This is Rembrandt's "Descent from the Cross" which I copied in 1977 the year after I left art school. I gave it to the church I was going to about 1980. The painting hung for many years at the top of the entrance stairs, so it was the first thing you noticed when arriving. In the course of time, I left that church and after hanging there for probably 20 years the painting was taken down during a remodeling. That wall was taken out and the picture was put into storage. One of my friends there died and I attended the memorial service to be surprised by the fact that the painting was gone. I later asked someone what had happened to it. Just a month ago the new minister decided to clean up the storage area, my friends contacted me and the painting is now back with me after about 25 years. That is the story and here's the point....as you can see in the somewhat blurry closeup (bottom picture) there is a bloom over the picture, some scratches and some frame damage and a hole in the liner around the frame. After a good cleaning it came out looking like new. Not much I can do about the cloth liner, but I can touch up the frame with a little paint. Once your painting leaves your hands there isn't much you can do when it's not well cared for, luckily this one is still good.
I have done the plein air event at Emily Oaks Nature Center over the last 3 years with the Anatomically Correct painting group, an unofficial group. I stood almost in the same spot last year, but of course the concept behind the two are different --- what I did last year was not the same composition or focus as this one. Usually I don't do the same thing from time to time, but there just aren't that many great views here, sorry to say. So knowing what I know and painting the way I do, I pushed the color and brushwork. It's a 9" x 12" on a linen canvas panel prepared by me and painted in less than two hours.
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.