Wednesday, November 28, 2012


In today’s post, “this” painting translates to “these” paintings, three paintings that clearly demonstrate my fondness for light and dark.

It was over 20 years ago that I first became truly aware of the drama of brilliant sunlight against a dark stormy sky; I was driving into a dark sky while the sun shone brightly behind me, lighting up the dirty white bark a bald plain tree and transforming it into a brilliant sculpture.  As soon as I saw that phenomenon I knew I had to incorporate it into my art, which I did, and continue to do, with some variation, all these years later.

Far From Brooklyn…acrylic…24x48

Before the Storm…Acrylic…24x48

My most recent experience of this show of nature occurred on my drive back from Texas, For most of the 12 hours I was following a storm moving east and staying far enough ahead of me to keep me dry, but still see the light as it fell on the autumn foliage.  The result was this painting:

Autumn Foliage…Acrylic…16x40

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I would like to begin this occasional series – About This Painting - with Dark Forrest

 Dark Forrest…Acrylic…. 30x40”

Dark Forrest was not only one of my very first acrylic paintings, but I think, one of my best.  It did not start out that way.

In 2006 I began thinking about working on canvas, rather than paper, because of the cost of getting my pastels, watercolors, and clay mono types framed for protection and exhibiting.  The clincher came when a gallery to whom I submitted my portfolio wrote back saying they loved my work but did not take anything framed under glass.  That did it for me; I purchased the necessary materials and went to work.  The result, after a great deal of frustration, wiping out and starting over, was Dark Forrest.

It took me less than a dozen brush strokes to realize that working with acrylics on canvas was totally unlike watercolor on paper.  Struggling with brush strokes and color mixing, I bungled my way through the sky.  It was a disaster that I tried correcting by painting over with a different color, also a failure.  Disgusted with myself I began scraping away the paint and to my great delight, I liked what I saw.

At this point I had only a vague idea about what I wanted next…a colorful, loosely rendered tree line making the horizon the point of focus.  Again, I struggled with colors, and even more so with the brushwork.  And again, the paint went on, and come off, until I put the brush aside and began playing with the palette knife.  After several trials and errors, I ended up with the rest of my painting, and I was pleased.

In the process of this work I learned several techniques that I have continued to use in selected paintings, either exclusively, or in combination with other techniques.  It is a rare painting in which I have not used a palette knife at some point in the work. and I continue to render trees and foliage abstractly with the knife, carving out the trunks and branches to expose colors below.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Last of the new

The last 2 pieces that complete the new exhibit at Gallery 5...five years of imagining landscapes.  The exhibit is now available for viewing, and the opening reception scheduled for the Second Saturday in December from 5 to 8 P.M.

Do-over II...acrylic, ink...16x49

Untitled...acrylic, ink...12x24

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I've spent the past week preparing the gallery for a new exhibit, which means removing all the work currently in the gallery, AND, finding a place for them in the studio.  It always appears to be an impossible task, but somehow it gets accomplished.

Below are some photos of the gallery with the new show in place.  Because of space limitations I am forced to take a Salon style approach, hanging the paintings together, rather than giving each one its own space.

The exhibit will be up through the rest of the year, with an opening reception on Dec. 8, from 5 to 8 PM.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


That Cauliflower and Brussels sprouts would be the foundation of a great pasta dish.  I suppose this only proves that we are never too old to learn something new.

It began when P and I decided to pursue a more plant based diet, which meant scrambling for new dishes to replace our usual fare…pasta with a little of everything else.  Over the past few months I’ve been learning new ways to prepare both familiar and unfamiliar ingredients.  We’ve even gone so far as to learn to enjoy whole-wheat pasta!

The current edition of La Cucina Italiana contained a recipe for a pureed Cauliflower soup served with sautéed Brussels sprouts.  I tried it 2 nights ago and it was quite good, something we would certainly have again, which we did last night, but in a slightly different setting.

We were going to the theater to see West Side Story, and I wanted something quick and simple to prepare for an early dinner.  Normally this would have been pasta with aglio olio crudo, but since we were limiting our olive oil intake that was not an option.  Browsing the contents of the fridge I saw the leftover soup, which had thickened a bit overnight, and the dinner question was resolved.

