Tuesday, November 30, 2010


18"x14" oil
So my latest gig is trying to find a figure in an old piece that I don't much care for. The initial thought process is interesting. Going for figure seems to work but if I think of a particular pose or light condition it will not happen. Many alternatives expose themselves first. I'm finding that it's foolish to ignore these early exposures. When I ignore them or start them then wipe them out the new direction always fails. It seems to be true...Go with the gut.
You may or may not notice that ballerinas are apparently my figure of choice. The fact is when going entirely from imagination ballet dancers lend themselves well. People joke about tutus but they are a wonderful mass designed to accentuate the figure. Nice mass, nice line. Tonights piece was a struggle. I started out thinking sunburn. I had an Elmer Bischoff painting in mind. A low sun angle and sun blaring in the face. Alas I can't copy. Not even close. Turned out what appeared to be a cheerleader. Interesting, does he have a fascination with cheerleaders? Not that I'm aware of. Loaded brush and made the skirt bigger ....ala tutu. I wonder if she knows that she was a bowl of garlic cloves in a past life....................

Monday, November 29, 2010

arrangement of shapes

all 3- 14"x11"
oil over paintings

I like what is happening. I'm most interested in arrangements. The music metaphor is appearing. Lyrics are not essential. In fact, a distraction. Rhythm and pattern....movement and static.......texture and shape.......... these are interesting things, I feel.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


14"x11" oil

Did this one second. Totally out of my head. Thinking only of seated woman. Paint one. The one below I spent entirely too much time observing, trying to replicate real conditions. I suppose figure is a bit different than landscape but not much. The difference is you can play with a landscape and make it work many ways. The figure..............not so much.

36" x24"

Nathan Oliveira was a big influence when I approach figure. In searching for a clip I discovered he just passed away. This is a brief clip that shows little work. For anyone who likes stripped to the core figure work check him out.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


both 14"x11" over old paintings

My local art association has the members' figure show coming up. Pulled out one of Liz's dolls and went to work. The bottom piece is my old style done today. From observation. This top piece has me excited. I feel my recent studies are coming to fruition. This one is a combo of observation and feeling. I've thrown a few realities out the window. I'm inspired to continue the journey....
I think I'll enter the top one and the red dress from a few days ago, depending on what comes out next.

portugese group that is noteworthy.

Friday, November 26, 2010

If I had a hammer

11"x14" oil

I should reiterate. All this recent stuff is from imagination. I'm digging into my unconscious. I remember and use the laws to a point. I just scrub in paint until I think I see an image. Then build on it. This work could easily be discarded but I feel it's critical towards developement. The balance of expression and representation is most intriguing. I figure one must explore their imagination and take what is learned towards what one sees. In the end, I suspect the laws must go. This is with the goal of individuation of course.

6x6 oil

A complete flop. I see this cathedral from my studio everyday. I've painted it twenty times at least. Figured I'd dig it out of my skull. I can't win. I'm not Catholic the Cathedral is......................

I've decided to include clips of influential musicians to the posts. Play the clip and view the work. These are all artists that I feel have an expressiveness that I try to get into my work.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm an introverted extrovert that doesn't eat alot.

all 6"x6" oils
So spent turkey day in studio and tweaking website. Wasted a lot of time on website. Studio was good. I'm trying to get "comfortable" with an uncomfortable style before I go large scale. I'm really starting to regain interest in wiping down, scraping and the like. Also, not premixing. A quick scrub of color on the white canvas is also providing a nice diving board. Now if I could just swim................

This guy could dig a landscape out of the ether like no other. RIP Michael.Way too soon...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


20"x16" oil

So I swing back and forth....back and forth... brights and neutrals......brights and neutrals. Dug this one out of the last wipedown. Admittedly, I went very quickly. Much to do and preoccupations on the mind. Not painting conditions.

Side note. Went to Philly last night to pick up work and attend the Chester county artists critique. Good times. Drove home around midnight through Lancaster county. The landscape was one worth mentioning. Amish buggies with flashing taillights, Dutch Wunderland(a kiddie park) with flashing all kinds of lights, houses with Christmas lights, headlights, dashboardlights........the clincher was the amish buggy rather rapidly approaching a hitching post at a turkey hill mini mart...at midnight. Tonight on the news they mentioned the lights are now on at Dutch Wunderland. A young girl was interviewed and mentioned how the lights were "enchanting". while I drove by I couldn't help but think " these lights are blinding and totally not natural". I guess I am losing that youthful enthusiasm. I do wish I had my camera. Saw some killer amish buggies backlit by neon mall and convenience store lights. Oh yeah, the Amish don't want to be photographed. Go figure........................

Monday, November 22, 2010

24"x18" oil

Did this gesture, color, figure "sketch" tonight. Went into studio thinking cityscape. That didn't last long. Wait til you see what happened next.

