Visual art

Red Lines

Uphill, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 30x40

Uphill, oil on canvas, 30×40

Red Lines I, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 12x16

Red Lines I, oil on canvas, 12×16

Red Lines II, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 12x16

Red Lines II, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 12×16

Red Lines III, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x12

Red Lines III, oil on canvas, 16×12

Tree, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 20x16

Tree, oil on canvas, 20×16

Sprout, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 11x14

Sprout, oil on canvas, 11×14

Untitled, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x20

Untitled, oil on canvas, 16×20

Lilacs, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x20

Lilacs, oil on canvas, 16×20

 

41 Love Poems (and other recent paintings)

41 Love Poems, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 24x18

41 Love Poems, oil on canvas, 24×18

A LITTLE WARMTH and color on this coldest day of the year.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Last Remains of the Ortona, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 12x16

Last Remains of the Ortona, oil on canvas, 12×16

Winter Landscape, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x20

Winter Landscape, oil on canvas, 16×20

Landscape, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 12x16

Landscape, oil on canvas, 12×16

City on the Mount, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 40x30

City on the Mount, oil on canvas, 40×30

Pathways, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 12x16

Pathways, oil on canvas, 12×16

Valley, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 20x16

Valley, oil on canvas, 20×16

Sisters, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 18x24

Sisters, oil on canvas, 18×24

Pinks, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 12x16

Pinks, Russell oil on canvas, 12×16

Violets, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x20

Violets, oil on canvas, 16×20

Spectacle, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x12

Spectacle, oil on canvas, 16×12

Needle and Thread, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 12x16

Needle and Thread, oil on canvas, 12×16

 

 

Year-end gallery

Deck the Halls (Season's Greetings 2015), Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x20

Deck the Halls (Season’s Greetings 2015), oil on canvas, 16×20

Greenscape 3, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x20

Greenscape 3, oil on canvas, 16×20

The Persistence of Landscape, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x20

The Persistence of Landscape, oil on canvas, 16×20

Survival of the Fittest, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 20"x16"

Survival of the Fittest, oil on canvas, 20×16

Promised Land, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 20x16

Promised Land, oil on canvas, 20×16

Spillway, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x20

Spillway, oil on canvas, 16×20

Flowerbank, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x20

Flowerbank, oil on canvas, 16×20

Ram, Fish, And Butterfly, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 24x36

Ram, Fish, And Butterfly, oil on canvas, 24×36

Dream, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 24x36

Dream, oil on canvas, 24×36

Gated Community, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x20

Gated Community, oil on canvas, 16×20

Beneath the Surface, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x20

Beneath the Surface, oil on canvas, 16×20

Banded Together, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 11x14

Banded Together, oil on canvas, 11×14

Legs, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 11x14

Legs, oil on canvas, 11×14

Legs, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 11x14

Legs, oil on canvas, 11×14

Circle in Sky, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x20

Circle in Sky, oil on canvas, 16×20

Chair Legs, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 16x20

Chair Legs, oil on canvas, 16×20

Fourth of four, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 14x11

Fourth of four, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 14×11

Butterfly Bush I, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 14x11

Butterfly Bush I, oil on canvas, 14×11

Butterfly Bush II, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 11x14

Butterfly Bush II, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 11×14

Butterfly Bush III, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 14x11

Butterfly Bush III, oil on canvas, 14×11

‘Integration, Reintegration’ Opens Saturday, September 12

Stacks, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 30x40

Stacks, oil on canvas, 30×40

Meadows, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 18x24

Meadows, oil on canvas, 18×24

MY EXHIBIT of more than 20 recent paintings (and one large sculpture!) will be at Elusie Gallery, 143 Main St. (the old town hall), Easthampton, Massachusetts, Saturday, September 12, through Saturday, October 3. The exhibit is titled, “Integration, Reintegration.”

The opening reception will be Saturday, September 12, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

I will give a gallery talk on “The Orchard As Landscape” Thursday, September 17, at 7 p.m.

Gallery hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

I hope you can join us for the reception (refreshments will be served), or at least have a chance to take in the exhibit.

