Mar 29, 2013

The Trials and Wonders of Faux Impressionism

I appreciate this painting for the fact that I developed more ability to paint difficult tree scenes but it looks too faux-Impressionist to me. To be truthful, I did just go to the library to look at landscape painting in books. I wanted to see how different folks dealt with establishing foreground and background in the complicated scenes trees usually appear in. I could not help but think that Impressionists really know where it's at when it comes to painting a landscape, but I feel like my work gets gimmicky when I employ such techniques.

I was most drawn to Klimt's landscapes. There were so many moments in his pieces that, if it was a part of my painting I would think...that just doesn't work at all. Which reminds me that half of making good art is knowing when to stop and having the courage to recognize the beauty of what you put down. Anyhow, I was thinking of Klimt's birch trees while I painted these and it looks to me like any number of faux-Impressionist paintings I've seen in my day. I will have to add a new element to my treescape exercise which is to find that mysterious place where my own expressive voice hides. In the meantime I am happy to learn more about how trees rest in the landscape with each other.

Mar 20, 2013


For my own sake I am posting a snippet of this painting I'm working on, I was having trouble getting all the colors to work together which meant I was going to have to paint over some things and I really wanted to document this before hand because I love the colors so much.

Practicing finishing paintings has had a really lovely effect on my artistic abilities. I finished treescape twelve and promoted it from exercise to painting. It's on The Weight of a Crow if you'd like to see it. I feel like it is one of the best technically rendered pieces I've done which I blame on the patience I've been developing for the sake of these exercises.

Mar 15, 2013

Treescape 12 and the Question of How

I decided to paint 100 treescapes just to learn how to paint the things that are hard to paint about trees and their surroundings. Always I end up with this question: should I move on quickly from one painting to another since this is a learning exercise or should I make finished pieces? Given that the moment the painting gets difficult is the moment I want to move on and that finishing paintings is as practice worthy as painting moss, ferns, leaves and evergreen boughs, I feel like I should relax and try to make nice pieces. The question reminds me of a couple things the Buddhist teacher Cheri Huber always says, it's not what but how and one process does not lead to another. I haven't exactly figured out exactly how to apply this wisdom to my scenario, but I know that being in a hurry or avoiding difficult things while learning how to paint trees will not turn me into a patient and fearless painter of trees. Of course driving myself to be a perfect painter of trees will only turn me into a perfectionist. So whether I choose to make painting or do practice exercises is really not the point. To be patient as I learn, to be devoted to learning, to feel the beauty I want to paint...that would be more the point.

Mar 14, 2013

Treescape 11: Oak Trail

It is really hard to do a watercolor outside on a drizzly day so I finished most of this at home from a photo i took on my phone.
Here's number 10 with a little revision:

Mar 11, 2013

Under-painting: Overlook Trail

Just for fun, here is an under-painting for a landscape I am doing from a sketch off the Overlook Trail in Hoyt Arboretum. I love that the tree on the right looks like a giraffe a bit.

Mar 10, 2013

Treescape 10

I'm tempted to keep painting treescapes as fast as possible without really worrying about making finished pieces, just to learn and practice. Trees are so complex. I feel like this painting started out too simple and then got a little overworked as I added value to the trees. Maybe when the rain comes back I can lock myself up with all my treescapes and finish them. I am really glad to see my whimsy back though, after the paintings I did at Owen's Open space and Chip Ross Park.

Mar 9, 2013

Treescape 9

This picture completely tickles me. I sent it to my brother on my phone to say "Hi, I'm out painting!" but I am smitten with the painting next to the subject. If it looks to you like I left out a tree, well...yes...I did omit a tree. When I first started painting trees I would have thought such a thing preposterous. As one who wants to celebrate nature and meditates on the perfection of things as they are, I would never have come up with the idea myself. Luckily, I took a workshop from an amazing painter, Phyllis Trowbridge, who casually mentioned she changes things to make a good painting. This was years ago but I remember her saying something about evaluating a painting in progress and deciding, that tree doesn't belong there. I was amazed. I have a long gestation period for hatching useful information into practice, but it is nice that it eventually comes to fruition.
Here's Trowbridge's site.

Mar 8, 2013

At least the Robin

I didn't really like the hedge in this painting so I painted it out but I can't quite figure out how to make sense of  the painting now. It is neither a place nor an abstract piece. I am hoping if I put it away for a while I will see what needs to be done. At least the robin is intact.

I am still working on this treescape but I am concerned I am ruining it, the under-painting was so beautiful. It has a similar issue as the robin painting in that it is between abstract and real. Clearly I am going for a whimsical abstracted style but I still want it to hang together as a place one could walk around in. Again, maybe if I let it be for a while it will make more sense.

Mar 6, 2013

Lovejoy News at the South Jetty in Newport

The wind blows the sand sharply across the South Jetty. The seagulls collect where the water turns dark. Meanwhile the raft of sealions swims north, barking at the lone fisherman.
Further east, the seals are quiet and one cormorant stands on the rocks.

Mar 4, 2013

Lovejoy News Takes Up its Own Space

Lovejoy News has moved to its own home: There is a new post up for you this morning, enjoy!

Mar 3, 2013

Lovejoy News in Stewart Slough

At dusk the last robin serenades the first star, twinkling inside the twisted old oak. The robin sleeps and the crickets take over the tune. An owl soon joins.