Friday, February 12, 2021

Wanderings

 Opening February 13th, 2021

A show of fields and flowers, most painted from life, and a few worked up from studies. A journey through the seasons.


Many of these paintings were done in the last year, and as I sorted through them, selecting work for this show, I was brought back to the moments in which they were created. They were moments of grace, however hectic or anxious or troubled the times were in which they were set.

A sample of the pieces in the show.

A painting, or a moonrise or a frost-wreathed tree, doesn't fix anything in the world.
But in looking, and in creating,
in noting the good, beautiful, true, and excellent,
we can fulfill one small thing we're called to do - to "think on these things" - and there is power and peace in that.


And these pieces have the chance to do a little more besides:
Frameworks is generously donating a portion of the proceeds to a local organization working to support single-parent families in the area. I'm happy to have the opportunity for my work to play a small part in that!
The exhibit will be available for viewing in person during gallery hours, and online
February 13 - March 27, 2021

Frameworks Gallery 
2022A Ford Parkway
St. Paul, MN  55116

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things. 
Philippians 4:8

Thursday, February 11, 2021

New Year

 January.

The new year started off with nights of fog and days of frost - more specifically, rime ice - coating every blade of grass that stood above the snow and every twig and clinging leaf on the trees.


January 1, 2021: A short color study in the orchard before dark. 8 x 10" plein air oil on linen/birch.


January 3rd: "Rime Time". The colors and textures of the icy trees and landscape were enchanting. The sky shifted from moody grey to a soft yellow as the sun struggled to clear the clouds. 9 x 12" plein air oil on linen/birch. Sold.


January 4th: Standing under the trees, trying to catch something of the atmosphere and contrasts. The old birch trees in the foreground stood out sharply from the softened form of the frosted trees of the woods behind. The night was warming, and the frost began to fall from the branches. I returned the following night to do some small adjustments just before dark. 10 x 10" plein air oil on linen/birch.



January 10th: A damp wind was blowing from the west across the fields and pasture. The snow-capped corn crib was nearly hidden among the branching willows and aged maples of the farmstead. A study in subtle color shifts. 14 x 11" plein air oil on linen/birch.


January 12th: A small study of a brilliant winter sunset! It was magnificent. 5 x 7" plein air oil on linen/birch. Sold.


As I walked home after painting, I kept turning around to watch the sky, watching the colors change and deepen. This was my attempt to recapture my impression of it back home, in studio, going from field sketches and memory. 14 x 18" oil on linen/birch. Sold.


January 18th: A rough little snow study. I continue to be amazed by all the colors of "the white stuff", depending on weather and time of day. This was just about dusk, the soft light of sunset reflected in the eastern sky and tracks in the hillside snow. Sold.


January 22nd (and 26th): Searching for a place out of the wind, wandering in the woods, I found myself at this old culvert, half caved-in, a remnant of an old road now overgrown in trees. The afternoon sunlight cast strong shadows, and though the air was frigid, the warmth of the light reminded me that spring is not far off. 10 x 8" plein air oil on linen/birch.


January 25th: Another evening snow study. The sky was heavy with clouds, and I admired the slight variations in the whites of the snow on the slopes of the fields from the more shadowed foreground to the distant hillside. 8 x 6" plein air oil on linen/birch.


January 27th: Moonrise in a clear sky. I loved how rich the colors were as the sun set to the west and shone its light on the broken snow and rise of the hill. 7 x 10" plein air oil on linen/birch. Sold.


January 28th: Watching the full moon rise and the colors of the landscape shift. Buttery yellow, dusky blue, and soft rosy afterglow on the trees. 8 x 6" plein air oil on linen/birch.

And as the darkness deepened, the moon rose higher in the sky, and a thin veil of cloud surrounded it in a ragged-edged ring of color. My fingers were growing cold inside their mittens and it was time to leave the wonder of the moonlit landscape for the warmth of the house. 8 x 6" plein air oil on linen/birch.


