Monday, December 31, 2012

Four Studies, Plein Air

Do you live someplace other than the great Northwest?  Go outside.  Bask in the sun.  Do it for me because I'm counting the days until the weather begins changing from constant rain to a bit of occasional sun.

These four studies, done one morning in Maine, are from those glorious sunny days when painting outdoors was actually possible.  Each image brings me back to the scene I was looking at, with warmth on my face and a gentle breeze blowing.....OK, so there was a slight gale that blew over my easel.....I was still outside painting.

'What Do You Do When You Can't Paint Outside' is the title of my upcoming class beginning on January 17th.  While I will have a couple of still life setups around, most of the class will be about painting from photographs.  We will explore the pitfalls of photography and the possible work-arounds that can keep them fresh and exciting.  Open to all levels in oil, acrylic and gouache.  Find out more at the Winslow Art Center website.

This will be great practice for when plein air becomes doable again as the same principles of design, value and color will apply.  Come join us if you can.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sylvia, 14x18

It's wet here.  We live in a rainforest....well, pretty near one.  During the winter rains a group of us go indoors and paint people.   A few weeks ago, this dedicated plein air painter gave up on the outdoors long enough to come and sit for us. 

This painting was, for two reasons, an interesting learning experience.....well, they all are, aren't they?

The first reason was that I drew only three or four placement lines before beginning to paint.  A line to describe the top of the legs, one for the arm she is leaning on and two lines forming a teepee where her head and torso went.  And then it was off into paint, beginning with the hair and dark of the cloth and moving into the face.  There is another painting under this one that was a reddish kind of portrait.  You can see parts showing through and helping with the 'glow'.

The second thing that was interesting and a challenge was carving a likeness out of a head that is about an inch and a quarter big....or small.  Trying to only use bits of unblended paint when working I found that the slightest error in stroke placement meant losing the image of Sylvia. 

There are always things I would change in a painting but, overall, I like this piece for the color relationships and brushwork.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Provence Time 4, 8x8

Here are two more from the miniature show at Roby-King.  In the first one I thought the roses would be the attention grabber....but now I think the light dancing on the wall wins the show.  What do you think?

The windows in France, especially in the south, often have flowers in them, on them, around them.  They are all carefully tended.  There is something so attractive about new young exuberant blossoms being set off by the old and weathered. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Provence Time, 8x10

The Annual Roby King Miniature Show opens this Friday.  I submitted five of Provence and am posting two here.  If you can come they have hung nearly a hundred paintings from scads of artists.  There has to be something there for everyone to see and enjoy.  From what I've seen, the prices are very reasonable....and looking is free.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pemaquid Point, 2 8x10's

Pemaquid Point 1, 8x10

Pemaquid Point, Maine.  A beautiful and fascinating rock outcropping jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean where, because the rock strata has been tilted allows you to stand touching rock with your feet 80 million years apart.  The whole formation is about 500 million  years old.  Each band catches the light differently varying the color and texture.

Pemaquid Point 2, 8x10

I got caught up in the colors of all those rocks finding things I never expected to be there.  The longer the look, the more was there.  I didn't get it 'right' I'll have to go back next year and try to bring back a truer feel of this exciting place.

I was painting with my friend Cathe Gill and my new Maine friend and painter, Mary Byrom.  Her blog and website are well worth visiting HERE.  She posts lots of pictures and is a very prolific and talented artist.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blue on Blue, 20x20

Blue on Blue, Demo, 20x20

Noelle seems to like this but she thinks it would have worked better if the plums were bacon.

I did this for my morning class.  For some reason they like demonstration paintings.  I have to admit that I like doing them....and I like watching artists do them.  It's mesmerizing to see a blank white surface explode into something that seems real.

Here is the quick marker sketch I did before the painting to explore composition and values before committing it to canvas.

It is about 7 inches square and what you see here is the part I framed after doing a more inclusive can see the drawing continuing on from the black line.  Just enough information to guide me into the painting.

