Sunday, June 30, 2013


Continuing to work on different areas of the painting, I first darkened the shadows inside then added a wash of burnt umber to the large pot. Further deep Windsor red washes were added to the frame and the post helping to define that area somewhat. I also darkened the walls in shadow then took a deep breath before working on the lettering. I worked really slowly on each Chinese character making sure that they exactly matched my references as not only would each character have to read correctly but I also wanted to capture the artist's style. After a few hours, the base coat was done then I went over all the lettering once again deepening the tone slightly. Happy with the work so far, my plan was to finish the roof next then I would be better able to decide how much darker the shadows had to go. Apart from the architecture and individual character of the place, what made the scene so interesting to me from the start was the areas of sunlight and shadow, especially surrounding the pot used to burn offerings to the Gods. The rest of the painting would have to be slightly understated to allow one to focus there so there would be plenty of deepening watercolor washes to come.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


When I first moved to Hong Kong in the mid 1980's I could scarcely believe that I was actually there! It had been a dream of mine for so long. Each new day was an adventure as I explored the districts around where I was staying in Kowloon. I then had the great fortune to meet someone who suggested visiting the out-lying islands so the next day saw me on a ferry to Lamma Island. The closer I got to the island, the more certain I was that I would live there and within a week I was! Life back then seemed to be idyllic - I would rise early and explore the island watching birds and butterflies, drawing nature in my sketchbooks and swimming in the sea.
I first came upon this shrine almost by accident as it was off the main walkway through the island but in an older area that had caught my eye some time before. I did some sketches on site then moved on to other things. Much later, here in my studio I came across those earlier works and decided to do a larger watercolor of the scene. Well that was a few years ago and the painting has sat at home here for some time before I recently decided to finish it off. Up to this point, the painting had been developed as seen above except for the horizontal decorative strip just under the eaves which was worked on last week. I can't find an earlier photo of this work in progress so this series of posts will have to start with the painting developed up to this point.  Basically I had built up the work using successive washes of color as usual keeping in mind my initial ideas and focal point. It seemed to be going okay so far but I realized that  lot of work was still to come.....

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


A plein air painting done overlooking the marsh near Blackwater NWR on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Often these smaller studies don't come to anything, but are extremely useful non-the-less. I always learn something from doing them and I can often use them as the basis for larger paintings. Or even combine certain aspects from a few different studies to work them into a painting. For me, its all about discovery and experimentation. I do a lot of looking and thinking before actually painting anything and I hope my work has improved because of it.  Near Blackwater - Oil on Canvas, 9" X 12".

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


A study of a female Ornate Hawk-eagle from before. In the past I made many studies and drawing of this amazingly beautiful bird. Large and powerful, it really had an imposing presence. Incredible markings too - almost art-deco like and with a wonderful crest that could be laid flat as in the above painting. A bird of the forest, in flight it had short rounded wings and a long tail - built for maneuverability. I did this study in watercolor - size is 11" X 7.5".

Saturday, June 1, 2013


This painting needed only a few touch-ups to it before I called it finished. A difficult painting to photograph properly - in reality the work is a little darker (especially the foreground) and the grasses are more subtle in their tones. This painting - along with a few others, are being exhibited at Berkley Gallery in Warrenton, Virginia - I'll be having an exhibition there later in the year and will keep you posted.
The farm painting that I mentioned in my last post has become bogged down so will be awhile in coming. In the meantime I am happily working my way through some of the other unfinished painting in the studio. Hopefully more pics soon. Summer Landscape is an oil on canvas, size 16" X 24".