Friday, February 29, 2008


Revised landscape acrylic 14x17
After posting this yesterday morning I decided to add the touches of yellow and light green at the horizon line.

Night time Red acrylic on canvas 18x24
My intention here is to present the barn's architecture and clutter (form and function?) in a setting that is both realistic and abstract. In this case the abstraction is accomplished more with color and texture rather than shapes and lines.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


I thought it would be a good time to leave the past and look at "whats happinin now". I recently completed this new watercolor where I resorted to liquid acrylics to get the fall foliage in front of the darkened facade of the building. This is from an old photo of the Logon Square area in Philadelphia. In retrospect I would use less red in the sky.

Logan Circle wc on 300 lb arches 10x16

The second piece is acrylic over an older painting on a panel. I wanted to focus attention on the interface between the sky and the foreground but I don't think I succeeded. I'm keeping it on the easel for some more viewing time while I considere going back in and working on that interface with a lighter, warmer color.

untitled acrylic on panel 12x18

The last is a recent watercolor of a skyline of sorts of downtown Paducah. To actually see this view one has to stand at 6 places simultaneously. I did a similar painting in pastel several years ago; it was fun to do it again.

Paducah Skyline wc on arches 300 lb 8x35
The confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers is one block to the Left.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


It has been a very long time since I went out in the streets with my pen and drawing pad, and when I look at some of these old sketches of mine, and the work of other artists who go “out there”, I wonder why I don’t do that again. Well, actually I don’t wonder why, because I know why; I am far too comfortable in the studio. But I make myself feel better by believing that it is only a matter of time before I return to the streets.

If I had to point to one event or experience that radically changed my life it would be the 3 days I spent in Boston in November, 1976. I was there for an oncology seminar at the Mass. General hospital, but left the conference after the first hour and never returned. Instead I spent the next 3 days walking all over the city with my pen and sketch book drawing everything and anything that interested me. It is difficult for me to describe all that I felt, but I knew something significant was happening to me and to the way I saw my life and my world. Medicine would no longer reign supreme


All sketches were done with a Parker 45 fountain pen

Monday, February 25, 2008


About 8-10 years ago I did a series of these mixed media constructions, many of them whimsical in nature. I posted 2 examples several months ago; here are several more.

Boxes & Blocks
I've included the initials of my wife, children, and grandchildren in this piece, and have several more grandchild to add.

Balls & Beads
What can I say...I don't know where this came from.

I&O Glass Co. (Insufferable & Obnoxious Glass Co.
If you could read the signage it would say: no customer parking-find your own place! If you don't like our glass you can kiss...

Stone fence
I wanted to use the stones-thousands of them in the fields behind my studio- and came up with this. Unfortunately it was fatally damaged in shipping.

These constructions are fun to do, and they provide a reason (not that I've ever needed on) to collect and save all sorts of junk. The only down side is they take ove the studio while under construction with tools and stuff scattered all over the place.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Utter Chaos clay mono type 30x15

Painting is definitely not a relaxing exercise for me. In fact it is usually very stressful, especially as the painting progresses and I invest more and more myself in the work. For this reason I rarely work nonstop for more than 20-30 minutes at a time. Regardless of the medium (but more so with watercolors) I will work on a specific area of the painting and then stop, leave the table or room, work on something else, or do any number of other chores before coming back to the painting. One benefit of this practice is that it allows me to work on several projects/paintings at the same time. I suppose it might be different if I allowed myself to fail, but I want every painting to be the best it could be. So, the more it progresses, the more I worry about “messing up”. On those occasions when I work through a painting with a more nonchalant attitude the results are usually dismal.

I accept this anxiety as something positive that need not be avoided. Anxiety is to the artist what garlic is to the cook, enhancing!!

Overwrought clay mono type aprox 30x24

(the barn series will continue tomorrow)

Saturday, February 23, 2008


This morning's post will finish the series on barns, at least for a while.

Abandoned hillside barn pastel

This paintings was done when I was experimenting with different supports for pastel. In this painting, and several others, I used blue foam insulation board after applying several coats of gesso and an acrylic monochromatic wash. An acrylic molding paste was used to create the heavy texture in the foreground. As with almost all of my pastels, the pastels were applied in layers by rubbing in “pastel dust” with intermittent coats of fixative.

Barn with gray square (how is that for an inspired title!) pastel

This was the last of the series with shapes and figures in the background for several years. I resumed the practice in several recent pastels - of barns of course- that were on previous posts.

Somewhere in McCracken Co. pastel 20x30

This is a typical barn seen in western Kentucky, usually sitting alone, and abandoned, in the middle of nothing.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Barn #5 pastel 15x20

Barn #6 pastel 15x20
This was painted from a photo take somewhere along the Pennsylvania turnpike, a great place to see some classic barns.

