Monday, November 9, 2015

Dusk on the Marsh 30x40

Here's a recent large painting. you should see it in person. the colors under the top coat just glow thanks to the acrylics I paint first in the underpainting stage.
Next week is the big Art of the Carolina's event in Raleigh. Huge art workshop/supplies convention that runs for four or five days. I'll be teaching three classes and as far as I know there are still seats available for all.
Thursday Nov. 13- 5- 8 pm-How to Mix any Color with three and white
Friday Nov. 14- 5-8 pm- How to Simplify Complex Subject Matter
and all day Sunday Nov. 15-- my version of the Cape Cod School of Art underpainting method.

I'll also be playing island tunes at the trade show on Saturday afternoon from around 2-4 so come get your caribbe -on!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Boat House 36x48 SOLD

From my marsh series this past summer. Thanks to City Art for selling it at my show a few months back! 

i'm still blogging but i FaceBook alot more and all my new paintings and workshop dates are posted there almost daily. 

If you search mike rooney artist VCU you'll find me and you can friend request me.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

plein air sketch Maine coastline

This one is a quick sketch done several years ago near Port Clyde Maine when I was going over to Monhegan to teach. Very near Jenny B's house to be exact.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

North Harbor Reflections-30x40

North Harbor Reflections - 30x40

Just off the easel.

Like the warmth of the sunlit shapes against the cool blue shadows.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Keeper of the Light-8x10

Just got back from Maine and Rhode Island. Terrible wifi so no posts from me for awhile. Here's one of the lightkeeers house on Monhegan Island. Its sold.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Penniman's House-8x8

First plein air painting on my Cape Cod-Maine road trip. Capt. Penniman was Eastham Mass.'s wealthiest whaling captain back in the middle 1800's. The arch/gate is a 65 foot sperm whale's lower jawbone.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Edge of Evening - 24x30

Headed to Munn Fine Art on Cape Cod soon.

Working a lot more transparently in the shadows these days. Always interested in how I can make things glow more. Read some Stephen Quiller books and added a few tools to my toolbox. He's very good at making things pop.
 He's primarily a water-media guy but the concepts work in any media.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mid Tide (revision) 18x24

Mid Tide-18x24
oil on panel
email me for price and availability
This is the original painting. painted several years ago. it never sold. Surprise, right? NOT!
oh sooo ugly. here are the changes i made.
simplified the grass and made it much brighter. 
changed the color scheme warming it up, brightening and lightening it up.
simplified the water strip in the back and made it connect to the tidal pool
punched up the sky.
that's better!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Marsh III- 30x40

Marsh III- 30x40
on gallery wrapped canvas (no frame needed)
email me for price and availability
another marsh scene from the series. this ones a larger version of a painting I did last week. in the past I've never been into series. but having done several of each of these marsh motifs I see the value. the more you do it you begin to see things that work for each component of the painting. you keep doing the things that seem to work and you you ditch things that aren't in search of things that do. that way they seem to evolve.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Flowing In- 36x48

Flowing In
36x48 on gallery wrapped canvas
email me for price and availability at

so many things about the way i paint have changed in the last year. one area is the size. i never used to enjoy painting big. now i love it. i'm using a part acrylic, part oil underpainting process that gives me the peeks of pure color i love poking out in just the right spots. and I learned a thing or two from my buddy Dan Nelson about transparent glazes. I don't do it a lot but it looks great on certain areas.
also, my color sense went more Wolf Kahn and less Kevin Mcpherson with much looser brushwork.
But probably the biggest change is that i'm painting almost everything in the studio since last december. i'm using studies and photo references from years and years painting outside almost exclusively. i think it taught me how to "correct" a photo if I have to.  But I'm doing my own interpretation of the them tho'. i'm not so literal anymore, and don't try to exactly reproduce the scene and light key like i used to. Trying to introduce some "wow" factor into the painting.
painting is a fluid thing and the bar is always changing. what i thought i was doing ok on a few years ago, look laughable and amateurish to me now. as the ones i'm doing now will look in several years.
that is....i hope!

