Friday, July 29, 2011
In Park's Waters (30 X 40"), oil on canvas
Bischoff's Bathers (30 X 40"), oil on canvas
Figures in watery landscapes is a subject I want to keep pushing. Two painters whose work was highly successful in placing men and women together in the murky emotional depths of water were David Park and Elmer Bischoff of the Bay Area figurative movement. Their confidence in applying thick color on canvas with clean emotional resonance set the standard. So one especially hot and lonesome week this month in DC I plumbed the depths of their approach by working in an openly derivative vein off of my favorite paintings by each of them.
Under the Whitehurst Freeway #1 (18 X 24"), oil on canvas
Under the Whitehurst Freeway #2 (12 X 24"), oil on canvas
On a hot July day, this is one spot where a person can find pretty steady shade. The cool, blue river and recently planted sycamores wave from the distance, but mostly it's a symphony of grey with big patches of liquid sky, warm bricks, hard steel, leaden pavement, and the occasional pedestrian. I've been looking at Rackstraw Downes' work a lot this year and I admire his approach greatly. He owns no camera and no computer and sets the standard for highly realistic plein-air painting in this late industrial era. These were done in that vein, but I can't hold a candle to his level of rigor and detail.
Will (18 X 24"), oil on paper. Blunt Collection.
Pat (20 X 20"), oil on canvas
Pat and Will are two friends from early childhood who are strong presences in my life today. These are two quick renderings. The one of Pat I think is especially successful and was done in a 90 minute sitting. The power of the colors, lines and gestures as they move around the square really excites me. The rendering reveals something of the mass and depth of the subject. I'd like to do more pieces this way with volunteers of all ages, colors, sizes, etc. No purchase necessary. Gimme a shout if you'd like to sit for me.
King of the Bayou #3 (22 X 28"), oil on canvas
In Louisiana in April I did a series of plein-air studies of this drilling rig. This is done from photos I took that day.
Sugarhouse #2 (16 X 24"), oil on paper
This is a study for a 24 X 36" canvas I aim to paint for a show in New Orleans in March.
Westward Ho (24 X 48"), oil on canvas
This is the railroad bridge and yellow line metro bridge stretching west from Haines Point. Anselm Kiefer's Zim-Zum piece at the National Gallery impressed me years ago with its rush of movement and poke at Teutonic notions of progress. I'm tempted to call this one Zim Zoom... It delivers that broken up atomizing impact that fading light on water and bridges has for me.
Dance of the Earth Movers (24 X 30"), oil on canvas. Sold.