Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wet Paint @ Newport Art Museum

oil on linen 10" x 20"

This was my entry today in the Newport Art Museum's Wet Paint fundraiser.

I really wanted to make sure that it was wet when I brought it in. It seems much more fun than just picking a painting from my studio and bringing it to the show. Playing with the big kids requires doing it that day. But the challenge of the whole thing makes me nervous on a lot of counts:

1. I have to drive there and remember everything I need for the day.
2. I don't want to do a wiper and then feel that I have to hang it because I signed up.
3. Last year the painting didn't sell for much, and I want to do better this year.
4. What if too many people want to talk to me while I am working?
5. I usually work on panels, but then how would they hang it?
6. I didn't get around to getting a frame. Will that look all right in the exhibit?

But I knew that I wanted to do it, so I tried to stay calm and just worked through it.
Everything went well.

I packed everything and anything that I could think of, and didn't forget anything.
I planned what I would paint, and studied my reference photos ahead of time. I even made a drawing on the canvas and sealed it last night.
It doesn't really matter what it sells for, because it is all part of the process of establishing myself. And everything does sell. I think.
To solve the hanging issue, I bought a stretched canvas. I didn't have to worry about having enough space in my studio for another stretched canvas, because it would sell, and not come home.
Tomorrow I will see if it looks as punchy on the wall as I hope it will.

I kept the range of colors simple, and the design pretty graphic. And my blog name is taped to the back, so maybe the person who buys the painting will read this. And if you do, some time there are two or three lines that I would like to add to the painting. And I will seal the whole surface so that the finish stays even. Just let me know.

I also was a very minor celebrity with 20 seconds of fame in the video of last year's event. So if you want to see me, this is the link. I am about 3 minutes into the piece.

Sleep will come easy tonight I think!

Monday, July 13, 2009

June Fog

oil on linen 8" x 16"
I have not posted since I left for Japan, and on my return, have been reveling in my photos and doing smaller studies.
Next year at the Providence Art Club I have a shared show, and have thought that I would use material from the trip for the show. Some of these studies have been exciting to me. But I am not sure what the best thing to do with them in the blog. So now I am looking at other blogs to see how they handle upcoming shows. Certainly I don't want to dispel any anticipation by publishing images prematurely. At the same time I have little enough painting time that it is a little hard to do both. Maybe, by writing, I will find a way out.
At any rate, all the fog has made me look more closely (there has been little else besides fog and rain) at the light and effects it creates. This is from a misty day at the beach, watching the white edge of surf, and the far rocks barely visible. I also liked the bright reflection of the sky in the wet sand at the edge of the waves.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

9" x 12", oil on canvas

I loved the pattern the light made on the rhythmic facades marching up the hill, and I was fascinated by the reflected light on the cobblestone. The whole scene is mysterious to me - what is going on behind those still planes, underneath the trees leaning over the garden walls?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Kyoto streetscape

Oil on linen panel, 12"x 12"
This streetscape caught my attention. Initially, it was the glowing umbrella, but then it became the blaring sunlight, the figures in the street, and the beautiful light on the paving. It was fun to pick out the red elements in the various parts of the landscape.

Evening Opening

Oil on linen panel, 12" x 12"
I put up a detail from this painting on the blog earlier when I was comparing camera shots, but I never got the final one "published". I was struck by all the contrasts in value and color temperature and how they contributed to the mood of quiet preparation. I liked how the row of lanterns drew you into the courtyard, and into the picture. In retrospect, I wish we had dinner at the restaurant. It seemed so mysterious behind this open courtyard. The last bit of sunlight is fading in the sky.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Old Park

Oil on Canvas 12"x 12"
In honor of voyages, I am going to post some paintings of places I have been. This view caught my eye, but had to be refined in terms of value patterns to start to work for me. It is in a park near the fish market in Japan. The shade was really welcome on a hot day. The changes in direction on the bridge really helped establish that lazy wandering sense. I love playing with the warm and cool tones in water and reflections. The age of the vine opened my imagination.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


9" x 12" oil on panel
This is the first in a series that I have been working on for a few weeks. I keep working on them some more, and liking parts of them. I have been learning a lot. But they don't really seem to finish, as much as I would like them to. It is a function of needing to paint more, and needing to spend more time painting.
However, I will post them this week, and see what they look like online. Hope you like them!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ice Fan

11"x 14" oil on linen panel
A playful moment captured in a spontaneous painting. I think that the limited complementary palette really helps juxtapose the playful character with the cold season. Soon this will all be a memory!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

11x14 Oil on linen panel

A winter beach and cliff walk at Beavertail Light, on the southern end of Jamestown, RI. The pattern of dark and light as the waves moved towards shore and the green/ orange range of colors caught me eye. Snow in the shadows reminds me that it is still winter. This was a studio painting. I tried to go out yesterday to paint, and it looks like spring, but is still cold enough to soak into my bones. Soon....

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Shooting paintings

untouched photos from Canon G7 on left and Canon EOS D60 on right

Yesterday entailed some experimentation with recording paintings. I am not a professional photographer, and my documentation has only slowly been getting more developed. I am getting together a portfolio to apply for a show for my Japanese paintings at the Providence Art Club, and it occurred to me that perhaps I had gotten better since last year when I first photographed these pieces. I always shoot my paintings with my G7, and lately I have been using GIMP to edit them. But I had access to the EOS, and I decided to use it as well when I was photographing.

