Monday, July 30, 2012

ESCAPING THE HEAT...any way I can

Last week I posted the final version of a painting I called "Reflections", an imaginative landscape from somewhere far in plains.  I had fun working through the stages of the painting and was pleased with the results.  So much so that I decided to use the composition one more time, replacing the warm palette for a much colder one.

Here is the first version...acrylic...36x48"

And here is the second...


Monday, July 23, 2012


Crunch time has arrived.  It is time to add the trees and shrubs to the water's edge, a task I usually find very daunting.  After all this work I don't want to mess it in this last stage.

I started with this...

And after adding the trees and some shrubs...

 I ended up with this, and was devastated.  My worse fears came true - I screwed up and ruined the painting.  I tried to fix it...
and only made things worse.  In a fit of total despair, and a bit of anger, I picked up the palette knife and let myself go.
 And suddenly...the painting was saved, and I liked it.

Now I'll look at it for a week to see if any minor changes need to be made.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Following up on yesterday's post:

I've added the field on the right

 At this point I decided the immediate foreground would be water, and added a row of high grass that might be seen at the edge of a stream or pond.

The last effort of the day was rendering the water.  All that remains is the placement of some shrubs and trees along the bank it break up the repeating horizontal format. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012


My landscapes come from two sources, a specific scene or structure that I've seen and/or photographed, or from somewhere in my imagination. 

To create my own landscape, I begin with a thumb nail sketch to explore the composition and values.  This becomes the "blueprint" for the painting.  But more often than not, once I get into the work changes suggest themselves, sometimes minor and sometimes major.

the blueprin

The sky...after 3  attempts

The foreground roughed in to establish values

The mountains...look closely

The foreground...beginning to re-think the original composition at this point.

Look for further progress in the next few days.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


It is almost 4 years since our week in Tuscany, and I have never tired of painting and drawing its beautiful landscapes.  Most of work has been in either acrylic, pastel, or watercolor, but recently I've been having fun with pen and ink, creating simple line drawings.  The challenge has been to use as few lines as possible to capture the nature of the countryside.  Here are a few early efforts: each measuring about 3x5"

 Tuscan 1
 Tuscan 2
Tuscan 3
 Tuscan 4
  Tuscan 5
 Tuscan 6

Monday, July 2, 2012


To be dependent on others – one of the unfortunate burdens of many artists.  Whether it is for commercial success or the satisfaction of having one’s art accepted by critics and viewers, the artist must depend on the approval of others.

For some artists this results in desperate attempts to create only the work that appeals to his or her audience and/or market, no matter how far removed it is from their own creative interests.  They are willing to paint to sell or to please the critics.

Not all artists succumb to this dependency in such an extreme manner; they remain true to their own creative inspirations with little or no compromising with these external pressures, doing all that they can to succeed on their own terms.
But I suspect it is the rare individual who remains totally independent of the acceptance of others, commercially or otherwise.  Even if they create or perform to their own standards and satisfaction, the desire to reach out to others is always there.

I create art because I have to…it is what I am and what I do.  It is one the things that defines me.  Over the years I have enjoyed a fair degree of commercial success, never enough to support me but always a necessary part of my income.   Fortunately most of what I enjoy painting has broad appeal so for the most part I am able to “paint for myself” and not for others.  The key words here are for the most part; dealing with galleries usually requires some acquiescence to their needs, however slight or significant they may be.  In the end, like so many things in life, it is all about compromise, finding that comfortable balance between the opposing forces.

I feel fortunate to have found this comfortable place between painting for others and painting for myself.  However, in neither case am I totally independent because of my need to have the work seen; I don’t consider my work complete until others have seen it, even if it is only a single individual.

And in the spirit of this dependency, here is a view of a painting in progress:

24x48" canvas...acrylic


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Billy Poke-a-long

Just call me Billy Poke-a-long, because that best describes my attitude and my work these days.  A little walk first thing in the morning, a little breakfast, a little time checking email and the news, a little time with my journal, a little time running errands (grocery shop – library – post office – etc.), a little lunch, and then it’s into the studio where the day really begins.

A little time with my feet up, reading the latest mystery from the library, a little postprandial nap, a little music, a little drawing, a little time working on the computer, a little painting, a little more reading, and interspersed in all of this…a little pacing.

Occasionally I will gnash my teeth, frustrated over a complete loss of ambition, lean back in my chair with my feet up, contemplate the purpose of my continued existence, and promptly fall asleep.  Ten to fifteen minutes later I awake with renewed purpose and resume working on whatever.

A mostly comfortable sameness has come to define my days, and I enjoy it, except when I don’t.  Occasionally I feel the need to get out of my space, either alone or in the company of others, but for the most part I am quite content with my life.  The important thing is for me to be engaged in my work, mentally and physically, even if it is only for an hour, more or less, a day.  I am always amazed at how much I can accomplish in this limited and inconsistent pace of mine.

Recently I have been posting a series of drawings from my ER journal on my facebook page (in an album called ER Drawings…duh!)  Most of these drawings are still available, matted and wrapped for $125.00,   The entire series is also available in an IBook…ER Sketchbook for $40.00 (6x8: - soft cover – spiral bound – 56 pages and 64 drawings)

 Waiting...image 5x7...matted to 11x14

 Resident...image...5x3...matted to 14x11

 Nurse at work...image...6x4...matted to 14x11