New Flock

January 22, 2019

crow #3

Crow #3: How Much Light Do We Need Against the Dark

 

I’m playing a bit of catch up here, posting recent drawings that haven’t yet been out in the world. After a break working in other media, I got back to soft pastels last spring and decided to begin by returning to drawings based on birds and their coloration. As I have written before, I begin the drawing using colors based on a particular bird and also keeping in mind other characteristics of that bird that might be helpful. But the demands of the drawing take priority, and the finished work may not be such an obvious reference to the bird that inspired it. For this new batch I decided, with some initial hesitation, to work with the crow. If you check out crows carefully, you will see that everything about them is black: feathers, beak, eyes, feet. The color comes in with the purple/blue gloss on those shiny black feathers. While this was a bigger interpretive challenge than my other choices, I was curious about what might happen. Black is not a color I use often or much of, but with the first drawing I was immediately hooked on the blacks in my box, the variations, and how I might create subtle shifts and relationships by adding in other darks and, in some instances, even soft graphite. There were six crow drawings that arrived all together in that flock (perhaps more to come). And they led in their own way to the next series that I will begin to post soon.

 

While I was working on these, I picked up my copy of Sean Scully: Resistance and Persistence, Selected Writings, as Scully has been a big influence on these pastels. His thoughts (page 36) on color and darkness resonated with me, so I want to share this bit here:

 

Thinking about the colour in my work, and its darkness…I often think about how the light in my work – the light produced by this colour, which is so emphatically attached to its own body weight, it own gravity – has a tendency to fall back into the painting. The painting has to be opened up.

             The colour, of course, could be opened up. Red could be bright red. Yellow could be the colour of flowers. And green could be leaf green. This would make the painting more immediate, more obviously communicative, more readily available…and less burdened by the issue of interior content.

            My painting, however, is a compression: a compression of form, edge, weight. And colour participates in this density. The painting is immediate since it is painted aggressively, by hand; yet it is difficult because it is compressed. The light in the painting has to be opened up, pulled out.

             And it is exactly this difficulty that gives the work its interior life. It is an incarnation, not an explanation.

 

The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. is showing Sean Scully: Landline until February 3. Hopefully the doors to the museum will be unlocked in time to see this powerful work before then! But, that’s another subject…

 

To wrap this post up, I want to share a more poetic name for a flock of crows that I learned this morning; it can be called a ‘murder of crows.’  Who has heard that before?!

 

Manakintowne Workshop

September 3, 2018

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please join us at the farm for the
 
MANAKINTOWNE PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP
 
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 9:30-3:30
(rain date October 6)
 
~~~
 
BRING YOUR FAVORITE MEDIUM
 
or
 
TRY OUR OIL PASTELS ~ ALL SUPPLIES AND BASIC INSTRUCTION PROVIDED
(perfect for beginners)
 
 
TUITION $115 ~ BRING A FRIEND FOR $10 DISCOUNT FOR BOTH OF YOU
(INCLUDES A GOURMET FARM LUNCH)
 
 
Enjoy a restful day working among the fields of Manakintowne Specialty Growers in Powhatan. Instruction for plein air drawing and painting is offered, or you can try oil pastels with beginning instruction and all supplies provided (a great opportunity to try a new medium!). We break mid-day for a delicious lunch and good conversation. Space is limited, so sign up soon! (Contact me here.) 
                                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Last Nests…Rare Sale

July 18, 2018

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Nest of Possibility  (SOLD)

 

Space is finite in the studio, and there is little room remaining on the walls and boards; so I am reducing the price on the last seven nest images to make room for the new drawings in the works. There are five framed oil stick drawings and two oil paintings on wood panel. Most will be reduced  by half. Let me know if you are interested, and I can send pricing information. Come by the studio to have a look in person! Please note, sizes are the framed sizes, and they are approximate.

The image above is the largest:  oil stick and graphite on paper, 22″ x 25″

 

Terra

Terra   (SOLD)

oil stick on paper, 13″ x 15″

 

10-11 nest_2

Sure

oil stick on paper, 10″ x 10″

 

Elemental

Elemental   (SOLD)

oil stick and graphite on paper, 18″ x 18″

 

Eclipse

Eclipse

oil stick on paper, 18″ x 18″

 

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Where to Begin   (SOLD)

oil on wood panel, 11″ x 11″

 

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Winter Nest   (SOLD)

oil on wood panel, 11″ x 11″

Landscapes

June 26, 2018

I haven’t posted any landscapes for a while, so here are three relatively new ones. The top one is oil stick and graphite on paper (15″ x 15″), the second is oil pastel on paper (11″ x 9 1/2″), and the last one is a small oil (paint) on paper (6″ x 4″).

 

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please join us at Huguenot Springs for the
 
MANAKINTOWNE PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP
 
SATURDAY, MAY 19, 9:30-3:30
 