Friday, July 17, 2015

On the Hill Side- 30x40

On the Hillside- 30x40
on gallery wrapped canvas
email me for price and availability
 a different version of Hill Top Cottages.
wanted to play with different light and composition. The big ones are fun because you can play in the shapes with subtle temperature differences and broken color (that the computer image doesn't show) that you wouldn't have room for on a small one.
And the size of the canvas is a big statement as well.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Hill Top Cottages-30x40

Hill Top Cottages-30x40
email me for price and availability
this one's from Bald Head Island. I love the elevation on this side of the island. its very desolate feeling out there. sorta reminds me of my travels to Cape Cod and Maine.

Workshop News
there are seats left in next Monday July 13-Wednesday July 15th workshop in West Jefferson, NC. it's a "Loosen Up and Paint Colorfully" plein air class. The weather is much cooler in the mountains and Kathleen says its gorgeous painting weather with amazing mountain vistas. I cant wait! if you'd like a seat email me and i'll arrange it. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Marsh Land- 36x48

Marsh Land- 36x48 on gallery wrapped canvas
email for price and availability
still trying to playing with color, paint handling and underpainting techniques. I'm having a lot of fun on these big canvases. easier to be loose on a monster canvas than it is on an 8x10, that's for sure.
I think of 16x20's as mini canvases now. big change since a year ago. changing from cooking oil to Gamsol thinner made this possible. it was just too hard to get all the paint out of a huge brush using cooking oil. now a swish or two in some Gamsol and poof. clean! 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sundowner- 30x40

Sundowner- 30x40 on gallery wrapped canvas
email for price and availability

wanted some razzle-dazzle on this one. used giant brushes on much of this until later in the painting and that kept it loose for quite a while. Gotta know when to stop tightening it up.

Cuba Workshop dates will be January 16-23, 2016. I'll be taking a handful of people with me to Havana, so if you'd like to go, email me and i'll get you the details.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

side by side comparison

did a side by side comparison study to see why the blue under painting color shows so blue in my photos. think I figured it out.
the acrylic looks bluer than the oil in the photo. Acylic test patch is on the top (see the A) Oil is on the bottom. tho' theyre the same on the real panel they look different to my camera for some reason.
I purposely did the left side of both a little lighter and that's whats causing the problem. the dark green I'm swirling in is darker than the purple. so it seems the solution to not having light saturated blue peeking out is to darken the value of the underpainting color.
see how the right side of the top panel looks ok with the dark green added into it compared to the lighter blue below in the oil panel?
yeah. glad to at least have a clue to whats been going on.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

new paintings this week

The Landing-24x40
email me for price and availability

Cuban Hero- 18x24
email me for price and availability

Water View 24x30
email me for price and availability

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Buggy Ride 24x30

Buggy Ride- 24x30
contact me for price and availability

the finished painting. I fixed the slope in the far left horses back and tightened up a bit the driver and people in the buggy. also changed the color (a bit) of the house and worked on the car some.
just got back from teaching in Atlanta and Roswell Ga.
the first was at Binders Art Store in Buckhead then I went to Roswell Fine Art Ass. Both classes were full of passionate painters and great people.
I'm trying to get into the painting groove but finding it hard with all the traveling. I need to find a nice routine of doing admin type stuff in the morning, painting in the afternoon and playing music at night. once I do that for a few days in a row I find my groove and can paint. if I'm all over, here and there its hard to concentrate on the paintings. I'm not complaining, just giving you a little insight into the world of a fulltime painter. its very little actual easel time if you added it all up. I'd like more time there but it doesn't work that way, like I wish it did. workshops help pay the bills so I'm not complaining a bit! 
a typical day in my life involves blogging, admin stuff like keeping up the painting database, emailing about workshops and gallery commitments. travel to and from the workshops, and time teaching. Buying materials to paint with, finding locations to paint plein air, and the travel to get to those places, as well as a myriad of other errands. all these things (and more) keep you out of the studio, but are very necessary to make a living in this business.
I'm blessed, for sure!

