Saturday, October 25, 2014

Simultaneously plastic and determined

Pastel and charcoal on paper
18" x 24"
Untitled Study
I'm hoping I can build from this and make a line of pictures which will help me refine the technique and style of overlaying light and dark to build shape.
While working on my shells series over the last weeks I've become attracted to the subtleties of what I think I should describe as tone.  By that I mean very close shades of color which when placed next to each other can reveal depth.  Also I think subtle color variations don't just have a visual impact in the sense of perspective; they also reveal aspects of the subject  beyond the structure of the image........or maybe I'm over thinking it! Ha!    
Anyway, when I look at this I see flexibility and strength in some tension and I like that revelation.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

More broken whelks

Oil on board
12" x 12"

One, if not the first, in the series I'm growing.  To me it is interesting how the views of these things can vary with the materials: the application of the paint, the brush or knife I've chosen, the texture of the supports.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Broken whelk in oil

12" x 12"
Oil on board
One piece from the series I've been working on.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

More summer work

Charcoal and pastel on paper/18"x 24"
My summer work included many drawings; here's an example.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


11" x 14" oil on board
Over the summer I've been working on a series of paintings of sea shells...some broken, some completely intact...all specimens I found on the beach near Buzzards Bay.  The shells just appeal to me and they are great subjects in that they just simply hold a pose!  Don't know if anyone will be interested in them but I'm pushing ahead and hope to complete about twenty of them.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Charcoal and pastel on paper/18" x 24"/2014
This working in visual art is like archeology on some level. An exploration, inside/outside adventure to realms which are at once distant and proximate.  When I did this many months ago I recall I began the process trying to access what was before me.  The pose was interesting with some turns and bends that challenged my ability to represent the structure of it.  It was done fairly quickly and suspends that moment of quiet, peace, contemplation and beauty.....or so I think

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


My studio time has been frequent these last couple of months although something other than art always seems to call for my attention.  Keeps you grounded, I guess.
Working on a series of oils depicting shells.  Generally small pieces but 20 or so in some stage of completion.  Very fun. 
I've been engaged with the ocean and the stuff that appears on the shore for as long as I can remember.  As a child on Good Harbor beach in Gloucester I can recall swimming to retrieve long, long strands of floating seaweed (kelp?), thick and flexible looking like huge pieces of tan undulating pasta and pulling it along the edge of the sand where it just met the water, swinging it just above the surface a little like a whip.  Shells seem to have caught my attention later as I probed the sand, sifting and searching for the tiniest spiraled remnants of former sea creature habitation.  Whatever the activity, being on that ocean edge and examining what the sea tossed up and maybe pulled back only to redeposit was and remains a commitment.
In fact, just a few days ago I retrieved some sort of plastic coated metal object that maybe was used for holding bait and was put over the side of a boat to attract fish....something to hold bait other than a hook.  Fascinating to me far more so than actually using never appealed to me just the archeological shoreline searching.
Edges, margins, spaces, time, replacement or regeneration.  I like feel comfortable being aware of those things perhaps more so than abandoning myself to a fuller participation in other activities.
Here's an image of Gloucester I did in 2000.  It's hanging in a home in the Midwest.
18" x 24"/pastel on paper


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Oil figure/portrait

c.18" x 24"/oil on canvas/2013
This is one of those paint-overs I do far too frequently or so I feel.  Maybe if I could afford to keep a flow of materials headed to my work space I'd be less inclined to re-use what I consider failed on some level.  Anyway, here it is for what it is.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Broken Whelk/2014

c. 3" x 7"/ink on paper
I'm working on a series of smaller (12" to 24" on the longest side) oil pictures of shells I've scavenged on my frequent trips to the family house on Buzzards Bay this summer.  As part of the exercise, I've done many ink drawings trying to learn about the subject and how to represent the curves and more or less simple complexity of the objects....the features I most appreciate.  These whelk shells are the most difficult to understand and render and finding an intact one on the rocky stretch of beach I wander is a rare occurrence.
So, I've completed four pieces and am well into the fifth.  Whelks in various stages of fractured status have been the subjects so far but I'm going to move on to oysters and clams next.  The image below is my rendition of an oyster shell.  More later!