Season of Giving
Colin Page (wonderful painter) has an 18 month old nephew who can't walk.  His mother is trying to raise enough money to give him the therapy he needs.  She is doing this by selling Christmas ornaments.  Even if you can't help her out please visit her site HERE and read the story of Jakob.  His smile will melt you.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Traditional Dress, 16x20

Traditional Dress
This is Elena.  I should also call her the woman with the plastic face because she is one of those people whose emotion is mirrored quickly in her expression.....and the emotion that day was mostly one of laughter and fun.  People like this are most intriguing to paint as they present a moving target.  I remember deciding to pick one mood and grab it as I could.  Elena was a great model.

I like the movement in this piece.  The brushstrokes and color build into the painting without being distracting yet stay interesting.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lobster Traps, 10x12

What says 'Maine' more than a pile of lobster traps waiting to be put to work.   Bouncing around on a floating dock made small marks difficult....but at least we were out of the wind sheltered by the stone bulkhead opposite the one you see.

The challenge was to find a way to say 'lobster trap' without actually painting in all the wire mesh they are made of.  Did you know that lobstermen pay $250 to $500 for each trap?  That makes losing one a pretty significant deal and, since there were lobster wars taking place, quite a number of them are now sitting on the bottom of the ocean with no buoy to show where they are or rope to retrieve them.

Happy Thanksgiving!  (Lobsters must breathe a sigh of relief)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Angeline, 12x16

Yes, I know.  It has been a long time since last posting.  Nice to be back.

I have a stack of work that can be posted and more in process but I last told you that I would do some from the Maine here they start.

I began the 'Angeline' with a quick marker drawing one afternoon but had to leave for a couple of hours.  When I came back the sun was sinking and the tide had come in.  I plunged in anyway but an interesting man showed up and we began to talk....and I got distracted.
With the waning light I decided to return the next evening to finish....and the ship had sailed.....literally.   Fortunately I had finished most of the ship and a good deal of the background so I could stare out, imagine the 'Angeline' being there, and finish tying in the boats behind enough to come up with a good sketch.  Perhaps this will lead to a larger work this winter.

I like what is happening in the brushwork and the contrast between calm and indistinct shapes one one side and staccato brush marks on the other.  It imparts a kind of good energy to the piece.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Giving in to the iPad

I should be posting some of the plein air paintings from Maine and Montana....and I will soon.  Collapsing on the couch at the end of the day is all I seem capable of.  While on the couch I picked up my iPad and, after years of resistance, began doodling on it and came up with the above drawing taken from a newspaper picture.

The results got me interested enough to take it to a modeling session today.  After painting the woman I had an extra twenty minutes so hauled out the iPad.  I didn't clean it up at all so you can still see the initial block in lines as well as my mistakes.

Just thought you'd be interested.  I haven't changed my mind completely.  I still prefer tactile media but for the convenience it's great.  They were done with a pressure sensitive stylus.

OK.  Next post will have some paintings.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Friendship, Maine.  An inlet/harbor filled with lobster boats, buoys, sparkling water and fishermen who do it for an income. 

This drawing is also about another type of friendship.  If you look carefully you can see my friend Bob sketching almost the same scene.  He probably looks like a fire hydrant if you glance casually.  He's seated just below center in front of the closest dock....see him? 

Bob is a terrific artist.  He has a book out called 'The Simple Sketch' in which he shows you how to go out drawing with just a pen and a carpenter's pencil.  The results he gets are inspiring.  I'd give you a link to his book if he had a website (hint, Bob).

I never seem to get over how a blank piece of paper can be transformed into a recognizable place with just a few strokes of a pen and some tone.  The same goes for a canvas.

Think about it.

We take some hair and put it on a stick.  Then we mix some vegetable oil with some colored dirt and put it on a piece of cloth....and actually convince people that they are looking at a person, a scene, a bowl of fruit.  Magic.

