Thursday, January 18, 2018

Pathways Through Color 1

Mudseason: Kinship

       I started this new year with the news that I have earned my fifth grant from the Fall River Cultural Council, a division of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  This Years work grows out of last years work.  I created about 50 graphite drawings inspired by my walks in the Freetown Fall River State Forest and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  Essentially I spent most of the year drawing trees.

Mudseason: Small path

Mudseason: Along the Saco

        I spent the time exploring the value range found during "Mudseason", That early part of spring before the buds and blossoms even begin to wake up.  The ground is soft, sweet smelling, somewhat slippery and filled with a range of color I was not used to, so I chose to avoid color, and stick with my pencils, erasers, I guess, I sort of went acoustic.

Mudseason: Reflecting

        So, back to this new year and new project, Pathways Through Color.  I have brought my palette and brushes back into the equation.  There is a new range of hue and chroma working through.  A new vocabulary.  I am excited as I walk the the color and into the forests.  Now, I need to add, these are meant to be expressive paintings.  They are inspired by actual places, but not intended to be true representations of those places.  They are about color, value and emotion.  

Mudseason: My Tree
Mudseason: The Long Twin Silver Line


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Taunton River Watershed Collection

Evening Breezes
Along the shores of the Taunton River, at the head of Mount Hope Bay, on the Somerset edge of the river, is an amazing natural environment flourishing around a series of man made intrusions. There is a power plant, shut down and discarded like an old shoe box.  The six lanes of Rt 195 splits what was once, in my lifetime, flourishing farm land. Long before that, this was the location of a Native American village.  Above it all, the mighty blue Charles Braga Bridge reaches across the river’s widest expanse, connecting towns to cities and closing the time gap toward old Cape Cod.
Midday Mount Hope Bay

From that location, I began an exploration of the beauty that lies in unexpected places.  The light, unfettered and resilient does not discriminate.  It touches steel and straw in the same manner that it touches gold.
Cattails sway in the gentle afternoon breezes while waves splash and linger amongst the stone and sand.  In the distance , on the city side of the river, the old tenements and the older still, high school reach into the sky, grasping for their share of the guilding power of light.  I see it, I smell it and I feel it as I draw and paint from this muse.  Her power coaxing me throughout my life.  
Field of Grasses
Southern Tides II
There is history here. The river fed life to this region.  It provided food to the native peoples.  It provided a means of transportation to the early settlers.  Textile mills and shipping lines formed along the banks, and brought a brief time of extreme prosperity to some, and the means to a dreams becoming reality to so many others.  To me, it provides energy, clarification, solstice and opportunity.  It has become my own natural, life filled, light filled,
Yellow Fields
Monet like garden.  It only takes 1,000 steps or less, an awareness, an open eye, a state of mind, and my brushes.
Field of Blue and Gold
Each painting is inspired by a step along the way, something I have seen, processed and interpreted in my way.  It is a deeply personal expression that focuses on color and emotion, but relies on the viewer to complete.  

They are works of contemporary art that make a fine addition to any collection.  They are equally appropriate in a home, office or public space.

For more information on Archival Giclee prints of this collection and more please visit the Taylespun Studio on line shop.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Public Spaces

On the easels, final touches.

The River Beyond

From January through August of 2015 I found myself working on a series of paintings about my home town of Fall River.  They are the precursors to the "Intersecting
Principles" series I am now creating.  (Some of the earlier drawings have been spoken about in previous blog posts.)

Fourth of July Holiday

I call this collection of paintings "Public Spaces."  They are inspired by my walks through the major public parks within the City of Fall River.  My intent was to express the hidden, often overlooked beauty of the city.  I did not create portraits of specific parks.  I worked to capture the feeling of a view, the movement of a hillside, or simply the color relationships between trees.  Efforts were made to translate the mood and essence that are fundamental to the splendor captured between the shadows and the sunlight.

