Moody, Minimalist Landscape Painting

Posts tagged “sunset paintings

September Newsletter/Art and Life in the Time of Coronavirus

It has been a lovely summer, even within the unwelcome adjustments required by Covid-19. The outdoors is more important than ever before, with my yard functioning as an extension of my studio not just to dry paintings but also to accommodate a few private students and visitors to view artwork. We continue to be careful.

I have been as busy as ever in my studio, and zoom-teaching my workshops in a weekly class format, a more intense schedule of teaching than in the past. The prep of creating or converting workshop subject matter into these short classes is an engaging stretch of the brain for me, a kind of multi-faceted design problem. I can also reach more people with a remote version, and that feels like what is needed now. Check out the Woodstock School of Art website for details on the upcoming, beginning Monday October 5th.

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The benefit for the Island Food Bank that I have been participating in all season long with the Louisa Gould Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard has been extended into fall. Every sale contributes to mitigate food insecurity. This is our most recent:

 

Magic Hour with Drifting Clouds, 24″x48″.

This painting sits squarely in my-most-favorite-things category, the aspects to what I do that please me the most and that I am the most proud of. The color is unusual and heavily mixed to greys, with the cool and nearly flat grey/green of the marsh and blues, pinks, and a hint of purple in sky and water. The bit of a brighter cool blue, the brightest color in the painting, counterbalances with a certain cheeriness the otherwise dreamy and quiet mood.  It illustrates something I say frequently when I teach color mixing: that you can harmonize more hues from the color wheel if they are desaturated then if they are all bright and strong.

In terms of composition, the triangular shape of the marsh is echoed in the clouds. The whole composition would tend to pull to the left, with the clouds either drifting or tumbling in that direction and the marsh also going off on that side: but the almost centered tree and and point of the marsh to the right pull in the opposite direction and keep the eye circulating within the piece.

In my workshops I have been analyzing dozens of artists’ paintings in the manner of the above. Such fun to do this with one of my own!

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I completed another large commission in July, through Forrest Scott Group and for the surgeon’s lounge in the Florida branch of a well-known medical facility.

 

This piece involved an unusual amount of effort and tuning, since I was doing a large version of my photo of an earlier piece. For that piece, I used my photo reference only glancingly, so it was of little use in the large version. In addition, the designer and art consultant selected the image based on a jpeg of the smaller painting, which had a bit of reflectivity in the sky that I had not noticed earlier and that they quite liked and expected to see, understandably, in the final piece.

It is a complicated sky by any standard, with translucent oranges transitioning to cooler reds into mauves and then a soft plum-color going from left to right: oranges into light naples yellows and into the purples going up. The clouds vary in the hue of their off-white, as well. Not hard to do, just hard to do the same way a second time!

The result was satisfying though. Here is the install pic.

 

 

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This 40″x40″ was done in August, a familiar bend in the Esopus Creek as seen from Route 28 just before Phoenicia. Fog had always been a beloved subject of mine, shapes that softly dissipate.

 

 

I have had a run of one commission after another since last November. I can’t really explain this since none of them are connected to each other, except the below; and that is a story way too long and convoluted to recount. Recently finished, 18″x52″, conveying perfect tranquility:

 

 

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I got an email from an old friend inquiring about this painting, which she had seen on social media earlier in the summer. She said that she had a dream about it the night before, and was it still available?

 

The View from Here, 24″x36″.

 

After a yard viewing with her and her husband and a welcome catch-up, the painting went home with her. A sweet sale in every way!

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A few years back Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck brought a grouping of work to a home in Bronxville, NY, where the family was just beginning to settle into a new home. They decided on one piece of mine, preferring to figure out their lighting and furniture before more art purchases. This past late August Albert brought to them another two pieces that they had viewed at the gallery, and those went up as well.

 

 

 

 

Summer at the Creeks, 36″x24″.

