Saturday, December 31, 2016

Pens, Pens, Pens!

Sketch for "The Chefs", Noodler's ink and Creaper pen

The new year is about to start, and January is a good month for resolutions and for experimentation. If you've read my blog for a while, you know that I love drawing with pens. Pencils and charcoal are fine, but pens are my favorite. For the last few years I've been drawing with what we used to call "felt tip pens", but with permanent ink. My favorite of these is the Tombow, which are very reasonably priced, come in lots of colors, and a set of gray values. I stick to the gray values, and use them for thumbnail drawings and value sketches. Here are a couple of examples.

Gordes, France, sketch 2015

Olive Grove, Bedoin, France 2015

And here are a few of the Tombow pens with another drawing.

The sketch at the top of this post was done with my new Noodler's Creaper Flex fountain pen. I've spent some time over the past few days learning how to get different line widths, hatching, and other pen and ink drawing techniques. This pen (below) is excellent, especially for the $14 price, and available on 

I hope in January you'll see some more experiments from me. I've got some new Dr. Ph. Martin's India inks in lots of colors to try.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Prints Now Available from Bobbi Heath Fine Art

I'm excited to announce that prints are now available from Bobbi Heath Fine Art. Prints of twenty of my favorite no longer available paintings can be purchased on in multiple sizes printed on paper, optionally matted and framed, or as gallery wrapped canvases (no frames needed). And the small version (8" to 10" on the long side) of each print is less than $20! I just placed an order myself, and it will arrive before Christmas. Is there anyone on your list who'd like one?

Here's the link:

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Beaver Brook Winter

Beaver Brook Winter
8"x10" oil on canvas panel

We had our first snow of the season today. And to prepare for it, I painted this a couple of weeks ago in my class with Robert Abele. A bunch of us were trying out a limited palette of yellow ochre, cadmium red, black, and white. The gray mixtures turn almost blue with this approach. Perhaps this year I'll be able to paint in the snow at Beaver Brook. Looking forward to that, maybe there will even be a little blue sky.

Monday, November 28, 2016

American Cancer Society Holiday Sale

Most of us know someone who has had cancer. Or maybe we've even had it ourselves. I'm in that last group.  I'm often asked to donate paintings to shows that support a cause, and usually I do that, happy to support something that's near and dear to one of my friends. This holiday season I'd like to support a cause that's near and dear to my heart, and that's cancer research. Maybe it's near and dear to you as well.

I've put 90 paintings on my website for a sale to benefit the American Cancer Society and their work in research, education, and care of cancer patients. Shipping within the continental US is free, and 50% of the proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society. Please help me support their work!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Buoy #8

Buoy #8 White and Green
6"x6"oil on Raymar panel

This is the last buoy, at least for a while. I particularly like how the water looks like puddles, which happens when it's relatively calm.

The eight buoys will be part of the holiday show at Yarmouth Frame and Gallery this year. The opening is on Saturday, November 26th from 4-7PM. I'm very pleased that one of the buoys was chosen for the advertisement! Check it out below with the others.

Buoy #4

Buoy #1

Buoy #2

Buoy #3

Buoy #5

Buoy #6

Buoy #7

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Buoy #7

Buoy #7 Pink ad Yellow Flag
6"x6" oil on Raymar panel

Here's another buoy with a flag, pink is apparently a popular color for buoy flags. Sometimes I change the color of the buoys (always risky, because it's easy to miss how the water impacts the various reflections), but this time I loved all the colors the lobsterman choose, and have tried to show you his palette.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Cove Road Mud

Cove Road Mud
5"x7" oil on linen panel

I was back at Cove Road in South Freeport last month, grappling with the mud at low tide. And I had plenty of company, with the clammers out in force. I think what they were doing was harder than what I was doing.

 A clammer, it's hard work! And a long slog back to the grass.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Lobster Buoy 6

 Lobster Buoy 6 Pink and Green
6"x6" oil on Raymar panel

This summer we saw several lobster buoys with a flags on their sticks, which certainly makes them easier to see. I particularly liked this one because of the colors.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Jedi I
8"x8" oil on Raymar panel

Jedi II
8"x8" oil on Raymar panel 

Above are two versions of a painting I've done as a gift for some friends. The first one is the value under painting with lots of burnt sienna (transparent) and white canvas. In the second version, opaque paint has been used over all. I'd love your opinion on the two, email or comment please! (And try to ignore the higher quality photograph on the first one.)

