July 2010   volume 9 number 5 The Artist's Loft logo The Artist's Loft logo

William H. Hays  Hello and Welcome Friends,

Although we've been seeing some very hot days this summer, I've persevered and been able to do some work which I hope you'll enjoy. My studio is not air conditioned but the apartment and the B&B offer some relief when it gets to be too much. There have been a couple of days when my studio was 100 degrees (about 35C for the rest of the world). And let me tell you, that's difficult for working. A towel for wiping the sweat from my face is a must. Fortunately, temperatures that hot have been infrequent. As you can tell, I miss the coolness of our usual summers on the North Atlantic coast in Nova Scotia.

Everyone goes through phases, cycles in their lives. And I'm no different. For the great majority of my life I've had a wealth of ideas I wanted to explore in artworks. I've almost always had more ideas than time to carry them through. But even the most regular of situations changes, if you give it enough time. I haven't felt motivated to start new canvases. The possible ideas that I've had have not enthused me enough to get going on them. This is not the first time I've felt this. So I've decided to relax and allow this phase to run its course while I continue to keep busy.

In order to occupy myself creatively I've been considering canvases that I've had for a while. How can I make them better? With some I know the answer right away. And it is these that I've approached to rework them into the potential that I know they contain.

The first is a painting that I originally completed in November of 2004. In January of 2007 I reworked it for the first time. This month I reworked it again. Below are the versions from 2007 and this latest effort for comparison.

The Swimming Hole (2007)   The Swimming Hole (2007), Oil on Canvas 38" x 28"

The Swimming Hole (2010)   The Swimming Hole (2010), Oil on Canvas 38" x 28"

The lesson for me here is that less is more. In fact, to some degree, that's what I've spent this whole month doing at the easel - making these paintings more by darkening and painting out areas. This painting was almost completely repainted. The only area that wasn't reworked is the upper right hand, background area. I like it much better now and it is closer to the vision I had when I began five and a half years ago.

This next painting was first done in January of 2008 It is based on a quick sketch I did at the top of Putney Mountain in the autumn. It is a great place to come out of the woods and find yourself looking west over to Haystack Mountain and Mount Snow on the spine of the southern Green Mountains in Vermont. Although one can see Stratton Mountain as well, it is on the right hand side of the image and obscured by the passing storm. Here are the two versions:

Passing Storm From Putney Mountain by William Hays   Passing Storm From Putney Mountain (2008), Oil on Canvas 28" x 38"

Passing Storm From Putney Mountain by William Hays   Passing Storm From Putney Mountain (2010), Oil on Canvas 28" x 38"

Once again, almost all of this painting was reworked. But this time the difference is that I did almost all of the repainting using transparent glazes of color. Along with the overall warming of the painting, I also darkened the overall tone in order to accentuate the light. So, although nothing in the painting is made lighter, I feel that the strength of the light in the painting is improved.

This last painting (done originally in February of 2008) is closely related to the previous one. Both paintings were "four-color" paintings. In other words, both were done with a four color palette - a red, a yellow and two blues. To some degree (a degree that bothered me) that was one of the problems - too limited in color. As well, I wanted to stregthen the light, which I did by darkening the overall tone of the painting. Here it is:

Forest Light II by William Hays   "Forest Light II" (2008) Oil on Canvas 28" x 38"

Forest Light II by William Hays   "Forest Light II" (2010) Oil on Canvas 28" x 38"

Finally, I returned to some printmaking and did a linoleum cut print. This one is related to one of my early multicolor prints entitled "Forest Light" done in December of 2007. I wanted to explore the similar subject matter using some of the techniques that I've learned over the past three years. Here's the print:

Lucent Grove, linocut print by William Hays   "Lucent Grove" 5-color Linoleum Block Print 7" x 5"

And that about does it for this month. I hope you enjoyed seeing the paintings change. Next Friday is the first Friday of the month and in Brattleboro that means it is Gallery Walk. We're hopeful it won't be too warm, but chances are that I'll be here to greet you whether it's warm or not! So I look forward to seeing you then and just about any time you would like to drop by at The Artist's Loft in Brattleboro, Vermont.


William H. Hays

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