Pine Creek Valley Paintings: The Final Post

I wanted to call this the “penultimate post,” but like “decimate,” “penultimate” doesn’t quite mean “final.”  Sometimes you just can’t trust a good pun.

At any rate, this is  the last of the paintings of the Pine Creek Valley series.

The painting below I showed in an early version. It hasn’t changed a lot. It’s still 18 x 24″ — larger than most of the other paintings, which were 12 x 16″. And it has an abstracted quality that the other painting from this same place, Turkey Track Trail Waterfall, doesn’t.

littlefourmilerun1823wLittle Four Mile Run, 18 x 24″, oil on board. $120 unframed.

The somewhat abstracted  Little Four Mile Run resembles painting in the 1930’s. Painting in the 1930’s wandered through the thickets of abstraction versus realism, shape which trumps meaning, personal secrets which obscure communal knowledge. This piece works with shapes but eschews personal secrets. Some of the practitioners of this style can be found in the the WPA paintings, all craggy and sharp-edged, and the Canadian Group of Seven or even Charles Birchfield, the Ohio painter. These are all stylists that I admire and am happy to claim as ancestors.

pinecreekabstractdraft4wBut if you want true abstraction, here’s one I call Pine Creek Abstract, 18 x 24, oil on board. $120 unframed.

It was originally called 100 Versions of Viridian, and those versions are still there, if covered over a bit by some other colors. I love it that oils can be layered with color and meaning. The meaning here came from thinking about circles, circling from the viridian studies I did at the beginning of this series as well as circling a place, Pine Creek itself, that I always wanted to keep in my mind’s eye. However, when daughter Jan looked at the original of this, she grimaced and said, “awfully green.” She was right, of course.

Lee Durrwachter counted the numbers of green in one of my early Gorge paintings — I forget what he said he got, but it was more than 100. So I’m holding him responsible for the under-layers <snort> However, the final version seems to be all mine.

And finally,


First Eagle, 12 x 16″, oil on board. $100 unframed

All the years I lived near and visited the Pine Creek Valley and Gorge, I never saw a bald eagle. Those years may have been the low point of pollutants and loss of wildlife to herbicides. But the eagles have returned.

When I told Charlie I was painting his eagle photo, he said this guy was the first eagle he ever saw. Hence the title….

First Eagle is the last representational piece I painted, and in it, I used tried and true Renaissance techniques — laying down thin layers of the prominent background hues, painting over them with shapes, laying down the grasses a bit more strongly and working the water to give it varied shades, laying in the trees, back to front, putting in the eagle, working the water to give it depth, and finally, putting down the shadows on the finished water. It was the labor of at least a couple of weeks, with lots of drying time in-between.

To see a couple of early bits of this painting, continue with “more”.”

And in the meantime, don’t forget that these paintings are for sale for the Permanent Scholarship Fund of the Class of 1960, to benefit students of Jersey Shore (Pennsylvania) High School.  Information on the “purchase” link at the top right of this page. –June



This entry was posted in Art, commentary, landscape, non-representative, painting, Pennsylvania, Pine Creek Gorge, representative and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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