Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Olivebridge Early Morning, 2014, oil on linen, 8 x 12 inches
I don't think there was a better way of spending the last weekend of summer than to paint in upstate NY. Temperatures dropped dramatically on Saturday morning; my body was not ready for it. It was in the high fifties, perhaps very low sixties, but by the way that I froze while painting this one landscape it might as well have been in the thirties. The intent was to capture the fog covering part of the field bellow, which I have witnessed in person earlier in the summer, but on this morning the effect was the opposite. Heavy clouds and fog loomed right over the Catskill Mountains, and as I painted, the thick sheet of dark grey clouds broke away, letting some of the morning sun shine through. There is magic in the light of the Hudson Valley, it is no wonder that a big school of painters found their inspiration for countless masterpieces there.
Esopus Creek, 2014, oil on linen, 9 x 11 inches
The day got better and the sun came out by the time I set up in the second spot in Esopus Creek. It was no longer cold. As a matter of fact I had layered two sweaters on top of a long sleeve shirt and doubled up on my socks just to stay warm, but to my surprise the afternoon warmed up and the soft sun cast a light glow by the water. Everything was quiet, just like Kelis sings in Acapella "the silence was too deafening." I heard every leaf fall around me, and little frogs jump in and out of the water. This city boy is not used to the sounds of the country and I must say I did not put on headphones just so that I was aware of any little creature that might approach. Scary silence or not, I was in heaven.
Olivebridge Sunset, 2014, oil on linen, 9 x 11 inches
The third painting was a last minute impulse. I didn't think I would have enough time to paint on Sunday afternoon, and as the minutes rolled by the light kept changing and enticing me. In the back of my mind I guess I was waiting for the right golden glow of the Hudson Valley sunset, which I did get and I had to jump on it. Knowing that I had very limited time forced me to focus and to make decisions faster and run with them. Again, the light in this area of New England is incredible and I was happy to get to experience it one last time for this summer.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Ashokan Reservoir, 2014, oil on linen, 10 x 12 inches
Last weekend I spent a few days at a friend's house in the Hudson Valley, and when there I can't pass on painting the scenery near by. The Catskill Mountains can be seen from most places, but no better view than from the Ashokan Reservoir, which is one of two reservoirs in the Catskills that provide NYC with water. The views from this place are breathtaking, trying to find a spot to paint was difficult since the options were so many. There is something in the air and light that make the mountains look very blue from afar. I think this was the main effect I was trying to capture in this painting.
Ashokan Reservoir, Upper Basin, 2014, oil on linen, 10 x 12 inches
As the afternoon progressed it became overcast, and although I could not feel it, I cold see the humidity set in, creating a thick layer across the water. The blue mountains became slightly more grey and values were too similar, making it hard to differentiate most of the shapes. As I continued painting the afternoon sun was trying to break through the heavy clouds, creating a beautiful soft glow. This place was peaceful and it was very hard to leave. More trips to this area will take place in the near future, definitely.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
It was long over due, after ten years of living in this city I finally made it over to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, and what a place it is! I waited too long, most of the flowers had already bloomed and gone, but even so, the different gardens were great. There were few spots I loved and I will have to go back before it gets too cold.
Time was flying and I had to set up quickly, to my luck, I found this stone bridge while walking a path. This bridge was very nondescript while walking through it, but soon as you stepped off the path and walked around you got to see it's structure hovering above a little stream. Something about it said "paint me, paint me!", and usually I go with my gut, this spot was a no brainer.
By setting up on this spot I took on a number of challenges. The first challenge was time, I was off to a late start and not only did I have to try to work fast before I lost all light, but I also had plans right after. This was enough to make me work fast!
The second challenge was dealing with the light. There were moments when the sun was shining bright, and then at times clouds would roll in. To those who don't paint this may not seem like a big deal, but to plein air painters it is, because the amount of light and it's direction changes the colors of the setting. You can spend a whole day adjusting the colors according to the shifting light, but that is not working smart. Choices need to be made from the start to make things easier, and so I chose to paint the golden bright light and focus around that choice.
The third challenge was how to deal with so much green. It has been said in the recent past that I paint too bright, that perhaps I should tone down my colors. I have always wondered why since I think my perception of color might not be too far off from what others see, but I know in all honesty this is not the case. While starting this painting I decided I was not going to hold back and I was going to paint what I saw and if brightness is what I see and what I feel, then so be it. Also, it helped that one of my favorite painters recently published a blog post about this matter, and his take on it, not to mention his amazing work, was enough to make me keep working with a brighter palette.
