Thursday, December 24, 2009

"WINTER STREAM" Project Lesson

I thought I'd share some insights as to my thought processes and techniques with this painting.
This was created this afternoon and I took step-by-step photos along the way to highlight certain points. Although this is considered an Oil painting, I did start with some Acrylic gessoes for the underpainting; a blue-gray for the snow and black for the stream. The idea is to let the underpainting show through to influence the top layer of Oil colors.
Photo #1 - The blue and black Acrylics were applied using a disposable foam brush ( hardware-store variety ) When that was completely dry, I scrubbed a thin coat of LIQUIN over the entire canvas to ease the application of the Oils and to facilitate blending. ( any clear Oil medium would suffice )
Photo #2 - Using a Fan brush, I used small amounts of Van Dyke Brown, Burnt Sienna, Sap Green and Ultramarine Blue to scrub in a "mottled" suggestion of deep woods. I purposely kept the bottom area darker to help convey the feeling of deeper shadows in the undergrowth. Notice that I did not cover up all of the Acrylic undertone and it is peeking through here and there. ( the Oils were applied very thinly and scrubbed in )
Photo #3 - Tree trunks were added using Van Dyke Brown on a 3/8" Flat brush. Evergreen branches were rendered with a Fan brush and varying mixtures of Sap Green, Ultramarine Blues and Van Dyke Brown. Snow on the branches was indicated with Blue and White on the Fan brush, ultimately building to pure Titanium White for the lightest highlights which were placed more centrally on the canvas.
Photo #4 - Using my background Blues, Greens and Browns, I painted the reflection colors into the water. This was with the Flat brush. Note that the brightest glow in the water is nearer the center as it will be an important part of the focal point, or "center of interest". I used T. White for this area. I also started defining the snow shadows and lay of the land at this phase, again saving the pure whites for the middle area of the canvas.
Photo #5 - More snow highlights and some grasses poking through were added. I used the Browns on the Fan brush for the grass stubble, then added more definition ( especially nearer the foreground ) using a Script Liner. As an adjustment, I brightened the glint of light in the water using more Titanium White, which I felt gave it some extra oomph. Lastly, I used some of my Blues and White on the Script Liner to create the snow-covered rocks in the stream.
There you have it! Although there are many different ways to execute a painting, this is an approach I use quite often. By using the Acrylic underneath, I find that I can use less paint over-all in the Oil stage, which keeps me from getting bogged down on a slippery, thick canvas.
I choose my underpainting colors according to my subject. For example, I might use a Yellow or a Red for a sunset scene. Give it a try!

Friday, December 11, 2009

3 - Day Oil Painting Workshop, September 2010

I will once again be teaching a seminar at the Landgrove Inn, Landgrove, VT. It will run from September 10th to the 12th.

Last year's get-together was a fantastic time and we are looking forward to returning.

If great accomodations, unbelievable meals and hanging out with like-minded, artistic folks sounds good to you, you surely won't want to miss out on this!!

Visit or call 1(800)669-8466 for more info or to book your reservation.

IF YOU REGISTER BEFORE MARCH 31st, YOU WILL RECEIVE A 10% DISCOUNT ON THE TOTAL PRICE!! That's only $540 for the 3-night package, which is even slightly less than LAST year's price! That includes lodging, all meals and the workshops!!

A few spaces have already been filled, so don't delay and miss your chance!

Friday, Sept. 10th Project: "JANUARY MORNING" "This Winter sunrise is created solely with painting knives, which yields a very "impressionistic" result. The warm Reds of the barns played against the cool Blues & Purples of the snow shadows makes for a dramatic contrast. A great lesson in texture and color temperatures!"

Saturday, September 11th Project: "BASS HARBOR LIGHT, MAINE" "This is a rather detailed painting which features the Bass Harbor Light in Maine. The lighthouse stands bravely against an approaching storm. This will be a great lesson in blending techniques and fine detail!" Batten down the hatches!

