Thursday, April 30, 2009

Doorway in Provence


"Doorway in Provence", 12x16, oil on canvas panel-

About a year ago I painted a little 5x7 inch painting that I called "Front Entrance". (Go here to my website if you wish to see it.) I was delighted that it sold for a very good price, and have often thought about painting another one like it. This week I had the chance to do just that when another artist friend who recently sold her farmhouse in Provence and moved back to the states, provided this photo that she took of another front entrance taken in St Paul de Vence, a hilly little Provencial village on the French Riviera. As you can see from the photo below, the building had a similar doorway and a potful of those lovely orange nasturtiums cascading playfully over the pots. My dilemma was whether or not to subdue the nasturtiums in order to make the purple bougainvillea the center of interest. I don't think either one won, frankly. The painting is a bit busy , but filled with luscious , juicy paint and thick texture from my trusty palette knife. Here is the reference photo that I used:

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Dr. Jekyll's Hyde-away- a very creepy painting

SOLD"Dr. Jekyll's Hyde-Away", 12x16-oil on canvas panel

This painting, which I titled "The Hideaway" was a spontaneous adventure for me. I had no idea what I was going to paint one day, and I just started massing in shapes , until an impression of something began appearing on the canvas. Then as I started adding odd colors like purple and orange, the whole painting began to take on a Halloween-like atmosphere. In truth, this is one heck of a mysterious Creature of Jekyll Island kind of painting. I've been to Jeckyll Island by the way, and I have no idea how the supposed wealthy conspirators and their fussy wives could put up with the heat, humidity and mosquitoes long enough to concoct a conspiracy! Whether or not you believe in conspiracies, or have faith in the Federal Reserve System is irrelevant to me. I'm just trying to sell an ugly painting. By the way, Jekyll Island is actually a very nice getaway, in spite of the bugs, and although I didn't stay in the upscale Jekyll Island Club Hotel, I found the Villas by the Sea Resort quite nice, with a lovely beach covered with interesting vegetation and gorgeous old oaks. Anyhow, if this painting does not sell this week, I'll probably enter it into Art Center Sarasota's upcoming exhibit titled: "Masquerade, Mystery and Mischief"-"In this exhibition artists are invited to submit works of art in all media exploring mysteries, disguise, the theatrical, mischief, frivolity adventure, the strange and forbidden. In this exhibition as in the Masquerade… normal rules don’t apply! "
I doubt that I'll ever be able to paint anything this creepy again, so if you want this painting to hang in your own personal hideaway, please contact me at and make me an offer I can't refuse.

Note: "Dr. Jekyll's Hyde-Away" has been juried into Art Center Sarasota's newest exhibit, "Masquerade, Mystery and Mischief", which runs through July 3rd. Opening reception is May 14th. Hope to see you there!

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

High on Poppies


"High on Poppies", 11x14, oil on canvas panel
Note: Please click on the photo to see the detail better.)

A lot of thick paint went into this. It's a fun piece, pitting the two complimentaries (red and green) against each other, with a fairly neutral background. This painting will liven up any room in the house, and although the colors are vibrant, I used a little restraint in the neutrals, so it's not too overwhelming.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Tranquil Sunset-La Jolla

"Tranquil Sunset- La Jolla", 8x10, oil on linen panel

I did this last night after a couple failed efforts to create something on canvas that I actually liked. This one was going really well for a while, and then I got back into my indecision stage. Should I use a palette knife or brush? Should I use medium or Resingel? Should I paint the foreground as a colorist or a tonalist? A realist or an impressionist? Who the heck am I anyway? The questions about choices and my own insecurity as an artist were more than I could handle at 10:30 PM so I decided to call this done, though it could probably be improved upon in many ways. For me, trying to improve a painting on a different day than when it was started is usually a recipe for disaster. I'm not sure why- perhaps it's because I'm so moody. I was pretty down yesterday and hence I was painting in a highly charged emotional state. Today I feel kind of tired and low energy, but in a positive mental state nonetheless. (Go figure.) I think it would have been a disaster to try to go back into this one in a totally different mindset, so I'm leaving it alone.

