Thursday, January 31, 2008

On a Clear Morning-30x24- oil on canvas

Not for sale

Second of the four. really liking the medium. have looked up some other formulas i want to play with. carole marine uses 1 part thinner, 1 part stand oil and 2 parts linseed oil. she swears by it so the next time i get by the art store i'm gonna get some linseed oil and try her potion.

if you have one that you like leave it in the comments section below by clicking it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Busy on large commissions today

Twilite Cartwheel- 24x30 oil on canvas
Not for Sale

The Courtyard


not for sale

This is the first of four large paintings for a client in raleigh. theyre all due pretty soon so i wont be posting any small pieces for a few weeks, between this project and the workshop i'm teaching next week in manteo.

i watched a workshop video by james kerr a few weeks ago and saw where he used medium made of 4 parts mineral spirits and 1 part stand oil. so i made up some and used it on this largish painting. i absolutely fell in love with the medium. it will revolutionize my painting career because i havent in the past enjoyed painting large, in fact i disliked it intensely. i think the reason was because i used paint straight out of the tube with maybe just a tad of thinner if it was too sticky or thick. painting big was really hard using no medium to make it cover large areas and slippery. well kerr's formula is heaven. it covers well and makes it moooshy. then you can play in the shapes all day because there so much stand oil in it.

well thats it. galleries have been after me to paint bigger pieces and i've resisted. now that its fun and not work.... i'll take em up on it.

anybody else have a sweet medium formula. please share it by clicking comments below or email me with it.

i'd appreciate it. thanks.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Flatbed- 6x8- oil on c.b.


I really liked the way the grass was glowing and everything else was cool and in shadow. only the sky, the rim of the hood, grass and flatbed were in the light.

this is another case where something has to be dominant in the composition, whether it be a color, a shape, or as in this case, the shadow shapes are dominant over the light shapes. this means the midtones dominate. there are very few light shapes and very few really dark shapes. this gives the piece more strength than if it was equal amounts of both.

thanks to everybody who's emailing me and telling me they like the blog. the blog is recieving over 100 visits a week. thats crazy! thanks y'all!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Software Abode-6x8-oil on c.b.

First to contact me by email with $49 wins this one.

Was scrounging around for something to paint when i saw these software boxes on my shelf. i loved the lime-green box and blue color combo. so i set it up and grabbed a green dishtowel for the background and some blue cloth for the foreground. keeping a few dominant colors going in a painting (not just still life) keeps unity and cohesiveness in the piece. try not to have tons of non-related colors all over the painting.
this piece is simple but has a strength i think , because of this principal.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

421 Bridge-8x6- oil on c.b.


This is the bridge spanning the cape fear river with the city of wilmington in the background. i paint regularly at one of the tugboat companies near the base of the bridge.

upcoming news:

i'll be having a show of my work at my gallery New Elements on front st (wilmington) some time in the summer. the date is still up in the air. Also going to be in a 3 man show at City Art Gallery in greenville nc. in august.

I'm also pleased to announce that i'll be the judge for the Lenoir County Arts Council Plein Air Paintout in the spring. i'll put the date and details on the blog when it gets a little closer. they are offering prize money-$5oo- for first place, so if you paint consider entering.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Pinch Deux-5x5- oil on c.b.

Click here to bid. starts at $29

Having a lot of fun painting these peppers. the clothes pin is very fun because every side has a different color and temperature and changes color and temperature from front to back. for instance the side of the clothes pin in shadow facing us is dark and orange closer to the pepper and as it goes away it cools. its picking up the color from the blue cloth everythings setting on. the orange glow thru the pepper is casting its light on the bottom shadowed part of the clothes pin.

i'm really jazzed about the way doing these little paintings of ordinary things makes you look at (and paint) these subtleties.
usually i'm painting a marina scene or a row of buildings and the grand subject matter can carry the painting. these little still lifes MAKE you look and train your eye to see reflected light, cast shadow colors (see the bit of orange in the dark blue in the peppers cast shadow?) . its so subtle that 99% of us dont see it but the eyes (and brain) do, registering it as realistic.
try doing a few of these 5x5, 5x7, or 6x8 with something really mundane and commonplace. i think you''ll be amazed at how our painting will improve if we do it regularly.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Flatbed- 9x12- SOLD

$300 inc. gold plein air frame

Contact me if you're interested in this piece.

