Monday, November 28, 2011

Uses for Kumquats

I recently started a still life based upon items readily available. It turns out that kumquats were in season at the local supermarket and, almost on the same day at a local thrift shop, I found a figurine of an elegant Asian lady who was once holding a flute. In this still life sketch she herds the kumquats , anchored by a small brass statue of Buddha.

Reflections obviously play a key role here in echoing the treasures of color seemingly pacified by the lady. (The object in the foreground was a small golden box upon which a turtle sits.)

A beautiful afternoon on Saturday interrupted any work on still life. I simply had to take advantage of the unusually good weather to paint on Scarborough Beach which boasts this locally famous rock. Here is the sketch (on the right, above) , a 9 x 12 oil on canvas.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Unfinished Porttraiture

Last Thursday I performed a portrait demonstration at the
Wickford Art Association (WAA). Despite a rainy night,
there was a good turnout to watch and listen as I described the challenges of painting a sketch of a wonderful model.

Portrait demonstrations -- like most painting demos-- always have an element of the unpredictable about them. Will the lighting be adequate? Is there
provision for a background to the subject? Will everyone be able to see what I am doing? Will what I am doing be worth seeing? Finally, will the subject
(the model) show up?

Fortunately, the model was punctual and did her job well. Other inadequacies have more to do with lack of preparation on the painter's part than the facilities at WAA. A photo of the model is shown below and beside it the resultant sketch from the demo. Since I was explaining each step I proceeded, I was not able to achieve very much "finish" in the 90 minutes available. Portraiture, like all painting, requires a degree of concentration proportionate to the subtlety (in light and shadow) of the subject.

I have included in this post two other portraits sketched at portrait sessions lasting about two and a half hours. Note that these are a little more finished-looking since I had more quality time (duration and concentration) with the subject. In all these sketches, demo included, I spent a good portion of the available time in describing structure as suggested by facial anatomy as well as value distribution. Only after a satisfactory resolution of facial structure ( including background) were the features addressed. The "fun" part -- seeking out color, temperature nuances, and edge treatment -- was saved till last.

Can the sketches be brought to a greater degree of finish later? Possibly, but often at the sacrifice of likeness -- unless one has a photo as a guide to stay on track.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day Trip to the Cape

Yesterday I had to deliver several paintings to the Cape Cod Art
Association (CCAA) in Barnstable. The oils delivered were entered into the annual CCAA Little picture show and consisted of seascape-related subjects that I hope have popular appeal.

After the delivery, taking advantage of the beautiful weather, I
explored the beach at Sandwich. The painting shown here(leftmost) is done on a small 0dd-size board (roughly 8 x 10") and represents a study of the mystery of dunes as the shadows lengthen. The painting (preliminary title: Sandwich Dunes) is not finished, but in it I have the information needed for a larger picture perhaps incorporating figures. My object was to paint the subject (dunes and their shadows) with close attention paid to airiness and luminosity of shadow areas.

Another small study(on the right) emphasized a passage between dunes, appropriately titled "Passage". The size here was also an odd one, perhaps 8 x 7", and incorporates a distant view of inland hills.

Many walked the beach at Sandwich, including an experienced watercolorist named Smersky out of Plimouth (who also sketched there). Let's hope that even in December we can find days such as these, days in which we can study outdoor light unhampered by gale or rain!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Works on Display

This week I learned that a small seascape (oil on linen) was accepted into the South County Art Association show . The opening reception for that show, taking place at the Helme House on Rte 138 in Kingston, is tomorrow evening. In addition, I have two paintings on display at Save the Bay in Providence, the opening reception for that show being November 17th.

Most artists are gearing up for the "small picture shows" that will occur in most artistically-minded communities across New England. Currently, I am preparing three oils that will be entered into the Cape Cod Art Association Small Picture Show a week from now. Spring Bull Gallery in Newport is also going to accept small pictures soon. If you are an artist, I don't need to remind you of the frustrations in trying to prepare for these!

