Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Tea, Memories, and Resolutions"

"Tea, Memories, and Resolutions"
6"X6" oil on canvas panel

My first pass at this composition was last Saturday, and it just wasn't right, not the perspective or the various whites. So I wiped it off, got the basic shapes right, and let it sit through the two previously posted paintings. I knew what was wrong, and this time, I got something I like. I love New Years, making resolutions, like making plans, is one of my favorite things to do. So take this cup of tea, think of all you learned in 2009, and make your plans for the new year. I look forward to being part of some of them. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Red Trio" - SOLD

"Red Trio" - SOLD
6"X6" oil on canvas panel

I have been experimenting with backgrounds and really like the bright red tomatoes on this blue, with some of the red underpainting showing through. Very cheerful for a winter's day!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


6"X6" oil on canvas panel

This time of the year I crave oranges, clementines, lemons, limes, and grapefruit; sunshine with a peel! Here's a selection on a surf colored background to get you thinking about summer, or maybe just that trip to Florida that you're planning.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Ornaments" and a Merry Christmas!

6"X6" oil on canvas panel

Merry Christmas! I hope you all have a most wonderful holiday.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Karin Jurick Artist Portrait Challenge Entry

"Carol" finished portrait
6"X6" oil on canvas panel

"Carol" portrait in process

Carol's photo

This portrait is my entry in Karin Jurick's current challenge on her Different Strokes From Different Folks blog. On this blog Karin posts a new photo every three weeks and challenges artists to paint, draw, or etch it their way. Each year at the holidays, the challenge is a portrait of another artist, with Karin giving out the assignments. This is the first time I have participated, though I did David Lobenberg's self portrait challenge in August. It is definitely easier to paint someone from a photograph, than to paint while looking at yourself in the mirror!

I am editing this post (Tuesday evening) to add a process photo of Carol's portrait as well as her photograph, now that we are paired on the DSFDF blog. I don't always do a value sketch as an underpainting, but for something as complex as a portrait I think it helps keep the features in the right place. You can see that I hadn't quite gotten Carol's expression in the value sketch, and so I adjusted her smile when I applied the color layer.

Friday, December 18, 2009

"A Spoon Full of Sugar"

"A Spoon Full of Sugar"
6"X6" oil on canvas panel

This painting was inspired by a gouache study I did in my first week of daily painting last February, a piece that I was very pleased with. The subject is a butter dish from Chipping Campden Pottery in England, that I bought on a visit there with a good friend many years ago. We have always used it as a sugar bowl. Just like the first time, this one pretty much fell off the brush, and I was happy with it all the while I was working. I do think there is something about one's pleasure with the subject that makes the painting more like fun and less like work. But do we learn more from the ones that are more like work? I'm not sure.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Apple versus Orange"

"Apple versus Orange"
6"X6" oil on canvas panel

I love this apple! It has the most interesting pattern on its surface with those lovely greeny gold streaks coming out around the stem. I couldn't resist them. And the orange wedge wants to compete, but it's awfully small...

If you haven't noticed the new gadget on the right side of this blog, it is from the Daily Painters International Art Gallery, which I recently joined. Welcome to visitors who have found my blog through this great group of international artists! Click through the recent posts with the buttons at the bottom of the gadget, or take a look at the DPIAG site, by clicking on the link in the gadget.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

"Pears in Blue" - SOLD and November Painting Giveaway Winner

"Pears in Blue"
6"X6" oil on canvas panel

Pears in Blue Value Sketch

The pears return to do their part in this exercise I am considering for the upcoming daily painting and blogging workshop January 23rd and 30th in Damariscotta, ME at River Arts. The pears were blocked in as a value study, left to dry and then overpainted with color using a limited palette. See previous post, where tomatoes had their turn.

These pears were really fabulous, and lasted a couple of weeks. I did another painting of them, "Pears on a Plate", almost two weeks ago. By the time the study above was complete, they had been under the lights for hours, but we ate them anyway, and they were delicious. Which painting do you prefer: "Pears in Blue" or "Pears on a Plate"?

