Thursday, September 30, 2010


I was hoping to have the wc finished before I leave town tomorrow for about 10 days, visiting family and friends back home. But this is as far as I've gotten. Only a few details remaining.

Yesterday I pulled these 2 clay prints, each measures 12x30":

I've packed my sketchbook and pens, hoping to get some sketching done.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Recently I’ve received several queries asking what exactly is a clay drawing and how are they done. I will try to describe the process in this post.

First, a description of the process of clay printing, as developed by my friend, Mitch Lyons.

A slab of stoneware clay 3/4 to 1 inch thick is pressed into a firm framed base mounted on a solid support table or bench. The surface is smoothed and leveled with the edges of the frame and is allowed to dry overnight to a “leather hard” consistency. There is no “correct” size: it can be small and portable or permanently situated in the studio. This clay base will act as the “plate” in the creation of the mono type. My current clay plate is 30x40” and is 8 years old. By keeping it covered with wet paper and plastic drapes it will last indefinitely.
Liquid clay, known as slip, is produced by mixing water and kaolin powder in a blender to a light pancake batter consistency and several coats are then brushed onto the clay slab. This slip also becomes the “paint” by the addition of pure pigments, dry or liquid, and is used to create the image by its application to the clay slab. The final result is a flat slab of clay in which the image is embedded.
A moistened support, fabric or paper, is placed on top of the clay and pressure is applied using a roller or brayer. The support becomes impregnated with a thin layer of the clay resulting in a transfer of the image.
The resulting one of kind images have characteristics unlike those produced by any other method. The variety of techniques that can be used in this process is limited only by the imagination and curiosity of the artist.
All the materials used in this process are archival and the pigments share the same light fastness as other tradition pigments. The finished print can be framed under glass, or given a protective coat of varnish and stretched over a canvas stretcher.

My clay "plate" is about 3/4" thick and measures 32x40" In the lower left corner is a series of 3 colors I applied to create one of my drawings. Below is a close up of the same.

The next step is to print this on one of variety of supports. For the series of drawings from Italy I have been using Reemay, a non-woven fabric, as well as Pellon, and other interfacing materials available at the fabric store. This next photo shows a number of such prints.

Now all that remains is the drawing. For this I've been using a variety of pens and markers, primarily Faber-Castell, Prismacolor premier, Micron, and Pilot...all using water resistant, lightfast ink.

For dramatic highlights I may add one or more touches of acrylic to the drawing, as in the umbrellas in this piece.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


that's what I feel I have been on for the past several weeks, at least in the studio. One clay drawing after another, and slow but steady progress on the watercolor. I hope to complete this "work cycle" in the week ahead...on Friday, I leave for a long over due trip back home (MD, NJ, DE,AND PA) to see family and friends. I expect to be away for 10-12 days. If all goes well, I will have this watercolor completed before I leave. Here is the latest update, as well as the most recent clay drawings.

It could be Parma

Wash Day

Friday, September 24, 2010


In spite of my leisurely non-hurried pace I have managed to move these two pieces along, overcoming significant inertia with the acrylic. Now that I've started I expect the pace to pick up a bit.

First the watercolor:

Another structure on the Piazza Maggiore...on 300lb Arches paper...about 14x28" Intended to be a companion piece to the last wc I posted.

This Tuscan landscape measures 12x48", a challenging but fun size to work with.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


are all I have to offer today. I started a new watercolor and should have something to show in the next day or two.

I'm enjoying experimenting with different supports for the clay prints. I go to Hancocks (our local, very large, fabric store)and rummage through their selection of interfacing looking for interesting textures and weights. In the first of these clay drawings the printing was done on a heavier fabric with a somewhat shiny or sparkling surface which unfortunately does not show in the photo.

Midieval Bologna...clay drawing...8x11

This piece was done on a thinner paper-like interfacing which is a pleasure to draw on

Clay drawing...approximately 14x11

Friday, September 17, 2010



After spending the last several weeks with this painting on the drawing table, I believe I will miss having it to turn to whenever the mood strikes. Working on a painting like this, almost mindlessly in bits and snatches everyday creates a bond...almost like a companion...and now that it is done I will have nothing to turn to. Unless of course I come up with another one. I already have one in mind, another large ancient structure that contributes to the Piazza Maggiore in central Bologna.

