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Blog

Check here for updates on progress on my latest works or musings on art-related issues.

July 16, 2011

I've recently finished two pieces. They are shown below. They are titled Little Boxes and Monumental. I decided not to include figurative elements in these. I wanted to focus the exterior architectural elements without figures, cropped, and in a balance with the sky and sea. There is a third one in the works. Stay tuned.

Little Boxes

Monumental

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October 10 , 2009

Here is my latest piece. It is titled Framing. Like the two pieces I did this summer, it owes a lot to the coastal landscape and has a figurative element. However, in some ways, this one really harkens back to earlier work, like Blue Over (2003) and Access (1999). The viewer is positioned behind architectural elements that frame and mediate access to the landscape.

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August 14, 2009

The painting is finished. I have varnished and photographed it. The final title is Descent.

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July 25, 2009

I've begun a new painting and have been working on it for about a week. The images below show the progress from drawing to underpainting to its current state. It's a beach view that includes a rock wall, figures and a couple of houses. The flow from the large house in the foreground to the steps leading to the beach create a downward diagonal that has me favoring a title like, Descent. We'll see. There are some key highlights on the buildings, figures and steps caused by the setting sun that should provide strong visual drama and tension. Of all of my work, I think this one could most clearly be labeled as a landscape. However, the elements that interest me are more about the hard lines and light effects.

Summer visits to the Maine coast are having strong influences on my work. The light and the simplicity of the coast landscape keep catching my attention.

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July 17 , 2009

The painting is finished. I have varnished and photographed it. The final title is No Apologies.

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June 21, 2009

I've done some glazing on the figure and clothing to improve the skin tones and highlights. I've started work on the architectural elements in the foreground.

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June 19, 2009

I've moved from the figure to the banister, table and book.

The cover of the book clearly references Piet Mondrian. I'm influenced by his sharp formal compositions, simple shapes and colors. We diverge on using those formal elements for representation or abstraction.

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June 16, 2009

I've been working on the figure and the cast shadows of the figure and table. I like to push the contrast and the intensity of the colors. The harsh light simplifies the objects into simple shapes that the viewer's eye translates into recognizable objects.

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June 13, 2009

The end of the school year pulled me away from painting for a bit, but summer break promises more time for painting. I have painted the deck and cast shadows. I've also begun the figure's legs and shoes.

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May 24, 2009

The underpainting is set and it is time to begin adding color. I prefer to start with the background and work to the foreground. This allows me to overlay the edges of items that are closer to the viewer on the items that are further away. I tape out the architectural areas so that I can keep a sharp edge on them.

Ever since I put my first sea and sky horizon line in one of my paintings, I've been using them over and over again. They work nicely with the geometric elements that I use in my paintings. They can be rendered as flat clean areas while still suggesting depth and the illusion of space. This is a sort of shorthand form one of my primary interests in painting; play between the 3-D illusion on the 2-D surface.

I have painted in the sky and sea.

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May 17, 2009

I’ve completed the underpainting. The sky and sea use a different palette from that of the rest of the painting. I used titanium white and van dyck brown (cassel) extra. This was serendipitous. I had intended to use the same titanium white and burnt umber palette throughout, but accidentally mixed in van dyck brown (cassel) extra instead. When I put it on the canvas, I liked the cooler tones for the sea and sky, so I went with it. The final underpainting has a nice energy and composition. I’m feeling pretty good about the foundation for the work that I’ve created.

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May 16, 2009

I am starting a new painting. It’s a large work, 3 ft. x 4 ft. It has been almost two years since I’ve undertaken a piece of this size. The demands of working on a teaching credential, Masters of Teaching degree and becoming a new teacher have limited painting time, so I have been working on smaller pieces that are less time-consuming. Things are opening up on the teaching front, so I’m back to a larger piece.

I decided to include a figure in the piece. I’m basing that on a photo of myself. I posed for the shot and to get the composition, lighting and costuming the way I wanted them. I printed a transparency of the image, projected it on the canvas and drew it onto the canvas. The environment is entirely from my imagination. I based the perspective on my pose, established a horizon line and vanishing point and drew the landscape and architecture. After completing the drawing, I started an underpainting using titanium white and burnt umber. I have not used one of these in my work for several years, but I decided that it would be a useful way to get the keying (relationships of values light to dark) pinned down early in the work.

 

I don’t typically give explicit statements about the “meanings” of my works. I often discuss ideas that I am thinking about with respect to the work. I don’t care to put a definitive meaning to pieces, as I like to leave that open for discussion with the viewer. However, there are some key ideas behind this piece that I’d like to share. The title for a work often comes later in the painting process. The working title for this piece came at the same time as the concept, Done Apologizing. I completed my MFA in painting in 1996. Ever since, I’ve felt as if my work has been apologetically responding to the criticisms I heard in graduate school. After a year of teaching an AP art history class, I’ve come to a comfort level regarding my own work and how it fits into the contemporary art world. In the postmodern era, there is ample room for my work and its considerations of formal issues and realism. I no longer feel the need to make apologies for representational and illusionist elements of the work.

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