Sweet sixteen

Sky Pads 16, first soupy paint wash

Yesterday it finally got warm enough (60 degrees) to go outside and pour some paint on the next Sky Pads canvas. It will be warm for another couple of days, which will make me a bit of a happier camper, but then back to snow. At least that’s what weather.gov says.

So this one looks kind of like what happened to the very first one–a big unintended but serendipitous circle of paint–

I know how this first one happened–there was a low spot where the canvas didn’t get fully stretched, so the paint settled there. On #16, however, it seemed to be stretched tight as a drum, so I don’t know how it decided to gather in a circle. The only downside to this is that if I wanted to do it on purpose it would just be a throw of the dice as to whether or not it happened.

So I’m going to try to go for simple and elegant for number 16. I believe I made some sort of predictive hint of that in a previous post. Anyway, I’m sure you readers will let me know if I’m getting too complicated. Meanwhile, I’m going to head outside and start digging up the vegetable garden while it’s still nice and warm out there.

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Into the dark

Don’t say you weren’t warned! I had comments on the last post about how lovely the lightness and softness was in the early stages of this painting. I may have to go there in the next one (good thing this is a possibly endless series). In the meantime, please try to enjoy this finished piece in spite of your expectations.

Sky Pads 15, peering into the shallow depths?

This is a large piece, the same size as #14, which is 50″ wide and 32″ high. It reads best from a distance, so you may want to back away a bit from whatever viewing device you are reading this blog with. This time around there wasn’t much cloud reflection on the surface, but a lot of murky vegetation just underneath it. I find it interesting that the strong vertical lines caused by the coagulated paint in the first wash now look like they might be stems coming up from the bottom of the pond. You just never know how something’s going to turn out when you employ randomness as a technique!

To see the earlier versions of this painting click here



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Allow me to mislead you

So here we have the first two passes in the ever-evolving Sky Pads series. The first one surprised me, even though I have previously poured thin paint over what now seems like countless canvases. I used paint thinner again, just like in #14, but this time the pigment congealed in vertical stripes! I suspect it settled in very slight indentations which did not get sufficiently smoothed out when I stretched this canvas. It came off an old roll that had been sitting around for some time, so–who knows? I have never been one to discard a first layer just because it did something illogical or unexpected. I just view it as another opportunity to be creative.

Anyhow, I do have plans for this one which if I am successful will be something quite unlike what the second pass seems to illustrate. However, since I never know ahead of time if I’m going to be successful it is quite likely that the finished product will surprise both you and me. The waiting game begins…

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Stylistic progression

Sky Pads 13, for comparison

Sky Pads 14, looking like it’s done. I’m pleased that it seems to make a logical progression from #13, both in color choice and style.

I was aiming for a rendition similar to 14, but with the color intensity a bit more subdued and the technique a little subtler. I didn’t pour or splash any paint on 14 after the initial wash on the blank canvas. Everything was done with brushes after that, although with more of a scrubbing technique than a traditional painterly effort.

Just as an unrelated aside, I was thinking that with this painting style I am probably well protected against forgers (as if anybody would want to ūüėč). Everything is so beautifully random!

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It’s getting cloudy again

Hopefully it’s starting to look like a) mist is settling on water, or b) clouds are floating on water

Sky Pads 14 is probably the first one (!) in this series which is starting to look like I had originally envisioned it. Not done yet, so there’s still plenty of opportunity to spoil it!

Art show update

Meanwhile, an email came in this morning letting me know I have been accepted into the Highwood Starving Artists Show in Highwood, IL come September. This is similar to Kalamazoo’s annual “Garage Sale” show–which decided I was not worthy. The idea is for artists to bring work that hasn’t sold–for whatever reason–and offer it at a good sale price at this show. I’m putting a lot of really nice work in this outdoor festival show at super discounted prices, so I’ll be sending out word to previous collectors and others who have expressed interest in the past but didn’t have the funds. If I can clear up some storage space in my studio for new stuff it will be a win-win for everybody.

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Sky Pads 11 goes to court

Yesterday Sky Pads 11 pretty much literally “sailed” into the Old Courthouse in Woodstock, Illinois (it was a very windy day, and the 4′ x 5′ painting really felt as if it would enjoy going wind-surfing).¬† It will be on display in the “Women’s Works 2018” show at the Old Courthouse Arts Center from March 1 through April 14.


The Old Courthouse and the historic town square it sits in have been a focal point of Woodstock for well over a century.

In case artists get hungry, they can just slip downstairs to the Woodstock Public House!

I cribbed the following information from the city’s website:

The Old McHenry County Courthouse,¬†the majestic anchor of the bustling Historic Woodstock Square, was designed by John Mills Van Osdel, chief architect of the Palmer House in Chicago, and erected in 1857.¬† Located in the exact center of McHenry County, the building was joined by the accompanying Sheriff‚Äôs House & Jail in 1887, and issued landmark status by the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.¬† For over a century, the Old Courthouse served thousands of residents from throughout McHenry County until a new government center was built in 1972.¬† Local residents purchased the historic buildings in 1973 and established an art gallery, studios, restaurant and museum space.¬†¬†The¬†Old Courthouse Arts Center¬†gallery space is in use and managed by Northwest Area Arts Council, a volunteer arts agency that showcases this area’s abundant artistic talent through a continuous series of public exhibitions offered at no charge to the public,¬†as well as a sales shop with custom jewelry, pottery, and artworks.


The center of Woodstock Square is a lovely little park, complete with gazebos for entertainment in warmer months. Even in February, the area beckons passers-by to wander in.

Betting this will be a lot greener in a month or so.


Around the corner from the Courthouse, also facing Woodstock Square, is the Opera House.

Architecture critics are welcome to chime in on this one.

Lazy writer that I am, I cribbed some interesting Opera House trivia from Wikipedia:

It was built in 1889 and is one of the oldest continuously operating theaters in the country. It is mainly a Victorian style architecture, oddly combining some Early American, Midwestern, Gothic, and even Moorish elements. The interior is modeled after the showboats of the time, with dimensions and decorations that imitate many of those grand floating theaters. Perhaps the most notable performer to grace the stage was Orson Welles, who grew up in Woodstock and to whom the stage was dedicated in 2013.

So, if I get lucky (hah!) Sky Pads 11 will encounter a gallery patron who can’t resist taking it to its forever home and I won’t have to return to Woodstock to pick it up. Although I have to say, I really do enjoy the ambiance of this old-fashioned Midwestern town.

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The hardest part is now drying

Soon to be under some other layers

OK, word(s) of warning: 1) don’t look at the previous post and expect the colors to be the same; first one photographed in daylight, this one in halogen light. This one is a little closer to reality. And 2) as usual this lovely image will soon be under a lot more paint, as is normal for the Sky Pads series. However, it will not, if I can contain myself, be almost completely obliterated as some of the previous ones have been.

So, hang in there, hold on to your hat, and we’ll see what happens.

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