Monday, June 30, 2008


It's an all day drive to Yosemite. I was now on my way to New Mexico and had to get back to pick up my friend in Albuquerque on Sunday. I arrived at Yosemite and was lucky to find a campsite up at Bridalveil Falls, it is above 7,000 feet and is cold at night so there are sometimes vacancies.

I needed to make some new canvases. I bought some wood at a lumberyard in Merced. I made them on the picnic table as some German tourists looked on wondering what I was up to. It was damp under the pines and it took some time for the Gesso to dry.

I found another canvas packed away in the car and took off before I would miss the evening light.

I painted until dark and-- only remember waking the next morning,the cold tent and the beggar Jay's squawk.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Yosemite 2

I'm not thinking too much when I'm painting like this, out of doors.

My old friend Paul Georges always said something about being "willing to suspend ones disbelief."

I start to get impatient but it is the natural beauty here that takes over, and its early and I'm painting. I didn't realize that the scene would be so blue in the morning haze.

It actually makes it pretty easy to paint and it is mostly drawing into the blue.

I finished one painting and got started on the large canvas I made specially for now. I painted and wondered why it was getting hazier and bluer-- when I realized there was a fire and now, not just a little but really alot of smoke.

I was painting fast and thought I could finish but the smoke was fast enveloping the scene. I was too far along to make the smoke part of the painting.

As I had just been in another fire at Santa Inez, California, I wondered, again, if I wanted to paint the fire? Or try to ignore it?Was it something natural? I'd just had fun painting the fog in the Smoky Mountains, funnily enough this spring.

I didn't have time to make another anyhow and luckily finished the painting.

I found out later that the fire was a controlled burn. I still don't know what to think of fire, it is a troublesome affair,
supposedly natural-- but always problematic.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

artnet Link

artnet's Weekend Update by Walter Robinson has made a link to this Landscape log.

Friday, June 27, 2008

New Mexican Clouds

The clouds in New Mexico make the landscape and I have to say after everywhere I've been in the last three weeks it is really just amazing here.

It's 11:00 and like every day in July and August the day starts out with a blue sky. A little peek of cloud comes up over the mountains and as the day progresses to a thundershower, here or there, rarely more than a half hour or so, and cooling everything off-- the clouds, start to disipate soon after, and as a result the sunsets are usually just the squiggles of the remaining clouds.

The night is cool almost cold as the thin air retains no heat, and the abundant stars. Well, thats the sky in New Mexico. Because of the dramatic red rocky landscape, dotted with Pine and Juniper, the sun picking over the hillsides, that intensest sun at 7,000 feet, again-- just amazing, and as I said before, the word Sublime, is as one can never remember the beauty as it is just beyond the scope of the mind.

So my paltry attempt at reality, well, it's something else really. It is the stimulis, following the drama of the light-- I never really capture, don't really try for, although I paint fast trying to keep up-- I paint what I see, so the affects only last minutes.

I really went off on some guy today, looking like Colonel Sanders in the desert, goatee and cowboy hat-- I was way out beyond the road, and he drove way over-- to talk I guess, and I yelled-- couldnt he see-- I was trying to catch this all, it would all be gone-- it was--

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sun and Clouds, New Mexico

This is something I paint almost every year, the sunflowers-- when they first arrive. Today the clouds came up beautiful as expected and I decided to paint them.

I had these sunflowers I picked last evening and later in the day, when the paint was just set a bit, I painted them on top.

I don't think these sunflowers are native, though they sure seem perfect here, in the clouds and red earth.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico

It's a morning getting underway here with the clouds just emerging.

I feel bad identifying this place as it's becoming crowded on a summer day in August. I used to paint on the side of the road without thinking. Even saw a horse running down the side of this road once.

It's just that when someone stops, it seems they think I am there for their sake, part of the day's entertainment and then when they say "Oh, how nice," I feel kind of a fool and want to go home.

The opposite is really happening, they are very intimate moments, a kind of Zen exercise and if I can get through it without too much interruption, I can judge by the painting how centered I was and then in tandem with the moments, how alive.

They are very special times and then the moments, even the memories of the time, are gone -- the painting is left -- as something else, some kind of evidence.

Well, I finished up and the thunderstorm was arriving as I drove home.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ghost Ranch 2

I waited most of the day for the clouds. They didn't come up as expected, as there was a bigger thunder storm than usual last night, and the cold front, I guess, cleared the weather out.

I was surprised by this painting when I got back home, it seemed a bit washed out, but the sun without the larger clouds does exactly that, makes that white heat.

I was really hit by the sun also and am happy to be inside at the moment.

Monday, June 23, 2008

One last painting, maybe two?

I came back for lunch and the clouds came up again really beautifully. I knew it would be good up at the ranch so I took off again. This is what I meant before about when its just so beautiful one doesn't have to think twice. I'm just up there painting.

I went back to the Ghost Ranch but the clouds were wrong and it was better to paint to the west, which is O'Keeffe's Pedernal. I'm wondering about painting all these monuments.

I got myself painting though, this summer, by saying I'd go back and paint all of that again.

By now I happy just to be home, the clouds and dancing shadows on the hills behind my studio are really just amazing too.

I keep thinking I'm a bit like Candide after all the adventure and life's struggle, I'm best off in the backyard, working in the garden? Well, I'm tired tonight, that's an easy thought.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Painting Along (the end of) the Road

I have painted here many times in the past. This is really, along the road-- as every tourist stops for a look at the Chama River and I'm the 'other' subject. Well, its worth it and usually it's not so bad but it's the height of the tourist month.

I think I may have reached the end of the road. I have to pack to return home to New York City. I have things to do in the studio so I won't have time to paint out of doors any more this time.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Yes, One Last Painting

These clouds were too much to pass up.

I usually have half an idea then drive around until it hits me. Maybe looking for an ordering-- for instance that Mesa top right away organizes the space around it. The central dramatic sky-- and then how it drifts away into a simpler down space.

It's different than a photograph, areas have thought of shape, more physical. The dramatic light of the photo doesn't really come out in a painting, or not in mine-- I'm not interested so much in that illusion.

(Interesting how in the Hudson River paintings they liked the golden transparent light-- they likened to that of Heaven)

I like the idea of Heaven, but HERE, that I can draw, make a shape, and some color idea!

Again I like space but in a flat shape, that goes back but then snaps back to the surface.

A painting has its own life and reality independent of the scene.

I was happy that the painting came out well, as I had to pass up the arriving sunset. I hadn't eaten yet and I've been at it since this morning.

On the way home there was silent lightning on the Pedernal and as I rounded the bend a rainbow from all the dramatic clouds and thunderstorm activity. As I headed down the hill I spied red clouds in my rear view mirror, I had to run back to take a look at this. I was just too tired and my brushes full of old paint.

I'm not sure any of these moments would have made great paintings, but the memory of the lightening, rainbow and sunset could spawn something later--

I guess this will seem simplistic and naive back in the city. I guess that's what I meant in the beginning by how "one had to suspend one's disbelief."

Friday, June 20, 2008

So here are the paintings.

I'll show them in sequence and in groups as they were painted.

They were just newly photographed in my studio.

I made a painting in New Mexico to get going before I left.

Then on to Monument Valley...

painting evening and the next morning.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

To the Grand Canyon, Utah, and Nevada

North Rim of Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and Nevada Desert Range