Monday, December 30, 2013

Painting Process

There is a struggle with every painting, though it gets easier with more experience, to paint over something that you like to make the painting better as a whole.  I will often take a photo of the painting before I dive into the new change, just to have a record of it and to help me “let go.” 
Then it occurred to me, why not incorporate some of this process into the final product? 

I began by creating a painting.  Then took a photo of it.  Then I collaged the photo into the painting.  Took another photo.  Collaged that in, and so on.  After many layers and letting the entire collage dry thoroughly, I took a deep breath and plunged in to re-paint the painting over the “process.”  By using transparent colors in this final layer, the “process” shows subtly through the final image.

Here was the original painting (its 48" x 60")(and remember you can click on the image to see a larger version of it):

Here it is partway through the collage process:

And here's the final painting, titled "Ephemeral":

Thursday, December 19, 2013


I've been working some more on the last painting I posted… here's the progress.
Its starting to come together.  I like the angles, blocks of color and basic shapes within the face, as well as the mood it evokes.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I've been experimenting with a more abstract, angular approach to the face… here's one I like. It feels good to try new things.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

"Finger Prints"

I've been an admirer of Chuck Close for a long time.  One of the highlights of my art experience was getting to hear him talk about art at a small lecture at the High Museum in Atlanta years ago.  He was so honest and knowledgeable, he didn't speak in pretentious "art speak" but as artist to artist.  I came away so inspired.  I remember one of the things he said, something like "Its always wrong before its right."  To me that is liberating somehow - when I'm struggling with a piece those words will remind me to keep at it.

So when I was working with some 12 x 12s this week, I decided to play around with adding some finger prints to the paint.  I ended up doing the entire painting with fingerprints.  It reminded me that Chuck Close had done some large paintings that way…   Here's one of my versions:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Plein Aire fun

On Tuesday I joined the local plein air painters' group out at Cedar Point, in the Croatan National Forest.  We had a great time!  The day warmed up nicely and beautiful blue skies graced our visit.  I worked on a large! (about 43" x 62") watercolor - see below.  Still needs a little work, but a nice start.  I enjoyed working next to Janet Dixon, she is an accomplished artist and shared some good tips, and is lots of fun as well.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Bern Art Walk tomorrow

A detail shot from one of my paintings will appear on the postcard promoting New Bern's Artwalk this month.  They just sent me a photo of it.  It came out kinda cool:

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Rainbow Falls

We made the half hour drive down from Brevard to the new Gorges State Park in NC last week.  Then hiked a couple miles to Rainbow Falls.  Well worth the effort!  Even the visitor center is a work of art - green building materials and lovely design.

On the road again...

We've been enjoying a trip back to the mountains for the fall color.  Internet coverage has been erratic, so I'm just now getting a post done.

Its been a great trip so far in our new "MAC."  Dear old Max (my 1999 Roadtrek lovingly called Max for Mobile Art Escape") had been sold to folks whom we hope will enjoy him for years to come.  We enlarged a bit so Michael doesn't bump his head, and also to something newer:  a 2010 Sprinter-based RV.  Its a diesel that gets 20 mpg.  To continue the tradition, we have named her MAC (for Mobile Art Condo) - but also from the childrens' clapping rhyme Ms. Mary Mack "all dressed in black... "There are have been some items to be fixed, but luckily still covered by warranty.  We keep saying "We love it - when everything works..."  Hopefully we've gotten the kinks out now.

So we poked around Brevard a few days and then went down to the Georgia mountains for a few days - hoping it would be a bit warmer.  It was, but we prefer the Davidson River campground near Brevard, so we went back.  Today we are on route home, so are staying over at the Lake Norman State Park (near the Dodge dealer where we had some warranty work done).

Today I awoke to chilly (36 degrees!) air and now its clouded over, so I set up a little studio in the "lounge area" in the back of MAC and worked on some small paintings.  Kinda cozy and fun.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Here's a painting I finished up this week-end.  Trying to get some new work completed for the New Bern ArtWalk on November 8.  These colors reminded me of Autumn, flowing into Winter, so I titled it Autumn.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lady Bronze

I continue to experiment with these cool metallic acrylic colors.  The earlier one I did in bronze sold at the Craven County Arts Council's homecoming show's opening reception.  They requested another so I've been hard at work finishing up a second one to take to them.  In this one I used the bronze again  and also some copper and worked up the facets of the face more... it is 3' x 5' (as was the other).