Sunday, September 12th Project: "ADIRONDACK SUNSET" "The Adirondack region is a beautiful location to witness some spectacular sunsets. In this painting, Wilson will show you some great techniques for rendering believable, dramatic skies. It's easy when using a wet basecoat and large brushes! "

Friday, December 4, 2009

Updated Photo

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I was intending to take a better photo of the roses under more favorable lighting conditions. I did a retake earlier this afternoon and I feel this one does the painting more "justice". At least, much more clarity and a truer reprsentation of the actual work. ( I also added a leaf on the table, but that was the only change. )
I just did the barn scene this morning. ( "WINTER MOOD" ) I felt like creating something, but didn't want to get into a piece that was too involved. I had a couple of hours to kill and wanted to paint just for fun! This one is on a 1-1/2 thick Gallery Wrap canvas ( 9" x 12" ). With the exception of some Fan Brush spatter to suggest the falling snow, it was rendered entirely with painting knives.
I swear the more I use those knives, the more I like them. It's all just a matter of what you're used to and comfortable with and I'm getting quite confident with them now.
Actually, I'm considering using this one as the theme for our Christmas cards, but I'd better get moving on it. Only 3 weeks left !!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Vase of Roses

Every once in a while, I get the urge to paint a floral. Roses, Irises, Daisies, whatever,........ it's all good! I love painting still life anyway, so florals tie into that.
This was painted "wet -into- wet" ( on a black Acrylic-primed canvas ) with some glazing and touch-ups when it was dry.
Please excuse the rather dark, grainy image. I took the photo outdoors, but it was getting late in the afternoon and it was very overcast, as well, so this was the result. Maybe, I'll try another snap and re-post a better photo in a few days.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Winter Mode

Well, I'll be the first to admit that I really don't care for snow. Living in northern New York all my life has given me ample time to adjust and get used to it, though. I will also tell you however, that snow scenes are one of my favorite things to paint.

Maybe it's just the stark contrast of the white snow and the cool, blue-gray shadows. ( Blue is by far my favorite color ) Or, the mystery of what lies beneath as the snow forms it's blanket over the land.

I really do enjoy going snowshoeing and breathing the crisp air and recording the sights of the snow-laden trees, with both my memory and sometimes my camera. It's very inspiring to "get out in it" !

Here are some recent works just completed in the past few days. I used Alkyd fast-drying oils.

"WINTER WOODS" 12" x 16" - I love birch trees for their stark contrast of black & white. To me, they have the most character of any tree. There are thousands of them in the woods behind my house, so I never lack for reference material.

"FROSTY MORNING" 11" x 14" - As most of you are aware, I love to paint old barns and dominant, powerful skies. When I can combine both of those elements into one painting,........ well,... I'm a happy guy!

"WINTER CARDINALS" 12" x16" - This is a commission which will be a Christmas gift for the client's daughter. The specific request was for a male and female cardinal on a birch tree in a winter theme. So, with that as my guide, this is what I came up with.

Oddly, enough, we have no snow here right now. Very unusual for this late in the year. We usually are blanketed by now. I'm sure our little reprieve won't last much longer!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Recent Work

Here are a couple of recent efforts.

While both of these are in Oils, "DECEMBER DUSK" was rendered using brushes and "WESTERN VISTA" was created solely with painting knives. The difference in the surface textures is clearly evident in these photos.

Sometimes, I prefer a smoother finish and on other ocassions I desire a more heavily textured interpretation. It's the best of both worlds, really, and it's nice to have the freedom to represent something in the way that I see it. Too often, an artist can settle into a comfortable "rut" , which translates into predictable results. Try to shake things up by doing something different once in a while, whether it's using an unfamiliar brush or a different medium altogether.

As for using the knives, I cannot say enough about my fondness for Lukas Painting Butter ( available exclusively through Jerry's Artarama and Art Supply Warehouse ) It's an alkyd-based impasto medium which is fantastic for building up heavy paint layers, such as those shown here. Give it a try, you'll like it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Fire In The Sky"

This is a painting I did this morning, which was inspired by last night's sunset. I didn't take a photo at the time, so it's pretty much just my recollection of it. My main focus was the sky itself, so the land and water are the result of my imagination and just added to complete the composition. This is Oil on a 12" x 16" panel.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm Back!!!

I'm sorry I've been absent for so long from this blog, but I have just had sooo much going on! From what I've gathered through various inquiries, and e:mails, some of you thought I'd passed or at least moved out of the country! lol No, I'm still kickin'!!

Our Studio Open House was last week-end and it went much better than I ever would have expected. I found new homes for a dozen of my paintings and picked up a few more commission orders. Plus, Glenda scheduled some photo shoots for portraits, so it was great exposure all the way around.