I'm even further behind on posting, so you'll see a few more over the next week.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Pumpkin and Friends

Pumpkin and Friends
5"x7" oil on linen panel

I'm getting behind on posting, due to forgetting to photograph the paintings. This one is from last Thursday and introduces my new favorite apple, the Autumn Gala. I hope they still have some when I get to the farm stand tomorrow, because I've eaten all of mine!

If anyone has any tips for photographing paintings with very dark backgrounds, I'd love to hear them. I'll try retaking the photo once the painting is dry.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Cloud Study I

 Cloud Study Final
8"x10" oil on canvas panel

A teacher once said to me, a sky without clouds is a missed opportunity. They can be a great device for composition, and are beautiful in themselves. Here's a sky study done from a photo (through a spray spattered windshield on a windy day).

The process I used is recommended by my teacher Rob Abele. Tone the canvas, do a quick sketch, and then do a first pass in thin paint as fast as you can. Lightly scrape that, to remove any high points (which contain solvent). Repaint, paying attention to your reference. This is where I have a tendency to fall down, and just fill in the ghost. I get a much better result if I go back to the reference. Finally, in this case, I used my finger to blend the transitions between the different colors and values (top image).

Apologies for the different colors. Each pass was photographed with a different light source, and I couldn't bring them all to the same place in Photoshop. The top image was taken outside and so is probably the best.
First pass

After scraping the first pass, and painting over it, except blue sky is still at the scraped stage

 Reference Photo

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Buoy #5

Buoy #5, Purple and Yellow
6"x6" oil on Raymar panel

I decided to go with a complementary color scheme for this buoy. It has a wonderful reflection in the photo, which I couldn't resist. I've still got a few more of these to finish, and I'll intersperse them with other subjects and whatever plein air painting the weather permits.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

More Lobster Buoys

 This one was white and orange with a blue stripe, and the water was a bit gray.

This one was yellow, orange and black in greenish water.

This guy was aqua over black with a pink flag! The water was an intense ultramarine blue.

These are a few more lobster buoys I've got in the works. I really love them at this stage. Big decisions to be made, paint them the colors they were, or change it up? Let me know if you have any suggestions, original colors noted below each image.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


8"x6" oil on Raymar panel

I had a blast today at Great Bay Boatyard painting this little gem. I love red boats, and when you add some flags, which started fluttering just when I got that stage of the painting, it was irresistible!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Lobster Buoy 4

Lobster Buoy 4 - Holiday
6"x6" oil on Raymar panel

I was asked to make one of the buoys with a holiday theme, so it could be used for marketing holiday events. When the water is reflecting the trees and it's a bit overcast, you get water that looks like this. With a red and white buoy, it's kind of festive, don't you think?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sandy Point Beach

"Sandy Point Beach"
5"x7" oil on linen panel

This afternoon it was windy, so I painted from the shelter of the path down to Sandy Point Beach on Cousin's Island. I was tempted to put in a few people, but none stayed long enough. A couple of young women headed out to one of the islands in kayaks for a last overnight before it gets too cold. Good for them!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Low Tide at Cove Road

Low Tide at Cove Road
5"x7" oil on linen panel

Note: the mud is pinker than I've managed to capture with this photo!

Working on the first version of this painting on Monday afternoon, I was up against a stiff breeze, and wedged myself against the easel to keep things from blowing away. Low back pain followed the next day, so I've been stretching and taking it easy for a bit.