The picture is not the greatest (not enough contrast, de-saturated color) but this is really nice industrial piece.

the grass is a dull green but its skipped across pure cadmium yellow and makes it glow. speaking of glowing, what caught my eye was the light through the window in the truck. thought that was cooool.

this will go to a gallery in the near future. starting to work on a few big commissions and getting stuff together for spring openings of closed coastal galleries so my little still lifes will probably get kinda sporadic until i get some of this workload done. will still do the blog as daily as i can.

'08 Workshop Schedule now posted on Website

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

More Cleaning out the Studio Sale Acrylics

Keylime Fantasy- 16x12 on gallerywrap canvas (no frame needed)

Fun painting of a slice of keylime pie. must of sold 4 or five of these in different sizes.
was very difficult to paint the side of the pie because the color is a greenish-yellow and the reflected light off the plate would be a cool blue-green.
when i left a lot of the magenta lavender it seemed to work. took 2 or 3 tries to finally get something that glowed like i wanted it to. stuck the scene on the deck of a beach house with water behind it to add to the beachy feel. did like the way the Cool Whip on top came out where it browned in the oven in some places!
keeping the lime slice very light and saturated made it glow like light was coming thru it.
every painting you do you will learn something. it will help add to your knowledge and skill level. paint daily (or as close as you possibly can to it) to improve. there is no substitute.
went to the "the impressionist landscape" exhibit at the nc museum with wifey this past weekend and saw some john singer sargents up close and personal (guard came up and told me to back up!) cant help it. had to see the luscious brushstrokes millimeters from my nose. he loaded the brush with the perfect color , thick as *&(*()*)(* and whacked it down. no playing around! such confidence. absolute chaos up close but when you stood back he had form and light that would blow your mind. when i was at my easel i felt like a kindergarten kid using my fingers with fingerpaints. a very humbling experience. my favorite piece in the exhibit was a small Metcalf of a backlit yard and the light effect on the grass with shadows from the house and trees. mesmerizing.
also went and saw jimmy womble show in raleigh while in town and was very impressed with his loose AND controlled brushwork. this guy is killing it to be painting for the length of time he has. i own one of his pieces and love it. he had sold over half of the thirty something. kudos my friend.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Cleaning Out the Studio Sale

Windy Repose1- 30"x24"-Acrylic on gallerywrapped canvas
no frame needed

click here to bid. bidding starts at $79

I'm following the lead of my fellow artists/bloggers in cyberspace by holding a "Cleaning out the Studio" sale.

this is where all those paintings hanging around the studio too long are offered up to the highest bidder.

all of them are over a year old and are in acrylic which i dont paint in anymore, thereby not competing with my galleries. but this is why i can offer them to the public at such a savings
so feel free to scarf them up. Ebay sales have increased my visibility from just eastern north carolina all the way to Paris France.

my wish is that my blogwatchers would get em first! So dont wait!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Overpass Abstract- 6x8- oil on c.b.

Click here to bid
For some reason i love overpasses. always drawn to the color and value contrasts plus the fact that some of them are very strong images against a soft landscape. they are forever in view for the highly mobile road warrior. this one is right outside jacksonville nc. i remember a highway trooper pulling in behind my french easel, curious as to what i was up to. once he saw i was harmless and armed with only a paintbrush he left.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Flying Shamrock- 6x8- oil on c.b.