Now that some of my paintings have left the nest, I've been busy painting some more works to fill the void. I have to revamp and rotate the stock at some of my local display areas, so now is the time to do it, with the Holidays approaching. This time of year is always my best period as far as sales go.

Here are a few recent paintings from the past couple of weeks. The deer is actually a commission piece which was done from a client's photo. No, that's not dandruff on her head. I think she had just walked under a snow-laden branch and got dumped on! lol

And you know me and "old barns". I never get tired of painting those!

"Snowy White-tail" 12" x16"

"December Morning" 11" x 14"

"Fleeting Light" 20" x 20" Gallery Wrap canvas

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Dvd Release

The first of my new Dvd's for The World of Art series is now available. Titled, "A FOUR COLOR LANDSCAPE", this lesson fearures step-by-step instruction for a winter, snow-capped mountain scene and requires only 4 paint colors!
Three more videos are "in the can" and will be forthcoming in the not too distant future.
This tutorial can be purchased now at my website, and also at Jerry's Artarama and Art Supply Warehouse

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fresh Off The Easel

I'm still trying to get enough work finished ahead for my upcoming Open House. Past experience tells me that it's best to have a variety of subject matters and sizes. Something for everyone! So, I've been trying to come up with some different ideas to fit that bill.

Here are the latest,...... all just completed within the past few days.

"CALLA LILIES" ( 10" x 20" )

"SEASIDE STROLL" ( 11" x 14" )

"EVENING FLIGHT" ( 12" x 16" )

Monday, August 31, 2009

"White-tail Doe"

For whatever reason, I awoke this morning with an idea for a painting. It was just a mental image of a deer standing in a meadow, but I could see the composition my mind. I knew I had to paint it. So, after breakfast and a couple of errands, I leafed through a few reference photos I had on hand and got started.

This is the result of a fairly detailed Acrylic underpainting with Oils over the top. Because of it's fast-drying nature, I can get a lot of detail with the Acrylics. But, I still love the richness and vibrancy of the Oils. With this approach, I get the best of both worlds.

We have a lot of deer in the meadow behind our house, so they provide plenty of inspiration.

I've had a very busy class schedule for the past couple of weeks ( nearly every day ), so my intent is to spend some time on my own paintings this week. I'm not sure I'll complete a painting each day, but I will definitely be at my easel, as I have some other ideas I'd like to work on.

I have a true compassion for any and all animals, so I feel privileged to be able to capture them on canvas.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Works

Here are a few pieces I've been working on lately in preparation for our Open House in October.
All are in Oils, some with an Acrylic underpainting, some not.
I've had a busy week with classes each day at the Thousand Islands Art Center in Clayton, NY.
It was a great time and I had the privilege to work with a great bunch of folks. Painting truly puts us all on one level and diminishes any social barriers. I meet people from all walks of life in my classes and I am fortunate for that.
I had a call the other day from the local chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Assoc. in regards to my appearance on the local Labor Day Telethon again this year. ( I have gone "on-air" every year for the past decade or so at the local TV station, to create a couple of paintings which are raffled to raise money for the cause. ) When I get that call each year, I know that Summer is winding down and Fall will be here all too soon. It's hard to believe we're zeroing in on September already! But, the crisp air and rich colors of Autumn are always welcome, too. It's just hard to let Summer slip by.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Baxter" ( Pet Commission )

This is my latest pet portrait. Meet "Baxter". This piece was commissioned as a Christmas gift for the client's daughter. Having never seen this little fella in person, I worked from reference photos which were e:mailed to me.

Personally, I feel that I have captured him and it is finished, but the final, ultimate say on that is always left to the customer. I'll let her look it over and if need be, I'll make any adjustments she may recommend. It's pretty easy to render a dog, but it's much more challenging to capture their dog, since they know him best. I can't always trust photos 100%, as they sometimes fall short of a true representation.

In any case, this was a really fun piece to create and I enjoyed working on it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Loons on the Lake

We have several nearby lakes, streams, rivers and ponds which have become "home" to many northern critters. There are many waterfowl species, ( ducks, geese, swans, loons, herons ) as well as muskrats, beavers and river otters.

Common loons ( as featured in this painting ) are very popular around these parts and folks who frequent the lake can experience their sightings and calls quite often. Indeed, it is a calming experience to witness these beauties lazily floating along. Their wonderful call is unique and something you won't forget.

