cant you feel the sun already on this one! I'm really enjoying these big ones after years and years of 6x8 and 8x10's. me thinks me found me studio mojo.
this is an alley way off beloved Simonton St. Why is it beloved? it is a one way street with wide bike lane. your safest bet against being run over by drunk tourists on a moped for the first time. heard somewhere that key west is reigning champion for the most moped involved deaths/accidents in the states.
me on a bicycle 8 hours a day (with tons of plein air crap strapped all over) makes a really nice target for cars, mopeds and conch trains.
heres the food chain as far as transportation modes around the island. Conch train, the whale, the big kahuna, can do anything he wants since he's like 6 car lengths long. next SUV's and big trucks, cars, small cars, then motorcycles, mopeds, trikes (three wheeled bikes-very cool) then two wheel bikes, and at the bottom of the food chain, the pedestrian/tourist. but when theyre craning their neck left and right (looking at all there is to see that's different than their native des moines iowa) they'll step right off the curb without looking. bet they wouldn't do that in downtown des moines right? but I guess when you put on a bad Hawaiian shirt, and flip flops and have a map in your hand things are somehow different. tell it to the ER doc!
I wrote this post several years ago but its just as true today as the day I wrote it. so i thought I'd repost it as I'm taking off for Key West in a little over a week.
and YAAAAAHH--- tomorrow will be the shortest day of the year. on the 22nd the days will start getting longer and longer! don't know about you but I needed that bit of "sunny" news!
today i want to discuss a little talked about subject in the artistic realm, and thats your muse. a muse is commonly referred to as some impish pixie that makes you want to paint, play music, write and create (in general)
your muse is very important to the process. have you ever had a spell where you just didnt want to create anything. some use the word inspiration, as in "i had no inspiration". i know what they mean but you must remember the old adage "painting (writing or whatever) is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration" this is certainly true if what you create also feeds you and puts gas in your car. i think working everyday at your craft is what gives your muse something to work with. and travel to places that your muse loves. for me thats key west. i love key west for several reasons, a million really. its a creative town. my muse works overtime here. i want to paint. i want to play music, also to think about life in a far different way than i do in northern latitudes for some reason. the tropics have a way of reminding you to cheer in unison with people nearby when the sun goes down. when's the last time you cheered the end of a beautiful day? appreciate the little things that make life, well, life.
it reminds you to take a nap in the middle of the day, when its so hot. and without guilt because you know you'll need the energy for the nighttime (day part two) that happens after another breathlessly beautiful sunset. down here you are constantly running into poets. musicians, artists, writers, and their overactive muses. a menagerie of eclectic "characters" assemble here, in this judgement free zone and can range from the buttondown polo shirt crowd to barefoot, shaggy haired, beachbum types all attending the same event. also noticed that signs telling you not to do things are an oddity here. probably because it wouldnt do any good! its the 21st century version of the wild west pretty much.
i said all this to say. if you have a hard time getting your muse to help you out, take him/her/it to a place where there are thousands and thousands of other muses running amuck. yours is bound to get excited and start giving you words, music, paintings galore.
but for me right now....its getting hot and its past my naptime!
then gotta get up and paint that golden hour painting ive been wanting to do for weeks. go muse!
Day two- correcting the colors, correcting shapes (ie. tightening up the chimney and windows areas, a few gutters added. also intermixing bounced colors into the rewetted purple blue of the building.
the trick is to not get too far away from the colors, values, and saturations of this. just correct some colors (either a little warmer or cooler) and show different colors as each plane changes etc. Do this without tightening up the strokes just because I'm getting more and more completed on this painting. its 24x36 and right now has the looseness of my small plein air studies.
here is the 24x36 painting ive got on the easel for the next several days. this is the most fun you can have with your clothes on! the underpainting. spreading around wild pure colors on a huge canvas with crazy big brushes! no fear stage. I mean if you don't like it you wipe it off and put something else down. you can do that at any stage in the painting but this early on there's such a freedom to the painting process.
this is the lighthouse keepers house on top of monhegan island, one of the most magical places to paint anywhere on the east coast. this is being done from an 8x12 study I did one morning when the sun was just gorgeous on the side of the building and you could see for miles across the water.
here's how loose I keep it at this stage, really no hard edges anywhere to be found. that's fun too!
another shot of the blurry edged, thick paint going on
be really careful with your palette knives, they are just like razor blades after a few months of use. I cut the back of one of my fingers today on my blade, while I was painting. zip and its laid open. luckily its like a paper cut, very thin. note to self: be more careful with something called a painting "knife"
after my last few posts about my 'crappy' brushes I was flooded with requests for pics of them, so here they are. I buy em at a hardware store for less than a dollar each. sometimes theyre called 'chip' brushes
they do require cutting with scissors to make them of any use, tho'.
