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Friday, March 31, 2017

Roses from Trader Joe's

When I really want to relax I paint a simple still life of roses. I was inspired long ago by the sweet simplicity of the roses painted by Manet and always go to this arrangement for a way to warm up or try a color scheme or harmony.  They are always very similar and always very different. Sometimes I tone the canvas with color! as I did here with orange, sienna and ultramarine blue. Sometimes I try a triadic color scheme of only three colors and sometimes I just want to use blue and burnt sienna. In other words, I like to play around with it and see what kind of uniqueness I can conjure up.  These, I did last nite and they are similar, but even painting with two different sized canvases can change it up a bit. You approach the canvas with a different brush or a different articulation of the wrist.
This one I drew in the outline with alizarin crimson/gamsol line and when I added the lights and shadows there was a blending that took place.  I have a very gold frame that I had in mind so I wanted to stick to the orange incorporation of colors

The second painting I did was larger and I was a little more controlled but not much.  I just let the colors take me where I felt I wanted to go without doing an exact copy. I wanted it to have it's very own presence.  I think the biggest variation between the two is the size of the brush strokes. This second one is 12 x 16

Monday, March 27, 2017

Tea in the Garden on Orchard Avenue

This is a painting I recently finished from a photo taken long ago though it really feels like last week.  I love the magenta and viridian harmonies and of course to complete the triangle the addition of the warmer colors of orange and yellow help tremendously .  This painting definitely fell into the 80/20 formula.  80 %  of the painting was done in 20% of the time and the last 20% of the painting took 80% of the time.  It's so easy to think things are brighter than they seem but the last 80% of the time is about getting the values and color harmonies correct. $495 unframed 
You can buy this 12 x 16 painting through paypal.  

I show it below in a frame so you can visualize the look

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tea in Garden 30 x 40
I am experimenting with the technique of organizing my colors according to the "Fletcher Method." I am finding it very satisfying and a natural progression of hues and combinations.  I painted this from a posed model in a photo I took back in early 2000.  
The palette I worked from was yellow ocrhre/indian yellow, prussiian blue, cerulean blue, and grumbacher red or any napthol red, titanium white and ivory black..

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Design and color

Something about Red
it changes everything O happy day

I sometimes feel that I'd like to take the same painting and paint it 500 different ways. I'd like to change the color harmonies, change the technique, change the medium, do mixed medium, change the substrate, o my so many ways to change it up. The key, of course, is the design. Lots of style can hang on a good design. Every time I put my brush to the canvas I am keenly aware of having made a decision which ipso facto eliminates other directions I could have taken this painting.

As it happens with this one I was just messing around browsing on pinterest and saw a collection of work by Linda Arthurs who incorporates patterns everywhere in her design much like Vuillard. But that's not what I was taken was the pure red....I wanted to do red with a passion after I saw her painting of a silhouetted bed frame so I took my current "design" and layed out the red side on my palette and then put down pthalo green and veridian because, of course, they are the opposite on the color wheel and went to town working on this one. I had to add some blue, too.

I tried to paste the red painting that inspired me but it wouldn't work. There must be a copyright restriction so you'll have to look her work up. It's lovely and busy and colorful.

Now let me add a caveat. There are many times when I use pure color and then notice upon drying and looking at it a few days later I find it too bold and too harsh. I think this will work because it's over a burnt sienna and also I think because it's surrounded by modulated grayer colors. We'll see.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

I am absolutely loving today's technology. I've always wanted to write a book. I started a book about how I finished a certain painting a few years ago and never got back to it but recently incorporated it into a much bigger, more ambitious endeavor that incorporates a lot of my philosophy about the so called art life and the tenacity to hang on to it while still remaining a respectable, responsible parent and member of society. Anyway with Kindle being so easy, I recently uploaded it and published in the digital format. There are lots of photos of paintings and many chapters adding up to about 180 pages. Here is a link. I hope you're a kindle reader and get a chance to download it. Easy Peasy. It's incredibly easy to read on the kindle app for ipad and of course on the kindle. You can even get the kindle app from amazon for your computer to view it on a larger screen. I would love to hear what your thought and experiences are regarding the "art life," too.

Crossing over into creativity and How to sell oil paintings

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Custom 30 x 30 vineyard with eucalytpus on benjamin moore Revere Pewter.  I toned the canvas with the wall color and that I think helped me make choices that would harmonize with the room.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The hallways of our memories

I reflect back on farms.  I thought everyone's grandparents lived on a farm.   We were the city folks driving home during summer vacation over the rolling hills of Kentucky turning into the side road with the little bridge over the crick adjacent to the weathered old burnt  sienna barn full of upside down hanging tobacco.  Those days are gone now and having a red barn is kind of a yuppie lofty thing.  The old "HOME PLACE" that we called grandma and grandpa's is now a subdivision.  In my childish mind, I always thought they would remain; the crick, the bridge, the gigantic tree where the tire swing hung that we cousins played with for hours.  But bulldozers rearranged the earth and diverted the creek and tree lined streets with sewers, water lines, street lamps and asphalt took their place among the houses all in a row alternating with models a b c and d.  I wonder if the street sign bears any name with which I am familiar?  I always think of my maw maw and pawpaw and the multitudes of cousins when I see a red barn, especially with clouds and hills and corn on the cob. I do so wish I could remember the LAST day I was there.  Though only 10 I think I would have been melancholy to know not only that I would grow up but that it would disappear from the face of the earth.

"The joy of art lies in the spark of truth..
the quest fulfills the mind's desire to see.
The thing we make is not the same today
as lingers in the hallways of our minds."

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The content of life

Again, I must begin this post with the same refrain as the last one  way back in 2012; it's been quite some time since I've written on this blogspot.

