Thursday, April 29, 2010

Albero di Massima

Albero di Massima, 2010, oil/panel, 30" x 60" (click to enlarge)

Form and structure using trees as subject continues to absorb my efforts in the studio.  When travelling in what some might describe as very boring country (flat fields) I often discover gorgeous trees set in the open.  The "boring" fields act as a perfect foil for the complex shape and mass of the tree.

In this piece, I worked carefully at the shades of the sky against the tree foliage.  It doesn't show as well as I'd like online but the close range upper key description of the clouds plays with the eye as one bounces between reading foliage and sky, foliage and sky.  

Cedars, 2010, oil/panel, 11" x 14"

There are lots of beautiful eastern white cedars in this region.  They make lovely subjects.  I return to them time after time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Shaputaan, 24 " x 48", oil/panel (click to enlarge).

Arkat, 48" x 48", oil/panel.

These two new works are technically, still in progress.  That's because I leave them against the wall in the studio where I can "sneak up on them".  My evolving technique in oil allows for a lot of continued adjustments, sometimes minor and hard to see, sometimes major.  I am enjoying the opportunity to live with the work for longer periods as a way of thinking through what it is that I want to happen on the surface.  

Some artists use a mirror to view their pieces (in reverse), this is useful, thought I don't do it.  I find that while painting on one piece, I may glimpse out of the corner of my eye a drying work against the wall - ...and all of a sudden something about it will "itch" me.  Then I get a sense of what needs to change.  I get these insights when I'm not thinking about the work in question.  It's like getting a set of fresh eyes!

Friday, April 16, 2010


Allegeny, oil/panel, 30" x 60" (click to enlarge).

On return from the recent driving trip to photograph stupas, I had time to reflect on some of the things I saw while travelling. The mountains in Virginia near Charlottesville impressed me.  This prompted a new composition based on a variety of views.

The weather was beautiful and summery.  Temps in the mid 80s and rather humid.  I was interested in the clumps  of trees that form sculptural mounds of foliage in the foreground.  These can be arranged like chess pieces on a board with overlapping.  Then these elements are played off against aerial perspective, and distant sky/clouds.  The key to making these paintings work is the relationship of contrasting areas and levels of detail.  

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Stupa Book

The Kalachakra Stupa at  The Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center in Bloomington, IN

We're on the road again continuing with the stupa book project.  We'll swing around from Indiana to Virginia and New Jersey to photograph 2 more over the coming week or so.  In June we'll visit a stupa in Vermont and the stupa at Gampo Abbey in Cape Breton Nova Scotia.  Later in the year we'll fly out west to finish the project by covering stupas in Arizona and California, maybe Oregon.

Stupa at Samchen Choling Retreat Center, Charlottesville, Virginia