Dusk is a mysterious time, when familiar things lose their shapes to enveloping shadow, sunlight lingers brightly in the water, and flowers glow like jewels in dark settings. I love this time of day, and am trying to capture its magic in more of my paintings. This example is not a very mature work, but I include it in my portfolio because it captures, if somewhat crudely, that magic. It is also one of my first commissions, performed for a neighbor of my parents back in 2018, and now installed in her front yard.
In this painting, the setting sun turns the surface of a lily pond into a sheet of bright gold; shadows linger under the lily pads, while ruby flowers smolder above the darkening water, and ghostly goldfish flit about under the surface.
Acrylic paint on a 48 inch by 48 inch sheet of plywood, mounted in a free-standing wooden frame.
A summer’s day at the beach is a precious, transient thing; even more so, the last day of summer, which brings with it some of the bittersweetness of mortality. This series, which I plan to develop at a larger scale, in oils, meditates on that transience. First, bathing in a tidal river at dawn, the day still full of promise; then, walking the windy beach, under a hazy sky, past a forlorn sand castle, and the rotted timbers of an old shipwreck; finally, sitting on the rocks above a tidal pool, amidst seaweed and storm-marooned fishing buoys, watching the approach of a towering cumulonimbus cloud over the darkening ocean, and knowing that it spells the end to this summer’s day.
Legend has it that the olive tree was the goddess Athena’s gift to her city, Athens: a tree useful for its wood, for its peculiar, salty fruit, and for the clear, golden oil pressed from them. Perhaps in keeping with their divine origin, olive groves are places of dappled shade and whispering, silvery leaves, where the perilous mystery of the classical world seems alive and well, even today.
In keeping with that mysterious reserve, and that strange, salty fruitfulness, this image personifies the olive tree as a young woman, her lively form caught up in a strange dance: her body is but suggested beneath the delicate folds of an olive green robe; a chaste white veil almost hides her face; her dark hair whirls about her head. She dances among the strong, simple forms of boulders strewn across a mountainside; above her head she whirls an olive branch, a delicate silhouette of sharp leaves against a clear blue sky.
Acrylic on aluminum composite, 24 inches by 36 inches. 2019.