Thursday, March 31, 2011

Workshop Update

Paint Camp- Ft Pierce Fl- tomorrow and saturday- two spots open for tomorrow. several open for saturday. Always wanted to learn to paint but never tried? Paint Camp is for you. i supply everything you need. just come empty handed and leave with a painting that looks just like the step by step demo i do for you. way fun! Wilmington Plein Air workshop with WAA in a few weeks- a last minute cancellation opened up one spot call me (919-920-9718) or email me to reserve a spot

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Corner Office on Stock Island-6x8-SOLD


nice little slice of stock island scenery. all cubans who speak very little english, a few speak spanglish, and they love painters! then at lunch, right around the corner, you can get some real cubano food cheap, and its like youre sitting in havana! my kinda place.

Heading outta here day after tomorrow. there are a few slots left for my Ft. Pierce Fl. Paint Camp Friday Apr 1 and Sat. Apr. 2. if youve never painted before or dont feel real confident with your painting, this is the workshop for you. you just walk in, sit down ( supplies provided) and in 2 1/2 hrs you walk out with your painting, and it'll look just like the one i paint with you. now thats cool. all the while you'll learn about drawing, mixing color, making sunlight, shadow, and form. email me if you want to sign up. the last day to register is Thurs. the 31st.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pretty in Pink on Newton St.-6x6-SOLD

One from the "Meadows" area far from Old Town but just as beautiful, with quiet streets and tons of conch houses to paint.

Note: CONTRAVERSY AHEAD-- We've got a raging discussion going on about yesterdays post where i gave my two cents about the nasty habit of a small number of people going from painting blog to painting blog giving their pearls of wisdom (read: unsolicited criticism) of artists work.

NOTE: Now dont worry! i'm not mad or losing my laid back vibe.... i'm stirring up the pot, i know. not because i dont want negative comments on my blog or cant handle criticism (if i couldnt i'd have quit the painting business years ago) but because i think a post needed to be written on the proper way to offer criticism of an artists work. I'm doing it for all the artists out there who have had unwarranted negativity hurled at their masterpiece. us artist types are very insecure after all. and if they must give this unsolicited criticism they should do it in a private email instead of out in front of people who are considering buying an artists work off their blog. its how a few of us pay all our bills, after all.

A lot of artists read this blog and i'm assuming a few will agree with me on this.

i'm just saying that if an artist doesnt specifically ask for it, these "snipers" (who have no credentials or relationship with the artist) are IMHO being rude. most of the time you go to look at their profile (on Blogger) to see their work, and there isnt even a profile, much less a website full of wonderful artwork. i can learn from such a person. if a person who doesnt paint regularly (and at least as well as the person theyre critiqueing) is going to be inconsiderate concerning our work, at least they should leave their correct name and have an email address where we can give them our opinions as well, in private. am i wrong on this?

there's been quite a bit of follow-up comments and i'd love to know what you think of this topic. feel free to 'flame' me (remember that word, old timers?) if you disagree with me. i asked for it. uh oh LOL post script: Doug IS NOT the person who got this firestorm started. he was very kind and prompted me to write the post about how one should offer alternative ways of doing something, ie. a painting. he did it exactly right and i appreciate him for his comments.

Red Sail- 6x8


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Conch Colors-6x8-SOLD

i am posting lots of smiley emoticons before i make some people angry with me on todays post. so here they are. breathe deeply and hum your favorite tune till youre sufficiently calm.

:D :D :D :D

i got a comment from doug, a very kind daily blogwatcher, who suggested maybe the cars werent needed on Conch Colors (the first one posted below) but that he liked the piece anywho. i read that and fired back (in a knee jerk fashion) that i "planned" it that way and thanked him for his input. problem was, after much thought, he was right. so i asked my painter friend for a second opinion and indeed she said that just the tops of them didnt do anything for her. you need the whole car on a street if youre going to include them. so i repainted Conch Colors leaving the blobs i had for cars out. guess what? it improved the painting and i'm thankful for doug and diane's input.

then i thought it would make a good post about the best way to give your negative opinion of an artists work.