If you went to the patent office with this idea it would be the joke of the year.  "Hey Harry!  Get a load of what this crackpot wants to do...,"

I have a few Maine paintings to share but they will have to wait until I get back from Montana. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Waterfront, Portland ME

Old Town Portland Maine

Whew!  It has been a long time since the last post.  I've been painting and drawing along the Maine coast for three weeks and I expected I'd be able to blog....but ran out of steam every day from all the painting.  Besides, it was more fun to kayak in the evenings.

Two friends joined me, each for part of the three weeks I was there.  The 150 pieces of art we turned out was impressive to me.  I think it's amazing how much work can get done when art is the only focus.  Few of us can do that all the time but once in a while is great.

The last day there was spent in the studio of a friend of Andrew Wyeth.  Helga, from Wyeth's paintings, picks berries at this guys house.  It was an interesting morning and afternoon with lots of stories.

I have an ongoing painting class beginning this month which you can check out at the Winslow Art Center site.  There is also a Two Day marker workshop coming up sometime but it hasn't been announced as yet to my knowledge.

  I haven't done a two day marker workshop before and am excited about the possibilities.  I'm also excited because I have redesigned my painting classes and think this new approach will shorten the painting learning curve.  (That implies an end point to painting skill....there isn't one.  Art is one long road of always stretching for the next best expression.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Winner's Update

Hello From Montana....where it alternates between clear and beautiful...and smokey from the forest fires and hot. Yesterday we watched a pileated woodpecker, about the size of a small crow, take a long bath in our little 'pond'. The pond is only about 12 feet from the porch so animals are up close and personal when they come to take a drink. This became obvious a few minutes later when a black bear showed up and hung around for a while. The photos are bad because I could only find my cell phone camera.

Marilyn picked 'Heirloom Roses' so that leaves 'Harbor Walk', 'Cape Naden', 'Along the Dock', 'Ran's Beach Chairs', 'Log Raft', and 'Canning Time'. I need Blanche and Carol to contact me with their choices. Because it was a tie for second place I flipped a coin and Blanche gets first choice. Would you contact me by email because I don't think I have your address.

Time to get back to relaxing.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Painting Winners!

Over a hundred comments from thirty plus people!  Thanks for all your input and compliments.  How to pick was a problem as I couldn't see cutting up that many little slips of paper to put into a hat.  Then I had this pie chart idea and remembered that since Gary and Debbie were cruising in Alaska that their dart board wasn't being used.....  Brilliant.

So I threw six darts from a long way away and, with my own little system of rules, was able to randomly select winners.  First place goes to Marilyn Gottlieb, a wonderful photographer and long time commenter to this blog.

BUT....there was a tie (how could THAT happen?)  for second place so two people get to select after Marilyn makes her choice:  Blanche Niznik and Carol Collier.  Congratulations.

The winners can choose from 'Harbor Walk', 'Cape Naden', 'Along the Dock', 'Evening at the Cove', 'Heirloom Roses', 'Ran's Beach Chairs', 'Log Raft' and 'Canning Time'.  Let me know which one you like, Marilyn, and I can then let Blanche and Carol know what they can choose from.

I had a good time....hope you did too.  I'll do this again so stay tuned. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wharfside, 11x14

Remember that painting give-away?  Well, I'm about to announce the winners as soon as it all gets tabulated.  So many great comments.  I'm on my way to Montana tomorrow and will let you know the contest results later in the week.  You will be impressed with the method I used to make the picks.  Stay tuned.

Those of you that have my book, 'Value Sketching With Markers', may recognize this from the front cover.  I've always meant to get back to it with paint but summer is pretty much the only time with the lowest tides in the day time.  So yesterday had to be the day.

Big shapes followed by doodads....  In the marker drawing I didn't include any background buildings but it was formatted somewhat differently.   They both work, I think.  I personally keep wondering who lives in the house even though I know it's actually a restaurant.