And finally, I want to congratulate Sally Dean, who is the winner of my November Painting Giveaway. Sally will receive "Porter's Pine". Do visit Sally's blog at Sally Dean 365 Flowers.

Friday, December 11, 2009

"Two Tomatoes"

"Two Tomatoes"
6"X6" oil on canvas panel

Two Tomatoes Value Sketch

This is another potential exercise for the Daily Painting and Blogging Workshop I will be teaching at River Arts next month. The idea is to do a value sketch on a toned canvas and then go back with color to complete the painting. The value sketch should be done very quickly, this one probably took me ten minutes. But that doesn't count the first two passes that I wiped off! I'll have to keep practicing to get the second phase down to the 45 minutes I would like it take for the workshop.

For more information on the workshop click here and look for my name.

Monday, December 7, 2009

"Takeout" - NFS

6"X6" oil on canvas panel

Continuing the red theme, when I put this takeout container down next to a red napkin, I wondered what would complete the composition. The chopsticks were perfect. Can you tell what was in the takeout box?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

"Beefsteak" - NFS - January 2010 Painting Giveaway

6"X6" oil on canvas panel

Today was a busy day, with the opening at the Yarmouth Frameshop and Gallery, plus visits with friends in town for the weekend. I was looking for something relatively simple to paint, and this gorgeous beefsteak tomato fit the bill. As someone said to me at the opening, if you think about a tomato, it doesn't feel the same way as an apple despite the similarity in color. To me a tomato has heft, it feels like you can pick it up and throw it (not that I don't love to eat them!), while an apple is about crispness, and picking it up and taking a bite. Can you feel the weight of this tomato?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Pears on a Plate" - SOLD

"Pears on a Plate"
6"X6" oil on canvas panel

Pears on a Plate drawing

Pears on a Plate - first pass of the pears

It's the time of year for red pears, and they are just gorgeous! I don't know how many paintings I can get in before I eat one of these...

I've included two process photos as well as the finished painting. The middle photo is my drawing on what was originally a yellow ground, but in getting the elipse of the plate right (see the April 4 post on this page from Carol Marine) some of it got wiped off. I kind of like this though. The bottom photo has the first pass on the pears and shadows, but the plate and background are still mostly untouched. For this painting, the pears didn't change much in the final pass. Color differences are due to the bottom two photos being taken in the studio, while the final was taken outside.

Monday, November 30, 2009

"Texas Live Oaks"

"Texas Live Oaks"
6"X6" oil on canvas panel

This is the painting from the sketch on Saturday. I got a couple of comments about the lack of cows in the last couple of posts, and it sounds like some bovine photos are heading my way. Both Carol Marine and Colin Page have painted grazing cows in the last few months, which are beautiful. Check out those links.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Live Oak" - NFS

"Live Oak"
6"X6" oil on canvas panel

I was fascinated with the shape of the live oak tree from yesterday's sketch, the way the branches droop to the ground, and in this case, meet the grass. I wanted to get some color other than green into the tree, as well as some of the wonderful sky holes in the photo. I soon discovered that there has to be some shape to the tree before the sky holes have any meaning (I won't show the first pass!). I like the way this turned out.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Live Oaks Sketch and Opening at the Yarmouth Frameshop and Gallery

This is the time of year when I start searching through my photos for interesting landscape compositions. I put them all in a folder and come back to them when I have a moment to paint. The sketch above is from a visit to my sister in south Texas, where we lived when I was in elementary school. I have been thinking of everyone there this holiday, when I wasn't able to attend a family event. These live oaks are quite different from our Yankee trees, it will be fun to give them a try.

