Monday, October 31, 2011

Dont Be Afraid

the revised Against the Sun at Capt Charlies- 12x16

after looking at this one in the cold light of day i hated it. i figured it had to be a value problem so i did that little value study thats sitting on top of the painting. i looked thru a red piece of plastic and painted all the shapes the value it was on the 12x16 to find the problem.

then i did a new value study. these things are only 4"x6" or so. they only take a few minutes each. look how much better it looks when the roof is darker than the sky, when the foliage near the bright reflection on the water is darker and when the building is a bit darker. in the original the big roof ( with the chimneys) was too light and too warm.

i liked everything but the water still wasnt shining like i wanted it to. so i dropped the value of the sky, chimney shadows, and the foliage near the sparkle a little bit more. that did the trick. i saw in the value study that the roof, the water on the left side, and the grass in sun should be the same value. the chimney shadows and the foliage near the sparkle should be the same and the building should be darker than the roof and the grass.

now came the hard part. convincing myself to redo the whole painting. not one shape was right and even if some were, when i changed one it would change how all the rest related to each other.

so i took a deep breath, sighed and started scraping a 'finished' painting, and re-did the whole thing. the way i kept the edges from being to harsh (usually what happens when you have to repaint a near dry painting) was to paint past the edge both ways, and then back again, worked like a charm. every day i learn something new behind a wet brush. one sure way to get better is dont be afraid to do whatever it takes to make a better painting (there are far too many mediocre/bad ones out there already arent there?a good deal of em are mine) the other thing is-- put in lots of time in front of the easel. there arent any short cuts.

so the next time one of your paintings arent working if you think its a value problem do a couple of little value studies and see if thats it. then you'll know how to fix it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Against the Sun at Capt Charlies-12x16

if you'd like to purchase this one contact me for price and availability

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bald Head Paintings and WIP

started a 24x30 from the 12x16 paintings i did called front row and all in a row. this is what the initial block-in looked like. thats the computer on the left with the prior paintings on the screen. blues, purples, and dark cool reds went on all the shadows and yellow, orange, and pink on the warm light shapes.
now i go in and put a color closer to the real thing down loosely and without any complementary colors that would gray the colors. vibrant and pure is the mantra at this stage. i'll post a pic of the finished painting when the sun comes out and i can get a decent pic of it.

Island Abodes Capt. Charlies-8x10

if youre interested in this please contact me for price and availability

Angel View-16x20

if you like this contact me for price and availability

these were done on bald head island during my recent residency over there. the 16x20 was done in two 1 1/2 hr sessions in 20 plus mile an hour winds coming off the water. i bent down to grab something and the easel went flying into the air and fell in the sand. ahhhh, the pleasures of plein air painting!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

On Bald Head Island

i'm over on bald head island as artist in residence for the week. this place is always amazing. i love painting over here. no cars are allowed and everybody gets around in golf carts. this is the northernmost part of the tropics. no kidding. that with bluebird skies and temps in the 70's is making for some great painting days. been doing a few 16x20's on site with big brushes and knives, and having fun with them. bigger paintings are getting easier and easier for me to keep "loose and accurate". forgot my camera so i cant get any photos of em but they'll be in woods gallery here on the island.

p.s.- i saw an article this week by a major paint manufacturer who confirmed that you can indeed paint oil paint over thin acrylic. i almost always scrub on yellow ochre acrylic before i get going with the oils. good to know that my paintings wont crack and fall off the canvas in a few years :D

Monday, October 24, 2011

Late Day on the Docks-6x6-SOLD

felt so good to do a boat after working nonstop on the beach cottage series for the last several weeks. it had been so long since i'd been to the marina, i found out today that there were new owners. they had seen me there painting alot and gave me carte blanche to paint wherever and whenever i want.

until now i've always stayed clear of calling something a "series". i hate being locked down into something. really i follow that philosophy in my whole life. i dont like appointments, or routines, or series. but there is one benefit i'm finding in doing so many beach cottages. you gain an intimate knowledge of the subject matter. little nuances you find that would be missed blazing from one thing to another everyday. guess there's an upside to everything. well... except appointments :D

Chunks of Color-8x10

if you'd like to purchase contact me for price and availability

Sunday, October 23, 2011

On a Bright Sunshiny Day-6x8-SOLD


Blue on Yellow on Orange-8x10
if you'd like to purchase contact me for price and availability

went on a painting binge today. went out this morning and painted almost all day up till dusk. i'll post as i touch em up. the one on top is from today and the other is from last weekend.

Friday, October 21, 2011

SOLD -Up the Hill Port Clyde-9x12

This is a painting from my port clyde maine painting trip in august. the gray house on the right in the background is a really cool B and B i stayed in called Ocean House. if you ever go to port clyde you gotta stay there. friendliest owners you could ever meet.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Middle of the Island-6x6-SOLD


on this one i scrubbed in (thinly) colors that were close as the underpainting, then i used thicker paint to make the "color corrections". i went for dark shadows and light lights for high contrast to show bright light. it came out as a pleasing set of shapes and colors that say beach cottages in the sunshine

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Around 10th St,-12x16

Workshop News

ive got a two day plein air workshop coming up in elizabeth city, nc november 1-2 and a Paint Camp the night of the 3rd. to sign up you can contact the sponsor (Natalie) at Arts of the Albemarle-(252) 338-6455 or

we'll cover the abc's of value, color mixing, and lots of at-the-easel instruction that will take your painting to a higher level

if you like this one please contact me for price and availability

revised bouy painting from yesterdays post
$49 plus $8 s/h
to purchase with PayPal or credit card click the "buy now" button below

when i looked at it a day later, the dock color on the first one looked too light and warm. so i made up a cooler slightly darker color and put that on. it did two things. made the yellow look lighter and more intense (which is what it looked like in person). also made the rope show up better.

thats the purpose of doing these color studies! you always learn something about mixing color. what did i learn in this one? that making a dock color is tricky. you want the warmth that the wood has in sunlight but there's a real grayness to it. if its too saturated and warm it wont be the right "color spot" and look like weathered wood in sunlight. think i need some more of these 'block studies' to perfect my dock colors. theyre in alot of my paintings.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Green on White on Blue-12x16-SOLD


this ones from one of the beach roads in wrightsville beach. its knifed and juicy. my plan for many of these cottage paintings is to start doing them much larger

Saturday, October 15, 2011

We Have a Winner

a pic of the class during my demo

just wrapped up a two day painting workshop in wilmington sponsored by spectrum art and jewelry. then on friday i did a demo in the gallery of my cape technique. in the workshop we covered the importance of values, how to mix colors using red, yellow, blue and white. we had a morning class on drawing after i served everybody my world famous Bull Mosa. its like a mimosa except i use red bull instead of champagne. the afternoon of the last day everybody took their new found skills outside painting near the intercoastal, beach or beach cottages. the two days flew by!

well we have a winner in the free giveaway contest for my 1000th blogpost celebration. the winner is (drum roll please) gail mehann.

contact me gail with your address and i'll ship the painting to you. congrats!

here's how gail was chosen. i took everybodys name and put it on a slip of paper and put em in my hat. my wife reached in and voila! i was humbled by the huge number of people that entered, left messages, congratulations, and said they really wanted that painting. thanks to everybody who entered.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

1000th Post on Blogger!

Free Giveaway Today!

To celebrate my 1000th blog post i'm giving away this 11x14 painting "Three Sisters" to a lucky susbriber to the blog. To enter you have to be a suscriber. if youre not already a suscriber take a moment to become one by going to the right sidebar near the top and click.

once you are a suscriber (or if you already are one) send me an email saying you want to be entered in the giveaway. i'll put everbody's name in a hat and draw out the winner. the deadline to recieve your email will be this coming friday october 14th. i'll contact you by your email address if you win!