Keep in touch.  I'll be back with the winners in a few days!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Beached Buoy, 11x14

painting of steel buoy in the sand

Last Chance to Enter the Painting Giveaway!  Make a comment on the blog, by sending me an email or on Facebook.  You have nothing to lose....and I feel more connected when I read your comments.

OK.  One oil and one acrylic....I'm sure you can tell the difference.  These weren't supposed to be the final paintings but time was running out for me as I'm getting ready for some extended painting and travel.  Stay tuned.

Painting is such fun.  I've given up trying to figure out what people like and now I just paint what appeals to me.  Predicting what catches my eye enough to paint is impossible.  I wouldn't have thought that either of these paintings would be things I'd do....but here they are.  It's the unpredictability that is part of the fun.

A madronne tree growing along the harbour.
"Harbor Walk", 8x10

That's it.  End of the Contest.  I'll be compiling the names and drawing a winner in the next couple of days.  There will now be a Winner and Another Winner.....Two!  Can't wait....

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cape Naden, 12x16

Post 5.5 in the 'Make a Comment and Win a Painting' Contest.  (Why 5.5?  Because I have this idea for what #6 should be.....wait)

Dianna Shyne let me tag along at her acrylic workshop for a day and I sat on the beach and painted these.  If you want excellent instruction in plein air acrylic contact Dianna.....she's the best.

The blue boat is the Cape Naden, a 100 foot Alaskan fish 'packer' boat from 1908.  It has been redone with 5 staterooms below and a huge diesel engine.  It's for sale for only $47,000....I should buy it for my roving studio.

'Along the Dock' is only 6x8 and was done with no predrawing....just blocked in the big shapes and carved it out.  For both of these I used only three hues, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Thalo Blue, Primary Yellow and, of course, White.  Amazing what can be done with a limited palette.

Make a comment.  Only one more post to the announcement of the winner.....I promise.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Evening at the Cove, 12x16

Number Five in the 'Make a Comment and Maybe Win a Painting Give-Away Contest'....  I can't wait to see what the final painting, number six, will be.....and when it will be painted and posted.

I spent an idyllic peaceful evening straddling a large log, one foot up on a rock while bending to the right and leaning over to make each stroke as the sun was setting.  The next morning it took me an hour to figure out why I was feeling so sore.

The board I used was an old trashed painting that had a dark green on it (similar to the shadowed green you see) and I began by putting in the light water and sky shapes.  It was fun as the visual ideas took shape quickly and the board color stood in for the greens in the painting for a long time before I moved them to their finished hue and value.

Make a comment.  Enter to win.  Now I'm giving away is so fun, why not two?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Heirloom Roses, 11x14

Painting Give-Away #4.  Make a comment to enter to win.

I've been driving past these roses for three weeks wanting to paint them.  Backlit by evening light they were a challenge that necessitated more than one use of the palette knife to erase what wasn't working. 

It was too easy to breakup the larger shapes with unnecessary detail....I felt like I was on a teeter-totter between too little and too much.   Finally I felt satisfied with this....and then wished I had used a larger canvas.  I like the result. 

The words of Bill Reese often ring through my head.  Giving a few of us a tour of his home and artwork he stopped in front of a large pastel of Mexican dancers.  He said that painting was the only painting of the thousands he must have painted that he wouldn't alter or change.  Those words allow me to end paintings when they feel finished rather than when they are perfect.  Someday I may paint that one piece that I won't want to change....but it hasn't happened yet.

Make a comment.  You never know.  I might just give away two.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ran's Beach Chairs, 8x10

Post # 3 in the painting give-away.

We had a great two plein air workshop days with lots of enthusiasm and very solid paintings being produced by everyone.  We used gouache, oil and acrylic....and they all were nice.  The second day I also did a couple in between wandering around and sharing what changes I could suggest.  If there was a common lesson it was 'simplify'....which I often have to remind myself.....because there is so much we see that it is tempting to do it all.

The second day we were out near the end of the sandspit at Randy's little home they call the 'Playhouse'....on one side is the lagoon and just a few feet away on the other is Puget Sound where these chairs sit.  An idyllic place.

