Vanderbilt Mansion

Hudson Valley

High Valley, Oil on Canvas, 2012.

I have recently arrived back in Italy, school has begun, and I am into the full swing of things. I thought I'd post some of the art I made while being back in upstate New York for the summer. I did a fair amount of plein air painting. My favorite way to experience nature is to be sitting in silence with it (as opposed to moving or hiking through it) and to be able to paint this experience and create something from that is a blessing. I love it. I experienced some beautiful places this summer. The last painting I did of the summer was a particularly memorable experience painted at High Valley in Clinton Corners. It  is the home to one of my favorite writers, Elizabeth Cunningham, and she allowed me to paint on her property just at the change of the season to fall. It was such a peaceful piece of earth and the people there as well seem so in communion with it, swimming nude through the lake as I painted and so forth. There is something so magical about Clinton Corners and I have often found myself somehow driving through and getting lost, mesmerized by the trees changing colors (seriously one of the most beautiful places in the world to experience fall foliage). Anyway, I also began a charcoal and white chalk portrait of my Grandpa. I didn't get many sittings in with him and it is unfinished, but you can get the gist of it.

Noxon, Oil on Canvas, 2012.

Lawrence Farm, Oil on Canvas, 2012.

Peach Hill, Oil on Canvas, 2012.

Vanderbilt, Oil on Linen, 2012.

Poppy, Charcoal & White Chalk, 2012.

I was very inspired by Andrew Wyeth this summer and took a tour of his studio at the Brandywine Museum over the summer. I always had a book of his next to me while working on this portrait of my grandpa at his kitchen table with the light coming through the window. Andrew Wyeth was a master of depicting light and light cast on form. I decided to do a more formal portrait of my Grandpa this summer as opposed to the quick sketches I always find myself doing of him. He has always been one of my favorite subjects. I approached it initially as a formal commission with the idea of a specific end in mind, being very obsessive, trying to plan everything and think about it all too much. When I plan things too much I don't ever seem to do actually do them, which is what happened with this portrait. (We also had a habit of going to the diner before beginning a drawing session which may have not been the best precursor to me wanting to draw or having the energy for it...) During the last week of the summer, upon realizing I had barely touched the drawing I did about 90 percent of it in our last sitting. It is unfinished and I would have loved to keep working with it but this is what I have and the basic idea is there.