Friday, November 25, 2011
When I looked at this bank of soft weeds with a pond and mountains beyond, I saw a chaos of visual information. There was something special and alive about that tall, central weed, so I let go of expectations about composition, jumped in, and trusted intuition. (Barbara and Meg were painting nearby, Barbara up the gravel path, Meg amid the apple trees — see below.) Oil on stretched canvas, 20" x 16", framed.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
I finally spent some time today doing the last touch-ups to this oil painting, the fruits of several days spent by the Moorman's River in Sugar Hollow outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. My last day of studying this bit of greenery by the river, August 23, I was applying a few final brush strokes and enjoying the light dancing off the wind-blown ripples when the rocks started vibrating beneath my feet. There was the sound of a distant, massive explosion. Eileen was painting a couple dozen feet upriver from me, and she and I exchanged a silent glance for the 30 seconds or so until the event passed.
We both agreed that if something major had happened, eventually a car would happen up the remote hollow, stop near us, roll down the window, and tell us about it. (Eileen, it turns out, had first thought like me that D.C. had been hit by "the big one," but had dismissed the idea when she remembered Congress was not in session. Good thinking, Eileen.)
About 10 minutes later the car came and rolled down its window. We concurred with the gentleman that it must have been an earthquake. He explained he was heading up the road to check on the 77-foot dam, half a mile upriver, that was holding the Sugar Hollow reservoir at bay. As he drove on, Eileen and I exchanged deadpan expressions, then quietly went back to finishing our paintings. Nothing else made much sense.
Once within cell phone coverage on the road home, I got a text message from D.C., then a phone call from France, loved ones asking if I was okay. From France? Back home, the Internet explained: The 5.8 earthquake, rare for our region, had been felt in 22 states — and we, in our spot below the dam, had been about 50 miles from the epicenter. In my absence, my house and my dog had been shaken and stirred. Up a hollow by a sparkling river, the gentle vibration had felt like the most natural thing in the world. I'd like to think that this painting holds a bit of the energy of that day.
Oil on stretched canvas, 24" x 36".
$895 framed, plus shipping. Email me
Saturday, November 19, 2011
It has been very therapeutic for me, doing paintings that involved flowing water. After some 16 years of earning my living as a freelance writer, the sunlight feels amazing, and there's nothing I love more than driving home after a workday with spots of oil paint on my clothes — shades of my childhood, when dried oil paint on the private-school uniform was a badge of honor (at least for me and my sister, it was). This is one of a series of paintings done last August by the Moorman's River, up Sugar Hollow outside of Charlottesville, Va. The leaves were sprouting from the base of a tree trunk at river's edge, the water flowing beyond them. I had painted in the little fish that kept dancing past, but in the end kept them subdued. (Eileen was painting up river from me, and took the photograph below.) Oil on stretched canvas, 20" x 16".
$360 framed, $20 shipping
Thursday, November 17, 2011
The filtered sunlight was beautiful in this spot by a path along the Meadowcreek Parkway, a long-awaited roadway into downtown Charlottesville that is not yet open to traffic — only to pedestrians, and to plein-air painters like my friend Eileen and I, who went there a few weeks ago to study the autumn views. The trail winds along secluded woods and over pedestrian bridges. I finished this painting yesterday with a few touch-ups — now, on to some other nearly completed paintings. Oil on stretched canvas, 16" x 20"
$360 framed, $20 shipping