Untitled, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 18x24

Untitled, oil on canvas, 18×24

Mixed Greens, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 18x24

Mixed Greens, oil on canvas, 18×24

Rise To The Top

Rise To The Top, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 24x36

Rise To The Top, oil on canvas, 24×36

Rise To The Top (Detail), Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 28x22

Rise To The Top (Detail), oil on canvas, 28×22

THESE are some of the last canvases I will complete before the opening of my exhibit at Elusie Gallery, 43 Main Street in the Old Town Hall, Easthampton, Massachusetts, September 5 through October 2.

There will be an opening reception Saturday, September 12, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Details will follow.

I have made most of my selections, but it is possible that one or more of these becomes part of the exhibit. If you have strong feelings about any of them, please let me know.

Downhill, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 18x24

Downhill, oil on canvas, 18×24

Untitled #4, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 18x24

Untitled #4, oil on canvas, 18×24

Untitled #5, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 24x18

Untitled #5, oil on canvas, 24×18

Return Of The Pods

Summer Pods, Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 24x30

Summer Pods, oil on canvas, 24×30

Winter Pods, 3 p.m. (2011), Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 24x30

Winter Pods, 3 p.m. (2011), oil on canvas, 24×30

EVER SINCE I first encountered them in mid-winter four years ago along the edges of a field near the Connecticut River, I have been fascinated by the plant that produces odd-shaped pods along its stem.

I still do not know the plant’s identity despite multiple Google searches (plants with pods, plants with seed pods, weeds with pods along stem, and so on). I do not know if the pods contain seeds or are a mutation of some sort, much less the plant’s name. But whatever they are, they are unique and riveting.

The pods appear on thick, sturdy stems, two to three feet above ground. They are roughly oval in shape (with great variation), and about an inch in diameter. The stems emerge from the the top of the pods and climb another foot or so in idiosyncratic angles before ending in mid-air.

Winter Pods, 5 p.m. (2011), Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 11x14

Winter Pods, 5 p.m. (2011), oil on canvas, 11×14

Since I first observed the pods in January 2011, I have painted them several times, beginning that winter with a suite of paintings called Winter Weeds, which shows the pods at different times of day. The images are recognizable if not realistic, emphasizing the pods’ odd, voluminous shapes, and variations in color according to season and light.

Each year since I have returned to the theme, exploring the pods in different seasons and contexts:

Great Pods of Sargasso (2012), Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 24x36

Great Pods of Sargasso (2012), oil on canvas, 24×36

Morning Meadow (2013), Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 11x14

Morning Meadow (2013), oil on canvas, 11×14

Pods (2014), Russell Steven Powell oil on canvas, 24x36

Pods (2014), oil on canvas, 24×36

THIS SUMMER along the border of a different field I discovered some new pod plants, heavily camouflaged by their foliage and surrounding vegetation. The pods were already well formed but they blended in, in shades from maroon to green.

Pods (Russell Steven Powell photo)I had not been looking for them, and in fact I had walked past them dozens of times (it amazes me how much escapes my attention during my daily walks). The next day I returned with my camera and took a few photographs of the pods (one of which I recently shared with a local nursery in hopes of identification), and forgot about them.

But a few weeks ago I began working on a canvas with only broad shapes and colors in mind on the background’s soft vertical lines. Before I knew it, I was painting pods: “Summer Pods,” with all of the surrounding light and color of the season.

I wouldn’t exactly call the pods an obsession — it is not as if I contemplate them much between paintings (although come to think of it I have one hanging on my living room wall, and another on my FB page). But I don’t feel as if I have exhausted this theme yet.

***

JUST HOURS after this post, two of my friends came to the rescue. A friend of one wrote: “The ‘pods’ are found on many kinds of plants, as they are galls produced most often by insects, but also by bacteria, fungi, and other such things. There are probably thousands of different kinds of galls. Goldenrod tends to have lots of galls in that shape, so that would be my guess.”

To which another friend responded, “Viruses, too, cause galls. [The late scientist] Lynn Margolis said galls are OFTEN the start of a symbiosis!!!”