Friday, September 1, 2017

Summer Gouache

I've been curious about gouache for a while and decided to use it this summer to see where it would lead me. Using gouache is like drawing with liquid color and seems to suit my expressive needs. I enjoy the range of surfaces from transparent to opaque that develop from varied applications.

Driftwood Beach 2, Great Spruce Head Island, gouache on yupo, 11x14

My early experiments were small color studies from memory. I worked with different papers and a variety of brushes. Discomfort with the process eventually gave way to freedom of exploration. Eventually, I worked outside where I sometimes overworked paintings, but aspired to the same minimal approach that accompanied the memory paintings. I like gouache for its clarity of color and directness of process, and approach it as I do drawing, making marks in response to what I see, and searching for essential shapes and forms.

Memory study, East Side Road, Late Afternoon10x8

Memory Study, East Side Road, 3x3

Morning, Bernard Marsh, 7x9

Bernard Marsh 2, 5x7

Addison Lupine, Pleasant Bay, 7.5x9.5

Addison Meadow, Wahoa Bay,  7.5x9

August brought a visit to Great Spruce Head Island where I stayed for five days painting with friends. Hiking around to favorite spots on the island, I drew and painted on paper and yupo.

From the Porch toward Butter and Barred, gouache, 9x12

Driftwood Beach 3, gouache on yupo, 11x14

Driftwood Beach 1, gouache on yupo, 11x14

Late Morning toward Bear Island, gouache, 9x12

Foggy Beach, Great Spruce Head Island, gouache, 11x14

South Meadow, Early Evening, gouache, 9x12

Tide Pool 3, gouache on yupo, 5.5x6

Tide Pool 2, gouache on yupo, 5x6

Friday, June 16, 2017

"Let Nature Sustain"

Nina Jerome Paintings at Elizabeth Moss Gallery      June 1- July 8, 2017

   "Fish Point in Fog", 16x20, oil, 2016   

I listen to radio while I paint in the studio. I have covered my drawing table with phrases, book and song titles, authors' and composers' names, travel tips, and other items of interest. At some point during the last year I jotted down the linked phrases “let nature sustain” and George Sand. What I remember from the radio discussion is that Sand’s last words to her family were “laissez verdure”.  One translation of the phrase is “leave the green” and the other that I prefer is “let nature sustain”. I responded to this story, first, because I was so impressed by Sand's profound statement as she lay dying, and second, because the phrase seemed to relate directly to me, my work, and my interests. 

"Lagoon at Loon Point", 18x24, oil, 2016 - center

I am inspired by observation of the land, by structures of things that grow and create layers along the earth’s surface. I like intimate, distant, and aerial spaces and am interested in how humans shape their space, “leave the green”, and are inspired by their surroundings. Experiencing, observing, and responding to nature by drawing and painting renews my spirit. The act itself, the process of observing and responding, revising, and completing makes me feel like a witness to both life and the nature around me. As a result I feel more human by documenting my surroundings and sharing my responses with others through my painting and drawing.

"Backshore, Painting from Drawing #1", and "Back Shore Improvisation"

“Let Nature Sustain” is the title of my current show of paintings from Great Cranberry Island at Elizabeth Moss Gallery in Falmouth. The phrase found its way from my drawing table to my paintings as I recognized its importance to my work. I thank George Sand for the phrase and I am very grateful to the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation for the opportunity to live and work on Great Cranberry Island for the month of September. Waking up every day with the knowledge that I had an entire island at my disposal provided both geographical limits and infinite inspiration. My month-long immersion was a continual focus on plein air painting and drawing that led to many new paintings in the studio.

Great Cranberry Island landscapes at Elizabeth Moss Gallery

"Fish Point, Incoming Tide, ", 24x24, oil, 2016

"Bickford Afternoon", "Blowdown", and "Twilight"

"Backshore Improvisation",  "Morning Light from the Studio", "Beach at Long Point, Low Tide"

"Bickford Point Afternoon", and "Blowdown, Long Point"

"Late Afternoon, Toward Acadia", 24x24, oil, 2016

"Fish Point from the Window" and "Morning at Old Cove"

To see individual paintings, please visit gallery website


Monday, January 30, 2017

Painting Great Cranberry - After the fact

The powerful influence of Great Cranberry Island has continued through the fall and into the winter. Paintings develop from both drawings and photographs, coupled with the memory of that light-filled September experience. While living there, the paintings reflected my complete physical and emotional immersion in the space, and my experience of direct observation of its specific places. At home, the influence of the island has remained with me, but has been filtered through the lens of routine activity, thoughts of daily life, and current situations. The structures of the island became part of my visual landscape vocabulary and can now be translated into more personal images.