20 x 16. Ok, anti-climactic. I started out doing a second figure study in green. The whole time it never vibed. Both of these are over old paintings. I realized that I started copying the first one. Grounds for murder I say. The first one materialized from the ether. When I try to copy not so good things happen. So grabbed towel.....wiped.... stopped. You see, Brian doesn't like to repeat himself. Welcome to a day in the life. By the way, I think I see a nice painting in this one.......

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Do not be afraid

both 24"x24" oils

The top piece I just did. Took a year old painting that I didn't mind and immediatly covered it with red paint. Blinding bloodbath would be a good phrase. Grabbed some paint soaked paper towels and started wiping. The painting I mean. Vertical.......horizontal......throw on more red......wipe more out.....20 minutes of this and I started to see the image. Carved out a brushfull of neutral and threw it on. Nothing gentle here and yet there is a softness in edge that I truly like. Not sure how my galleries are feeling right now.........

Last week my painting friend Peter Stolvoort came over for dinner and conversation. We spent some time in the studio and we had a bit of a critique. He suggested the original of this piece(scroll down it's about a week old) was a bit confusing to the eye. It was difficult to figure out a focal point. The barn competed with the cows. I agreed wholeheartedly. He suggested eliminating the barn completely. I figured what the heck. Ditch it. Loaded up a brush and in one fell swoop.........half gone? hmmm. This is interesting. It now looms perilously over the hill. Me thinks Me likes. Lesson.......Don't be afraid to screw up a piece. It might just get better..............

Saturday, November 20, 2010

afternoon session

all 3 8"x8" over old paintings

so this afternoon I found great interest in painting over poor work. Scrubbing out, dashes of paint,wiping, rewiping, scrubbing, finding................ this seems the new approach. It interests me. To add an object with paint is a poor solution for me at this point. Much as a sculptor would say, I need to find the object if there is to be one.

morning session

all 6" oils
You'll see I tweaked the originals. Top 3 I've muted the light. Bottom 3 I've enhanced vertical interest.

Friday, November 19, 2010


6"x6" oil
I like this one. Did some painting, scrubbing, wiping and repainting. It felt like the old days. Going totally from the eye and gut.

Did these 3 tonight. Tried another variation on a bridge. the one on the right is the last posting wiped out and redone....from my mind....good bye farm....good bye cows. I dread where my unconscious is going. I suspect it knows. I dont think I'll be pegged as a one type artist after these recent efforts. Some would say "He has no direction" I would say "A made up mind lacks direction" The question being... who or what is the director?"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

out to pasture

6"x6" oil
So I revisited the cows in snow piece from a week or two ago. Wanted to strip it down. With what I've been learning with application lately I knew I could keep it loose. What I learned immediately was that the cows had to go. Out of the painting I mean. I fell into the trap of subject over composition. The Jungian snow cows worked from last year because of the motion dynamic. These cows were just piggin' out. Not very dynamic. So boom, they're out to pasture. I would like to have spent more than the 20 minutes I had on this but a painting friend is coming over that I haven't seen since the shows. We shall enjoy dinner and conversation. I suspect I'll revisit this piece soon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

rites of passage

6"x6" oil
the sketch

the tools

24"x24" oil/canvas
The finished product. One of my greatest lessons in life has been to let myself look like a fool. Show your total bombs. Talk like an idiot. Be crazy. You'll be rewarded, I promise...............

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

bridge work

8"x10" oil over a painting

If you ever decide that life is too easy, start painting bridges. Here's a tip. Throw all reality out the window! Engineers have their purpose and artists have their own. To deconstruct engineers work! Take it back to it's vibration. Ok, excuse me for getting all hermetic. Color vibrates as do we.

14"x11" plein air

This is the piece I did 2 weeks ago plein air. I think it holds up. Again bridges are a painters nightmare. So I paint them frequently. It's been a tough year to travel. So many of the bridges are under construction. It's like going to the dentist or orthodontist. The collective unconscious has to be hating bridges these days. I still like them. And hey, they bridge the gap.

Monday, November 15, 2010

too loose le trek

I'm completely engrossed in this childlike endeavor. I might do these things all winter long. Or, I might quit in a week. Maintaining focus on direction is difficult. Just what is my goal? Am I interested in color relationships or shape relationships? One thing is for sure, the idea of just painting a picture is a very distant thought. It feels like new terrain. Structure has entered the picture. I'd post some of my old psychological metaphor pieces but alas they are no longer. All's fair in love and war........... I killed them.........

Sunday, November 14, 2010

finding form

So as I explore the depths of my unconscious a few things reappear. Obviously, landscape dominates. I keep wanting to put in structures but keep wiping them out. Already I'm forgetting the color theory part and regressing to form. The top center piece is close to the "goal". Pushing the boundaries of color. Joseph Albers is the latest influence. Always has been but is showing up big time now. I'll be pushing the 4 colors reading as 8 next.