New Gallery!

I'm so pleased to have delivered a collection of my winter paintings to the James Krom Natural Images Art Gallery and Museum in Rochester, Minnesota. 

"Dusk in the Frozen Orchard", 18 x 24" oil on linen/birch. One of the pieces now available at the gallery.

Located in the Marriott Hotel - Peace Plaza subway level - this gallery is a trove of beautiful and skilled workmanship, from incredible wood carving, bronze sculpture and unique jewelry, to a wide range of paintings that celebrate the natural world - including work from two of my favorite Minnesota painters: Joshua Cunningham and Frederick Somers. It's an honor to be included.


Monday, April 6, 2020

February 2020: Field Notes

The month of February began with sunshine, and a goal to get out into it as much as I could. 
February 1, 2020, 12 x 9" plein air oil on linen/birch.
2/1: The sunshine, though brief, was extra welcome after a particularly cloudy January, and it was good to get out to the woods and paint. The early afternoon light shone on a wild apple tree, and the sun cast blue shadows across the deep snow.
***

February 2, 2020, 10 x 7" plein air oil on linen/birch.

2/2: A birch tree in the woods. The sun sank behind thin clouds to the west, softening the contrasts and colors of the evening landscape.
***

February 4, 2020, 7 x 5" plein air oil on linen/birch.
2/4: Trying to escape the bite of the north wind, I found myself returning to the shelter of the orchard. As usual, the deer had made themselves at home there, and the snow around the trees was crisscrossed with their tracks.
***

February 5,8, 10 x 12" plein air oil on linen/birch.
2/5 (and 2/8): Further snow-study. I loved the strong blue that seemed to envelop the snow- and tree-covered slope in shadow, while the soft evening sunlight lingered on the stones and oak tree that occupy the corner of the hillside pasture. It was a bit more than I could manage in the short time I had before the sun set, and I returned to the same place a few days later to wrestle with it a little longer.
***

February 6, 2020, 10 x 8" plein air oil on linen/birch.
2/6: Golden light, the moon rising over the old oak tree, and the shadow of the hill slowly climbing as the sun sets.
***

February 8, 2020, 5 x 7" plein air oil on linen/birch.
2/8: Small, cold, color studies, as the sun set and the full moon rose above the tree tops.

February 8, 2020, 7 x 5" plein air oil on linen/birch.
***

February 11, 2020, 10 x 7" plein air oil on linen/birch.
2/11: On a west-facing hillside, facing the sun. Hickory and oak trees, blue shadows, 
***

February 15, 2020, 8 x 6" plein air oil on linen/birch.
2/15: The sun setting behind me gave so much color to the snow and the tangle of vines at the base of these trees.
***

February 17, 2020, 7 x 10" plein air oil on linen/birch. Sold.
2/17: Painting in the field, watching approaching snow showers, the afternoon sun occasionally visible through the clouds.
***


February 22, 2020, 11 x 14" oil on linen/hardboard.
2/22: I received a box of lemons from California in the mail and they were too pretty not to paint, their bright yellow next to the blue-tint of an old canning jar from my Grandma's kitchen.

February 22, 2020, 6 x 8" oil on linen.
And one more quick study, just for fun.
***


February 24, 2020, 9 x 12" plein air oil on linen/birch.
2/24: A layer of thin clouds made for subtle light and color at dusk. Snow and scrappy trees.
***


February 29, 2020, 14 x 11" plein air oil on linen/hardboard.
2/29: Leap-day painting. The day had been a persistent grey, and I began my painting with a plan to focus on the dark water and soft color shifts of a cloudy day. I had just sketched out the rough shapes of the scene when I looked up to see blue sky, and the last trace of cloud quickly disappearing. My footprints in the snow caught bright sunlight, and the creek changed from slate to deep blue.
My grey-day painting was ruined, but I can't say it was a complete loss. :)
***

Sunday, April 5, 2020

January 2020


Plein air work:

January Orchard, 10 x 10" plein air oil on linen/birch. Sold
January 6: Painting in the orchard. Apples that were too green for harvest froze on the trees and had turned from yellow-green to a rusty red, giving a blush of color to the tangled branches.