 

 

My benefit for regional food banks continues with Albert Shahinan Fine Art as well. The first one that we did was more of a give-away, in which people could make a donation to the food bank of their choice and we mailed them one—or more, in most cases—of these mini collages:

 

 

For our second one, we went up in size and with another grouping, my 6″x6″ oil-on-board pieces, of which there were twelve at the gallery. After Albert sold a 4″x12″ piece on board and folded it into the benefit, we added the two of that size that he had on hand. Each sale is discounted for the collector by $100 and the same amount is going to either the Phoenicia Food Pantry or the Hudson Valley Food Bank. Here is where we stand now.

These are a few pics of pieces still available:

 

Flooded Roadway, oil on 6″x6″ board.

 

Yellow Gleam, oil on 4″x12″ board.

Inquiries for bigger/better pics of other works still available can go to me or to the gallery.

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Just to introduce this with a quick peak, I have been working outdoors with found natural objects as part of my Atlas Project, creating small installations. This is a circle back to some creek workshops that I did with kids years back, finding the possibilities fascinating but not the time to pursue them. This summer I have allowed myself the gift of some time and focus on the process, which involves a lot or trial and error to come up with an arresting image. There will be more of these going forward, and a blog post soon.

 

 

 

 

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We have been involved in house and studio repair projects all season long, instigating a sorting and reorganizing of just about every living and storage space we have. A cascade of breakdowns starting mid-summer led to emergency U-turns from planned projects…but much progress has been made, including a new laptop, car (a newer used Volvo wagon that I can carry up to 48″ wide paintings in, just like the old!!), upstairs plumbing, side of studio, washing machine, and paint job progressing on the house. We have been in this place since 1990 and have not been keeping up, so the sorting will continue.

It is also getting to be time to bring my houseplants in from the yard. I started with this area at the top of the stairs, where I have settled them amidst some ceramic work of my mom’s, as well as two of her paintings. She passed away last December, and I selected these two 12″x12″s from her estate because they are two of her best and because she did them in my studio about twenty years ago. The mirror was also hers.

 

 

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This newsletter is almost entirely art-related, as I have had so much going on in that arena and feel that I cannot even bear to comment on the state of the nation/world. But here I go: I fervently hope that this worldwide trend towards right-wing dictatorship will turn around, starting here in November. Vote! Vote early and in person, if you can.

 


Artist’s Residency on Nantucket/New Atlas Project

As soon as my  residency at the Nantucket Artists Association was scheduled early last fall I launched into planning. I decided to work with exclusively Nantucket imagery while there, and this dovetailed with a larger plan to spread out into a fresh creative endeavor starting in 2017.
And so, I began developing a new rubric for my work that frames groupings of it thematically, calling it my Atlas Project.
Knowing that I would have access to the print studio at the AAN, and after having been reintroduced to printmaking by program coordinator and printmaker Mary Emery while on Nantucket teaching the summer before, I also began exploring printmaking in earnest, studying with Kate McGloughlin at the Woodstock School of Art.
 My new Atlas Project, just several months in, engages in a process of revealing the web of meaning around and between the individual pieces that I create. The matrix that connects all of my landscape imagery is saturated with memory, both personal and collective. To show these connections, I am working with individual but overlapping thematic groupings. The biggest challenge is to then create a legend, or site map, to the bodies of work.

The first sequence that I approached, before going to Nantucket, was Atlas/Forms of Water/Snow. Using drawing, printmaking, pasteling, writing, and mixed-media along with oil paintings, I am exploring with these sequences the interrelationships of process, history, and memory, as revealed not only by air, land, and water but also by my materials and personal history as an artist, family and community member, and frequent inhabitant of the outdoor world.

In late February, all set up in my studio on Nantucket,  I began work on Atlas/Island with painting in oil so that, in my process of layering wet over dry, I would have time to finish and safely bring home the pieces accomplished.


“Coatue of the Scalloped Edges”, oil on board in vintage drawer, 6″x10.5″ overall.

For some of these locales, I wrote a bit about them and later included these observations in the Site Map. Coatue is a stunning landform, and the perfect image for my box with the circular pull. These unusual scalloped edges of sand have been held in place for centuries. In perfect equalibrium, prevailing winds create waves that push sand out to the points, while currents move it in the opposite direction, depositing it on the bends.

