Monday 12 September 2016

the big one - 12" square

I know I said I was transitioning to my website blog but I finished this and thought I would get it up here since I'm not going to go onto my website today. I took some photos when I went to Edisto Beach last week and this scene is from one of the photos I took. I like the angle since there is some elevation - something I can't get at the beaches near my house.

Sunday 11 September 2016

two in hand - 20" square

This one took longer than I had planned - in fact one day I swear I spent the entire afternoon on a couple of square inches! We had a tropical storm last weekend and lost power and internet for all of Friday and some of Saturday, I had to do a shift at the Gallery on Sunday so when I got back to the studio on Monday I was a little surprised I was still working on it since it seemed like ages since I'd started it - time is weird. At any rate, I will be moving this blog to my new this week after exploring options to somehow combine the two. I have been working on completing the portions of the website that I hadn't had time to finish.

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Edisto field trip - 16x12"

Despite the fact that the heat hasn't really broken here, I just had to get out of the studio on Sunday. I decided to take a field trip to Edisto Island - a car ride of approximately two hours in each direction. The funny thing is that I can see Edisto from my neighborhood beach and it is about six miles away by boat. Here on the Sea Islands one has to drive from the coast inland to reach route 17, drive north (or south) then turn off and drive to the coast again - Edisto is about twenty miles east of route 17. I was really glad I did, the clouds were awesome and it was windy and wonderful.

I also did this little study in the studio this past week - kind of rough but still life is not my usual subject. All of the zinnias were pretty much dead so I figured I had best get going before the relentless heat totally killed them!

Friday 26 August 2016

fav 15% - sunhat

Wow, was I excited when I got an email from FASO (fine art studios online) that this painting was included in July's favorite 15%! It's not a prize but it was exciting anyway. Just thought I would share my excitement.

Wednesday 24 August 2016

a new water garden

My son was here for the past couple of weeks and we put in a water garden with a waterfall.............something that I have wanted for as long as I can remember. I now have six goldfish and one koi (all tiny). I painted it yesterday but it didn't come out very well and I wiped it down. The light is pretty changeable and I'm certain there will be a learning curve since it's such different subject matter for me. I have recently been studying Sorolla's garden paintings and, though my little spot can't compare, I am really in love with the entire concept. 

This painting is one that I have been working on in the studio - it's 20" square and I'm making progress. The striped back of the dress has been challenging to say the least but I really didn't want to just paint it solid and give up since I found the stripes so illuminating for the form of the's been a balancing act back and forth between the planes and the stripes but I felt like I got somewhere today - scraping and reevaluating the values.

Tuesday 2 August 2016

sheer linen shirt - 14x18"

I am almost done with this painting but something bugs me about it - I'll have to put it on the wall until I figure out what that might be. There are always things that bug me even when I think I am done but this is a little different. Really, I'm chafing at the heat and want to go outside to paint again so maybe I am just cranky! Even the poor garden can't take much more - despite watering every day. I've taken to looking at all of the old-timers' gardens around here (St. Helena Island is a very agricultural spot) and don't feel too badly since all that seems to be doing well in the fields is okra (which I didn't plant this year).

Saturday 23 July 2016

learning umbrella - 24x12"

I know that's a weird title for a blog post but after trying to complete one of the paintings in my last post, I realized that I needed some practice. This painting also (in addition to way too many umbrellas for one picture) illustrates one of the things I find interesting about the beach at Hunting Island. Because of the incredible amount of erosion and zero rock, they have installed these metal barriers from the tree line way out to the lowest low tide point into the water at periodic places along the beach - these metal walls are called "groins." Coming from New England where there are plenty of rocks, I found this very strange at first, most often eliminating them from any of the paintings I do at the beach. Recently I have discovered that, because the sand seems to collect along one side of the groin and gets pulled from the other, it creates a multi-leveled beach. That is also why it appears that I have somehow buried into the sand to paint this painting. I still have a few areas that need resolution but I kind of like what I've got so far - I'm a sucker for an unusual view. 

Saturday 16 July 2016

still hot here!

