Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Summer Idyll

I continue to work steadily on the Lennox Woods body of work for my solo show next spring. There will be five large scale paintings - 48 x 60 up to 72 x 96-  and a total of about 42 paintings in the show. I started with the smallest of the "BIGs" as I call them, and am working my way up in size. I am working on several of them at the same time, plus others as well- usually about 8 to 10 pieces at a time. 

In January of 2012 when I first started on this journey, I was out in the Woods one day with Steve and Allen Phillips (the filmmaker for the project). Allen and I managed to wander off the trail. I didn't know my way around the Woods very well back then and neither did Allen. But, he had a GPS on his phone and we knew if we kept heading north we would hit the dirt road that runs along one side of the Preserve. So, we kept going instead of doubling back to find the trail. It was winter so bushwhacking through the Woods wasn't too hard and we got back into some spots that would be hard to find in any other season.  Pretty soon we came upon a small pond. It was a big surprise because the only water I had seen in the Woods was Pecan Bayou and the small streams it spawned throughout the Preserve. This pond looked self contained, although Steve thinks it is fed by a spring on adjacent property. Anyway, having found it, I knew I wanted to come back.

Here is a study for the 60 x 72 painting I am now working on.

A Summer Idyll
20 x 24

I started with lots of sketches, working out my ideas. This is my preferred way to work- hunting for motifs, then using drawings to work out designs and to gather reference materials.

Once I had the design organized and the field reference I needed, I started the 20 x 24 study.

I made a grid of the study and traced the main shapes and lines. I gridded the large canvas with proportional squares with vine charcoal, then drew in the composition.

Here is the studio with the large canvas on the left, the grid in the center and the study to the right of that. Just to get an idea of the scale, the painting on the easel behind the grid is 36 x 48!


  1. Thank you for posting the stages leading up to painting on the very large canvas. I am wondering if you are able to reach the top of the canvas easily and thus adjust it without too much effort so you can paint the water area too. The easel looks very strong. Your study is really beautiful the lighting especially peaceful and warm looking.

  2. Hi Caroline. The easels are Hughes easels and the great thing about them is that they are counter weighted and the part that holds the painting can be moved up and down and side to side. So I can bring the top part down when I am working on that, or push it up when I need to work on the lower parts.