January 20, 2020, 10 x 8" plein air oil on linen/birch.
January 20: In the midst of a very cloudy stretch of winter, a rare day of blue sky and sunshine, and no wind. I liked how the light shone on this hickory tree along a fence line. There were few tracks in the snow, but just before I began to paint, the dogs spotted a rabbit and the chase was on. The rabbit got away, and the scene had changed.



January 28, 2020, 5 x 7" plein air oil on linen/birch.
January 28: A small study on the edge of a cornfield on another cloudy evening. There was just a hint of color at the horizon to indicate the sun was setting, and the dry leaves on the corn stalks rustled in the wind.

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From mid-January to mid-February I had a solo exhibition at Saint Mary's University in Winona, Minnesota.
I showed forty paintings, mostly oils plus a small collection of watercolors, which spanned the seasons and meandered through my beloved fields and woodlands.


 I also had a couple of opportunities to speak with groups of students, while painting these small demonstration pieces. 
Demo #1, 6 x 8" oil on linen/birch.

Demo #2, 6 x 8" oil on linen/birch. Sold



Some pictures from the exhibit:




A painting from last spring, when the fields were beginning to green up and the sky foretold a spring shower. 
An April Sky, 2019, 24 x 30" oil on linen/birch.


This piece, of two distinctive bluffs along Highway 61 in Minnesota, was done over several days on location, plus more work back indoors, as I tried to catch the late light as it hit the peaks of the bluffs. The air was cool, and the leaves of the trees were only beginning to unfurl along the highway. I painted to the sounds of the spring peepers' persistent song and an occasional passing vehicle.
King's and Queen's Bluffs, 2019, 24 x 30" oil on linen/birch.



"An Early Snowfall" was worked up from a small 5 x 7" plein air piece done in early November, when a blanket of snow fell over the still green fields and leaf-clad trees of the woods. A beautiful combination of warm evening light and cold snow underfoot.
An Early Snowfall, 2019, 24 x 30" oil on linen/birch.


Done en plein air over several evenings, as I tried to capture in paint the moments just at dusk when the north sky briefly held on to the colors of sunset before fading to the grey-blue of twilight.
December Dusk, 2019, 8 x 10" plein air oil on linen/birch. Sold


This one was done in one of my favorite places in the woods. The steep hillsides were covered in snow, with the afternoon sunlight slanting through the trees and the blue shadows on a neighboring bluff visible through the branches.
Slanting Sunlight, 2019, 10 x 10" plein air oil on linen/birch. Sold


This painting was done in late October, in the pasture, the oak trees nearly at their peak for color, and the grass still green.
The Pin Oak by the Pasture, 2019, 10 x 7" plein air oil on linen/birch. Sold



Autumn in the woods:


Towards the Valley, 2019, 24 x 24" oil on linen/birch.

Gold in the Back Pasture, 2019, 24 x 24" oil on linen/birch.

A Walk Through November, 2019, 18 x 14" oil on linen/birch.






"Stille Nacht" began as a sketch one night in December as I walked home in the dusk, the afterglow of sunset lingering, and the moon rising. I knew I wanted to paint this, and did a small watercolor study as soon as I could, and then began the oil.
Stille Nacht, 2019, 18 x 24" oil on linen/birch.


The watercolor corner.

North Wind, 2020, watercolor. Sold
Edge of the Meadow, Sunset; 2020, watercolor. Sold



Home.
Home, 2020, 18 x 24" oil on linen/birch.
Another studio piece worked up from a plein air field painting, as September eased into October.



Peace.
Peace, 2019, 18 x 36" oil on linen/birch.
Wishing you peace through this time, and always.