This piece is on 12" x 16" canvas. The loons started as a black & white underpainting in Acrylics. The background and loon "embellisments" were in Oils.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

This is a painting I started last night using an Acrylic underpainting. I finished it this morning with Oil glazes and highlights. It's on 9" x 12" panel.

These Grosbeaks are very frequent visitors to my feeders, so I get to study them quite often.

I'm always amazed at the array of birds my little "feathered friend oasis" pulls in. Right now it seems to be mostly Goldfinches, Grosbeaks and Bluejays. For whatever reason, the Chickadees have disappeared for now, but I know they'll return. Along with the Nuthatches, Juncos and Woodpeckers.

I have an "Open House" scheduled for my new studio in October, so I'm trying to get new works ready for display. I'll hang on to this one for that event.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Talcott Falls

There is a popular landmark, Talcott Falls, which is about 50 miles from my home, near Adams, N.Y. Last week-end, my wife, Glenda and I drove over to take a look and get some photos. It was a nice day, so it gave us a good excuse to take the convertible for a cruise.

Glenda took some nice snaps and I was totally inspired and have determined that I am definitely going to return for a plein air session.

Although this painting is not truly literal to the actual scene, it was certainly inpired by it. I took a few liberties here and there to refine my composition. There are numerous vantage points and potential areas to choose from on site. Everywhere you look is a possible painting. It's a beautiful spot!

You can search Google Images ( Talcott Falls, Adams, N.Y. ) and see it for yourself!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"OREO" ( Pet Commission )

Over the years, I've done a ton of "pet portraits". Last week, I picked up another such commission from a young lady in my class, requesting that I paint her kitty, Oreo. The photo she provided as a reference was a very close view, just as you see here. While my usual interpretation would involve a full head-shot ( including ears and shoulders ), this was the photo I was given and to be honest, I found it to be a refreshing change from what I had first perceived. I think this is a much more intimate, personal view of a beloved friend and I must give credit to Emily for making me "see" this in a different way. ( and in a more interesting perspective )
I can relate to Oreo, as my wife and I also own two black & whites ( Chloe and Tigger ) and they are very much a part of the family.
This piece is in Oil and is on 9"x12" canvas panel.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

More Knife Painting

Since my last foray into the world of "knife painting", I haven't been able to stop. lol It's just too much fun!! I guess it's just because it's a new approach for me, so it's rather exciting and is taking me out of my "comfort zone". And the Lukas Painting Butter I described in my last post puts a whole new spin on it. It makes everything just tacky enough to be able to keep layering it, which I never had much success with using just Oil paint alone.

And now that I've been showing these paintings around at my classes, my students are intrigued and chomping at the bit to give it a try. I already have 2 such classes scheduled, so I just placed an order at Jerry's for 3 dozen painting knives and a big tub of the "butter". I can't wait to try it in a class!

Shown above are some recent efforts.....................

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Knife Painting

Okay, so it's no real secret that I'm a "detail-type of guy". However, I do love the look of paintings executed with a palette/painting knife. I love the looseness of the strokes and the texture. Most people would not deduce this, ( at least from viewing my work ) but Vincent Van Gogh is one of my all-time favorite artists. He used brushes more than knives in his application, but they still yield that heavy impasto apperance. I've had the good fortune to see some of his paintings in person and they are visually amazing. His "STARRY NIGHT" ranks within my favorite top 3 paintings of all time, though I haven't seen that particulr one in person. Yet!!

Anyway, I was introduced to a great "impasto medium" through Jerry's Artarama called LUKAS PAINTING BUTTER, which is imported from Germany. It is alkyd-based, so you can layer it on as thick as you like and it dries soooo much quicker than just straight oils. Just mix it right in with your oil colors and apply it. It holds all your strokes and is a wonderful medium to experiment with. The best part is that if you're using a large canvas, the "Butter" extends the paint so that you won't use 8 tubes of paint to finish that given piece. And it won't alter your color at all! And since it's somewhat tacky, you can easily keep layering one color over another.

I discovered that if I let it set for a couple hours, it tacks up a lot and only makes any further "tweaking" easier. It is wonderful stuff and I fell in love with it! Be sure to check it out.

