Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mr. Lyles Oyster Beds- 8x10

If you like this one email me
Will soon be at my new gallery on bald head island
Very hot and windy today and the humidity! on this one i was working on expressive brushwork, walking the tightrope between simple shapes but still having lots of interest. this is some of my favorite marsh grass i've ever painted. lots of variation up close and getting simpler and more horizontal as it goes back towards the horizon. used five or six greens up close. the values are pretty much the same but some greens have orange, magenta, yellow biases. i learn something every painting i do.

the reception at the opening of my two person show (with durham artist lisa creed) at new elements gallery in wilmington was packed, the 34 pcs i had hanging were well recieved and we all had a great time. thanks to everybody who showed up for moral support!

Just booked a workshop to teach in the shenandoah mountains august 25-27th.

i cant wait to get out of hot and steamy carolina to paint some mountain stuff. if you want to join me, email me and i'll give you the details. cost is $300 for the three days.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Urban Still Life and More

Fire Hydrant- 6x8
saw this cool chrome painted fire hydrant today and had to paint it. wilmington just painted all the hydrants downtown and they immediately caught my eye today. i loved the way it reflected the cool sky and also the warmth of the sunlit brick all while in partial shadow. this made it quite a challenge because there wasnt a clear delineation of light and shadow on the brushed chrome. i just had to paint what i saw squinting and hope for the best.

Smith Creek Lunch Break- 9x12


pulled off the shoulder of the road on a busy interstate in front of ILM airport to paint this creek scene. about the time i was finished the bird came and started looking for lunch in the shallows. Three people saw me around town painting and said "arent you the guy i saw painting on the side of the highway this morning?"

its amazing how i must stand out to people doing what i do. its not like you see a plein air painter everyday. i cant remember ever having seen one before i started doing it, so i guess i am a bit of a rarity.

I invite those in the wilmington nc area this month to stop by new elements gallery and see my show of all new paintings. i plan on having over 30 so there's quite a selection of subject matter and they run from loose, knifed, brushed, contemporary compositions, old school landscape, figurative, and still life.

and dont forget the free painting giveaway just days away. check back here daily to see the day to enter.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Demo- Seaview Pier- 12x16

heres the finished painting.
sorry for the glare in the right upper corner

today i'll show you how i mix some piles of color and lay in the approximate color.i look at my study and i mix some colors that are similar. i realize that i'm putting it on magenta but thats what gives it all harmony. all the shapes have the magenta in common. light shapes have a little because the wash was thin and probably dry to an extent. the dark shapes have more magenta and this warms up the dark and if you arent too thick or heavy handed with the shadow shape darks, you get neat warm, swirly, shapes within shapes. most beginning painters lay darks in heavy and opaquely. this causes what i call the black hole effect. shadows are full of color and multiple values. if you paint it real dark it looks like it was cut out and pasted on and lifeless. here you see the big shape piles of color i mixed up with the palette knife and i added a little half thinner and half linseed oil mixture to make the color go on thinner and easier than stiff and sticky.i got the pre-mixed palette technique from Frank Gardner a great painter who lives in mexico now painting. i found that premixing keeps painting down to doing one or two things at a time versus five or premixing you nail down value and hue right off the bat. this way, now drawing is done, color and value is done and now you can paint to make the shapes closer to the study. i always put the study in a plastic sleeve so i can paint a dab of the premixed color on it so i can check its color and value. but just can veer from your study if you want to. heck, you paid for the canvas. you can do anything you want.
here's what it looked like after thinly applying the pre-mixed colors. this is just to get something close down so i can tweak lighter, darker, cooler, warmer, less blue, more red, more saturated color, less saturated. painted this all with the large 1" brushes in the palette shot.
look closely at the differences in the shapes between this one and the one above. see how i've cooled and lightened the shadow of the pier on the sand. i also changed the color from magenta/violet and made it more realistic by loosely (and boldly with that huge brush) painting in a lighter grayed violet keeping the underpainting peeking out in places. i do this with all the shapes. tweaking this way and that. putting cool into warm shapes the same value and warm into cool shapes. i am still using a 1" brush on a 12x16.
i'm painting away when i realize that the drawing was off on the canvas when i drew it. i must have mismeasured something. anyway the pier was too low down from the horizon line and looked weird. i thought it was going to be a pain to change but it had to be done, so i scraped down to the canvas on the part that needed changing. it wasnt bad at all. go back up to the blockin and see how crazy that thing looked. very weird. glad i saw it before i was on the final pass or it would have been a little harder to correct.
i'm really happy with this one. i made some changes from the study that i like better on the big one and there are some things on the study i like better. thats almost always the way it is when i do a bigger one from a study. each painting is its own entity. they dont have to even look similar if you dont want it to. what i wanted to do on this one was have it look as loose as the study and have the same color harmony. i was actually a little looser on the big one, so i'm smiling at the end of this two and a half hour painting (and that was sneaking peaks at the Sopranos every once in a while)

