Just returned from our annual trip to the northland (New York and Connecticut) where we visit relatives and friends. The trek consists of a drive up I-95 and back along the same route. My wife and I trade off driving (she takes the high traffic areas such as the Washington Beltway and I do the long easier stretches through the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and New Jersey). The trip up was different in that the night in the Carolinas was punctuated by meteors of the Geminid shower on the night of the 13th. As I don’t usually get up to see the sight in the wee hours seeing the streaks of light was fun.

New York was as New York is. Lots of people. My son took us to the New York Historical Society to the exhibit of New York’s contributions in WWII. Part of the exhibit was designed and implemented by the brother-in-law of my son’s significant other. It was indeed well done. However, the real treat was on the second floor art gallery. There was an exhibit of works from artist of the Hudson River School. Forty five paintings of Bierstadt, Kensett, Cropsey and Durand. The centerpiece was Thomas Cole’s five painting series “The Course of Empire”. I’ve seen these in books and such but to see them in person was really something. They are tremendous in person. The detail and the way they are painted is worth studying for a long time. Other works included different artist’s view of Niagra Falls. So many great masterpieces; so little time.

The color in the north is so much different than here that it provides a great lesson in why certain paintings work better here than there and vice versa. The color was subdued with a chewing gum grey sky, damp and cold atmosphere and burnt sienna woods with black tree trunks. Thus the paintings seen are not as high in chroma as those generally seen here.

I’m going to try to raise the level of brightness in my work. A friend here has suggested going to a midrange value palette color instead of the white bisque tile I have been using. Its made of a piece of foam core with a properly valued warm gray paper mounted on it. Then a piece of glass is placed over the paper to mix colors on. This is fitted with wood lath pieces into the drawer of my French easel. I’ll post my feelings about the results when I have worked with this palette for a while.

Enough rambling for a while. My best wishes to all of you and your families for a happy and safe holiday season.

Be Well