Friday, December 31, 2021

Fall Aspens

Squeezing in a post for 2021! 

As not illustrated on this blog, it was truly a productive year for creating new pieces. In between landscape architecture projects, other paintings, and life woven in a pandemic, I had the pleasure of working on this commission piece. 

Late last spring, I was approached to create a piece that was 48x72-inches of Aspens. We narrowed it down to a grove of Aspens in full golden fall color and settled on making this large painting into a triptych. I drew a series of sketches to work out composition and light/shadow values and agreed on what you see here.

What do you reference when a grove of Aspens is not outside your door? I looked up images and read about Populus tremuloides, "Quaking Aspen". I also relied on memories and meditations. One amazing fact about an aspen grove is that it is actually one plant. All the trunks in a grove may be genetically identical rising up from the same root system. Makes "quaking Aspen" sound like a poetic spin on "attack of the clones".

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Sunset OBX - Firepower

Sunset OBX - 5 x 5",  oil on board

On what is essentially a thin ribbon of sand, stands a thread of high-wire communication lines. They line the western edge of Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I've always thought of this place as the edge of the world. It tends to feel that way when all you see in either direction is water and sky. Out here, there is a steady undertow of vulnerability and constant change. Out here, sustaining life is balancing act that requires grit and a bit of a carpe diem mindset.  Looking west, seeing the sun lower to the horizon through these powerlines is a reminder of that. It all feels feeting.

This was a panel I pulled out of an old stack left over from one of our visits to Hatteras. I had sketched the powerlines over an orange ground. I remember my husband commenting something along the lines of 'not many people want to look at a painting of utility lines'. Meh, okay - I lost steam and put aside. Rediscovering it, I wondered 'How to do you make an everyday image beautiful?'. I had fun trying.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Knotted Maple with Fireflies - The Struggle is Real.

Knotted Maple with Fireflies, 24x36" oil on board
I struggled with this painting. While there are struggles with most all paintings, this one almost ended in destruction. I kept putting it on my easel, taking it off my easel, turning it upside-down, turning it to the wall, asking it what it wanted...on and on for about two years. I would have small success (like the light around the bark on the bottom right) and then days where every brush stroke lead me deeper down the path of dread. The ferns were not part of the initial composition. Neither were the fireflies. They came later as the tree sat there lacking context; bare, alone, and uninteresting. Now I think they are two the best parts of this piece.

Knotted Maple with Fireflies - Detail
Then came an email from The Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts League with a show prospectus "Flora, Fauna, and Figure". Maybe this piece was waiting for the right time to flee the studio. Regardless, it was the final push I needed to finish it. This photo (as usual) does not do it justice. Come out and see it in person. Opening night is this Friday, February 14th 2020 at the Red House Gallery in Black Mountain, NC. Can't make it? Grab a friend and go see some art that is local to you.
Knotted Maple - Original Sketch


Monday, September 09, 2019

The Magic of Corn

©Rachel Klecker Clegg, Stalks of Corn, 24x12", oil on canvas
Corn has been in the news a lot lately.  To be more specific, corn as a commodity has been making the news.  That's not what inspired me to paint this piece.  It was the magic of corn.

Inspiration came as the result of watching corn grow in our garden which we had planted off our back deck.  I had started to work from home in those days and was enjoying a break in the day under a bright sun on the back deck.  From there, I could look up at the corn blossoms.  That's when I noticed - bees.  They were dancing and gathering pollen from the flowers and as they did, some pollen would fall down and gather in the stalks.  Now, I grew up in central Ohio, a place blanketed by corn fields.  I have seen landscapes dominated by corn but, I had never seen it from this perspective.  This was more than seeing.  This was the first time I witnessed the alchemy of nature relative to stalks of corn.  This was a revealing of the magic that flows through all things.  It was beautiful.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Postcards of Portugal - 2

Postcards of Portugal No. 2  At the eastern edge of the Town of Alburferia is a Praia dos Olhos de Agua.  We had hiked atop the cliffs, down along the beach and came to a Pescadores (Fisherman's) Yard.  There are bright blue huts standing as a backdrop to an off-white limestone cobblestone courtyard.  Lines and colors coming together creating a unique sense of place.
"Fisherman Repairing Nets", 7x5", oil on board

Monday, July 15, 2019

Postcards of Portugal - 1

Jon and I spent ten days in Portugal last March.  Our trip included Lisbon and three towns on the southern coast: Tavira, Albufeira, and Lagos.  I brought my sketch book on the trip but, ended up with more photos & writing than sketches.  

