Monday, December 12, 2011

Arctic Spring

In 2009 I travelled north through the Alaskan arctic. This was at summer solstice. The sun was above the horizon all day, and when it was overcast, as in this painting, 4PM and 4AM looked about the same.

I didn't have the opportunity to stop for plein air work. However, I made sketches and lots of color notes, and did paintings from memory at the end of each day. This painting began as one of those.

The arctic is wonderfully green in June, with rolling plains leading off into the mountain ranges. This is the country of the great caribou herds. In this view, there is a small river, with snow still hanging on at the edges. Small wildflowers, deep green flowering shrubs, and slender grasses cover the tundra. A mysterious place.

Arctic Spring
9 x 12
oil on linen panel

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A couple of blue horses

Sometimes an object will just grab me. That's what happened when I saw these two little horses.

About a year ago I started the Blue Horse on Red, as a demonstration during a class. I didn't get it finished, and it waited in my studio for many months. I knew I would paint the other horse, and finally got to work on Blue Horse on Green at a gallery demonstration. Didn't get that one finished either.

But the day came when I just couldn't wait any longer to put these two ponies right. For one thing, they were a great experiment in high chroma! Not much in the way of subtle grays here. Since they are only 6" x 6", though, the viewer is in no danger of being over-dazzled.

Blue Horse on Red
Blue Horse on Green
6 x 6
oil on linen panel