“Moors with Mists”, oil on board in vintage tray, 5.5″x24″ overall.

The pieces on board in vintage boxes were not framed that way but rather painted to go inside of those particular boxes, adjusting color and feel of imagery to meld with the tray. I liked the lovely old boxes for this project as a nod to Nantucket’s intricate and unique history.

“Night Harbor”, oil on board in vintage tray, 5.5″x24″ overall.

With Night Harbor my observations turn to a personal memory of the sweet evening last summer when I experienced the view depicted. During the day, while I was teaching, my husband was catching fish. We cooked the fish at our friend’s modest house that looks out on the harbor from the outskirts of town,  the Creeks to our right. The three of us sat watching the fog roll in and out of the harbor for hours, barely speaking, until well after nightfall. Night Harbor is an image of the view off to the left of the lights on the wharves and Brandt Point.

 

“Dunes with Snow”, (Steps Beach), oil on board in vintage tray, 5.5″x24″, overall.

Steps Beach appears a few times in this body of work. I researched and wrote a bit about interdune ecology, described below after the second dune painting, a summer image in greens.

I did one piece using my Affinity format, since this image called for it both in color and in the strong horizontal and diagonal compositional elements.

Affinity/Madaket Dusk, oil on linen with frayed edges on primed board overlaid with graphite gridding, 11″x14″.

This pastel is a view from the ferry of Tuckenuck, the island just visible on the right, the sky a late-day winter sunset:

“Gleam over Tuckernuck”, 7″x11″, pastel on paper.

 

After several days at work on imagery with grey/blues or warmer color, I had a yen for some greens, so I did these three pieces, using reference collected last summer while I was there teaching.

 

“House on Madaket Marsh”, oil on linen, 11″x14″.

Madaket also appears a few times, as I am endlessly drawn to its varied topography.  I include the famous story of the formation of Esther Island during hurricane Esther in 1961, and it’s reattachment and detachment in relation to Smith’s Point over the years since then.

SummerDune

“Summer Dunes”, (Steps Beach entrance) oil on linen, 8″x20″.

The steep dunes on the north side of the island can be safely traipsed through and enjoyed going into Steps Beach. The scene above, a view off to the left between the two large dunes above the beach, is a thriving interdune habitat with just about every shade of green within. The mists tamp the colors down just enough to appeal to my subtle color sensibility.

I knew that dune grasses hold dunes and that marsh grasses both hold ground from eroding seas and clean water passing through; but I didn’t really understood how. Thanks mostly to several articles that I read from Yesterday’s Island by Dr. Sarah Oktay, formerly of the Nantucket Field Station, I now get it and am suitably impressed.

Dune grasses not only anchor sand that is there, they also trap windborn sand and hold it, building dune height. Then, due to their extensive system of underground stems, they are able to grow right up on top of themselves to trap more sand, and so on. Further, as the grasses below decay, soil begins to be built and other plants and small deciduous shrubs can colonize the dune. As these seasonally drop leaves that compost, more soil is built and plants with larger roots can attain purchase and now you have a healthy, diverse, interdune system that protects the shore from erosion during winter storms.

 

“Quaise Marsh”, oil on linen, 11″x14″.

Now, for marsh grasses, perhaps my most frequently painted subject in the past several decades. These grasses trap sediment and organic matter with every tide—cleansing the water—creating a kind of peat at their roots. They, too, can then grow up on top of themselves and this peat and gain height to keep pace with sea level rise,  protecting the shoreline from erosion. That is, they have been able to so far. It is unlikely that they will continue to succeed with the potential six foot rise predicted, at this juncture, by 2100.

Back to the residency. Finally in the print studio, I dialed in on which sorts of my landscape imagery work well in a medium that has a very lively feel. I had previously noted that the soft-focus of my pantings does not translate as well as my emphasis on very strong, minimalist compositions with bold shapes intersecting the picture plane, so I headed straight into this terrain. As before, the first two or three prints that I pull of a given subject matter are not wholly successful, so each print is very much a process of trial and error. This is quite different from my painting process, where I can and do always persist and tweak anything I am not completely happy with.