Next Saturday, December 5th, is the opening for the Yarmouth Frameshop and Gallery Holiday Show. There are a dozen artists showing small works, including myself and my plien air friends Suzanne deLesseps and Joelle Feldman. I have fourteen paintings in this show, and most of them were first seen on this blog. The opening is from 4-7PM, and we would all love to see you there.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

10 Minute Apples and Workshop in Damariscotta

This is an exercise I wanted to practice for a workshop I am teaching at River Arts in Damariscotta, Maine (my first!) at the end of January. The workshop is about daily painting (tips and tricks for painting small and fast) and blogging (how to set up a blog on blogger, which gadgets are good for what, etiquette, etc.). After our two Saturday sessions, those who want to, can set up their blog and the rest of us will read the posts and make comments for a month, and then we will get together for dinner and share experiences. I think it is going to be a lot of fun!

In the exercise above, I gave myself 10 minutes to do each painting (well, maybe 11...). They go 1) top left, 2) top right, 3) bottom left, 4) bottom right. #4 is shown finished in the bottom image. I divided an 8"x8" Raymar panel into four equal squares, and used the same palette for each. The only thing that was different was the experience gained in the previous few minutes, and it really did make a difference. Don't you think #4 is the best?

For more information on the workshop, here's a link to the workshop page on the River Arts site. I have taken two workshops there, and I am very impressed with what they have to offer. I am thrilled to be teaching this class for them! If you want more details about the class, please email me.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Autumn Vines - Ridge Winery"

"Autumn Vines - Ridge Winery"
6"x4" oil on canvas panel

A few weeks ago, while in California on business, I was able to spend the day with my friends Brent and Betsy in Los Gatos. We had a blast hiking, enjoying their lovely town, and visiting Ridge Winery. A big fan of Julian Merrow-Smith's Postcards from Provence, I was on the lookout for views of vines in appropriate light. My friends good naturedly joined in the tramping around, and then we visited the tasting room. A good time was had by all!

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Satsuma Orange #2"

"Satsuma Orange #2"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

This is my second attempt at a 30 minute painting of the Satsuma orange, and I think it took a bit longer than that. There were actually two different oranges that I painted as one. One of them had a nice leaf, and the other had a great shape with some interesting structure on the top. So I put them next to each other, turned the light such that the shadows were parallel, and tried to meld then into one. I like the way this one came out.

Then I ate them! Very tasty indeed. Which one do you like best? Compare this one with the previous post.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Satsuma Orange #1"

"Satsuma Orange #1"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

This is my first try at a 30 minute painting, and I have to say it looked pretty good after 25 minutes! But then, you know how it goes, you see one little thing to fix, and then it all goes wrong in a hurry. I got frustrated and started second version, which I will show in another post. When #2 was done, I went back to this one, and was able to bring it back, above.

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Gilsland #6"

"Gilsland #6"
6"x6" oil on board

Back again to Maine Audubon's Gilsland Farm in Falmouth, you know how I love that place! This was something of an experiment, because I painted it on gessoboard instead of the Raymar panels I normally use. I also used an approach of starting with a simple value and color sketch and refined the details on top of that. I like the result.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Westford Road"

"Westford Road"
6"x6" oil on canvas panel

From the top drawing in the November 3rd, "Best Two of Three" post, in this fall scene the near trees have not yet turned, but there is a blaze of color in the background. And too soon, it is over again and the branches are bare. Only 5 more weeks until the days start getting longer again!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Keys to Drawing - Bert Dodson

I really enjoy drawing. Those that I have posted have all been references for paintings, or compositional exercises for paintings. While in California, I got interested in different drawing techniques and went off in search of a book. I found just what I was looking for, in Bert Dodson's "Keys to Drawing". I started off with the first exercise tonight, to draw my feet. The top drawing is the result after several practices with different shoes (who knew?). The idea was to, in sections, "draw blind" - look at the feet, not at the paper, while drawing; and to "restate" - don't erase, but redraw. Well, restating is no problem, I like the look, but drawing blind is tough! It can be really gorgeous if you do a complicated drawing that way, but I think it takes lots of practice. In the bottom drawing, being tired of feet, I drew what was in front of me, my dog asleep on his cushion, with his fish along side. Not bad, maybe I did learn something from all those feet!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Max with Blue Ball" and October Painting Giveaway Winner

This is the finished painting of my sister Susie's dog Max. I struggled with this guy a bit, see my previous post with the drawing. I found the lighter colored fur harder to paint than that of my own dog, which is an airedale. Max was a real fun loving guy, and liked nothing better than to play with (or munch on) a ball. Happy Birthday, sister Sue, I hope this reminds you of Max!

