The Young Imagination

Long ago, when once upon a time, an older family member referred to me as “kid” at age 19, I was too young to even realize how young I was. I was somewhat offended. Now that I am old, these “kids” in college really DO seem young. And they are refreshingly young, because they also seem old enough to know it.
We finished our oil painting unit this week (which does not necessarily mean we are done with oils), and I am impressed with their work. They completed two paintings. The first one was a “greyscale gone wild.” By mixing the value scale and then turning their 9 distinct shades of grey into a legible composition, perhaps they learned that it helps to span an entire wide range of values in a composition.

Some students opted to paint on tar paper, hence the “bleeding” of the pitch into the oil paint.

Next, we set about adding form and color, but with a little twist.

Rather than paint the typical cone, sphere and cube, I asked them to paint:
1. The now defunct Monopoly Iron in a landscape with
2. Clouds inspired by Barbara Davis’s demo from earlier this month.


Their imaginations ran free and we ended up with some pretty impressive work.
I’m proud of these “kids” who are well on their ways to fine artistry and responsible adulthood.


A Special Guest

Barbara Davis came to visit our painting class at Huntingdon College on Tuesday, February 12th.  She completely wowed all of us, students and teachers alike. And she humored me by incorporating the now-defunct Monopoly iron into a landscape.

Here is what she did in ONE HOUR.

From blank canvas…


…to an overall yellow ochre “wash” over the canvas…both to minimize the “fear of the white canvas” and to give a lovely underglow…


…to mapping out blocks and masses in both sky and ground areas…


…to adding touches of color in sky, land and clouds…and then indulging me with the placement of the iron.


Surrealism is definitely not BD’s thing! I think she tried to make it look like a very attractive well-house. Otherwise it resembles a soft-landing UFO that safely ran aground.

Notice how her cloud colors include lots of yellow and some purple and green. No pure white was used in the making of these clouds!


It doesn’t look like the photo, exactly – it looks like itself!
One student today told me that Barbara was a wizard – that no one could really paint like that unless they were also a wizard.
Thanks for the inspiration, Barbara, and I agree…you MUST be a wizard!


(Coming soon: more info on that Monopoly iron!)

To the Towers with You!

On my latest go-to exercise location, the Riverfront, I have admired the silos that stand above the park at the SandBAR. So I took a photo. It was sunset and they really did look that pink.


I first made a little sketch.

And then began a small painting.
It really helps to see the pieces together.
I know some things I need to do…
Towers 2
Silos at the Riverfront, Oil on Canvas, 6″ x 6″
This image satisfies my minimalist aesthetic.

I have always loved the work of Ralston Crawford,
and especially this piece:
Crawford Overseas Highway

But he was a master with silos:
Crawford grain elevators

The Making of a Nine

I have been making my own specialized glass, and I start with making several lengths and varieties, such as the piece depicted here.

Before firing

Color Bar before

After firing

Color bar after

Then I cut those lengths into smaller pieces and design them on a base color. I don’t JUST use my specialized glass, but try to mix it up with other pieces, working out color and composition all the way along. The pieces are attached to the base glass with the tiniest speck of glue, just so they don’t shift as I put them in the kiln.

Before firing

Nine before

After firing

Nine after

Piece of cake, right?