Despite trying to paint outside this past week, I failed. Knowing that it was probably going to be impossible, I stayed close - my backyard gardens. At any rate, I have absolutely no idea how the farmworkers around here (and there are tons of them) do it. Sweat was pouring into my eyes at a blinding speed so I gave up and returned to the studio to finish up a few things. The top 18" square is now on the drying wall so I can gain enough perspective and distance to see if it's done. 

The painting below (24x12") has been on that wall for a pretty long time - I was (and still am) dissatisfied with the is better now, though. I went to the beach to walk several times this week and studied umbrellas as I did and I don't see anything glaringly wrong with it so I decided to post it anyway.............I hate it when that happens! Value (maybe) , color (probably), overworked (most definitely), everything? It will go back on the wall until enlightenment hits.

Sunday 10 July 2016

connected - 18" square

Well, it has reached the point here this past week that one cannot really paint outside - the nighttime temps are rarely below 80 and, no matter how early you go in the morning, the heat is just brutal. So, I have been working in the studio for the past few days. This painting is obviously from a photo and you can see the remnants of the grid that I used to position the figures and the god-awful yellow underpainting that I experimented with (I keep trying this). There are two things that I really look for when I am taking photos for reference material and the most important criteria for me is an interesting connection between figures........a shape that incorporates a nice gesture not only between the figures but between the figures and their surroundings. The photo I used for this painting has that quality. 

Monday 4 July 2016

"real feel" 102 but cooler than yesterday!

Summer is here for sure - I'm still painting outside a bunch but there are days where it is pretty impossible. Anticipating a day as brutal as yesterday was, I put the A/C on in the studio at 7:30 am. Now it's only 90 with the "real feel" of 102 (I love accuweather) and it seems nearly cool.

I thought I would post a couple of the plein air studies that I have done in the past couple of weeks. Both paintings are 16x12" and done primarily on site. The top painting was done while I was standing on one of the numerous boat landings that we have here so the air stayed a little cooler. The painting beneath was done at the Savannah Wildlife Refuge which is an absolutely awesome place to paint - since it takes me over an hour to get there I don't go as often as I should. This painting isn't finished yet since I ran out of time - I'm not certain if I'm going to back to finish it or just try to complete it from memory.

Thursday 30 June 2016

the swimming hole - 12x24"

Wow............I had no idea that it had been so long since I posted anything! Actually, I plan on transitioning this blog to my new website on Yes, I finally started a "real" website and that website has a blog feature which I will be using. I will probably do double entries for a bit (once I figure out how to use the blog template). I have been working plein air a lot recently but have been experimenting and haven't really felt like putting them here. This painting is one I have been working on in the studio when it's either raining or too damn hot. It is nearly complete and it's been really hot.

So, my new website is: (note the double "a" in the middle - that's my middle initial and the site without the double a was taken). I have been putting this website thing off for years and just really wanted my work to be available in one spot without having to scroll through pages and pages that are accompanied by comments. In addition to that, I often do not wish to post updates of paintings that are completed over time and much of my work is now larger than 8x10's and the like so it isn't completed in one session. There remain unfinished areas on the website just because I haven't had time to do them yet but they will all be finished soon. I was really, really surprised by how long it took me to organize all of the photos of my paintings for the website and how this blog was unbelievably helpful in helping me locate pictures of paintings among the seemingly millions of photos that remain unorganized in iPhoto. I felt pretty relieved when I had completed most of the work! More info later on the process and I'll try to not lose all sense of time again.

Sunday 24 April 2016

the oyster factory - plein air study 16x12

This is my favorite of two paintings I did on Friday at the Paint Out in Bluffton.......There are some pretty rough areas that I noticed after I took the photo (of course) but I liked the effect overall. It was a great day, lots of good energy and the weather was perfect.

Thursday 21 April 2016

orange and green - 24x18"

I wasn't going to post this one until it was done but then I decided to because I wanted to post a blurb about tomorrow's Paint Out in Bluffton, SC. This shrimper is docked in my neighborhood at our "community dock" that no one seems to use. At early morning and late afternoon here the sky becomes more orange than what I expect....this isn't a factor of what it normally does early and late because when you leave the forest here, the sky is it's usual self. It seems more to do with the dark green color of the trees and the warmer sky. This particular scene expresses that color relationship and how it is intensified when a storm is clearing.......not too many trees that you can see in the painting but trust me, there's a ton of them behind me. I've still got a lot to do but I'm getting there.