~~~
 
BRING YOUR FAVORITE MEDIUM
 
or
 
TRY OUR OIL PASTELS ~ ALL SUPPLIES AND BASIC INSTRUCTION PROVIDED
(perfect for beginners)
 
 
TUITION $115 ~ BRING A FRIEND FOR $10 DISCOUNT FOR BOTH OF YOU
(INCLUDES A GOURMET FARM LUNCH)
 
 
Enjoy a restful day working under the old shade trees or in the garden of peonies and irises at historic Huguenot Springs in Powhatan. Instruction for plein air drawing and painting is offered, or you can try oil pastels with beginning instruction and all supplies provided (a great opportunity to try a new medium!). We break mid-day for a delicious lunch and good conversation. Space is limited so sign up soon (contact me here through comments). More information will be sent with registration confirmation. We hope you will join us for a peaceful day in the country!
 
 

TWO MORE MAY CLASSES:

MAY MORNINGS PLEIN AIR DRAWING CLASS

Thursdays, May 3, 10, 17, and 24, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM  (rain date is May 31)
$120
 
I will be offering this plein air class again this year on four Thursday mornings in May. Pack up your supplies – oil pastels, paint sticks, or the medium of your choice – and come work out in the  fresh air. In past years we have visited Pony Pasture, the Wetlands, Maymont, and Virginia House. I’m scouting out new possibilities and will let you know where to meet beforehand. Be prepared for a little walking. Please sign up with me by April 27.  You can reach me here for sign up or more information. If you are new to working outside, I am happy to answer any questions you might have regarding supplies you will need. More information will be sent upon registration. Enjoy the peace of working outside! Sign up with a friend!
 
 
 

DRAWING IN COLOR INTENSIVE – VISARTS
 
 May 21 – 25, 1:00 – 3:30
(registration only through VisArts)
 
Work with either oil pastel or paint stick or use the two together to make rich, colorful drawings. We will focus on discovering a range of possibilities for these materials and developing a personal approach to using them. Both are easy to clean up and highly portable making them a good choice for summer travels! Tuition information and sign up here.
 

 

For the Birds

December 5, 2017

 

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Cardinal

 

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Jay

 

 

It has been too long since I posted new work here, so it is time to catch up with what has been going on in the studio. A while back I gave in to the seduction of the beautiful Schmincke soft pastels and made a series of abstract drawings influenced by several favorite artists (including Richard Diebenkorn, Sean Scully, and Christopher Wilmarth) and coming out of earlier work of my own, both two and three dimensional. Earlier this year, something about the soft pastels called me back to work on an earlier unsuccessful drawing and then to pick up a tiny (3” x 3”) prepared paper. For some now forgotten reason, that small square led me to think of songbirds and the goldfinch in particular. So began a series of small drawings (ranging between 3 and 8 inches square) most of which are based on a particular bird. Ultimately the drawing took precedence over any strict reference to the birds, and some went off on a completely different direction departing from any notion of birds at all. Some of the drawings incorporate some characteristic of a particular bird other than its coloration. To spot this, the viewer will have to spend more time than a quick glance and draw from his/her own birding experience. I’ll be posting images here every day or so, and hope you will come back to check them out! And, with luck, a few readers will be moved to have a closer look at the birds populating their environment.

Plein Air Workshop

September 14, 2017

 

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MANAKINTOWNE PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP 

Saturday, October 7,  9:30 AM – 3:30 PM

It’s time  again to make plans for the Manakintowne Plein Air Workshop! Jo Pendergraph and I will be offering the fall workshop at the farm at Manakintowne  Growers on Saturday, October 7, 9:30 – 3:30.  If you have participated before, you already know what a lovely day this is at the farm (or Huguenot Springs for the spring workshop). Spend a restful day working amidst the serene fields and flower beds and break for a delicious farm lunch and good company. This workshop is a great opportunity to try a new medium if you have never picked up oil pastels (all materials are provided) or to practice your plein air skills with oil pastels, oil sticks, oil paint, or the drawing medium of your choice. Contact me here if you want to sign up or if you have questions about the workshop. Space is limited, so sign up soon! Bring friends!