I just finished walking our dog. It’s an overcast but mild afternoon here in central Pennsylvania, and the frost is beginning to heave from the ground. Everywhere we step, there’s mud and water. But I saw the first robins on this afternoon’s walk, and I’m pleased to report that the garlic is shooting up in my garden. These are all promising signs of spring, and I’m excited to welcome milder days.
Nonetheless, I’m always a little wistful to say goodbye to the snow. With my artwork, I tend to lag behind the actual season. This latest piece, “Winter Pines – Soul” is no exception. This piece was inspired by a hike last month through Black Moshannon State Park following a fresh, fluffy snowfall. I don’t usually like to brave the roads to drive up there right after a snowfall, but this was the type of snow that really stuck to the tree limbs. Our backyard was gorgeous, and I knew that the park would be outstanding if I could just get there safely. So, I stuffed my carsick-prone studio mascot, Maple, into our car and made the trip.
I was not disappointed by what we discovered when we arrived. It was so peaceful, and we were the only ones in the park that morning, which added to the magic. This piece is the latest addition to an ongoing series of “Winter Pines” works that I began a few years ago. I plan to continue the series, although you may have to wait until winter rolls around again to see any new additions.
As far as this work’s subtitle of “Soul,” well, there are a couple of reasons behind that name. First, the quiet beauty of the park that day was just extraordinary. Days like that are truly the reward for being an artist. Secondly, I’m using this year as an opportunity to slow down a little bit in my work and luxuriate more in my subject choices. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “You’re an artist. Don’t you do that all of the time?”
But the reality is that the demands of my art show schedule over the past few years have made it challenging at times to experiment and keep a childlike quality of joy in the work that I do. This year, I’m slowing down and taking some chances on some different approaches to my work. For example, with this piece I chose an ivory black ground over which I created this work. I thought it would be fun to juxtapose that dark ground with a snowy subject, and I think it lends a nice richness to the color here.
You’ll see the fruits of this more deliberate approach to my artwork in the coming months. Stay tuned.
Although things have been relatively quiet on my web site lately, rest assured that a lot is happening here behind the scenes.
For starters, I’ve been working hard in my studio as I gear up for another busy art show season. I’m pleased to add a new addition to my schedule this year. During the weekend of May 19, I’ll exhibit at the Westchester Festival of the Arts in Scarsdale, New York. And shortly after that, you will see me at the Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the first weekend of June.
More immediately, I am exhibiting new works locally at the Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College, Pennsylvania. This show resumes my interrupted exhibition from earlier this year when some unanticipated renovations ended things a little earlier than scheduled. This local exhibition will be up through the month of May.
Included here are a couple of new pieces fresh off the easel. The first is my debut plein air work for 2012, a new addition to my ongoing series of Black Moshannon State Park landscapes. This is Black Moshannon, No. 34 – “Spring Light.” 2012 marks my 8th year of working on location within this delightful state park. And it marks just the second time that I’ve dragged our new studio mascot, Maple, out with me. I say “dragged” because poor Maple is cursed with terrible car anxiety. Unlike the vast majority of dogs, it’s a struggle to get Maple into our car. Once she’s in the park, she enjoys herself. But getting there is an ordeal. I don’t know how we’re going to persevere through this upcoming summer because I’m planning many outings. Somehow, we will manage.
Anyways, this new landscape captures a subtle but gorgeous character of light across the bog as afternoon began to ease into evening. I painted this last week, during a fairly mild day. But since that time, we’ve had snow! Such are the topsy turvy days of spring.
The next piece fresh off my easel is “High Line Vista,” a view looking uptown from the recently-opened High Line Park in Lower Manhattan. What a treasure this location is! It’s a beautiful innovation and asset for the city. The first time I visited there back in early 2011, only a portion of the park was open. And it clouded over by the time I got off the subway. Blech-h-h. But I had the opportunity to visit there again this past December, and — as you can see — I caught a beautiful sky and light for my efforts. Hooray!
Finally, I want to highlight a coming attraction. In May, I will unveil a brand new web site. A fresh new look and design, combined with the enhanced functionality of true e-commerce. You will be able to purchase my originals online! Development work on this continues and none of it would have been possible without the patient and savvy help of my cousin, Aaron, who owns a web design firm in Austin, Texas and who is himself an accomplished artist. Watch for this new web site in a few weeks. We are putting the finishing touches on it as I type and I am really excited to unleash it.