Its been a while since I’ve had a chance to blog. I’m in the middle of a big move at home and I’ve started a couple new jobs so I’m adjusting to a new schedule lately. I have managed to get to the studio some over the last few days and have begun a set of lovely little landscapes, changing up my usual subject matter to go along with all the other changes in my life.
These landscapes are all inspired by visits to Longwood Gardens in suburban Philadelphia. The botanical gardens are a former DuPont estate and visiting them have become a birthday tradition for me the last few years – I turned 40 September 25th by the way. I rarely paint landscapes anymore. In fact this is my first landscape since I think 2013. In graduate school I painted landscapes nearly exclusively until an adviser suggested to me that my works were devoid of meaning and had nothing to do with me. Instead of taking my advisers comments for just bad advise I took it as gospel and began working abstractly.
In tackling this series, which I’m calling “The Longwood 8”, I’ve been trying to capture a sort of humid feel I get when visiting a certain section of Longwood. The Meadow Garden is a large rolling field adjacent to fountains and a forest all within the parks eastern grounds. When I’ve visited the area on my birthday the last two years the air was still warm enough to cause a slight haze, and the light was warm enough to give the marigold in the fields a dipped-in-gold look and feel. It’s actually pretty magical to me, though I’m told it’s a pretty pedestrian country site for the region. Being a city boy though such sites make me feel grounded, as if life is bigger than myself and that the universe has plans in store for me…, mysteries I can’t yet see.
In the studio I’ve sought to capture this impression by building the surface of each painting like I would any work. Laying down layers of collage – in this case strips of masking tape – along with layers of thick acrylic gel medium, giving each work a translucence that gives the works atmosphere similar to what I experience at Longwood.
This last month I won a award from the Lehigh Valley Arts Council for there PPA Project Stream grant to complete my Pilot series of paintings. It’s work that will likely take me well into the new year to finish, and so these little landscapes will be some of my last works of the year that are not Pilot Set related. That thought is a bit overwhelming to me since those paintings are so large. And so working on little 9 x 12 inch baby paintings are the painting equivalent of the calm before the storm.
Here are some shots of the three paintings and under drawings for “The Longwood 8” so far:
And here are the photos that they reference:
My boyfriend loves Rihanna especially early Rihanna. He plays her record “Loud” over and over again in his car and drives me crazy with it. He likes this one particular song a lot. It’s called “California King Bed” and it’s turned into an ear worm for me. It’s an awful song to my ears, maybe you agree. Here it is:
Okay that’s it for now. I’m still trying to get over to the Bradbury-Sullivan Center. I expect that’ll happen sometime this week. Until then be well and welcome to the fall!