The results surprised me. I had been expecting some differences, but not to the degree that I saw above. These are two details from the same painting with the cameras set up to the same pixels and exposures. The pciture on the right is more saturated, with less smoothing. The brush strokes appear more painterly. The tones set next to each other are much clearer. It is obvious to me that the EOS is going to give me a far superior result when I have finished editing them.

NowI will have to shoot as much as possible with the larger camera, because I use the detail in my reference photos a lot for painting as well. Even if that reference is only to finish something in the studio that I started in the field.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Winter sunrise

oil on linen 9" x 12"
A painting of a special time of day. I have photographed this painting several times for the blog, and the blue on the building keeps getting very saturated. The original is a little more purple, and sits back on the linen. I loved the colors in the snow and sky, and the richness of the snow shadow. I like how the colors shift in the penumbra around the sun. I think the painting done larger would need a more careful perspective drawing of the house. As usual, I will put it up on my long shelf to look at for a while, and thus learn to see what it needs. (Updated picture reposted 3/8/09)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Winter View

oil on linen panel - 8" x 16"
This painting was done from a cropped snapshot. I loved the shapes of the hills, the contrast-y colors, and the long vista. I used a limited palette of cad red light, ultramarine, and yellow. Usually I would have used ochers and siennas from the the tube, but this palette pushed me to explore colors more than usual, and rewarded me for the effort!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Watch Hill Winter Morning II

I have been thinking about this painting since I last posted, and have not gotten it out of my head yet. I have changed my usual order of layout, so that you can compare it to the previous entry.
Paintings are always kept out in the studio for studying. In this one, I have kept darkening the forground and adding more layers to the sky.
I have tweaked the colors of the photo in GIMP, but still have more cobalt hue in the foreground that in the actual picture. The rest of the picture is pretty accurate. (It is always a temptation to get the photo as good as it can be as its own image, but I am sticking to the closest I can get to the actual image.
I am doing well, despite the lack of posting. We are the host parents for an international student, and that has thrown my usual routines all awry.

Oil on linen 9" x 12"

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Watch Hill Winter Morning

oil on linen panel 9" x 12"
This painting is a value study and a painting focused on the sky. The darker ground tones helps the sky sing in comparison. Everything is frozen tight, and yet the light dances through the cold space. There is a quality of expectation and an exhilaration at the same time.
In class, we all put our work up for a crit period at the end, and one of the many valuable parts of that process is standing back from the painting and looking at it with a detached eye. Posting items on this blog is another way to acheive that viewpoint. There is a possibility that I will repaint the snow even darker. Usually I look at a painting for a while so that I can see it before I make a decision like that.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ueno Park August

oil on linen panel 24" x 9.5"

This is the painting that I have been working on for the past few weeks, the blog silencing painting for the member show at the Providence Art Club. I wanted to capture the fabulous feeling of being in the cool shade on a very hot day in Tokyo. I have simplified the background buildings, and used the horizontal composition to emphasize the feeling of being under the canopy of beautiful trees. The people in the painting move back through the space.
I am also glad that it is done.
Right now, a little of that heat would be welcome in RI.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Vinyard Winter

oil on canvas panel 8" x 16"
I have been away over the weekend, and painting has taken the backseat to family. That is as it should be, and yet when I came back, I have been working all night on my Member Show entry at the Providence Art Club, and on finishing this painting so that I could put something up on this blog. This is from a photo that is a couple of years old, and the scene had caught my eye from the beginning. I have been working on it over time, looking at the best use values and color to enhance the scene. Right now this is as far as I have been able to take it.
I wanted to show how resolutely the house faces the weather from the open ocean. The low sunlight on the face of the house picks up the strength of the manmade structure. It is nestled in the hills, but clearly taller than the windswept horizontal landscape around it. We can all be brave this way, even as we are worn by time and other storms.
The entry is a longer painting for me, as I am used to smaller formats. This may be a bad week for posting, as deadlines loom...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Angel Window - Grand Canyon

8" x 10" oil paint on canvas panel

This is a painting from 2 years ago done from a sketch during a visit to the Grand Canyon. I pulled it out from the "archives" a few days ago thinking that it was not a total wash. I wish that I had taken a picture of it before I "looked" at it with a brush last night. I did so little, adding a few of the things that I had learned to pay attention to.
The first thing I did was to rub it down with a 50/50 mixture of Liquin and Mineral spirits. That removed dust, and improved the finish texture on the paint surface itself. I recently learned what an important quality that becomes for a painting. I brightened the sky, and added a bit of color where I previously had white rocks facing the sky. There had been two trees on top of the arch in the photo, but I eliminated one to strengthen the composition. A few touches to soften the horizon, a few more blue shadows, a sharper edge to the right of the Angel Window, and now I am very happy with the painting.
It is funny to have such a small painting of such a large area, almost unimaginable.
It is also amusing to realize how close I had been before, and did not have the experience to finish it.
I have been working on a larger painting from Japan for the Member's Exhibit at the Providence Art Club in a few weeks, and have less to show right now on the blog.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


9" x 12" oil on linen
This is the last of the three evening paintings that I have worked on. The other two were posted on December 10th and 11th, but this one resisted being finished. I had to keep adjusting the values to see how to get the effect of the low fall evening light. It has been a process of gradually darkening and warming, adding layers of paint. Paintings seem to have their own personalities, even done in batches. My favorite isn't always the one done first or the easiest. And sometimes, there is one done that just is a throwaway. Or really, a paint over.

Learning to look at the values is a constant learning experience for me. Stan Moeller quotes
watercolorist Charles Reid , "Color gets all the credit, but values do all the work. ..."