Saturday, November 20, 2010


a painting by Nathan Oliveira

Nathan Oliveira died this week.  His paintings are good; I recommend you see them whenever you can.  They move and yet they also are paintings, still.

Jack Levine died November 8th.  His paintings are good, even great.  I know of no one who has better drawing and painting skill or storytelling range:  paintings of Jack's can be large, breathing big, pulsing--and glittering with light--even if the canvas surface is not so very large.  Look for his paintings.  You will see them in many museums, with the Goyas, the Rembrandts, the masters.  (Images of them are untransferable to a website.)  I commemorate his work with this recommendation for you to go look.

I knew Jack, a slim man, wry, and big in curiosity and knowledge of history, and culture and popular culture.  His paintings and drawings and prints have thrilled me, they thrill me still. 

another bear field

november field

Foraging bear field :  maybe this is a more apt description for this small painting since, besides having plants the colors of bears, this field painting has greens and berry-colors also.  Still, we're losing our range of colors fast now in the fields and treelines.  Nuance of color is emerging instead.  And soon nuance will take on a wide, wonderful range of its own.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

bear fields

november field

The fields are devoid of living-growing colors, almost.  Pockets appear--still-green grasses and leaves, blooms not quite spent.  Mostly, all is enveloped:  all is moving in the breezes--textured-- but uniformly neutral:  browns, greys, whites.  The fields of grasses and dried plants are the colors of bears.  I find these bear fields wonderful.  You too?

My challenge as I painted this field was getting a sense of the under and the over in the pocket of the field without too much drama!  Underneath are the colors of the season-past; over and around are the colors of the season-ahead.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

blue jay again

The young blue jay (from the previous post) is now up north at Alyce's small gallery.

Here is E.E. Cummings's poem about a blue jay, "crazy jay blue)":

crazy jay blue)
demon laughshriek
ing at me
your scorn of easily

hatred of timid
& loathing for(dull all
regular righteous

thief crook cynic
fragment of heaven)

raucous rogue &
vivid voltaire
you beautiful anarchist
(i salute thee

I love the (swimfloatdrifting/  fragment of heaven) .
(I salute you, E.E.!)  You too?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

blue jay

young blue jay, at  you

The young blue jay looked over from the lilac bush just beyond our deck.  I get this look from blue jays when they are looking around at me, as if to say "where are the peanuts that you usually put out?"  Does this young one already know about the peanuts?

This is my third small painting of the blue jay.  Two of them didn't work.  The challenge was getting all the detail of the markings and a sense of the bird in motion, stilled for a moment.  Details can so easily take over the view.

M showed me a poem by E.E. Cummings about blue jays.  A phrase, "hatred of timid," struck me as too strong, too jarring.  But the rest of the poem was wonderful.  Now I think I will look again at the poem and see if my view has changed.  Maybe you would like to see the poem too, with all its phrases, all its details!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

rushing yards and fields

october-to-november field

The fields and yards around us seem to be rushing to winter.  We have had a hard frost.  Colors are consolidating:  silvers, dusty golds, duns.  There is some ash color.  Details are collapsing.  Much has fallen and much is covered by fallen leaves.

This painting, with field details at its edges, almost looked flowing, water-like to me.  Except that the strokes of color are dry.  I do not mind that this painting becomes abstract.  Ideas/images often combine abstractly:  with a salient or general sense, and detail coming and going into focus.