Thursday, May 27, 2010

White Hot Steel, 30 x 40, oil on linen

Last year I visited this steel making facility. It is only 8 blocks from my studio here in Pittsburgh and I didn't even know it existed! It is tucked away in an industrial area close to the river. The management was great, allowing photography which I have used for reference. For obvious safety reasons it would be impossible to paint inside the plant. This painting above, done just this week, is about the extreme heat in the foundry. Unless you are standing there it is almost impossible to describe the experience. The white hot molten steel flies out everywhere and illuminates all surfaces with blazing warm color. I've tried to create a painting that shows how it felt. It is not like anything you see outdoors. That is why painting a scene like this is such a nice contrast to working from the cool light of day. I also like the idea of documenting the steel making heritage of this city– an era that is quickly slipping away.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lexi, 8x10, oil on panel

Last week Lexi laid down in the shade exactly when I was looking for a subject to paint. It was almost too good to be true. Would she really pose like this for an hour or longer? Usually a squirrel or a runner or something causes her to move. So I decided to start with her and see how far I could get. The background could be painted later if necessary. But to my astonishment she stayed in this position for about 90 minutes–long enough for me to do this sketch. She is such a sweet girl.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mr. May Mouse, 6 x 6 inches, oil on panel

This little fellow was too clever to be trapped alive. Believe me, I tried. The internet is full of ideas to capture a mouse unharmed and the hardware stores offer no-kill traps. Unfortunately, he was causing so much trouble in the kitchen that my tree hugging tendencies quickly disappeared and my farm boy roots took over. It was the old fashioned mouse trap that did the trick. After thinking about this guy, I decided to honor his death with a painting. I wanted it to be quiet and austere, almost monochromatic. Sorry Mr. May Mouse, the dark chocolate was the last straw.