The small images I post of a large painting do not do it justice.... here's a detail shot to give you an idea... but they are always better in person.

Friday, October 4, 2013

More dramatic...

Decided to keep working on the latest forest scene, and it became much more dramatic - almost as if bathed in moonlight.  I call it "La Luna" and just took it in to BluSail Gallery.  Great fun!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Another forest scene

Still enjoying my memories (and reference paintings and photos) of the amazing light in the woods on our mountain trips.  We are planning another trip soon to see the fall colors.  Can't wait!

The previous two forest paintings I've posted have both sold already.  Yay!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Great CenterFest Show

Ferdinand was a hit at CenterFest (and he was adopted as well!).  Here he is with an adorable admiring fan:

I told Michael I was going to do "a bull" painting for Durham.  Well, I kinda went bull-crazy!  They are so much fun to paint.  This is Ferdinand...  I started out with this nice large canvas (40" x 70") and did some studies thinking I'd do a nice strong classical bull... here's one of the studies:

Well, obviously, Ferdinand had other ideas and charged onto the canvas of his own accord... you can see on the right side of the canvas that I collaged in some cut-outs of some drawings that Picasso did of bulls and put them out in the pasture - they were an inspiration for Ferdinand.

Then, after I was mostly done painting him I sent a picture to my mom.  She, of course, remembered the children's Story of Ferdinand  and song of Ferdinand which I had totally forgotten... that's when I decided on the name... I am so glad that folks appreciated him.  Even had a couple people disappointed that he had sold.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Preparing for CenterFest

Heading to Durham next week-end to do the CenterFest show.  I've been playing around with some small bull paintings and also one big one.  Its been fun... I decided to do a series of the little (16 x 20) paintings, and have experimented with different color combinations.  After finishing up the sixth one today I decided to make a print of them combined...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Alexandria Show

I've been busy finishing up work for the Alexandria (VA) Festival of the Arts this week-end.  When I have time I like to get a painting done related to the area I'm visiting.  I found a really cool old map in the Library of Congress website and printed that out as a background.  Its of the Alexandria region during the Civil War.  Then I did a little research on that time period in Alexandria and learned about the Edmonson Sisters.  Quite a fascinating story (read about it here)... So I decided to honor them by painting their portraits over the map... I kinda like how it came out.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Another forest painting

We have been so intrigued by the light in the Pisgah National Forest in the NC mountains.  Now that I'm back home in the studio I decided to work up another painting from my studies.  Here is one in progress - the soft light at the end of the day... its multimedia with layers of transparent tissue and thick palette knife acrylics.  Its 30" x 40."

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dreamer... work in progress

Finally back in studio with some momentum...  Here's a work in progress.  It's 3 x 5 feet.  I've been experimenting with some fluid bronze paint which provides some very interesting effects.  Still getting the hang of it.  My canvas is in front of the big South window though so my photo is showing a glare off of the metallic paint!  Zowie.  I'll post a better shot later, but wanted to go ahead and share this.  I've also snapped a detail of the paint...

Saturday, August 17, 2013

NC mountains again

... it had been our hope to spend the entire dog-days month of August in the North Carolina mountains, but other projects got in the way.  We did manage to stay there for almost a week, and enjoyed the cool misty woods.  Now back home and back into the studio.  I started a couple paintings out there, now hope to finish them up.  Here's a shot of Michael on one of our hikes.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer storms

We've had some beautiful thunderstorms this summer... here's a shot of one that missed us, but we watched it pass out over the Gulf Stream.  Awesome.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Plein air fun...