And in between the bits and snatches there are the clay drawings:

White awnings...4x6'

Wonderful memories...7x14

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Work in the studio has been moving forward (more like inching forward) at a rather slow and perhaps too comfortable pace. I started work on a new 12x48" Italian landscape...too early to show anything...and spend some unhurried time on the large watercolor and new clay drawings.

clay drawing...510'

This seemed like a good time to go back through my files and look at work from the distant past. I find it surprising, appalling, and sometimes inspiring, asking myself did I really thing that was good? Or, WOW, could I do that again? I thought I would share with you a few of the "wows", watercolors that I had printed back in the mid '80s.




Friday, September 10, 2010


OK...maybe a few breaks to read the latest mystery I'm involved in. But, mostly today I worked, and as proof I am offering the following:

More progress on the large watercolor.

I'm really getting excited about this piece.

And of course more clay drawings. Can you become addicted to a process?

Clay drawing...4x5

Clay drawing...4x6

Thursday, September 9, 2010


before I would return to this painting. In this week. Today I finally began painting, and I have great expectations for the piece. That is if I don't screw up...always a constant worry.

Piazza maker...watercolor...22x30

Monday, September 6, 2010

It is NOT relaxing!!!

How many artists out there have had to smother the urge to yell NO...NO..NOOOO! whenever someones says, "that must be relaxing"? They mean well, but for me, making art is not a form of relaxation; to the contrary, it is stressful and frustrating. But I would quickly add...stress is good, distress is bad. I view the stress and/or tension that accompanies the work as seasoning, like garlic and salt, they make everything else better.

Here are 2 of the early clay mono types I pulled shortly after returning from Italy. I was trying to capture the soft colors and the patina of age that is present on the older architecture in the city.

untitled clay mono type aprox. 20x20"

I love the texture and softness of this piece, but continue to think I need to do something else...add lines, or markings, or whatever, but can't decide what. I've been looking at it for 2 months and have yet to determine what I will do...maybe nothing.

clay mono type...aprox. 14x20"

Now this is a constant source of frustration. I like everything about this print except...the damn profile of Snoopy in the upper right. I cannot look at it without seeing Snoopy, who has nothing to add to the work, and THIS IS DISTRESSING.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


On scattered and quite irregular occasions I have posted excerpts from my book, Have I told you today that I love you. a book written for my children, and their children.

Oil pastel on clay mono type...12x12"


Your relationship with others will be as varied as the people you encounter and will be determined by many factors, not the least of which will be your own personality and psychological style. But regardless of who and what you are, there are certain basic tenets that I would urge you to follow.

Be respectful of others, regardless of their position in our socio-economic conscious society. Be your real self with both the room maid and the hotel manager.

Be tolerant of ideas, beliefs, and behavior that differ from yours; no one has a monopoly on the truth.

With grace forgive the weaknesses of others and do not judge what you may perceive to be their shortcomings.

Forgive first offenses. Overlook minor slights.

Enable and nurture; be one who helps other achieve their own selfhood. Act in such a way that others will feel better for knowing you.

Be honest toward others. Do not present yourself to be other than who you are. And do not deceive or use others to achieve your own way or goals.

Be gracious and humble about your own accomplishments and success and be mindful of those blessings you have been given. You did nothing to be born into a loving and supportive family and to have the economic advantages so many others lack. Do not be so quick to take credit for what you perceive are you own accomplishments, more often than not there were many forces not of your own doing, that helped shape them.

Do not take credit for God’s grace.

Friday, September 3, 2010


seem to roll seamlessly into one another at a pace that is anything but hectic. There is no urgency to the work, for which I am very grateful. I currently have 3 works in progress: another clay drawing and 2 watercolors. If I can ever overcome the inertia I will begin working on another acrylic. About a week ago I posted the early stage of one of the watercolors, a pair of palaces. Since then I have completed the drawing and today applied thin wash of warm color over the entire surface.

on the Piazza Maggiore...watercolor in progress...22x30

The next step will be to begin painting the architecture, and given my work habits, that may not take place for another 2 or 3 days, or longer.

In the meantime, there is always another clay drawing waiting for my attention.

Piazza del Popolo in Ravenna...clay drawing...aprox. 7x21

Markets...clay drawing...7x12