Contact City Gallery for this one
This is a cool block of buildings in AnyTown, USA
i liked the brick color and the scrubbed in thin shadows in the recessed areas of the building.
this is actually a popular pub called the Flying Shamrock. some guys in the air force who always wanted to run a bar got together and opened it up. their dreams coming true.
hope you enjoy the small town feel of this piece.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Beach Cul-de-Sac-6x8 oil on c.b.


This one was about the dreamy sky and palms. the phone pole ties everything together.

in todays mini-lesson- composition

in edgar paynes book on landscape compositions this one is whats called the "L" format. if you look at the top right and follow the major shapes down the right side you see it goes left along the bottom, making a backwards "L" shape. this can be reversed of course, as well. the other compositions are O-U-diagonal- radial and a few more i'll describe later. strong compositions make strong paintings. better to have a good composition and poor technique than to have great technique and bad composition.

i highly suggest that if you paint that you check out edgar paynes book on landscape compositions.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Caught in a Pinch- 6x8- oil on c.b.


Had alot of fun with the clothespin in this one. i love these funky little still life setups. as i'm thinking of how to set it up usually an offbeat title comes to me at the same time. weird.

the reason i do these is to train my eye to pick up color where most people would just see gray and to see color relationships (like reflected light, cast shadow colors, etc). for example, i saw an orangy-gray in the shadow on the clothes pin where the pepper shades the light. after all that makes sense since the orange is in such close proximity and casts its color everwhere. its on the clothes pin and on the cloth under the pepper as well. then the pepper itself picks up a reflection of the cloth on its side. then i kept a lot of warm red underpainting near the front of the pepper. all to give the illusion that a warm red-orange pepper would give off. and not just the pepper. every object throws itself around the scene. this is what we must TRAIN ourselves to see for our work to mimick reality. wow that sounds like a life-long pursuit. exactly!

this is all art is to me. translating what the human eye sees a million times a day but is "unseen" or is not comprehended. we as artists make people see this beauty in the ordinary, by calling it to their attention. even a lowly pepper pinched by an ordinary clothes pin can get what andy warhol called its "15 minutes of fame"

these little paintings look great grouped on a wall and is an excellent way to start or add to a collection without breaking the bank. so bid why dont ya?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Self-guided Tour- 6x8- oil on c.b.

SOLD- Paris France. too cool!

Blondie checks out a painting where the frame matches her hair. the process was much like i do a plein air landscape. acrylic underpainting and then adjust those shapes with oil.

when you lay in the acrylic use warm colors (yellows, red, blues and pinks) for the shapes hit by the gallery lighting and cool colors (green, blues, violets, purples) on the shadow shapes.

if you look closely you'll see little hints of this in the frame. these warm up the midtone areas. you dont have to paint up to every edge. these midtones in acrylic are small so you cant tell the difference between them and the oil paint. if you leave large areas of acrylic you'll see flat spots in the painting.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dreamin' of Blue- 6x6- oil on c.b.


Here's one of the tonal excercises i did this week. beginning artists (and experienced too!) should do more excercises i think. i took a photo reference, turned it into black and white, painted tones of black white and gray on it. then i resketched it and painted colors from memory that matched the black and white tonal study. here's what i came out with. showing that color is secondary to values when painting a representational piece of art.


i have had a lot of workshop students that were eager to get the excercises i have them do in class over as quickly as possible. they want to get on with the "good stuff"= as in the "painting". this is the wrong approach, i think, in a workshop environment. here you have folks that on average paint once or twice a week (if that) eager to pay upwards of $75 per day to go out and paint one, maybe two, paintings in the field. they want some help with values, color etc and to get a critique of the finished product.

Count that up! thats $35 per painting for some help and instruction on ONE painting. But for the most part they are painting for two hours (each) the way they would have on their own.

so they gain very little this way. how much better would it be to learn new stuff for four hours and practice it, doing excercises that will make your painting better when you do actually step up to the plate out there on their own. taking a finished painting home should never be more important than learning how to do a bunch of nice ones once the workshop is over. but thats just me.

comments are welcome. lets have a discussion of this. i'd like to hear your views on this.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Semi's on Orange- 6x8-oil on c.b.

