Wednesday, April 29, 2020

New Work: Saccade XII, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

Saccade XII, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches $10950 framed
Saks Galleries, Denver, CO
It's good to have a number of paintings going in the studio to work with. In this 12th Saccade, a very textural painting developed because I worked over another oil from 4-5 years ago. The heavy impasto that resulted took me back to those Monet works. It was a joy to create a forest with all of that ready-made texture.

The purpose of the Saccades is to create a painting without a singular point of interest. Doing so presents a number of problems, first being that all the areas on the canvas are equally interesting. This is a good practice for most paintings anyway, so this oil puts that idea to task.

There is the additional game in play here and that is depth. The viewer gets the impression of being in the darker part of the forest looking out. The light is there, but nothing much is revealed. 

There is a considerable forest pattern effect across the 4 x 5 foot space. It has an abundance of complexity and just enough depth to be an intriguing presence on the wall.

About the Saccades Series shown here:
"Since the late 19th century, researchers have been aware of the phenomenon of saccades, the rapid movement of the eye as we shift our attention from one thing to another. As a result, vision itself is discontinuous. We construct a “map of reality” from saccades much as a film editor puts together a scene from individual camera takes." From an article by the film maker Errol Morris, NY Times

Video: Ken reviews and comments on some of his works at the Sorelle Gallery, New Canaan, CT

In the studio with works in progress

Ken reviews and comments on some of his works at the Sorelle Gallery, New Canaan, CT

It's always an interesting exercise to look back on a body of work and take the time to remember the many paths that brought those works to completion. In the studio, there are times when everything falls away and the artist is left with the paints and artistic problems to solve.

Looking at this video, I'm happy to see that all the puzzles were resolved at last and that the paintings are now out in the world to enjoy. After this little break, there are more canvases to make.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

New Work: The Light in the World I and II, oil on panel and canvas

The Light in the World
Oil on panel, 40 x 40 inches    Saks Galleries, Denver, CO, $6650 framed

The Light in the World
Oil on panel, 24 x 24 inches
Private collection 

It was a great honor to have recently have toured the Holy Land with a group wonderful people from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Fortunately, we safely exited the country just before the virus began appearing there. There are so many good memories of the people, places and experiences.

Our guides kept us busy every day and although we took a lot of photos, they were mostly of the sights with very few that were the sort of scenes that I would be painting from. 

An exception to the daily travel photos was an evening in Jordan at a nice hotel on the edge of the Dead Sea. I was sitting alone with this long, unobstructed view across the water to Israel. It was a quiet evening before sunset and I had the long promenade to myself. As the light was changing, I began to shoot the scene. There may be art in this... As it turns out, I did the 24 x 24 study on panel and used to for the larger, 40 x 40 oil on canvas.

After my return to the U.S., I kept thinking about that evening and how to create a compelling painting from that idea. Ignoring the main color from the photos, I was struck by the tiny bit of orange-yellow of the sunset in a portion of the photo and I decided to create a painting exclusively with those glowing colors. I rejected the sunset portion by using a heavy crop on the photos, just leaving a portion of the long shoreline, sea and sky.

Once the painting began, the land mass became the compositional anchor and the place where the colors started to flow. As the painting progressed, the flow became an important part of the sea and sky as well. I didn't catch it at the time, but my insistence on this limited group of colors and movement in every part of the scene is what made it all come together in an interesting way.

As I was adding the last brushstrokes to the work, a title came to me, something that touches us all, "The Light in the World."

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Grateful Notices: Soft Forest Blues, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 inches

Soft Forest Blues, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 inches
Exhibited: Sorelle Gallery, New Canaan, CT

My thanks to the collector for purchasing my work and to Sorelle Gallery for gracefully making it all possible.

A bit about this oil:

The goal here was to do a forest with blues woven into the composition. I wanted something subtle without the blues being primary. It's easy to use blues to make trees but it's difficult to make them believable.

All of the colors are greyed down, even the darks and lights, allowing the different blues to gently glow in the background. The numerous trunks and branches create a lot of complexity, all to create a veil for the blue hues. The line of trees is bordered with that bit of sky and the muted orange below, a bit of reality to bring it all together.

Finally, the foreground was muted even more, allowing the other subtleties in the painting a chance to be noticed.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Grateful notices: At the Pond's Edge, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

At the Pond's Edge, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches
Exhibited by: Sorelle Gallery, New Canaan, CT
Video: Ken discusses the making of this oil 

This is a painting that was in progress during three seasons, Fall, Winter and then Spring. Each season was represented here at one time and eventually painted over with the following season. The process was enjoyable and a lot of color work was done but this large oil took up a long studio residence in what seemed like the season of perpetual indecision.

Once Spring appeared in the studio window, green solutions presented themselves. Yes? No? The greens were tried and failed but they did work nicely in the lower portion of the blue trees. Spring with blue trees? In this case yes, and when the blues blended into the greens mentioned earlier, the painting began to come to life.

Add the aqua in the background for more drama and for good measure, the yellow tips catching light at the top of the painting.

In the end, what seemed to make this oil work were the contrasts between the darker trees and the light yellow/greens at the top and bottom. Care was taken to soften the sky and foreground, further increasing the effect of mass in the center trees.

Throughout it all, the oil was telling me what to do and I followed along, not being concerned about the time it was taking.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Grateful Notices: All Over Sunset, Study, pastel on paper, 13 3/8 x 17 7/8

Pastel 13 3/8 x 17 7/8 Private collection, Vancouver, Canada Exhibited: Page Waterman Gallery, Wellesley, MA

A very good friend in Florida sent me a photo of a sunset through the trees while on her walk. I kept coming back to that image and finally, I gave it a shot in pastel. The trees had a nice vertical aspect and they were very close together, a great set up for a more abstracted piece.

As the image progressed it became a playground for different colors. At first, it was all in warm tones and as the pastel moved forward, the blues and reds created more interest and interesting contrasts.

When it was done, I wanted more of that composition so, I started a 4 x 6 canvas and it worked out to be a very successful painting.

My thanks to R. who supplied the inspiration and to the collector in Vancouver that contacted me. It was very satisfying to make the sale and the conversation that followed was remarkable. Many thanks to you as well.