Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Round Bales
16 x 16 Oil on Panel

I love when composers write variations on a theme and when musicians improvise. West Pawlet Farm, in the previous post, was painted on location. It is a lovely interpretation of what was happening at that place on that day. A romantic painting of rural charm, round bales of hay drying in the open air before being brought to the barn to be stored for winter feeding. As I looked at the painting in my studio I began to hear variations, passages being expressed in different ways. I pulled out a panel, a square panel, a more daring shape than the original, and began to improvise. The horizon moved up in the composition to create a more dramatic view up the hill to the farm. The weather became full sunlight to make the hay bales dry faster. I decided to make the clouds big and thick, moving swiftly through the sky. Still romantic but lighter and faster. I hear West Pawlet Farm as an adagio movement, Round Bales as an allegro tempo. I could hear other variations, a thunderstorm perhaps, presto, furiouso, or a largo with a rainbow. The elements are the same but with a different character. Perhaps in another variation the hay bales would be gone and cows would be grazing in the field. The possibilities are endless. I can see an entire exhibit of paintings of the same scene, variations created in my studio, inspired by a single afternoon painting en plein air.....

Friday, August 19, 2011

West Pawlet Farm
11 x 14 Oil on Panel

Indoor painting is for introverts, outdoor painting is for extroverts. You are alone with your thoughts when painting indoors, outside you share your thoughts with birds and cows or anyone passing by. Indoors you usually know what you will be painting before you enter the studio, outdoors you never know what you will paint until you come upon an exciting scene. Indoors everything is under control, the light is consistent, the temperature just right, anything you might need is nearby. Outdoors you go with the flow, a storm can blow through or a rainbow appear, something is always happening. Indoors you can work on the same painting for many hours or many days, outdoors you can finish several paintings in a single day. Indoors you meditate, outdoors you engage. Indoors it is quiet, perhaps too quiet, let me just check my email. Outdoors it is wild, exciting, perhaps too wild, why is that hawk staring at me.....

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Near the Battenkill
8 x 12 Oil on Panel

I had the most delightfully lovely day today. Elizabeth and I rose late and decided to have breakfast out. There is a marvelous cheesemaker nearby with an unspeakably charming goat farm. On the weekends they have a cafe where one can have various baked goods or a goat cheese panini with fresh coffee or a pot of tea. It isn't meant to be a money making enterprise, just a pleasant environment for friends to gather and chat and, often, make new friends. We arrived this morning to find our friend Tim (who you may remember from an earlier post) playing his recorder with two other recorder players and accompanying a lovely singer. Each of the recorder players had several recorders with them and took turns playing the alto, soprano and bass parts. They played mostly renaissance music, the singer showing a talent for interpreting the works of John Dowland. This was not about money either, they were playing for free for anyone who cared to listen. It was a gloriously sunny morning, we sat outside with our refreshments, listening to sweet music, watching the nearby kid goats frolic, visiting with old friends and new. After a few hours we started home, we had promised our dog that we would take her for a hike in the woods in the afternoon. As we drove home through a breathtakingly beautiful landscape I was reminded of how much I love the life I have. Well, there isn't anything about painting in this post, but it's my 144th post so I'm taking a bit of a break. Besides, if you don't get out and enjoy life you probably won't have much to say with your paintings.....