Monday, January 26, 2015

Sometimes it Takes a Long Time to Finish a Painting

One of my New Year's resolutions (sure to go flying by like all the others) is to work on unfinished paintings, revisit ideas and sketches, and if need be, send hopeless starts to the great art trash bin in the sky.

Painting on site

This painting is one I worked on during one of Tower Hill BotanicalGarden's "Arts Weekends" in October, 2014. It was the time of fall color, but they day turned out gray, then misty, then rain. Still, found a spot under a tree, and at least the acrylics didn't dry too fast like they usually do.

In its first state

The painting looked OK while I was outdoors, and one visitor from Charleston wanted to buy it (I never heard from her, so I assume she came to her senses). Since I wasn't excited by it, I put it away since I knew there was something wrong, but couldn't put my finger (or paint) on it. I then realized that while the foliage was brilliant on that maple tree, it looked out of place because the staff keeps the grounds so clean that there were no leaves on the ground. I also felt it needed softening, but with a few more bits of color, so I added the figure with the umbrella.

Enhanced version

It was still looking rather uninteresting, so I tried the old artist's trick of putting it in a frame to see a more finished effect. Surprisingly, this is all it took to give it a lift. Still may need more tweaking, but now it doesn't seem so hopeless.

Now on to the rest of that lifetime supply of unfinished work....

A frame seems to help

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winter in the Berkshires

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This past year's tactic of making trips closer to home is paying off. Our second December 2014 trip was a visit to the Berkshires. We have passed through on quick visits in previous years, but this was our first winter visit, and in spite of the gray weather, we really enjoyed seeing the landscape when it is not leaf covered.

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Whenever I read Edith Wharton's "Ethan Frome", I can almost feel the bitter cold and stark atmosphere. Having been through some of these small towns on a gray and snowy day, I can see that she captured them accurately.

Reminded me of Wharton's line about "the rest of the Fromes in the graveyard"

We opted to stay in Lenox, so we would be central to the museums. This also gave us the chance to sample a terrific restaurant in Lenox, Nudel.

Well, I picked the hotel because of the indoor pool, as well. 

On our first day, we visited the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield. A combination natural history and art museum, this was also the time of their "Festival of Trees", where local businesses and organizations sponsor trees decorated with a theme (this year's was "Safari"). Some were quite clever, and this did make an interesting addition for the season.

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Some of the galleries were devoted to a new installation of items from the permanent collection. Called  "Objectify" it juxtaposed various objects, and was designed to look as though items were shipped in from around the world, with the viewer seeing the uncrating. They also provided this lovely frame for "photo ops"

Where's John Singer Sargent when you need him?