The Cauliflower-Leek soup with Brussels sprouts made a perfect sauce for Al Dente Pasta brand egg Pappardelle, served with freshly grated Parmigiano cheese.

I look forward to trying this again with other pureed soups.


Cauliflower – small florets
Leek – white and light green stem cut crosswise into thin slices
Olive oil
Vegetable broth
Brussels sprouts
Whole milk – (I used fat free)
Fresh Dill

Cook the Leek and Cauliflower in the broth, salt, and milk until the Cauliflower is soft, about 30 minutes.  Puree and keep warm.

Cook the Brussels sprouts in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and cool in cold water, and cut into quarters.  Place them in a skillet with olive oil and salt and cook until they start to turn a golden brown.

Add the Brussels sprouts to the pureed soup and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes before serving, sprinkled with fresh Dill

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I've decided that for my last event in the gallery for 2012 I will combine new work with selected older pieces to show 5 years of imaginative landscape paintings.  Initially it was conceived as an exhibit of works on canvas, but I haven't ruled out including other media.   The unifying theme of the exhibit will be the use of abstraction in creating an objective vision.

 I literally stumbled on this process when I first started working with acrylics on canvas and panels almost 7 years ago.  On my very first attempt with the media I discovered I could not do the necessary brush work to create the image I wanted, and out of frustration more than anything else, I began working with the palette knife, and after pushing the paint around for what seemed like forever, the result was a landscape I really liked.

Dark Forrest...30c49

Dark Forrest was my first...and I have continued to use the same approach on selective paintings since then.

Add caption
I hope to have the show up and ready by Thanksgiving.  The opening reception will be Saturday, December 8, from 5 to 8 P.M.

 Of course none of this will happen until I find a place for all of  the paintings currently in the ongoing struggle for space.

Monday, November 12, 2012


It is still early in the relationship, but I have a strong sense that it is going to grow into something very special.  We were meant for one another, and I can imagine the day when it proudly stands along side of pasta and me.  (Let me assure everyone that my relationship with pasta is very secure and will not be threatened by the squash.)

My first personal encounter with BNS was during our pasta quest, when I used it to make a filling for ravioli; it was a passing affair, and only recently have we begun a more sustained relationship as Patience and I have shifted to a more plant based diet.  Currently we are on soup kick, combining the BNS with carrots and sweet potatoes, and creating a variety of soups by adding salmon or smoked salmon (really good!), toasted Kale flakes, or serving the soup over slices of roasted cabbage.  Of course the variations are unlimited, and always served with fresh graded Reggiano Parmigiano cheese.

I must confess that for a while I was feeling pretty bad, thinking I was cheating on my pasta, but then I remembered the threesome we shared, and once more all was well in our kitchen.


Grain elevator...pastel & ink...30x20...1997

Purple Majesty...oil pastel...16x32

Bucks Co. Playhouse...watercolor...20x30...1989

Philadelphia Art Museum...watercolor...15x42...1990

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Periodically I will browse through photos of old work to remind myself of how my work has evolved; it is a bit sobering to see that some of the older work is as good as, and occasionally better, than the newer stuff.  I imagine that is the case for many artists and craftsmen, regardless of their field.  In the five year history of this blog I think I've posted images of most of the work I have completed in the past 35 years.

Over the next several posts I will be showing some of my personal favorites.

 NYC Skyline...pastel...30x40...2000

Philadelphia Merchants Exchange...watercolor...20x30...early 1980s

Behind the Strand...watercolor...20x30...circa 1990

 Gray Smokestacks...pastel...20x30...circa 1995
Blues in the night...watercolor...30x40...early 1980s

Friday, November 2, 2012


I have 3 more "do-overs" to share with you today.

The first is a 16x40 canvas that was part of a diptych I created several months ago and was never really happy with the results.  I covered both canvases with black gesso and began working.  Here is the first one I finished:

the new...untitled 16x40
the old

Also, two more small, mixed media landscapes complete the series, for now.