Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Finding Center, or "Centre"?

Work in progress on my field easel: From the verdant Buffalo Run Farm, just south of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

Despite a lot of heavy rainfall this spring (my garden tomatoes are giving me dirty looks), I've managed to thread the needle on a few beautiful days to get out in the field and do some plein air landscape painting as I begin work on a really cool and exciting project for later this year.

I'm partnering with a friend and fellow artist, Alice Kelsey, as well as a local non-profit land conservation group, Clearwater Conservancy, to feature the scenery of our home surroundings here in Centre County, Pennsylvania. The exhibition will open in early November at the State College Framing Company and Gallery and it will highlight the juxtaposition of our area's rural beauty with the small towns and notable landmarks of our area. I'll have more specifics for you later this summer.

Work in progress on my field easel: From the gorgeous panoramic of Everhart Farm, along the edge of State College, Pennsylvania.

We're calling this exhibition "Finding Centre," a play on our county's name and a reference to the balance between town and country themes. Thanks to Clearwater Conservancy, we've been out to some truly beautiful properties. Last week, we spent time on a farm that dates back to the late 1800s, and we got to meet a 3-week old foal! My outdoor art show season has begun in earnest, and after returning from a soggy, stormy, and exhausting trip to an event in Illinois, the opportunity to pet the muzzle of a baby horse was exactly the balm I needed for my soul. It did indeed help me to get re-centered and re-energized.

Baby Horses? Yes, please.

I'll post more photos of our outings as we work on this project throughout the summer. Stay tuned for more sneak previews!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Recent Figurative Work

I kicked off my 2017 outdoor art show season a few weeks ago with my first event in Arlington, Virginia. Since that time, I added an additional event to my schedule and I've been getting out of my studio a bit to focus on plein air landscape work as the weather improves in central Pennsylvania.

But as I head off to my second show, Art on the Square in Belleville, Illinois, I'm excited about some new figurative paintings that I will debut at this event. I'd like to share more with you about them.

Superflash 36 x 36 oil on canvas.

The first new painting is a large oil on canvas called "Superflash." I caught this individual during a beautiful, bright, sunny day in Milan, Italy. If you follow my artwork, then you know that anonymous passersby and storefront displays figure prominently in my cityscapes. I really enjoy exploring the interaction between people and mannequins or their own reflections. This motif was no exception. The bold shapes of this composition coupled with the brilliant touches of pure orange captivated me.

Come Along, Fluffy 8 x 12 oil on panel

The next new painting is much smaller, a brilliant jewel of color and energy inspired by a duo that I observed this past winter in Lower Manhattan. "Come Along, Fluffy" is my first cityscape to feature a dog, which is a little odd because I'm a fanatical dog person and I've been painting for almost 15 years now. But maybe this will be the start of something new? Stay tuned...

Arclight 20 x 30 oil on canvas

Finally, there is "Arclight," my latest interpretation of a frequent source of inspiration: Times Square in New York City. Look, you gotta understand: as a kid who grew up among the endless corn fields of southern Wisconsin, New York City was always a distant, exotic dream destination for me. Now that I live in Pennsylvania, I'm able to visit the city a few times each year. And I never tire of the ostentatious but exuberant Times Square.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Months in the Making

A crazy summer art show season is set to begin, but before diving into that, I slipped away to Philadelphia this past weekend to deliver my largest-ever painting (so far!) to a wonderful client.

"Little Italy Morning" is a 36" x 72" oil painting that grew up out of a study from Lower Manhattan that I created last year. I won't write much here, but I'll let you take a look at the time elapsed working process from start to finish, including its installation in my client's home. This was a months-long process for me, and I enjoyed the challenge of working in a large format for a cityscape. Indeed, this is one of the main reasons why I added oil painting to my body of artwork beginning a few years ago: the freedom to work in larger formats than what I could do with pastel.

Stay tuned, there may be more large format pieces in the future...

The Very Beginning - I work in freehand for everything that I create, so I don't use projectors or other mechanisms to "trace" my compositions into place. If you click this image to enlarge it and look carefully, you'll see that I've divided the canvas into four quadrants to help anchor the main elements of the composition. At this point, it's just a straightforward matter of sketching in the composition with earth tones.

 
 
 
 

Early Colors - The process of working in oil painting is very similar to my "native" medium of pastel in that I work from dark shadow tones forward to midtones and then highlights. In addition, I like to start in the distance and then work forward in a composition like this.

 
 
 
 

Almost Finished on the Easel - I have two easels in my studio, and when I finished this piece and removed it, my studio felt empty.

 

Final - The completed painting.

 

In its New Home - I'm here with my client and I'm pleased to report that I didn't pound a million mistaken holes into his wall...I hung it level on the first try - hooray!