6" x 9"/ink on paper

Thursday, July 10, 2014

More abstract

Gouache, watercolor, graphite, pastel on foam board.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Watercolor and gouache on foam board.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Project for summer/visualizing the margins, edges in personal connections

I tried to get this clip positioned differently but alas without success!
I think Ron Sexsmith is a wonderful lyricist and I'm a fan of his "wordsmithing" to the point where I'd describe him as eloquent and on the popular music plateau as one of the really good ones.
Just sort of a coincidence that this piece popped into my listening cache once again. I'd been reading and writing trying to sort out a concept to pursue over the next few months, perhaps longer, that will would put into image(s) my examination of individuality, ego, boundaries and edges....just can't quite put it into better words right now......not too eloquent myself, huh?
Ego development, its strength and weakness is maybe a weird subject for a painter to examine but it seems to me it is a topic loaded with visual possibilities.  While the ego mediates the messages of the external world and establishes a "self" it must, or so I speculate, find room for and integrate with other "egos" and perhaps a particular ego or partner on a more intimate level since our species is social, among other things.  The "spaces between" the lots of other egos around and possibly another ego on a more intimate level is where I want to look.....I think.  Boundaries, reaching, edges, respect, eros, ice and fire, friendship. 
I guess I'll have to challenge my introverted tendencies to see where I'm going with this.
To start, I'm going to consider life in shells!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Ink and watercolor on foam board/c. 9.5" x 8.75"
Webster's says that the Greek word for comet is kometes, comets of course those sparkling sky travelers with a tail that precedes them or so I've come to understand.  Hard to imagine the object essentially moving into or toward what appears to the eye as "exhaust", if you will.  Certainly it is the flare/flair of light that attracts the attention and the cone shaped light like the product of combustion for those with feet on the ground.
So my lines curve and shoot about from my hand; my hand directs the brush as if the movement were the "product" of my mind.  In fact, sometimes it feels like I, me, my mind, is simply the observer and I am chasing the process and seeing the result while it forms as I rush into it. 
The lines or rays flowing from her eye, like the brilliant waves of light from a comet, herald her arrival.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Graphite and watercolor

This looks to me like something done in the 1940's by someone else.  Ever had that experience?  Not too original I guess but I do like the colors.  It was done so long ago that I almost feel I could be objective about it!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Pastel on paper

c.9" x 12"/Pastel on textured paper
So this is maybe ten years old and something I did while working outside with a group of other painters I'd occasionally work with. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Work in progress

20" x 36"
Watercolor on foam board.  About to revisit and I'll post the work going forward.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014


24" x 36"/oil on canvas/Shelburne
I've done several pictures of the road and surrounding area represented here.  The place appeals to me and returning to it just seems to come naturally.  With Spring making its slow appearance I'll get up there and wonder why I waited so long between visits.
If anyone is interested my posting of March 23rd shows my progress on this to that point together with a no paint-over pledge!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bold color

c. 20" x 24"/oil on canvas
Not too subtle.  Bright.  Loud.  Bold.  She appeals to me!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Making pictures

18" x 24"/pastel and charcoal on heavy Bee paper
Clearly there was thought put into this but as I look at it the calculations disappear from my memory.  I think that's a good sign that something ethereal, transient yet strong was involved in the process of assembly.  How lucky for me!  At least that's how I look at it.  Making pictures likely has something to do with trying to hold on to time or maybe more precisely to a moment....which is time, I know but when I think of "time" it is usually in chunks so I'm trying to differentiate, be precise.  Photographs can hold the future off or hold the past too I suppose but I don't often put a camera in my hand when picture making. Maybe it is something about it's precision...even if the image is manipulated and looks distorted, out of focus, untrue to reality or abstracted in some way.  The required calculations are made on a level of consciousness that as a mark maker I don't have to be involved with. Or so I'm thinking.  Maybe photographers have totally uncalibrated results, too? 
I wonder if the exercise of comparing hand rendered art to photographic art is worthwhile?  Certainly, I think, the immediacy of a gesture with charcoal, pencil or pastel in hand and the resulting mark(s) is different than the capture/impression of seems almost that the difference is like a vacuum cleaner to a broom.  The camera sucks in all the available stuff; the broom is guided as it collects.  Interesting comment from someone who knows nothing about photography, huh?
I like trying to figure stuff out but maybe like some, try working at it with less than an adequate amount of information! 
I do know from looking at this piece that I got myself perfectly.  If the lens were pointed directly at me it couldn't have captured a better representation.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Work in progress that will actually be completed

24" x 36"/oil on canvas/Shelburne Falls

Actually, this is almost finished and I'm not going to paint over's on a canvas I painted on once so the oil is thick and lumpy in some places.  I used a palette knife for lots of the work and found that as the paint built up I could slide lighter or darker shades over and over and create depth.  So little time, so much to learn and so much fun to have.

