New Painting: Dispatch from the Radiant Dusk

Dispatch from the Radiant Dusk, Oil on Panel, 24 x 36 inches., 2018

The Dispatch from the Radiant Dusk, above, is the first large painting of summer. Another lonely utopia and something of a sequel to To Whom Do We Owe Utopia? from 2016. This one is replete with art historical references. I started this picture last summer after my return from London as an ode to J. M. W. Turner. The initiated viewer might recognize the sunset as being strikingly similar to the one from Turner's Fighting Temeraire. Seeing Turner in London is to see him in setu. The Turner Bequest is enormous, I must have looked at 200 oil paintings in addition to his watercolors and sketchbooks. I was, clearly, influenced from finally getting to see his work in volume and prepared my own response. The rock formations are a nod to the multitude of French paintings of the Cliffs of Etretat in Normandy. Lots of Impressionist and realist painters made images of these peculiar stones, most notably Claude Monet and Gustave Courbet. Cezanne's long shadow is lurking around somewhere in there too, but you could say that about all of my paintings... and everyone's paintings. And, of course, Peter Blume is exerting his influence as well.

Weird, but worth noting - this is the first time I've ever painted the sun. The irony being that I'm constantly making paintings of the moon.

Scroll down for the preparatory drawing and lots of detail images.

Thumbnail Sketch for the Dispatch from the Radiant Dusk, Ink on Paper, 4.375 x 6.75 inches., 2017

Above is the thumbnail sketch for the Dispatch from the Radiant Dusk. This was done with pitt pens in one of my sketchbooks. I prefer to work in ink when I'm sketching out ideas. This is an important skill set I developed in my early artistic life as a cartoonist. I find that, as a tool, ink forces me to be more confident and deliberate largely because there is no going back. I sketch lightly in pencil the major forms and then ink from there. I also dislike drawing in pencil because those drawings always get scuffed up by the facing page.

Detail view of the large central stone. The geometric handling of this stone is a meditation on landscape painting's (and civilization in general) propensity to impart order onto natural things.

Stormy upper left with seussian trees and a distant mountain.

Sunset and lower right hand corner with monogram (MWLEE) and date in roman numerals (MMXVIII) as if carved into the small cliff.

Detail of lower left with dense confluence of stones and plants. The central stone is the star of the show but this area is the painting's beating heart.

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