And many thanks to my friend Elizabeth Fraser, the master of pet portraits, who not only inspired me, but whose portraits of labs were fabulous references.

And guess who won the October Painting Giveaway? My other sister, Kay. No kidding, that's how the random number generator called it. I gave Kay a couple of choices and she has decided on "Gilsland Spring". Keep those comments coming in, they give you more chances to win. (Note - only comments made on the blog count in the drawing, not replies to the emails sent by the blog, though I love getting those as well.)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Best Two of Three

These are two sketches (of three I did this morning) based on photos of these two trees by the side of Westford Road near my house in Massachusetts. The first time I really "saw" these trees, I actually thought there was only one, because it was the shape of the foliage that caught my eye. I have photographed them twice now, standing in the street, watching for cars. The mulitple drawings came about due to my friend Rick telling me about a class in which the students are asked to do 10 thumbnails of the same scene, in order to learn better composition. I think there is something to it!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Workshops - Carol Marine

Carol Marine has posted a workshop next August to be held in Freeport and that has gotten me thinking about what I've learned in the workshops I have taken this year. By this I mean what I took home and practiced and made part of the way I paint. So I thought I would do a post or two about this, starting with Carol's class last March (and yes, I am looking forward to taking it again!). I don't mean to say that each of the instructors I've done a workshop with, or read a book by, this year were not teaching some of the same things, but what sticks is perhaps the solution to the problem that you are facing at the time. So here are the three things I brought home and made my own from Carol's class:

negative space from the inside of the object out - if you start at the center of each object and work your way out, you can use painting the negative space (the space around the object) to shape each one. All the messiness of that first exuberant pass at the object, gets turned into greatness when you use the negative space to reshape it. I love the way this makes things look, like this slice of melon in front of another slice or the sky and tree.

blue and yellow don't make green - the use of two of each of the primaries, one leaning towards each other primary, is key to being able to mix any color you need, and the secret to making bright clear colors. Though I had already read the book by this name, it was Carol's approach that brought it home for me. I wouldn't have been able to make this green background color with the ultramarine blue that I was using as my only blue.

different strokes - Carol had us do an exercise where she said "each stroke has to be a different color, so mix something different for each one". For someone with a tendency to blend, like me, this was a revelation. I am still getting used to it.

Sorry for the length of this. It cements it for me to tell you about it. Thanks for listening!

There is already a waiting list for Carol's class in Freeport next August, but if you are interested, email Suzanne deLesseps.

Friday, October 30, 2009

"Walking Path"


I have been in California for the last few days on a project for work, and only brought my sketch book (no paints!). I also have my new camera (Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1), which I am really enjoying. The 12x zoom is amazing and the stabilization really works!

I love the vegetation in California, particularly the eucalyptus trees. These are a couple of small (3"x3") sketches I did this morning.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Delicious 2" - NFS - December Painting Giveaway

"Delicious 2"
6"X6" oil on canvas panel

What a beautiful day it was today! We drove up to Boothbay and took some great photos along the way. It was time to bring home the paintings from the summer season at The Gallery at Boothbay Harbor. I want to thank Rick and company for a super summer and look forward to showing new paintings there next year.

This painting is based on an earlier gouache. I did a first pass this morning, blocking in the basic shapes, values, and colors. And then after our ride to Boothbay, I refined it with more color variation, adjusting the values and shapes where necessary.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Boarded Up"

"Boarded Up"
6"X6" oil on canvas panel

On my walk in South Freeport the other day, I was struck by this cottage view, all boarded up for the winter, all the clutter put away, the yard so neat and tidy. I did one more thing for the family, and painted their cottage red. It's really green, but I though this made a nicer painting. I cut down some trees too. Don't tell.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Harraseeket Road"

