Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Two weeks ago, taking pictures of Geoge unloading wood chips at Middlebury College's plant. The painting was finished Monday night, two days ago.

Mixing colors is fun. Also frustrting at times. Photos by Paul.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Below are photos showing one day's progress on the painting of Middlebury College's biomass power plant. The windows into the plant's boiler were tedious work, but I'm pleased with the results. Many thanks to Jim Lathrop, George, Mike Moser and Ray (I think that was his name!).

A couple weeks ago I spent the evening at the biomass power plant at Middlebury College taking pictures in preparation for the next painting in my series about Vermont's forests. Jim Lathrop of Bristol and Mike Moser at the college worked with me very generously to make this possible. Above you see George, who is unloading a truckload of wood chips at the college. The floor of that "bin" is fifteen feet below grade, so there's a lot more bio mass there than meets the eye.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Here are photos recording three days work on the painting of Bill Torrey in the woods with his forwarder, sharpening his saw.

The first one, at the bottom, was a day spent painting Bill's dog and a few logs. The second one, in the middle, was the next day when I added Bill, his saw and the stump he was using as a workbench. The top one was the next day, when I completed the forwarder and tractor with logs on it. I was able to complete the painting in two more days and it's finished now!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I have been working on this painting for a couple weeks or more, and hope to wrap it up soon. I have loved seeing it evolve and come to life as I patiently apply the paint. I am painting on hardboard (formerly known as Masonite) which is made of wood fiber bound with steam and pressure. More wood! I apply 4 coats of white acrylic gesso as smoothly as possible, sand it, then put on a wash of burnt sienna. That is what make the orange color you see on the unpainted portions of this painting. It gives a warmth to the finished painting.

Over the many hours I've sat before this painting working on it I've thought a lot about the forest, pine trees, maple trees, leaf litter, Mount Mansfield, Bill Torrey and his dog, the work he does, how he sharpens his saw, forwarders, machinery in the woods, what it means to be an environmentalist, what the future might bring to our forests with global warming and continuing development pressure. It's endless. I lose track of time and my thoughts go between the qualities of ultramarine blue and burnt umber and birch trees and golden labrador retrievers! All that psychic energy has to go somewhere...

While I've been working on this painting I have listened a lot to a CD called Vision of Hills by the Vermont composer Gwyneth Walker. I love her music. She talks about the inspiration and beauty of our Vermont hills and makes her music speak about that. I listen while I paint a picture of our Vermont hills and mountains and people working in those hills and feel that the beauty I strive to create is amplified and fed by the beauty of Walker's music. The title track on the CD is my current favorite, though the Craftbury piece is gorgeous, too.

I am nearing completion on the third of the five paintings I am doing for this project. The first painting is of Stephen Taylor and his portable sawmill. Stephen is a neighbor, a thoughtful citizen and a caring woodsman. He does custom logging and milling on a small scale. I have walked in the woods with him and listened to how he nurtures the trees he hopes will grow under his care. Here's a picture of him from the day I visited his milling operation.