Barn #9 pastel 15x20

This is the last of the "numbered" barns. I have no idea what happened to nos. 4, 7, and 8. After spending several months exploring the various backgrounds as seen in these paintings I gradually drifted towards a more literal approach. Here is one example:

Standing alone pastel 20x30

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I’ve forgotten how many “barn paintings” I’ve done over the years, starting sometime in the late 90s. Most of the pieces I will be showing in this next series of posts will be pastels.
I don’t know what prompted me to begin experimenting with the backgrounds, but as you will see, I had to work my way through this series of “numbered” barns before moving on. The barns in this series of paintings are almost exclusively from my imagination...easy to do after photographing and painting as many barns as I have. I will identify the “real” ones from the imaginative ones.

Barn #1 pastel aprox 14x20

Barn #2 pastel aprox 14x20

Barn #3 pastel aprox 14x20

These were the first pastels where I began using primarily pastel "dust" created by scrapping the pastel on a small strainer held over the paper (lying flat) and rubbing the pigment in with my fingers. I used a lot of fixative, sacrificing the brilliance of the color so I could use paper on the surface of the painting to create the hard edges I wanted. All in all, I achieved the result I aimed for.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Like so many other artists, I have a few favorite subjects. Here are 2 barns that have never lost their grip on my interest. The first is no longer standing, and the future of the second one is quite fragile. In each case I have rendered them first in pastel, and several years later in acrylic.

Jersey Barn pastel 30x40

the last stand acrylic cropped (original painting-24x48

Livingston Co. Barn pastel 30x40

Livingston Co. Barn acrylic 60x48

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I love barns, all kinds of barns. I cannot turn away from a lonely, abandoned, dilapidated barn sitting forlornly in the middle of an expansive field (the tobacco barns in KY). I am fascinated by the rambling, cattywonkus architecture of an old dairy barn, revealing not only its own history, but the history of the farm and the farmer. I can only imagine the hopes and the dreams that were invested in those structures. I respond to these structures like I do to all of the architecture that I have tried to portray in my art, from the corner stores and markets to the elegant historic structures and landmarks; I project my own dreams and imagination of their history, the stories they hold, onto them.

Barn on Black pastel 20x30
In this painting the focus is entirely on the architectures clean lines and texture. The sky and foreground functions only as a stage for the barn.

Abandoned Barn pastel 20x30
Here I am focused entirely on the barns “story”, obviously abandoned and uncared for, and the setting is part of the story.

Western barn pastel 12x16
I could not resist this...from a photo on a trip out west. I can't remember where - I took so many photos

Monday, February 18, 2008


Today I'll close the Philadelphia journey with one more view of Independence Hall and several skyline views from around the city. I hope you have enjoyed these paintings as much as I have in retrieving them from the dusty shelves of my memory.

Custom House skyline watercolor

Independence Hall watercolor

Museum Skyline watercolor

A Philadelphia Skyline

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Philadelphia, like Boston, is a walking city, with so many neighborhoods clustered around center city. For the next few posts we will visit some of the delightful scenes and places that I have visited in years past.

City Hall watercolor aprox. 30x15
Located in the center of the city, William Penn sits atop this grand structure. For years no building were allowed to tower above him. This ban was lifted in the 1970s, but there are certain restrictions that prevent any bulilding from obstructing the view of Mr. Penn from the river, and from north and south on Broad st.

Jewelers Row, watercolor 14x18
JR can be found on Sansom center city, near Washington Square.

Levis watercolor 18x19
Located near South St. on fifth st. Levis has sadly closed its doors. They had GREAT hotdogs!

Shirt World watercolor aprox 16x45
I don't know if this is still there - it was the last time I visited E. Market St. near 4th & 5th sts.

Pine St. watercolor 14x20
Pine St. is the home of antique shops and elegant homes, from Society Hill in the east to the University of Penna. in the west.
These homes are on E. Pine St. near 7th St. I would fantasize about living here during my days at Jefferson Medical College.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I have 2 shows scheduled for this spring; in April I will join 2 other landscape artists in Lowertown for a 3 man show here in Paducah, and in May will be in a 2 person show in Maryland. I’ve been working on several new canvases for both shows, trying my hand at smaller sizes. However I recently stumbled, quite literally, upon a 24x48” painting that I considered a failed work and I couldn’t resist the urge for a “do over”. Here is the result, that I believe is finished but will keep on the easel for several days.

untitled acrylic on canvas 24x48

The smaller canvases...

Empty Sentinel acrylic 8x10

Gray graing elevators acrylic 11x14

two 5x5 canvases

The Philadelphia journey will resume tomorrow.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I would guess that most out of town visitors to this city would have visited Independence Hall an the cluster of some of our most revered historic buildings.

Independence Hall

A walk along the portion of south Broad Street called the avenue of the arts reveals, among other buildings, the original Academy of Music with its near perfect acoustics.

Academy of Music

Just to the west of center city an the banks of the Schukyll (spelling?) river is the grand Philadelphia Art Museum which achieved popular fame when Rocky ran up and down the stairs leading up to the entrance. This painting shows the rear of the building with the remnants of the old water works.

Philadelphia Art Museum

Just to the left of the museum, along the river front, is the well known Boathouse Row, a series of private and university rowing clubs. I painted the row of clubs in 3 overlapping scenes. This the the second of the series. All 3 were published as limited edition prints (the first 2 have sold out) and can be seen on my web site.

Boat House Row