this painting will be in the New Elements show starting this Friday.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Step by Step Demo

ive decided to do a detailed demo of how i take a plein air study and do a larger painting from it. the sequence will take a few days and will be pretty in depth. i love it when i see other artists do these demos and i thought you guys on here might like seeing one. artists and non-artists alike love to see how folks go about painting a painting. everybody seems to do it just a little bit different from everybody else. so here goes.

the first step is to get some lines on the new canvas after toning it all over with a magenta wash. then i take the magenta paint and draw the major lines. the small painting is a 6x8 study done on site so i can just measure where key lines start, end and intersect and double that measurement to go on the 12x16. in other words if the horizon line comes down two inches from the top on the study i'll measure down four inches. i do this with all the major shapes.

the next step is to see what the major darks are and paint them in straight magenta as a sort of simple monochromatic value study. this way i know whats in the shade and whats in the light. i feel very confident and tend to paint looser, and more authoritively when i feel like i have this value study working. i dont do any other color until i do. painting is about confidence as much as it is the other things we give more attention to.

tomorrow i'll show premixing the large shape colors and more.

dont forget the day for the free painting giveaway is soon upon you. keep coming back to see the day to enter. even the shipping is free! dont miss out.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Rainy Day Plein Airs

Riverfront Twin Towers- 8x6. for sale at New Elements in a week.

painted this up on a parking deck under an overhang with a blowing rain. water and oil dont mix so that didnt mess up the spots of water occassionally hitting the canvas.
on this one i tried real hard to keep things cool in the light and warm in the shadows. this is where the magenta underpainting can be used for that. use lots of magenta in the shadows and when you put on the dark shape it mixes and warms up the shadow. Geez why didnt i think of that a couple of years ago! *)

Reflective Cafe- 8x6. for sale in a week at New Elements show in Wilmington

sat with the paintbox in my lap on this one. figured out i'm too old to sit on concrete for an hour and a half and then try to stand up. man, i felt my age for sure. it was slowly raining and got some cool reflections in the street. i've wanted to paint this for a while and when i saw it reflected in the street today i had to do it. sat under an overhang out of the rain

people look at me like i'm crazy when they see me painting in the rain like this. maybe i am!but i love it

the giveaway contest for the free painting is almost at hand. get ready to enter by watching the blog daily.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Looking Out Over the White Oak- 8x10

snuck onto a waterfront property today to bang this one out. loved how the house was perched over this wonderful view. my problem the whole way through the painting is the value of the yellow house in shadow. this is my nemesis. of all the difficult things for me in this craft called painting its yellow houses in shadow. how to keep them the right value AND keep it colorful. any tips? please comment below... thanks. i struggled with this painting hard today. most are a joy to paint. not this one!

written about 20 minutes later:

i just took the digital photo over to photoshop and took all the color out of it (making it black and white) and saw that the side of the house is too light in value. maybe thats why i'm not liking this thing. i'm going to darken the value and repost this one tomorrow. hopefully it will do the trick and i wont hate this thing so bad.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hooked Him- 6x8-SOLD

i did this hoping that the offshore fishing crowd will snap this up at the show at New Elements in Wilmington in a few weeks.

this is how i did it.

