Monday, September 12, 2011

Making the 6ft. Painting, "Kaaterskill Falls", Part 2

This post will be devoted to the painted studies that I made for this large studio painting. There are too many studies for me to label with all the details, but all of them are under 18 inches, and done outdoors. Some are more finished than others depending on what I was trying to capture and how much time I had to capture it. For instance there was a moment each evening as the sun was going down where areas of the landscape glistened with highlights. There was no time to make a finished picture of this, but I did several very quick paintings making bright notes of where the highlights fell. Other studies were intended to capture the mood of the sky, or the transitions of atmosphere through the deep space in varying conditions of light. As I studied here day after day, the studies began to take on poetic content about what it felt like to exist in this beautiful and amazing place. As with the drawings, I didn't sit and systematically study each area, but rather studied the things that moved me, and over time developed a thorough knowledge of the place that I feel extended beyond its appearance to a more true sense of it's essential beauty.

Looking over these studies I noticed that there is a lot of material that was collected that didn't actually go into the final painting directly. This is part of what I consider an organic approach to studying the landscape. Even though there are lots of ideas that I didn't use on this painting, I can always use them later on another painting. I just paint what is inspiring and beautiful, and sort it out later in the studio.

In the next post, on "Kaaterskill Falls" I'll talk about the 24 x 36 inch small version, and the development of the big one.


  1. I see 22 paintings here, plans for your Kaaterskill Falls. Are you painting these on canvas, linen, panel, paper? Some seem to be paper, others unstretched from supports. I'm also interested in knowing if these sketches are considered finished, or are they similar to pages from a sketchbook, part of the continuum of learning? I know you draw extensively as well, so I am interested in the nature of the process, fascinated with your painstaking research. I have a few places that I often return to, being in that same place allows an intimate relationship, it gets under my skin and into my soul so that I can paint from within, I see that happening here with your intimacy and knowledge of the place. Keep posting!

  2. Hi Kath, all of these are on either unstretched linen canvas or panel. At the time that I made these I would carry a lot of pieces of primed unstretched canvas to make quick studies on. I would call these for the most part unfinished, because I'm primarily a layered painter, and like to refine the light and atmosphere as well as add figures and other elements to support the intended expression of the work. Sometimes I do finish my outdoor paintings in the studio, but these are for the most part raw quick studies. Thank you for your comment. Nature getting into the soul is what it's all about.

  3. Inspiring! Thanks for sharing, I love seeing the whole process.