Dennis McGonagle has been painting landscapes and murals in Whittier, California since 1975.
I call this painting Golden Time because it is being painted in the late afternoon when the last rays of the sun come dancing across the lawn. It's a wonderful time to paint a neighborhood scene. The neighbors are out walking their babies and dogs. Billowing clouds come drifting by. A cool breeze blows the leaves down the street.
I like the sensory bombardment that comes when I do plein air painting. The shifting light, the random sounds coming from houses and cars, the conversations with people that pass by on the sidewalk. All of these elements find their way into the painting.
The painting itself is like a visual diary, a series of moments. I notice something different in the landscape every time I come there. One day it will be the play of light on a fence, the next day I will focus on the color contrast between bricks and grass.
This is the first in a series of landscapes I have planned for Whittier. For inspiration, I am looking to George Bellows, John Sloan, and the Ashcan School. I am also mixing in the American Scene paintings of Edward Hopper and Charles Burchfield for good measure.
I am guided by the advice of James Doolin for the composition, who said, "My paintings need to be strong on the abstract level, clear on the descriptive level, and mysterious on the narrative level."