Sadly, I don't a photo of the first pass before I scraped it. But here's the scraped results, which I liked a lot better than the cool mud in the first pass.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Rocks at Cove Road

"Rocks at Cove Road"
5"x7" oil on linen panel

It was so beautiful outside, and nice and cool this morning, so off I went with my plein air gear. My first stop was South Freeport Harbor, where I spent a couple of hours making a mess (which I wiped off). I was painting on a pier, and the best I can say is that I didn't drop anything in. Next, off to Cove Road, where I was attracted to the rocks that make up the rip rap keeping this little peninsula from being eroded into the Harraseeket River. And of course the view beyond them is nothing to sneeze at!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Harbor Master

Harbor Master
6"x6" oil on Raymar panel

I painted this one on the Freeport town dock, under the harbor master's office, which is up a flight of stairs. His boat was tied to the dock, but I could still see the bright light hitting the left side. Simplifying the engine was fun.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Passage to Seal Bay

"Passage to Seal Bay"
oil on canvas panel

Seal Bay is a beautiful unspoiled part of Vinalhaven Island in Penobscot Bay. It's a must stop for us on our annual boat trip to the area. At high tide, a small boat can make it through this passage into Vinal Cove, and near the end of the cove there is a reversing tidal falls, which everyone loves to go up and down in their dinghies. This year the tide was a bit high when we went through, so there was no falls action. This painting was done from a photo taken as we headed back through the passage to Seal Bay where our boat was anchored.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Lobster Buoy 3

Buoy 3 Red and Green
6"x6" oil on Raymar panel

This is an unusual buoy, because it doesn't have a stick, but I couldn't resist the colors. The lobsterman will grab the line tied to the small end of the buoy using a gaff. I'm thinking of getting one of those for our boat, because we often pick up mooring lines that are hard to grab with a standard boat hook.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Royal River Bandwagon Collaborative Portrait

My painting of section bwe4 of the Royal River Bandwagon Collaborative Portrait
8"x8" oil on panel

As many of you know, I do a lot of teaching at Artascope in Yarmouth, which is part of the Bickford Education Center (BEC). As part of an upcoming fundraiser, we are making a collaborative portrait of the Royal River Bandwagon. I've seen a couple of Susan Bickford's earlier collaborative portrait projects and was excited to participate in this one. She blows up a photograph, then cuts it into a grid of pieces. Participants take one piece each, and reproduce it using their chosen medium. The resulting pieces are put into a frame with metal backing with small magnets. The result is very very cool. Check out Susan's collaborative portrait website and this article about one of her projects. Many of them have been portraits of people, rendered in black and white. This one is the portrait of a vehicle, and we are going for color.  Hopefully I'll be able to show the whole thing in an upcoming post.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Lobster Buoy 2

Orange White and Green Buoy
6"x6" oil on Raymar panel

Today I did the value under paintings for three more buoy paintings. This is one of my favorites, I love the tricolored stick. I may replace the photo if I can get one with a better color reproduction of the water.

Here's the under painting. I wiped off more of the dark before painting over it, to minimize mixing with the upper paint layer.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Red White And Blue

Red White and Blue
8"x10" oil on canvas panel

Sometimes I look back through finished paintings to see if there are any that could be improved. This one was a good example, and it includes a couple of mooring buoys. Below is the previous version. Which one do you like better?

Thanks to Suzanne and Gail for good suggestions.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Lobster Buoy 1

Lobster Buoy 1 (Orange and Black)
6"x6" oil on Raymar panel

Now that my workshop with Anne Blair Brown is over, I can focus on the theme for the September 30 Paintings in 30 Days. And that's buoys. In our coastal waters, buoys are often used to mark locations. If you've been out on the water, you've seen the green cans and red nuns that are navigational markers. Mooring balls are also buoys, in that they mark the location of a mooring on the bottom, to which a boat can be tied up. And finally, my favorite, are lobster buoys, also called pots, which mark the location on the bottom of a string of lobster traps, usually one at each end.

Above is my first in the series, Orange and Black.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Owls Head Harbor

Owls Head Harbor 
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

My last painting from the Anne Blair Brown class was painted at Owls Head Harbor. Through the class I came to rely more and more on my Notan thumbnails (see below). That was particularly important here, because the boats swung around while I was squeezing out my paint. So I used the Notan for the composition and glances at each boat to grab their dark light patterns as they swung. Then, when I got home, I broke my rule number 1 of plein air painting "Don't muck with it when you get home".  I simplified a few things, and sadly I don't have a picture of the original. Lesson leaned!

The Notan I used for the above painting.

Other Notans of this scene, where I didn't think the composition was as strong.