January Sky, the Painting

My most recently completed studio painting:

January Sky, approximately 30 x 36″ (I haven’t measured it yet), acrylic on canvas, 2011.

This is not a plein air painting. It was inspired by a walk up SE Salmon Street, late one afternoon a few weeks ago. The clouds were gray, but somehow a light was pouring through them, straight down the street in front of me. It was, as daughter Jan puts it, an ethereal moment. I had to paint it, back in the studio, with only my visual memory as reference.

I was also inspired by the pentatonic flute, which requires repetition to be really effective. The almost monochromatic palette of the painting echoes the six notes of the flute, and the houses, lined up along the geometries of linear perspective, make me think of the notes of the flute, carefully calibrated to make pleasing sounds, repeating the sounds with variations, and then swelling with under and overtones.

Well, the conceit sounded good in my head <snort>

I have switched to my winter, stuck-in-the-studio acrylic-painting mode, trying to keep the worst of oil toxicity out of the space. Acrylics blend differently, pigment somewhat differently, and are just plain ornery in my hands. But they dry fast and don’t cause my body to protest. So I keep working, hoping to learn to use them well.


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