I cut the height of the brushes down until theyre 'stiffer' and then work all the way around the brush trying to turn it into a filbert-type shape.
I used to just underpaint with these but love em so much I actually paint much of the painting now with these. they last an unbelievable amount of time and get better as the months go by. sizes I use range from 1/2", 1" and 1 1/2" for the bigger shapes I need to paint.
the reason I like the raggedy things is it keeps my stuff looser, longer. cant get too detailed or hard edged with these things! give one a try.
Fantastic news today! i'll now be represented in Charleston SC at the Atelier Gallery on King St. The gallery is awesome and right on gallery row. They also represent tons of great painters. very humbled to be in with such a talented bunch. will soon be getting the gallery lots of new paintings that I'm working on, as well as a bio for their website. more about those new paintings in progress in future posts.
here's the first step of the finished painting. as you can see I let a lot of the pervading pinks and lavendars "peep" thru on the finished piece. also kept the feel of looseness using those crazy 50 cent throwaway brushes from the hardware store 80% of the way thru the painting. how can you make an overly tight stroke with hairs sticking out four ways on the brush. SHHH don't tell anybody my trick. LOL
here's the finished piece for a commission ive been working on. caroline, the client, owns the photo gallery on the right under the furthest blue awning. she wanted to capture the late fall leaves that were so pretty in downtown new bern nc but a heavy rain took them all down before I got a chance to set up and paint. so I made them up. hope you like it caroline!
Stage Two of the 8x12 I'm working on. I'm using a very large "crappy" bristle brush that I buy at the hardware store for less than a dollar. I take scissors and shape it into a homemade filbert shape. there's no way I can paint accurate small shapes and this tends to work for me keeping the "big Picture" forefront in my mind. Large abstract shapes without concern for what the "things" are.
mostly staying in the darks and mids range of tones still. i'll let this sit a day or two and come in with adjustments to color and temperature, and then when I'm happy with that i'll start putting in smaller subtle shapes of similar value within each shape. then i'll finish up with a few details for a nice contrast the "big look" shapes.
note: scroll down a post or two to see what stage one looked like
here are a few sequence shots of a commission (22x28) that I'm working on. I'm working from a photo and drew everything on in a burnt orange and worked up values in alizarin crimson for the darks and burnt orange values for the mids. then I put yellow down for the side walk because I want it to have some warmth when I put the brick color over it down the line. see the light pattern already developing even at this early stage. everythings highly colored and saturated at this stage.
in this shot you can see I'm developing the cars and and the facades of the buildings. these colors are more realistic and I'm sticking to my value plan from stage one. I like the way the trees are blending right into the building so I want to make sure I preserve that in the final product. love the looseness of this so far. I'd love to keep that as well. I say that everytime but THIS time I'm going to do it :)
Will be heading to Key West/Key Largo pretty soon so if you're down in the keys during the winter and would like some private lessons drop me an email.
here is the start of a still life commission I'm working on this week. I really enjoy staying loose, putting the gesture in drawing-wise, then using warm colors for shapes in the light and cooler colors for the shadow shapes. for one with real life commitment issues this style of start really suits me!
i'll go back and put the real color in when its tacked up some. then you'll see that I have a pool ball, stick of cotton, fast food cup, matchbook, playing care and a that shape behind the cup will be a fur stole. now that'll be a challenge. never painted fur before. i'll do what I always do. Squint and paint what I see!
here's a pic of one of several ive got in the studio pipeline. I use blues, oranges and several values of pinks and lavenders to underpaint with. I like to get rid of the really orange paint the canvas started out as. you can see peeks of it in areas that will probably get highlites on it. I work out the value scheme and drawing in this phase, as well as the temperature scheme. I let this dry and then go back on top of it. I love this part of painting process. very intuitive and love the loose manner I work in (at this stage).
my plan is to keep a lot of that even as I put more accurate colors and marks down.
