Sunday, September 13, 2020

The Special Artist

 My son, Kyle, has always marched to the beat of a different drummer.




What other choice do you have when life has challenged you with multiple diagnosis forcing you to see the world in a different way and make the best adjustments you can.


Kyle likes to sketch vehicles and key fobs.  (my car is the blue one) 

He has a table in my Art Studio and sometimes keeps me company while I am painting. I'm proud of him and humbled and amazed that he has found this talent. His work keeps getting more interesting all the time. 



He draws from photos he takes using his phone. 

toys are another source of inspiration.

So, artists out there, wherever you are, just keep going.  

Push through those hard, sticky never know where your Art will take you!


Here's a poem I found inside a beautiful book I recently purchased while on Monhegan Island.




by Rudyard Kipling

When earth's last picture is painted

And the tubes are twisted and dried,

When the oldest colors have faded,

And the youngest critic has died,

We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it-

Lie down for an aeon or two,

Till the Master of all good workmen,

Shall put us to work anew!


And those that were good shall be happy;

They shall sit in a golden chair;

They shall splash at a ten-league canvas

With brushes of comets' hair;

They shall find real saints to draw from-

Magdalene, Peter, and Paul;

They shall work for an age at a sitting

And never be tired at all.


And only the Master shall praise us,

And only the Master shall blame;

And no one shall work for money,

And no one shall work for fame,

But each for the love of the working,

And each, in his separate star,

Shall draw the Thing as he sees it,

For the God of Things as they are!


thanks for visiting my blog..happy painting!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Monhegan Island, 2020

Hey, welcome to Monhegan Island...awesome little gem off the coast of New Harbor, Maine!  1 mile long, 3/4 miles across...Rocks, surf, little village, tiny harbor, and the highest elevation of seaside cliffs on the eastern coast of the United States.

You might recognize this lighthouse. It's been painted by sooooo many great artists...Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Jamie Wyeth, Rockwell Kent, Sears Gallagher, Rick Daskam, Frank Bruckman...

Here I am with my 2020 painting buddies, a year we won't forget!


It takes about an hour to get there by ferry.  I like the Hardy Boat Cruise line out of New Harbor.  Very friendly and accommodating folks!

 I found a nice low spot on the rocks to try and get the feel of the crashing surf closer to my eye level.  It was an overcast day, but still there was so much color, texture and movement.  I loved painting the sea!

Christmas Cove, 9x12 oil, $375 framed, shipping included



In the village there's a well known red house that of course, everyone wants to paint.

"Monhegan Red House", 9x12 oil on copper,

 $375 framed and shipped.



Lobster Cove, 9x12 oil, $375 framed and shipped.



Monhegan Lighthouse, 12x16, oil. $595

"Rocky Waters"

9x12 oil, $375 framed and shipped


 Thanks for visiting.  email me for payment arrangements.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Paint What's Around You

Has the current affairs of the world put you into a state of suspended animation?  Are you struggling to find your voice?  I am.

I struggle like most artists do with trying to dismiss the negative self-talk that creeps in all too often. Maybe it's because of this crazy year, the Covid, the frustration of being on guard constantly, social distancing with people you know and love.  It's depressing!!!  and not ending anytime soon.  Being an artist could lend itself easily to socially isolating, I mean you can always paint, right? 


In the past month or so I just didn't pick up the brush enough.  I didn't put in the time, I let myself slump into binge watching series on Amazon Prime, letting my available painting time get systematically vacuumed up by the needs of others.  That's it.  Enough of the pity party. 

I'm Breaking Through to the Other Side! 

And here's my latest painting.  I'd like to say it was fun, or that I really love it.  It was torture, I tell you.  Pure torture.  My biggest obstacle was my own doubts and negative self-feedback. I was frustrated that I was never  going to get it right.  I even heard my own voice say to me, "you have no business being an artist." 


When I get to this dark place I've learned that it's actually a good sign, and that quite often it means that I'm about to break through to the other side, make a discovery, figure out what it is I need to do to improve a painting.  I have to step out of the emotional struggle, get back to logic and ask myself, "ok., what's the issue?  is it composition, value, color, brushwork, do I need more contrast? what am I trying to say?

So, I powered through, just putting in the time, coming outside at the same time of day, trying to simplify, create an interesting light and shadow pattern and trying to get the values and colors the way I wanted them to be.



"Come outside and swim!" said my dog.  Time to get unstuck!!
So I stepped outside and saw my patio plants.  Bingo!

In the spring I planted all kinds of exotic flower bulbs that I bought  Costco.  I patiently waited for many weeks for them to burst forth into a symphony of colors and designs and I wasn't disappointed..  


I added new colors to my palette:
Perylene Red, Thalo Blue, Dioxazine Purple, Sap Green 

"Let's see what this does," I thought to myself. "What have I got to lose?

This painting took five days to finish.  Even if I'm not crazy about everything in it, there are sections I just love.  I know I've discovered something new. I know I'll pick the brush up again tomorrow.

So here it is, my 297th painting done over the past 3 years.
What should I title it?

 Summer Surprise
  oil on canvas, 18x24 
framed in your choice of gold with black liner
 or walnut wood contemporary style frame.
 (includes shipping) 
 Thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope I've made you smile or nudged you along on whatever path you are on.  
Stay safe, be well, and buy Art!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Let's Hear It for the Girls!

Women artists deserve a shout out!  We're caretakers, sometimes wives or mothers and often faced with the challenge of balancing home and career.  Not an easy task.  Often unrepresented in museums and galleries, the truth is there are some amazing female artists out there!!!

Here's a few whose work I greatly admire.
(click on the name to go directly to their website)

Monhegan Island artist.  beautiful landscapes and portraits. 
casein and oil painting artist, beautiful still lifes, landscapes and portraits.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Purple Passion Steps in Process

There's so many ways to start a painting.  Some artists like to "tone" their canvas with a neutral color in a midtone value.  Some artists tone their canvas with the complimentary color of their scene or painting.  I tried something different and worked just on the white surface.  It's worth trying again.

I Looked for the Shadow Patterns in my composition.  I Painted them  instead of the shapes of the flowers and leaves.  This way I could see where my eye would travel in the painting and whether or not I liked the composition.

(reference photo)

 Step One:  Shadow Patterns

Next, I added in the midtones trying to pay attention to temperature as well as value.

 Step two:  Shadows and Temperature

Step three:  Filling in positive shapes, paying attention to brush edges

Finally, I added in the rest of the painting being sure to soften edges where there wasn't a big value change and crisp up edges catching light.

I tried to simplify the little carnation type flowers in the bottom right.  not sure if that's been resolved yet.  But, there you have it, a painting may never be finished, right?

Don't stay stuck too long in any painting.  Move on for awhile if you've hit a wall, then come back to it with new fresh eyes and ask for help and feedback from other people.

Happy Painting!

Friday, March 27, 2020


Painting Roses is a challenge!  Here's some images to help inspire you.
by contemporary artist: Renuk A Sridhar

by Vincent Van Gogh

search the masters and find a style that interests you. Here are two beauties:

by Henri Fantin-LaTour

it always help to do a value study first and then really look and decide where are the cool colors and where are the warm colors in both the light and the shadow.


Monday, March 23, 2020

Spring, you can't come soon enough!

 Fresh off the easel this week..
 "orange blush", 8x10 oil on wood. $235
(includes shipping)
Yellow Rose
8x10 oil on wood. $235
(includes shipping)

8x10, oil on wood, $235
(includes shipping)

8x10, oil on wood, $235
(includes shipping)

Pay pal, VISA, personal check all accepted.  
visit my website for more works available.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Drawing Elipses

Drawing Elipses

if you're starting to paint flowers, getting the shapes of the pots can be challenging.  Here's a few visuals I found online that should help.

 take a coffee cup or soup bowl and look at its top when you hold it at eye level. then lower it a bit and look again.  You'll notice it's shape gets wider as it drops below the horizon line.  Keep lowering it and drawing the top shape you see.

the top of the elipse should fit inside a rectangle or parallelogram.  It should be symmetrical. 