  1. used magenta to draw the shapes on
  2. laid in all the shadow shapes very thinly with the approximate color family a little darker than the final value will be (easy to lighten as you proceed). then i thickly laid on the light family shapes.
  3. tweaked the values, colors and edges (softening and hardening as needed).
  4. signed it and stuck it in a frame for some bigtime fishermans wife to buy (hopefully) for her hubby for birthday or Christmas.

dont forget to keep checking this blog for the free painting giveaway in a few days.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

In a New Gallery on Bald Head Island

Electric Clouds--8x6
email me if you want this one for $49

i'm pleased to say that i've been invited to show in a new gallery on Bald Head Island, south of Southport NC. i'll take a bunch of new work there in a couple of weeks and i'll give you the name of the gallery and directions on how to get there, when they open in a few weeks. it is really supposed to be a first class operation and i cant wait to see it in person.

glad to see galleries opening and not closing in this tighter economy. thats very encouraging isnt it?!

Recent Commission

On Lumina Ave in Wrightsville Beach. this was a complicated one. difficult architecture made this one a challenge but i like how it came out. this house in kind of new but theres something about it that reminds me of the older cottages up and down lumina ave.

I've updated my workshop schedule for the upcoming months.
its on the sidebar to the right--->
email me if you'd like to sign up early. these workshops fill up fast, so put one on your calendar today.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm Baaaack

Beach House Awnings- 12x9
in the New Elements show in a few weeks

this one was done the day i painted in wrightsville beach last week.
i've been painting everyday but ive been besieged by personal problems. thats the only thing that can keep me from painting i think. my grand-dog got hit by a car and we fought the fight to keep him alive only to have to put him to sleep today and bury him. very emotional! cars breaking down, both mine (in the middle of nowhere while i was painting) and my wifes about a dozen times in the last few weeks. i wont go on.... but that gives you the idea of what kind of weekend its been. painting has helped me keep my sanity lately.
the thing i think i'm learning is to trust God and stay grateful even in the midst of these storms. good things must be right around the next corner.
i know this is not my usual blog fare but blogs are supposed to be a REAL look into the life of the blogger and things arent always rosy, right? it doesnt get any more real than that.
i'm back to my regular schedule tomorrow so posts will be more timely

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lumina Ave at 11:30- 12 x16

contact me if you'd like to purchase this one by emailing me at

Painted this one on lumina ave. in wrightsville beach today. it started out kinda hazy then the sun came out real strong but i stuck with the original lighting effect. its very hard to keep painting from memory but the more you paint outside the better you get at it. you have to. you dont have a choice. kinda like you learn to swim when you get thrown into the deep end of the pool.
my friend and painting buddy Ben Keys joined me today and did a sweet one just a block from me. just google his name to see his website and great artwork.

keep an eye out for the free painting giveaway. check my blog regularly for the day i announce it. todays not the day but it is very soon. even the shipping is free.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sea View Pier at 6:38 pm

click here to bid on Ebay for this sweeeet pier scene done this afternoon. one of my faves!

this was done by sketching in the outlines of the big shapes with cad red light and a grayed down version of the shapes color family was used to block them in with. then when i felt good about that, i layed in all the subtle temperature and value shifts i saw. its loose but very accurate, drawing-wise.
hope you like it.
  • remember to keep stopping by this blog to enter the free painting giveaway. i'll announce it and you have 48 hours to enter. even the shipping is free!

Two Recent 6x8's

Bateaus (work and play) 6x8- $1 auction on ebay- click here
enjoyed finishing the boat painting above. its 100 here in carolina and when i finished this around noon i jumped in the water and cooled off. thats one thing neat about painting around the water in the summer. youre never far from a place to get wet.

heres my other favorite place to get wet.....

Waterfront Cottage- 6x8- $1 auction on ebay- click here
liked the shadows on the little cottage just steps from the new river which leads out to the ocean a few miles from where this was painted. cool area with shrimpers, crabbers and commercial fish houses all over.
i like hot weather but am praying for a bit of a cool down. i dont like when the sweat runs down the middle of my back in the middle of a paint stroke.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Bid a dollar on this one!

Precarious- 6x8 palette knife painting

just posted this on ebay starting at a dollar. click here to bid

this old cottage is staring down the atlantic ocean. how long can it hang on? done entirely with palette knives and some fingers. lots of the nice warm magenta's peeking out all over. you'll love it. who knows you could get it for $1.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bid a dollar on this one!