Monday, May 11, 2015

In progress- Charleston street scene

Been  a while since Ive posted, so I thought I'd post this 'in progress' shot of day three on a large street scene from a photo shot in Charleston SC. trying to keep it loose but accurate at this stage.
Since my last post I packed up and left Key West and taught two workshops heading north. One in St. Augustine Fl. and the other in Hilton Head SC. Then I got caught up in unpacking and settling back in at home in NC, not feeling too much like painting. that's not unusual after leaving florida for the winter. It usually takes about a week before I can concentrate on painting again so yesterday I grabbed this painting that I started back in Elizabeth City during Splash week (November) and started working on it. then more painting on it today.
 I had done just the underpainting back in November, so it was fun to pick up the painting and start top coating it. more to go.... but a good third day on it!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Noticias de la Manana 30x40

available at Gallery on Greene in Key West
contact them for price and availability

liked this old Cuban reading the morning rag in the early light.
anybody know why that blue keeps coming out so light and overly vivid? i just started having this problem. I'm using the same camera, and doing everything exactly as always. ive noticed it on all the paintings I take pics of, for the last couple of months.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Todo por mi Mismo (All by Myself) 16x20

available at Gallery on Greene in Key West
had such a good time on the first one I decided to do it again!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Culto de la Personalidad (Cult of Personality) 24x30

a second painting of a side street in Havana with cult hero Che Gueverra on the wall. and of course, the ever present cars from the 40's and 50's. 
on this one I tried to put tons of color shifts in every shape. its a tightrope walk because there's always the chance of overdoing it. and one persons overdoing it is another persons masterpiece LOL
i'll be taking people back to Cuba next January, so if that's somewhere you'd like to go paint, drop me an email and i'll give you the info.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Florida Keys TV Interview

The Elbo Room in Fort Lauderdale- 8x10
commission piece-SOLD

to see the TV interview for my recent show at Gallery on Greene. mine is after Jimmy Wrays interview.
 They say the TV puts on 20 pounds. try thirty. gotta start eating some salads  :D

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Post Card for show

Here's the post card that was mailed out to all of the gallery's collectors. The show reception is this Saturday, if youre in Key West please come by and say hi!
my piece is the middle bottom image.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Down the Lane-22x28

Down the Lane- 22x28
headed to Gallery on Greene show in KW
please contact the gallery about any inquiries
another lazy lane image for the show that opens in one week.
played with the temperature differences in the light versus the shadows. plus its a nice 2/3 shadow, 1/3 light ratio.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


My first pre-sale of the show. Nice to go into the show with one red dot under my belt . many thanks to the buyer! you know who you are.
Note: the pic on this one was very unusual. even after shooting it several times and photo editing it, the shadow blues look too blue and saturated. on the painting theyre a bit darker and less "bright". the rest is true to the painting. if you have a laptop tilt the screen till the shadows are a little darker (but even then they still look too blue)
Oh well... I have another idea....come to Key West and see it in person  :D

Monday, March 9, 2015

Tropical Reflections- 18x24

Tropical Reflections- 18x24
headed to Gallery on Greene
email me for price
here's one all finished up for the upcoming show in two weeks. a nice little scene that you find all over Key west.
Ive been going into it day by day, adding more and more subtle temperature shifts in each shape. ive found out that my (and your) computer monitor is only showing about two thirds of the colors due to their subtlety.
 I used to just bang these out for a less finished look which was the style I was after. These days I'm into, "how cool can I make each shape, color-wise while maintaining the light key and natural look of the scene?"

Saturday, February 28, 2015

In Progress-18x24

Got this much done on the first session. the nice thing about the acrylic underpainting is you can have fun and experiment with temperature shifts without messing up the underpainting. it IS the underpainting. then if you don't like it you paint it out in the oils on top. I'm still on a kick of wanting to the viewer to see "swirly" paint and bravura brushwork. like in the fence. Still have an hour or so on this one and I'm super happy with it at this stage.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Dreamy Lane- 16x16

Dreamy Lane-16x16
headed to Gallery on Greene
email me for inquiries

Had fun on this one playing with changes of color where you can see the stroke. Also kept this one colorful and sunfilled. Just like Key West!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Out of the pipeline

