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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nocturnes: A Violet Night. May 28, 2011

Milpas Street Crossing, Santa Barbara California.

This railroad structure stood for years; ever since the steam trains rolled through, to and fro, at a slow enough pace that the Hobo could jump on or off without much danger, and seek shelter in the nearby Hobo Junction.

Like the block signal in yesterday's post, this signal tower no longer exists. It has since made its way to the editing room floor of the great creator. It's just a memory now.

I liked the contrasting colors of warm yellows (Sodium Vapor Lights), with the blue violet (Halogen Lights) shining in the mist, all coming together on a toned canvas of light Thalo Green. It actually made the area more aesthetically pleasing to look at.

I didn't like when a homeless man snuck-up on me, from behind, and began speaking incoherently in a loud voice, arousing my fight or flight instincts. This startled me so much I almost evolved into an expressionist painter.

Milpas Street Crossing
18x26 oil/canvas 1999
Private Collection

Friday, May 27, 2011

Nocturnes: Night by the Rails May 27, 2011

Sometimes I'm out at night with no clue what I am going to paint, that is until I take a walk.

In this remote location, I'm searching for possible clues to invented mysteries. Then, when I am on the edge of something I see it. I happen upon a view which stops my eye.

This particular location is a wilderness area preserved last century by Carpinterians, in hopes it's mere existence as open space, will help to preserve public sanity.

"The Edge", (in this particular case), is the emergence of the viewer from wilderness into the urban world. It's sort of a, "peek over the hedge". I imagine an art critic might say, "It's a pure statement; about the dichotomy between nature and man as expressed on a two-dimensional surface."

The moon provided the illuminated blue in the sky as well as help define the bushy Eucalyptus, " just up yonder over there there!" There is a suggestion of a dark path. which one may take, (just don't step on a gopher snake). The Block Signal, (which is now, sadly, deceased) provides that, "Dash of Red", and don't forget that Venoco Oil lurks beyond.

Nothing moved this night...other than my paintbrush.

Edge of Night
28x32 oil/canvas 2001
Private Collection

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Shadows Cast May 26, 2011

Did I say Desolate?

Even the Oxnard Police came by, twice, to warn me about this area, saying a murder was committed at this location a few weeks before; they recommended I move along. I thanked them for telling me and asked them to come back again, often.

Well, I lucked out. I had no visitors.

I expressed my gratitude for the quietude.

Shadow's Cast, Port Hueneme
18x40 oil on Canvas 2001
Artist's Collection

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gritty Port Hueneme May 24, 2011

Port Hueneme California is a remote place; the furthest point one can travel, south, beyond suburbia. It's next door to Oxnard, the Wild Wild West or what I liken to "Cuidad Juarez North" with shootings/knifings nightly.

It's a fringe location which few know about, or care to adventure to. It is ripe and destitute; not pretty to look at or smell, but perfect for an artist who's been tasked with making something beautiful (and/or interesting) out of relatively nothing at all.

This location is rich with pure desolation. Making up the back drop of this odious arm pit are the smells of reclaimed sewage wafting in the air, accompanied by the frequent sound of hissing from fuming factory valve releases. The broken glass I tread upon made each step crispy beneath my boots. It glistened under salty sodium vapor lamps, like a carpet of freshly cut diamonds. Banksy style graffiti art decorated the nearby walls; sprucing up the neighborhood.

Yes this is a very rich area for the gritty, down and dirty.

It's been seven years since I've painted in this area, and now I muster the gumption to return and capture it in paint, all over again.

Steam Plant Nocturne
12x16, oil/canvas 1998
Artist's Collection

Monday, May 23, 2011

Night Scales, Rexburg Idaho, May 23, 2011

Back in 1997, I drove up to Rigby, Idaho to take an oil painting workshop from Ovanes Berberian.

While exploring the night in nearby Rexburg, I spied this old rustic weigh station near the railroad tracks. It reminded me of Edward Hopper's, "The Night Hawks", (absent the night hawks, of course). I was determined to paint it some day, so the following year I came back for another workshop, and spent a late evening capturing the night light of my subject, in paint. I included this painting in my Master's Thesis Exhibition, on Plein-air Urban Nocturne Painting.

Night Scales
26x32 oil/canvas 1998
Collection of the Artist