Yesterday evening the local plein air painters group came to paint here at Crosswinds again.  Oh, we had such a great time!  We scheduled for 5pm to try to beat the heat, and it turned out to be a beautiful evening with a breeze off the water keeping the bugs and heat at bay.   I told them I'd have some snacks and beverages... that morning Michael declared that he was going to make a cassoulet (see below)!  OMG - it was terrific.... and then everyone showed up with delicious food too!  What a feast... oh yeah, and they painted too... ; )

I was beat from doing figure drawing that afternoon (takes alot of concentration), so I decided to simplify and just do some sketches in my notebook while they painted.  I did a scribbly sketch of the three gals painting out front - too tight...  Tried another sketch of Michael and Harry chatting in the adirondack chairs... parts of it were okay... then I tried it again, really trying to get into the "contour" mode where you try to imagine the edge of your pen moving along the edge of what you are seeing.  Its like the line just starts going and connects everything you see whether its man, plant or beast... this one was my favorite.

By the way, a cassoulet is a provincial French dish usually made with duck, sausage and beans.  Michael made a variation with chicken, sausage and white beans - quite wonderful...

And here's a shot of Eleanor, Susan and Barbara painting in the wind out front!  Great fun.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Seeing the forest for the trees...

I've been working on a 30" x 40" painting of the forest from studies I made while in the NC mountains last month... working to keep it abstracted.  At one point I was dissatisfied with it... turned it upside down to study the composition.  Then worked on it upside down for awhile.  When I turned it back "rightside up" it looked much better!   Go figure (have to trick that left brain sometimes I suppose).

By the way, my fun abstracted painting of Theo, "Model No Show" won a prize at the TRAA show in New Bern this week.  Yay!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Another Neuse River walk

Michael, Theo and I celebrated Independence day with an early morning walk along the beach at Pine Cliff on the Neuse River.  We got there at 8 am and walked for over two hours, only seeing a handful of other people.  Here's a shot Michael took of me and Theo at the far end of the beach... gorgeous morning.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Light on the Neuse River

I've been walking/running with my lab Theo on the Pine Cliff beach on the Neuse River this month.  Its less buggy than the trails we  usually run, and its beautiful.  Theo likes the fresh water flowing from the woods into the river.   Its a beautiful spot and a nice lone 2-mile beach.  We usually have it to ourselves on weekdays.  The light was spectacular on our last walk...

Friday, June 28, 2013

Another little mountain study...

Here is another little study I made while sitting next to the Davidson River near Brevard earlier this month...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Study in Greens

We just took a little camping trip to the mountains to escape the heat and bugs and see a dear friend.  We camped at Mount Pisgah and then came down the mountain to the Davidson River State Park near Brevard.  Our campsite faced a small mountain and the myriad shades of green were fascinating in the changing light. I got out my paints and made this little study.  The areas of light kept moving, but it was a delightful challenge.  I hope to work this up into a bigger painting.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

More veggies!

I love the fresh veggies of spring.  I've been continuing my series of little paintings of veggies.  Here's the latest.  These are nice warm-ups before getting to work on my commissions... simple but fun, kinda like the subject ; )

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Farm Stand Inspiration

We got back from the local farm stand with some gorgeous veggies!  I feel a new series coming on... Here's a small study I did of the vibrant onions...

Carolina Beach Street Arts Festival

I'm looking forward to the Carolina Beach Street Arts Festival this Saturday (the 18th).  Looks like they are going to have many interactive arts activities from painting demonstrations (including yours truly) to culinary, pottery and blacksmithing demonstrations.  The weather forecast looks great.  If you're in the area come on over and say Hi!

Here's an article from Encore on the festival:

See you there!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Another WIP

I've been steadily working on a wonderful colorful commission of a dynamic young lady... when I need a break from time to time I've been experimenting with other paintings.  Here's a 16 x 20 that has a nice feel to it...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Oil Work in Progress (WIP)

Since the weather's been warmer and I can open up my studio for ventilation, I decided to experiment with some really thick oil paint on a 3' x 6' canvas...  I've been all over the place with it - starting out figurative and at this point its looking more like a landscape.  I'm trying to open myself up more to abstraction - not trying to control the process as much.  It's hard!  But exciting too... we'll see what happens to it...