Friday, March 7, 2014

See any beasts in the trees?

Several years ago a friend showed some of my work to a NYC portrait artist and he remarked.... "ah, a Fauvist!"  I was familiar with the term and the movement and appreciated the critique but I was maybe not so pleased with the idea of fitting into a category.  I wasn't aiming for any particular style and much as I do today felt like making pictures is an opportunity to explore and experiment. 
That was then.  Lately I've expanded on that colorful, abstracted sort of style and have begun assembling a series of pieces, almost all are landscapes, which I'd like to grow in number.  I hope that in the process I'll learn more about color and contrast and make some things which are beautiful.
The piece below is something I struggled with for quite a long time...months I think and have only recently begun to enjoy.
24" x 30"/oil on canvas

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Watercolor and gouache on foam board

Recent picture which has color and a loose composition.  I really enjoy working on this surface and find myself using things beside brushes to make marks with.

Watercolor and gouache on foam board

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

New charcoal/pastel drawing

18" x 24"/charcoal and pastel on paper
This was done in December along with several others I'll share soon.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Picture of "Sunset" on display

I wasn't able to attend the opening of the LOVE exhibit at South Shore Art Center but my friend did and sent me this photo of my work on display.  I was pleased to receive it as well as to see its placement and delighted to know that it is out there to be seen!
This piece is one of several I did having been inspired by the writing of Raymond Carver.  The short story "What we talk about when we talk about love" was the work I tied this to.
 My favorite aspect of this piece is the depth at the table.  It says something about coming together and exchanging with others.  I feel some safety in the spot created within the frame.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

More Sunset

I did lots of drawings before I started the "Sunset" picture.  Here's one in ink on paper.  I recall trying to work out the perspective.  The cabinets here have handles which for some reason I mustn't have thought necessary in the final piece.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sunset Drawings

Here are a couple of drawings I did several years ago while trying to organize the painting which appears in the previous posting.  I especially like the charcoal.  Also, I've got several ink and colored pencil drawings I did prior to beginning the picture which I'd like to share later in the week.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

For me, this is exciting!

From time to time I enter art competitions.  I submit images of my work for review by a juror or group with the understanding that s/he/they will check them out and decide if what I've done ought to be included in the art show they have planned.  In the past I've announced my intention to enter competitions on these pages and have, more often than not, failed to catch the favorable eyes of the juror(s) on those occasions. 
Well, I've revised my strategy.  I decided after a few too many disappointments that I'd keep my applications to myself.  So maybe it worked!  On January 20th I received an email from the director of the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset, Massachusetts that one of my submissions to the "Love" themed exhibit, set to open on February 14, 2014, was accepted!
Adding to my excitement and feeling of success was the fact that the juror, Eric Aho, is someone whose work I appreciate very much.  Having an accomplished professional selecting my work to include is flattering.
A copy of the piece is below.  I titled it "Sunset in New Mexico with Alcohol".  It's oil on canvas.

I did many preliminary drawings before actually heading off in the direction resulting in the above and I think I'll post them here over the next several days.  Fun for me to look back and see where this came from.
I got the idea for the piece from reading a short story by Raymond Carver entitled "What we talk about when we talk about love".  What the characters spoke about on a late afternoon in New Mexico included everything from infidelity, divorce, abuse of one sort or another, excesses and the commitments of love and marriage.  I thought the story engaging and took the liberty of creating a portrait of a moment I created, partly from the prose, but in large measure from of my imagination.

South Shore Art Center
119 Ripley Road
Cohasset, MA 02025

"Love" is on exhibit in the Bancroft Gallery from February 14, 2014 until March 23, 2014.
There is an opening reception from 6-8p.m. on February 14, 2014

Friday, January 3, 2014

All the way back in 2013!

Well, 2013 seemed to move too least it seems that way as I glance into the driver's side mirror. Some successes, upped the painting time, sold some work, learned a number of what I hope will be key marketing tools and helpful skills, met and worked with some delightful people and hopefully grew using what I think is a unique, if not efficient, developmental trajectory of trial and error.  Mostly error.
As I move into 2014, pallet knife in hand (temporary abandonment of brushes?/jury out!) I looked back at my 2013 posts and identified some pieces, using the hindsight method described above, which I here and now choose as my favorite posted work of the year!  A cohesive body of work, not; an algorithm for the next twelve months, unlikely.  But, today, these are my favorites and I'm trying to take lessons from them. 
These are presented in no particular order:
Any thoughts?