent and yet it had somehow not occurred to me what the effect of a canvas primed black would be - effectively, a skillet. 
I mixed & matched all my colours carefully and slapped them on the board in a hurry trusting I could resolve all the flaws the next day. Well, the next day the painting was dry as a desert and therefore unfixable. So I used my painting as a guide and the colours I had mixed on site and painted this the next day. 
I got a little tour of the museum while I was there, including the John Singer Sargent room. The room features one of his old palettes, which I'm told features a colour blue that doesn't match blues on any of his other palettes.  It's possible there's a very dull reason for this - like he had run out of his preferred blue and had to settle for what there was available to him in Gloucester at the time... but I prefer to believe it is because of the unique roseate quality of light in Cape Ann, and that nowhere else do you see such a dizzyingly gorgeous violet blue skies. 




Wednesday June 14th
18 x 24in, Oil on Canvas

Unable to get to the lake this year until deep into the summer (Well, mid-July but May & June are my favorite months there) I have been "mooning around" despondent. Seemed fitting to paint the moonlight.


May 30th 
Dahlia, Uncle Steve's
8 x 10in, Oil on Canvasboard

Again, felt like being a little more detailed - plus, I have a bunch of these small canvases to use up. Was thinking of my late Uncle and imhis breathtaking garden.



Loon - May 17th
8 x 10 in, Oil on Canvasboard

After painting Obama I felt like I was not entirely ready to return to the broad strokes I'm used to as a knife painter. In the mood for more detail. Hence this small painting of a loon in my lakewater (Lake of the Woods.) I think it looks better in person though.



May 10th 2017
A Better Man

They say that it's important for the maintenance of good mental health to devote time every day to gratitude. To that end, I spent the better part of the past two weeks staring into the noble eyes of this good man. I painted it, and then scraped it off, painted again, scraped again I don't know how many times. But I wanted to do my best. Because I am grateful that for eight whole years this country was led by an honourable man. A thoughtful, sage, temperate and decent man. 
(there are sure more fixes to do, but maybe I should just let it be. For tonight anyway I will.) PS Ask me who it's supposed to be and you will suffer the consequences.




April 24 2017
Birches, Gloucester Harbor
Oil on Board, 18 x 24 in

Another day with my great student who doesn't seem to mind me painting too. There are tons of cranes by the water in Gloucester, they were too far away to fathom but very arresting regardless. The story for me was the tree - branches take on this pregnant, rosy glow as the leaves begin to bud- and this birch was also rife with pollen laden golden - hmm, seed shags? I don't know what they're called, but they look like greengold caterpillars and were quite lovely in the spring sun.


April 18 2017
Venice
Oil on Board, 18 x 24in

Well I was teaching in studio and had nothing to paint,  student offered me a stack of photos to look through.  Although I don't like working for the pictures, and particular not for pictures of the places I've never been,  this one caught my eye.  The 18th is my best friends birthday, and she's living in France far away  where I've never been.  I think painting this was partly because she was on my mind, and partly because I liked it...and why not? This is not the best photo of it but it will do for now.




April 4, 2017
Kenora, Ontario
Lake of the Woods
Oil on plywood, 18 x 24in

This I did in studio in Annisquam working from a photo I took a couple of years ago from the Island. My thoughts are forever escaping to my glorious northern home - in this case, I integrated the recent disposition to paint a boat or two. Not only is there a sailboat in this, there are people (yes! People!) in it! Rare, rare event for me.  I like it. I got to daydream and work at the same time.


Showboats - Annisquam
March 28 - 31st 2017
Oil on Canvas, 24 x 30 in

Again, I apologize that this image is so big. I am still at war with my website, and my website is still winning. In any case.  This was painted in studio in Annisquam, with reference from a photo and from the view outside of the river, boats and shoreline. It's "Golden Hour" and the colors were so egregiously gorgeous I almost didn't paint it. But of course, in the end I did.