The imagery for the first two monotypes below came out of walks I did on Nantucket during my first week of the residency, at the Creeks, a lovely marshy area on the harbor near town; and the Moors. The third is an image of Madaket from last summer that I both painted and explored in monotype.

MWinter Creek, 10″x8″, monotype.

 

MMoors, 8″x10″, monotype.

 

MMarsh with House, 8″x10″, monotype.

I also worked on small monotype thumbnails, as well as a linocut map of Nantucket, to incorporate into my Site Map, printing one thumbnail each for the oil paintings that I did for this grouping of Atlas/Island. The map is the new element for me, still very much a work-in-progress, that knits each thematic sequence of paintings, drawings, and prints together, and gives info about the work and the locales. The below is the second prototype–the first was for Atlas/Forms of Water/Snow—and most definitely not the final template. The idea is to map both the subject matter I am working from and the body of work that results.

Site Map with linoprint map and map fragments of Nantucket; monotype thumbnails; tracings; writing and letterpress. The blue areas on the map show parts of the island that will be underwater                                                                 when sea levels rise 3 meters.

 

I am now, at home, hard at work on a third prototype of the site map, trying to integrate the thumbnails, maps, and writing in a more visually lush way. I’ll add it to the post when I am finished.

 To mount a cohesive show of the Nantucket sequence, or any other, of Atlas Project I will want to include some medium-sized and large oil paintings, something I couldn’t do in a short period of time and when all of my supplies and then finished work had to be carried back and forth by foot on the ferry.
I have been fairly obsessive about my work for many years. This very intense two weeks, however, brought my focus to a new high, working morning, noon and night. I broke it up with walks to see the island and my yoga practice…and that was it. I came up with solutions to things I was pondering about the Site Map in the middle of the night—and otherwise slept quite well— and arranged my waking work hours to feel a focused fullness; a kind of (mostly) calm momentum.

In my work I have always seesawed back and forth between the universal and the particular. With a new framework for the work I can continue to do this with individual pieces, while exploring an expanded conversation. Land and and water use has been political since the beginning of our time on earth. As these issues continue to become increasingly critical, I have been catapulted —and also eased, nestled— into creating the Atlas Project, a love-letter to our planet.

 I am grateful to the staff at the AAN, especially Mary Emery, for providing this opportunity and for all of their help. And deepest thanks to my husband Jack, who facilitated it all.

Available Work/Studio/Works on Paper

Almost all of the unframed work included in this data-base is now priced $200-$500. Inquire for details—-only the framed pieces are priced, so check in  with me on the others.. (Through 2020.)

These are works on paper, many of them unframed, currently in my studio. Often works on paper are an option that is more affordable than oil paintings. Several of my galleries and consultants also have a selection of framed or unframed pastels and monotypes, most notably Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck, NY; JSO ART Associates in Westport CT, and Gallery Jupiter in Little Silver, NJ.

Pastels:

Summer Haze, pastel on paper, 12″x18″.

Blue/Green Range, 10″x16″.

Warm Fields, 16″x25″, available through the Louisa Gould Gallery.

Resting Cloudbank, 8″x9″, (framed with mat and black moulding), $700.

River Sunset, 11″x18″, (framed with mat and black molding), $1,000.

Red Sky with Gleam, 5″x12″, $600 (Matted and framed with cherry molding).

Trailing Fields, 4″x24″.

Summer Farm Fields,

Summer Farm Fields, 6″x12″, available through he Louisa Gould Gallery.

Magic Hour in the Mountains, 8″x10″, framed.

Red Field/White Sky, 10″x26″, available through the Louisa Gould Gallery.

Soft Greens,

Soft Greens, 5″x14″.

GleamonGreySea

Gleam on Grey Sea, 14″x14″.

Triptych in Red/Black, 3 panels of

Triptych in Red/Black, 3 panels of 7″x13″.