I do enjoy writing so I am going to try and maintain a regular, but not daily, log of my thoughts and paintings. Though many aspects of life have changed and insisted on being lived, painting has remained constant on a daily basis due to two main factors; I love it and I need money. As most artists know who've made the commitment to live the daring creative life, there are no pensions and the good intentions of starting a 401 K or saving 10% of everything I make just didn't actualize. I look upon it as a fortuitous set of circumstances for who among us would paint every day for 3 or 4 hours if the wolves weren't barking down the door? It all adds up to experience and a substantial body of work which is what I wanted when I made the commitment some 25 years ago. So I am a happy camper.

My sons are grown and thriving! Between now and the last post in 2012 I've gone through some loss and some grueling anxiety but painted my way through all events. One might call it life itself. My most wonderful loyal funny canine girl, Ashby, went to heaven February a year ago and though I felt like a child, I proceeded with all the grownup decisions I had to make like a true stoic. What can you do? She was my gift for 13 magnificent years, a true loyal companion and I will always carry her in my heart. I knew the day would come. I am just now strong enough that I think I can look at her photo long enough to make the portrait I've always dreamed of doing and that puts a smile on my face. I'm a special kind of nut when it comes to the dog/cat relationship. It feels very human to me.

The anxiety of which I speak above is reserved for the horrendous experience of learning your child has cancer and the tortuous events that proceed after the diagnosis is made which was exactly a year ago to this day. My 33 year old beautiful son was diagnosed with the same tongue cancer as Michael Douglas and underwent a 12 hour operation two weeks before thanksgiving last year in which they removed half of his tongue, rebuilt it with his arm muscles (wrist) and used a peel of skin from the thigh to rebuild the arm. I am happy and relieved to report that his most recent scan has shown him to be cancer free. The magnificent doctors who rebuilt his tongue have given him excellent speech and he and his lovely intensive care nurse, wife, are thriving. A scar remains but lies on the wrinkle that passes from behind the ear down the neck and is barely visible, and with a scruffy beard  it is totally invisible. Aside from the three weeks we spent sleeping on the floor in the hospital watching over him at the Loma Linda cancer center, I have continued to paint most days and am thankful for the structure it brought to my life during trying times. I have visited him many times during the follow-up radiation in LA and carved out a little painting niche on the porch and with the marvelous technology of today, was able to make a creative income all the while. With this last set of results from the Pet scan I am settling back into the "non-hyper anxiety alert" mode and enjoying some experimentation and am longing for new material...I recently got a hankering to study Maxfield Parish and his amazing glazed paintings. While reading the book I discovered TRANSPARENT ORANGE. I get a particular joy from certain colors and their properties and this is a keeper that I will always be using in my palette. It happens to rest opposite another of my favorites, prussion blue, so that makes it the complement (completes it) EVEN BETTER!

 I'm not to going to ramble on so I can save some thoughts for the next post but wanted to bring you up to date on where these last two years went. We are human beings and live not in a vacuum. Our life experience can't help but influence us whether it's in style, subject matter, materials, or complexity

I post my most recently completed work measuring 24 x 36. I lost myself for weeks in the the simple rendering in black and white of this figure and then began to patiently apply glazing of transparent orange, alizarin crimson, Prussian blue and scumbles of a velute (SP) which is a glaze mixed with some white and gray flesh tones.  The first photo show a couple of layers of glaze and the second shows the more advanced version.  The color wheel is my friend and companion always and I have many of them posted in every room of the house.  You might say I am a color wheel collector!

Contemplative solitude is always a good thing whether you call it prayer, thinking, wishing or exercising the imaginations.  I like this kind of painting because it reflects one of my favorite activities of being quiet and still and letting thoughts come.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


It's been some time since I've posted on my blog.  I just came across an amusing quote while looking through my old American Art Review magazines..I'll type it straight from the column.  It's a quote from Anna Lea Merritt, ..."the inequality observed in women's work is more probably the result of untoward domestic accidents...women who work must harden their hearts, and not be at the beck and call of affections or duties or trivial domestic cares...the chief obstacle to a woman's success is that she can never have a wife."  Thought there was some insight there....but of course the world has changed and is changing since then.  I now can justify a messy house.  I mean, really, it can take the entire day to keep everything perfect and it takes more than a life time to actualize the art life.

I am posting my recent work...enjoyed painting it so much ...I am continuing on with many of these two young women, sisters.  This painting practically painted itself.  I just happened to be in the room.  I love when that happens!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I don't know what I want to say yet... sometimes, I am told, if you keep writing it will come to you.  I like the simplicity of form here and found it mesmerizing to layer glazes over the gray underpainting and to work with a limited palette........yellow ochre, prussian blue, and there was a burnt umber modeling into the background at the very beginning.......As I was painting this I was thinking of all the possibilities racing through my mind that I want to execute and found myself being ever so thankful that I detoured from my original vocation of teaching 6th grade 30 years ago and devoted myself to playing with color, luscious wonderful color that I could probably spend 50 lifetimes exploring and manipulating.......I think the composition and the subject matter for me are simply a "thing" from which to drape color.  I'm not sure what I'm trying to say when I paint but I know I have a good time doing it and I truly feel like me...doing it.. That probably sounds odd but it has always seemed to me that the big prize in being alive is getting to know yourself and how important it is to be living the right life instead of the wrong life where you are just plodding along counting the days until the weekend...I think people are happier when they have cultivated their own resources and spirit and that trumps the need for making more money than you need....
Steve Jobs said it well I think and I resonate with the sentiment and hope my kids have the spirit and fortitude to discover their own  genuine lives....Steve Jobs said at the Stanford commencement address:
.."our work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."  

and also this:  "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."