SOLD- collector in San Francisco, Ca. Thats cool to me! some semi's from a little NC town hanging on a wall in "the city by the bay"*note- Journey is the greatest band ever!

Another urban still life. this was done on a chilly new years day. love the orange wall and pinkish-yellow semis in the sun. i'm drawn somehow to these lonely industrial sites in the heart of the city. wonderful shapes and colors everywhere. i much prefer it to the countryside. has a hopper-esque feel to it "me thinks"

have sold many of these little studies. now to decide which ones to do large for the galleries. hope they have the same fresh feel these little 6x8's have. you usually have to do these pretty fast. never know when some derelict will jump out of some abandoned warehouse to wreak havoc! Painted one yesterday in raleigh in the middle of two two lane highways with cars wizzing by and kids yelling at me the whole session. i can still hear their shrill voices incessantly yelling---"hey painter man, whatcha paintin?" doing that one was a crowning achievement for plein air concentration. all in a days work!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bioliths- 6x6- oil on c.b.


These shapes make a powerful statement and you can have a lot of fun trying to paint rust. believe me, you'd think it would be easy to paint but give it a try sometime. it has at least 5 or 6 colors in it and range from cool to warm and range from mid-tone down to dark, and up to light.

these tanks are at the state port in wilmington. the other two paintings of this sold very fast so i'll probably paint them larger. hopefully they still look cool bigger. we'll see.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Docksider (Wanchese)-8x6-oil on c.b


Promised a boat didnt i? cant go to nags head and not paint in rusty boat heaven, wanchese. its a little fishing/industrial seafood village. i have been on the coast from myrtle beach to va beach and these little villages are super hard to find. i hold almost all my plein air workshops here because of its beauty and proximity to clean restrooms!

i will be posting my new workshop schedule here and on my website in the next few days. more than 5 are already on tap from raleigh to the outer banks.

please buy this painting! gas is over $3.15 a gallon this weekend *)

y'all leave me a comment. i'd love to hear from you and to all my workshop students that look at this blog feel free to ask me painting questions. i'm at your disposal!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Entrapped-8x6- oil on c.b.

contact me if you like this one for $99.

Another 70's glass from the thrift store find in nags head. have done several large florals and a few boats in marina settings this week.

i havent done a mini lesson in a while so here goes.

remember when you are painting anything- break the scene into shapes that are in the light and shapes that are in the dark. just decide which the shape you see is in. if youre painting the light shapes warm then paint the shadows cool and visa versa. then go back after thats done and paint an intermediate in between them to knock off the extreme value change between the light and shadow. this will round it and show the form. you'll know what to do from there!

heading back to southern beaches tomorrow after a wonderful week of painting with sue. she and robbie have been wonderful hosts and she's a great painting partner. we turned out lots of stuff . look for it on my website where i post the larger pieces that will go to galleries at

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Yellow Burst- 8x6- oil on c.b.


couldnt help it. meant to post some beachy stuff (have done quite a bit) but put this little gem on instead. studied how ken auster did such wonderful glass and after taking a good look saw that you super simplify the reflections and just paint the shape that represents the part youre looking thru either a half shade darker or lighter (depending on what you see). also dont over due the very white highlites. still have a long way to go but i like this one a lot.

these are great fun when its cloudy or cold outside. give it whirl and tell me what you think. hit the comments button below to reach me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Trying new things

Rose in a Glass-6x6-oil on c.b.
SOLD- Canada again

First ever floral. hey its the same as painting a car, boat whatever. fun really. tomorrow we'll paint a whole bouquet. gotta walk before you run right?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Casa by the Sea-6x8-oil on c.b.

i shot this on a kitchen table and not my fancy lightbox i made for shooting pics of paintings. the colors are off on the cottage. imagine carolina blue skies and pinkish-salmon cottage. sorry. the downside of doing a blog on the road. a beautiful little painting.

