Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Apples and Brew-8x8

i've always said i paint light so i dont care what the subject matter itself is in the painting. i like the feeling of spotlight on this bowl, cup, and spoon. you can tell by the coolness that its not sunlight.
Well, the studio is broken down, and all items needed for a three month painting trip to Key West are packed into boxes so i dont think i'll be posting "dailies" until i get there early next week. and i have a funny feeling i'll be painting most of those dailies outside 99% of the time. i've desperately wanted to paint outside this whole month and couldnt because of the cold. i'll keep posting while traveling down there, but will pursue a workshop format.
i have several auctions going on today so click the "please click here to purchase" link above and then go to "sellers other items" to see them all. one boat scene's high bid tonite is $49 and the bidding ends soon. go bid a little more than that and "steal" it at the last minute!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nestled In-6x6-SOLD


More of lovely Tuscany. i loved these villas nestled into the landscape everywhere you looked.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Narrow Passage Way-8x6-SOLD

This one's from a friends photo taken in Italy. One of the little towns down the road from where the class was staying had this narrow little passage way, just wide enough for one car but all the italians whipped thru it at 100 mph. i'm surprised there werent wrecks there every day! we even painted plein air from this spot. you talk about being nervous painting. Wow!

Note: The winner of the auction for Demo #122110 was won by B.B for $65. congrats!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tuscan Door-8x6-SOLD

This is one from a study i did on the road just down from the villa where i stayed in Italy.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ready to Chill-8x8-SOLD

As cold as its been, its fun to paint these scenes from summer!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Everybody!

High bid on the 12x16 painting-Demo#122110 (a few posts below) is $35 by R.W. There were several at $35 but i'm going by the first one that offers a bid, if there's several at the same figure. Bidding ends on Sunday night at midnite. Here's your chance to get a big painting cheap! High bidder gets the painting and free shipping

Another study from Tuscany Italy.
Have a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dry Boat on Radio Island-6x8-SOLD

** High bid this minute on the 12x16 DEMO #122110 (a few posts below this one) is $30 by R.T.
Highest bid in my email box wins it! auction ends this sunday night (12/26)
shipped free!
Dry Boat on Radio Island-6x8
A little ditty from Radio Island near Morehead City NC, in the summer. this place has the coolest old rusty buildings, boats, and junk laying around. its one of the few real working boat yards around the coast anymore. its really fun to paint there.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Italian Study

Auction Update-- $25 is the high bid tonite on the 16x12 painting CLICK HERE TO SEE IT.
Give me more than that and its yours! highest bidder at the end of the auction on Sunday Dec. 26 (at midnite) will get the painting and free shipping. i will keep posting the bids all week and especially on sunday to keep everybody current, so stop by frequently


This is one of the studies i did when i was teaching in Tuscany Italy this past fall. this villa was just down the road from where we were staying. what beautiful scenery. when i get to my winter studio in a week or so i'll start some large paintings of Italy for the galleries from these studies and reference photos. NOTE- something fell on the righthand side of the painting when we were photographing it on the ground. oops. i'll leave that out on the bigger one LOL

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Demo #122110-SOLD

OK. An oldy goldy from several years ago. been hanging around my studio and its time for a new home.
'08-'09 Studio Sale
I'll auction this demo piece off starting at $1
what? yep, a buck!!
Bidding starts now and ends Sunday night (12/26) at midnite.
i'll post bids as they come into my email box so you can keep up with the bidding

older painting

here's the changes i made on this painting tonite:
*Lightened the pink house roof and darkened the pink to put the roof more in the light and the side more in shade
*i felt like the house on the right was a little too light and blue. so i purple/greyed it up and darkened it so it didnt blend into the roof of the pink house or the light of the sky. this gives the right side of the painting more weight and helps balance the painting better.
*darkened the overhang on the dark house's overhang. made the side facing the grass greener
*darkened the trim making it more lavender.
*edited out a few windows on the side of the house
*warmed and darkened the roof on the dark house to seperate it from the sky. i really like the house on the right now.

These dont seem like huge changes but i think it really strengthened the painting

more of todays painting....

We Three Kings-6x8

Each cosmetic bottle has its own vibe. round and squat, bright, regal, super shiny (flashy).its like they have their own personalities. then you see them in little scenarios in your head. this one seemed like Three Kings. I guess the purple and gold colors of royalty influenced me. And yes i know how crazy i sound right now! LOL. Been in the studio too long maybe?

Monday, December 20, 2010

More Make-up

Circle of Beauty-5x7

In this one i tried several things i've been wanting to work on. they are:
*mix huge piles of the main colors so that i could apply the paint thicker, and also so i dont have to keep mixing colors. working the rest of the painting out of only these big piles keeps a real harmony to the piece
*simplify the scene. start by looking at really big shapes first and then tweak em after everythings in. dont try to get too tricky (which i tend to do). going for a real boiled down effect.
*was trying a new way of shadow edge treatment. hard in places and soft in others.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Work in Progress-12/19/10

Just started a new 12x16 and this is the block-in. i'm feeling better that my bigger pc.s have the loose look that i get with my smaller ones. you have to keep the big picture in mind (no pun intended) when working bigger and dont try to use smaller brushes and start working on one portion of the painting. you have to work large, loose and all over the painting avoiding hard edges and detail.

I'm always curious what other painters studios look like so i thought i'd take a picture of corner of mine. the palette area is a large piece of glass on top of the three filing cabinets.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Red and Delicious-8x8

Been sticking around inside the studio for the past couple of days. with freezing rain outside, the studio lights at the easel feel nice and warm. here's one that i did tonite. i like the reflected light in the shadow side of the apple.
If you feel like taking a break from the cold weather why not take my Key West workshop? its january 4th-6th and there are just a few spots left. you can email me and i'll get you signed up.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Daily Painting

Pretty On Pink and Blue- 7x5
Headed to
Rowley Gallery
Below is what i painted last night. Pretty On Pink and Blue (above) shows the corrections i made.
When i looked at the painting from last night in the cold light of morning i had a few things that were driving me crazy. they were:
*didnt seem to be any difference in where the strongest light was on the table top (both pink and blue sides) so i added darker more muted paint to the top and lighter warmer light in the middle where the light was hitting the table the strongest
* softened the dividing line between the pink and blue. also made it more irregular. i had it painted the way it really looked (like construction paper with its hard perfectly straight edge) the change is more organic looking. almost looks like cloth which i'll do from now on!
*blurred the back edge making you look in the middle and foreground harder. look how in the bottom painting that soft black line is the same from the middle ground and as it hits the edge it takes you right off.
Edge treatment is huge! remember how i messed this one up and dont you make the same mistake!
the first one
If you've been around the painting business any amount of time you've probably heard the term "daily painting". But you may be asking "what is that exactly?" and may be wondering what it could offer you.
Daily painting is a movement that started years ago and is pretty much attributed to an artist named Duane Keiser. It started when he would paint a small painting (around 6x8) and post it on Ebay and auction it off, every day. If youre familiar with the online art business today that doesnt sound so revolutionary but back before there were hundreds of thousands of artists selling online, that was revolutionary. Back then just about everybody was selling exclusively at shows or in galleries. To use the 'new' technology of the internet to sell art was unheard of. Not so today. Just google "art blog" and see what pops up!
Daily painters are artists who commit to paint a small painting everyday and post it online for sale. There are also daily painter 'galleries' that post their painter's paintings online every day of the week.
Now, how can all this help the budding artist? Lets look at the benefits of painting every single day.
What would happen if you were a marksman with a rifle and shot in competitions, but you never had any target practice. Same thing goes for painting daily. Think of daily painting as target practice. They'll ultimately help your larger paintings. If you're painting daily you'll also have lots of little paintings that you can sell cheaply (compared to your larger paintings). Start a blog and put them on there everyday. After several months start asking to get in some of the new daily painter online galleries and soon you'll have several dozen potential buyers looking at your work every single day. Selling work is all about marketing and daily painting is just one really successful way to do that. Now stop reading this and go paint one!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Changing the Zoom

Feel the Heat- 5x7
This ones similar to Great Balls of Fire ( a few posts below) but i changed up the composition by zooming in much closer. i also went for a different look. i like painting pans of fire. can you tell?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Its That Time of Year!

Pink Triad-7x5

You can tell when its winter whenever i'm painting cosmetics. thats the only time i ever do 'em.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Yellow Fin-8x6-SOLD

I love painting guys on the back of boats holding up their catch. the sun, the light and shadow, the slice of water behind them.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Unattended2 Revised-9x12

First Unattended2

Did a little revising on this painting from a few weeks ago. i keep completed paintings around in front of me to see if they need anything. i kept looking at this one and it just wasnt doing anything for me so i made a few changes. there weren't enough temperature shifts for my liking so i made these changes:
*darkened and cooled the dark shadows on the house and made the sunny side less orange (a little redder and darker)
*darkened the larger roof
*lightened the smaller roofs
* a spot of darkness under the far right window
*got rid of the far right tree so it doesnt compete with the house
*cooled off the foreground grass and simplified it, making the house pop out more
*darkened the tree trunk so it doesnt fight with the left side of the house
* gave more definition to the tree, making it more subtle and painterly. added sky holes too
the combination of dropping some values and cooling some shapes down made a big difference and makes the house more important, and now its the star of the show. the painting has more pop!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Headed to the small works show at
$200 framed

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Chef Series

At the Lobster Pot-6x8


Great Ball of Fire-6x8


Fire and Slice-8x6


Seems the chefs i did a few months ago are selling pretty well, so i did another series of them. i like the contrast between the warmth of the fires and the coolness of the stainless steel kitchens on the two chefs with pans of fire. Two more in this series to come.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tweaked a Bunch


Unattended 2-9x12
Promised Land-8x10 SOLD

Pollack Street Shadows- 8x8

More from some recent outings. just got them "tweaked"-- the technical name for adding subtle temperature, value and edge work, after getting them home, out of the field. these days i work on them in the studio until i like em. dont care how long that is. i do try to show restraint tho', because there is such a thing as overworking them, where you can lose the right color, and the freshness and spontaneity you get working for only two hours outside in the elements. these days your hands and feet get cold and the sun seems to move much faster during these short early winter days.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Busy Busy


Rock Harbor, Overcast-6x8

Overshadowed Barn-8x10

Farm Arrangement-9x12

Backyard Frontyard-6x8-SOLD

been busy, busy. too many paintings to post one at a time, so i'll post a bunch that were recently done.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter Wet Paint

driving back to the studio today, i decided to take some back roads, looking for a painting, and came up on this beautiful winter scene. thought i'd let you see what it looked like and the small changes i made. the colors of the photo arent even close to the real scene. this is why photos are good for the drawing and details part of a painting but you really need to do plein air color studies done on site to get the actual colors out there. the photo makes the sky look white and the building in shadow, blue. thats not how it really looked.


i moved the phone pole out of the middle of the peak of the house, and moved the small tree closer to the center for better balance. i made the path look more like a dirt road. Paved streets just dont have the same aesthetic as a dirt path.

bare trees are very hard to make believable in a painting, and they usually take me a few months of painting them before i like what i do. in this painting i feel like i'm "getting there".
also used a painting knife edge to get those fine telephone pole lines. works great

Monday, November 29, 2010

Prep Work

Planning a 16x20 painting of an interior i did as a demo a few months ago. here's the thumbnail value plan/Notan of it showing the division of light and dark. these really get the scene into your head before diving into paint. this way you know what to emphasize and what to de-emphasize value wise. also helps you mass darks together for a nice design.

Study of Lamp on a Table- 5x4
$50 plus $8 shipping
email me or call 919-920-9718 if you'd like this study
in the color study i try very hard to stick with the sketch light/dark map. values can be similar in objects and you break em out by changing the hue. keep the darks massed together. i'll use this, the demo painting, and the reference photo to complete the upcoming larger piece.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Notan Sketches Save One

Cocktail Time-8x6
email me or call 919-920-9718 if you want this one

Ok. Here's what cocktail time used to look like. but after working with Notan sketches all day yesterday i realized the notan of the original was weak. so i revised it to have a stronger Notan. which equates to a stronger painting.
Notan is japanese for Light/Dark. what you do is draw the light and dark pattern in a very abstract way so that the design is as interesting and powerful as it can be. real notan uses just two values but i like having three or four in my sketches. you dont try to describe form with notan like you do in a value sketch, but instead you try to think of the large shapes and work them into nice patterns of light and dark. so i guess its a hybrid notan and value sketch that ive done below in my sketchbook.

i'm using medium gray pastel paper i bound into a sketchbook, a very dark Duotone pencil from Derwent and a stick of white oil pastel. these are my fave drawing tools. just having them in my hand makes me want to sketch. i tell all my workshop students that if you want to get better at painting, they need to sketch whenever theyre not holding a paint brush.

what i did to cocktail time original was simplify the light pattern. by going dark over the windows and then down the left side and connecting it to the shadow part under the bar, i made the dark pattern bigger and more solid. makes the window look even whiter which silohouettes the focal point, the bartender, nicely. also took out the distracting little white lights over the figure in the original. also took out one window divider and moved it so it doesnt sticking out of the middle of his head anymore.
try doing a bunch of these notan sketches from paintings online you like. make sure they have nice lights and darks. the more you think in terms of good light/mid/dark value patterns, the better your paintings!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Finding Something to Paint-SOLD

