Leonardo da Vinci

Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.

--Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, May 11, 2012

Truth in Painting

Gorge White House
Last Sunday, Vicki and I, went to The Gorge White House in Hood River, OR for Celeste Bergin's solo show opening which was great.
We are no stranger to the great city of Hood River, we actually got married there, but it was our first time to the delightful old farm house.
We arrived early to allow me get a plein air painting in and enjoy a picnic before the scheduled event. I found it a struggle to land on something to paint, for there is so much beauty with every turn. Mt Adams and Mt Hood are both clearly visible, amazing hillsides, and terrific orchards. I finally landed on a distant view of the Gorge White House itself with the wide grassy path, cutting through the fields and leading you to the house.
There are some things i really like about this painting, but there are some things i didn't see until later in the day which could have made it a stronger composition. The most glaring to me, is the way the line of the dark tree trunk is right in line with the edge of the grass. That line should have been broken up.
Performing the act of painting is all about choices and making decisions. What to put where, and how to compose a piece in a manner of the mood or feeling you are trying to convey. Now, i could have moved the tree to make it more technically correct, but i was not willing to lose the spontaneity of the main subject farm house. So there you go; I made my choice.
Plus, there are times when i like to show the truth of my day, the honesty in my moment of how i was seeing. At times that may be a bit cockeyed, but for better or worse the authenticity always shows through and that's one of the great things i love about painting.


  1. Michael you and Vicki are living idyllic lives! I'm having visions of you in a waist coat strolling through some majestic landscape in the Pacific Northwest, paint box and easel under your arm. Vicki in her flowered frock sets down the picnic basket and spreads a blanket under a tree while you set up--and paint a landscape way ahead of its time. No one had ever used a palette knife before. Others strolling by are amazed and stop to congratulate you on your genius.

    Okay enough fiction. It sound like a wonderful afternoon and here am I just sitting in my breakfast nook a bump on a log. The painting is beautiful. Go make another playing up the trees and stop knocking this one. It's soft and warm and speaks of the day. I can tell the painter had a great time.

    1. L.W. - Michael will probably flip when he sees I've posted on his blog, but I just had to respond to your comment! While we are indeed truly blessed, our lives as an artist and a writer are far from idyllic! Paying bills, health issues, and stress are just a few of the mundane items we deal with! Your comments have meant a lot to Michael - thanks so much!

    2. You are too funny Linda! I did have a great time though and it was fun to try a new venue. Afterall that's what we like to do isn't it, try new things and push the boundaries. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But the most important thing to is the TRUTH of a piece; with a little fiction thrown in from time to time of course.....
      Thank you for your contribution! It is much appreciated.

  2. Thanks so much for coming out to the reception..the picnic visit with you and Mrs. Lindy totally made it all the more of a special event for me! I like the painting...and the swirliness of it. Swirliness is a technical painting term, as you know.

    1. Swirliness, yes, Celeste. Thank you for reminding me. I will discuss the art of mastering the swirliness. Get me "Swizzle in your Swirl", will be the topic for our friday night meeting.
      Glad you enjoyed the picnic, so did we. And kudos to you on a great show!