preparing a proposal today by Philip Tarlow

3:50 PM: today i put together a proposal for a friend who generously offered to show my work to several galleries. there are 7 categories thus far. BELOW are examples form each of those categories.

gouache tree trunk study by Philip Tarlow

6:43 PM: here's the gouache i made this morning: it's giving me ideas for the next series of paintings.








11:52 AM: today is a short studio day, as we're walking up the trail in a few hours. i decided, before preparing a new canvas, to make a small study in gouache on paper to reconnect with some of the important source material for my late summer series. it will be along the line of a similar study i made last month, which you see below.

reconnecting with this material allows me to dream the next painting.

simpler sweet by Philip Tarlow

2:05 PM: i began work on revising sweet this morning, and continued working until just now.

i felt unattached to a particular result and fully willing to allow this painting to fail.

i knew it was obviously not going to be in the same genre as the last 3 or 3 late summer paintings, which were very spare, allowing the tinted ground to play a dominant role in the composition, and having the feel of a quick sketch.

i think what emerged is certainly not trash-worthy, but as usual it will take at least 24 hours to evaluate. a number of suggestive forms, one of which says "i'm a snail, can't you see?" are giving me hope that this one, while lacking the immediacy and freshness of the other recent ones, is it's own complete entity.

BELOW: yesterday and today

                      story hanging on our living room wall

                    sweet at the end of the day yesterday




8:12 AM: in looking at this earlier late summer painting, story, hanging on our wall, i received guidance about what to do today in simplifying sweet later this morning. the issue however has to do with whether or not it's possible to create this level of simplicity and freshness on a canvas that has, so to speak, lost its virginity.

sallying forth / squash-gouache: a new addition by Philip Tarlow

6:58 PM:  here are pics of the 2 plein air gouaches i made this morning, plus a shot of the site:

5:27 PM: i don't think it was a good idea to work on this painting after coming back from painting plein air. i just went back over to my studio, and i now feel it was a better painting before my intervention today. i'll give it a try tomorrow morning, but, as i just said to a friend, this new direction in my late summer series, where i don't paint on a hard backed surface and therefore don't use collage at all, need to remain fresh. often they are completed in a day, while the energy is fresh. if i don't get anywhere in the first hour or so, i'll abandon it & start a new one.

4:15 PM: i made 2 gouaches at the creek this morning. then when i returned i did more work on sweet. the squash we got yesterday from suzanne & kent have already entered the composition, which may have become a little too busy. i'll see in the morning. i do feel it's an improvement on yesterdays version. you can see the difference in the 2 images below, and draw your own conclusion.

i'll post the plein air gouaches this evening when i'm back at the house.




                          YESTERDAY                                                                                TODAY


11:18 AM: the prediction is that it's going to get windy again today, but in spite of that i'm sallying forth to the creek in a few moments to make new gouaches, which are largely my inspiration for the late summer series paintings. 

yesterday we returned home with local fruit & veggies brought to crestone/baca by suzanne & kent. i got these little squashes with fantastic colors & patterns to add to my display of plein air gouaches i look at while painting the late summer series.

                      detail of yesterday' sweet, 36x36"




we'll see how they enter into the picture as soon as i begin the next in this series; either this afternoon when i return or tomorrow am.

"sweet" evolves by Philip Tarlow

2:35 PM: i had a huge appetite to delve back into sweet, which clearly not anywhere near resolved when i stopped working yesterday. a few elements remain, but i painted over the ground color i had created, which was too strong, too aggressive. as i have been saying for months now, a language is developing, emerging form my years of painting plein air, as well as from observing the shapes and marks i tend to repeat when making my abstract collages on paper. what you want, as an artist, is to know what's going on in your kishkes; a yiddish word for gut


BELOW: the evolution of sweet since this morning:

                          noon                                                   1pm                                                2:30pm

SWEET by Philip Tarlow

1:07 PM: this morning i started a new late summer series painting: sweet, 36x36" in it's present state (i'm stopping early so we can take our trail walk) it has 4 or 5 distinct elements & colors. it's a creek riff, as are the rest of the paintings in this series, and owes as much to thelonious monk as gorky.  as long as weather permits, i'll continue my plein air excursions to the creek, which renew my feelings for the essential elements and mood in these paintings. 


