On August 23 I finished the seven-panel plein air oils of The Diamond Grade. On September 10, I’m still working on putting together a small card with a fold-out version of the panorama. This is a project I thought to complete in a couple of hours. Instead, it’s taken weeks.
There was the question of the size of the images. And the paper onto which they would be printed. And which printer. And then it was clear that without some kind of cover, the images, folded into rectangles, looked a bit like the notes I passed to friends as a sixth-grader. So I had to find a cover. And then the images sprang open inside the cover, so I had to find a way to fasten the cover, a way which could be undone and redone, without too much damage. I had a bunch of Moo cards that I am currently enamored of that I wanted to include somehow.
Here’s the photo essay of the process:
The original strip of images:
After trying out samples of 3″ and 4″ sizes on my HP ink jet printer and 2″ sizes on my Epson pigment printer, which actually could handle up to 24-inch wide strips, I decided to go with Kinko’s laser printing service.
Pine Creek Gorge, photo from Wikipedia Commons, Commons licensing
I have been violating one of my basic principles. I have, gasp, been painting from photographs.
Pine Creek Gorge 2, 12 x 16″ Oil on board, 2008
In a site called “Hold this Thought” Tom Livingston (Between Silence and Light) quotes architect Louis Kahn:
Architect Louis Kahn’s writings about daylight resonate with me. Here he talks about the nature of a room and its natural light:
“The room is not only the beginning of architecture: it is an extension of self. If you think about it, you realize that you don’t say the same thing in a small room that you say in a large room. If I were to speak in a great hall, I would have to pick one person who smiles at me in order to be able to speak at all.
Also marvelous in a room is the light that comes through the windows of that room and that belongs to the room. The sun does not realize how wonderful it is until after a room is made. A man’s creation, the making of a room, is nothing short of a miracle. Just think, that a man can claim a slice of the sun.”
I’m rather addicted to painting plein air, but the weather in western Oregon is more like eastern Kansas (ie snow, ice, slush, ugh!) right now. So I’ve been painting from my windows, which frame various neighborhood views and foliage. But the Kahn quote also gets me to thinking about the nature of rooms, which I haven’t painted.
This is the unprepossessing set-up in my kitchen. The reason for painting in the kitchen, in spite of the traffic and the high window, is that the best tree in the vicinity faces the sink. It is a continual source of happiness to me — to be cleansing the cutlery while gazing at the ancient face of the huge cherry, with all its anciliary objects — squirrels, hanging plants, pots on the fence that leans against it.
On Monday, I painted two plein aire oils from the uppermost level of a parking garage. On Tuesday I attended a crit session with some other painters that I meet with regularly. OF course, I showed them the paintings.
I managed to remember to photograph the first painting twice — once as it emerged from the garage session, and then again after I had been through the critique and had tweaked it in the studio. I didn’t do a lot to this painting in my second go-round, but when I finished I was concerned about the loss of some of the “naive” quality of the red building. Here are images of the two versions:
Library Parking Garage, View South (first draft) 12 x 16, oil on board more… »
The two paintings by Giorgio Morandi shown here interest me because of what Steve called their ‘dissolving boundaries’. The first one was done in 1960:
Across from my normal sitting place in our dining room (which is really our living/kitchen/common room) are some paintings –Frippery, 36 x 40″ oil on canvas, Condon Library (far left), and Heppner Courthouse, both 12 x 16 inches, oil on board.
The Met has a special exhibition dedicated to Giorgio Morandi (1890 – 1964), an Italian painter who specialized in still life. Upon learning of my trip to NYC, my artist friend Nancy Plum recommended that I take a look. She added that Morandi, not terribly well-known in the US, is a ‘painter’s painter’.
Upon entering the exhibition, my attention was captivated by two Natura Morta, both painted in 1918. This picture, copied from the web, has a reasonably faithful likeness: