Saturday, December 28, 2013

Not enough posting in 2013

So, although my attention to this running account of various chunks of my art life has waxed and waned as of late my interest remains and my intention is to grow my work here in the upcoming year.  My art vision continues to evolve and my desire to share it is intact so I don't think I should commit to anything less than resolve to move ahead.
There is always going to be tension between art making and the other stuff of life.  I think.  Maybe there is a way to integrate activity so as to accomplish in all areas......that's what I should try for!  Maybe I should think of art as a means of recording,  so that all worlds are in one sphere!  Ah.  Love that speculation!!
Do questions always beget answers?  Rational people want answers; artists thrive on experience, ambiguity, ambivalence, appearances, illusion, emotion, the expansion or contraction of time and space.  I'm feeling some tension now!!
The piece I'm sharing here doesn't exist any longer.  It's lightness, as I see it, has morphed into something I'll present in the next several days---when I have a photo---something more familiar in terms of style, something with a heavy dose of real.  As I look at this I wish I'd not pushed now I have some inspiration for another piece!
I especially like the wispy, cotton candy look and "feel";  have to replicate that.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Roughly Constructed Work (Edited 12/28/2013)

The Boston Globe's art writer Sebastian Smee brought sculptor Nicola Hicks to my attention yesterday with a piece in G/Arts and Movies about her exhibit at the Yale Center for British Art.  I was particularly interested to read his thoughts on how she reveals herself through the sculpture she titles "Who was I kidding?" which represents a donkey losing a lion skin disguise and the consequent shame of being discovered as an imposter. 
The roughness of the work itself, as shown in an accompanying photograph, as well as Smee's suggestions regarding the artist's interior life are what interested me as I read.  I've always liked to think that making a series of marks on paper or canvas have a significant unconscious component revealed in each gesture. I wonder if the same is true for building sculpture?
In observing art it seems so difficult to separate, tease out if you will, intention in any equation which might purport to reveal the maker's plan.  Presumably, Nicola Hicks had some ideas about where she was headed when she started the donkey. Did the artist abandon some control as she proceeded?  Did she plan to create something which would appear incomplete in some respects? Is that what is going on?   For her, when was the piece "done"?
This is something I struggle to understand in my own work.  The rough work I do, mostly drawing, might leave lots of ambiguity in sight.  Maybe that's an opportunity for a viewer to solve her own riddles? 
I think "creation" occurs in the act of observation; the viewer's interpretation is so important to the work.  Interpretation takes on a life of it's own and the artist's involvement is, in a sense, static when contrasted with active observation.
These pieces are fairly recent and I feel good about them but I don't want to try to interpret them.  Think I'll leave that to any observers!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

On display at Sawmill River Arts

These are on display at Sawmill River Arts Gallery until the end of November.  I think I'll switch it up for December.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Airbrush with Paint

Feeling like I must have the least flexible digits following a quick experiment using the airbrush in the Paint software I have on my computer!  Wow, just a slight move across the mouse pad and an unexpected line or a mark appears.  But, that said, it was great fun to use the program and I think maybe I could grow some skill with this.
I do illustration work for a local community based agricultural project called Just Roots and was recently asked to prepare an ink/pencil/water color map of the farm to be used as a hand out when school groups and education-related events need a bit of orientation to the buildings, fields, etc.  I'm excited to modify the map with this program and I'll share it here.
Meanwhile, here's today's "work".

Monday, October 14, 2013


Charcoal and watercolor on mat board

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bullit Series/Revisited

These are oil on canvas pieces I did late last year and early in 2013.  Planning a visit to Bullit again soon!

Monday, October 7, 2013


I've got about ten pieces on view at two local venues this month, which I think is pretty cool and exciting.  Three pieces at Artspace Community Art Center in Greenfield and the balance at Sawmill River Arts Gallery in Montague.
The Artspace exhibit (Slatts & Co.) is an annual group show of figurative work by a number of local artists.  This year the curator is featuring color pencil montages by Kevin Slattery, an art maker from Northfield.  Sawmill River is exhibiting some seasonal-related work by member painters in Season of Color and is also showing paintings by members as well as some excellent craft work by members and consignors.

Slatts & Co.
Artspace Community Art Center
15 Mill Street
Greenfield, MA 01301
October 1- October 31, 2013
Gallery Hours: M-F, 1pm-6pm

Season of Color 
Sawmill River Arts Gallery
440 Greenfield Road
Montague, MA 01351
October 1- October 31, 2013
Gallery Hours: Thurs.-Sunday, 12:00pm-6:00pm

My work in Slatts & Co. includes a reclined figure at rest in a field of impressionistic flowers and grasses.  From my vantage point it is bold in its presentation and coloration.  I used cadmium red mixed off and on with titanium white for some screeching pinks; I occasionally blended it with other colors but didn't allow myself much time to consider it before hanging.  Anyway, it's there and maybe a bit out there as well.  Here's a tiny, tiny image....wish I had something better.

Ok, maybe I shouldn't even post the picture..........but the pink is, wow, bright enough to make out even if the image isn't!  I think I might have shocked myself!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Beach combing

Charcoal and pastel on paper/c. 18" x 24"
On the few occasions in July and August I walked the stretch of beach I am most familiar with, I was rewarded with several finds like the one represented above.  Although I've come across similar shells, I always seem to feel as if I've discovered something unique and special each time I have the luck to find one almost intact.  Are these almost whole things picked up off a rocky stretch of seashore a metaphor for a life lived, a period of time, the past or the future? 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

Life drawing model

18" x 24"/Charcoal and pastel on paper

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Charcoal and pastel on paper/18" x 24"

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

North Leverett Road

I've started using round brushes; they seem to soften the edges easily but I can still get straight lines when I want them.  Oil on canvas and done with reference to a pen/ink drawing I did this past spring.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Summer Work

I have been quiet here for a long time but as the waning days of summer have my attention, for some reason I feel like getting back to this.  So, studio time has been frequent and I have been busy otherwise in art making and marketing activities as well as the work of having to find work-work to "underwrite" my art-work.  I've had some success with making pictures and fair amount of frustration while trying to work some paintings out too but mostly a pleasant, rewarding summer.
In early June I did some abstracted work on rough surfaced foam board using graphite, gouache, pastel, charcoal and watercolor.  They were fast and fun to do.  A few examples are included here.
I'll post images of some oil successes (my opinion), unfinished pieces, frustrations and some drawings later this week.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Charcoal and pastel on paper/18"x24"

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Off line/on line

I took this blog off line for twelve hours because I was getting lots of annoying visits from referral sites and just wanted to see if I could cut them off or discourage their visits every thirty minutes. We'll see!  I'll post some stuff soon; just been busy with picture making, etc.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Painting Process

An artist friend recently confided that, in his view, the most difficult part of his work (he's a digital/collage/painter-painter) was the beginning...the very beginning, like "what am I going to make?"
It was an interesting insight I thought ....actually, one that has resonance right now as I poke around trying to find the next move.  But, I ask myself  "is it an answerable question...what am I going to make?" Is it a straight line from an answer to that question to completing a piece? Is it even an important question to ask oneself?  Does making art have to have a difficulty component?
In my case, most often, I think it isn't the beginning that causes the most frustration.  I think the most difficult question is "how will I get it done?"  That question has more significance to me than "what is it?"
So I might start with an idea about where I'm going and not too far along I begin the questioning.  Am I using the materials the way I need to finish with some balance?  Do I like the colors or combinations of colors I've chosen?  Were the choices of line, color, brush size and type I made arbitrary, or made with haste so that any outcome I imagined could never materialize?  How would I approach this if I had more training?
Experience is perhaps the denominator here.  My artist friend has lots more,  so the question of what to make is different for him than for me?  I think, maybe. I know that on some level the choice of what to paint is made with lots of energy coming for my unconscious mind.  I think that's pretty exciting...that I might not know all there is to know about the choice at the start.  I have to think also that my unconscious mind plays a big role in whatever is going on when I reject an idea for a starting point.
Anyway, I think just getting going, regardless of the subject chosen, is the most important step in art making.  I like the idea of the concept evolving during the process.  Maybe that's why I have difficulty sustaining the idea that I ought to build a stylistically similar series of pictures?
Pastel and charcoal on paper/18"x24"

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A shade of blue?

c. 12" x 20"/Graphite/watercolor on mat board
I don't think her hair was quite that blue but there was some shade going on.  It was a Schiele channel that day. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Old Work

Detail of w/c on paper
Haven't felt too much like posting stuff lately....think I'm kind of bogged down in "planning" work and not actually executing....although, I am at my studio most every day and doing work on a number of unfinished things, so I am busy.  Guess I am just doing a little bit of flapping in hopes of getting something going soon.  I think I'll be around the river banks in the woods shortly doing some outdoor w/c and drawing.  Weather last few days has been poor.
The piece above was done about a dozen years ago; sold it at an open studio event.  I think it was maybe 18" x 24".

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Floral Detail

I did this in my studio a couple of years ago referencing a few flowers in a vase I'd set up.  Working rather slowly, the stems just couldn't survive my plodding through revision after revision and I didn't (for whatever reason) choose to replace them.  As they began to droop I began to abstract or at least that's how I recall it.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Pastel on Bee paper/18" x 24"
I  read an article in a recent edition of Art in America last night. The editors had circulated a questionnaire to persons (all unknown to me) with apparently some gravitas in the art world and asked the them to write  responses.  Some of them answered each question in detail, others gave sort of a generalized response.  The questionnaire was essentially a request to comment on the direction(s) art and artists were taking at the early part of the 21st Century.  Not having had significant academic training in the arts I was left to wonder what some of the responses were all about....references to cultural trends, social justice issues, politics, somehow blending (or not) with the work of those just beginning careers in art, etc.  The high cost of living in New York City and the art markets influence as creative workers try to make instant success perhaps at the expense of thoughtful growth.  I was left with the impression that marketing was the new art academy and that rolling over one thing after another could bring the next "new" thing and that fifteen minutes after that the search begins again.  It all sounded tedious to me.     

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Two experiments

The figure is something I did a few years ago and as is often the case when it was "finished" I didn't know what to think of it.  I was just pushing stuff around...maybe a foundation graphite line or two, some charcoal  and as I tried to sort out the marks I'd made I added large and not so large gouache and watercolor brush marks.  I re-discovered it the other day and now see it in a less ambiguous light, meaning that I appreciate enough of what I now see to show it and call it "done". 
The drawing is something I completed the other day.  I'd been looking at a book about Klimt (no surprise, huh?) around the same time I was thumbing through a big sketchbook trying to decide which nascent "work" I should return to and "bam", you have it!
Yesterday I hung pictures at Sawmill River Arts for the first time.  So, my work is on display someplace.  I am most interested to know how this will influence my very next creative effort and the work beyond.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blue and yellow

Graphite/watercolor on board/8"x8"
Graphite on board/12"x12"
The background colors on these are distorted for some reason...likely when I photographed them the light wasn't adequate and I got what you see here.  Or maybe the editing software did something.  The boards I drew on are white or off-white a bit.  Regardless, they both appeal to me.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Quick charcoal and pastel

Ten minutes of impulse, recorded.  Charcoal, soft pastel and charcoal pencil.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Invitation Accepted!

A group of local painters, photographers and other artists cooperatively operate and manage Sawmill River Arts, a gallery in a small, attractive and well known location beside the waterfall at the Sawmill River in Montague, Massachusetts.  I am delighted to say that I was recently invited to join the group and participate in the fine art and fine craft collaborative, an invitation I was quick to accept! 
The gallery is adjacent to several of my favorite destinations in the area, including the Montague Bookmill and the Lady Killigrew Cafe and Pub.    In addition to being rewarded with the experience of rushing, bubbling water, especially during the summer and fall months, visitors to the Mill can take a leisurely view of the gallery offerings,  search the stacks for used literary treasures and sit at outdoor cafe tables (some with umbrellas) and enjoy a glass of wine, beer, or cup of coffee and a delicious light meal.  The Mill also is home to a music store and beautiful dining facility overlooking the river.
The art and the location are well worth a visit and I'm certain the Mill, while a favorite of many, will continue to attract others just waiting to discover such a place. 
My work will be displayed there beginning next month and I am excited to bring some of my favorite pieces to show.
The illustration with this post is something I did six or seven years ago while sitting outside the door to the Lady Killigrew.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Forward looking

Generally speaking this is what I have on my mind at this time of year.  Thinking about a beach in Gloucester where I hope to spend lots of time and inevitably I don't get enough of it.  Did this charcoal from my imagination and memory several years ago.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

24" x 36" landscape in progress

I'm thinking that this will remain essentially the same, at least the "bones" are there, the essential divisions, lines of perspective, etc. but there will be lots (I think!) of highlight adjustments to come.  Pretty much study it every day but am holding back with the brushes.  The more I look the more I see...I hope that doesn't go on forever!
Also, I've done some illustrations for a local community farming organization, Just Roots, which the editor has incorporated in the most recent edition of their monthly newsletter.  Wonderful organization and I'm delighted to have been selected to do the work! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Something in progress

Conte and charcoal/18" x 24"
I've been working on this off and on for a few weeks.  A few marks here and there while doing other things at the same time.  Distracted work?  Less than full concentration?  More like split concentration, I think.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Better photo

24" x 36"/oil on canvas/new photo
Thanks to my brother Peter, I have this much better photo to show than the one I took and posted in February .  Thanks!