Thinking back on days of travel when we use to send postcards home, and in the interest of creating a stronger discipline around drawing and painting, I am inspired to create postcard size paintings of our travels.  My goal is to complete 30 in 45 days.  

Here we go... Day one.  A hike along the Algarve's coast outside of Lagos in early March.  We couldn't have asked for better weather.   The temperature in the upper 60's F, bright sun, and crisp clear skies made for incredible light.  The contrast of the deep blue sky, aqua marine sea, and golden striated orange clay cliffs were a sight to behold.  Spirit lifting weather.  Spirit lifting landscape!

graphite sketch 5-1/2 x 8"
"Algarve's Coast", 7x5", oil on board

Monday, July 31, 2017

Puppy Love

Leon - initial sketch

Leon - process

Leon - oil on board, 12x16"
This sweet pea came into our lives in January at just two months old.  I've been blinded by his adorable presence ever since.  This painting is what I can best describe as a love note.  It took me just three days to complete and I had the most fun painting this piece than I've had painting in a long time.  I think it had to do with the subject.  Pure joy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sedona Red Rocks ~ Little Triptych

Sedona Red Rocks - 3, 8x8", oil on canvas

Here is the final painting on ferric oxide ground.  This was quick and so much fun to paint.  Inspiration from a natural red rock skyline in Sedona, AZ captured on a late winter afternoon.  Sunlight against the rocks is a beauty I will be chasing in art and life for years to come.  God willing.  Paint on!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Earth Tones: A Journey Toward Mixing My Own Paint

One of my great passions of exploration is on the subject of health: physical, cellular, ethereal, earthly.  I cannot get enough information.  A subject that has come to light for me in the past few years is electromagnetic fields (EMFs).  You can google yourself into a rabbit hole on this one, but I will say I have meet people who sincerely express and exhibit dis-ease as a result of electrical pollution exposure.  There is a LOT of information on the sources and negative aspects of man made electromagnetic fields, but like all things there are two sides.  In a dualistic world the best resource in the search for balance is nature.

This brings me to Ferric Oxide (Fe2O3).  My understanding from basic chemistry is that Fe2O3 is an oxidized iron or 'rust'.  It turns out, it is so much more than the rust of an old Schwinn that was left in the rain.  Fe2O3 is also called 'Jewelers Rouge' and is used to clean gold, silver, and other precious metals.  It is an inorganic compound found in the rocks in Sedona, Arizona and apparently, it helps protect or balance the electrical fields in and around people.  How exactly?  Well, here's another great google afternoon: Schumann Resonances and Scalar Energy.  I'm not sure the extent of it's efficacy, but it's not harmful and as it turns out, artists have been using it in paint for centuries.  So has begun my journey into mixing paints.  For me, it's a whole new exciting world of blending art and geology.

My first run - I didn't make a paint exactly, but a gesso ground for a painting.  This is what I used: Clear gesso and pure powder of Ferric Oxide (with a wee bit of water to dilute).
Clear Gesso mixed with Ferric Oxide onto three 8x8" canvas.
The resulting color was absolutely vibrant!  I could not accurately capture the radiant color for the screen (that's another push to get out and see art in person).  Next I will try mixing this with my medium of choice, linseed oil and see how it differs as a paint vs a gesso ground.  This experiment drives me to try other natural grounds and possibly trying tempera painting.  One material of particular interest is mica which is abundant here in the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

Happy new year and all the new possibilities it brings to you.  Paint on!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Looking Up - Key West

Two Palms, 24x36", oil on canvas
There are sounds, colors, smells that can transport you to a place.  Sit and listen to the wrestling of palm fronds.  Look up to the illuminated chlorophyll against a bright island sky.  Take in the smells of salt, sand, and street food.  Key West, baby.  Don't you want to go?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Island Iguana

Island Iguana, 5x5", oil on board

"Got grapes?", were words formulated from a loud stare.  While picnicking on a Caribbean island, it's good to pack a little extra for surprise guests.

Now with a full belly he whispers, "Iguana come home with you". 

This guy will be part of my art show, Seaside::Poolside.

Fall Aspens

Squeezing in a post for 2021!  As not illustrated on this blog, it was truly a productive year for creating new pieces. In between landscape...