 Dream View-18x24

Keys Hideaway-12x14

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Going to Work

the next Cuba painting. Initial statement in acrylic.
In an interview famous artist Chuck Close made a deep and (for me) life changing statement. He said that you have to "go to work everyday" and in an unexpected moment you will learn something profound or do the best work you ever produced.
Today that profound learning experience came while I was playing steel drum at a nightly gig, with my new friend Mary. We play jazz for the supper crowd at one of the upscale restaurants in Key West, Bistro Sole. A week ago she asked me to sit in with her after she heard me playing some jazz at the Green Parrot. I said sure and once we put a steel drum playing jazz with her voice and guitar, we knew we had something special. we've played together nearly every night since.
tonite while I was "at work" I discovered that I could play a certain note at the end of a phrase or ending of a song, that I had never played before. I was experimenting, much the way you do when you paint, just being driven along by the sound, and I stumbled on that tasty note that i'll be able to use till the day I die. it's now on my "hard drive" and I can pull it out of my bag of tricks when appropriate. I was like a kid on Christmas day. it happened "at work".
you were so right Mr. Close!
so the next time youre standing in front of your easel painting, or instrument playing, or computer writing a novel, remember don't wait for inspiration to hit, or try to do something notable. just go to work.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

Poorhouse Lane

one from last year. loved the color of the house in shadow and the other color harmonies on this street, on a sunny key west afternoon.
Annette still needs me 24/7 but we got some good news yesterday. there doesn't seem to be anything major wrong with her heart that would have caused the two fainting episodes (called syncopy)  This morning we are having an EEG done and an MRI. she's still cant walk a straight line and says she doesn't feel herself. she also has some sight issues and cant drive for awhile.

Friday, January 16, 2015

the sun is out today- emotionally and literally

this is a painting from last year in key west. it made really happy to look at today, as I went thru some of my images from there, so I'm posting it.
the light on the bushes and the distinctive keys architecture is what I loved in this scene. time to start painting some key west themes. soon but not quite yet.
an update on my wife, annie. We brought her home a few days ago and she was very weak. and rightfully so. first, a hospital stay and pacemaker put in, and then another visit for about four days in ICU. then three more days in a bed being stuck here and there with needles and probes, taking blood sometimes three times a day, and no good rest. I will say tho' that Rex hospital has really good food, especially for a hospital!
right now, annies getting stronger physically everyday. yesterday she sat up most of the day and today i'll get her up and out of the house for a short trip in the car, in hopes that that will build up her strength a little more.
I cant thank enough, my friends and followers on this blog. the many emails I got showing support and prayers were such an encouragement. thank you, thank you.
the good news is she's getting stronger and for the first time in about 9 days I thought of painting when I went to get us something to eat. the sun was out and lighting up the winter landscape. 9 days- that's probably one of the longest periods of time ive ever gone without thinking of the process of painting. plenty of time for that in the near future!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

a diary of sorts

ive lost track now how long ive had this blog but its a long time. its been a written record of my life for all these years. for those who have followed me here for a few years will remember when my son Jamie was burned in a house fire. I blogged from his room while we sat with him in the hospital for over a month. everybody was wonderful to me and very supportive. the blogosphere is an awesome place where people you've never met are giving you support and helping you through the thing. this blog is a diary of sorts.
several weeks ago while I was teaching in Florida I got a call that my wife in NC had been rushed to the emergency room unresponsive. the next day they put a pacemaker in and sent her home. I went to be with her while she recuperated but two days after the pacemaker went in she collapsed again. my son and I did CPR on her. we got her to the Cardiac Intensive Care unit at a hospital that specializes in heart issues.Thank God, she's now in stable condition. yesterday we moved to a regular room and out of ICU. Still don't know why the episodes but I can't tell you how great it felt to move out of intensive care!
i'll write more soon.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

El Cruce (the Crossing) 8x10

El Cruce (the Crossing) 8x10
inquire about price and availability

I like the action, and warm into cool, cool into warm shape play here.
Hustle and bustle in Havana.