Thursday, March 29, 2012


This study was painted, like so many of mine, as a way of discovering a subject before making a larger version. I don't usually copy my smaller studies exactly as often there are things I wish to change within the context of the work and besides, its not as simple as just expanding the smaller painting. Each work takes on it's own life as it were and for me there is this sort of continual back and forth dialogue with the canvas. I'm constantly asking myself things like "how well is this section working in relation to the 'whole' of the painting" and do these tones need to be darker etc etc. Standing well back helps, as well as squinting - I do this mostly to check on the values and overall design of the work. I do love these atmospheric studies though and am still experimenting with different designs and compositions. I don't think I will ever tire of this kind of subject.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Lately my studio has a lot of small oil studies lying around, all recently completed but nothing that I'm completely happy with. Most of these studies are landscapes so feeling rather frustrated, I decided to do something a bit different instead. I have quite a nice collection of small bottles and jars at home here and have been waiting for the right opportunity to do some paintings of them. So deciding to start of in a really simple manner, I picked up my oils and painted this small jar on a gesso-primed panel that I had lying around. I was quite captured by the structure of this jar and the way that the sunlight reflected and refracted through the glass. Most of the color in this painting comes from the lid (which is a bright brass color) and the small section of the label on the right. I oriented the jar this way as I mostly wanted to paint the effects of light bouncing around inside. I kept the background subdued in the hopes of allowing this idea to be more effective - I think it worked out okay but perhaps the jar is a little too bright against the darker background. Maybe I should have painted it when it was still full of honey! Oh well, that could be a project for my next study. All in all though, I really enjoyed working on this painting and am looking forward to doing more!

Monday, March 12, 2012


Some time ago I spent a few days painting in the Adirondacks in upstate New York. Wonderful landscape and really inspiring views for the tops of some of the mountains that I climbed. This scene was on one of the many inland lakes just before sunrise. A truly magical time and the haunting song of a Hermit Thrush singing in the forest nearby really brought the experience that much closer to heaven. This oil is 12" X 16". SOLD

Friday, March 2, 2012


I was working late last night (after 12:30) on my computer and heard from outside my window the wonderful trumpeting of wild swans. I quickly ran outside and stared up into the night sky, the quarter moon had risen giving some light but it was quite dark and I couldn't see them. Still, as I stood with a sense of wonder listening to their calls slowly fade into the deep of the night, a wonderful feeling came over me and I smiled, feeling blessed to witness such an event. This is always the case with wild things and I consider times like these quite magical. Occasionally they migrate slightly lower and can be seen faintly in the reflected light of suburbia. Other times I have seen them by day passing high overhead - Tundra Swans in a deep V formation - but it is always their call that alert me to them. With the memory of wild swans still in my head, I'm posting this small watercolor of a Mute swan that I did awhile ago. I was happy with the way it came out and I plan on doing a larger version of it in oils one of these days. This study is about 5" X 7".