Friday, October 14, 2011

still life season approaches

Next week I will begin teaching still life drawing and painting for the North Kingstown Arts Council. If you're local (a Rhode Islander) you can either obtain a flier about the Take an Arts Break classes or call 401-294-3331 for info and how to register. The fee for non residents is $80. Classes (5 of them) run on Thursdays, 7 -9 PM, starting on Oct.20. This should be a fun class emphasizing experimentation and multi-media approaches.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rough Works

The paintings shown here are plein-air sketches, some more in a state of "finish" than others. From left to right, the first painting is called the Rock and was painted in near-ideal outdoor conditions. It was a bright day at Ft. Getty in Jamestown, RI (USA) with a light breeze. Consequently I was able to enjoy my study time and the result, while open to improvement in the studio has a fairly high degree of finish for a plein-air sketch. The second work, called After the Storm, was a study done at Beavertail, again in Jamestown with a moderate wind and the conditions allowed a good long look at the currents surrounding the chain of rocks as well as large swells growing into breakers -- both favorite painting topics for me. The last painting, called Narragansett Fog, was a struggle to complete since the conditions began as fog and then suffered growing sunlight as I painted on the beach. This last painting, then, was a memory painting in part and its roughness shows that it requires more work in the studio to polish this "gem".

This work was accomplished in a one and a half week period and marks that nostalgic end-of-summer period when I "paint like a pig eats"!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer is wonderful for plein-air painters in New England because of the lingering light during later hours of the afternoon/ early evening. It is also often the busiest period. I look forward to a summer with no commitments to shows and exhibits, a promise of freely painting the water-scenes I love. Well, that period is already over for this painter!

In the last week, after painting on the Cliff Walk (Newport, RI), I had to prep for the Bristol Art Museum's "Art Al Fresco" in which artists are able to show their works on the large fence bordering Linden Place. Sunday, the day of the show was a beautiful summer day and I spoke to many art lovers as they strolled the spacious sidewalk. Later, I headed for much-needed refreshment and then back to work in setting up for my show at the East Greenwich Library. Monday Morning I loaded the walls of their gallery space with 19 paintings. And yesterday I performed a portrait demo before a small audience using a live model. Today I am preparing painting surfaces for tomorrow.

I'm heading out to Rockport (Massachusetts) tomorrow for a couple of days of painting and to enjoy a demo by a wonderful artist, David Curtis, at the Rockport Art Association.

Then I'm back on Saturday to Open my show (1 -3 PM) at the East Greenwich Library!

And, yes, did I mention that today I hoped to squeeze off a small work, pleinair, in Jamestown?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Some Results

Inn at Barnstable (9x12) The Lifeguard's Boat (16x20) Harbor Scene (11x14)

Barnstable Backyard (9x12)

Here are some images of the recent "painting frenzy" . "Barnstable Backyard", a view of the salt marsh between two buildings in the Village, and "Inn at Barnstable" were both done at Art in the Village, 15-16 June 2011. The other two oils were done upon my return to RI.

Always in search of a "different take" on the same subject matter, I try to avoid becoming an art factory in turning out the same tourist feed each year. It's hard to avoid this despicable practice with the desirability of recognizable landscape by both gallery and tourist!

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Painting Frenzy

The show in Barnstable, known as "Art in the Village", was an excuse for me to paint some scenes related to the village itself. I was able to do so since the Cape Cod Art Association kept an eye on the rack I had rented during the two-day show.

Again, because I was caught up in a "painting frenzy" when I returned, I had no time to carefully take digital images of my work. (The fine weather seduced me into the outdoors --RI beaches, coves , harbors!) At Barnstable I painted a scene at the Inn and another I call "Barnstable Backyard" which shows a view of the salt marsh . The show in Barnstable, judging from the number of artists in attendance, was smaller than last year. Not surprising, since the number of sales was probably down due to the economic times. I did sell one painting off my rented rack, a 12x12 oil of Gloucester harbor. Sales or no sales I always look forward to being in this peaceful village setting and exploring the paintable subjects.

I've recharged my digital camera and am ready to shoot and post!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Preparations for the Cape

This week I have been scrambling around, preparing for Art in the Village, an art fair sponsored by the CCAA (Cape Cod Art Association) in Barnstable on Cape Cod. The art show falls on the weekend (June25, 26) and I will load a rack up with my smaller paintings. By renting a rack from CCAA, I am free to explore other Cape painting sites, returning to Barnstable at the end of each day. So far, the weather looks to be cloudy -- good for art shows.

Also I am preparing at least two paintings to enter the CIAA (Conanicut Island Art Association) juried show called "Icons of Jamestown". The paintings I am preparing are both freshly done in the last few days! The paintings have been done 90% plein air with only 10% involving touch -up with quick-drying medium. Again, I have been dragging my feet on getting images available to upload.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The spring/summer transition proved a challenging time for me. As a result of certain medical complaints I ended up scaling back my usual output of oils. Drawing, however, always goes on and I have accumulated some information in terms of rough sketches and somewhat cryptic color notes to begin experimentation in the studio.
The troublesome conditions referred to above are now under control and I have finally started to make my usual excursions to my favorite painting haunts -- local ponds and the rocks and water of the RI coast! I will post new images up in a few days. Again, sorry about the delay!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Is it Spring yet?

This is the one of the few early spring days in which something may be accomplished regarding a sane attempt at outdoor painting. No tree buds or blossoms yet in this part of the country, but when the sun dances upon the tree limbs, there is still poetry to be painted.

If you live in the Northeast as I do, you know that the day is often divided into segments, some of which do not allow painting time. So, this is one of those days it pays to use the mantra "carpe diem!" I hope to get on canvas at least the germ of a painting from the inspiration south of Wickford. Hope you are having a wonderful time including some art and/or poetry into your day!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Bringing the Children Home

Today I picked up the remnants of a 50-painting show I had at Hamilton House in Providence, RI. HH is run by some very capable people. Anna and Jessica make artist feel welcome and provide any assistance needed in the process of hanging. My paintings included landscape, seascape, and still life, (Oh yes, one portrait -- a self portrait -- was also included.) The paintings enjoyed their cozy spaces on the elegant walls for two months (December and January), and, while sales were few, many got an exposure to a more traditional flavor (mine) of painting compared to what is usually promoted in this city. I recommend this spot as an artist-friendly place to have an exhibit of your work. More on this blog later -- after a couple of snowstorms!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow Day

Well, it IS January, after all and we have close to 20 inches of snow on the ground. It is a sunny day after the storm, and there is a "window" of time in which to paint before gloves must be used. Usually I find that this window is about an hour and a half -- around 11 AM - 12:30 PM. Even then it may be advisable to turn to pastel or even charcoal sketching to avoid the delay of set-up that oils usually takes me. I must drop off a few paintings before I can enjoy the sunny snow! I Hope, dear reader, that you enjoy this snow day by celebrating with a brush, pencil, or pastel. Next blog, I hope to show you more images.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Before the Latest Storm

Mackerel Cove, 11x14, oil on canvas

The image above does not represent a finished painting. In the autumn I spent time, of course , in Jamestown (RI) painting at my usual "haunts" and Mackerel Cove, which is the Town Beach for Conanicut Island, is one of them. I was particularly intrigued by the late afternoon light, contre jour, and quickly laid in the scene before me. It is indeed a challenge to finish such a painting without losing the freshness of the scene.

Incidentally, as I write this post, we Rhode Islanders are preparing for a "Noreaster" which is expected to dump nearly a foot of snow here tomorrow. So tomorrow would be a good time to revisit these "unfinished" pieces. Perhaps the day after tomorrow -- if not too cold for this painter's fingers-- will allow some plein air work!

Images of my own paintings which I post to this sight are available for sale. Contact me directly through

Friday, January 7, 2011

Some Recent (2010) Work

October Trees, 12x12in, Oil on Masonite

Lantern Blooms, 14x18 in, Oil on Canvas

Cedarhurst Farm, 12 x 12in, Oil on Masonite

I have upload three images. These oil paintings are evidence that I am enjoying experiments in employing impressionistic technique. More such experiments are still on view at Hamilton House, 276 Angell Street in Providence, RI until the end of January 2011.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Winter Seascape

Happy New Year, dear reader! Today I went to Newport, but decided first to stop at my favorite spot at Beavertail. The view across to Newport was full of atmosphere and inspired one to step up to the challenge of painting a familiar subject enveloped in a mysterious distant haze. When I finally get around to uploading images, I hope you will enjoy the same feelings that drove me to paint this scene.