Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Heidi's Birdhouse

Heidi's Birdhouse
18" x 15"     oil on linen      2014

The narrative of this painting is based on a birdhouse that hangs in the garden - a gift from a dear friend named Heidi - and the composition came about because of a watercolor I made last April. Watercolor is an infrequent medium for me; have probably finished less than twenty over the years, and they are usually done for a special occasion and a specific person.

Heidi's Birdhouse
7 1/2" x 5 1/2"     watercolor on paper     2014
Private collection, New York

Here are the five drawings that were made in the course of developing this composition, from the initial sketch to the final version:

Heidi's Birdhouse, drawing #1
7" x 5"     pencil on paper     2014

Heidi's Birdhouse, drawing #2
7 1/2" x 5 1/2"     pencil on paper w/ pastel tone on reverse     2014
Private collection, New York

Heidi's Birdhouse, drawing #3
8" x 8"     pencil on graph paper     2014

Heidi's Birdhouse, drawing #4
18" x 15" pencil on paper     2014

Heidi's Birdhouse, drawing #5
18" x 15"     pencil on paper with pastel tone on reverse     2014


  1. I love the new oil painting, Andrew. The graphic look of the leaves is wonderful. But I also love the cropped watercolor with the lovely orange palette. I didn't know that you ever did watercolors. What is it about watercolors that makes you use them so seldom?

  2. I love the focus your people have, even when they're doing everyday things. I have one of yours in my office. I wonder what the woman is thinking of every single time.

  3. I am always so interested to see your new blog postings. So interesting to see the decisions you made as you worked through the different sketches. Everything is so intentional. It felt so immediately familiar, partly because I know the exact birdhouse and also because I have held a birdhouse in just that way, holding it just so in order to peer inside... It also is perfect, the way the leaves on the tree are so similar to those on the bushes, just more pointed at the ends; it's always like that when you start looking closely at nature!

  4. The stories behind the actuality are fascinating. "Where does an idea come from?" people often ask artists. Because you allow us an over the shoulder peek at the birth of an idea, through the thinking out of
    compositional planning, lets us become participants in your process, and we can thus celebrate the completed painting to a greater extent than seeing it for the first time on a gallery wall. Thanks, you.



"There is more power in telling little than in telling all."
- Mark Rothko

“The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meanings are unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.”
- Magritte

"Now, the idea is to get everything right -- it's not just color or form or space or line -- it's everything all at once."
- Richard Diebenkorn

“What I am seeking is not the real and not the unreal but rather the unconscious,
the mystery of the instinctive in the human race.”
- Amedeo Modigliani