Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wildwood Marsh

8"x8" oil/panel

We had sun in the morning and I went with a predominately warm palette with the exception of the cool shadowed mountain in the distance. It was breezy and cold. In fact I sacrificied my umbrella when a strong gust came by. I held everything down not considering what might happen. Yep, it looked like a segment on the weather channel. The umbrella turned inside out. Shrapnel. Don't think I can save it. Lots of bent parts. The rest was painted with palette in sun and board in shade. A no no but so be it. The color is a bit off probably because of the sun effect but overall I think I'm at least a bit satisfied.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Yellow Breeches at Messiah College

8x10 oil/panel

This was a cloudy cool day that never quite got much above 40. Surrounding areas warmed up but the Susquehanna valley retained lower temps but very tolerable. I set up along the Yellow Breeches creek again at Messiah college. There were art students all along the creek doing class assignments and I felt like I was at a plein air paint out!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

yellow patty pan

8"x8" oil/panel

I've been very busy framing lately and getting things organized for the solo show in Lancaster. I managed to get a study in tonight of two "Guatamalean yellow patty pan". We picked these up in NYC. I loved the shapes and had never heard of these before. Dean and deluca always have interesting things albeit not cheap. I have no idea what these are or how to prepare them. I guess they are like mini squashes. Will do a google search to find out.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

50th street and 3rd ave.

10"x8" oil/panel

I may be losing some folks with these but I feel I'm getting closer to my current goal. Nicholas deStael is one of my favorite artists. He was classed as a gestural painter. When I view the city first hand it wreaks of gesture. When I did these paintings all I heard were horns blowing, people talking, various industrial things making noise etc..... The buildings rise into oblivion. The cars race to and fro. There is no way I could paint this environment in a visually realistic way. Everything is a blur, yet the buildings don't budge. Try to capture this on site! I tried my best but have a long way to go. I find the Diebenkorn influence creeping in yet again. I never gave him enough credit nor did the art world. He knew how to break things down! I should mention the roads continually tremble in NYC with the passing of each subway train adding to the ambiance we try to recreate. All things said I love trying to capture the city but so many have done it better before. I won't quit trying.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Houston and Lafayette

8"x8" oil/panel

" Live from New York it's Saturday Night". Hey we have high speed in the hotel! I can blog. Arrived in the big apple and went directly to Lombardis' for some coal oven pizza in Soho/Little Italy. Liz went shopping and I set up On Lafayette street. Yep, right on the street. There were some barriers placed(I dont know why) but it made a great setup. I had great sun in 2 directions and this crazy diffused, backlit washed out sky view to the south. I chose the latter but can't say why. I think I'l regret it when tomorrow arrives cloudy. The building immediately on the left is the Puck building where I took Pratt classes years ago. It was good to be back and always interesting to paint on the street in Manhattan! Not sure how good the lighting is with this hotel light.

Friday, February 20, 2009


8"x8" oil/ceramic tile

We should have one kickin' batch of chili this week. I love eating the produce. The Hungarian peppers were great eaten raw with cream cheese and these will be enjoyed albeit sparingly!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Afternoon cold front

8"x10" oil/panel

30 mph winds and temps in the thirties but the sun is kinda out. I loved the sky this afternoon and decided to paint a small one hoping the wind wouldn't bring flight to my easel. The clouds had my attention while driving to sight. I decided to set up with a cedar tree blocking the sun(the little bit it shown) and pencil sketched a quick cloud pattern noting the dark and light areas. blocked in the pines and the sun went away the rest is basically a fabrication. Part of it was there part not. The wind was unbearable and I quit at this. Again I was most interested in the sky with the dark pines and unfortunately thats about all I can get out of this one.
We are going to Manhattan this weekend and I'm taking the painting stuff to try and get some city scenes. Should be fun.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2 Hungarian Peppers


Here are two Hungarian peppers at rest

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hit the key

8"x10" oil/panel

With the daylight hours lengthening I can get some painting in after work. Did a real quick one this afternoon with the Hensche quote " Don't paint the thing paint the light!" resonating in my head. I intentionally picked a minimalist scene trying only to get the scene accurately depicted in 3 values as quickly as possible. This one was done in about 20 minutes. The instant I was done some high clouds moved in from the south and filtered the sun giving an entirely different light condition. This is why I try to paint so quickly. I'd rather get the light right and have indistinguishable objects than vice versa.

Monday, February 16, 2009


8"x10" oil/panel

This was a very difficult study. I'll rank it with the yellow tomatoes. No matter how much light hit these jalapenos they remained dark. If I did them again I would leave a seperation of the two subjects on the background. The peppers values were too close to seperate. I tried to tweak the light and pull the front pepper out but it read unbelievable. I went back to the close values and left it at that. I don't think I'll be painting jalapenos again anytime soon.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Gala apple

6"x6" oil/panel

Here is a gala apple

Along the Yellow Breeches

11"x14" oil/board

Woke up this morning and saw the moon shining brightly. Good sign, should have some sun today. Looked outside and saw a fresh coating of snow. This could be a sweet day! Drove over to Messiah College campus and set up along the creek. This is my favorite light of the year. Here on the east coast we typically have some sort of haze but cold clear winter mornings while looking away from the sun often yield incredible color scenarios. Again my interest was only showing the mass of the pine trees and suggest the several well lit buildings while maintaining warm and cool integrity. I painted very rapidly and was happy to have kept the warm and cools seperate. I wasn't sure what I had as I never stepped back for a look. Upon taking down the umbrella and angling the easel I was delightfully surprised. Parts of the work looked a bit confusing around the buildings but I feel it rings believable, and I will do no more. I feel this one is getting close to what my goal is. Simply identifying everything as dabs or smears of accurately toned, and temperature gauged paint.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


6"x6" oil/panel

Here is my take on a pear.

