New Paintings, at Last

I haven’t been a total loss as a painter for the last six weeks, although it comes close. But since I’m in Jef Gunn’s Master Class, it behooves me, even when at a loss, to try to do some painting. And so I’m trying.

I’m having to get used to using acrylics (or oils with walnut oil) and that slows me down. The learning curve feels steep. I find myself confused about what to do with the brushes, why the paint acts so differently, having a crying need [right now!] for more palette knives and better acrylic paint. Nonetheless, I have managed to do something between 1.75 and 2.25 paintings.

This one is done:

Seeing Las Vegas, acrylic on panel, about 4 x 6″ 2010

The image above was done from a memory of driving back from Death Valley through the Beatty Cut-off to our Beatty, Nevada residence. It was a cloudy night, and as we came down off the pass into the Amargosa desert, we saw the glow off to the southeast.  Las Vegas is about 110 miles away from that spot, and yet, over the bare mountains to the east and south, there was an eerie glow of city lights.

The Road across the Basin,  12 x 16″, acrylic on linen, 2010

Another memory painting, this time a  pastiche about the roads, tracks and highways that cross the big basins of the basin and range country. They tend to go straight toward the opposite range and then climb out of sight, into a jumble of rock. The pattern is so common that it’s taken for granted. People drive 90 mph and think it’s normal: straight road, straight ahead.

This painting is perhaps 1.75 percent finished. So that makes 1.75 paintings.

Birgit’s Window, 12 x 16″, acrylic on commercial canvas, 2010. From a photo by Birgit Zipzer, with permission.

The first two images were of places I’ve been and memories I have. This last one harks toward paintings I can do from my current moment, now, while the winter lingers and the world inside is where I am.

The photo was taken in northern Michigan (I believe) by an internet friend; it reminds me of window views I have known, where the winters shed snow and leaves, and the trees are small and packed in tightly. The interior has a Dutch feel about it, spare and yearning. But it is also where I am right now, even if the view differs.

It isn’t finished; I’m not sure how it will be finished. But it is the first step toward window paintings. Windows and stairs may be my late winter/early spring project. I can’t tell you what it means or why, except that I find myself always looking, somewhat yearningly, out of my residential/city windows. So, as the advice goes, when you are stuck — paint what you know, where you are, what you see.

I’ve only finished about half this painting, so it’s about a .50. That makes 2.25 paintings I’ve made in six weeks. Much better than .00, which is what it was a week ago. –June

And note, now you can click on the [pathetically small] images to make them bigger. Sigh. I miss my big bumptious layouts. But they weren’t clickable, so I’m bowing to popular wishes (two votes….)

This entry was posted in acrylics, Amargosa Desert, Art, Death Valley, painting and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to New Paintings, at Last

  1. DEL says:

    I certain identify with the first two paintings. I am always amazed at seeing the lights of Las Vegas when I am a hundred miles away. When it is clear they are there, but not there when you lookdirectly at them. When it is overcast the glow seems to spread diminishingly to the horizon. And that road? I’ve driven it many times. Thanks for the enlargements. Del


  2. june says:

    Oh good, Birgit. I didn’t call it Up North, because that’s your photo — this is a simulcrum of a simulcrum, so it needed another title. I had fun with the colors. I need to put in more detail, particularly with the light on the table and the delicate horizontal branches in front of the trees. And probably other things I’m not seeing right now. But I liked it right away, and that’s due to the composition I had to work with:-)


  3. birgit says:

    I love the colors of birgit’s window!


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