Greetings from Nags Head. i'm here painting for a few days with my good friend sue morris. she is a painter from richmond virginia. we both love plein air painting and so we like to paint the same subject matter. take a look at her work.
look for boats, marshes and old style nags head houses to come on this blog in the next few days.
takes you to the beach every day you look at it, yours for $99.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Arbor Embrace- 6x8-oil on c.b.


A change up from my usual subject matter today. an excercise in perspective. painted this today after wiping off the one i did prior.
if youre scared to wipe something off when it sucks, you think way too much of the piece right? if its bad, its bad. i liked the way the trees seemed to hug the building in this one.
painted all day today with cathy martin in the neighborhoods around her studio in apex. she is the queen of architecture paintings in my opinion and has such a grasp on perpective that is amazing. i tend to freeze up when i paint with her. i dont know why. google catherine c. martin to see some of her amazing work.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Rusty Monolith- 8x6- oil on c.b.


Loved this tank and the phone pole/transformer structure in front of it. i dont know why i keep doing rusty things here lately. love the burnt orange against robin egg blue skies i guess.

like the bits of magenta peeking out in the sky and other places.

going to let my faithful blogwatchers have first dibs on this one before going to ebay auction. First one to contact me with an offer of $49 plus $8 shipping wins. Good luck

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Sun on a Wall- 6x6-oil on c.b.

This was a very cold and late afternoon painting of a very industrial area complete with train tracks, huge old warehouse walls, phone poles w/wires, vagrants and hookers walking past ignoring me as they make their ways nowhere fast.
have been on a gritty romantic subject matter binge lately i guess.
these studys might take shape into a larger piece. musicians play chords and scales on their instruments relentlessly as part of their craft. this is the same thing. painting, painting,painting until one really inspired piece pops out by accident.or is it!

Friday, January 4, 2008

"Two of a Kind"- 6x8-oil on c.b.


Here's the second installment of my day painting these huge rusty storage tanks at the state port in wilmington. i love the warm rust and sun shapes against the cool reddish shadows and blue sky. they "compliment" each other (pardon the pun)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Marina Afternoon -6x8- oil on c.b.


This one was super enjoyable to paint. it was indian summer here in the carolina's and nice and warm

the sun set everything glowing and here are these boats lit up against the cool blue sky. this marina/boat yard is one of my favorite places to paint, and only a ten minute drive from the house

boatyards require alot of simplification and editing which is very important in all plein air painting, i think. there is so much junk laying around, in and on the boats being repaired, that if you dont pick out only what's necessary to tell your story, it can be very confusing to the viewer (not to mention-harder to paint)

so next time you are struggling with a section of your painting just scrape it off and simplify into big shapes and definate color separations and see if that doesnt help.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Checking Values with a digital camera

Cool Rouge- 6x6 oil on c.b.

In this mini-lesson i want to discuss value and show how you can check your values using a digital camera and/or photo editing software on your computer.

i painted this piece over the holidays plein air and wasnt happy at all with it while i was working on it and even when i got home. the old saying that you cant see the forest for the trees is true. you can work on something so hard and stare at it so long that it goes haywire on you and you dont even notice until its too late.

this is a photo (with terrible color balance but you get the idea) of what i got home with.

so i took a digital photo of it and edited it in Window Photo Editor taking all the color out so all i had was black and white values. BOOM it jumped out at me that the red part of the building was supposed to be the second darkest value and it wasnt (as shown in the black and white)

so i went back changed the value of the wall and roof and shot it again. see how the black and white of the corrected painting "reads" right and the painting looks right now.

so whenever you have one thats not doing it for you take a digital and photo edit the color out on the computer or on the digital camera. its like having a set of fresh eyes on the painting

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ceramic Surroundings-6x6-oil on c.b.

Forgive the glare on the upper part
subtle colors in this painting arent being shown in this digital image.
Happy New Year!