A Parting of the Way

My hometown has been besieged with negative perspective and publicity.  Headlines shout about crime, drugs and corruption, but Fall River is so much more than that.  We are a community, complex and diverse.  We are authors, Artists, musicians and hard working tough minded, strong willed people.  Our public Spaces, North Park, Ruggles Park, and Kennedy (or South) Park have evolved as the city has evolved.  Those parks have been my motivation, my very muse for this collection of paintings and drawing.  Posted here is a selection of that work.

There is History There
Blue Pine and Shadow Play

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Intersecting Principles: Walking on Water

     This drawing is the second in the "Intersecting Principles" series.  When I travel the city of Fall River, this area somehow feels like the roots of the city.  This is where the Taunton River meets what is left of the captured and piped in mouth of the Quequechan River.  Sure the shoreline is actually about seven mile long, but this is at the base of Downtown.  This is where the Fall River Line ships moored. The life blood of the city in the nineteenth century pulsed through this area like the true blood of a man's heart.  Native Americans crossed the river here.  King Phillip's warriors fought and lost battles with the British here.

     The story of Fall River starts here.

     Today, it is the Home of Battleship Cove, Heritage Park, the Fall River Carousel, (once the pride and joy of Lincoln Park). There is a large commercial pier, a railroad yard and a few working factories. There is also a Railroad Museum, a Marine Museum, few restaurants and and bars.  The Narrows Center for the Arts with two galleries a state of the art performance space and several artist studios sits three floors above it all.  All in all a very busy place, one that I stroll between brush strokes and contemplation.  

It seemed a fitting second step.  From here I can look up toward my city, look out across the river, or take in the living history that continues.  The sounds of the traffic crossing the big blue Braga bridge echo and give surreal din to the colliding diversity and shifting priorities of a struggling city. 
Walking on Water  /  14x20 graphite on paper

So, that said, if "Church Steeple" represents family values and the beginnings of a political viewpoint, "Walking on Water" represents the principles of work and play intersecting along the waterfront, the rail yards, and the public spaces filled with high hopes and grand intentions.

Intersecting Principles is a new series of work, funded in part by the Fall River Cultural Council, a subsidiary of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Intersecting Principles : Church Steeple

Intersecting Principles is a new series of work, funded in part by the Fall River Cultural Council a subsidiary of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

     My purpose is to create a body of work to serve as a visual metaphor inspired by the conflicting perspectives or the intersections of moral and political principles of the diverse population of  my home town.  I hope the work inspires a discussion. Still, my intentions artistic intentions are about creating individual works of art that are engaging, inspirational, and even, maybe, pleasing to look at.

      This is an eight month long project that begins right here and now.  I will document and share my progress from this blog.

     I will first create fully rendered graphite drawings.  Each drawing will be 14x20 inches on off white Canson Edition paper, a heavy bodied paper often used for printmaking and multimedia art work.  From those drawings I will create 18x24 inches oil on canvas paintings.  This work is inspired by actual locations throughout the City of Fall River.  I have walked with my note book, sketch book and small camera, looking for interesting, (to me, at least) juxtapositions of color, light, and movement that occur at active city intersections.  I will create compositions that, while not recreating those intersections, are characterizations of those places that technically use the foundations of the abstract expressionist movement as the fundamental underlying structure to the work.

     All that said, they are simply paintings and drawings, and I hope there is some fun to be had.  I will display the entire series at my Narrows Center Studio/Gallery starting in September 2016. I will post and display each piece as they are completed.

     Let’s start here with “Church Steeple.” This is a simple straight forward expression, but it serves as a nice gateway for me.

Church Steeple

     Walking through the downtown area, passing the Church, I was reminded that many of our moral principles are born in our various religions.  With the intense back-lighting, and my dirty glasses, the building took on an ominous presence. That seemed a fitting place to begin. Our political views and our family values start during our earliest days as we gather with our families under the guidance of a religious leader in a gathering space that is solemn and often iconic so, I decided to start and end with this image. I wonder still how I will approach this one with color.

