Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Glorious Mr. Handsome

There are many people in my area that free-range their chickens and as you drive around you can often catch a glimpse of one or several scratching by the side of the road. 
My friend, Diana has a small flock and I noticed that they like to hover on the edge of the woods and the field. Diana has lost many to Fox and Coyote and Hawk, but does not get too upset about it, knowing that the Vixen is also in the woods with hungry kits to feed. 
What I have seen is this back lit rooster that made him rather hard to spot. I have always been interested in camouflage and the behaviors that go with it.  Maybe I will do a post on that next.
Mr Handsome is a Black Maran hybrid owned by my friend Ilana. I took several dozen photos at her farm one day and as I reviewed my work, one rooster seemed to always appear in many of my shots. Later when I showed her a drawing, she identified Mr. Handsome for his ability to be an attention getter. 

Oil on Canvas 36" X 36"

Oil on Canvas 36" X 36"

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

From Above The Clouds

On a recent trip to New Orleans I had some great art conversations with a friend. One of the subjects we touched on was Georgia O'Keeff's clouds. I have seen them and I love the pattern that she created.

On the way home, we were in the air for only a few minutes and traveling over the Mississippi coast when I saw this. I saw several patterns in the clouds. It interested me very much and had to remember it till I got home.
I do not think I have ever painted clouds from this view.

 From Above
acrylic on paper 
20" X 7.5"

Have you ever thought about all the new views we have in our lifetime, both very large and very small. This is one. All the people that ever lived up to 1960, never saw this! Think of Galileo, in prison for "believing" that the world looked like this.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Scary Wash Over

One of the techniques I use is a transparent "wash over".  It can be done as a oil/medium wash and then paint right into the wet, or as in this one above, a turpentine wash with some ultramarine blue added and then let it dry.
The goal is, first to drop the value down a step or two. Second, and really the most important, to create a color edge that will stay with the painting and harmonize all the tones, in all the areas.
The scary part is that I can, for a while, completely hide (or ruin) the entire painting and I just have to trust myself that I can get it back.
In the last few years, I have also been working in acrylic, it's just so easy to wash over, wait 20 minutes and start painting again, but oil washing this way means that I do it at the end of the day and go home. UGH!
The reason I did it this time was to get a "depth of darkness" in the forest.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Two at a Time

This is the first day at the easel, working on these roosters. They are in oil on 36"sq. canvases.

They are a combinations of sights that I have seen several times while driving around the area.
I live in the woods. This area was once completely deforested for farmland. Then when that industry declined the land was left to regrow the trees. Now the entire area is a fractured forest mixed with horse farms. Most of the back roads have trees growing right to their edges and in the late afternoon the light comes through the trees. It can look like a strobe that keeps your eye from completely grabbing the scene.
Some people keep chickens and work small farm plots This maybe closer to the way it was when this area was first developed in the mid 1600's. Many properties, including my own, have stone walls, some that date back to Dutch, and then English settlers.
There is great enthusiasm for "free range" chickens and eggs. I love the eggs and we will buy my friend's Blue Moon Farm eggs even at 3x the price.
Free range poultry like the edges of the woods and fields since they must worry about foxes, coyotes and hawks.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


This is the second of the two paintings, posted below, that I started simultaneously. (60"X36" acrylic on canvas)
One was a commission and as I got closer to completion I asked my client to chose one of the two paintings and I put the contrail in that one. The contrail was a requested element.
I live in an area where there is a contrail in the sky all the time, most of us do. In the evenings, right now, as I write, there are a half dozen.
Since having these commissions I have paid closer attention to these contrails and the fact that they are a consistent element in my visual landscape, so in this second painting I have included one, but not without the juxtaposition of another flying element.  
When I look up at a contrail I often think of the people on board, and all the things that they are planning to do on arrival to wherever!
I have a similar thoughts when I see my local hawks soaring. What are they thinking, so high in the air? What does it feel like to really know the wind?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer Treeline

Today the sun is out again after three days of heavy rain. This is the view that I have again today.
I believe that these last two paintings are the closest I have come to capturing this summer sun. It has become an obsession, similar to Edward Hopper's desire to paint the light on a wall.  In that desire I have tried to add, in this painting, something beyond the classic compositions. To add the mundane and the repetitive! Not very positive words for a painting. Maybe someday I will have someone who can write something more eloquently, but I hold to this idea.
There is something interesting and even visceral about our new view, our 40-60 mph, out the window view of life.    

Thursday, August 4, 2011

White Pine in the Summer Sky


It is a great summer, some are complaining that it is too hot, but this is how I like it!  I should post some of the gardening work I have been doing. We did finally need help and hired a guy to weed the 200' of rock wall.
This white pine is one of my favorites in the yard. I actually chose this portion because the top was so damaged in the winter storms, but I can already see that it is repairing itself and does not look so bad anymore. My local crows hang out in some of the lower branches and I have shared some winter paintings I did of them. The crows have gotten very comfortable with me and  they have even brought the new young ones to the lower yard when I am outside.
I have been following all my blogger friends and enjoying all your efforts. If it ever rains again I will visit and comment.
Enjoy Your Summer

Thursday, June 23, 2011

On The Way to Dublin

Here is the finished and selected painting, 60"x36".
This is a commissioned piece and I chose to do two at the same time. Now I am pulling it off the stretcher and putting it into a tube and flying to Ireland to give it to him... and then I am going to travel down some canals with my son-in-law and family on his boat. This could be the ultimate Pub-Crawl!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Getting Green

