Monthly Archives: February 2016

Winter Sings a Song to Springtime

Michaela Harlow, Winter Sings a Song to Springtime, 2016, 3' x 2', oil and graphite on panel Winter Sings a Song to Springtime, 2016, Oil & Graphite on 3′ x 2′ Wood Panel (click image to enlarge)

Spring is in the air and the light is changing. Migratory birds are everywhere, filling the morning with a cacophony of sweet sound. Sheets of ice melt away beneath the warmth of late winter sun, mirroring a change of season. The time has come for rebirth and renewal

Winter sings a song to springtime. A sweet, sad song; filled with melancholy notes of lonliness and longing. A song of anticipation and surrender. A beautiful goodbye.

Michaela Harlow, Painting Process Two A peek at my process on this time-consuming piece

Painting large-scale, layered oil paintings takes up large blocks of time and space. Finding a span of uninterrupted days can be challenging. However in late winter, with icy/snowy/muddy roads to contend with, it’s a little easier to carve out time in my schedule and hunker down in the studio. But space? Oh space. Working on the floor has many advantages, but walking around is not one of them. I thought I’d give a bit of a peek at my process in this post (images previously posted on Instagram with many related photos of melting ice along the river).

I am very pleased with this piece and expect to continue on this series over the coming weeks.

Michaela Harlow, Painting Process This piece began with sheer layers of orange and grey-violet oil paint. Once dry, graphite drawing began, followed by layers of opaque white oil. Between layers I scrape back to reveal patches of the underpainting and then add more paint and drawing to the top. The process mirrors freeze-thaw, and the passage of time.

Posted in "Ice" painting series, Oil on Panel Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Three New Paintings Included in Upcoming, Juried Exhibit, “Flight: Explorations in Movement, Migration, and Freedom”

REQUIEM-FOR-SYRIA-4-Khaled-Akil-WEB-e1455917255494 Requiem for Syria #4 by Khaled Akil, Fine Art Paper Print, 75 cm x 90 cm

I am honored to share news that three of my pieces, including ‘Migration’, have been selected for inclusion in the upcoming, juried exhibit, “Flight: Explorations in Movement, Migration, and Freedom”, April 2 – June 26, 2016, at West Branch Gallery and Sculpture Park. The exhibit opens with a reception on April 2, from 8 – 8 p.m., and will include works by Syrian artist, local students and gallery artists.

Read more about this special show and the Syrian people it benefits, on the West Branch Gallery Blog, here.

Michaela Harlow, Migration, 2016, Oil and Graphite on 2 x 4 wood panel

‘Migration’, 2016, Michaela Harlow, Oil and Graphite on 24″ x 48″ Wood Panel

S  O  L  D 

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Field Notes & Sketchbook Pages

Michaela Harlow, Field Notes from the Sketchbook, Pastel and Graphite A trio of early morning sketches from my notebook (15″ x 12″ on handmade paper/click to enlarge)

As these late winter days grow longer and warmer, I find myself lingering out doors. I cherish early morning walks through the forest; watching the sky light up, all peach-pink-fuchsia between tree trunks along the ridge line.

I’m constantly sketching and making photos, but these days I rarely post pages from my notebook. Most of the time, I upload images to Instagram, Twitter or on my Facebook profile. App editing tools on my iPhone make it so much easier to crop and watermark images, but writing is still something I prefer to do on my laptop. I’m going to try to get better about sharing them here on the journal. We’ll see how long that resolution lasts once things get really busy!

Posted in Field Notes and Sketches, Studio Tagged , , , , |

An Afternoon with Alma Thomas at the Tang

Michaela Harlow at the Alma Thomas exhibit, Tang Teaching Musueum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, NYMaking notes at the Alma Thomas exhibit, Tang Teaching Museum (photo: Kelly Smith)

I’ve been in and out of many exhibits this winter, and although I’ve enjoyed all of them, Alma Thomas at the Tang Teaching Museum has been, far and away, my favorite thus far.

Although a relatively small show, the exhibit presents early works and late works in sequence. Thomas’ pivotal ‘Yellow and Blue’ 1959 —the decisive shift from figuration to abstraction— greets with saturated intensity at the entry. I was delighted to finally see a small grouping of the artist’s watercolors and other works on paper. Of course, as an artist, I longed for more. So much work begins with jotted notes and gestures.

Alma Thomas Exhibit, Tang Musueum, Skidmore. Michaela HarlowIn the exhibit entrance, Alma Thomas’ ‘Yellow and Blue’, 1959 and the commitment to abstraction.

Alma Thomas Exhibit, Tang Musuem, Michaela Harlow Alma Thomas, Untitled Watercolor (1960-1978)

I was thrilled to experience the exhibit on a quiet, Sunday afternoon; a day with few visitors to block the view or break my contemplative state with disruptive chatter. With no pressures on my time, I lingered long and experienced fully. Grateful.

My love for Alma’s late work really knows no bounds. In addition to her mastery of color, form, rhythm and motion —all thrilling when experienced in a room filled with these large canvases— Thomas’ use of the aerial perspective has always been unusual and captivating to me. It’s this omniscient point-of-view, I believe, that first attracted me to her work, years ago. Gazing upon ‘White Roses Sing and Sing’, ‘Cherry Blossom Symphony’ and ‘Scarlet Sage Dancing a Whirling Dervish’, I am swept back to a childhood afternoon in Mexico; head hanging over a bridge, mesmerized by fallen flower petals, dancing and swirling in the green current below.

Alma Thomas Exhibit, White Roses Sing and Sing, Tang Museum, Skidmore. Michaela Harlow Alma Thomas, ‘White Roses Sing and Sing’, 1976, Acrylic on Canvas

Alma Thomas exhibit, Tang Museum, Michaela Harlow ‘Scarlet Sage Dancing a Whirling Dervish’, 1976, Acrylic on Canvas

Alma Thomas Exhibit, Tang Museum, Michaela Harlow ‘Cherry Blossom Symphony’, 1973, Acrylic on Canvas

And with this exhibit opening near winter’s end, it will likely be my last museum visit for awhile. I have a few art-centric trips planned for March, but my landscape design schedule is filling up.

Good to end with such a vibrant crescendo. Thank you to the Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College and of course, Alma Thomas.

Alma Thomas Exhibit, Tang Museum, Skidmore. Michaela Harlow Alma Thomas, Late Work at the Tang Museum

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