"Harraseeket Road"
6"X6" oil on canvas panel

Walking down Harraseeket Road in South Freeport the other day, the light was brilliant on the sides of the white houses that back on the harbor. I loved the contrast with the foliage on the burning bush in this yard. A stunning fall day!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Gilsland Pine"

"Gilsland Pine"
6"X6" oil on canvas panel

Here we are again at Gilsland Farm (Maine Audubon) in Falmouth. This is a view of the big pine down near the water from close by in the north field. I did the underpainting for this one, in burnt sienna and raw umber, on site a couple of weeks ago, and then finished up with the color in the studio. I think you can see the underpainting sneaking through.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Audubon Trees"

"Audubon Trees"
oil on 6"X6" canvas panel
soon to be available at the Yarmouth Frameshop and Gallery

Maine Audubon in Falmouth (Gilsland Farm) is beautiful this time of year. Yesterday we painted near the buildings, trying to stay out of the wind. Some trees had been cut down and that really opened up the view through these trees.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"Wolfe's Neck Farm"

"Wolfe's Neck Farm"
6"X6" oil on canvas panel

Yesterday I went to Wolfe's Neck Farm in Freeport in the afternoon, to paint a group of trees that I had scouted out on a previous visit. There were quite a few people there enjoying the sunshine, some taking a hayride, and others just walking or driving through. One man stopped his car and came over to see what I was doing. He was disappointed that I wasn't painting the Belted Galways (a very popular cow in this part of the world) that had wandered onto the edge of my scene. Maybe next time.

I am proud to announce the winner of the August Painting Giveaway drawing, Elizabeth Michaud. Elizabeth's prize is another painting from the Freeport area, "Winslow Park". Congrats, Elizabeth! Do check out her photography blog. She has a great design sense and the color is sensational.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Color Study 4

I have been saving the snow scene for last. What do you think? Only one blue (ultramarine), but both reds, cad yellow light and white. All four of the Porter's Pine color studies are 3"X3" in gouache. Now it is time to get back to oils!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Color Study 3

This is the third of four planned color studies in gouache that go with the original value studies. Here I was using a palette of ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow medium and phthalo red rose, and yes there is a tiny bit of cad red light in the tree greens and a bit of phthalo blue in the far trees. The previous two versions were mainly pthalo blue and cad red along with the cad yellow. As I have mentioned before, I use two of each primary (each one leaning towards one of the other two primaries) plus white. When all four are done, I will show them together. I think I am getting what I wanted to out of this, and I hope you guys are enjoying the ride, with the occasional side trip to other subjects.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"Porter's Pine Color Study" - SOLD

This is my 100th post to the blog! I have so enjoyed these small paintings and the pull of the blog as an incentive to paint them. I want to thank every one of you for sharing this experience with me and for all the enthusiasm and support you have given me on this painting journey.

I hope you aren't sick of the wonderful pine from Porter's Landing! This time, I used the color studies in gouache to inspire an oil study. Porter's Pine Color Study is a 6"X6" oil.

Oh, and I almost forgot, the September Painting Giveaway winner has been notified, and I will announce the name and painting shortly.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


The farm stand near my office has wonderful flowers, and I have been admiring the gladiolas for weeks. My mother loved these old fashioned elegant flowers and planted them when I was a child. So yesterday I bought a stem, and this morning, while it was pouring outside, enjoyed mixing the flower's gorgeous colors. "Gladiola" is a 6"X6" oil.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Color Studies #1 and #2

My friend Michael liked the four pine value studies in gouache so much that he suggested a follow-on exercise: do them again in gouache, replacing the values with a set of appropriate colors. So I decided to give that a go, but to choose a color scheme for each one and just see where it took me. Well, guys, I can highly recommend this exercise, because it is REALLY HARD, and so I learned a lot. The seond version (bottom one) has at least three layers of paint everywhere, because I really struggled to use the color scheme I had in mind, and retain the values in the previous study. (The top example here goes with the top left in the b&w version, the bottom example here goes with the top right in the b&w version.) I'm calling the bottom one "Pine at Night". Anyone got a name for the top version?