Friday, April 20, 2007

almost bare

I once painted a very distant view of a hillside, nearly bare but for a few clumps of trees. It turned out to be very desolate and almost unfriendly, and never sold. I have always been fond of this type of imagery, though. There is something appealing about a broad view from a long distance. I am still searching for a way to make it work in a less stark approach.

hill rows

Sometimes I find inspiration from old reference images...looking back through old pictures brings back memories and inspires new perspectives on familiar subjects. I painted a version of this image a couple of years ago, but found a different view of the spot that I'm considering revisiting...still working out the palette.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

cumberland river

Today seemed like the perfect day to get out and gather some reference...a little overcast, warm, and slow. I made myself complete a painting, and then I set out to explore a county nearby I have never visited--Trousdale. It looked promising on the map, as the Cumberland River winds through it. I found this spot where the highway curves along a cliff high above the river. Otherwise, the trip was not so abundant with imagery, but I did find some lovely creeks and fields that will be more paintable when the leaves come in about a month from now.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

marsh study

This is a study for a larger piece I completed today of a marshy area near Nashville. I have painted this subject before in a different format, but I really liked the final format of the large painting today, long and horizontal. The study has a life of its own, quick and painterly, a nice change from the more labored final product.

Monday, April 16, 2007

field study

Back in the studio today, I am working on ideas for some larger paintings. I have painted images of this spot before, but I recently came across some imagery that is elongated and would work well as a long, narrow composition. I thought this would be a good way to work out the palette before attempting a different layout.

pisgah national forest

We stopped in the Pisgah National Forest to stretch, let the dog splash in a mountain stream, and inspect our destroyed exhaust system. Yes, that's right. From the moment my bid was accepted as the winner, I feared that the 1988 dinosaur of a Cruiser would not make it the 400 miles back to Nashville, but it was the "reliable" Jetta that had issues in the end. The pipe to the catalytic converter snapped in half about 200 miles into the trip, resulting in an embarassing, sportscar-like, deafening drone for the rest of the weekend. At least this spot was quiet and tranquil, a peaceful mountain stream winding around a mountain, spotted with groves of trees.

mountain ridge

To make a long story short, I spontaneously purchased a beautiful red 1988 FJ62 Toyota Landcruiser on ebay last week, prompting us to drive to North Carolina over the weekend. Although it was probably one of the most insane things I've ever done, it has actually turned out well! We made it home in the "beast" just fine, and had a chance to drive all the way across the Smoky Mountains through snow and rain. This ridge was visible on the way east, a little misty and barren in the early spring cold.

tree row study

I have been preparing to return to the studio and catch up on lost time, so I have been sifting through old images looking for new inspiration. I found an image of a row of trees on a ridge at dusk and wanted to try the combination with light that I observed on the long drive home yesterday. It will take some more experimentation before the image is ready for a larger painting.

reclining nude study

After several days of resting my shoulder and having other adventures (to be described later), I am finally catching up on posts. This week I will hopefully be able to resume a regular painting schedule. This piece is based on a drawing I did in the last session of the figure class, our last class until summer. It was such a positive and invigorating experience working with the students, all of whom were enthusiastic and motivated. I always learn a great deal when I teach, and this was no exception.