I had the most interesting experience.  The sun was so bright (well, to someone in the Northwest) that the white paint looked like dirty purple.  Even fresh from the tube it seemed to have a purplish color mixed into it.  One more plein air challenge.

Make a comment to enter the painting give-away.  Love to hear what you have to say.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Log Raft 2.5, 10x12

Painting Giveaway #2.5.

For reasons known only to the Facebook illuminaries, my blog entries aren't posting to lots of people are missing out on this contest.  I'm posting this as 2.5 rather than 3 to see if I've got it straightened out. 

Make a comment and enter to win a free painting which I will draw and announce after I've posted number six.  This one counts for comments but not in the six.   This was painted for the abstract qualities of the shapes.

I'm teaching another plein air workshop this weekend and it promises to be a perfect two days for working outdoors.  There is room for another if you want to join us even for a day.  We are meeting at 9 am at the Winslow Art Center and heading out from there.

To those of you that have posted, keep them coming.  It's fun to hear your comments and you get another entry for that free painting. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Canning Time, 12x12

 Number Two in the 'make a comment and enter for a free painting' thing begun in the last post.  All you have to do is make a comment via my blog or my email to be entered.  The more comments you make the better your chances. 

This painting has been shown several times, sold once but the buyer changed to a different one, and then recently resurrected with a few color shifts and additions.  You can see the original version on my website HERE.  I remember when I originally painted it that it was an exercise in using a very limited palette.  The color wheel choices I used are on the back of the painting.

When I adjusted it recently I had just purchased a couple new colors I wanted to try out and thought they gave the painting some subtle nuances it needed.  I was pleased and wanted to share it. 

Summer Plein Air Workshop is coming up.  Two days of painting outdoors with all kinds of good instruction about color mixing, simplification of shapes, design possibilities, outdoor equipment choices, demonstrations and much more.  If you want to learn about color dynamics, plein air is the way to do it.  July 28th and 29th.  Contact the Winslow Art Center for details.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Port Gamble Ferry, 14x18

Actually there is no longer a Port Gamble Ferry and I don't even know if there ever was one, but I would assume so....and from the looks of it this would have been the adjustable ramp....for 1940's vehicles.  I sat in the car during off and on pouring rain to do this one.  Whacked out three that day and only scraped one.   Ah well.

I like the back lit effect of the structure and the many greyed colors it took to represent it.

For those of you who actually read this blog you will be rewarded by finding out that I'm going to have another painting give-away.  There will be six posts, beginning with this one, and for every comment you make you will gain another chance to win.  One of the paintings I'll be posting will be the prize but I won't let you know until the end which one it is.  Should you have difficulty posting (some do) you can just send a comment to me via email.  The address is HERE.

Good Luck.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Study for Rainier Light, 14x18

This is a study for a larger piece that's in process....meaning that it is still in my head getting ready to move into paint.  When we see the mountain (when the rain stops and we eventually SEE the mountain) it is gorgeous and inspiring and awesome.  I suppose if it happened more we could get ho-hum complacent about it.

This study just works out some of the color structure and tone.  I have ideas how it can go from here but I'll need to mull it over some more before committing a larger canvas.  A painting of Mt. Rainer can be rather trite....I'll see if I can make it interesting.

Yesterday I hauled our paintings over to Roslyn for the show that begins this weekend (see previous post).  After dropping them off I left to find a painting spot.   The work was going well until a thunderstorm moved in.  I decided to leave....but the car wouldn't turn over.

Must be a bad battery connection, says I.  So I get out a few times to detach and clean off the connectors but, while it did get better it still wouldn't start.  One more try, says I.  By this time the sky was dumping so when I got out I closed the door.  I detached the connector again and when I reconnected it I heard the car locks go 'click'.

Phone in car.  Check.
Keys in car.  Check.
Doors all locked.  Check.
Raining like buckets.  Check.
Soaked.  Check.

