Monday, March 31, 2008

A Place in the Sun

6x6 oil on panel
$100 + $11 s/h - sold

This man found a relaxing spot of sun in Central Park. Now, is he going to do some work from that notebook and messenger bag, or people watch like me?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Painting from Photographs

I am working on a larger city scene - or 2 or 3 - but specifically trying to fix my overhead umbrellas view which I still believe in. I was surfing last night to find some overhead crosswalk images in the city. I think that dimension will much improve my scene, but I didn't have the right photo. Anyway, I have nothing to post, but I found some amazing photos on Flikr, which led me to this photographer, John Fraissinet.

Now, as a note, this was just research to see how the crosswalks in NYC are painted. I only use my own photos to paint from. First, I have to have the connection to scene. Obviously there is something that sparked my interest in the first place and I have a mental image of the painting to be as a result. I have ownership in more way than one. Second, I look for different qualities for painting purposes. Generally, my photos would not make good art in and of themselves.

As an example, here is one of my photos which inspired a recent painting:

I found this interesting article not long ago ( on the masters use of photography. Generally, the assumption is that the early impressionists relied only on observation and life drawing to paint from, but there is evidence that they were also excited about the prospects that photography had to impact their craft.

I obviously paint from photos and sometimes I feel like I must hide that fact in an age when plein air and painting from life seem to dominate the representational art scene nowadays. But, as a reminder for all those who might also turn to photos to help them create art, photos are a starting place only. As we all know they tend to mass the darks and lights and lose a lot of interesting color and dimension. I continue to study the human figure from life. I do a lot of sketching in cafes. I rely on my memory of the scene and my education to take the flat photo to an impressionistic scene full of life and movement. I hope so anyway!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Catch of the Day

5x7 oil on panel
$100 + $11 s/h - sold

These are the same girls from yesterday. My neighbors actually. They play, and therefore offer me poses, frequently. The background is my own doing. I am trying to not be as literal with my settings... the people are the focus. This particular pose didn't invite much surrounding information anyway, but I hope to be able to simplify better on some more complicated scenes like restaurants. I think I have been daunted lately by the amount of information in such scenes. This painting felt good; I finally felt like I got my stride back as far as laying down my paint.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


6x6 oil on panel
$100 + $11 s/h

"Best Friends Forever" sitting on the beach during a quiet evening.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Making Her Mark

6x6 oil on panel
$100 + $11 s/h - sold

Another view of the little girl developing her artistic talents at the child's art event at Russell Collection.

I had notice that one of my paintings was chosen as a February finalist for Raymar Panel's art competition. The juror was Kevin Macpherson, so I am pretty pleased to have caught his eye. The painting is "Chefs de Partie."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Egg Hunting

7x5 oil on panel
$100 + $11 s/h - sold

I wanted to do something for the holiday and what better subject than my little girl racing around in her finery hunting for Easter eggs. I hope you all had a lovely, sunny Easter.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Summer Haze

10x10 oil on panel

purchase info to come

My little girl at Rockport beach in Texas. I wanted to try to paint that almost blinding light bouncing off the water at certain times of day.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Art of Inspiration

5x7 oil on panel
$100 + $11 s/h - sold

A few weeks ago, The Russell Collection Fine Art gallery hosted a show of Alexandra Nechita's imaginative works. On Saturday afternoon they had a children's reception where they spread large papers on the floor and the kids got to create their own works after looking at the gallery walls. This little girl was inspiring to me as well.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring Greens

Pond 2 - 6x6 oil on panel

Pond 1 - 6x6 oil on panel

This morning I thought I had better start with something "simple" to get back into the swing of things. This pond is in our neighborhood and I drive by it twice a day taking my daughter to preschool. Today I took my paint box and sat in my car (very windy out) and painted a view of it with its carpet of duck weed and the new greens just starting on some of the trees.

The FIRST painting shown is my second attempt (this will get confusing). After the first one, I thought I needed to squint more and see the big shapes. The first was too "nit picky" and was a little dull...a little too much the same values, which I always have trouble with outdoors!

When I looked back at my thumbnail sketch (below) too I realized I first saw it in terms of large dark and light masses balancing each other. And so I did it again, squinting dutifully to mass in the darks and avoid too many details. (We artists are all going to have dreadful crows-feet!)

Thoughts on "massing in" continued below....

If you are interested in either of the above paintings, email me. $100 each.

Massing In

The pond exercise brought back to mind my workshop some years ago with Peggi Kroll Roberts (whom I so admire!) - she had us mass in our models with 2-3 values. This way you can capture people who move about on location more easily, developing more with more observation. The woman below is her example - a quick value study to show me how to do it.

Its almost like "posterizing" the image. Squint down and see all the darks, connecting them, as I did below with another model we had during that workshop.

Here I massed in all the darks with one color. I developed the light areas just a bit more. It definitely has a poster look about it. These were fun exercises and I need to remember them more often for my figurative and urban works! SQUINT!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Firelight sketch

Back from our trip to Bandera Texas - the cowboy capital of the world.
The Dixie Dude ranch was a wonderful experience. We really enjoyed the hospitality and friendliness of all the ranch staff.

The country is beautiful - but rugged. We rode, we hiked, we ate too much, we roasted marshmellows, we watched trick roping, listened to music and tall tales around the campfires. It was perfect really. I would highly recommend the experience to anyone who likes outdoorsy vacations. Like camping but with catering!

The above is a sketch I did from memory - I studied Brian at the campfire and then sketched real fast when I got back to our cabin. I carried my sketchbook with me the next night but it quite a few more families had come and we didn't get to repeat this scene.

Below is a photo of another cowboy, Ringo, on his horse... and a good look at the Bandera countryside.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The good, the bad and the ugly

Since I've titled this blog as a "journal" and mean it to be an account of the painting experience, I am going to share all my recent failures or incomplete works to prove at least that I am working. I just have not had a successful painting in more than a week. Its one of those slumps that happen all too often for my tastes. It is incredibly frustrating once I fail and my mind can't let go of that experience and trying to make it work, so that failure follows me and intrudes on the next piece, and the next, and interrupts my sleep, and so on.

I still believe in many of the works shown below, they just need something. Some are just the barest beginnings, some I've reworked for days and am still unsatisfied. So I've put myself in time out... and next week is spring break here so I will not be able to work much... maybe that break will help me set these aside and begin again.

Click the image for a larger view... if you dare!
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