Tomorrow I will be participating in the "Bluffton Old Town Paint Out" and would like to mention it to anyone who might be in the area. I am not really familiar with Bluffton even though it is only an hour away from where I live and on the way to Hilton took me a while of exploring to get to really know the area closer to me and I just haven't gone towards there except to shop occasionally. It is a very interesting town and the historic area is pretty neat. So.....I have just joined SOBA (the Society of Bluffton Artists) and will be exhibiting there at their gallery.  

Wednesday 13 April 2016

my girl - 12x24"

It is very easy to really fall in love with "off line" life and I certainly have this past month - it has just been too hard to see well enough to deal with electronic reading so I didn't. My surgery is complete and I can see super well but I have decreased my internet presence so much in the last six months that it is really hard to get back into it again. I started this painting before I was "cleared" enough to lift my painting equipment (and do some plein air) and finished it today. Now I just have to force myself to catch up on email all the while realizing how much life has changed since the mid-nineties or so when the internet became such a huge presence in our lives. I have really begun to relish the quiet of my little woodland home, the sounds of birds, wind and the ocean and the lack of television. 

At any rate, I loved the way this young dad was teaching his baby girl about the ocean and I could see his total adoration for her so I "snuck" a photo last summer and it just had to become a painting.

Sunday 27 March 2016

geometry - 18x18"

I started this painting the last week and have been making some progress when I'm not working outside. I have my right eye (the second one) operated on on Tuesday and I'll be glad to get it all over with. I'm hopeful that I won't need to wear glasses at all but even if I do I will get some that will actually work! You should see the poor set that I am wearing now..........2 different side pieces and some band aids on one side. I thought about getting a new pair but it seemed like a waste of money since my prescription would be changing so dramatically.

I am also exploring instagram so I have a new page on it - would tell you how to get there if I could figure it out myself. I'm still learning how to even get photos onto the site......more to follow when I'm farther along!

Wednesday 23 March 2016

photo v.s. plein air

I use photos all the time......especially when painting complicated subjects like city scenes, figures in motion and places where it would be especially difficult to paint  (like standing near or on a dangerous street). I must say, the more I paint, the less I like using them - in fact when I'm out painting plein air I don't even take a photo of where I'm working for the most part. I have discovered that the photos are so untrue to the scene and often quite disappointing that I would rather rely on memory. The 12" square painting below has been sitting on my drying wall for over two years - there was something I liked about it but something I hated about it too. I had some painter friends visiting from RI and one of them mentioned this one which caused me to see it with fresh eyes. It used to have a sign above the door which always seemed crowded and too close to the edge. So......I took the sign out and liked it much better. Still, the drawbacks of "photo-painting" seem to be embodied in the difference between the top painting and the bottom painting which was done plein air in my yard. 

This painting which is 24x12" has drawbacks as well...........the composition is weak since I wasn't paying all that much attention to it because that wasn't my focus. Now, this painting is soaking wet and at least two (probably three) years newer than the top picture so one would hope that my skills have improved somewhat but I find it much more interesting than the top picture (which does have a kind of neat composition) plus it was a lot more enjoyable to paint. Now that I see a photo of the painting, I see other issues as well but it does have a "life" that the top one doesn't. I don't expect to ever stop using photos since they are so valuable to my process but it's nice to be aware of their limitations.

I've been pretty light on the posting for the past month. I had cataract surgery on one eye and am waiting to have the other eye done (next week). It was very successful so far and I can't wait till it's all over. Right now the only issue is the huge difference between the done and undone eyes........I'm hoping I won't even have to wear glasses anymore. So far it seems like a miracle!

Wednesday 2 March 2016

alley light - 20x16"

I am quite close to finishing this one.......Just a note here, I have cataract surgery in 6 days. I am unsure what to expect for the next week or so following the surgery so I am don't know if I will be able to paint. I'm pretty excited about getting it done because my vision has been worsening steadily since last fall. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it goes well.

Friday 26 February 2016

award at the Beaufort Art Association Spring Show

I'm pleased to report that I won an award at the BAA's Spring Show (I know it doesn't seem much like Spring) which opens today at Tabby Place on Port Republic St. in Beaufort and runs through Monday, February 29. Both the venue and dates have changed for this year's show for any of you have attended in years past. I helped set the show up and it looks great so anyone in the local area should come and see it.

Sunday 14 February 2016

fetch - 12x16"

Sometimes I really fall in love with a dog while I'm walking on the beach. I'm much more of a cat person but this guy was just didn't hurt that the conditions were right for photo taking. The past couple of days have been freezing here so I've been in the studio. I'm not complaining - after talking to my sister this morning (where the actual temperature was -22) I felt kind of wimpy for even my silent complaints.

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Frogmore Nocturne - 24x12

There's nothing like entering a painting in a show and buying a frame to get me to finish a painting! I was nearly done with this but always put it off because I wanted to work on new things. This painting is one of two that I have entered in Beaufort Art Association's big spring show......more on that to follow. Frogmore is basically a crossroads on St. Helena Island where I live and can't really even be called a town but the spot had a distinctly metropolitan feel to it on this night!

Monday 8 February 2016

marsh geometry and some chickens

When I went back to finish this after two days of rain the light conditions were totally different so I just brought it back to the studio and went from there. I have a little more to do but it has to hang on the wall for a bit so I can see anything that bothers me. The trees aren't completely finished yet but I have to let the colors in the "sky holes" set up a little. I am leaving some of the initial drips at the bottom because I like them.

I am still working on the chickens a little - thought that the background was too light so I darkened that and need to finish their faces and may lighten the front chicken since I think she's still too dark.

Thursday 4 February 2016

process for loosening up........24x12" plein air beginning

I have been trying to begin my outdoor work in a more "inside out, gestural" manner. Sometimes it can be hard to put into words but I look for the center of shapes, their gesture and how they relate to one another rather than so much drawing a composition.

This example of the beginning of a plein air study I did the other day is kind of an example of that. Because I started late in the day, I ran out of light in about an hour and a quarter and it was too late to get an accurate photo of where I stopped. The past two days have been downpours for the most part and I would really like it to clear up so I can get back out there in the afternoon tomorrow!

Sunday 31 January 2016

last day of the month (and a new patio)

Wow.......January went super fast! My son was here again for over a week to build me a large (20'x16') herringbone brick patio. He did the real work but I helped him for a week so I didn't really paint that much while we were doing that. I'll probably post a photo of it at some point - once I have decided on what I'm putting on it. I am close to finishing this painting and have been out plein air painting a few times with mediocre results.

This is an example of one of the outdoor paintings I started..............the chain link fence and the changing light conspired to ensure that it wouldn't be finished. Trust me, don't try to paint through a fence like this if you are having cataract surgery in a month or will give you a major headache!

Friday 15 January 2016

a week in the studio

The weather remains a bit problematic but I tried to paint outside all the way to the location and realized I had forgotten my easel! My soltek easel isn't on my mental checklist because it pretty much lives in my car - I had taken it out before Christmas when I needed space in my car for a trip to Costco. It is now back in my car for when it stops raining again! At any rate, I have begun a painting (16x20") of three of the eleven backyard chickens that were born the end of July. They don't hold still EVER so this is from a photo with a lot of direct observation for color (I find them endlessly fascinating). I am finishing up a few other things in anticipation of the Beaufort Art Association's big Spring Show which will be held the end of February this year - I like to have several framed pieces to choose from.

This 18 x 18" painting is very near completion so I'll probably forget to post it when it's actually done. The rain has finally stopped so hopefully I'll be able to get outside to paint tomorrow - the days are already getting longer!

Friday 8 January 2016

getting back in the swing of things

Well, the holidays are over again and they were great. Right before New Year's I caught a bad cold, however, and am just getting back on track. I always find it difficult to feel the "flow" when I haven't painted for a couple of weeks. Normally I would just go out plein air but it was super cold, wet and gloomy so I went to the studio instead since I still feel kind of crappy and definitely didn't want to get wet and miserable. Sooooo, Happy New Year to all.