The story continues but you get the idea.  The painting was also a wet flop.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Changing, 24x30

Fall trees in full color

Catherine Gill and I have a show beginning this Saturday called "Palette of a Village, a Plein Air Perspective of Roslyn".  The two of us have painted there for many years but the pieces in the show are from the last twelve months or so.  Here is one of Cathe's watercolors:

Nice, huh?  How I wish I could get those soft edges and transparent colors in oil.  Watching her paint is poetry.

Anyway, the show lasts until August 16th and we will be at the opening this Saturday from 3 until 8, and there again on July 14th from 4 to 6 for book signings.  Cathe will have her book, Powerful Watercolor Landscapes with her and I'll have my book, Sketching with Valued Markers.  It's at the Vintage Vine (wine tasting!), 104 1st Street in Roslyn (509-674-8805).

If you get a chance, drop by to meet us or at least stop in to see the work and visit the wine shop sometime before August 16th.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Roslyn On Edge, 14x18

Part of the charm of Roslyn, WA is that not every thing is perfectly square, perpendicular, level or entirely secure in its footing.  Roslyn is an old town, by western standards, and a recent coal mining community with many of the company buildings, houses, and downtown still around.  Residents are fixing it up but some have the good sense to let the precarious and picturesque remain.

Two of us have a show opening there on June 30th.  Catherine Gill, talented and well known artist in many different media, and I are each hanging 10 pieces we have done in the last year in and around Roslyn.  Cathe is showing her exquisite watercolors (see the book by she and Beth Means, Powerful Watercolor Landscapes) and I've got some large and small oils, all plein air.

"Palette of a Village, a plein air perspective of Roslyn"  will open on June 30th from 3 until 8 and there will be an artist's reception and book signing on July 14th, 4 to 6.  Cathe and I will both have our books there.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Setting Light, 14x18

In the waning light of evening I tried this scene, which changed its light every 43 seconds....about the amount of time it took me to look, paint and look again, only to find it different.  Talk about chasing the light.

All in all, it was still a lovely evening to be standing on the beach.

One Ship Pollutes as Much as 50 Million Cars.
While I don't usually depart much from writing about art, I'm fairly agitated about this topic.  Below is a link to an article about it.  The short of it is that one container ship, because of the low grade of fuel it uses, pollutes as much as all the cars and trucks on the U.S. highways.  Unbelievable.

There are many regular size container ships but now they are building these super container ships.  They are made cheaply with thin sides and the fuel in them is so thick at room temperature that you can walk on it.  The sulfur content, as well as other pollutants, is extremely high.  There are currently 300 on the drawing boards waiting to be built.  There are no international laws controlling them. 

We have such a beautiful world being destroyed by the search for the quick dollar.  I haven't heard of these ships in the news.  One ship, every day, the equivalent of 50 million cars and trucks.  Somehow driving our Prius to lower emissions seems pretty insignificant...

Thanks for reading.  Write someone if you can.  Here is the link to the article.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Spring Snowballs, 14x18

Flowers can be so fleeting that several Springs can go by before I get around to painting certain ones.  It has taken a few years to get around to painting snowballs again.  My friend Debbie showed up and took some progress shots....thanks, D.  I'm sharing them below so you can see the steps.

In this painting I drew a little first.  Another demo, but one in which I didn't draw, I posted  HERE.

A few things to note:  When the flowers are drawn in they have square edges that reflect the planes of their shapes.  I then put a single dot where the center of the flower is which immediately establishes which direction they are pointing.

Another is, that since this was a fairly close valued painting, the first note of paint was the value and color of the sky.  From this I could judge what the rest of the values should be to describe the flowers but still keep them in light spring colors.

The photo of the source doesn't accurately reflect values or color....and there is no sky.  The day was cloudy and very cool. 

