Sunday, May 19, 2019

Hillside in Bloom

14 x 14 inches, oil on artboard. From a few weeks ago, when the hillside was in full bloom. Colors galore! 

$450 total 

Frame, shipping, and all taxes included.

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Available Please click here for purchase information.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Hillside Carnival

14 x 16 inches, oil on artboard. Crazy beautiful day. Love all the extra colors in the spring landscape.

$500 total 

Frame, shipping, and all taxes included.

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Available Please click here for purchase information.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Doing What You Know vs. What You Don't Know

While out painting the other day, I got myself into a tangle. I had paint all over my board but no glimpse of a developing structure, not an inkling of how to move forward.

I had been in the mood to play, to try something different. I didn't want to repeat myself or take the safe way out. But, once stuck, all that optimism seemed like a bad idea.

It's a familiar feeling. It happens either just before I make a complete mess and go home empty handed, or when I break ground and come up with something new. When it works out, I feel releasedfrom the old way of doing things, from the fear of doing things differentlyand renewed. When it doesn't, like it did that day, it's frustrating. But I try to remember that it's worth it.

Van Gogh wrote "I'm always trying to do what I haven't done before, in order to learn how to do it." He's right, of course. You should always be pushing past your boundaries, even when you wind up completely lost. At those moments, remind yourself that you're exactly where you should be: up to your elbows in confusion. If you know what you're doing, it's because you've done it before. And that can result in a tepid, bored renderinga repetition, a replaying of old moves.

Which is not to say that any time you get out of a painting alivethat is, with a piece that somehow worksit's not something to be happy about. But if I'm just doing what I've done before, I'm usually not happy with the outcome. Not only did I fail to learn something, but my painting is missing a sense of experimentation. A teacher of mine once said we need to see the "struggle" in a painting. Patness doesn't make good art.

Turning yourself inside out every time you paint can be exhausting, of course, and unappealing. That's why it's so important to maintain a sense of play and lightheartedness. You need to not care. You may care, really, but at the crucial moments, you need to act as if you don't. Otherwise you won't have the strength and courage to risk ruining everything in order to make it better. Or to take it, and your skills, somewhere new.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Bright Winter Woods

14 x 14 inches, oil on artboard. Lots of bright warmth in this winter scene - hard on the eyes but good for the spirit!

$450 total 

Frame, shipping, and all taxes included.

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Available Please click here for purchase information.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Plein Air Demo - Lily Pads

Got out to paint as winter was shifting to spring and took my camera...

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Don't Care

I've heard Wolf Kahn and others talk about the importance of "not caring" when painting, and while that seems to make sense as a goal, I've always felt a little skeptical about how achievable it is in practice. You're putting everything you have into a painting—how can you not care?

Today, I grasped the flip side of that question for the first time: really, how can you care? Because if you care about whether your painting turns out well, you'll undercut yourself altogether. You have to try hard and give it all you have, but up to the very point that you decide to stop working on a painting, you shouldn't be looking at it as a potential success or failure, and you shouldn't want anything at all from it other than the opportunity to get out and paint.

If you're in it for the long haul, caring about the success of each painting is just too exhausting, and it inhibits growth. If you want to improve your skills—to grow, to explore—you have to feel free to do anything, to take any risk.

I'm probably able to see this now because it's harder than ever for me to find time to paint. So when I do get a chance, I have to use strategies that conserve energy, emotional energy above all. And if I use up emotional energy caring about the eventual "product" of my work, it's all too likely that on any given day, painting will seem too hard and too draining to attempt.

The only way to keep going, to keep making paintings and to continue to stay open to accident and the unexpected—which is critical to growth and to having fun—is to paint simply for the sake of it. If only one in a hundred paintings turns out to be something you'd want someone else to see, so be it. You'll still be painting.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Milkweed and Gold Field

11 x 11 inches, oil on board, 2015. Milkweed still standing in the warm winter field, or maybe dancing with the trees. 

$300 total (frame, shipping, and all taxes included).

Available Please click here for purchase information.