Monday, December 26, 2011

A Little Tied Up, 8x8

Every year about this time thoughts of how I'm going to make my life richer, more meaningful, and longer keep cropping up.  Like a built in early warning system these thoughts also happen in March, June and September whether I will them in or not.

My usual lists of 'to-dos' break down into the nagging concerns (clean the gutters, sort through those stacks of office papers, actually attach lights to those wires sticking out of the wall) to the ones that are more about guidance systems (meditate more regularly, exercise often, fear less and embrace more, be kinder).  Whether about meditation or stacks of papers they all keep showing up year after year regular as can be.

Perhaps it's the process of growing, not the accomplishments, that is most important in the end. 

Painting is like that.  As long as I focus on enjoying just putting down honest strokes of paint the product takes care of itself.   Life, like painting, seems to be just one small moment at a time. 'The Tao of Painting' should be a book if it isn't one already.

This painting is another I dug up out of the scrap pile, added a couple of strokes and now find it much more interesting for a very quick plein air study.

Friday, December 23, 2011

December Apples, 8x16

Here's wishing you a very happy holiday.

We are staying at home before the fire just relaxing and enjoying having family over.  Many of the gifts we are giving are from Heifer International, the organization that gives farm animals to those that don't have enough.....and we get good feelings knowing we can help in a very small way.  To those of us able to effortlessly connect electronically several times a day with friends and others it is easy to forget how important a goat or a chicken can be to much of the world.  My wife is to thank for making me more aware.

Again, have a wonderful time doing whatever brings you joy during this holiday time and I'll see you again next week.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Spring Creek Crossing, 11x12

Another rescued!  A couple of people have asked what I do with the culled paintings that have no chance of becoming more than an interesting exercise....(see the last post).  They used to end up in the dump until I saw someone pulling them out one day.  Now they get a splash with a bit of old latex house paint I usually have around....and then they get dumped.  Heartless, aren't I?

Throwing out paintings is one of those sweet/sour experiences of life.  The images always bring me back to the smells and feelings of that painting day.  At the same time I don't want images around that bring to mind my mistakes.

I'm reminded of something I heard about Greg Louganis, the diver.  In the last Olympics he participated in he hit his head on the concrete high dive stand doing one of his reverse flips.  He recovered and went on to gold medal by getting close to a 10 in his next attempt just a few minutes later.  I expected him to be severely injured....which it turns out he was.  When asked if he wanted to see the video of the mistake he said that he never looked at his mistakes, just his successes because those were the only images he wanted in his head.

I'm no Greg Louganis but his words have always made sense to me.

The changes I made to this to save it from the dump were few, all about values.  The more distant tree I lightened.  The purplish light striking the branches of the closer fir were also brought up in value.  The water reflection was simplified. 

This will be in the home of 'Bob', one of the stars of the movie 'Old Goats' because it is from an area in Montana he used to fish.

Monday, December 19, 2011

All Peared Up, 6x12

That time of the year has come.  The tree is up, the festivities are beginning and it's time for me to do my annual culling of paintings.  Occasionally, however, I run across one that doesn't want to leave.  I've only sorted through one box so far and already I have pulled out six that, with tweak or two, are going to stay for a while longer.

This comes from a hot summer day when the sun was just a few hours from setting.  I remember the light being so bright that it was difficult to see the colors.  In the way of improvement I changed only a few strokes and now find it pleasant to look at.

Like life in general, it often takes only the tiniest effort to make a huge difference.....for paintings and people.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Hollow, 8x10

Yipes, have I been busy!  The holiday season always catches me by surprise.  I've done paintings lately but haven't taken the time to photograph them.  This one was from early Fall when the leaves were just beginning to change.

Classes have finished until January when I begin a new round and couple them with some workshops on portrait, gouache, and maybe marker drawing and printmaking.  OK.  Now I'm already tired just thinking about it......secretly I really enjoy them.  I live for seeing people have that 'ah-ha' experience when all the juggling of  plates we call painting actually works. 

I also just finished building 12 suitcase palettes for people.  Don't know what a 'suitcase palette' is? .....I'll show you when I get the picture.

By the way, I ran across a painter named Daniel Corey from Maine whose work I enjoy.  He's running a fund raiser with his paintings.  Whether you buy one or not it's worth the look to see what he's doing.  Go HERE.