Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye '07- The Salt Pile-6x8

SOLD to collector in montreal canada

Here's one from the state port in wilmington. the lady said it was a pile of salt that would eventually end up in soup. how cool is that?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

More still life fun


I have finally got the still life corner user friendly and couldnt wait to throw this blue vase up on the stand and PAINT

underpainted it with red and let alot of it peek through. somehow that infuses paintings with all that warmth (even in the shadows) and it looks like it was painted outside in sunlight to me. so i'm super happy with this one. still feeling out my style/color combos etc as you can tell by previous posts. to me they all look like different people did em. i'll land on a consistent style as soon as i've played some more.

NOTE- - just sold my first (of many i hope) painting on ebay to a high bidder in charleston, sc. she bought the rooftop in wilmington painting for a whopping $49.95 about a fourth of what i used to sell them for in other venues. you know me i'm all about volume.

"Small Blue Vase"- 8x6-oil on canvas board

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Clearly a Pear- 8x6 on c.b.

Email me and make an offer on this one.

The more of these still life setups i do, the more stoked i get. you can arrange the same setup with traditional lighting effects or really dramatic. you can change the eye level from straight on to looking straight down on it. all these variables change the colors, shadow patterns etc. making it much more exciting to paint than i ever imagined. and to think i thought anything except plein air was boring. carole marines blog has given me so much inspiration. thanks carole

i spent the morning making a corner of the studio a cool little still life area. it has peg board and shelving for ease of height adjustment and a cool way to hang the lighting so i can instantly go from side lit to backlit in seconds. i'm ssoooooo stoked. cant wait for some rainy cold days so i can have an excuse to stay inside and experiment.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Urban still life


Semi-Abstracts-6x8- oil on c.b.

Liked the way these semi's were all lined up on that green grass and the shadow on the white one really caught my eye. that purple against white was begging to be painted.

starting to get bids on Ebay now that christmas is over and people are back on the net.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Un-official beginning of winter

Blue Jar and Orange - 6x8 oil on c.b
Make me any offer. First to contact me with a reasonable offer wins

When it gets too cold for me to paint outside its time to set up the still life. yesterday was rainy and cold so i went to the dollar store and found this cool shiny blue jar for a dollar. i love a good bargain. then to the grocery store for blues complement (an orange).

i really wanted to nail the reflection of the orange on the jar.

if anybody knows how to make a still life stand please let me know. i'd love to copy your design.
ive got a feeling its gonna be a long, cold winter.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Overcoming problems with changing light

Warehouses and Old Tracks 5x7 oil on c.b.

I think the worst thing that can happen to a plein air painter while he is working is changing light from cloud cover. i can take winds up to 40 mph blowing my easel and umbrella around. bums trying to get wine money while i'm scanning values is fine. bugs crawling up my leg in high weeds still ok. but let a cloud get in front of the sun or some milky clouds take over a once clear sky and you have to really earn your money!
what happens is the shadows all disappear and all the colors change. quite simply- you are no longer looking at the same scene.

that is exactly what happened while painting this. when i started the sky was milky from high clouds that were partially hiding the sun. so i lay down the underpainting with the sky being the lightest value and the rest middle values with a few dark areas under overhangs, telephone poles, etc. i'm painting away and then boooom the sun pops out- the sky looks deep blue and the walls of the warehouses went full on orange.
the thing to do (which is hard) is to ignore the sunny scenario if you started with the slightly overcast one. if you start changing midstream, you are- whats called- 'chasing the light'. all your values will be mixed up and you'll have a mess.
so stick with one value plan even if it changes before your eyes as the painting progresses. good memory for the original scene and painting what caught your eye in the first place will keep the painting from ruin.
if you'd like more explanation on value plans leave a comment below

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Rooftop View in Wilmington


Painted this off top level of the front st. parking deck.

a hundred pidgeons were my only audience. this old building caught my eye standing out against the cool blues of the cape fear river and the sky.

