Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Plein-Air Play Date!

Spent the day on the beach with Todd Bonita, who minded the Maxes while I went at this little study under the beach tent. I'm going to add detail to it by way of beach-goers and some shadow patterns in the sand and may eventually blow it up and paint it full size (I have a cool 12x24 canvasboard that I picked up in Florida and brought all the way back because I just had a vision of filling it with a seascape something like this). If I do work out some additional ideas in this, I'll post the results here. I'm inspired by Jeremy Miranda's poems to beach-going as well (that man's a magician, by the way).

Given the rigors of parenting, I'm pleased and eternally grateful for being "lucky enough to pick up a brush today," as Todd put it. I owe him one, and I'm already looking forward to next Wednesday when he'll pick the location and make with the paints and brushes while I keep an eye on the kids.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Double Time

I'm in a productive fever.... Why paint one painting when you can paint two at the same time and explore different creative possibilities in each? Obsessive? Me??

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

American Landscape #1 and A New Gallery Added

An experiment I undertook has opened new possibilities. What if I took a lightened-up version of the palette of American masters from the Tonalist period, such as Twachtman, Tryon, and Crane, but added splashes of pure-pigment primaries like Cadmium Red and Yellow? Now what if I tried to gesture (literally) toward the mood of the Hudson River and Tonalist painters, even while the subject slips into abstraction? The result was "American Landscape #1," which I hope expresses reverence for the tradition along with a certain melancholy concerning the unfeasibility and nostalgia of landscape in general today.

Meanwhile, Vermont Artisans Gallery 2 in Brattleboro, VT. has accepted seven of my paintings (including "American Landscape #1") in what I hope will be a long and mutually beneficial partnership with the gallery. The gallery has an interesting and comfortable layout that combines open areas and small rooms with glass walls so you can commune with individual works in peace. The gallery is planning a "featured artist" show for my work in July, and a coterie of my friends is plotting a major after-party at a nearby wine bar. Stay tuned for more as the opening draws near!

Meanwhile, I'm painting with great energy and preparing for the first outdoor show of the season, the Beacon Hill Art Walk in Boston on the first Sunday in June.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Work at Bowersock Gallery

Bowersock Gallery has a selection of 15 of my landscapes on display in their Provincetown Gallery. You can see them on the gallery's website here.

Friday, May 7, 2010

MJ Blanchette

The Storm

MJ Blanchette

MJB has three beautiful paintings in the Nachotta 10 show in Portsmouth. Oh for $1,400 to buy "Storm!"

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spring grays

Whatever color harmony exists in this tiny painting (5"x7") I owe to Corot.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Heartbreaking Grays

I think it's true that great, original art changes the way we see the world. I mean literally changes the visual "reality" of what the world looks and feels like to a given individual. Before I began painting and really looking at and understanding how artists use color, I did not see or feel the world as I do now.

I didn't realize, for example, how many shades of red tint a landscape full of ordinary "green" leaves and grass, especially in early spring, or how many of the colors we experience in the world around us are actually varieties of gray. Someone (it might have been Stapleton Kearns) said it, "we live in a gray world," but I didn't believe it until Corot (French landscapist, c. 1830s) made me feel it. Experiencing Corot's gorgeous poetry of grays - heartbreaking grays - in person, in a painting at the Currier Museum of Art, so filled me with a rare admixture of clarity and melancholy that I could barely walk away.

I left the museum with a profound sense of Corot's genius for creating powerful self-contained alternative realities in his painting. And yet, ever since that day, I have seen Corot's color harmonies - those beautiful, old-world grays - here in New Hampshire, in woodlands and groves that never looked like that before. Each time, unexpectedly I have felt wash over me some of the emotion that Corot seemed to me to express in paint. To me it feels as though a profound and beautiful way of experiencing the world has been permanently added to my life.

I have responded with my own paintings, which aspire to communicate in a similar way but somehow (naturally, I guess) express something completely different, if they manage to express anything at all.

The world *is* how each of us experiences it. And yet, the world we experience is as it is because of the plays of Shakespeare, because of the Baghavad-Gita, because of the Book of Daniel, Exodus, Genesis, the Great Gatsby, Das Capital, "Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist)," "Broadway Boogie-Woogie," the elemental, cryptic cityscapes of Franz Kline, Early Autumn Montclair or "Rain, Steam, and Speed."

Art enhances the real.