I just got back yesterday from taking my three paintings to Morris, Minnesota for the Horizontal Grandeur show at the Stevens County Historical Museum. Driving from Chicago it's about 10 hours, mostly interstate views of Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. After getting off the interstate the views are a little better, but it's pretty much farm fields and flatland ---- nothing that makes you run for the paint and brushes, no majestic views....at least from the car. So after driving all that distance it took me all of five minutes to drop off and leave, although one person remembered me and my work from last time --- nice to hear. This is a nice show, meaning it's there for three months in a very nice looking museum.
Secondly, the painting you see that I just finished. It's another farm scene from Wisconsin along one of the Rustic Roads. I actually did this farms once before in another view, but the season changed and you'd never know it. This one is 22" x 28", oil on canvas. Otherwise I've been busy repairing old pocket watches. That's frustrating.
Last December I was at a gathering of friends. This portrait, by the way, an 8" x 10" oil on canvas is of my friend Bill. I was sitting at the table after dinner and had my camera intending to take a candid shot of any interesting face I saw. Bill was sitting nearby, but every time I wanted to snap a picture, there he was looking right at me. I wanted something a bit more immediate and just could not get it --- I wanted to tell him to stop looking at me. If it had turned out a bit better I wouldn't be calling this a practice piece, but it's just a practice piece and I guess I will just have to give it to him. I had in mind a "bearded man" series.
Both of these paintings were done on odd size canvas for which I would have to make my own frame (probably). Since I have always stretched my own canvas I always have small remnants which you can either throw out or use. I had saved that end-of-the-watercolor block cardboard and had a nice surface to mount a piece of canvas. So I primed it and waited for the right time to use it. I did the one painting in an hour or so, but the painting with the tree took longer. The marsh painting of Cambridge, WI is 8" x 13" and the other is from Amana, IA and is 7" x 11".
The flooded creek with a footbridge (I don't have a title yet) is finished. I spent some time on the background trees on the left and the right, the water flowing over the footbridge and the light colored tree branches at the extreme left and bottom. I've included a close-up of the area on the right of the rocks. There's a lot of thick paint and knife-work there. That kind of thing takes a lot of patience as you work on it and develop it. (Well, you need patience for all of it, I guess.) So after finishing this painting and setting it aside where I can see it for anything I might have to change, I cleaned off the palette and decided to start the next painting. I don't always have the next one decided upon, but this farm in Cambridge, Wisconsin was something I have wanted to do. It's located behind a pond, which you can just see at the bottom of the painting. No major problems with this one....meaning no rocks. The creek painting is a 20" x 24" and the farm is a 12" x 24". I took another picture of the barn and willow tree which I particularly enjoyed painting.....I liked doing everything on this one....it was a pleasure to look forward to working on this one. I did a couple small sketches after these and have just started another 20" x 24"... a street scene.
I've painted water and rocks for myself or to help students with their work and I've always thought they are hard to make look convincing. Using a combination of brushwork and knifework was the way I did the rocks in the foreground. The water still needs to be finished, especially what's flowing over the footbridge. This is a 20" x 24" oil on canvas of a creek or stream going through an area near the Georgia border in North Carolina. There is a house to the right not in the picture and the water is quite high flowing over the bridge. I had a lot of work finishing the numerous trees in the background. It's a fun painting which I look forward to working on each day.
Here's a small winter painting, 8" x 10", which I started at least a year ago and never finished. I was not happy with it, but it wasn't to be just thrown away. It's a tribute to an artist's not giving up. I was tired of the painting I was working on and decided to pick this one up and finish it. It had been sitting on the floor of the studio looking neither interesting nor bad. A few hours' work of added color and added background (and foreground) and it was done. It did take as much effort to finish as I had originally put into it. This doesn't mean that I always finish everything for there are times when a short trip to the garbage can is the best option. But sometimes another long look (sometimes a year later) can make the difference.
I did this here in Chicago at a forest preserve near my home, but it is also near Superdawg -- a hot dog restaurant. It won't therefore get a Romantic title like "Winter Reverie" or something like that.
This is my final and expanded version of the painting sketch I posted previously. I tried to keep it brushy, well, I always try to do that. I think it has the immediacy of the little sketch, so I am proud of it. This is an 11 X 14" oil on canvas board. I don't know who these two guitarists are, but I am glad that I caught them at this particular moment in time with the light falling just as it did.