This is a panoramic photograph I put together, in PS  of the farm where I have my studio. I do not have to go too far for a view! Today I spent a half an hour watching a Fox mousing in the field in the upper right corner. Several time he did the hop, hop, dive into the dried grass and came up with a mouse or vole.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Figure Drawing Night

I have works in progress in the studio and nothing is finished enough to post.
It felt good to work in the studio all day and then go and draw for three hours.
We had a very "Voluptuous" model tonight. Interesting to look at, but a challenge to draw.
She kept wanting those easy reclining poises, when Botero style poises would have been much more dramatic.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

Locust Trees Along the Road

Acrylic on Paper 
20"X 7.5"
I just finished this. I have Locust trees that line the road about 20 yards from the house. I do not think you have to go to exotic lands to get inspiration...but right now that would also be nice.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Just a few steps from the house

"The End of the Day"
12"X12" Oil on Canvas

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sketching During a February Thaw

Last Thursday and Friday was so warm in Manhattan! It was too cold upstate and I just had to escape to the city. I scheduled Dr. and Dentist appointments during the week and had the sketchbook in my bag when the weather got really good.
I, along with everyone else, was able to be outside, in the parks, in the sun.
Union Square is on 14th Street and has a very young crowd, skateboarding, playing music and hanging out, some, even without a shirt, it was so warm. Union Square reminds me of Washington Square Park in the 70's.  Then, old beatnics and new hippies, and now this variety of post-punk skater/hipster
The Park has steps and statues, and a very beautiful subway entrance. Also, an assortment of quirky types, some homeless, that would stop in to see what I was drawing, but really only long enough to see if I might have any spare change, which I usually do.

On my 48th birthday I had an epiphany about giving money to homeless people. I was at dinner listening to one of the diners at the next table talk about it. He was so adamant about their worthlessness, and how they would only go and get liquor or drugs with the money anyway, and why didn't they just go and get a job.
It all sounded very Nancy Reagan.
I completely went the other way! I thought of all the ego and emotional difficulty involved in begging. I thought of what amount of pain I would have to have, that would exceed the pain to beg and decided that if a drink or something else helped, I would not judge. Some pain I have not had to live! 
It does not matter what sex, color or age, or even if they are aggressive (some are) or not thankful. If I am asked, I usually empty my pocket. I sometimes keep $20. in quarters in my pockets.

Bethseda Fountain is in Central Park and it had an entirely different crowd. Half were tourists, half of them from NJ. Many couples, holding hands or just sitting next to each other.
There was an Opera singer and a Mardi Gras band vying for air time on the same breeze, all very pleasant!
I think these urban sketches are more about the dialog in my head, then the quality of the drawing...which I will enjoy seeing improve as I fill this book.
Celeste B., one of my fellow bloggers, asked, "What are we drawing? (above) and reading?
I am listening, on my IPod, to "An Object of Beauty" by Steve Martin.

Monday, January 31, 2011

"The Beautiful Nude" Competition

"The Stretch"
Oil on Canvas
28" X 24"

I just entered this painting in the Odd Nerdrum, "The Beautiful Nude" competition on Facebook.
It is being hosted by Helene Delmaire.
We all had to censor our paintings with little squares, but here is the actual painting.
If you have a Facebook account, please check it out.
I did this painting a few years ago when I worked exclusively in oil. Tonight I touched it up.
I am working in oil again, on new paintings and the turpentine aroma in the studio in heavenly. When I have had studios in my living space, I have a special affection for the smell of oil paint and Italian food!
I was looking closely at how I painted this. We all change from painting to painting and a few years later find ourselves in a very different place.
The paint is very thin. A series of washes over a pencil drawing. The pencil drawing is not really about capturing the figure, though I am drawing from life. I am looking for relating curves and spirals. Mentally trying to find and maintain an abstract design for as long as I can. When the figure final appears and I identify it, in this case a female form, then I allow myself to connect to the power of the image.  

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow Day

My last post was titled "Rhetoric" and I was all prepared to go into a political rant. I spared you and mellowed as the evening wore on. Maybe it was the cold and snow and being shut in that got my mind going. I finally arrived at the positive in all of it.
Maybe we are at the beginnings of a dialog about how we are casually glorifying violence. Maybe? Thank goodness we have clueless politicians and celebraties that say stupid stuff often enough for us to see both the power and meanness of our words. 

I really did have a great couple of days at the easel. My crows have been sitting on this branch since we bought the house 4 1/2 years ago. It isn't that I particularly love crows, actually they are loud, and ruckus, and bully other creatures and you just can't say "cute crow", but I have become more fascinated with them, as I have paid attention.
What I do love is that negative shape! That black hole in the universe, that moves!
In these two paintings, it is the crows that helped me to see the winter sky, (often described as colorless). It has the most interesting play of gray, yellow and pink.  In that light, are my childhood memories, of sledding till dark, so hungry and cold, but not wanting to stop and go in the house, because it would all be over.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


A new painting of my crows that hang out of the branch outside my bedroom window.
I did two of these paintings today and I will post the other tomorrow.
As I painted today and occasionally stopped into a TV news channel during the day, it was filled with this tragedy in Tucson AZ. Pretty sad stuff.
It is the side issue that has become interesting. The power of words and images!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Actual Painted Panels

Acrylic on Ceiling Tile 
(2) 24"X 24" tiles