River Lighthouse, 14″x21″.

Rusty Crane, 14″x21″.

Red Sun, 12"X18", $1,400 (uf).

Red Sun, 11″X18″.

“Gleam over Island”,  7″x11″. Available framed through Gallery Jupiter.

MOuntain Fall

Mountain Fall, 6″x16″.

Mountain Trio, 6.5x13.5.

Mountain Trio, 6.5×13.5.

Moody Mountain Sky, 12"X13", $1,200 (uf).

Moody Mountain Sky, 12″X13″.

Warm Light, 9"X20", $1,200 (uf).

Warm Light, 9″X20″.

Mists over Fields, 5"x8.5".

Mists over Fields, 5″x8.5″.

Green Hills, 15"X18".

Green Hills, 15″X18″.

4 Trees, pastel on paper, 13″x21″.

Oil on paper:

“Study/Yellow Band”, 5″x5″, oil on primed paper, $550 framed.

Study/Still Mists, 4.5″x13.5″.

Study/Ptown Marsh, 3″x9″, $550 framed.

Study/Skyline

Ocean Blues, 6″x12″, available through the Louisa Gould Gallery.

Study/View from Little Mountain, 6.5″x8″.

Study/Red Fields, 5″x10″.

Mixed Media/Collage (Of paper and other things, on board):

Atlas/Cape Cod, 15″x30″

Hudson Canyon Collage, 12″x12″.

Watershed Map, 12″x12″.

CSoThere4x12

So There, 4″x12″.

Actively Seeking, 7″x5″.

Stand Alone, 5″x5″.

Growing Tall, 5″x5″.

CPAth7x5

Path, 7×5.

Cloud, 6"x6".

Cloud, 6″x6″.

Wetlands, 6"x6".

Wetlands, 6″x6″.

Waterways, 6"x4".

Waterways, 6″x4″.

Waterways/Arial, 5"x5".

Waterways/Arial, 5″x5″.

Linocuts

Riverbed Map #1, 6″x12″, $125.

Riverbed Map #3, 6″x12″, $125.

Rverbed Map #2, linocut print on rice paper, 6″x12″, $125.

Four Nantucket Maps.

Nantucket Map #2, 12.5″x18″, hand-colored, $400.

Monotypes:

Five prints.

Waterfall #5, 14″x7.5″.

Waterfall #3.

Overlook with River, 8″x10″.

M/White Wedge, 10″x8″, 2018.

M/White Wedge #3, 10″x8″, 2018.

Wave Triptych, 3 panels of 8″x10″/ea.

Wave, lg. 10″x16″.

The View from There, 10″x16″, 2018, $1,400 unframed.

M/Wave #6, 8″x10″, 2018.

M/Dark Road, monotype and pastel.

M/Dark Road, monotype and pastel, 2016.

Sunset prints as they came out, the AAN, 2017.

M/Mountain Travel.

M/Mountain Travel, 2016.

Moors #3, 8″x10″.

Moors #1, 8″x10″.

M/Waterspouts with Walking Rain.

M/Waterspouts with Walking Rain, 8″x10″, 2016.

Creeks # 2, 10″x8″. through LGG.

M/Creeks#4, 10″x8″, 2017, through LGG.

M/Mountain Stream.

M/Mountain Stream, 2016, through LGG.

M/Marsh with House, 8″x10″, 2017, through LGG.

M/Wave1

M/Wave, 8″x10″, 2016.

mfallmarsh1

M/FallMarsh1, 8″x10″, 2017, through LGG.

mfallmarsh3

M/FallMarsh3, 8″x10″, 2017.

Fall Grasses with Fogbank, 8″x10″, 2018, through LGG.

The three below show the pressed edge and different colored papers. Prints are normally framed showing the distinctive edge, and a little float of the paper, where they are signed:

Evening Travel #2, 8″x10″.

Evening Travel, 8″x10″.

Evening Travel #3, 8″x10″.

Three framed prints, 8″x10″/ea.:

And how a collector framed his: