Saturday, February 27, 2010

Keys Sunrise-6x8-SOLD

woke up at 5 am the other morning and felt like there might be a great sunrise and headed out. i was rewarded with this painting!

Frances and Angela St-16x20
if you like this one email me for price and availability
*may go to Gallery on Greene

here's something i've been working on for a day or two.
below i show you how to be brave and scrape off 1/3 of the painting if its not working!

as i was painting away i noticed that the whole building section was drawn wrong and not to mention the cars over on the left. grab that palette knife and scrape all that work away. hey if its not working there's no sense leaving it. as stapleton kearns says (another blogging painter) and i'm paraphrasing, "there are far too many average paintings out there. we dont need anymore". so i was ruthless and took out the offending passages. all this because the one roof was too high.

here you can see where i've redrawn it in with magenta and started re-blocking in the passages. see that really light line on my row of cars. thats my perspective line so the cars are drawn in, in perspective. the whole scrape down and re-paint didnt take but 30 minutes, but could have been the difference between it selling and staying on the wall at the gallery.
in the final i also moved the curb over closer to the houses, added a pole, darkened the street so the sidewalk doesnt look like it goes all the way up and into the background. thats supposed to be road back there, but it looks like an extended sidewalk. check out how the fix did the trick by scrolling back up to the finished pic.
hope this helps you be more daring about scraping something out if its not working. thats what painters do.... scrape and paint, scrape and paint, scrape and paint.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Catherine and William St. Key West-6x8-SOLD

Love these old concrete buildings with the awnings over the windows. they throw such great shadows around. toss in a tall palm, the fact that i'm in surf shorts and flipflops painting it.... whats not to love.
everybody likes to talk to a plein air painter who's on the streets doin' his thang! good for business tho' as i give all of them a card from the gallery and tell em' go see more of my stuff. today i must have talked to ten people while i was painting. never stop while i'm doing tho
i'm working dont ya know LOL

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Old Towne Conch House-Key West-6x8-SOLD


this is another one that died on the emergency room table but was revived! you painters out there know what i'm talking about when i say one's DOA when you get it home, into the studio from out in the field. how is it possible that we think it looks good out there, till we look at it in the cruel unforgiving studio light. amazing what a few days of not looking at the thing does for your objectivity.

this one had all kinds of rust spots on the roof that broke up the light shapes into distracting little shapes. i put the roof back as one large light shape, linked a few darks to keep them as a whole unit too. that seemed to work saving this patient and kept it out of the round filing cabinet, better known as the trashcan.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Good Life on Summerland Key-6x8-SOLD


Spent today touching up and fixing my plein air paintings from early this week. this painting has had three lives.

when i was painting it, it looked like it does now and then the shadows on the boat moved and i thought i liked them better. so i painted out the original shadows and moved them over. got it home and hated it! so today i moved the shadows back where they were and got rid of chrome railings that werent working. pulled this one out of the fire, fixing it back to its former glory. funny how a small shape can ruin a whole painting! i'm slowing down and trying to fix things that dont read well and hopefully making my paintings better every day.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Duval Palm-Key West-8x6-SOLD

A little ditty from Duval Street in the late afternoon sun

Tropical City-10x8
if you'd like this one, contact me for price and availability

Jose's Cantina Morning-8x8
if you'd like this one contact me for price and availability

Elgin Lane-Key West

see a few posts down for a PayPal button if you like this one

This is one i reworked and it was posted several days ago. the clouds came in when i was painting it plein air, and i didnt really like the muted light in the old one. so i put sunlite on everything in this one and really like it now.

several people have suggested that i take a little more time with my paintings and not be in such a hurry to post them on my daily painting site. they say that the 15-20 minutes correcting a few things could be the difference between a good painting and a great painting. i hear ya. this blogging thing can be tyrannical, but thats no excuse for not putting out my very best. sounds like a new years resolution. think i'll start this next new years day. Just kidding. i started it this week as a matter of fact. now to keep it up. BTW it has helped the paintings ive posted this week, so i'm sold. now to stay slowed down and get in the habit of doing that on everyone! thanks Ray and Bob for caring enough about me and my work to suggest it!

doesnt mean everything i post will be a winner. i dont want to even give that impossible notion the chance to psyche me out. just saying i'll slow down and try to catch the glaring mistakes by looking at the piece in a mirror and getting a fresh perspective of it. again- thanks bob.

i really do want to be the best and most prolific plein air painter i can be, but not at the expense of being so rushed. so i'm slowing down some. that may mean slight price increases but i think people who arent just looking for a deal (like they do on ebay) know that good paintings are worth the little bit extra they paid. its true of luxury cars, fine wine, a nicer house and clothes, you name it. fine art shouldnt be something you buy ONLY based on whether its cheap or not. at least thats not how i buy it (yes i do buy paintings) and i buy because i love the painting and only when/if i can afford it. i dont cruise the web looking for something cheap i can buy. and this coming from the man whose picture is in the dictionary next to the word FRUGAL lol

now ive got paintings all around me that i love to look at everyday. and nobody worth a darn is giving anything away these days (or any other days- for that matter) right?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

End of the Road-Summerland Key-6x8

Went riding around up north, to the next key up from Sugarloaf Key (where i'm staying) and found some really great places to paint. this was the second of the day and i'm a sucker for a trailer anyway. but a trailer sittin' inches from the water? fuhgeddaboudit!

It's a go! the workshop to Tuscany for 10 Days in late september is a definate. I'll be teaching there for sure and if you are interested in some details drop me an email at

dont procrastinate.... there's alot of interest in this one already! come to Tuscany for ten days of art, food, wine and culture. bring your honey and make it a vacation you'll both never forget.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Keys Cottage-8x6


Did a demo tonite at The Seam Shop in downtown key west, during "Walk on White Street" (a gallery walk type thing) and thought it went very well. there were tons of people in and out all night. met a lot of nice people tonite. thanks cindy and doug!

its always been easy for me to talk and paint, but the more i do it, its even easier to do. finished the painting too, so i'm really happy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Stock Island Lobster Traps-6x8-SOLD


View Down Petronia St.- 10x8
if you like this one contact me and i'll tell you the price and availability

US 1 South-Sugarloaf Key-6x8

Redid this one taking out some of the troublesome reflections in the water. they made an awkward shape so i did away with them. like this way better.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Southernmost Southermost House-8x6-SOLD

This is the southernmost house in the U.S.

there was once another house with the title 'southernmost house' then the owner of this one built hers 18'' more south and its called the "southernmost, southernmost house"

thats one-upmanship to the max!

View of Fleming St. -8x10

contact me if you like this one and i'll give you the price and availability

this one will be in the Plein Air Exhibition at the Studios of Key West from now until the 15th of march.

Today had the key wester's bundling up with scarves and jackets. i had shorts on and a t-shirt. they can tell i'm not from here when i dress like its summer and theyre in winter mode when its 50 degrees! i met a couple today from New Jersey and they were dressed like me. they said it was averaging around freezing everyday where they live. they thought it was a heat wave today.

Just got some good news! both my paintings sold up in provincetown, cape cod! one 12x16 brought the highest price i've ever sold one that size for--$800. not bad considering he starts the bidding at $200 and he valued it between $250 and $500. and to think i almost passed on the auction owners offer to carry my work! then i found out he sells all the living and dead Cape Cod School of Art artists, and wolf kahn and emile gruppe. selling paintings is great for obvious reasons but when you sell with greats who use your technique (or should i say, i use their technique) its twice as cool! but i always remember that you can go from hero to zero overnight so i've got to give the glory to God and not take myself too seriously. if i can just keep doing what i'm doing, in the places i'm doing it....thats enough for me!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