OK here's the part you might get angry with me about. lets talk about how not to give input, especially if its to an artist. i have had people do this to me, and i've seen it done to others. critique is fine but there are right and wrong ways to give it. Doug did it the right way and i'm thankful for it. if he hadnt i would have dismissed him and not taken his thoughts seriously. to my detriment.

lets agree that the most masterful painting in existence could be arm-chair quarterbacked a million different ways. add on top of that that artwork is a highly subjective and personal creation. here are a few thoughts:

* dont think just because its their blog and you dont have to say it to their face that you can be inconsiderate. my opinion is that anonymity can sometimes breed incivility, in this digital world we live half our lives in. remember there's another insecure human being on the other end of your email of blog comment. youre not the only one. we're all insecure about something right?

*dont be judgmental and assume that the painting is "wrong" because they didnt do it the way you would have. they did the best that they could at the time. remember alot of these things are painted out in traffic with tourists asking you if theyre disturbing you by disturbing you! then just as you begin to draw an 18 wheel beer truck parks in front of the scene for 45 minutes as the light is fading, its easy to say why didnt you do this or do that after looking at it from the comfort of your computer chair or sofa, where time seems to stand still.

* unless youve established some repore (sp?) with an artist, keep your critiques to yourself. make sure they think of you, "this person has earned the right to question my decisions" Until that happens they will not look kindly on your critique of their work.

* use the sandwich method to tell your wife you dont like her choice of dresses, and painters that you dont care for a section of their painting! the sandwich method sandwiches the negative statement inbetween two tasty compliments on both sides of it. one in front, and one in back. makes the nasty part go down much easier right?

i have a person who writes to me all the time with unsolicited advice and unflattering remarks about some of my paintings (without using the sandwich method i might add) but when i go to see what their artwork looks like there's no blog, website, or artwork theyve done anywhere. that burns my hind end! easy to sit back and say this and that but have you put any paint on canvas today? this week? ever? dont critique me harshly and rudely unless youre a painter. i dont go on their stockbroker or MD website where they work and armchair quarterback their job performance. especially anonymously. thats just bad form. i delete this persons email, unread, when i see the address just to keep my bloodpressure in safe territory.

* before dashing of your pearl of wisdom, remember that there are over 2000 decisions made on a two hour painting and ask yourself, "whens the last time i got all 2000 of them right?" If the answer is just yesterday then dash off your wise advice and silently thank God youre so easy on your own stuff . and if you must offer it anyway, please use the sandwich method.

as in the case of doug he did everything right and i still responded from ego more than i should have. hey, we're all human and doing the best we can, right. I'm glad he was so nice in offering his "alternative method of solving the problem" and not chiding me for missing a few things. think about it if there are 2000 decisions to make and lets say 3 or 4 choices per decision thats 8000 ways a painting could have been painted. lets say a person paints two or three a day and thats about 24,000 things to be considered! no wonder i'm so tired at the end of the day! LOL

thanks doug and diane for making Conch Colors a better painting.

note: please dont see the above as an invitation to give me unsolicited critique on a regular basis, unless you painted outside at least five times the week you send it, and its on the internet where i can see them, or we are friends. "D

more happy emoticons in case your miffed with me for saying these things

:D "D :D "D

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Conch Colors-1st try

this ones all about color harmonies. yellow and a very warm blue. these are very close neighbors arent they? you can probably hear the person in the next house breathing. a little too close for my tastes, but thats old town key west. i do love painting em when theyre this close (and colorful)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Keys Blues No. 1-6x6-SOLD

ive been on a bit of a journaling kick these past few days. its painting an idea with words.

Old cottages trace the routes

one step ahead of the hungry ocean

Storms move and downsize

abrubt curves in an otherwise straight line

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tropical Shadow and Light-6x8-SOLD

a little prose to summarize my experience this winter in the keys.

Sun Bleached Memories from the Southernmost

Warmed glimpses of fragmentary images, not unlike undeveloped polaroids, magically transform an ordinary existence into stretches of sugar white sand and endless reef. Like the wonderful dream just seconds before waking you fear not being able to recall Key West, her old town charm and verve, or her beautiful sister to the north, Marathon. As connected and separate as twins living on the same ocean and slivers of land. A two lane ribbon of straight salty road, makes one no less important than the other, both essential and teeming. Southernmost keys all joined by the same mother ocean and having the same salt crusted inhabitants and objects in common. Turquoise environs surround white and pale yellow jewels of the ocean, made of dreams and fiberglass, and wood. Demanding their fair share of attention, with their lovers doing the scraping and fussing. Hard work in their dusty, paintcan strewn boatyards speckled with swaying palms dancing in the warm breath of the clouds. The smell of the salt as it rises from where it came,impregnates everything and everyone, thick in the heat of the tropics Sustaining a lifestyle all the while, corroding everything it touches, the ballet that is ying and yang. We are warm here 90 miles from cuba, watching in comfort while snow shovels sling frozen rain into piles on ice slick streets, as the shovels eagerly wait for another blast in a few days to give them job security. Shovel-less i felt guilty at not sharing in all the misery north of Miami during the suns farthest trip away the whole year.