Gray day Landscape

9"x12" oil/panel

This morning the light was variable. The sun would peek out for a minute then get diffused. Generally it was cloudy. I went with cloudy scenario and picked a recurring theme with me. A few dark masses within a generally not exciting landscape. I seem to want to keep going back to a line versus mass issue. Could be the Diebenkorn influence or my old drafting fascination. At any rate it only seems to creep in during landscape painting. I miss the harbors of Annapolis right now.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Red Onion and being tagged

6"x6" oil/panel

Here is a peeled red onion. Also my partial response to Loriann's tagging of me. I guess I need to say 7 things about me so here goes.

1. When I was 14 years old (1982) I won the regional rubik's cube solve competition. 37 seconds in the final. I liked arranging colors rapidly even then!

2. I raced mountain bikes from age 25-32. Two hyperextended knees later I decided to ride recreationally.

3. I spent 3 years of my life practicing kundalini yoga. I still do when needed.

4. I meditate about 15 minutes every day. (closed eyes focus meditation)

5. I homebrew biodiesel and burn it in my car and my furnace. ( this means I gather grease from local restaurants and convert it to fuel..)

6. No more titanium white. EVER!! Zinc rules

7. I'm addicted to puzzles of all forms.

I'll tag some folks when I have more time to do research.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Garlic revisited

I liked the look of this garlic head so much I decided to paint it again. This time adding a clove from another head. Tweaked the sprout a bit on the added clove to move the eye

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sprouting Garlic

8"x8" oil/ceramic tile

After a weekend of intense scrutiny of the Chadds Ford landscape I decided to settle down in front of some garlic. This was a very interesting head of garlic. It has an asian feel and I was excited to paint it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Kenn Backhaus' Demo

After Kenn got to this point I left to paint. It would have been nice to see the finished product but the sun was out and I wanted to move some paint. I later scraped the painting I did after this demo! Kenn first put a trail in the middle of the foreground mass then corrected, noting " try not to divide a mass equally in half". Another good tip!

Here the masses are established. Kenn stressed the fact that after establishing the light condition as quickly as possible keep to it. The light changed during the demo via clouds and sun angle but he basically stuck with the original light unless compositionally something interesting could be achieved

Kenn first put in the darkest notes of the painting and then developed the main interest area first, including the light areas. The focus was on establishing the focal point and develope outwards

Kenn layed down a quick stain to give a bit of location to where he would sketch with pencil the buildings. He also gave great attention to the location of the pine trees and and how to arrange them. In reality they were tapered in height small to large. He chose to make the middle one the shortest thus breaking up the big bigger biggest repetition. Good tip!

The Chadds Ford Chronicles

Here is Ken Backhaus' sunny second painting

Here is Ken Backhaus' first Saturday painting

My gracious hosts for the evening, artist David Oleski and his Thai wife Porn cooked a fabulous meal that was a great end to the day. That is until Davids dog Frank got sprayed by a skunk and the scrubbing began.

11"x14" oil This is the second Saturday painting done between 1 and 3 pm. Probably around 50 degrees and sunny. The scene changed so much I decided to paint it again with a warm palette. With the bright sun washing out certain aspects of the creeks recession I added the two saplings to balance the composition. The early painting was defined compositionally by the zig zag of the creek. This one needs some work and it kills me to post it without a chance to see it in a mirror and correct some things. But it's hanging now and I can't do anything about that.

11"x14" oil This is the first work I did Saturday morning. Around 19 degrees f. and the Brandywine River was partially frozen. I used all cool colors.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


8"x10" oil/board

Just trying to keep tabs on my visual skills. I liked the look of this grapefruit and decided to paint it. I like the flesh notes on grapefruit. By the way, there will be a reception on Saturday with wine and cheese at Chadds Ford Historical barn from 5-7pm.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Halved Pear

8"x8" oil/ceramic tile

I'm gearing up for Saturday. I need to prime some boards, scrape palette etc... Anyhow, I wanted to do a quick study of a sliced pear. The flesh isn't reading the proper color on my computer. Usually it's accurate but the flesh looks a bit grayed down this time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Winter Sky

10"x20" oil

Today was a strange day. We were right on the edge of a coastal storm. It was snowing in Lancaster and Baltimore but not Harrisburg. Towards evening the sky developed this hard edge that I found interesting but I'm not sure it reads properly. I once read a quote from Emille Gruppe that basically said really unusual scenes in nature may appear fantastic at the moment but can we really live with them daily? This may be one of those scenes. On a side note, I will be painting at Chaddsford Historical Barn this Saturday with 29 other MAPAPA members including Ken Backhaus. Ken will be doing a demo and critique our works on Sunday. Looking forward to this weekend and should get at least 3 new works done. The Brandywine valley is a very picturesque area and I can't wait to paint it!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Yellow Peppers

8"x8" oil/ceramic tile

Today I went to three different grocery stores and not one had any yellow tomatoes. The dissapointment was crushing but I had to make do. The closest thing I could find were these yellow peppers. I set them up and shut off the lights. Hoping to get that glow again, I turned on the subject light and bam! More dissapointment. Shook off the misery and concentrated on my subject. Peppers have a heavier waxy feel and many shoulder lobes. In fact I'd say they are mostly shoulders. Resisting the temptation to accurately depict these facts I went with suggestion. Painting rapidly as if outdoors I went with my vision in conjunction with my gut. I'm posting the image without really studying it.