I’m involved in a series of diptychs; an exploration of overlapping images with a contiguous background and subject matter. What that means in practice is that, while I draw up both panels together, one half is actually painted before the other is started. It’s great for my color discipline as the lighting and hue of both panels was originally the same but it might be a month before I start on the second image. Here’s the left side of the current set – the right panel is still in progress.
Teapot marked MIJ c 1928 with 4th Century Moorish textile, Museum no. IS. 96-1993, © Victoria and Albert Museum, detail
Oil on gessoed panel, 36 x 24, detail
In October we had the invasion of crab apples (and fruit flies) in the studio, wind storms with power outages, and revelations about drapery and the role of drawing in painting thanks to a dear friend lending me her copy of Modern Prints and Drawings by Paul Sachs.
Now it has turned November and we have quince in progress, 24 x 18, oil on panel.
Honeysuckle is a reliable plant in the Maine climate, and I’d probably grow it for the hummingbirds even if it was fussy to grow. They flit in and out of the foliage from June to September and even the most competitive males find neutral territory to feed in peace on the red trumpets scattered over this huge, tangled bush. The purple flowers are Matronalis, or Dame’s Rocket, a member of the mustard family and much more deer-proof than Phlox, which they strongly resemble.
The final work will be 36 x 24, and the medium is oil on panel. We’re about halfway done in this photo, wish me luck!
On the easel, 24 x 16, oil on panel. I’m tempted to title this one “Knitting a Tree”.
We finally have coverage at our house that seemed cleverly sited to hide from every cell phone tower in the area and now I have a phone! This is relevant because evidently phones have cameras now – very fine cameras indeed – and I can post documentation of works in progress without dragging the Canon down to the studio. I apologize in advance for the art-spam coming your way, have a spruce tree at the Bass Harbor Light to start:
Sometimes I just want to paint structure and there’s nothing like a glass jar buttressed stems, leathery leaves and huge, recurved thorns to work out that urge. These blackberry bushes grow uncultivated along the edge of our gravel road but the blossoms are huge, white and surprisingly delicate for living on nothing but dust and neglect.
Blackberries and Cherries, drawing in progress, vine charcoal on gessoed panel, 40 x 32
I’ve begun to think of these drawings as maps, as a linear underlayment that details distance, emphasis, and locates key objects on the plane of what will eventually be a painting.
18 x 24, Four Seals in the Bright White Light of Morning
New oil detail of crab apples in the diffuse white light of the hoop house.
I’ve been experimenting with stiffer paint and a more Zen approach to the application and brush stroke. This is a continuation of the yellow ground/red drawing two posts back.
As an update on the 14′ x 20′ studio building project in the back yard – we have achieved window trim! And it’s beautiful.
These small casement windows will provide excellent ventilation. There are also large windows on the north wall, and newly installed glass sliding doors into the second floor. The crew had to take them apart to get them up there on the scaffolding – good news is that nobody died. Those sliders weigh a ton.
Here’s the first look into my space on the second floor (just before the doors went in). This is going to be a wonderful place to paint!
Still to do: battens, remaining trim, roof, and stairs on the exterior, first floor flooring and track lighting inside. Stay tuned. . .
John Atkinson’s crew has been busy all week working on the studio under balmy blue October skies. They added square casement windows to R’s space on the first floor, and installed the front door.
The water-table is pressure treated lumber and needs to stay unpainted for a year. The board and batten siding is stained “Colonial Gray” – there won’t be another trim color because the building is just too small for that much detail.
The interior of the first floor. . .
. . . already looks more like a room with the door on! I came home yesterday and found that the big windows on the left had been installed – very nice, very huge. I guess I need another post here once I grab some photos during daylight. For now, a view down the driveway from earlier this week: