Monday, December 29, 2014

Training Never Ceases

      The Hummocks, oil on board, 8x10

      This oil sketch, done a couple of days ago in North Kingstown, was done as the sun sank behind the tree and at low tide.  The spot is only a mile or two south of Wickford and, even in December , has it's quiet, wild beauty.  Such areas are wonderful for training the painter in observation.  Such oil sketches provide the kindling for larger studio paintings.

     The Hummocks (no.2) , oil on cardboard, 9x12

         The second oil sketch, done at the same location as the first, featured more of the foreground rocks.  To the left of center two figures were digging for shellfish.  Since the wind was gentle I was able to complete the two sketches in slightly less than two hours.
    The Meeting Place(Wickford), oil on board, 8x10

     A favorite meeting place for waterfowl is located behind what used to be Ryan's Market.  The bite of the breeze allowed me only little more than an hour to complete this sketch.

    Butterfly Vase with Yellow Roses, oil on canvas, 13x17
   Kumquats and Lantern Blooms, oil on canvas, 16x16
   The Cowpoke (Jim), oil on board, 14x18

      These last three images, two still life's and a portrait, show other painterly activities (done in the last few weeks) designed to keep up painting and drawing skills that tend to be neglected when the outdoor weather starts showing its New England character.  Thanks to Kate Huntington Studios, I am able to enjoy painting portraits from her wonderful selection of models on Monday nights.  I fancy myself primarily an outdoor (plein air) painter, but such training as portraiture and still life I find absolutely necessary in keeping artistic skills sharp.  As we begin a New Year, may we painters resolve to keep proficient in our painterly skill set!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

As the Weather Changes

    Teapot and Turnips, Oil on Linen on Board, 11x14  

   When the outdoor enviironment becomes more challenging, I turn to the painting of still life and portraiture as a musician practices eludes.  With these subjects there is control of lighting and pose.  The limitations in the execution are solely those arising from the ability or lack thereof of the artist.  Portraiture has the additional advantage of allowing a more obvious two-way communication between subject and artist.  As a consequence, poses are reclaimed easier and the artist can pay attention to his own as well as the model's fatigue.

The Impressario, oil on board, 16x20

   Portrait Study, oil on board, 14x18

   Still Life:  Roses and Apples, oil on canvas, 14x18

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Fall Collection

  The feverish activity of summer plein- air events are now behind us.  The Blackstone Valley paint-out was a spectacular one since the weather offered the painter sun-drenched scenes of early autumn beauty.  As autumn progresses here I have been active in capturing the dramatic color in my local area.

       Narragansett Beach View (October), o/c, 12x12

      I have also sketched more inland areas to feast on the color afforded by local foliage.

     October Stream, o/c, 12x12

     October Stream (Morning), o/c, 12x12

    Below is a brief sketch I did yesterday in North Kingstown, just south of Wickford Village
    The Swampy Grove, o/c, 6x10

       Yes, a heron did stop by , seemingly to enjoy the scenery bathed in the late afternoon sun.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Paintings Hanging Now

  Currently my paintings are being exhibited in a few wonderful RI locations.  First, there is my more or less annual show at the East Greenwich Free Library (82 Peirce Street, East Greenwich, Rhode Island) Opening tomorrow (Thursday, 17 July)) from 5:30 - 7:30 PM.  In this show I have perhaps only a half-dozen works that are framed and ready for purchase.  As you enter the Gallery you will notice many smaller, unframed works hanging along the left wall.  These latter works represent "first takes", oil studies and sketches that are short on finish but hopefully long on charm.  They are first products of a plein-air painter and may or may not face further development in the studio.  They represent the basic anatomy of the scene and may also be the outcomes of subtle experimental technique For example, you will notice two small square-format boards with the same scene involving rocks and water.  One was painted on a dry pale pink-orange toneThe other used a variation attempting to capture the mood of a grey day.  It involved covering the dry tonality with a wet tone of blue-orange.  The scene was then painted wet-into-wet over this nonuniform blue-orange tonality.  Can you tell which of the two similar paintings was more successful in capturing the overcast day?

  The second place that hosts two of my paintings is Spring Bull Gallery in Newport (on Bellevue Avenue) as part of their Small Works Show.  In this show I have a painting of Perkins Cove (Ogunquit) and another of a marsh in Barnstable (Cape Cod).

  Finally, There is a second Opening of interest this week Friday (18 July) at 6 PM at the Gilbert Stuart Museum newly remodeled Gallery in North Kingstown.  My two paintings hanging there include a Wickford view and one of Second Beach in Newport.

  If you happen to visit these locations and don't see one or both of the two paintings mentioned here for Spring Bull and Gilbert Stuart, it means I have been requested to provide another due to a sale.    I will gladly provide replacements as soon as possible!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Transitioning to Spring -- and Coastal Plein-air

Portrait of Kelli, Oil on Binder board, 15 x 20
The painting at left is another product of the three-hour portrait sessions hosted by the well-known Providence artist Kate Huntington on Monday nights.  The model, herself an artist, was amazing in both maintaining and recovering her pose for this session.  Most of the artists at this session end up with a credible likeness, but if you want more finish, more quality in the visual effect, it is probably advisable to bring supports (canvas) no larger than , say, 12x16.   That situation was evident here.  Whereas the likeness, in my opinion, was good, more time was needed to fine-tune hues and soften edges, particularly in shadow edges on and surrounding the face.  Incidentally, I find the binder board (actually made for book coverings) works find in accepting the paint provided it is first gessoed front and back -- preferably at least two coats.

Resting Boat, 8x10, Oil on Board

The oil sketch (8x10) shown here was done on a sunny but rather breezy day .   The fun here was capturing the light and its effect on the still-grey hues of early spring.  The boat itself is not very distinctly delineated and is off to the left.                   The next painting (to the right) was done on the very next day in the same spot .  Here the light was not as strong.  A little more of the shore is shown -- at low tide.        This last oil sketch was done on a 9x12  masonite board.                  

Friday, February 28, 2014

Staying Active In and Out of the Snow

The painting shown here is an oil sketch  (15 x 22) on illustration board that I accomplished a couple of weeks ago -- when the cold weather snap had taken a nap.  The purpose here was not so much to complete a painting of the boat on the stancions as to gather factual information for work on a separate canvas in the studio.  I was attracted to the subject by the partial snow cover on the ground as well as to a boat out of the water.  In the "colorless" winter, there is still much one can do with color.

This small (8x10) is an oil sketch done on burlap, accomplished from a sketch I had done in pencil.  The foggy day and the downward viewpoint were the attractions here.  This, like the previous painting, is a Wickford scene.  I have done a few pieces on gessoed burlap.  It takes some struggle to work the brushes over this rough surface, but I think it has potential for the more impressionistic techniques.  From this sketch , and a change of format, I developed a second piece.
This second oil sketch was done on an 11x14 canvas panel.  I  gave the panel an underpainting of a lavender hue and painted into it using wet-on wet brush and palette knife work.  The fog here is seen as a more colorful gray and brings out the other few spots of brilliant color.  The three ducks in the lower right quadrant are not very visible.  Since there is such thick paint on the panel, corrections will have to wait a few more days!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Week in Winter

Pregnant Model, Oil on Canvas, 16x20
The painting to the left is a portrait done at Kate's Studio Portrait Session painted a week ago.  The painting is, of course, in need of finish in at least a couple of ways.  First the three-hour session did not allow me enough time to completely "cover my tracks", i.e., correct mistakes in drawing and/or color.  (Above the model's painted head color was muddied due to earlier drawing corrections.  Upon the paint drying this error can be corrected easily enough.)  Another indicator of finish is evidence of edge control which is not complete in this case. 
   Although the model posed nude, I chose to focus in the upper third of the figure, featuring her lovely face.

Overcast by Bissel's Cove, Oil on Board, 10x10
The small oil sketch to the left was done on an overcast day.  I was pleased with the general tone that mirrored the tranquility of the place, although further corrections will result from incubation in the studio.  The view looks out to Smith's Castle, a Rhode Island landmark.

In the Village, Oil on Canvas, 12x16
The oil sketch to the left is slightly more developed than the one above, primarily due to the fact that the weather was much more cooperative on this day than the last.  It was a sunny day with temperatures near 50 degrees.  Such days, especially in January are especially welcome to plein-air painters in these parts .  The fingers do not require gloves and, more importantly, observation times can be extended.  Moreover, the light did change but not so radically as I feared it would during this transition from late morning to just after noontime.

Path by the Cove, Oil on Ill. Board, 11x13
To the left is an oil sketch done on illustration board, done plein-air about a day after the previous effort.  I was interested in the play of light emphasized by shadows across the path and by the birches lining the bank of the cove.  Between the trees one can see boats still moored there on this January day.  The day was cold but the sunshine was enough to keep this artist fueled and on task.  The view of the treeline across the cove gave that feel of winter.  I found the scene an absorbing challenge -- and I will be back there when the sun shines again!  Incidentally,  this location is a short walk from the site of the previous painting of Bissel's Cove.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

These Unpainterly Times

The abstract-looking mess to the left is an image of an oil sketch I had done yesterday.  It was intended to be a snow study in a park -- you can see that the dark lines represent trees-- but it began to rain!  The small board, about 8 x 10 in in size was fastened to a clip board.  The rain etched its way into the oil sketch in small rivulets , cutting through the block-in I was furiously attempting.  I did admire the etched tangles; if I followed their courses with some fine brushing of an orange- and transparent oxide red, I would have a richly-vined scene reminiscent of a forest interior or at least a thicket.  When I considered the piece in the comfort of the studio, however, I wanted to follow my original intent of showing the majesty of these trees and their soft shadows on the new carpet of snow.

The short-Lived Snow, Oil on Board, 8 x 10
The picture on the left is actually the same board (dried) and worked upon in the studio using memory and a little "artistic license".  One can see in both the original rain-etched abstract as well as the painting on the left, the indication of a stone wall marking the edge of the field.  Also, the placement of the trees is essentially the same.  The additions, not noted in the original is the winding path and the figures in the distance (on the left).    It is always good to work up the studio painting not long after the original plein-air sketch so that the scene is recognizable by people living in the area-- at least that is often my intention.
Here, one correction I will make is the sky.  The color in the original sketch is truer-- less blue, more lavender.

                                                                   As painters, we must forge ahead regardless of the vicissitudes of the New England weather!