Note- please LIKE me/friend me (don't know which at this point/whatever you do over there LOL) on Facebook to follow me there. hit this link
really like this format- 8x12. it shows a more panoramic view which I like a lot. was really interested in the play of light on the water and the blue shadows and water versus the warm sunlit side of the trees. and of course I was after the ever elusive sparkle on the water.
Friday starts my gig at Art of the Carolina's Expo. i'm teaching a class on the secrets of color mixing, how to paint with a knife, and sunday is the Cape Cod Underpainting class. let me know if you wanna sign up and i'll get you in touch with the sponsor, Sharon from Jerrys Artarama.
on gallery wrap canvas/ painted around the sides (no frame needed)
email me for price and availability
ive had this painting kicking around for a few years and always loved it. it had a nice composition and the perspective was drawn well. why was it not hanging in a down east cottage or hanging in a Raleigh home, reminding its owner of their beach house?
let me tell you....the ones I don't love, I ruthlessly sand them down and regesso them for future paintings.no mercy with bad paintings. thing is I thought they were great two years ago LOL!
thought i'd put my two years of new experience painting to use and repaint parts of it. here's the original and then what I did this morning to improve it.
1. repainted all the major shapes with more saturated (read bright/pretty) color. thought this was just a little too neutral. folks don't like neutral paintings. this was done outside and I tend to be more naturalistic (read neutral) out there. one of the pitfalls of painting and looking " into the sun". look how much better the farthest back house looks purplish/blue versus gray
2. worked on the cars in the bottom right corner. darker red in the shadow and warmer and lighter in the light. darkened the truck with the camper
3. brightened the lights on the bushes and darkened and cooled the shadows. this trick breaks the light out away from the shadow (read-gives more contrast)
4. gave the sky more temperature shifts and variety.
5. made the shadows on the white driveway bluer and darker.
wow! what a difference. always give your 'dead' inventory a careful once over before destroying them. they might just need some simple TLC to bring them back to life. put those years of experience since you painted it to good use. but don't think theyre all redeemable. they aren't. that's why we get paid the big bucks. yeah right. that's hysterical!
this was completed mostly on location and tweaked in the studio. I think ive finally figured out how to quit messing them up back in the studio. you can almost never really "finish one out" on these big one in the field and I thought the bigger ones needed more subtle color (ie, temperature) shifts. the drawing and values must be left alone and the overall color note put down on location. the key is to just go into that and add smaller shapes within big ones in slightly different colors of similar paint. this gives the subtlety bigger ones need. if you want to see what i'm talking about look at the shadow under the truck. lots of color shifts under there but when you squint the mass is intact value and color-wise.
at the Plum Gallery in St. Augustine. contact me and i'll get in touch with them if you'd like this one
Did this one this week for the small works show in Fla. did it from another little plein air study I did several years ago on Geiger Key, just up from key west.
lots of little canals all over the place like this one. couldn't resist the reflections in the dead still water and that shot of blue from the boat in the dark reflection of the trees.
Oh yeah! big news! The Art of the Carolina's is coming up November 8-10 and promises to be the biggest ever. its the cross between some crazy art circus and art school. All the major art supply manufacturers like Windsor Newton, Grumbacher, you name it, show up. they show their latest products, have demos and give great discounts at the show. then there's the workshop component. I, along with about 40 other teachers from across the country will descend on north Raleigh holding over a hundred workshops in about three days. anything you could possibly care to learn about, in a variety of mediums and styles.
i'll be teaching my adaptation of the cape cod underpainting method, knife painting, and the Secrets of Color Mixing. comraderie, fun, good deals, and instruction. whats not to love? and you can stay right in the Raleigh north Hilton where its held!
i'll be teaching three classes so email me if you think you might wanna attend. its the biggest workshop and art supply convention in the states!
