Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Winter Shadows, 30 x 40, oil on linen

How about a winter painting post for this second day of summer? This painting, which was in the Paint & Pixels exhibition at The Museum at Indiana University of PA, was recently selected by the museum board for their permanent collection. It is a good example of alla prima (done all at once) painting. It was done this past February in Indiana County. I started it mid-morning and worked on it until mid-afternoon. During that time the shadows shifted a lot so I had to decide at some point where they needed to live. I liked the idea of having to visually "step over" the near shadows to get to the thick tree and the deep forest in the background. The sun was so brilliant that I had a terrible headache by the time I finished. The entire painting process took about five continuous hours and that includes an 8 x 10 inch study done first. No further work was done to it in my studio.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ghosted Sign, 24 x 30, oil on canvas

Students have often asked how my process evolves. Here is an attempt to show nine steps, start to finish. (I must say it is hard to concentrate on a painting and then stop to take photos at regular intervals!) I often look at something for years until I see it in a particular light and it triggers an idea for a painting. That's what happened last week when I drove by this old brick building. The wall facing west was illuminated by warm light and I could almost read the hand painted sign. There are a lot of these "ghosted signs" here in Pittsburgh. Sometimes you can read them, but most are just faded images. What were they and what are they still trying to say? To me they are grim reminders of the weathering effect time has on all things, especially us.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Brunot's Island, 34 x 64, oil on canvas

This is a piece I've been working on for a few weeks. It is from a photo I took from Mt. Washington. Describing how colors change over distance is something that has always fascinated me. In this painting I'm contrasting a dense dark, shadowed foreground with a cool softer background. The Ohio River splits as it goes around Brunot's Island and makes its way toward McKees Rocks and then on to Sewickley and eventually to the mighty Mississippi. I wanted to show the extreme distance that can be seen from this vantage point.