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Posts tagged ‘snow’

Waste Not Want Not

This is a “waste not want not” story with a vengeance. Not only am I sporadically trying to use up the gessoed canvases I bought long ago before I became enamored with raw canvas, but I actually grabbed a canvas that an unknown artist at the Art Students League had thrown out (it sat next to the garbage bin for hours). Somehow I just couldn’t let it go to waste.

At home, I gessoed over the other artist’s work (it was pretty bad, so I understood why it had been tossed) and decided to paint something so it wouldn’t go to waste (and also so I wouldn’t have yet another white gessoed canvas with nothing on it to look at).

So the “gift” canvas painting turned into a memory of white water rafting down a fast moving river with a lot of big rocks. Fun. Scary, Exhilarating. I miss that carefree adrenalin rush.

Perilous Acrylic 16×20

I was on a roll, so I decided to tackle another gessoed canvas, one of my own raw canvas paintings I had hated and decided to gesso over so it didn’t get wasted. This time, I was reminiscing about my recent California trip to see my new grandson over Thanksgiving and the summers I spent on Fire Island. (There really is a connection: the balmy California weather made me think of summer on Fire Island, and the weather reports from New York of snowfall added snow to the beach scene.)

First Snow Acrylic 20×20

In both paintings, I use tube acrylic and fluid acrylic with a bristle brush to convey the wind. What started as an experiment at the beginning of the Pandemic is now almost my usual approach to painting, at least when I am home, working on gessoed canvas. It always takes me a little time to shift gears from working with watered down acrylic paint on raw canvas (at the Art Students League) to painting with a bristle brush on gessoed canvas (at home).

I’m still in a wintry mood

Well, I won’t be able to paint winter landscapes when we’re in the middle of spring and it’s hot outside. So I’m kinda happy that we’ve got more wintry weather coming. Because, for some reason, I’m still in a wintry mood.

So my winter series continues, albeit with slightly larger canvases: 10×10. That’s still pretty small as paintings go, but it’s a good size for me to continue my experiment painting winter (snowy) scenes with a palette knife on gessoed canvases. I’ve now painted 12, if you count the ones I’ve painted over. So far I’ve painted over two, because I didn’t like the way they turned out and I didn’t know how to fix them. If I can fix whatever bothers me, then I simply post the final version under “Experiments.” What you are seeing in this blog is the initial version, before whatever corrections might be needed. Sometimes only a minor fix is needed, but I have to live with them for awhile, before I’m sure.

Winter 9

What I love about winter is how stark everything is, how extreme. And a minimalist composition and using a palette knife make it happen.

Winter 10

For some reason, the snow looks a lot more beigey here than in the actual painting (it is white). Guess I’ll have to take another picture before loading up to “Experiments.” But I like the composition.

Winter 11

Winter 11 has already had a lot of changes. So I think this one is done. But, of course, I could change my mind next week before I put it into “Experiments.”

Winter 12

With Winter 12, I wanted a darker sky with a little of the ground showing through the snow. It’s going to have to grow on me though. Not sure what to do with it, if anything. Again, the snow doesn’t look as white here as it does in the painting. I’m going to have to really rethink the way I photograph these.

To be continued… I’m still in a wintry mood and more winter weather is coming.

I’m stilll painting Winter

The weather has warmed up (positively balmy lately), but I’m still painting Winter. Something about the stark contrasts of winter lends itself to experiments. The composition is an experiment. Applying acrylic with a palette knife on mini (6×6) gessoed canvas is certainly an experiment (for me). And experiments are fun. No impossible to meet expectations, just “let’s see what this will look like.”

Winter 8

And if you don’t like it, you just gesso over it and start again. Waste not want not. Now Winter 3 is Winter 8. The snow is dirtier but it’s definitely still winter.

Winter Rocks wins First Place for Watercolor

My painting, Winter Rocks, won First Place for Watercolor at the Vintage Artists Gallery’s 36th Annual Art Show.

Winter Rocks

Winter Rocks, 15 x 11.5, $750

Winter Rocks is a reflection of the brutally cold  winter we experienced this year in New York. After a snow, the craggy rocks in Riverdale look like they could be in the Rockies, or the Alps.  I love the fact that you really can’t tell the scale.

The exhibit will be open weekdays from 9:00 – 4:30 until June 16. The gallery is located at 2600 Netherland Avenue, Bronx, NY 10463; 718-884-5900.

Winter Rocks

I love the winter and especially the snow and the way it changes how everything looks. Winter rocks.