Swanpoint Glimpse-6x6

alot of times during a workshop, students ask me what my thinking is when i'm looking for something to paint. so i decided to give you some of my mental processes when i'm out trying to find something to paint. these are in no particular order-

* stay in particular areas that youve found lots of things to paint, on a consistent basis, in the past. sort of like a fisherman tends to go to the same places or "honey holes" because he knows that fish hang out there. He knows he's caught fish there more times than not

* you have certain things you like. say a backlit boat, or a cottage with late afternoon light on it, etc. so go out looking for things you know have worked out for you before

* squint at the potential scene youre contemplating.make a square out of your fingers to frame the composition to see if the arrangement of fuzzy shapes is interesting.

* i have places i go when i dont mind being around curious bystanders, and places i go if i really want to paint alone. have a few places of your own depending on how you feel that day

* when you find a place you like, "crawl" every inch of it, trying to get to know the place. the longer you paint there the more things you'll consistently find.

* times of day and seasons can change familiar places and give you many more opportunities. go back to old haunts. boats get moved, new buildings get built, old trucks get put out to pasture in a field that didnt have one in it last time you were there.

* you can drive by a scene a hundred times and all of a sudden its as if youre seeing it for the first time and it needs to be painted. keep your eyes open at all times. you never know when you'll see something that just needs to be painted. and it may be on your own block or on the other side of town. you dont have to go far to find things to paint

* i get an "ahaaa" moment when i see something that needs to be painted. its the contrast, or the color, or the shapes. something makes you want to paint it. go with it when that happens to you too.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ready to Fly-6x8


been on a kick recently to paint things just because they appeal to me. its the act of painting something with absolutely no concern whatsoever for its marketability. a liberating feeling to say the least. i'm only interested in how the light acts in a given scene, with no thought whatsoever to what the subject matter is that i'm painting. even whether somebody might want to buy it or not, doesnt enter into the equation, on days like these.
found this tiny private airport with small planes scattered around a runway thru some woods. the runway was so short i couldnt believe they could get airborne in such a short distance.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Moon Over Ada Mae-5x7

Today was the kind of weather a plein air painter dreams about at night. wonderful, clear, warm light and 70 degrees. Got off two today in New Bern, an 8x8 (i'll show in a few days) and this one. what a great scene right in front of the Persimmon waterfront restaurant. in fact i edited out the restaurant that was to the right and behind the Ida Mae. its a much "cleaner" design without it. it took me years to figure out that i didnt have to paint everything i see in the landscape i'm painting. DUH!

On the paint thinner front, i found some mineral oil and tried it instead of the smelly baby oil today. i thought it was a little too thick so i switched to cheap vegatable oil and found the more liquidy consistency much better for getting all the paint out of the brush quickly. will probably stick with this for now. love the fact that i'm not rubbing toxic thinner into my skin or inhaling it day and night in my vehicle and studio any more.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Going Less Lethal


Rock Harbor Duo-6x8

One from Rock Harbor in Orleans a few weeks ago. i love painting there. its got great parking, not many tourists hanging over my shoulder when i'm painting, and tons of great scenes like this one.

Have decided to use a less lethal form of cleaning my brushes and have been using all this week. the reason i did this was... i live in my studio, literally. the place i rent for my living and studio space is closed up 99% of the time. either the air is on or the heat and thus has no fresh air circulating around. not a good idea when youre cooped up with toxic thinner fumes. so i decided to use baby oil to wash my brushes out with. here's the beater jar i use with wire mesh down in the bottom for scrubbing the brush across. the paint falls in between the mesh to the bottom leaving the thinner clean after it settles down some. after a few months, you take the wire mesh out, scrape the sludge out, clean the jar, and pour new baby oil in till its a bit over the screen.

then i "paint" the baby oil on a phone book page until all the paint is off the brush, which may take a time or two. then i "paint" the clean brush across a roll of paper towels and Voila! a clean brush. nice thing too is the brushes i use, which are synthetics, last waaaayyy longer because the thinner used to burn them and cause them to fray real quick. now the oil seems to keep them conditioned like hair conditioner does for your hair.

glad to report that since i dont use toxic thinners in my living environment any more that i dont twitch or say stupid things nearly as much as before :D

anybody know where i can buy unscented baby oil? i dont like the perfumey smell of regular baby oil. may try vegetable or walnut oil if i cant find unscented baby oil.