     I am inviting everyone to follow me along this path and see where we go.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Views and Hues

      As of today, it has been about 30 months since my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She fought and defeated her cancer By comparison to many others her fight was brief, but it was a fight. Near the end of her battle, we spent some time in the White Mountain National Forest in upper New Hampshire.  We love the area and it was peak leaf season.  The days were warm and bright, perfect to take our strolls along some easy trails as she regained confidence and stamina, and simply enjoyed herself.

     The colors were remarkable, and I snapped a few digital shots, sketched a bunch more and absorbed what I could, finding more inspiration and motivation than I had since before she got her diagnosis.  The leaves were just part of it.  The sky bloomed like a flower.  The sun was low and lit the world from a soft and comforting angle.  Wind sang in whispers through the ticking branches while carrying scents across the forest to rival the aroma of any fine kitchen.

      We rode the Cog Rail and took the Cannon Mountain Tram.  Perspectives were changed as we looked across the peaks toward the ocean or Canada.  We held each others hand and walked the rim of Cannon Mountain.  Her breath was short and each step took effort, but the views and hues drove us onward and deeper.

     These paintings are a result of those walks.  They are images filter though a healing heart.  I didn't know then how wounded I felt.  Her discomfort far eclipses my own.  But those mountainous trails led us both toward a newer understand of who we had become and what we might create.

      My wife and her recovery are as much a part of these paintings as are my years of training and exploration.  We made these together, hand in hand, during a few autumn days in the forest a few hours away from our home.  Views and Hues is a record of our journey back.

Friday, September 18, 2015


Mount Hope Bay Series

        I have a friend, really I have more than a friend, but one in particular likes to remind me that "Change is the only constant."  I don't know if he is quoting someone else, but I am quoting him, as he is the one who reminds me of it so often.  He embraces change, even encourages it. I on the other hand simply accept that it is possible and not always as bad as I fear.  Change, it seems like such a loaded word, a premise even, one we can use to our advantage when it regards our creativity.

The Drawn to Music Project

       The last time I wrote a blog entry, I was amazed by Da Vinci drawings, click back and read it.  I hope you find it at least entertaining, if not quite profound.  I was inspired by those drawings to once again explore the power of the pencil and how that might affect and influence my work.  But first, it also inspired me to change the look of  Taylespun Studio.  

       I loved the way Da Vinci looked on colored walls.  I loved the intimate feel and the comfort I felt looking at the masterwork on the walls.

        Now, I don't and would never equate myself with those brilliant precursors of my artistic lineage, I will leave that others less attached and far more objective to do, and yeah, I hope someday they will.  Hell, why not?  But I do like the idea of learning from the presentation and well as the hand and the line.  So, I came back to Taylespun Studio and picked up a brush, a big one, and a roller.  I laid a few layers of paint on the walls and changed, (that word again,) the look of my studio.
Views and Hues

       It more fairly resembles a gallery.  I still work at one end, but walking in, my work is presented, not simply hung.  I am not certain why I avoided this before now.  I think I liked the idea of exhibiting my work raw, unvarnish and simple.  But I have to admit, I like this better.  My clients seem to as well.

Public Spaces

  The patrons and volunteers here at The Narrows Center for the Arts who visit me and my work have expressed to me how much the like the changes.  Its funny how I return to the word over and over.  My friend is not an "I told you so..." kind of soul.  He is honest and blunt, and sometimes his bombast is as quick as his wit.  He helped me to hang my newest series of work, "Public Spaces," and as he handed me the paintings while I stood atop a tall aluminum ladder, there was a smile, even a glint in his eye, one I recognized.  He approved.

Shadows and Light

Two weeks later, he topped me.  He spontaneously got married for the first time. Now that's change embraced for sure.

Drawn To Music Project