More Sketches

More of that cloudy/overcast/brilliant sunshine days. the curse of a plein air painter. if it stays overcast you can work with that, and of course straight sun is great. but when it goes in and out every five minutes, there's no working with that. the whole value plan changes, the colors and the the lighting effect changes too much. so what do i do now? sketch!
i cant tell you how it's added to my memory banks and how its made painting plein air easier. once i've done something like these scooters a few times, i can add them to a composition if i want, even if its not really there. by drawing them from different angles, etc. i have their form memorized. not to mention... if its really there to look at, the drawing accuracy is of course waaaay better!
if i found somebody to do things that i shouldnt really be doing (like cutting and gessoeing panels) and alot of other tedious non-skilled type tasks and spent that time drawing out on location, i'd improve tenfold in a year. definately going to give this some real thought. painters should be drawing and painting and not alot of the stuff they end up having to do, that adds no value or skill to their craft. i has to to be done but we all know that delegation of jobs that can be done by others is just plain smart. something we should all think about eh?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Harpoon Harry's-Key West-6x8-SOLD

Loved the light on this building in the 10 am sun.

the bottom right two window/doors is the location of a popular key west restaurant/bar, Harpoon Harry's. wow! something thats nostalgic to a lot of people and the light attracting me too. the stars were aligned for this one. i did this one again (this time 8x10 that is now at Gallery on Greene) if you'd like it bigger than 6x8. either contact me or them and we'll hook you up.

Jose's Cuban Cantina-8x10

You can contact Gallery on Greene for this one (or drop me an email). i did this one the day after the first one a few posts back. same time of day. this is a typical corner scene down here. too much to paint, so little time.

Love the red door on this one. went back the third time and he had painted it white. i stayed with the red door on the 8x8. liked the way the red door looked versus the newly painted white one. i have an "artistic license" in my back pocket at all times LOL

Friday, February 12, 2010

Elgin Lane Key West-6x8-SOLD


Near the Sea Wall- 8x6
to KB

Wow this place just gives me one story after another.

i'm out on the streets painting and in this heat it can take a toll on you carrying that big backpack, peddling around a twenty block area, etc. Lets just say youre not fresh as a daisy. so i go to get drink and i'm at the convenient store sitting on the ground, painted up clothes, beard getting a little scraggly, paint all over me, hair going everywhich way, you get the idea.

this street person comes wheeling up on his beat up bike (looking alot like me) and he takes a real long, sloppy draw on a filter-less cigarette, down to his fingers, looks at me and says "hey man, you want the rest of this"

first i thought "rest of what?" then i thought how its not just the well-to-do folks around here that are so friendly. the old geezer offered what he had, which wasnt much. I dont smoke and i'm not homeless (not yet at least) but that was a nice gesture of him wasnt it?

took four paintings by Gallery on Greene today. a bigger Jose's Cuban Cantina among them. i'll try to get some photos of the rest before i take them in next time.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jose's Cuban Cantina-6x8-SOLD

Today i have good news and bad!

just got into a gallery here in key west called The Gallery on Greene. i've dreamed of getting into this gallery for two years, but knew back then i had to keep painting and improving to get in. it is the most high powered and prestigious gallery in key west and carries Suzie De Poo-Zuzek, Peter Vey, James Kerr, Priscilla Coote and several more of south florida's best painters. here's their link-

The Gallery on Greene

That was the good news, now the bad. i've got to paint like a maniac to get the gallery a seasons worth of paintings and just 6 more weeks to get it done! so i'll have to back off the "50 for $50 Series" to assure that i can get the gallery enough work to hold em for awhile. i will still be doing them as studies for larger paintings, i just can't guarantee that i'll get 25 more. so get what you can when you see em!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dusk Highway-Sugar Loaf-SOLD


#17 in the series

This was done right at the edge of dark and had to be finished with one of those miners flashlights on my head, it was so dark.

I bet the pattern in the sky and in the water changes every 5-10 minutes when the suns about to set. i stuck with one of the patterns and color harmonies instead of "chasing" the five or ten that i saw before it was too dark to see my hand in front of my face.

was looking around town today for stuff to paint and was actually accosted verbally and accused of "casing the neighborhood" by a very upset older lady. she swore i was up to no good. i guess looking for a painting looks just like looking for a way to break in! LOL

Monday, February 8, 2010

US 1 South-Sugarloaf Key-6x8-SOLD

Was riding home tonite up US 1 (the two lane road that connects a hundred miles of keys) and saw this scene in the rear view mirror. i heard two voices in my head argueing. it sounded something like said "i'm tired boohoo" and then the other was like "that is the coolest sunset, now get out and paint that you wuss!"

well you can see which little voice i listened to. glad i did. i really like this one. used a palette knife and the color is pure and the paint is lusciously thick. the result of watching Lois Griffel and Susan Sarback videos all afternoon yesterday, with my friend and fellow Conch Republic painter, Bob Wilson.

in other news-

Still working out the details but it looks like i'll have a three day workshop at The Studios of Key West (TSKW) next winter. there is a very vibrant art community in key west and i'm excited about the prospect of having a workshop here

i'm auctioning two pieces in Provincetown, Cape Cod this sunday the 14th. go to Outer Cape Auctions by clicking below to see the pieces. They now have a live feed of the auction and you can watch live (and bid) in real time. click here to go to their site. there is a Wolf Kahn painting for auction, Emile Gruppe, and all the Cape Cod School of Art alum sell at this auction also, so i have to pinch myself to make sure i'm not dreaming about being in this event.

met Peter Vey today. I've always loved his paintings and is one of florida's top selling artists. he has a studio in TSKW, and is a super nice guy, giving me some advice about what galleries to check into getting into, while i'm here. Google "Peter Vey Key West" and check out his awesome knife paintings. He's in Gallery on Greene here.

Keys Corner- 16x12

if you like this one contact me for price and availability

Two with the knife today. what can i say.... Griffel and Sarback DVD's got me stoked to use that long thin blade of steel instead of a brush. all i can say is... no way your monitor can capture the pure, clean color in this one. mixing on the canvas using pure, saturated color makes this one a beaut!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dappled Alley-10x8

If you like this one contact me for the price and availability

One of my fave alleys in town. love the feel of the scene. its got that laid back keys vibe and sun. one sort of like it sold (and the one below) yesterday at the plein air competition.

Customs House-10x8
Lovin' doing these street scenes in Old Town Key West. the city is so vibrant. there's always lots of street traffic, scooters scooting, and the bike population is in the thousands. Tour trolleys and bicycle tourguides escort tourists day and night. there's an excitement here and how can you not like painting on the streets listening to Jimmy Buffet songs by local musicians playing in the bars and clubs day and night too.
on this one i started with big masses of colors and once i was happy with that i started adding the little people, street signs, cars and palm trunks. a dash here, shape there makes it look more detailed than it really is

Customs House at Dusk-6x8-SOLD

This is #15

Did the Studios of Key West paintout yesterday and sold my two 8x10 entries at the wet paint sale afterwards. funny story about doing one of them.

i set up to do the other side of this building above and parked my bike about 10 ft from me and didnt think i had to lock up the bike i've been borrowing to get around town. i paint all the way up to the deadline to turn in the paintings at 3:30 pm thinking i'll jet down the street and make it on time. go to jump on my bike and its gone! oh ^^*^*)(**( what do i do? so i tell a few cabbies to be on the lookout for it and jump in one to get to the Studios. enter my paintings and the cabbie that took me there comes back in and tells me they found my bike (er,,,,nicks bike). one of the ladies shooting video for a tv station graciously offers me a ride all the way back across town to get the bike. zip back jump on and ride like a maniac to meet one of the folks buying a painting from me. get there just in time frazzled, out of breath but happy as a clam.

went from a victim of theft, hundreds in debt (for the loss of the bike) to having the bike back and money in my pocket in one hour!

bet a studio painter never had his bike stolen while he was painting. you never know what a day will bring when you paint outside en plein air. thats what makes it so exciting!