By the way, I have a plein air workshop coming up in July at the Winslow Art Center

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cabin Magic, 8x10

A high powered rifle shot woke me.  It was 4:20 am and I had been asleep, parked in my van a hundred yards off an old mountain road and under a tree where I felt fairly hidden.  Slowly I raised my head just above the bottom of the window and peered through the morning fog and gloom.  Nothing moved.  This definitely didn't seem right.

I watched the road through the trees for several minutes when a man finally came into view carrying a rifle.  He slowly sauntered down the road not seeing me, I hoped.  Quietly I threw on some pants, collected my things, lowered the camper top, started the engine and drove off.  Getting to the main road without seeing the poacher, I felt much better.

It was the beginning of a magical day several years ago when I had decided to paint my way across northern Washington and end up at our cabin in Montana.  Coming down out of the mountains the Pend O'reille river wove its way south.  The rising sun lit it's surface and backlit the eastern mountains so I stopped and painted it, finishing about 6:30 am. and drove on.

I did three paintings that day and this little study is the only one that I decided not to sell....the others sold quickly.  Every painting fell off the brush without effort.  This rock is just outside our cabin and was lit by the setting sun at the other end of the day.  It is loosely painted with little attention to fine detail yet there is something about it that contains many of the things I find satisfying.  Varied brush strokes, interesting color, thin and thick paint, transparency of color and a feeling of movement and energy.  The paint, in and of itself, is compelling.

I puzzle how some days, in many areas of our lives, can just be effortless with everything falling into place....and others the exact opposite.  How does that happen?  What do I need to do to make it happen more often?

Maybe there should be an awakening gunshot every morning....

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Studio Spring, 10x12

Spring is too short.  Summer is slightly better but still doesn't last long enough.  In fact, the whole thing is just too short.  How are we expected to get even a decent amount packed into a brief lifetime? 

There was a time when I wanted to be a symphony orchestra.  Often I would get corrected by folks saying, 'You mean you want to be the conductor'.  No.  I wanted to be the whole symphony.  Who can listen to Pictures at an Exhibition and not want to be the whole orchestra?  (You pick your own piece...that's just one of mine.....and I actually still want to be the whole orchestra.)

Anyway.  So many flowers, so much vibrant sun, so many carefree days.  Too short.

I wish this were my studio but it belongs to Debbie and Gary and they were kind enough to let me paint their flowers on a perfect Spring day. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

On Quitting Painting, Again...

Gillian gave me a call about a week ago and we went out to a familiar painting spot.  Lured by these rocks I just sat down and painted.....seemed like a good way to explore cool colors on a gray day.  It took G a while to find her subject ... me, and her efforts can be found HERE.

The other day a couple people in class said they felt so discouraged about trying do to a portrait that they wanted to hang it all up, just stop painting.  I responded in an email with this:

On quitting painting.  Like I said in class, I've done it a thousand times….I did it just yesterday when I was painting in Roslyn in a wind storm so strong that I had to take off my belt and tie my easel to a street sign.  After chasing it for twenty feet I tied my hat to my head.  There was dirt flying in my paint.  The board I was painting on was vibrating in the wind…..and the painting became a flop.  My pants fell down.

I quit.  Gave it up.  Mentally I gave away all my painting gear and books and burned every painting.  Decided to just sit the rest of my life.  Safer that way. 

Today I was out fixing the painting and trying to figure out how I had gone wrong…..posted some stuff in my blog and ordered some gessoed linen.  You see,  I've started painting all over again feeling like an absolute beginner a thousand and one times…..

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Rest of the Clowns, 6x6

Do Clowns creep you out?   The comments that have come through have been that, although people like the paintings, they find the clowns unsettling and a bit scary.  Come to think of it all the comments like that are from women.

James Gurney, author of Dinotopia, had an interesting post yesterday with an image that I find unsettling....maybe this is what people are responding to.  Like the horror movies with clowns, are these the images we have unconsciously grown up with?

Interesting.  I always thought clowns were just fun....oh, well, there was that old Alfred Hitchcock movie....

Anyway.  Here are the other two clowns and we can be done with them.  They were fun to paint. Sweet dreams.....