Three Sisters- 11x14

well! what a milestone! 1000 blog posts. that means if i had done one every single day that i would have done it for almost three years straight.

here's what i think i have gained by this experience of painting and blogging almost daily for this long.

the biggest thing was discipline. blogging as much as i do has kept me from getting lazy. there were lots of days i didnt want to blog or paint but having this "to do" on my list everyday took away the option to bag it. making it as a fulltime painter is all about work ethic.

ive also made mistakes on this blog. as they say anthing worth having is going to fraught with mistakes and missteps. one that i'm ashamed to say i did in my attempt to keep this blog "real" was a couple of winters ago to post a tirade about my DailyPainter Gallery customers. i made blanket statements about them always wanting these little mini paintings for next to nothing. i vented my frustration in a public forum and i apologize for that misstep. another big faux pas was when i chided folks for giving me unsolicited advice on my paintings. ive learned how to control my emotions on this blog. yes its my soap box and i CAN do it, but i SHOULDNT do it. lesson learned. thats what learning and growing is all about, i guess. as in this journey of painting, failure isnt failure unless you dont learn something from it.

so here's to 1000 more blog posts and i hope youre along for the ride with me!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Silvery Farm-6x8-SOLD

the light was very silvery with high altitude clouds today. these chicken houses are a common scene around the inland counties of eastern nc.

i did all the colors on the cool side and there arent really any dark darks (shadows are softer) all these things help to communicate silvery light that comes from slight overcast.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Swansboro Corner-6x6-SOLD


Shapes Within Shapes-9x12

Late Evening on Island Dr.- 9x12

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cottage on Island Dr.-8x10

now at Spectrum Art and Jewelry in wilmington

a knifed piece from the old cottage area of surf city

Workshop News

Next week is the two day workshop at spectrum art and jewelry in wilmington. its wednesday and thursday. contact me to sign up there are a couple of spots left.

We Three Kings-18x24

Now at Spectrum Art and Jewelry

this ones brushed. i think they've been feeling neglected this week! :D

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

demo #100411

i'm selling the below study aid for $30. it will be helpful to students to see it in person, along with reading this blog post.


to paint light convincingly you have to keep all shadows darker than anything in the light. if your paintings just arent working 9 times out of 10 its a value problem. either the light/dark design is weak or you have light family shapes creeping into the dark family shapes and visa versa. here i've mixed blue and a touch of orange to white to get five piles/values.
i take the medium gray pile and draw out the design and "mass in" the shadow family shapes.
then i use the other two values to differentiate the differences in values of the shadows. then i do the same for the light family.
here's the original plein air study as reference. i didnt like the roof or chimney on the brick house and the roof and shadow on the white house. the values on everything else were working i thought.

Now go back to the very top picture with three paintings across the top:

the first one on the top left i did with only two values of shadow family, and two values for the light family. the second was done with three values for each, with both familys sharing medium gray. the last one is translating all this into color and you can see that the reason i didnt like those shapes (roof, chimneys etc.) was because they were the wrong's what had to be done according to the little value studies:

  • the shadow on the side of the white house needed to be lightened as did the mid tone side of the white house.

  • the roof of the white house had to be darkened

  • the chimney of the brick house and the roof had to be darkened

  • i also lightened the sky just a hair

i can now go back and correct these flaws on the original after working out the defects with these little 4x6 value studies.

so dont paint out those paintings that arent working if you like the composition, drawing and colors. work out the problems with little value paint sketches and correct the flaws on the big one. not only will you bring back a painting from the brink of death but you'll also learn an in"value"able lesson as a bonus.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cottages in the Sun-9x12-SOLD

another knife painting. this one from wrightsville beach.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Front Row-12x16-SOLD


wanted to fool around with a knife today and here's the result. pure clean color mixes are the result when knife painting. you mix right up on the shape. you scoop pure color up there, wipe the knife off and put some more pure color up there. no cloudy, muddy thinner on the brush that eventually ends up on the canvas. i did this cape school style-no yellow ochre wash, just draw the shapes, with some violet and liquin, put yellow, orange, or pink in the right value on the sun shapes, and blue, purple and violet on the shadow shapes. then color correct in phase 2, lose edges, and add three or four variations of color on the shapes. i also kept this painting very high key to get a bright sunny look.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Topsail Island September-16x20

available at Spectrum Art and Jewelry

here's the finished product from yesterdays demo.

the light is gorgeous this time of year. the light is fuzzy and warm, with long shadows. its getting dark now just after 7 pm, so i can get out about 6 for these dreamy cottage "portraits".