Friday, February 5, 2010

#14-Thru the Alley-Key West-8x6-SOLD

Popping around from street to alley with my plein air mobile/bike i can get these neat scenes that you cant get driving around (and walking is too tiring). i can tell that my three days of drawing gave me a good accurate drawing on this one. it has a lot of elements but the drawing went very smoothly. i'm going to stick with this sketching habit! its easy to stick with something that makes painting out on the street easier. give it go and see if you dont agree that its the best thing you can do for your painting!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Beach off Simonton St.-6x8-SOLD

Finally! the sun!

on a side note- speaking of making me immensely happy.... the place i'm staying has an outdoor shower. bamboo all around, water hot enough to peel skin, palms and banana tree leaves hanging down on you. tropical showering paradise. one of my favorite things, i think.

the funny story about the painting above is that every morning i run down here to see if its paintable and theres a beach full of people laying in the sand where they slept all night. there are tons of people down here that really just stay out under palm trees, under bridges and other vagrant camps where they band together for safety. i guess the keys is probably one of the best places in the country if you dont have an established residence or want to "fly under the radar".

people come here from every state in the nation trying to outrun the cold. hey thats me too isnt it? :D



thought it would be interesting to show some of the sketches i did today. its been rainy or cloudy since monday and i havent painted anything to post on the blog. this is what ive been doing to sharpen the drawing skills. i dont really like sketching but doing these is helpful for getting an accurate drawing of the shapes on the canvas when doing a painting. this is on greene st. looking towards the old court house (tall bldg on the left).

these are thumbnail sketches using three or four values to get a handle on the composition and value plans. really liked the channel marker sketch on the right and may paint it if the sun ever comes out again :D

i found that of all the sketching materials ive been trying out this week that i love the Micron Marker the best. i use the fine for the first few marks and use the thicker nib for heavier marks and the darker areas. i hated all the ones i did in graphite and colored pencil. always loved markers and charcoal when i was in art school. funny how things havent changed in thirty some years.

drawing something like this scooter helps to know how to paint one in should you ever have to (whether its really there or not). by sketching an object, you get to know all the shapes and how they fit together. then its in your memory bank should you ever need it. so i've been doing palm trees, scooters, cafe umbrellas, conch houses... anything i think i might need to "fake in" or to help me paint them better if they are really in the scene. its actually getting more and more enjoyable the more i do it. i'd much rather paint tho!

hopefully the sun will come out tomorrow and i'll get to paint the channel marker sketch and two or three more i've got it mind.

there's an art walk next thursday night where all the galleries stay open until 9 and i plan to be at The Seam Shoppe doing a demo and selling paintings off my table so ive got to get painting!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

#12-Key West Cemetary-SOLD

All the sketching and painting of palms is starting to pay off. if youve ever done one you know how hard they are to not overwork. not enough detail and they look cartoony. you squint and paint what you see. i'm letting the temperature (more than a big value difference) show the light on the palm fronds.

ive been doing something the last several rainy days that i never do. Sketching. i've been using a fine tip marker and a sketch pad and trying to bone up on my drawing. i really think the thing that sets a great painter apart from a good painter is drawing skill. i just dont like the linear properties of sketching. but it does help you "know" the subject very well. you have to study every curve, shape, nuance of the object. in my workshops i've been stressing that you have to be able to draw to be a good painter. so i guess now i'm saying you have to really be able to draw to be a great painter. hopefully i'll stick with it till it becomes a habit.

Monday, February 1, 2010

#11-Keys Trio-SOLD


Resting in the Keys- Here are those sepulchers and gravestones in the late day sun i was talking about the other day. ive got some more ideas to try and want to do some more in this graveyard that sits on the highest piece of ground here in key west. some graves are above and below ground, in simple and elaborate settings. i like the tranquility of the place after painting on the crowded streets during the earlier parts of the day. just a few people walking around talking in hushed tones not much louder than the swoooshing of the palms overhead.