Swamp Azalea

I saw this beauty on my run along the Neusiok trail yesterday.  Its only knee high, but breathtaking.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


As I mentioned before, the Craven Arts Council invited area artists to submit paintings with a food-based theme for an upcoming show... I used to paint peppers - I love their organic shapes and rich colors (and flavor for that matter!).   So I thought I'd paint some hot ones.  Now I want to plant some in my little garden too.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Back in NC

We are back in North Carolina and spring is finally arriving.  I have a plateful of fun painting projects to work on, ranging from a commission of an adorable little girl to a "food-based" painting to more nudes.  I like a variety...

Here's one of the early signs of spring I've seen on my morning runs on the nearby Neusiok trail in the Croatan National Forest:   A dwarf iris.  Its barely 4" high.  Lovely.

Now I'm off to the studio to get to work!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Vero Beach

We had beautiful weather for the Vero Beach show.  Had a great time.  Here's a shot that one of the visitors took of me while I was doing a demo... Now we're back at Kissimmee Prairie State Preserve enjoying the open vistas until next week-end's show at Fort Myers.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


We got a few lovely sunny days last week - just barely warm enough to be outside painting.  I decided to get my oil paints out (I usually work in acrylics when indoors to avoid the fumes).  Here's a panoramic marsh  I worked on.  Its 6" x 48."  I love to work outside.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Evening Tide

I'm recovering from a cold, so to ease back into the studio I decided to work on some marshes that were half finished.  With this one I decided to try to capture some of that feeling of iridescence seen on the river at the dawn and dusk of the day.  I used interference acrylics to get the effect.  Its an interesting start - I'm going to let it dry thoroughly and then see where to take it from here...  this is 12" x 48."


I've been working hard on a commission of two young girls... hopefully they are almost done now... in the evening I've been experimenting with the Sketch programs on my tablet.  There are so many possibilities with these different programs, I'm just scratching the surface.  Its great fun and a challenge. Here's one of my rudimentary sketches...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

...and a dog.

I've been on a tear with this new series of paintings.  A few days ago I was looking around for another canvas to use, and saw the 30" x 30" painting I did of Theo the day our life model didn't show up (see my post on it here)   I liked the composition, but decided I'd just paint over it...  then I thought to myself, "why not just apply this new approach to that composition?"  And  voila!  here's the result.   Great fun!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ok, now with guys...

While I was finishing up the previous painting, I decided I'd try another version with guys.  Here's how its coming... do I feel a series coming up?  The previous one was 30 x 30 inches, this one is 30 x 40.

Final version of the experiment

Here's how the women on the beach turned out.  I like it.  Since it was inspired by Kim Frohsin's work, a possible title might be  "Frohsin Skinny Dip."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Experimenting Part II

Still working on some new ideas. My goal is to flatten and abstract the figures, but maintain a strong composition that is still "figurative."  I ordered some dry pigment yesterday to work into my multi-media.  A possible title for this one might be "Frohsin Inspiration."  Still working on it, but here's the progress so far...

Monday, January 21, 2013

New experiments

I've been playing around with some ideas for a new series of paintings.  It started back when I took the workshop with Kate Worm (see earlier post) and I've been developing it in drawings.  This week I've been working on developing a painting...  it's still a Work In Progress (WIP), but I like the direction its taking.

I started out with a rather ordinary group of figures, kinda on the beach, and I was working to "jazz it up" a bit.  Here was the start, where I was adding the lines of waves through the bodies to try to abstract it a bit:

Then I started wondering how I could push it even further.  I was thinking back to one of my classes at ECU with the professor who was the hardest, but also made you think the most, Ray Elmore.  In his class we played around with collage work-ups before the painting, and I experimented with layers of images, one over the other.  I did some fun work in his class.  So, that gave me the idea of trying to overlay some of Kim Frohsin's paintings (see earlier post about her too) to add some level of abstraction and interest to the painting.  As of the end of the day today, here is where I am with it.  I'm excited about this new direction and think it will push my work to the next level.  How many figures can you make out in the painting?  (Remember to click on an image to see a larger version of it...)