2011 in New York City must have been a really snowy winter, because I painted a lot of semi-representational paintings of snow on the craggy rocks along the West Side Highway around 145th Street. I loved that you couldn’t really tell the scale. It could have been a painting of the Alps or Rockies.  In fact, I almost called this one, Manhattan Alps V.

City Snow V

City Snow V, 14 x 10, $700

This year, we didn’t have as much snow as last year (we are not Boston) but it was much colder. So it was a real Winter, with a capital W.  Well, winter still rocks.  I love the way the snow on the top of the rocks makes patterns. Winter rocks. And this is Winter Rocks.

Winter Rocks

Winter Rocks, 15 x 11.5, $750

Born in Canada. Still a Canadian in the winter under all the layers of down. Winter rocks.

A retrospective of my work

The September exhibit at The Interchurch Center is effectively a retrospective of my work, including 19 paintings of mine going back to 2000 :

Weather Beaten

Weather Beaten, 3.5 x 6, $300

through my trip to Vietnam in 2008,

On the Perfume River

On the Perfume River, 10 x 7, $500

through the beginnings of abstraction in 2009 when I started zooming in on things,

Croton

Croton, 14 x 10, $700

through winter in New York City in 2011 when rocks next to the West Side Highway started looking like the Swiss Alps,

City Snow V

City Snow V, 14 x 10, $700

and paintings from my trip to Iceland in 2012 really started looking otherworldly,

All the Sky's a Stage

All the Sky’s a Stage, 16 x 12, $850

to my current work on Yupo where rocks flow like water (based on a trip to China).

Dragon Path

Dragon Path, 14×10.5, $725

The exhibit will open Monday, September 8 and close Friday, October 3 (M-F 9am – 5pm), with a reception on Thursday, September 18, 5-7:30. Please come and join me at the exhibit at The Interchurch Center, 61 Claremont (120th Street one block west of Broadway) in Manhattan.  You can see more information about these and other paintings of mine at ruthhurd.com.

Evolution of a painting

My painting process, especially if it is a representational painting (one where you recognize the subject), usually involves a series of light washes (often many of them) to create a painting with real depth and intensity.  And there are many adjustments along the way as the painting speaks to me and tells me what it needs.

I spent the recent Christmas holidays visiting my brother in Cooperstown in upstate New York. I described my visit and showed two of my quick sketches in my previous blog.  It’s taken me this long to create a painting from one of those sketches.

This was the initial wash:

Winter v1

Winter v1

You can see the light pencil sketch — not very detailed — and the preliminary light washes, blue for the snow shadows and sky and blue-green for the trees and far mountains.

Winter v2

Winter v2

Here I’ve left the sky and snow shadows alone and focussed on the trees and distant mountain.

Winter v3

Winter v3

Here I’ve added some of the tree trunks and started to indicate the tree branches.

Lots still to do:  make the far trees stand out from the further mountains, continue to define the midground trees and, most importantly, expand the snow shadows. Finally, I added purple to the trees and shadows in spots and then the occasional stroke of red. The last thing, even after I put my name at the bottom, was to add the two hawks cruising in the far sky.

So here is the final painting: Cooperstown Winter.

Cooperstown Winter

Cooperstown Winter

It really does convey the isolation and beauty of winter in Cooperstown.

Christmas Upstate

The best thing about spending Christmas with my brother, Bill, and his wife, Gloria, upstate around Cooperstown (yes, the Baseball Hall of Fame; and no, none of us is a fan) is that there is nothing to do. The town basically shuts down in the winter.  And none of us celebrate Christmas.  So after the driving tour around the area when I could take pictures for future paintings, all there was to do was eat, and drink, and talk.  Absolutely wonderful!

Oh, I did manage to squeeze in a few quick sketches while everyone else was sort of watching Elysium on the tv. So this is what the Cooperstown area looks like on Christmas day.  This first sketch is my favorite, probably because I think I know how I’m going to change it when I do a bigger version.

Winter scene in the Cooperstown, NY area

December in Cooperstown

This next one is Bill’s favorite…

December in Cooperstown II

December in Cooperstown II

By now you’re getting the picture. Trees, and snow, and shadows. No people. Almost no cars. Nothing to mess up the snow, except the occasional rabbit or deer tracks.

And it’s cold!  VERY cold! So, once you’ve taken your pictures, you make a beeline for a warm interior room, preferably with an open fire and a hot toddy (or equivalent) and good people to talk to. Welcome to my Christmas with my husband, my brother and his wife and their two dogs  just outside of Cooperstown.

We had a great time.