Thursday, January 29, 2009

Today's Painting

My artist buddy, Leo came up today and we painted together in my new studio space. He did Watercolors and I did Acrylics ( shown here - 12"x16" ) from a photo reference I'd had. I think I'll title this, "FOREST RAYS". Last week, I hung a display at a local hospital ( 20 pieces ) and 2 have already sold, so I think I'll use this one to take up one of the missing spaces.

My original intent was to underpaint a portion of this with Acrylics, then lay Oils over the top. Once I got rolling, however, it just felt right to keep going with the Acrylics. At least now I won't have to wait and let it dry before hanging it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Days Gone By"

I had a large class scheduled at a "local"school ( local?-35 miles away ) today, but the weather is terrible and school closed early. So, we re-scheduled for next week. Therefore, I ended up with some unexpected "paintin' time", which is always a welcome opportunity.

Since I love to paint old barns, it wasn't hard to pick a subject. Initially, I had thought of a winter theme, but after looking out the window at the blizzard taking place, I reconsidered. The "greens" in this one let me escape for a couple of hours. lol

This was underpainted in an Acrylic "grisaille", followed by Oil glazes and opaque passages. ( similar to my Dvd techniques ) It's a great way to get extra detail when working wet-in-wet.

I'm a firm believer in having a strong focal point in a painting, so I tried to emphasize the corner of the barn where the light and shadowed sides meet. Making this spot brighter and more dominant brings the viewer's eye to that area and "into" the painting. The tree limb in the upper right helps to frame everything in, as well as lead the eye to the subject.

Maybe next time I'll do the "winter barn".

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"January Afternoon" ( Watercolor )

Lately, I've been getting more and more requests for Watercolor classes. Though I've done a fair amount of those in the past, it seems like Oils are the more popular medium and have pretty much taken over. Personally, I love Watercolors too, so I've started scheduling some of those classes again.

Although it's not (and wasn't meant to be ) a "carbon copy" of such, it was definitely inspired by some of my recent snowshoeing hikes. I wanted to try and capture the crisp Winter air, along with the evergreens and birch trees.

The only 3 colors used for this were Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna and Yellow Ochre. Careful mixing gave me every hue and value I needed. It doesn't get any simpler than that!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"Final Delivery"

I've been kicking around some ideas for possible painting projects for future classes. Although I've done some "old trucks" before, I liked the thought of an old delivery-type of vehicle.

Scenes from "yesterday" and bygone eras are always popular subject matter. Remember when............?

This one is titled, "FINAL DELIVERY" and will be a 6-hour workshop. The truck is underpainted with Burnt Sienna and Mars Black acrylic, over which oil glazes and highlights are applied. A little drybrushing really enhances the "rusty" texture.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

On the Trail

Glenda and I went snowshoeing on Monday afternoon, since she had the day "off". ( MLK Day )

We'd had new powder since the last hike, so we were breaking new ground again. Whew!!

It's definitely a great experience to get out and enjoy Nature. We took a few photos along the way.

I had my class in Amsterdam, N.Y. yesterday. ( Tuesday ) It makes for a long day as it's more than a 3-hour drive down there. So, in short, I left at 6:30am and returned home at 6:30pm, with about half of that being "travel time". But, I have a great group of folks down there and they're fun to hang with. I have another class scheduled there next month.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Southwestern Scene

After talking with a longtime student last night, the topic of a "southwestern scene" was requested. It's been quite some time ( a few years ) since I've approached that sort of subject in class. So, I figured it was time to "resurrect" that idea. Here's what I came up with after doing a little "research" of Monument Valley. I've titled it, "ODE TO THE SOUTHWEST".

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Busy Week

I haven't checked in since last Friday, as I've had a lot going on. Classes in Albany over the week-end, dropping off 20 pieces for an exhibit at a local hospital on Monday and another class on Tuesday. It's been extremely cold the past couple of days, with the highest daytime temperature around 4 degrees above zero. Looking at possibly 20 BELOW tonight! I did manage to get out on the snowshoes yesterday afternoon. Although I didn't take the camera this time, I did see a few painting ideas that I may eventually put down. Actually, I have a Watercolor in mind which was inspired by this hike.

