Saturday, December 15, 2018

Mountains in Winter

                                        Alpenglow on Worcester Range 
                         Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2018.

Sunburst Over Continental Divide
Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor and gouache on paper, 2018.

Snow came in  November here in Vermont, and I prepared my winter palette earlier than usual. Having just finished the first draft of a new novel set in mountainous country, I found that mountains were very much in my heart and mind, and mountains are mostly what I have been painting in these last months of the year. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

two quiet autumn places in sound

During the month of October I  made two pieces of sound art inspired by a desire to create an audio analogue to the inner and outer energies of two quiet places in the autumn landscape.

The tools I used were simple: a steel guitar tuned to proportions that came from meditation and listening, a decades-old reverb unit with delay and echo settings I had made a long time ago, and a laptop for capture and mix.

The music was played and recorded in one pass, which resulted in the first piece below. The same material was shaped in mixing to create the second piece.As I worked I immersed myself in memories and  feelings from the places that were the inspirations.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

October Colors and Textures (New Paintings)

Mountain Pond, October Morning
(watercolor and graphite)

October River ( watercolor and gouache)

                                                  October, View North ( watercolor and gouache)

                                            Paintings by Kevin Macneil Brown, October 2018.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Rust Mountain Poems

My dreams find
in distant mountains.

What can we bring
that would be a blessing
to this clean new edge of sky?

Awake and wash
at pond’s edge; ice
has not yet formed.

See and feel the
feathery clouds in
morning’s wind-washed sky;
listen as October leaf
falls and finds the damp, soft

Whoever built this gate
has gone away;
hear the latch snick shut as
rust meets wood meets emptiness.

Deer running sleek
in sacred places:
open meadow meets birch thicket;
not far now to go, to find
cool shade of hemlocks and sleep.


Not quite
crescent moon
white pine is
 dark and tall
and swaying
holding hard to

Easy to see the wind
stir quiet water, make
ripples outward—
but it might take this lifetime
to know and become
ripples deep and inward.

                                                   - Kevin Macneil Brown


Monday, July 16, 2018

Hinman Lake, July Morning

                                                      Hinman Lake, July Morning-
                                Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, gouache on paper, 2018.

This summer I've been focusing on painting in gouache. As my favored medium is watercolor, it has been challenging and satisfying to explore different ways of thinking about color, light, and texture; layering opaque, rather than transparent, colors..

 Working from sketchbooks and memory, I decided to make a gouache painting of a place that  continues to resonate inside  me: Hinman Lake in the Routt National Forest in Clark, Colorado.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Mount Zirkel Wilderness, Routt County, Colorado (Watercolor Paintings)

Spring has been late in coming to Vermont this year. The week before last was cold, windy, snowy, sleety, and icy. I made the best use I could of time trapped indoors by finishing a series of watercolors based on sketches and memories made in Colorado last summer.The Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area and the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest landscape in NW Colorado captured my heart with its spaciousness, varied mountain ranges, its big skies, lakes and rivers. The six pieces below are intended to be a series. Taken together they express part of the story
this place has set in motion inside me.


Paintings by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor and graphite on paper, 2017-18)

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Hinman Lake, July ( watercolor painting)

                                          Hinman Lake, July ( Clark, Colorado) 
                                     Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2018

A steep climb, and then a trail through a paradise of aspens; trail meeting this shore in late-morning shadow, sun, sky, reflection. I swore I heard the ratcheting, resonant call of  a sandhill crane, but saw no birds when I scanned the sky.   Months later, looking at a photo I had taken that day, I noticed a speck in the sky that I thought might be the result of some dust caught on the lens. But a zoom-in revealed the shape: long neck and wings of a crane in flight.-KMB

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Three thoughts in early spring (painting)

Three thoughts in early spring- Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown,
graphite, watercolor, and ballpoint pen on paper, 3/24/2018

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Places of power and repose (new music)

There are places I can go to—woods, rivers, shorelines, high mountains—where the deep presence of something true arrives inside me. It often comes from the impossible approach of sounds that are almost a silence, a mystery.  For days, weeks, months afterward I carry these sounds inside. When the need is strong, I go to my studio and find ways to bring these sounds back, to share what I can of the gifts received in these places of power and repose.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Wheeler's Point (watercolor painting)

                                       Wheeler's Point- painting by Kevin Macneil Brown,
                                       watercolor and gouache on paper, 2018.

Painting the other day, and a memory surfaced as it took shape on the paper. It was fifteen or so years ago, a day spent with my mother, Patricia Macneil, in Gloucester, Massachusetts, her home town. We spent a drizzly spring day exploring, revisiting places and stories strong in her memory. For some reason I really wanted to find the place called Wheeler’s Point, and we ended up alongside the tidal, liminal wash of the Annisquam River. 
All this returned  about halfway through the process of  making this watercolor, and I had the sensation, as I moved the paint, of an old  Polaroid  paradoxically dissolving and developing at the same time. Two days later now, and I am grateful for the rising of this memory to the surface. -KMB

Monday, February 26, 2018

Trail Run

 And then there are days when you are given a chance to take a trail, one you have never been on before. You say yes to the moment, fill up your water bottle, and head out, not sure what you will find. After a half hour of climbing, you come to an opening, and there it is: a place you have been waiting all your life to find. Almost breathless at this altitude, you keep running. You know you will get home later, but for now you just want to keep going and going, Distant snowy mountains shimmer in the July sunlight. A Coopers Hawk circles in the pure cerulean sky. Outward now is inward, and inward is the new unknown...

                                                          Hinman Lake, Number 5
                   Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor and graphite on paper, 2018

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Secret Waters, Wilderness Shadows (New Music)

With freezing rain and sleet pinging wind-blown against the windows before dawn, it seemed the perfect January morning to stay inside. Coffee and meditation led to a second cup-- and a surge of deep cleaning and re-organization of my studio space.
Before long the resultant opening of inner and outer spaciousness led to an idea. I found the audio file of a steel guitar improv that had been the heart of a previous composition, and began to re-work it with retrograde, delay, panning; EQ, layers of chorus and echo.  After a while I heard another opening, and added three layers of pulse and shimmer on staggered mandolin tracks, then panned them like voices of birds, like shadows of tree-branches.
Three mixes in, and there it was: a place in sound that I belonged to for the moment.-KMB