Friday, September 11, 2009

The Joys of Old Cars

I live only about 15 -20 minutes from Wickford by car and have a car that will soon turn over its last mile. That inhibits the painter from being too expansive. I'd love to paint spots on the east Bay, but not trusting the Green _____ (fill in the blank), I decided to stay close to home.

I wandered off to nearby Wickford, down to the harbor where I have often painted the moored sailboats. Perhaps, too often. Along the edge of the water there was a pesky vagrant rummaging through the trash barrels. I decided to walk to the street, my 12 x 16 stretched linen support in hand, where there were some old houses. Settling down on a trusty stool, I began to paint the three houses opposite me on Brown Street. I thought this would be a typical "default" painting, but I really enjoyed my attempt at solving problems of light, color, and perspective. I think this might be a "keeper" (minor corrections aside).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Call of the Rock

Today (Sunday around 5 PM) due to car troubles , a good friend, who is attuned to my love of painting, gave me a ride to a spot about three or four miles from my house. A quiet cove with many moored sailboats at one end and at the other shore grasses hiding a path that leads to a purple-grey rock. I have painted that rock many times over the years, but now I felt I could finally do it properly! I was not entirely alone as I blocked in the scene. People, dog walkers as well as joggers passed by. But there were long blessed interludes of peace, the kind of peace before nature that hints of the presence of the One without a second. I was basking in this meditation-reverie, finishing the small 9x12 linen canvas when I heard a gruff voice remark, "that's gorgeous!" I thanked the onlooker who noted the figure I had put in the picture. "That's me, isn' t it?" "Were you out at that rock for a while?" I asked. he affirmed that he was and remarked that he should buy the picture. I continued to paint, not looking up until he left. I could have used a sale about now, but I resented his dissolving my dialog with the sublime.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Today, as I drove toward home , Something told me to turn into the consignment shop I pass by every day. There I found a small set of oil pencils. The few dollars I spent was more than paid back in the simple joy of their use. I have used -- and do enjoy using oil pastel-- but these were oil pencils. They lend to sketches a softer effect than oil pastels as I learned when I sketched some faces in a restaurant. I can't wait to try them with turpentine.

Thoughts of a Painter

Welcome to my blog! I am Tom Martino , an oil painter who loves the coast of New England. My paintings have been described as a unique blend of tonalism with impressionism. But scholarly terms aside, it is my belief that a painting is successful if it communicates the soul-impressions of the artist in a poetic way. "Soul impression" could be interpreted as the feelings and sensitivity of the artist during the time of painting. The feelings of the artist, of course, could range from the base to the sublime, and it is the successful communication of the sublime that fixes a masterpiece. The subject of the painting, like the subject of a poem, is merely the vehicle for this communication. Here, I hope to share with you my most recent work and musings. Please be patient as I enter this newly-drawn bathwater!