Process

Prairie and Painting, a Process View

Working on our land and working in the studio seem to me to be two sides of the same coin.  Both are connections to nature, rooted deeply in earth and sky, both feed the soul, one reflects the other reflects the other.

This week we burned the prairie, and while it’ll remain charred all winter, in the spring, the wildflowers and native tall grasses will flourish.  The painting that arose from the experience carries the feeling of the day.

 

 

 

Upon Awakening

Upon awakening, there was a sudden and urgent need to paint something fresh and innocent, and hang it in the living room.

 

Photography Day – October 2016

Photography Day:  a 2 minute view of an 8 hour photo shoot.

with E.G. Schempf, Cassie Rhodes, Jane Booth

music by the Count Basie Orchestra – Oh, Lady Be Good

 

 

 

A Week in the Woods and on the Lake

I’ve just spent a week in a unpopulated part of the Ozarks, tuned in to when fish are biting, moon rise and ballooning spiders traveling by wind on a single thread to their new homes.

It is strange to be here without painting supplies, and luxurious to simple take it all in, no output.

We walked for five hours yesterday in the woods.Woods

There was a leaf hanging by a spider’s thread in the woods, dancing in drafts passing through the woods.  Here’s a long look at it:

 

Netting shad, a small silvery fish that is great catfish bait.

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We caught 5 nice channel cats and had them for breakfast.

First time off of work since spring, I feel renewed.

 

Unstretching, and Stretching Canvases

Extra large paintings are hard to stretch.  My studio assistant is small and mighty, and stretched these three jumbo paintings using a ladder and brains.

 

Twenty Eight Legs, an Installation

My paint encrusted work pants seem to me to become senselessly, effortlessly beautiful.

IMG_8264

At last too stiff to wear, I’ve saved some of them, now 14 pairs, amusing myself by considering them in numerous options that include concrete
forms, fences, polyurethane, awnings….  I finally settled on hanging them out to dry, permanently, to watch the twenty eight legs wave in the wind among falling leaves, freeze in ice storms, and slowly disintegrate.  Perhaps the single layer fabric will be the first to give, leaving the pockets and seams and masses of paint strung together until at last, they drop.

 

(Re)Working Large

I fastened together a group of old canvases with an acrylic gel medium to form two gargantuan canvases, and began pouring paint into them outside on a concrete pad, then hauled them in and pinned to the wall.  Some of these repurposed canvases date back to my beginnings as a painter, so I’ve titled the piece “My Life So Far” and am working on it freely, no mind for selling, just for exploration and discovery.

 

Sky

I watched the sky through long afternoons this summer while recovering from an injury.  Sometimes tall billowy thunderheads built up in the indigo blues of midwestern July skies, sometimes it was deep blue and crystal clear, sometimes wafer thin sheets soundlessly skated across the high sky from one horizon to the other.

IMG_7888 (1)

This long recovery became transformative, spacious, deeply informative as to the ever-changing nature of the world.

The first day that I was able to pick up a canvas and a bucket of water, I began these paintings outdoors, under blue skies and high clouds.  So close was the experience to the work, the paint seemed to mix itself to deep indigo, the paintings seemed to appear as I observed.

Sky - Noctilucence 64x56

Sky - Water 66x84

Sky - Polar Clouds 66x84

Sky - Night Shining 64x56

The series is titled “Sky”, and references noctilucent clouds, which are polar clouds in the upper atmosphere, visible in a deep twilight. They are made of ice crystals.  Noctilucent roughly means night shining in Latin.

Modern interior in minimalism style 3D rendering

 

Big Historical Paintings

 

My painting process is rather journalistic, laying down everything that comes from within onto canvas.  Necessarily, given the delicacy of this raw canvas staining technique, there are paintings that go too far, and aren’t workable anymore.  I became interested in the idea of repurposing all of these canvases together to create two gargantuan canvas, onto which I could create an historical imagery piece that would lay over all those years of older work.  My studio assistant, Cassie Rhodes, went to work, “pasting” them together with a gel medium to form two 8’x30′ canvas.  These individual canvases started out loaded up with paint, by the time I painted into them, working outdoors, they were incredibly heavy!  Moving them inside (a storm was moving in) while they were still wet, and then pinning to the wall, became a strategy.

The moving canvas is Life So Far #2, the pinned painting on the wall is Life So Far #1.  Both are in process.

Big Painting

 

The Flint Hills (click here)

I’ve been deep in the heart of the Flint Hills for four days, living primitively by a cold, spring fed creek.  To live in this wild state where owls out number humans by hundreds, is to touch something within/without that is deeply quiet and whole.  It is my favorite place on earth.

 

 

 

Photography Day, June 2016

This minute long film is from a time lapse that spanned 8 hours.  Surely we walk five miles plus on Photography Day.

Music:  Mozart Sonata in D for 2 Pianos, K 448, Molto Allegro, Murray Perahia and Radu Lupu

 

 

 

Big Stormy Grays

 

While working on a commission, I rediscovered the pleasure of richly colored narratives overlaying neutral atmospheres.  These four 60×90 pieces were very satisfying to paint.

Navigation Series - Essence 63x90Navigation Series - Back to the Known 64x90      Navigation Series - Converge 64x90    Euphrates 56x86

 

The Ochres of Roussillon

Ochre pigment is buttery warm, divinely tactile to the eyes, in varying colors from yellow to orange to red.  These colors are my work’s life’s blood.  This spring I visited the small village of Roussillon, in the Luberon Valley in southern France, built on an ochre ridge, mined for it’s pigment.  Walking along the ochre trail, immersed in the earth’s rich warm color, was an ecstatic experience.  I can still feel the buzz, and am now working on a series titled “The Windows of Roussillon”, soon to be completed.

IMG_6845        Ochre dust

IMG_6870         Roussillon Window

 

 

 

Photography Day – April 2016

With EG Schempf and Cassie Rhodes, respectively, Photographer and Studio Assistant extraordinaire.

Music by Beethoven, Piano Sonata #21 In C, Op. 53, Waldstein, 1. Allegro Con Brio, played by Emil Gilits