Funny how experimenting with different artistic styles has left me feeling confused and uncertain. I think my best pieces are my colorist palette knife pieces, but that type of work doesn't sell here in Southwest Florida, so over the pasy year I have been trying to experiment with different styles and palettes and the result has been horrifying at times. Thanks to all my collectors who have been hanging in there with me. One of these days, I'll figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Roses for Mama

"Roses for Mama", 9x12, oil on acid free Belgian linen panel

The roses in my garden all decided to bloom at once, and I picked some of them for this arrangement. Here's a photo of them posing for their portrait:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Very French"- green w/red roses-art helping children

"Very French", 8x10, original oil on canvas
Note: Click on the picture at the bottom of this page to see a close up of the very thick paint that was used to create this painting, which was done with knife only.

Being a lover of God's earth, I naturally wanted to paint something green today. But unlike some people who feel that the earth deserves to be worshiped, I prefer to worship the creator of the earth instead of the creation. All that being said, I had totally forgotten about Earth Day until I started seeing and hearing green reminders of it in every possible news outlet.

Since I am an advocate for children, and the increase in violence against children has increased dramatically in these difficult economic times that we live in, I decided to use my Earth Day daily painting as a venue to do something charitable today, so here goes. I am offering this very French Impressionistic and very green still life original oil painting for auction on ebay. ALL of the proceeds of the sale will be donated to the Children's Defense Fund, and handled directly through ebay's charity program, which sends the funds directly on to the non-profit.

While you are at it, please take a moment to vote for the Children's Defense Fund video which has been nominated for a non-profit award. Vote here before April 24th, and please check out their website to see why I support the Children's Defense Fund. Their mission statement includes the following:

"To ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. CDF provides a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investments before they get sick, drop out of school, get into trouble or suffer family breakdown. Read more..."

Thanks for your support of my artwork and your support of the Children's Defense Fund!

Note, this painting was done with lots of thick, juicy paint, using a palette knife only, please click on the image below for a better view of the impasto.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Inn on the Alameda- Santa Fe landscape


"Inn on the Alameda- Taos, New Mexico"- 11x14, oil on canvas

The Inn on the Alameda is located in the heart of downtown Santa Fe, walking distance to galleries on Canyon Road and other Santa Fe/Taos attractions. To read more about this beautiful bed and breakfast, go here. This painting was painted with palette knife only and has thick impasto. Click on the photo to see more detail of this original oil painting.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Giverny Rooftops, 11x14


"Giverny Rooftops", 11x14, oil on canvas panel

Yesterday, my friend Sally and I painted in her garden. Sally had a photo of this scene from Giverny, so that's what we decided to work on. It was a gorgeous day. Today, it's been rainy all day and dark in my studio, but I went ahead and finished this anyway. I love the way that it came out, though it definitely needs to be photographed under better lighting conditions. I didn't overwork it and the flowers are sumptuous. It looks much better in person. I'll wait until it's completely dry and add some shadows under the eaves of the roof, but I didn't want to mess with them with so much thick , wet paint all around. Here's the photo that I worked from. It was hard to see most of it, so that left much to my imagination, which was a good thing!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Purple pitcher and orange-Happy Easter!


"Purple Pitcher and Orange", 11x14, oil on canvas panel
(Note: Please click on the image to see the detail).

Our electricity went out this afternoon right as I was preparing to start a new painting. Although I didn't haven't much lighting, I decided to paint anyway. So my palette looks different, I'm sure. Actually, it's very different! I like it. It's not too in your face, yet it's still vibrant. If the power grid goes out again, I'll probably light candles. Then, we'll see what sort of palette candlelight reveals!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Grapes and Gratitude

"Grapes and Gratitude", 11x14, oil on canvas panel
(Note: Please click on the photo to view the detail and texture in the painting.)

This painting, which I titled "Grapes and Gratitude", has an airy abstract quality, and has lovely passages of thick impasto. Painted with palette knife only in pinks, lilacs, blues and muted greens, it would make a wonderful addition to your contemporary art collection.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Field of Gold

SOLD"Field of Gold", 12x16, oil on canvas panel
(Note: Click on the photo to see the thick passages of impasto)

I decided to do another sunflower painting today, since nothing makes me smile more than a bunch of sunflowers jumping right out at me. They are natural smile-breakers- with their golden color and sunny nature- shaped like the sun itself, but crafted under the Master's own imaginative hand.