for those that would like to know my techniques- note: i do my whole underpainting in acrylics because it dries fast and i can sketch and lay in colors one on top of another very quickly. when i'm happy with the underpainting i switch over to oils

first comes a wash of magenta acrylic and a tad of white to get rid of the blinding white canvas. then i use straight magenta to draw big shapes and let the wash be the medium value and paint in the darkest value with a combination of magenta and blue. find the lightest value shape and paint it white-ish yellow. now you have a colorful/bright and warm base for all your oils.

now i switch the palette over to oils, and try to paint the approximate colors of the big shapes thinly, adjusting and thickening the paint as i hone in on the right value/color. i work for about 2 hrs. and at the end i bring out a small brush and add the details like telephone poles, window sills, people, etc.

leave the small brushes till last so you dont get concerned with detail until right at the end. painting is all about big shapes of proper "valhues" as kevin mcpherson calls em.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Good Place to Work

Heres the studio version from the plein air 12x16 " A Good Day at Work" less the van.
my internal debate is whether "most" people like their large landscape paintings to be idyllic and dreamy versus having a component in it thats maybe not so dreamy. the van introduces "work" or "reality" into it?
there are lots of people that love the george bellows genre of work/not so lovely reality/industrial stuff but i'm trying to figure out if the traditional landscape buyer will buy them large

i put the small shrimper in the back because they do work at this spot.

it's funny-these guys ignore me when i'm painting, where most times people gawk at me when i'm painting around them. they dont even pay me any mind.

me-- i like the one with the van in it. may do one large with it in there just to prove to myself that i havent sold out :)

contact me if you're interested in this one


Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Fort Bragg-SOLD

Today i went down to the cape fear river (wilmington) to one of my favorite spots to paint tugboats.

capt. eddie from the fort bragg asked me did i want to ride along on one of his jobs. i was like a kid as we pulled a ship as big as a large building down the river and turned it around for its voyage to new orleans.

this was a great day for me and thanks go to capt eddie for having me along.

i already liked tugs as painting subjects before i went along. now i'm really crazy for them and you'll be seeing many, many more i'm sure.

the sun was setting fast and i had less than an hour and a half to do this portrait of the fort bragg.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Backlit Crossing- 5x7 oil on canvas board

i have a fascination with it. even the paintings i buy for myself are all (at this time) backlit subjects.

when painting, i'm always drawn to this lighting effect when i see it. there's something magical about it. and its very hard to capture realistically because of the dark silouhetted subjects against a usually blinding sky. the stark light against dark value contrast is tricky and hard to replicate from real life.

here's one from morehead city side looking thru some houses at the atlantic beach causeway.

once i got back to the studio i was wondering if the bridge couldnt use a little softening in the distance as it goes toward the right side of the painting and on the other hand i kinda like the stark contrast between the dark valued bridge and the dreamy atmospheric look and the light-ish building and awning. it didnt jump off the page as being the wrong values out there so i may just leave it alone. i'm trying to quit second guessing stuff like that after leaving the field. its almost like armchair quarterbacking from the studio. maybe there's a truth out there standing in front of it thats on the canvas that will be lessened after changing it back home 6o miles away under artificial light. who knows?

Contact me by email if you're interested in this painting. auction will end 7 days from the first bid, and go to the highest bidder

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

my new blog

A Good Day at Work_12x16_oil on canvas board

well here is the first post on my new blog

i'll try my best to post at least weekly and when the weather's bad i'll do it daily. this will give you some insight into the life of a struggling plein air artist. i've been fulltime almost a year now and i hope those hard times are behind me. to steal an already famous quote "they were the best of times, they were the worst of times"

thanks for looking-

If youre interested in this piece contact me by email. its in the sidebar above and to the right

here is one of the newest paintings done this past week

its in sneads ferry and the guys drive down to the waters edge and park. they wade out into the shallow water in their "sneads ferry sneakers" (rubber boots) out to the boats and oyster, fish etc.

how would you like this place to be your workplace? i'm lucky because it's mine too! life is good!