In Front of Phillips Seafood- 6x8

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Smith Creek Industry- 12x16

NFS- going to be in the New Elements Show end of this month

painted outside today in blistering heat and unlike the beach yesterday, no breeze to make it bearable. on days like this i dont know how i used to use acrylics. about the time you'd mix it on the palette it would dry in the brush. impossible to paint with when its sticky as youre putting it on the canvas
oils are soooo much better. i love how theyre gooshy (is that a word?)

this subject matter was very popular in the 30's and 40's. industrial scenes, working themes and working locations. i like that stuff too. i think this place was shredding pieces of trees into mulch. thats what those piles are in the tractor trailer.

todays not the day, but remember to keep watching this blog for my "free painting giveaway day".

Friday, June 6, 2008

DVD filming at the beach today

thanks robert for the photo

today i filmed the second of two dvd's for Jerrys Artarama. this one was on plein air painting and we shot it at topsail island, out on the beach. you may recognize this scene and the cottage from a post or two below.
today the temperature was (heat index) 100 degrees. that was the only downside of the day. i showed how to draw the shapes with magenta, underpaint in thin washes of local color and then finished it out.
both of these dvds will retail for around $20 and are about 90 minutes long. if you'd like to pre-order one let me know and i'll get it to you as soon as production is through.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Down East Farm- 24x30

Not For Sale- will be in the New Elements show end of this month
Sorry for the terrible, glary picture
this one was done today in the sweltering heat of, they say, 100 degree heat index. this is big for me plein air but i kept it loose by holding the brush at the very end being very decisive with the strokes. i tried very hard to put it down and to leave it alone and to watch all my edges. the focal point is strong with subtle temperature shifts and lost- and- found edges, to add interest.

Keep stopping by to win a free painting in my giveaway. todays not the day but very soon. I'll announce when you can send me an email to win.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

From Radio Island to Raleigh

View of the State Port- 9x12 --SOLD

Aerial View of Market St- 8x20-- available
Boardwalk Afternoon- 9x12-- SOLD
St. Marys Chapel- NFS-- commission piece- sold

well lets see.... i put my bookbag pochade on my back and hiked around the edge of the water on radio island near beaufort yesterday and a day later i'm in front of St Marys college in raleigh. what a difference a day makes. thats some miles between paintings.

the one from the rooftop is looking up market st and is the same exact view as a previous post. that one was done at around 10. this one above was done at 3 pm. it would be interesting to have them side by side on a wall and see the difference in sun angle, temperature, and lighting effect.

the beach cottage painting was done on boardwalk st in atlantic beach. i love this old neighborhood with its cottages built in the 30's and 40's. i want to get back there soon and do some more.

i'm fooling around some more with the magenta drawing in the underpainting with neutral and slightly grayed home colors in a wash for the underpainting. then i bring up the color and use thicker and thicker paint as i progress. i have a little less bright colors peeking out but theres a richness and subtlety with this method i wasnt getting before. more like classic california plein air "old school" style. i'm liking it and several critics are telling me they like it better than anything i've been doing lately.

dont forget to keep checking the blog to register for the free painting giveaway this month. registration day will be announced and you have 2 days to register for the free painting.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Few from Today

Princess and Front St at 2:23 pm- 8x10
to purchase email me at

Tower of Industry- 6x8

to purchase, email me at

the first painting is looking up princess st. in wilmington and the second is the looming architectural PPD skyscraper at the entrance to the city.

lately, i'm starting my paintings a little bit different than i have the past few years.

instead of painting over a strictly magenta tonal study as my underpainting i'm using a neutral wash underpainting i picked up on ed terpenings blog. he learned it from mark kerckhoff.
it took a few block-ins to feel comfortable with it. its so different than what i've been doing for years.
i'll fool with it for a few months and see if it sticks.

dont forget to keep checking back here for the free painting give-away in June. i'll tell you on the day of the giveaway to send me your mailing address and i'll pick names out of a hat. you could win but you can only enter on that day. its not today but check back often to win.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Three Sisters-16x20

Available- email me (see sidebar on right at top) if you have to put it on your wall

Sunday morning is a great time to paint downtown scenes. there are just enough cars and people around to add interest but not too many to block parts of the scene. the light in this one is pleasing to me. the smaller ones i've been doing paid off on this larger piece. urban scenes are a blast to paint! I could do them all the time. oh yeah.... i do... LOL!