starting a new sky painting: "1/1/19 4:21pm" by Philip Tarlow

1/1/19, 4:21pm 32x36”, as it looked moments ago

painting the setting sun using the wax medium

3:17 PM: this one is based upon a photo i shot just 3 weeks ago, as the sun was about to set over the san juan mountains, a view we see daily from our west facing windows. makes you think that mikela, who designed our house, was thinking of this sky series as she planned the location of our many windows.

as i look at it hanging on my east facing studio wall, the white clouds filling the upper 2/3 of the composition seem too white, so i may tone them down tomorrow. aside from that, i love it. when i painted the setting sun, i experimented with a new wax medium made by gamblin, which blick, where i purchase my materials online, included gratis in the most recent shipment. it allows you to create a thicker impasto, which somewhat resembles encaustic.

adio chem-trail.... by Philip Tarlow

8/24/17, 7-:8pm after disappearing the chem-trail

SITE-1-18-19  PT paints 8-24-17 7-38pm at 2-33 pm.jpg

3:19 PM: fresh from our travel and after a good nights sleep, i entered my studio and immediately saw that ron was right…again. ron is owner of the houston gallery where i’ve been showing my work for over 20 years: gremillion & co. fine art. when i sent him the image of 8/24/17, 7-:8pm, he responded simply: “what’s the diagonal?” the very first thing that caught my eye this morning was, of course, that chem-trail. so it’s history. gone to the chem-trail grave yard. as well, i lightened the too monochrome area just above the horizon line. and as a result, i think it’s a far better painting. far better. BELOW: the before (LEFT) and after

looking back: 9/4/18 "fall" by Philip Tarlow

11:16 AM: this is a painting/collage titled fall, which i made in september, 2018. on the left,one of the drawings on canvas for this painting, made in 9/17, and on the right, the finished piece. at that time i was engaged in creating abstracted landscapes, using as a prototype the many plain air gouache paintings i was making at n. crestone creek. references to trees, grasses and water can be discerned here, as i search for a language of marks, colors and forms that reflect my experience of the creek-scape i would immerse myself in for about 2 hours at a time.

the drawing, on the left brings to mind the explorations of archile gorky, ,whose work i was studying at the time. this work evolved into my motion series, which can be viewed here:

https://www.philiptarlow.com/motion/

remembering plein air by Philip Tarlow

12:39 AM: in just a few months, plein air painting season will have arrived. the weather is usually good enough starting in late april/eraly march to take my paints out to the creek. here’s an example of two i did on march 25, 2017. when i’m working in gouache on paper, i usually have 2-3 surfaces with me, and they tend to get betterwith each successive one. by better, i mean that i get into the flow, and connect with what lies in front of me almost as if it were speaking to me. hard to explain.

the one below on the left was the second of the two. it has more coherence; there is less searching, more certainty in the marks. these little paintings profoundly affect the larger scale work i do in the studio the countdown has begun!

"8-24-17 7-38pm" revisions by Philip Tarlow

8-24-17 7-38pm 32x36” as it looked moments ago

1:44 PM: i lightened & softened those grey clouds.

8-24-17 7-38pm 32x36” as it looked moments ago

at work this morning on 8-24-17 7-38pm

12:51 PM: revisions; that’s putting it mildly, right? well, we do know that the great sky painter constable never encountered a chemtrail in all the time he painted skies. love them or hate them, they are an undeniable factor in our skies. in our high desert, vast valley, we have the opportunity to view more of the sky than most places.

as you will see if you scroll down to yesterdays post, i painted over most of the previous version )so what else is new?) except for the strip of clouds and the distant san juans on the very bottom. the three sisters at the top may be a tad too dark, but that’s the way they looked that august day at sunset.

"8/24/17 7:34PM" : next steps by Philip Tarlow

4:35 PM: i worked a bit on 8/24/17 7:34PM  today. i couldn’t get an early start, so the clouds are a little heavy handed and the entire composition is too dark. i’ll resume tomorrow morning, and it will help if i can get an earlier strat.

a few tweaks to "8/24/17 7:34PM" and starting a new one: "8/24/17 7:38PM" by Philip Tarlow

8/24/17 7:34PM after tweaking it this morning

3:12 PM: i didn’t touch th upper 3/4 of the painting because i feel ithas attained a very fine balance & shouldn’t be messed with. the lower portion of the painting however was a bit too blah, so i added a few very subtle highlights to the clouds on the lower right, and introduced a few more sheets of distant rain descending form the clouds over the san juans.

then i started work on a painting based upon a photo i shot just 4 minutes later: 8/24/17 7:38PM. it, too, is being painted in oil on a tinted ground, which has the exact same color as the acrylic ground underlying 8/24/17 7:34PM. i’m going about this one differently, starting work on the bottom of the canvas rather than the top. at the moment, this gives the interesting illusion of a sky above the sky. (BELOW)

progress in this sky series? evolution: an intertwining of my history as a “realist” painter, and my deep engagement with the “abstract,” via 10th c. chinese landscape painting and calligraphy, and my lifelong study of the painterly, as exemplefied by reubens, velasquez, hals, dekooning,……

transformation of "8/24/17 7:34PM" by Philip Tarlow

8/24/17 7:34PM at 4 pm

4:06 PM: i worked on this painting all day; you wouldn’t guess it was the same painting. this is the longest i’ve worked on a sky series painting; they usually pop out rather quickly. i borrowed a cloud from one of the previous ones, and i’m not sure it works. very tired at the moment, so i’ll clean up & go take a bath. i might continue my comments later or in the morning…

8:15 AM: continued on my 1/8/19 post, above……

a long , tiring day of work on "8/24/17 7:34PM" with questionable results by Philip Tarlow

8/24/17 7:34PM at 3 pm, the end of my painting day

3:02 PM: as soon as i entered my studio, i glanced at the painting and it just wasn’t working. it looked like 2 paintings: one the bright strip on the horizon line, the other the top 2/3 of the composition, which seemed way too dark. it’s overcast today, so that might have been part of it.

in any event, i made, yet again, radical changes. one thing i definitely did accomplish is that it no longer looks like 2 separate paintings. i opened my studio door and looked carefully at the landscape, which happens to be the one this painting was inspired by. i shot this photo, which is actually not that far from the sky i’m attempting to paint. this actually helped me in creating more of a united, coherent image, which is what i see now looking at it on my studio wall. tomorrow morning will, as always, tell the story. right now i’m totally wiped out. we’re expecting dinner guests, so i’ll clean up & get back to the house to help out.

returning to "8/24/17 7:34PM" by Philip Tarlow

8/24/17 7:34PM 32x36” at the end of my painting day

3:37 PM: i was about to clean up & go home….as usual, i felt the need to make more changes, which you see above.

2:27 PM: following a one day break for doctor & dentist appointments, i returned to my studio this morning to resume work on the as yet unresolved 8/24/17 7:34PM, which is in oil on linen, 32x36.”

it was way too dark, so i lightened it considerably and broke up the dark coulds in what is basically a new configuration, using subtle tones of grey, along with touches of sky blue and ochre/orange. if you look carefully, you will see rays of light descending from the clouds on the left, which sometimes happens when there is moisture in the atmosphere & a smattering of rain over the san juan range.

BELOW: the painting as it looked 2 days ago on the LEFT, and todays version on the RIGHT.