Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Aspen Studies

Aspen Study 1
8 x 10, Oil/Panel

Aspen Study 2 - Sunny
8 x 10, Oil/Panel

Aspen Study 3 - Early Morning
8 x 10, Oil/Panel

Aspen Study 4 - Sunrise
8 x 10, Oil/Panel


These paintings are yet more studies in my quest to explore and address specific aspects of painting. Painting aspen leaves is a challenge as they flicker madly about in the slightest breeze. They are frothy leaved, graceful trees and I've nearly always been surrounded by them. I always thought the trees in Dutch landscapes were very reminiscent of aspen and today a Czech friend informed me that aspens are indeed found in the Slavic part of Europe, she says they are romantic and they are.

For the first two studies I painted the aspens that I could see from the window near my easel. The third study was a more interesting experience. Very early one morning I let the pooch out just as the sun was coming up but it was cold and windy and I knew I’d want to paint that lovely dusty orange sky later in the week so I made notes about the colour then painted it from memory a few days later. Another early morning sunrise caught my eye but I hadn't even had a sip of tea yet and wasn't quite ready to haul the painting gear out on to the porch to paint so again I took notes and hoped I'd remember enough for next time. Turns out I forgot to write down the colour of the trees so I had to paint those from nothing but my memories.

Painting from memory and my notes might just prove to be one of the most significant exercises I've ever done and something that I'll continue to do. It was liberating and exciting not to be constantly looking up but to just rely on what I saw and that feeling you get when you are looking at something truly beautiful. Did I capture it accurately? I don't know, it might not matter, the painting still gives me the feeling of early morning and for now that's enough. With practice my ability to record what I see will improve.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dandelion - Still Life

Dens Leonis
8 x 10, Oil on Panel

The dandelion, one of the first blooms of spring, an early edible green, a child's favorite bouquet for Mom's, and reviled weed. The name dandelion comes from the french dente de lion, a translation of the medieval latin dens leonis which means lions tooth in reference to it's jagged tooth like leaves.

This joyful little flower brightens ditches, gardens, and lawns alike. Whether you revere it's edible qualities and happy blossoms or detest it's tenacious tendencies it's a hardy burst of sunshine that isn't going away soon and I love it - most of the time.