Sunday, November 28, 2010

Planting Fields

The leaves are down. The vibrant orange and red colors of autumn have come and gone. A sad time for landscape painters? Not in the least! In fact this is a very exciting time for me because I love trees and I love them even better when I can see their “skeletal” form. I love the way they come up out of the ground and rise high in the sky and I especially love the way they grab the warm sunlight and reflect that back to me. Surrounded as they usually are by cool mauves and grays they seem to radiate heat which is a welcome feeling on a cool day.

Both of these paintings were done on the grounds of the Planting Field Arboretum which is only a couple of miles from my house. “The former estate of William Robinson Coe and his wife, Mai, Planting Fields spans more than 400 acres and includes the estate house Coe Hall and other architecturally significant estate buildings, greenhouses, vast woody plant collections and the woodland trails”. It is a magnificent place to wander through and look for the right composition.

“In the Valley of The Giants” was painted at the westernmost end of the park where many grand old species of trees grow freely.

“November Lindens” was painted just off of the main path not far from the entrance. There is a row of about 6 beautiful lindens which line the path along with an old and very picturesque split rail fence which is in various states of lovely disrepair.

Note that all of these small sketches are available for sale directly from me via this website. Simply click on the “Paintings and Prints” tab and then on “Available Paintings”. The price includes shipping costs.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Red Oak

This morning dawned cold, damp and rainy here in NY. Perfect on site painting weather! I tossed the gear along with my rain slicker into the car and headed over to the Planting Fields Arboretum which is only a few minutes from my house.

With everything on my back and slung over both shoulders I headed out of the parking lot in search of something to paint. The Planting Fields is home to many different species of beautiful trees and I was looking to take advantage of the last of the Fall color which is rapidly falling to the ground.

As soon as I got my gear set up it started to drizzle so up went the umbrella which normally keeps the sun off of my panel and palette but did an adequate job of keeping everything dry today.

One of the things I love about painting at the Planting Fields is that if you are unsure as to exactly what species of tree you are painting all you have to do is to walk over to and read the identification plaque nailed to the tree. Hence my title: “Red Oak” 12 X 12 oil on canvas.

Note that all of these small sketches are available for sale directly from me via this website. Simply click on the “Paintings and Prints” tab and then on “Available Paintings”. The price includes shipping costs.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Presence of Options

I live my life in a fairly rigid and structured way. My wife would probably disagree with that assessment. She would probably prefer something more along the lines of “borderline obsessive-compulsive” as opposed to “fairly rigid and structured”. Let’s just say that I like to plan and prefer when things develop as planned. You already get the sense that I am often set up for trouble.

Yesterday morning started warm and sunny, unusual for this time of year in NY, and I set out to paint at one particular location that I like. It is on Bungtown Road in Cold Spring Harbor and presents a nice panoramic view of the harbor as well as the steeple from St. John’s church rising out of the background. I have painted here before but we still have quite a bit of fall foliage on the trees and I really enjoy revisiting favorite motifs in different seasons.

I arrived, parked the car, grabbed my gear and, after a short hike, arrived at my destination. And it looked awful! The sun was low in the sky, right in my eyes, and everything was backlit and a nasty gray. Disappointed I stood and for just a moment thought “now what am I going to do?” I recall reading somewhere that the presence of options is the sign of a healthy mind and quickly decided that I would …go somewhere else?

Feeling rather proud of my new found flexibility I headed back to the car. As I was loading my gear back in I suddenly noticed this lone bright yellow maple which stood on a small hill just out of the parking lot. Lesson learned? Don’t think Paul…just paint!

Note that this painting is already sold.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Reflecting on Reflections

“Reflections” was begun as a demo for my Thursday night landscape painting class at The Art League of Long Island. Normally I don’t expect too much from demo paintings because my attention is distracted by trying to explain what I am doing instead of just doing it. There is a different zone that I (and I suspect most artists) get into when I am inspired to paint something from nature as opposed to when I have to try to explain every single stroke, why I chose that particular color and/or value, why am I using a knife, etc.

Aside from those distractions this was painted from a photograph that I shot earlier this year when I was painting on site at this great spot that I visit often in Bayville, NY. I am not too fond of painting from photographs anymore but the restraints of an evening landscape class make that a necessity.

That being said, there was something I liked about the way this was going about getting on the canvas. There was a looseness and freshness and I was aware of attempting to make the painting try to be mostly about the way the clouds reflected in the foreground water. There is a stillness and peace that I liked about this from the start and I tried to carry that through to the finish.

Note that all of these small sketches are available for sale directly from me via this website. Simply click on the “Paintings and Prints” tab and then on “Available Paintings”. The price includes shipping costs.