This time I went for a modified limited palette and I did not tone my canvas. Interesting- the pros and cons of both methods. Toning the canvas makes painting much easier- there is no question about that, but I feel it does impact on the vibrancy of the color overall. Any way, this one was done a little larger and in a vertical format. Lots of very thick, juicy paint in this one. A happy painting overall, just waiting to make some wall very happy!

This painting is currently in an exhibit. Please email me if you wish to have purchase information about this piece.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Bad Hair Day, 11x14

SOLD "Bad Hair Day", 11x14, oil on canvas

Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. We all have days like this.

Here's the story behind the painting, in case you're interested.

We have these gorgeous trees here in Southwest Florida called Tree of Gold. Well, I'm sure that's not their real name, but that's what people call them. They only bloom for about a week and then they're done until the following year. Truth is, they aren't very pretty without their big gold blossoms. Well anyway, I went and set up my paints in front of one of these trees not far from my home. It was hot and humid, so I set up on the sidewalk of a county street so the red ants wouldn't chew on me as they would if I painted in the grass. It was also very windy. My easel blew over twice, but no problem. I kept going. A kid on a skate board came whizzing by and almost knocked me over. Then a woman on a bike came by and chided me for blocking the sidewalk because "golf carts need to go through here". "There is abundant grass on either side of the sidewalk in which the golf carts can pass beside me, and in fact one has already done so", I explained to the woman. "You just shouldn't be here!" she screamed at me.

Well, so much for my "Tree of gold" Within seconds it became "Bad Hair Day", as I took my palette knife and just took out all my anger on the poor canvas. It's full of thick, expensive, wasted paint, by the way. Just click on the painting and you'll see how much paint I wasted on this sucker!

If you'd like to purchase this gem of emotional expression, please contact me at

Note: "Bad Hair Day" has been juried into Art Center Sarasota's newest exhibit, "Masquerade, Mystery and Mischief", which runs through July 3rd. Opening reception is May 14th. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Teacher's Pet

"Teacher's Pet", 12x16, oil on linen panel

I don't think I was ever the Teacher's Pet. Were you?

Well, wait a minute now.

Maybe I was a bit of the teacher's pet to Mr. Sell in 10th grade English. Mr. Rodney Sell was his full name and he really got me hooked on fine literature. I do think he liked me because I was a very good student. In his class we read a lot of Thomas Hardy. I remember "Return of the Native" very well. That book led me to "Tess of the D'urbervilles", (which was pretty steamy for 1967), which led me to "The Mayor of Casterbridge". I think Mr. Sell was a rather odd duck, much as Thomas Hardy was. A mixture of agnostic with a touch of spiritualism thrown in, and loving the concept of illicit love affairs and rejects in society that are somehow elevated to a hero/heroine status through the expertise of the author. That's how Mr. Sell struck me. I'm betting Mr. Sell is a Joyce Carol Oates fan, too. She's a contemporary author that makes you think about subjects that you normally don't want to think about. I've read a lot of her books, over the years, though lately I find them too disturbing.

I wonder if Mr. Sell is still alive? He was young when he taught me so he might be. Hopefully if he is, he won't read this and discover that I've called him an odd duck. Actually I had a bit of a crush on Mr. Sell, and he was probably the best teacher that I ever had, as he instilled a true love of fine literature in me. In his class, we also read the classic Greek poem "The Odyssey" , and I'll never forget how traumatized I was by the first few pages of that book. Were we really expected to be able to understand this odd prose? But by the end of the book I had become accustomed to the style of writing of Homer and couldn't wait to read more challenging works of literature.

I also recall reading Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter", some Shakespeare, and a lot of Sinclair Lewis in his class. I felt like a more mature, worldly young person by the end of the school year thanks to Mr. Sell, and a great deal smarter than I had been about controversial topics in the world of literature!

I wonder if young people today have English teachers that challenge them the way that Rodney Sell challenged me. I truly hope so.

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