New Workshop in Austin Tx
email me if you live near Austin and want to sign up its October 5-7 and the Atlanta w.s has a spot or two open. that date is October 11-13
passing the time on the the ferry heading back to Port Clyde from the recent Monhegan Island Maine trip
this painting is all about getting the value relationships right. this one was done from a plein air study of a beautiful sunset in key west this past winter. i'm still amazed I get to wear shorts in January and February!
the plein air study was quick and I made sure I kept this one as loose as that one
love the way the two pieces of bright yellow and white light at the ground level of the buildings look like theyre coming around something.
a stroke here and there and next thing you know you see sailboats moored at the dock. well it helps that ive painted hundreds of sailboats so I just imagined what they would look like in this light key. "paint, paint, paint" gets lots of this type of raw data in the old brain banks so you can access it when you need it
Shady Lane-6x8 this little postcard painting is headed to a small works show at a St. Augustine gallery in a few days. contact me if you'd like to purchase it
Important Workshop News! a few spots left in my Cape Cod Underpainting class at Binders in Atlanta. in this class i'll show you a surefire way to add lots of beautiful color to your paintings using my adaptation of the classic Cape Cod School of Art technique.
deadline is tomorrow so email me before Friday!
Vanishing View-18x24 available at Rowley Gallery Orleans Cape Cod contact me for details
a little ditty from my show on the cape a few weeks ago. a home builder was gracious enough to let me paint from this wonderful bluff overlooking the coastline from truro to ptown. but once the houses are built i'm sure the owners wont take kindly to strangers on "their property". so it is indeed, unfortunately, a 'vanishing view'
just got back from the cape after a grueling 14 hour straight-thru drive. i'm still passing cars in my subconscious. saw several near misses with people changing lanes at 80 miles an hour, missing each other by just inches. I saw one woman at the Virginia/NC border barreling down the interstate in pitch blackness with no lights on. really? really?
and folks are nervous about going in the ocean because of sharks? hmmmph. the chances of being killed by a shark are about the same as winning the lottery twice or being hit by lightening twice. the odds of having something happen to you while driving the interstate for fourteen hours. that's a different story!
whats on tap for me now that i'm back? ive got about eight paintings that need painting for a new place i'll be showing some work in St Augustine Florida. has to be done soon so I gotta get on it. i'll post some more of the cape works too now that i'm off the road for a few months
the above was a demo I did recently at my workshop in Falmouth on the cape. I showed how to draw a house in perspective, block in the shadow pattern and then apply the correct colors. the painting took about an hour and a half and the students were eager to jump on one of their own. a good sign they liked the demo!
the next day we went to the inlet but the wind was gusting and after a little sketching (some in paint, some with charcoal and pencil) we high tailed it back inside the comfy art center and did a limited stroke exercise where you have to paint an entire painting in less than 50 strokes. I had a class full of great artists and no one complained the whole time. well...not until the wind got up to about 20 knots LOL! a great workshop and I was invited back to do it again next year.
haven't been posting, i know. been painting up a storm tho'. just cant stop long enough to download pics off the camera and then blog.
i will soon promise!
do want to announce that all the work is done for the Rowley Gallery show i'm having. the opening party is sunday September 1st from 5-7
if youre in Orleans then please come by. there will music from my buddy tim Sweeney and his band Fringe, playing boomer rock, wine, you name it. and oh yeah! about 13 new paintings ive been working on since i arrived on the cape august 1st!
this year has been a booming year for painting sales up here and i'm grateful to all the people that allow me to do what i love. biggest shout out for that is of course my lovely wife Annette who sacrifices so much to let me leave the state several times a year to work. i couldn't do it without her, or my gallery owners, who go to great lengths to make sure they promote me to their collectors. let me tell you....planning and coordination of these events is an enormous undertaking and costs a few bucks! then there are the collectors who buy my work. without them i'd have to go to work for walmart, right?
leaving for maine tomorrow to teach a Mentoring Workshop for students who've taken one of my other workshops. it'll be an eat,sleep, dream, painting, trip. total immersion experience.
there are also a few slots for the Falmouth Massachusetts workshop coming when i get back from maine. see the right sidebar for dates. let me know if you want to attend and i'll contact the sponsor.
look out for paintings from maine in the next few days!
Been away for a while. had to move really short notice and did it all myself. took right at a week. just moving the studio took me a whole day. but i'm in my new place. just minutes from the intercoastal waterway and beach.
this weekend was the blues festival in Wilmington, I got to play harmonica for the headliner at the jam. that was really cool.
you know you cant be slingin' paint every minute. I love making music and the two passions have a lot in common.
this week I leave for cape cod/maine and i'll be on a painting binge. keep an eye out here for all the new work from the great white north