March 23 - 25th 2017
Rockport, MA
Oil on Canvasboard, 24 x 18in

Sorry for the low-red image, still at war with my website, and it's winning. The water here is a delicious, gorgeous emerald green at the depth you see in Rockport Harbor at high tide. I was looking towards Motif #1 but decided to leave it & almost everything else out. A vision of de-colonialized MA, with the exception of the dock and pier. The story here for me as usual is the water, the shadow of the boat on the water, the chain reaching from the dock to the ocean floor.  There are a few details on the boats that I will fix once it is drier.



March 20th 2017
Annisquam, MA
Oil on Board, 8 x 16 in

I'm having problems with this stupid website, which is why this painting, though smaller than almost everything else I've done, has chosen to appear here larger than everything. Also after taking the picture I fixed the distant fog a little so it doesn't look as solid. The interest of this painting to me was the reflected light on the hull of the boat. I'm happy with the way it came out.



March 6 & 7th 2017
Oil on Board, 18 x 24 in
Lake of the Woods

I worked on this painting from a combination of memory and photo. The picture was taken last summer when the devastating Alberta forest fires were raging and even as far east as Kenora, Ontario the skies were full of haze and smoke.  It made everything a strange color, rich and dark.  The sun was this glowing burn of light, I still don't think I quite have the color right. But this is how it stands.



February 27 & 28th 2017
Annisquam
Oil on Board, 16 x 24in ?

Another done in studio while teaching. Had a 4 x 6 in photo and the view out the window for a guide.


February 23 & 24, 2017
Oil on Canvas, 18 x 24in
Lake of the Woods
"We're not in Kansas anymore."

Not à Plein Air, technically. I was indoors working with my friend David Curtis , who is recovering from a grave illness. Worked in studio, using as reference photos of a major storm up in Kenora a summer or two back. 





Garish Still Life
Monday and Tuesday February 6th & 7th, 2017
16 x 20 in, Oil on Canvas

Again, I am giving private lessons and since they felt it was too cold out to paint, we opted for a still life.  It took a solid 45 mins - 1hr to set up, and even so is no triumph of compositional glory.  However, it was adequate.  I hate painting still lifes, I think it is a well established fact that I'm much more invested in water, wind, clouds, leaves - things that move, and are subject to their own random looking order. But, when in Rome. 




January 31. 2017
16 x 20 in, Oil on Canvasboard

Today, I joined a good friend to paint. I was not satisfied with my rendering of the scene I had in mind yesterday, so I decided to find the photo that was close to it and work from that. So - this painting and the one below are of the same scene - yesterday from memory, today from photo.  I am surprised to find that although my colours in this one are much truer to life, and it's a lot more "realistic" than the one below, I like yesterday's best.  The way the trail of light sweeps left and right, and appears to swell with the water - and just the overall feel.  Yesterday's you're pulled in, all nature seems to pull you forward toward that moon whereas today's just lays there before you, being.  Interesting what the emotional vs rational renderings reveal.

PS - I know this is difficult to read but suddenly my site won't permit me to change font. Will work on it.


January 30th, 2017

18 x 24 in, Oil on Canvasboard

I was full of turmoil and was teaching a painting student.  I couldn't stand to paint the still life the student was painting so decided to work from a picture in my head.  I needed to be at my lake.  So I struggled to mix the colors that brought the memory and mood to mind. At one point I realized I had a small photo of the approximate scene on my phone, so periodically I referred to that for a tone I wasn't hitting. Mostly from memory and very emotion driven. The student liked it and bought it, so I left it there.



January 5th 2017
Leo
Oil on Board, 9 x 12 in

My cat of 17.5 yrs has been very, very ill - and is probably very close to meeting his maker. While he was sleeping, I decided rather than just keeping vigil at his side & staring at him, perhaps I should paint him, from life, such as it is.  He is a gorgeous cat but definitely looks bedraggled after about a week of not eating.  That being said, I am amazed at his strength. He is not going gentle into that good night, and I thank God - and Leo - for that.