Wednesday, December 21, 2011

from mystery, quiet light... (music and images for the winter solstice.)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Morning, Late Autumn, Berlin Pond

Morning, Late Autumn, Berlin Pond-- Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

November Morning, Broken Overcast

November Morning, Broken Overcast--painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2011

This November here in central Vermont has been full of big skies and changing light. Certain moments, seen while I'm out running on trails, have stayed in my inner vision-- held until I paint them. I am grateful for the chance to re-experience and contemplate within myself these mysteries of light and land-form and cloud and shadow ...


Saturday, November 19, 2011

November Shore

November Shore--Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

You Are My Horizon --New Music

My new collection of contemplative music is out today. These pieces were made in the fall of 2011, with baritone guitar and steel guitar. I think of these works as sonic prayers and meditations: inspired by the energies and mysteries of autumn's landscapes, inner and outer.

Monday, October 24, 2011

october liminal (morning journey)

Images by kmb
gathered on the morning of October 17, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lines For Rowland Robinson

Through hardwoods, followed

the merest suggestion of footpath, found

the sudden flume,

the foaming pool :

slate-lined, deep gray;



-Kevin Macneil Brown

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Writer’s Harvest and Words of Gratitude

This fall brings a harvest that is of particular importance to me. With the publication of BRIGHT PATH, DARK THICKET, I honor a writer’s commitment I made to myself more than a decade ago: a commitment to complete three books in the Liam Dutra New England mystery series.

It all began on a September trail run up into the woods and open ridgelines of Irish Hill in Berlin, Vermont, when a coyote running along the trail ahead led me to an old stone cellar hole, and I thought to myself, what if….

I am grateful for what the writing process has taught me about joy and despair, discipline and trust.; for what I have discovered about the history of the place where I live, its people, it’s landscape, mountains, shorelines; for the experience of becoming immersed in a story and being part of its unfolding day to day. (Along the way I've also written three other novels outside the series.)

I am utterly grateful for my first readers, who read these books in various stages of manuscript and generously shared their expertise and wisdom. They are:

Ray Zirblis, Robin Cornell, Phil Zallinger, Raina Lowell, Ted Richards, Bill Fraser, David Blythe, Lindsay Riggs Brown, Patricia Macneil, Robyn Sargent, Rob Halpert, Erika Mitchell.

I’d also like to thank the kind and committed people at Bear Pond Books and Kellogg-Hubbard Library-- both places in Montpelier, Vermont-- for graciously hosting author events, and for keeping my books on their shelves.

Thank you to the anonymous editors at Poisoned Pen Press who, while ultimately passing on the Liam Dutra series, paradoxically convinced me that the books were worth publishing.

And thank you, too-- all who read my words!


Kindle edition at

Friday, September 23, 2011

Slow Shimmer in Secret September (soundwork for the autumn equinox)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You Are My Horizon (4)

YOU ARE MY HORIZON 4- Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, acrylic on canvas, August 2011

Monday, August 01, 2011

Morning Passage

Morning Passage--Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor and gouache on paper, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Changing Tides

Beach at Good Harbor, Dawn ( 2 and 1)--Paintings by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2011

Some of my most satisfying watercolor days have come at those times when my paint supply is low-- when I am down to two or three all-but squeezed-out tubes of color.

One day this summer I decided to use up the last of what I had: two shades of yellow, some alizarin crimson, a tiny residual amount of zinc white.

I began with a wash of clean water, then squeezed out colors— mixing them, with brush and water, right on the sheet. I made two paintings that afternoon, both of them views of Good Harbor Beach, in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

After spending some weeks with these paintings —and making some small re-wettings and re-workings—I began to see that I had not only used up my paint; I had also come to the completion of something: the visual and energetic expression a place, a moment, a feeling—that I had been carrying for a long, long time.

Of course I will restock my colors. And I will most likely paint Good Harbor images again. But I am also excited to harbor that sense of completion, to look up now and turn my attention to a change in tide.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Liminal Music 5: drift chart (from the northern voyages)

I made this long, slow, quiet, maritime soundwork over the course of three rainy, cool days while a North Atlantic air mass was stalled inland here in Vermont. I had been reading about John Cabot's 15th Century voyages, which led to thoughts of the generations who have fished Brown's Bank and other northern waters out of Gloucester, Mass.

My intent was to conjure in sound an oceanic sense of quiet--but powerful-- mystery and awe, along with a strange deep peacefulness.

All sounds are from lap steel guitar and digital treatments (sound smear.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

At the Edge of the Longest Day...

Dusk, Mountains, Pine
Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, June 2011

That one white pine in
one dark brush-stroke reaching up
from curve of hard
New Hampshire ridgeline

is held now
in the heart and in
a granite chamber
of memory

So that
here at the edge
of the longest day
possible in this latitude

I feel it again:

The lifting ache of
something ancient.

- Kevin Macneil Brown

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Offshore, Halibut Point

Offshore, Halibut Point
Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2011

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Three Mornings

Video paintings by Kevin Macneil Brown, June 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another Shore Remembered

Evening, Kennebec River, June.
Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, May 2011


Lately, I've been visited by sudden, strong memories of certain times and places--particular shorescapes I've experienced. After these memories come upon me, I spend time--over the course of a few days, usually-- refining the images within my mind. Once they are clear to the recall, I begin to paint...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

this one morning...