 (sketch by James Gurney)

Now set up simple cup or bowl in your studio with a strong light on it.  sketch its shape and color in the value pattern using grey scale markers or a soft pencil (6B)

Hope these tips help!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Gouache Supplies for Plein Aire Painting


 Gouache: the perfect paint for quick studies!

 12x12 study on matt board

Gouache is a water based  medium similar to watercolors but much more opaque.  It's possible to layer colors. Even when the paint dries, the edges can be softened by adding bit more water.  Great medium for smaller paintings and plein aire studies.

I love it especially because it's convenient to take when traveling.  I like to paint on watercolor paper.(140 lb. or heavier) or Guerilla Board (thin masonite).  It's fun to paint a layer of casein down first to tone the paper.

I found this little box really convenient for storing the wet paint and sealing it tight from air.  I spritz it with water before closing and the paint stays fresh for next time.  (got the idea from artist Lena Rivo) 
Transom air tight paint box.

No need to carry all the tubes of paint...just white paint!


Guerilla Box Plein Air Painter set up 9x12  This is a very sturdy ( with storage in lid for wet panels or a pad of watercolor paper.  It has a sliding tray on which I've rested a palette and my set of gouache paints.  The deep compartments are perfect to store a plastic container of water and another with paper towels to dab off the wet brushes.

It has a universal tripod mount on the underside.

 The white plastic palette shown in the photo is super nice too and fits beautifully in my Guerilla Box 9x12.  It comes with a lid and could be used for storing more paint or watercolors.
Martin Universal Watercolor Box.

I try to have everything packed and ready to go.  With a set-up this simple I can get out and paint plein aire more often, even right from my car!   Hope this helps.  Happy painting!


Saturday, February 29, 2020

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Susan Collins' Irish Soda Bread
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 T. sugar
¾ cup milk
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup shortening (1 stick margarine)
3 T. vinegar
½ cup raisins

Directions: (pre-heat oven to 400)
1. Sift dry ingredients together in bowl. Add shortening and rub together using a fork until mixture feels
like bread crumbs.
2. Add vinegar to mix which will sour it. Make a well in center of flour mixture and pour in milk. Again
mix well and turn onto a floured board.
3. Shape into a round and put onto a greased and floured pan.
4. Make a large cross on top ¼” deep. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 min., then lower to 375 and bake for
15-20 min. more.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

How to Clean Your Brushes

How to Clean Your Oil Painting Brushes

this video by Karen O'Neil is really helpful.  I couldn't believe the difference it made in how nice and clean my brushes come out now.

You just need 3 glass jars with lids!  super efficient!


Friday, February 7, 2020

Flower Painting

I think the trick with painting flowers is to know how to simplify and to vary the brush edges.  Squinting helps.  Not every flower or petal needs to be exact.  Here's a beauty by Walt Bartman.

I've found that starting with just a few flowers helps or cropping and zooming in makes the job more managable.

These are a few flower paintings I did last year.  I noticed that the greens could be cool or warm and  the colors of the petals had temperature changes.

Work from life as much as possible.  Use your cropping viewfinder and edit out anything extra. Make a thumbnail study of the values. Pre-mix piles of the colors you'll need using a palette knife. Do lots of small studies. 

Here's a beautiful arrangement of flowers bought at Trader Joe's. 

Practice drawing parts of it.  Another tip is to use your cell phone to photograph and crop your composition.

See what it looks like in black and white.
There's an awesome phone app called: Notanizer.  Costs $2.99 and will put your photos into a notan, 4 levels of black and white and allows you to see the simple shadow shapes of your composition.
Have fun!