I am posting two florals here. The Tiger Lilly was done a couple weeks ago and is on 11"x14" GessoBoard. Lots of glazing and no texture at all. I used brushes only. That's my "usual" way of creating. The Sunflowers are on 12"x16" canvas panel and were accomplished this morning with 2 painting knives and the "Butter". Although I use a lot of knife work in many of my paintings, the times have been few and far between when I've used the knife solely for a piece. Usually, I would get "mud" as everything was just too wet upon trying to layer. This "Butter" solved that issue for me and I love the resulting texture I was able to achieve. Unfortunately, this photo does not accurately reveal that. It is much more striking "in person". I'm certain I will be creating more "knife works" in the future!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Latest ( in Acrylic )

This is a piece I started yesterday and just finished up this afternoon before I head out to my Watercolor class. It's in Acrylic and it's on a 22" x 28" stretched "gallery wrap" canvas which is 1-1/2" thick. So, the edges are painted and the branches and grass wrap around the perimeter. I used a sea-wool sponge for the leaf textures in the background, alternating between light and dark values.

It's actually a little wider than shown here as I lost a good portion of it by "cropping" because my photo angle wasn't "square". Therefore, the foreground tree on the far left got "trimmed" considerably and nosed out of the photo. lol Oh well, you get the idea.

It seemed good to work on such a larger scale than I'm used to, just for a change of pace.

Now, I'll go back and tweak those barns I've been waiting to finish. ( from my last post )

Monday, June 8, 2009

More Barns..............

Okay,.... I know some of you are crying "Uncle" by now and saying, "Oh no, more barns?", but for whatever reason, that's what I've felt like painting these past several days. I don't know where the inspiration for such comes from, but I do know that I love to try to capture the texture of the old wood and the "splintery" feel of the weathered boards. I guess it's that rustic quality that draws me. I also know that as time marches on, these old staples of days gone by are slowly crumbling away and there'll come a point in time when there will be none left. The only reminders we'll have will be photographs and paintings, such as these.

The two pieces that feature the red buildings aren't quite finished yet. I am letting them dry as they're still a little tacky, then I'll be adding a few more details; trees, fenceposts perhaps, etc.

These were all done with an Acrylic underpainting for the buildings, then Oils over the top and for the background and foreground. That way I can get the best of both worlds. Lots of definition and detail on the structures and the blendability and softness of the Oil background. It's impossible to get that amount of detail in the barns without letting it dry for 3 or 4 stages. With this approach I can bring it to this degree of refinement in one sitting. Adding any details from this point is very quick and easy.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Work

I haven't posted much new stuff recently, simply because I've been so busy. For the past few days however, I've found a few hours here and there to do a few paintings.

It's no secret to those who know me best that I love to paint birds, wildlife and old barns. ( and lots of other things, too ) But, when I get a chance to paint "just for me", usually a barn or an animal will win out.

Here are a couple that are "fresh off the easel". Both are in Oils, with some Acrylic underpainting. ( each is on 11" x 14" gessoed masonite and untitled as of yet )

By the way, for those of you who haven't checked them out yet, Jerry's Artarama now has all 17 of my Free Art Lessons posted on their site. I've been getting a lot of great feedback from just about anywhere and everywhere. Never underestimate the power of the Internet!!
To see the lessons, click here,...........

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Free Video Lessons are now On-Line

Jerry's Artarama has already started posting some of my Free Art Lessons that I filmed with them last week. So far, there are 7 up and running, with several more to follow within the next few days. Check back at their site for updates. It'll be a few weeks before the full-length Dvd's will be available for purchase.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Filming Videos for JERRY'S ARTARAMA

A few months ago, I received an offer from Jerry's Artarama ( ) to come to their headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina to film some instructional Dvd's. The video production was expertly handled by Burning Oak Studios.

Glenda and I flew down there last week and I completed 4 full-length lessons and about 15 or so ( I lost count ) Free Art Lessons for them. The Free Lessons will be shown on their website.

The Dvd's ( 3 in Oils, 1 in Watercolor ) will be sold under their WORLD OF ART series heading and will be available at their retail stores ( 15 locations ), their mail-order catalog and their on-line site. It was and is a great opportunity and I appreciate their invitation to work with their company.

Special thanks to the film crew; Robert King, April Tolliver and Greg De Deugd for making it light-hearted and fun while doing a first class job.

Also, many thanks to Michael Goldstein and Ryan Chamberlain for making it possible to begin with.

It's my understanding that the Free Lessons will be posted in the very near future, while the Dvd's will be a few weeks in production and manufacturing, before becoming available. As more information comes forth, I'll update the details on this blog, as well as my website. ( )