You may see in the bottom set I'm fascinated by giant windmills. I've done paper collage of the same subject and now they show up in paint. You may also ask yourself "why does he speak of himself in third person?" The answer "because that is how I see my "self"."

36x28 oil
as promised. Art students league work from 1999. Just for fun, here's insight as to where I'm coming from.



Saturday, November 13, 2010

going vertical

I've added a vertical element to each low horizon line piece. Painted over the original pieces. It's nice to be digging into the psyche again. Who knows what will be next. I've scrubbed out so many alterations. A sense of freedom is apparent.

subtle variations here. I like the direction things are going. But I tend to change very rapidly!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

More of the same

all 6"x6" oils

Hang with me folks. These are preliminary studies with a rather large goal in mind. I haven't even got going yet. I'll post work I did at the art students league 15 years ago soon. You'll see I was playing with color then too. Albeit in a different fashion. Adding some angles to suggest landscape in these. I'm still playing with temperature and have to say I need to do better. I'm not mixing much with these. Mostly only adding white and, or mixing another primary to get orange for example. This set is supposed to be strong direct sunlight. indoor photos make these things very innaccurate. We've been blessed with great weather but I need gray light for accurate photos of the work.

This set represents backlight with only the midground being cool. I'm trying to avoid shadows whatsoever so backlighting becomes increasingly difficult. I'm shooting for the bare
minimum. It's tough to hit.
My favorite from tonight. I don't expect everyone to get this piece. It speaks to me though.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

color theory and temperature

all 6"x6" oils
New studies considering color theory and temperature.The top set represents a sun from behind view. Cool sky, warm midground and foreground.

This set represents a backlit scenario. Warm sky and foreground cool midground. Of course I've left out many options. They are to come. This needs to be built up gradually. Not sure how all monitors will see the color temps but will post more exact colors in the next few posts. Tomorrow I'll change horizon line and flip flop sky colors. You may or may not be amazed at how " natural colors" are not important.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

more cows in snow

24"x24" oil
Revisiting a favorite subject of mine. More cows in New York state winter. Photo'd last year. They're feeding on the hay bales.
Since I've changed my painting style(no longer premix color, just start with a value sketch and mix with brush, apply) I've been noticing exciting compositions popping up immediately. Makes me think I don't need near as much "subject" in the picture plane. Very minimilist approach, but hey, thats what currently seems to grab me. I used a huge brush on this and will continue to do so. Change is in the air and this time it's got nothing to do with politics.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What in tarnation am I lookin' at?

11"x14" oil
Who doesn't love an image of a backlit concrete manufacturing plant in November that is painted in a fashion that no one in their right mind or even left could possibly recocgnize it as such? ok, 99.9% of people would be about right. I like it but I'm an oddball. It could easily be read as a still life. I use the term "easily" loosely. I like multiple interpretations. I'm a Libra so there better be more than one. Arranging shapes and playing with light.........I'm a kid again.
By the way, to see this view drive or fly to Harrisburg, Pa. and park in the Troegs brewery parking lot. Turn around and if the sun's in your eyes, whammo,there it is! That's the key. Burnt retinas. But do it soon. Troegs is moving to Hershey. Ahh yes, the chocolate factory................

Saturday, November 6, 2010

walkin' the tracks

11"x14" oil
Spent the morning strolling around the train yard taking photos. Was prepared to do some plein air but it was too tough just to get to the area. (I saw security paying some attention). Loaded up with photos went to the river and did a plein air piece that may or may not see the light of day. Currently, I'd throw it in the fire but a few glances keep me from doing so.
I've been looking at Nicholas de Staels work again and again it blows me away with his simplicity and strength. Incredible. I did this one not trying to mimic or even thinking about his work. About 3/4 through I saw I had left some unrealistic happenings apparent. But when I completely unfocus it makes sense to me. Upon first viewing I find visual interest. For me this is what matters.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

otsego lake

24"x24" oil

Mark Twain had his Mississippi river. I have the Susquehanna. I live right beside it. I grew up with it. I ate crayfish out of it(crawfish to my Louisianna friends). Granted not far from three mile island so I'm probably lucky to be alive. Not glowing yet. I love the river. This piece happens to be Otsego lake in cooperstown NY. This is where the Susquehanna's east branch starts. It's so cool to live down here on the banks and be able to go to camp and see this lake.Where it all starts.

My recent work has been done differently than my usual stuff. I used to always premix all of my colors and tweak as needed. I'm now just diving in. Creating a big slurry and throwing it. No palette knife, imagine that. The result is less texture but I'm finding interest in the result and a bit of freedom from time constraints.

oh yeah, another studio shot. I am the most unorganized person on the planet. I'd lose my body if my head wasn't connected to it.