"korgy"....out with that grey! by Philip Tarlow

12:23 PM: yesterday i started work on a new late summer series painting: korgy. today upon entering my studio, my first glance led me to remove several areas of grey at the top of the composition. not only did they seem unnecessary; they were weighing down the lightness and playfulness of the painting. whenever an area draws your attention to the detriment of the whole, it has to go. in this case i distinctly remember the impulse to put in that grey. it was coming from my mind, not my gut.

BELOW, a comparison of the two:

ruminations on my pathstarting/ starting "korgy" 36x36" / yesterday's plein air at the creek / by Philip Tarlow

4:43 PM: so where are we? well, we're in a very interesting space, i'd say. a lifetime of painting plein air, both in greece during the '60's-70's and in crestone for over 25 years, has led me to this moment. i don't recall ever thinking of this as the development of a visual language until recently. it was gorky who sparked this realization. while perusing the catalogue/book of his philadelphia retrospective, i related strongly to the path he followed. suddenly, i feel the potential for a real explosion of work reflecting this coming together. a pregnant moment is what we have. of course in the back of my mind looms the question: " and where will you show all this new work?" at the rate i'm making these late summer series, they'll start taking over my studio space and our home as well. next step solutions have always appeared in my life. but i need to reach out & take action in order to prime the pump. if you are reading this, envision that solution, that doorway showing up soon.

BELOW: left:  detail of todays painting, korgy.    right: one of the two plein air gouache paintings i did yesterday

         korgy as it looked moments ago

2:48 PM:  today was supposed to have been a snowy day, and it was, but not in crestone/baca. it' been snowing up above 11,000 ft. all day, but we were, as usual in the donut hole.

i started a new painting in my late summer series, titled korgy, an anagram of gorky. i'm experimenting working on a canvas stretched without the wood backing i've been using to facilitate collaging. it makes the canvas much lighter & easier to move about or hang, as well as avoiding un-stretching and re-stretching once the painting is complete. i'm not yet sure if i like it, because, for one, i'm used to making marks with crayon or graphite and having a hard surface allows me to press more firmly, making the marks darker and richer.

as with the others, i'm glancing at an array of plein air paintings and collages on paper as inspiration for the marks, shapes and colors. so in examining what i did today, i can see branches, rocks, tall grasses and flowing creek water, but i can also see the head of a walrus; a breast; a vagina; a bird, more more. i'm still experimenting with leaving white shapes in applying the tinted ground, which today is tannish; the color of an aspen trunk i drew on our trail walk yesterday..



YESTERDAYS PLEIN AIR: BELOW ARE PHOTOS OF THE 2 GOUACHE PAINTINGS I DID YESTERDAY AT THE CREEK. the little jar with red liquid on my painting table is port, which i consumed while working. mighty good it was. can you discern any of the discoveries i made yesterday having entered into todays painting:  korgy?

creek day by Philip Tarlow

4 PM: i painted 2 plein air gouaches today at the creek. now that it's getting into october and we've had some windy, wet weather, the campsites have emptied and i pretty much had my pick. the one i chose, 5, i hadn't been to in a year or two. the beavers have been busy and there was a large, very striking dam, with gnarled branches large and small criss crossing one another in a manner that seemed perfect. you could never duplicar the wildly elegant structure. 

my plein air backpack, with gouache colors, brushes, water container, paper & palette

my light weight collapsible table & stool

10:26 AM: in a few hours i shall once again sally forth. after days of wind and rain, we have a stunning day, clear and with perfect plein air temperatures. right now it's 50F and should be right about 60-62 when i venture out at about 1pm MST. it's good timing, in that my new late summer series is demanding new sources of inspiration, and i yearn for that creek.


here are is plein air gear, light and portable enough to make scrambling down the brush to my painting site a piece of cake. as long as i can physically venture out, weather permitting, i will continue to do this on a regular basis. right now i'm going to prepare a new canvas for tomorrow.