May 19, 2009


As I was painting this lockhouse on the C&O canal (the canal is at my back), my first impression of the site was quickly overwhelmed by an interest in the textures of the lockhouse stones, the rough tree bark, the long grasses in front of the building.  Those textures, though, exist largely in my memory, and aren't what I'm actually able to see.  

I'm still caught between simplifying the image and getting caught up in bits of light or details.  The details, though, are the opposite of the experience.  I need to make the heaviness of the lockhouse a stronger element and see where that takes me.  More on this to come.

May 6, 2009

Brookside Gardens

This is the view from the Reflection Terrace toward the teahouse at Brookside Gardens.  The memorial is a contemplative spot, dedicated to the memory of the victims of sniper attacks 7 years ago.  Right in front of me were the words "hope for a gentler world and seek a reverence for life among all people."

After many long rainy weeks, this was a first bright morning to paint.  I ended up in a discussion with Walt Bartman and a passerby about painting and the scene.  The question we were debating was how far to take the painting toward detail and "reality."  My vision for the painting came from the soft focus of a reflective moment and the feelings inspired by the idea of a gentler world, so even if I could have, I didn't want to go further with it.  Next time, though, I think I'll take Walt's advice, bring two canvases.  Leave one at the state I feel achieves my vision and then do another, taking it to a higher level of resolution and see what comes of it.