Here are a couple more recent paintings. The landscape was done last night, and the "moonlit seascape" was just completed this afternoon with the thought that it may wind up being a class project. Very few colors in that one; Cobalt Blue, Ivory Black, Cadmium Yellow Pale and Titanium White. "Values" are pretty close in a night-time scene, so actual color becomes much less "true".

Friday, January 9, 2009

Today's Effort

Between organizing and packing for our Albany trip and doing some other duties, I had an hour and a half left to paint this afternoon. So, I did the one you see here. I was thinking of a "morning" time of day, so I used Cadmium Yellow Light and Cerulean Blue which are good in describing that type of atmosphere. Cerulean Blue is a "greenish" blue, as opposed to say, Ultramarine, which leans toward Violet. ( it contains some Red, thus it's much warmer ) Actually, Lemon Yellow would have been a better choice because it's "cooler" than the Cad. Yellow Light, but I didn't have any of that on hand in the studio.

We had some fresh snow from yesterday, so Glenda and I went snowshoeing when she got home from work at 4:00. Just enough time to get in a good, brisk workout before dark. The icy breeze and fresh air were pretty invigorating.

Supposedly, ( if you can trust the forecast ) it looks like it won't be too treacherous for travel tomorrow. They're predicting more snow for late Saturday night and Sunday morning though, so coming home could a little more interesting.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fresh Off The Easel

Here are the two new works I had mentioned in my last post. I photographed them this morning, so I could get them on here. Still snowing like crazy today, so I had to snap them on the porch, but the lighting through the large windows was adequate and yielded a good result.

If this weather keeps up, we'll have enough snow again for some "shoeing". We had literally lost all of our snow since my last snowshoe trek. It's coming back with a vengeance now.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More New Work

I have a couple more new pieces that I'll try to post tomorrow. One of chickadees on a birch tree and one of a bald eagle. I always photograph my work outdoors, because of the better lighting and better results. So, I'll try to snap them tomorrow and post them. It was impossible to do it today,......sleet, snow, freezing rain, name it, we had it.
Hopefully, the weather will be better this week-end, as I have 2 full classes in Albany. I'd hate to get "snowed out".
The word is that there are already 4 people signed up for the "Norman Rockwell workshop" in April, so that's a good start. That should be a great time and Glenda and I are looking forward to it.
Speaking of things to look forward to, our 2nd grandchild is due in about a month ( around February 9th ), so everyone's getting anxious now. It's supposed to be a girl this time, though it's not 100% certain just yet. Time wil tell, as the say.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Teacup Floral

I've recently been kicking around some ideas for new class projects. Since I get a fair share of requests for florals, I've been thinking in that vein. After a little research, I noticed that a popular florist arrangement involves flowers in teacups. Quite a neat idea and one that I was not familiar with, but I thought it made for a good painting subject. My version ( shown here ) has been simplified to accomodate a 4-hour class time frame, but it got me thinking about a more elaborate rendition for the future. Just for one of my display pieces. Perhaps some gold edging or motif on the cup? Strengthening the colors with some glazing once the initial paint has dried? I think it would be a nice painting to play up the details.

We're headed to Albany this week-end, as I have two full ( actually, over-booked ) classes down there. 20+ students each day. Hopefully, the weather will behave so that it'll be a "go".

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Well, 2008 is now gone and we embark into another new year. I have a lot of exciting teaching opportunities lined up in Vermont and Pennsylvania for 2009. They should prove to be very memorable experiences indeed, and Glenda and I are looking forward to them. ( Please refer to my website for details and schedules - )

Herein, I have included the last two paintings to come off my easel for 2008. The cardinal should come as no surprise to those of you who know me. Birds are one of my very favorite subjects and I never tire of painting them. Very recently, I sold a couple of cardinal originals ( Xmas gifts, I assume ), so I always try to have at least one or two on hand for the next customer.

Also, as stated in previous posts on this blog, I enjoy doing a nice floral now and then, hence the lilacs.

I'm actually considering some plein air painting for this Winter, as crazy as that may sound. I know of other artists who do it, so why not give it a try? Obviously, the key is to go out when it's "warmer" ( 30 degrees ) and not sub-zero. Also, I would think that a sunny day would lend a modicum of "solar" heat, however minimal. Not to mention that it would also enhance the drama of all the snow shadows. Bundling in layers would be a must. I'm definitely intrigued with the idea.