Sunday, February 28, 2010


View of Rupert Mountain
Oil on Panel
Image 10 x 12 - Framed 15 x 17

Is there such a thing as masculine or feminine painting? Could you, or should you, be able to tell if a painting was done by a man or woman by simply looking at it? I know some subject matter is usually assumed, correctly or incorrectly, to be by a man (battle scenes, etc.) or a woman (mothers and children, e.g.) but what about generic subjects like still life or landscape. If you can tell does that mean there is little or no commonality in the way each sex describes its experiences? If you can't tell does that mean that neither men nor women have anything unique to express? I'm not trying to be sexist or controversial, I'm only thinking about it because my View of Rupert Mountain seems to have a certain femininity to it. I'm not sure I can explain why, it's just a feeling that I get when looking at it. Perhaps it's because Schumann's music was playing in my head as I was painting it, not Robert but Clara Schumann.....

The Painting of the Month is a special offer to my blog readers (click on the image for a larger view). This month View of Rupert Mountain, which retails for $1800, is being made available for $900 (includes shipping, VT residents add 6% sales tax). To purchase this piece contact me at Payment is by check only please, no credit cards. If you prefer you may make 3 monthly payments. This offer is available for 30 days from the date of this post.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Jolly Pumpkin
24 x 36 Oil on Linen

A few years ago I went to see an exhibit by a self taught artist. Now, if you will allow me to be cranky for a moment, it seems to me that a self taught artist is studying with someone who doesn't know anything. That being said the fellow did well enough to have a show at his local art center. He loved Vermeer's paintings and took them as his model. All of the paintings in the show were small interiors with groups of figures going about their daily business, lit by daylight from a single open window. The paintings had a certain charm but they did not have the depth and complexity of a Vermeer. What they did have was a smooth pretty surface with clean, unmuddied colors. I wasn't very impressed with the work but I did come away with something that I think of every time I see an exhibition. As I looked at his work an amusing little play on words came to me. Now when I look at a painting I always ask, is it near Vermeer or mere veneer.....

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dawn (dramatic version)
24 x 36 Oil on Linen

Dawn (lyrical version)

When I was painting the plein air study for Dawn many years ago I heard it as a piece for solo cello. Later when I decided to do a larger version I wanted it to be bigger and bolder. I wanted to give it a voice, rich and powerful, not just a tenor but a dramatic tenor. The clouds became intensely colored, the sunrise overwhelming. I made it as big and romantic as I could then sent it out to a gallery. After a while it came back and I sent it out again, with a little less confidence this time. Recently it came back again and I sat with it and listened. I still liked the tenor voice but maybe not so dramatic, perhaps a lyric tenor might be more sensitive. So I stripped off the varnish and reworked the painting, this time giving it more of a bel canto feeling. It is the same scene, the same aria, only this time it is sung pianissimo, the clouds sotto voce. I like it better now, it has more breadth and subtlety. It is a difficult scene to paint because it can seem rather trite and cliché, but if it is sung with the right voice it can be stunningly beautiful.....

Friday, February 5, 2010

Silent Symphony
30 x 40 Oil on Linen

Snow, softly falling, gently blowing, it was the quietest day the world had ever known. It had been snowing all morning. No motors humming, no dogs barking, everyone and everything had stopped what they were doing to listen to the silent symphony. I opened the door to go outside, but hesitated, not wanting to disturb the innocence of the scene before me. Then a few snowflakes landed on my jacket inviting me to come outside. I was afraid I was going to crush the snow but the snowflakes huddled together to carry my weight as I walked around to the side of the house. The landscape that lay before me was breathtakingly beautiful. The trees and fields were magnificent in their white robes. I could feel a quiet, gentle yet palpable energy. The snowflakes felt it too and each one improvised its own dance as it fell from the sky. A few of the performers landed on my face, took a quick bow, and then disappeared forever. The air was as pure as the snow. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply hoping to cleanse my spirit. I was becoming a player in the symphony. Nothing was happening, there wasn't a sound, yet I never felt more alive.....