Monday, April 30, 2012


Warm weather, wildflowers blooming, longer days, all signs pointing towards the migratory trend out of the studio, and into the field to tackle the profusion of color and complexity that nature provides in abundance this time of year. Here's three recent pieces in my quest to decode the textures of foliage I often see driving to and from work. I noticed the forget-me-nots about a week ago on the way home in the afternoon light, and made plans to come back and paint. This tiny pale blue flower is rather bleached out by direct sunlight, but pulses a blue radiance in shadowed areas, almost the exact value of the green neighborhood it resides in. There's about a 2 week window where this flower blooms. Hopefully I'll get a few more of these in before they're gone for the year.
This bottom one has a myriad of 'issues', all self-inflicted. There's really more than one painting in here, I readily admit, In addition, though I have a spotty success rate in painting tree roots, I keep trying to sneak them into my work. Did I almost cut the painting in half with that illuminated edge of flowers on the right? Guilty! Plus, that tangled weave of branches in the background tempted me with its persian rug complexity. In short, its a kitchen sink painting, full of too many good intentions. Periodically I fall into this trap, and spring has a beguiling way of deluding me into trying to get it all going in one image. Sometimes I know I'm walking right into it, and still keep going. One can think of images like this as a page full of math calculations, or notes about various painting problems, all tackled with varying success rates in a single image. I find its still worth the effort at times, even if it doesn't gel into an image with a strong, singular impact. There's always next time.


Bev said...

Hi Bill,
I admire your honesty :-) but I like it.

I love the colours you choose for your paintings, so soft and clean.

Paolo Puggioni said...

And with all those greens.
That's the most awkward colour to paint, it's a fact:)

Jody Regan said...

Great idea "decoding the textures". That's a tough task, and you handled it beautifully without being overly detailed. Great job making a gorgeous painting out of nothingness.

Jason Pastrana Art said...

Is this chalk pastel or oil?

Bill Cone said...

Thanks for your comments everyone.
Bev: If I'm getting clean colors, its because I've developed a more rigorous habit of cleaning my fingers and my pastels before making certain marks. That came out of figure painting this last fall and winter.

Paolo: Greens used to bedevil me with their non- atmospheric singularity, but I've come to see other qualities in the abundance of green at this time of the year. These forms still respond to ambient color in shadow, as well as the planar orientation of the plant itself. Within green there is a lot of variation to explore. Green can get overwhelming, I admit.

Jody: Nothingness? You mean aiming into the shrubbery? It's not iconic, I admit, but there is plenty to paint (maybe too much for one painting in some cases)

Jason: These are chalk pastels.

Andrey Egorov said...

Surprising colors in your works!!!

Jen Betton said...

Beautiful! I was up at Muir woods the other week and there were forget-me-nots everywhere in countryside just outside the park. I didn't have any pastels, so I took a ton of pictures. I particularly like the top image - it captures that loveliness.

Bill Cone said...

Jen! Good to hear from you. I think those flowers are blooming all around the bay right now. I'm still seeing them, though the stems are getting longer, while the flower stays the same size. They make the most impact in the shadows, I think.

Ida M. Glazier said...

Wonderful post, Biil____and so good to read your words. I have een making a lot of Kitchen sink paintings, trouble is, I don't know why! Reading this helps a lot, its not just me. Each evening is back to the books on comp etc--each morning its out to paint! some days are good, most are not. I have aplein-air event I get to partisipate in this year in June, I am the only amature!! Even Charles Meunch is there! I guess its because I am a local, but I am working hard. Love your work, Bill--Hope your show went well in S. F.!!!

Deborah Lazar said...

Very beautiful Bill. Love your mastery of color.

loïc said...

Hi Bill,

I'm french, so forgive me my english ^^
But your work !! it is so fabulous.

You are a master and a example for me.

Agata said...

beautiful work, I am delighted with beautiful paint colors and stain