...this one morning is the reason i came to this place... (York Beach, Maine)
Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, May 2011

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Good Harbor, Remembered May Morning

Good Harbor-- Remembered May Morning
Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2011

There are certain places I return to by conjuring inside myself: real-world places that have made a deep imprint of color, mood, energy, motion; stillness, space, distance; geologic shape and form, inner and outer engagement. By contemplation and imagination I put myself in these places and create a vivid and refreshing sanctuary; a connection and confluence with something I call depth of place.
Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts is one of those places. I return again and again, in memories, meditations, dreams. This painting, made in hazy May sunlight, brings me back to a certain remembered spring morning at Good Harbor: waking up in a sleeping bag in the dunes; watching morning arriving and changing over the water--bringing light from above and shadows from below.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Woodland Passage, April Morning

In depth of dark
woods, the sudden slant of
April’s empty light.

Near hard noon meridian
over softness of moss—viridian
underfoot—I stop,
wanting some stillness

and stand
beside a massive quartzite boulder
left here a long time,
almost motionless, glacial
erratic ( but only to limited perceptions.)

I’m not sure
what I can bring
to all this:

Yes, the gift of respiration;
The manifold graces
of being present—

These thoughts cross
inner oceans and
eons in an instant

and at once I find
that I want
to be one who

will stand at the marge of
this season with prayers and passion

seeking the true glide
of wisdom, imagination;

will watch open-hearted for
the fields’ first greening,

the hazing-over of
the hot, coppered sun,

and on the horizon
distant, small, strong,
the broadwings’ lifting arrival.

-Kevin Macneil Brown

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mid-March, at the eastern heart of this morning like no other...

Mid-March: at the eastern heart of this
morning like no other,

The perfect pyramid of Spruce Mountain
rises weightless washed blue.

Above and beyond, arrives
a fresh and fearless sky,

Harder blue,
pulsed–through with the hue
of future roses—

Blooms that, in a softer season,
will be here,

Warm and glistening,

In the all-pervasive sunlight
that seeks itself even in shadows.

-Kevin Macneil Brown

Monday, February 28, 2011

winter resonance and the ineffable freedom of captured light

As I worked through the winter on the video paintings in the WINTER RESONANCE series, it became clear to me that I had found the right images to accompany my 2007 composition THE INEFFABLE FREEDOM OF CAPTURED LIGHT.
I had made that long ambient/ textural piece of music over the course of that winter, using steel guitars, an electric table organ from a church yard sale, glass bowls tuned with water, a portable suitcase metallaphone, a Lexicon jam man, and quite a lot of analog and digital processing. The purpose of the composition was to convey in sound my responses to color, light, and shadow in the winter landscape. I painted in acrylics on canvas while I listened back to various mixes and versions during that period --there is even a six-channel surround version intended for a multi-media installation. But ultimately I found that the resulting visual art was, for the most part, too representational-- mountains and skyscapes-- to accompany the music directly.
But these recent video paintings-- really, they are manipulated images of winter light itself in motion--seemed to be calling back to that music. Thus, the video above,which brings them together.
I find myself ready now to turn away from winter contemplations. Though I know that there is plenty of winter left here in Vermont, I can see--and feel-- that the light has begun to change to that of another season.

a complete recording of THE INEFFABLE FREEDOM OF CAPTURED LIGHT is available for listening or download here:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

snow and steel

Lap steel guitar improv on a snowy afternoon in February.
(Theme and structures from my composition, "Seeking Shadows, Holding Light.")

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Imbolc Transit (poem)


( Always
arrival and

Soft gray light on cold and
wintry morning

( Did I dream of Brigid last night?
that fiery arrow of a young goddess,
her energy and passion
sharp, to pierce dark clouds with longing?)

The strong-shadowed trees
cross like paths and
map contours alongside
the steep-sided,
February hillside

Eastering sun
stirs sap
I do believe--


A deep and silent



Saturday, January 29, 2011

Winter Resonance

WINTER RESONANCE- video paintings by Kevin Macneil Brown
Making paintings is, for me, a form of active meditation. This winter, finding my mornings devoted to the second draft of a new novel and the afternoon painting light gone by the time I get home from work, I have arrived by accident at a method to keep to my visual art meditations nonetheless.
One afternoon I got the urge to take some flip camera video of snowfall through a curtained window. After a while, I suddenly borrowed an inspiration from film maker Andrei Tarkovsky and began moving the curtain at various speeds while I shot. The video sequence itself was not all that compelling—but I found that isolating still frames revealed some interesting abstractions and motion-induced visual artifacts. So I began choosing frames that, as compositions, captured my interest, then I made simple adjustments in saturation and contrast—until the images began to resonate for me.
In subsequent days I’ve been shooting patterns of light on walls, floors, windows, snow, and trees, with the camera moving, and the light patterns moving also, at some point each day taking time to choose a frame and make an image.
I do miss the smell of paint and the feel of the brush on canvas or paper; but I’ll get back to them before long, when the light gets stronger. Meanwhile I’m enjoying these visual surprises and I am planning on re-animating them, with music to accompany, before winter is over.