A memory of cheering celebrations in Mallory Square. An ordinary sunset, made anything but, beckons me (after i leave for other latitudes) to celebrate the beauty of living this life. it tries to slow me down, and chides me when i dont, fortgetting to value each day in my shortlived time on this blue marble. a sunsets a sunset, no more. how many do we have for sure? as the polaroid image of my turquoise and sun-streaked memories begin to take shape, i revel in the notes being played in my soul. Like the musicians on Duval paying their homage to Buffett or Marley in return for tips from a few transient sunburned and sometimes inebriated northerners and islanders. The ritual is all part of the dance. a conch republic of beauty and diversity. the best and worst of humankind intermingled with gulls crying and conch fritters frying. The tan lines are visual proof. This wasnt a dream. Will i retain a hold on the feeling, the warmth of the tropics (and its people), while the winter howled elsewhere? Months from now? Years from now? Decades in the future when anything that didnt happen that week might seem like a faded photograph, hard to see, but enjoyable and reminiscent? A trigger for a flood of knee deep 70 degree, crystal clear water, sea turtles, and mangroves to bubble to the surface. Surely my snapshots in paint created from soul, sweat and salty air will remind me in my innermost, of my southernmost life and keep it from slipping out of my grasp. A comfort when i need them most. Toes-in-the-sand synapses, will flash like a minnow, glinting in sunlight when the sun hits him at just the right angle. Tropical greens will always chase the gray, cold, and leafless landscape until it bows in submission. The easy going, "there's always tomorrow" attitude of conch-lifers sends worry and overachievement scurrying. All the while sundrenched songs of good hearted non-conformity drift in and out of consciousness, from downtown to Newtown, all the way past Islamorada, up to Key Largo, up to Boston, up to New York and Maine, over to Chicago. Then to all points on the compass. A lifestyle born on a chain of islands, calling to fellow islanders wherever they may dwell. The smell of shrimp boiling as the sun slips, green flash, dreamy southernmost republic.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Up for Repairs-6x6

Nothing more beautiful than a boat in the late day rays. ive come to have a great respect for these boat owners i'm around in boatyards all day. they work steady day after day, scraping hulls, refitting, varnishing wood, and tons more tasks, to keep their "babies" on the water. i feel really at home when i'm in a boatyard for some reason. theyre very appreciative of us paint slingers trying to paint "portraits" of the things they love.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Little Conch House-6x6-SOLD

KeyWest is covered with these little conch houses and i love the way the palms and vegetation envelope them and when the sun hits em just right theyre so cool. there arent alot of big mcmansions here and most people have learned to live in much smaller quarters than the rest of the beach communities i go to. as more and more people inhabit the island the less space there is to spread out, plus the cost of property here is really expensive. so most people have postage stamp sized lots. you never see anybody out on a riding mower thats for sure.

Workshop News- Ive got a few spots left in my Paint Camp workshop in Fort Pierce, Fl. april 1st and 2nd. you can take one day or both. its really geared for the inexperienced painter that doesnt feel confident yet, as well as the complete beginner who always wanted to paint but was too scared to try! drop me an email or call me- 9199209718 to reserve a spot.

One spot left in the Wilmington NC workshop Apr. 11-13. call or email me to get that last spot

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Keys Shimmer-6x8-SOLD

couldnt resist painting this sparkley scene. i love backlit stuff, throw in some rim lit puffy clouds, and sparkles. you had me at backlit!

Workshop News- a person has dropped out of the wilmington nc workshop coming up april 11-13, due to sickness. there is only that one spot remaining so the first one that emails me or calls can have the spot. my email is and my cell is 919-920-9718

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sleepy Canal-6x6-SOLD

From a recent trip to Summerland Key.

