Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Road

Ah, paintings at night. These are extremely difficult to do. Painting outside is a challenge. I live in Florida and the bugs are numerous and relentless. My single light I use to illuminate the easel also attracts every one of them. I use clove oil with my medium and that smell causes them to fly right into the painting and, of course, stick right to it. I spend a lot of time plucking them off. How fun. Plus, moving my eye from the highly lit board to the near darkness and back again to the board is very taxing on the eyes after about an hour. So I have to do a painting over many nights. However, photographing anything is nearly impossible. To get the light right is so hard given the extremes of light and really, you can't see much in a photo in the very dark areas. When I am standing there, I see the subtle differences. And any bright lights are totally washed out, so I have to take many, many pictures at just one location to get the information I need to make a painting.
This piece is 9"x 16" and its a perfect example of all of the above. Plus, when you are out there in the dark, people wonder what the hell you are doing. I am sure it looks suspicious with the white van, too. But people, I am hanging out a while because I am trying to get this whole painting thing right, not plan some elaborate heist or mugging.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Night Watch

We spent most of the summer up north, trying to get out of the ridiculous Florida heat. We were in New York when they had just about the hottest stretch of weather ever.
We spent 10 days in the Hudson River valley near New Paltz. We rented a garage apartment and I used my evenings looking for paintings. I like the idea of discovering things. I certainly have images or ideas I am looking for, but the world offers alot more than I can conjure up in my mind.
I didn't have any plan. I just drove around and hoped to come across something really cool at twilight or night. So much of that time is mysterious. Landscapes at this hour are like ghosts that are unseen during the day, only to come out and play to reveal themselves in a myriad of strange and unusual ways. Illumination of light can completely change the way a place looks and feels and quite frankly, so can darkness.
One evening, as night was approaching, I came across a river around Kingston that was near its final destination, the Hudson. This lone, illuminated boat was parked in the river like a sentinel. Its relationship to the house was a mystery. Could have been a party for all I know. Or something sinister. Who knows? With this painting, I want to leave the story open ended and unresolved. I will let the viewer decide its origin and intent.
This painting, more than all the others, represents my transition from pure landscape to one that includes a narrative. It has all the elements of my work and is a nod to the Hudson River artists. In this case, that is literal, given its location.
Its oil on wood.
8.5"x 11.5"