Previous posts have featured the drawings that resulted from my residency, as well as the process of creating new work from them. ( I continue that work on paper interspersed with periods of painting on canvas. They inform each other.

Twilight, The Pool - September, 24x30, oil 

Evening Surge, 24x30, oil

Backshore Rift, 56x60, oil

Painting and drawing juxtaposition showing the original drawing source with the larger finished painting.

Deadman's Point, Upside Down, oil, 48x60

Blowdown, Long Point, 24x30, oil on canvas, 2017

My painting process often involves underpainting the surface of the canvas to provide a colored ground with which to interact in the first stages of the painting. It helps me to build the composition and to establish value and color contrasts. This painting is in progress and has not been completed.

Choppy Morning Ferry Crossing, stages in progress

Choppy Morning Ferry Crossing, 24x30, oil on canvas

Monday, November 28, 2016

Drawing from Drawings

This fall I have been using drawings done on Great Cranberry Island in September as a resource for larger paintings and mixed media works on paper. This process is a shift for me since working from observation of place is my usual approach. I have enjoyed the freedom of this process, experimenting with materials (charcoal, gesso, acrylic paint) and allowing the marks to lead to new formats. There have been a variety of results, and as always, the opening of doors to new directions is the goal. I work until each piece feels a certain amount of resolution, choosing selectively from the drawings and searching for the essence of movement and structure.

Backshore Variation #1, mixed media, 26x40

Graphite on yupo, 11x14

Backshore Variation #3, mixed media, 26x40

Graphite on yupo, 11x14

Backshore Variation #4, mixed media, 26x32

Graphite on yupo, 11x14

Backshore Variation #2, mixed media, 26x36

Graphite on yupo, 11x14

Backshore Variation #5, mixed media, 26x32

Graphite on yupo, 11x14

Backshore Variation #5, detail

Monday, October 31, 2016

Rediscovering Drawing - A Conversation with the Landscape

My focus as an artist has always been painting. However, during my years of teaching in high school, middle school, and college, I developed many exercises, assigned year after year, introducing beginning classes to drawing. Personally, I drew when I was puzzling out a new subject, constructing a composition for a painting, or working outside.

That changed this year. I retired from teaching and had more time for making art, and for playing around with an idea before starting a painting. I began to appreciate my drawing as work that stands alone, and does not rely on a painting to give it value. And, after all those years of demonstrating and talking about making marks in my classroom, I have embraced those lessons myself, and transport my work easily into their language.

I wrote an earlier post about Drawing in the Desert
( in which I described exploring unfamiliar landscape in Tucson, Arizona. Again, during my stay on Great Cranberry Island with the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation, drawing was a primary part of the process. I drew every day, sometimes in preparation for a painting, but often to identify my interests or to mark my presence in the environment, a kind of conversation with the landscape.

I drew from my studio - from the windows or in the immediate area.

Tree at the Pool, 11x14, charcoal

 Fog in the Cove, gouache, 5x8

Morning Fog, gouache, 8x10

I drew as an activity of recording what I saw as I walked along the shore on Long Point or at the south end of the island.

Beach at Long Point, charcoal, 9x12

Long Point, High Tide in Fog, water soluble graphite, 8x10

The View from Long Point, 9x12, charcoal

Toward Dead Man's Point, charcoal, 9x12

I drew both the land along the shoreline and the incoming tide, curious about how to capture the movement of the water as it coursed into the area of the pool and crept closer to the shore. Although there are paintings related to some, I consider the drawings to have their own identity.

Incoming Tide on Long Point, charcoal, 9x12

The work that most connected me to the drawing process were the pieces that I made on the Back Shore, a place I returned to many times to observe the chaotic jumble of rocks beside the sea. 

Back Shore 9/25, graphite on yupo, 11x14

Back Shore 9/25.2, graphite on yupo, 11x14

Back Shore 9/28, graphite on yupo, 11x14

Back Shore 9/28.2, graphite on yupo, 11x14

Each day when I returned to the studio, I hung the work completed that day. Gradually, the wall filled with drawings; drawings that I considered to stand on their own as a record of my curiosity as I explored the island. 

Studio wall in LaHotan Studio, varied materials

Studio wall, water soluble graphite on yupo