In the Sling


contact me for price and availability

this is from an 8x10 i did recently. i like the lost and found edges on this one. you dont want all of one or the other. just like you dont want all the shapes to be the same value or temperature, you dont want repetitive edges. the eye only really sees hard edges at the exact spot its looking at and blurs the others (called periphery vision) so doing it in your paintings mimics that and gives it a sense of reality.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

On Borrowed Time-6x8- SOLD

This old wooden boat is unfortunately slated to be chopped up very soon. built in 1920 it proved too expensive to repair for the owner. after spending $10,000 he found the whole hull eaten up by wood worms and threw in the towel. the stories this boat could tell, having spent its many years running back and forth all over the caribbean from its home port in key west. just think... this boat was a dozen years old when world war 2 started. i had to immortalize her before she's forgotten forever.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lifelong Friends-8x8-SOLD

I'll be holding a plein air workshop in Roswell Ga. (outside atlanta) April 18-20 and the sponsor told me there are a few spots left. we'll cover how to quickly and accurately get the scene down on the canvas, mix colors that capture the sunlight, editing down the scene for the most impact, lots of instruction on values and their importance to the painting, and more. spring should be in full bloom by then and the temps great for painting outside. the cost is only $300 for the three days and its very inexpensive to stay in Roswell. email me if you'd like to sign up.

i was just told the Wilmington nc workshop (april 11-13) is full with a waiting list. if you'd like to be on that waiting list email me and i'll get you on it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tropical Glimpse-8x8-SOLD

here's one of several i got done on the streets today after a delicious fish burrito and mango smoothie at Heidi's. i traded her a funky caribbean paint job on her outdoor bench in exchange for feeding me good till i go home in april. hey, this job has a lot of perks! she needed some art on her bench and i needed delicious fish burritos and mango smoothies! a match made in heaven.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Silvery Shoreline-12x16

to purchase contact me for price and availability

a larger one for a possible appearance at my upcoming show at City Art Gallery in Greenville in a few months. the month of april is filled with workshops so ive gotta get on some painting for that show now. weird working on n.c. scenes in the studio, here in florida, when its gorgeous outside.

ive always wanted to do a larger one of this one from the 6x8 study done last summer during a few days of a full moon near my place in sneads ferry. the calm, the reflections and the way the sky lights up around the moon all made this one a fave for me.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Roof Over Your Head-8x10

to purchase drop me an email for price and availability

Tropical Dialogues opens for Keywesters

a shot of half the gallery. the grouping closest in the shot is mine

the night paintings i did on the docks were a crowd fave

photos by diane savicky

a few pics from last nights festivities. a great crowd showed up for the opening of Tropical Dialogues and i'm so grateful to all of you that came out to see me stuff. the other three people in the show live here fulltime so it was great for me as the "snowbird" to have alot of friends show up for moral support. i always say thats one of the greatest things about being a travelling artist is that you meet the greatest people everywhere you go. many have turned into dear friends over the years. thank you guys for coming out! and thanks to nance (my gallery owner) for inviting me to be a part of it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Whitehead St. Key West- 6x8-SOLD

a little ditty done hrs before the first rain cloud ive seen here in about 6 weeks. is it possible to have that many consecutive weeks of pretty, warm sunshine? yes!

the show's all up on the wall in the gallery. it feels good to have it all in one place, ready for the collective crowd of critics, admirers, and the truly disinterested (usually husbands dragged along against their will), to view. making art is different than making widgets. each piece is a piece of your soul made during a particular slice of time. in it goes your sum total of experience, your take on that particular subject and then your creative decision on how it would be rendered. having the skills to render it is only a small part of the battle (taking years to acquire) The bigger challenge is to funnel all your concentration and spirit into that little 2 hr creation and to successfully do what it was that you had set out to do. 9 times out of 10 you come close. its that ellusive 10% that are exhilirating. its the other 90% that keeps you going out there every single day to try to get that one that, "paints itself".

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dead End Road-12x16

Contact me for price and availability

Did this one today. its weird staying in the studio painting an NC scene here in florida. next show i'm getting ready for is City Art Gallery in Greenville in May. its a two man show with my good friend Jacqueline Perry.

this is the year i start painting bigger. i'll work on 12x16's and then 16x20's till i'm comfortable and then bust out the occassional 18x24 and 24x30. since i started i wanted to paint for 5 or 6 years and hone my skills on smaller ones, and then go large. on big ones you can get more subtle color changes and complexity so i'm looking forward to using 6x8 thru 8x10's as studies for the larger ones. i've been doing lots of 12x16's that have the same loose look my smaller ones have so finally its time to go bigger. for years people have asked my galleries if i ever do larger paintings. well OK, here they come!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gently Nodding-10x8-SOLD


On the Docks of Key West 2- 6x8- commission