Stone Bridge, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, 2014, oil on linen, 10 x 12 inches
The finished painting is this explosion of greens and foliage. I will leave you with this quote from Marc Dalessio, the painter I mentioned above:
"First off, I should mention that there are many people whose opinions I highly respect that think my greens are terrible. Acidic, garish, too bright, too yellow, etc… That said, I try to honestly paint what I see and I like my greens. I was always partial to the story of John Constable who, when painting at a time when artists would cover their finished paintings with brown violin varnish to make them look Old Mastery, took a violin and laid it on the bright green grass to show the difference between the accepted pictorial norms of his contemporary artists and the colors of real life."
Monday, August 04, 2014
Ball Fields in North Meadow, 2014, oil on linen, 10 x 12 inchesThese are four new, small paintings started on site and finished mostly in the studio. It seems like I'm back to painting buildings, which I have stayed away from for two years. Not sure why I shied away from it, but this summer I was back at it and to be honest I think I'm getting better and it adds something more interesting to the paintings. I am a contemporary painter after all and why not show contemporary life in my work.
The Hudson from Fort Tryon, 2014, oil on linen, 9 x 12 inchesAside from painting more buildings I have also noticed that my color sense has changed since I started working in plein air. There was more brown in my greens, everything seemed more earthy, but since last year my use of color has opened up more. Everything is more chromatic, another welcome change I would say, since many of the paintings I have been enjoying looking at have been by amazing colorists and I would like to think that they are rubbing off on me.
The Cloisters, 2014, oil on linen, 8 1/2 x 12 inches
Sheep Meadow, 2014, oil on linen, 8 1/8 x 12 1/2 inches
Monday, June 09, 2014
Cows at Pasture, Ireland, 2014, ball point pen in Moleskine sketchbookIreland is an amazing place, there is so much to take in and inspiration manifested itself continuously as we toured through the different towns of the countryside. We were constantly on the move, but no matter what I still managed to sneak in a little bit of time to sketch and watercolor. Here are three views of the many I got to experience in my recent trip Ireland.
Cliffs of Moher, 2014, watercolor on paper, 6 3/4 x 10 inches
Irish Countryside, 2014, watercolor on paper, 6 3/4 x 10 inches
Thursday, June 05, 2014
Here they are, the most recent plein air paintings from Central Park and from a weekend trip to Olivebridge, New York. I have come to the realization lately that I'm no longer a studio painter, it bores me to bee sitting in a room surrounded by four walls with a ton of canvases and bad lighting! The more time I have on a painting the more I doubt myself and unnesesary changes happen, ruining most of my work. Painting outdoors forces me to make quick decisions while trying to capture the scene in front of me. It's a race against time as the minutes go by and light changes. This is an exciting challenge and I relish in it. This summer will be a good one, I can feel it!
North Woods Waterfall, Spring, 2014, oil on linen, 12 x 9 inches
In the Woods of Olivebridge, 2014, oil on linen, 11 x 9 inches
Olivebridge View of the Catskills, Early Afternoon, 2014, oil on linen, 9 x 11 inches
Olivebridge View of the Catskills, Late Afternoon, 2014, oil on linen, 9 x 11 inches
Thursday, May 29, 2014
I have gone out to Central Park on the days temperatures were warm. It feels great to get back to plein air after the long cold winter we experienced. I have not been able to take photos of the paintings yet but they are coming!
I also spent a week in Ireland, not much painting done there, only two watercolor, but I did get to experience the Irish country side and it was amazing. I took many photos, lots of reference for studio work. More on that in a couple of days.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
North Woods Waterfall, 2014, oil on linen, 12 x 9 inchesSpring is here and New Yorkers are as happy as can be. I don't think we can take more of the cold and snow we've been subjected to this winter. Although it is a little early for it, people were out in shorts and tshirts enjoying the sixty something degree weather. The sun was out for a good part of the day and I loved every minute of it. Plein air season is here ladies and gents, and nothing can give me more joy than to be out painting outside (sorry babe :/). This is what I accomplished today at Central Park. I'm very happy with it, and I can't wait to go out there again! More to come.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Clouds Over Riviera Maya 1, 2014, watercolor on paper, 6 3/4 x 10 inches
These are a few watercolors I accomplished very recently while I was on vacation in Riviera Maya, Mexico. How I wish I was still back there in the hot sun painting the afternoons away. This has been a brutal winter here in the North East, and it was an incredible treat to be able to get away at least for a week. Spring is coming soon, I keep telling myself, I miss painting outdoor. Soon as it gets warm I'll be out side painting as much as I can.
Riviera Maya, Afternoon, 2014, watercolor on paper, 6 3/4 x 10 inches
Clouds Over Riviera Maya 2, 2014, watercolor on paper, 6 3/4 x 10 inches
Riviera Maya, Morning, 2014, watercolor on paper, 6 3/4 x 10 inches
Clouds Over Riviera Maya 3, 2014, watercolor on paper, 6 3/4 x 10 inches