Sunday, April 29, 2007

Solo Show extended one more week

My solo show at the Hopewell Frame Shop Gallery has been extended one more week. The new ending date is Saturday May 5.

I added a few more paintings to the show a couple of weeks ago, like this one, which I always liked although the subject matter might be a bit quirky:

Towpath, Griggstown
8x10 oil on board

This building would be in the distance in the extreme right of the postcard image that I used for the show, but I chose to leave it out of that painting. Oh, and this scene is just a mile or so north of the towpath scene in my last post.

Friday, April 27, 2007

My Paintbox and Setup

Last weekend was the first really nice, warm weekend around here in a long time, and I was able to get outside to do some painting on location. My winter paintings are done mostly from photos, so it was nice to get back outdoors again. I painted along the Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath near Griggstown, NJ.

Here are some photos that illustrate my setup:

Here you can see that I found the only shady spot in which to setup. In summer there are a lot of shadows to hide under but when the trees are bare, you can really roast in the sun! Also, it's very hard to paint with the sun shining directly on the canvas and palette. It tends to blind you a bit and makes it very hard to accurately see the colors you're mixing.

This gives a little better view of my setup: it's a home made wooden paintbox which has room for my tubes of paint in the main body, and I can carry 2 8x10 panels in the lid of the box. Which is important because it's hard to carry wet oil paintings around in the field. But stored in the lid of the paintbox, there's nothing to worry about. My paintbox mounts on an ordinary camera tripod, and disassembled, the tripod, paintbox, brushes and other supplies all fit in the little knapsack lying on the ground. With that on my back, I can easily walk for miles to my painting location.

I wanted to show this closeup so you can see that my colors match the actual scene fairly well. The photo of the finished painting below was done under artificial lights, and looks very different from the photo done outdoors. I think both are accurate, it's just that a painting does look very different depending on the lighting.

"Towpath, Early April"
8x10 oil on canvas on board

On my walk back, I saw this little guy crawling along the towpath. It was just about an inch and a half long - you can see an ant on the turtle's back for scale.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

In my last post, Nancy Van Blaircom commented on things 'that just scream extraordinary in the ordinary' in my painting. Nancy is an artist who posts her watercolor sketchbook online - you should check it out. Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary is something I've been thinking about a lot lately - specifically how this depends so much on the lighting, and how a scene changes so much throughout the day. It's such a cliché for an artist to talk about how they love the light and color, that I almost hate to mention it - but for a representational artist, what else is there? A good painting is a good painting because of the abstract pattern of values and color that's put on the canvas. The subject is almost incidental - it's just a vehicle for creating that pattern of value and color. As shadows move around, there's a whole new painting to be painted.

I spend a lot of time at the Artists' Gallery in Lambertville, so I see a lot of the nearby street corner at Coreyll and North Union Streets. It's a very ordinary street corner - there's nothing special about it. But at certain times of the day, it's pure magic the way the light hits a certain building or reflects off of a window. The ordinary can become sublime.

These next 3 paintings are all near the same street corner. Actually my last post, Lambertville Shadows, is just a half a block down Coryell Street and it's the same church steeple in that painting as in these.

I painted this view mainly because it's a charming street scene. So I guess the subject isn't completely incidental, but I like how the sense of sunlight on the church steeple and the distant trees is accentuated by so much of the painting being in shadow:
"South on North Union
24x18 oil on canvas

This is the same scene from a little further back and much later in the day. Here, I wasn't painting a charming street scene, I was painting how the last rays of the sun are hitting the red brick building. Having the church steeple there is a nice touch, but mainly I liked the red glow on the building, the red glow of the taillights, and their red reflection on the sides of the parked cars. For me, that's quite thrilling!

"North Union and Coryell
8x10 oil on board

Again, this is the same corner, but looking down Coryell Street. The church would be to my left. The main attraction here of course was the row brick building catching the light of the sunset. Any other time of the day, this street isn't much to look at. Or maybe I just haven't been paying attention. (By the way, the closest white building on the left side of the street is Joe Finkle's, featured in my last post.)
"Coryell Sunset
8x10 oil on board

The reason I show these three together here is because I think they help show how one can find the extraordinary in the ordinary. I found 3 paintings from one ordinary street corner. The red brick building on the corner is pretty drab, but it appears in all 3 paintings. And like said, the times of day when I don't see anything special here, it's probably because I'm not looking hard enough. Light is a great magician - it's always changing things on us!

I wonder if that's what George Lucas meant when he named is company Industrial Lights and Magic?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Lambertville Shadows

My latest:
Joe Finkles, Lambertville, NJ
"Joe Finkles"
18x24 oil on canvas

Another painting from Lambertville, this is a scene I pass when walking between my 2 galleries in town, the Artists' Gallery and the des Champs Gallery. It's funny how such a plain building can make such an interesting subject. That big white wall becomes a canvas for the tree to paint it's shadows on - I just had to be there to see it, just as with my Hopewell Shadows painting. Hey, I might have the start of a series here...

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Road Less Painted

I was fortunate to get some good press for my solo show at the Hopewell Frame Shop. This appeared in the "Good Times" entertainment section of the Trenton Times newspaper today, April 6, 2007. Thank you, Janet Purcell, for coming to see the show and for writing this wonderful review!

(Click for a larger image)
Here's a better view of the image pictured in the article - a farm on the road that runs between Rosemont and Sergeantsville, NJ, one of the most scenic spots around:

"Along Rosemont Road"
11x14 oil on canvas on board