Monday, November 30, 2009

Hopelessly in Love with my Apples


"Hopelessly in love with my apples", 9x12, oil on Raymar panel

I've had the flu for the past few days and haven't felt like doing much of anything. This evening I finally pulled enough strength together to put up my easel in my studio-which happens to be my kitchen. Having accomplished that much, I started rummaging around for something to paint. I clipped a flower out of the garden and poured some maple syrup into a glass to make it look like I had some good cognac on hand. The only thing missing was the apples and i have plenty of them in my frig since I love apples and peanut butter for a snack. In spite of a decent set-up, the painting got off to a slow start.

Here's my set-up:

For those artists with a studio, aren't you lucky?

Anyhow, the painting is finished and it looks great. The flower looks like as though it has a little face that is staring down at the apples with a sort of wistful expression, hence the title, "Hopelessly in love with my Apples." , , , , ,, ,,, ,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Castle of Ringgenberg-Switzerland, paintings of castles, landscpaes of Switzerland, Swiss Alps, boats, maountains, famous castles

"Castle of Ringgenberg-Switzerland", 14x11 , oil on Raymar linen panel-$450

A friend of mine told me a wonderful story recently about childhood trips to Switzerland and The Ringgenberg Castle. With that in mind I painted this scene. It was fun to add the ferry to the scene, as it gives a sense of the height and distance of the viewer to the horizon line.

Thanks so much to Kathy Schmocker, who gave me permission to use her photos for the painting.

This painting is sold, however please feel free to contact me if you wish to commission a painting of a special scene.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Window with a view"-palette knife painting, 8x10, roses, fruit , lemon, windows with a water view

"Window with a View", 10x8, oil on wrapped canvas

This is another one of those quick, fun study's that I did with left over paint. Ususally, when I have paint left over from a day of painting, I'll wrap up my palette with Saran Wrap and put it in the freezer so that the paint won't dry up. Since my freezer is currently full of fish bait, (don't ask), I felt compelled to use up the paint with a quick palette knife study. "Window with a View" was the result.

My inspiration came as a result of having just looked at some photos that we took during our last trek up to Newport, Rhode Island, where we always stay at the Harborside Inn. We usually request the room at the end of the Inn (I think it's number 14), and have the advantage of lovely harbor views and the sunset over Narragansett Bay. All of the rooms have balconies and most of the rooms in the Inn have at least some view of the water. We have stayed in quite a few of the other rooms, too, and like the whole Inn very much, but the end room over the wharf is especially awesome, and even has a kind of crow's nest feel to it, with a winding staircase leading up to a little loft with a higher view of the harbor. The inn is located on Christie's Landing and the breakfast room is absolutely delightful with its wrap around windows and knotty pine decor.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sea Oats at Siesta Key-Plein air, beach view, sea oats, sand dunes, Florida beaches, top 10 vacation destinations, sea grapes, white sand beaches

"Sea Oats at Siesta Key-Plein Air", 12x9, oil on Raymar panel (Note: You can click on the image to see the detail better!)

This morning was a perfect day to paint outdoors in Florida! The temperature was perfect and there was a slight breeze rippling through the sea oats just enough to create a delightfully subtle movement throughout the scene. I limited myself to only an hour and a half of plein air painting so that the light would stay somewhat stable. I finished all but the foreground sea oats there at the beach, and I added the oats with a couple quick strokes of the palette knife when I got home. I am very happy with this painting as it is a breakthrough for me-combining my attempts to become more accomplished with a brush with my palette knife skills in order to have the excitement of palette knife texture combined with the beauty of blended brushstrokes. I also incorporated my knowledge of color with a limited palette in order to create a painting that is more in keeping with nature's true colors without going tonalist.

Although there were a few people on the beach this morning, I decided to keep the scene simplistic and omitted the people from the scene. It always amazes me when I get home and look at my photographs of the scene that I have painted. They never look anything like what I had seen while painting! For this reason, I cannot emphasize enough (to novice painters) the importance of painting from life!

Here is the scene that I painted today, and a quick shot of me with what my Jewish friend Sally refers to as Hadassah arms flailing around the canvas.

Just one week ago, I painted outdoors on Venice's beach at Sharky's Restaurant on the pier. The weather was dreadfully cold and windy that day after Hurricane Ida had passed through the area. I thought it would be interesting to compare the two paintings side by side to see what a difference there is in light temperature only a week apart! (see below).

Venice Beach and Siesta Key are less than 30 minutes apart, by the way. Siesta Key to the north has been consistently rated in the top ten of American vacation destinations in recent years. While Venice beach is a bit more relaxed and attracts less tourists, it does not have the white sand of Siesta Key. What it does have is fantastic fishing and sharks teeth! More about that later;0)

Check out the difference in light temperature below!

Thanks for visiting my art blog.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Cloudy Day at Sharky's on the beach", 12x9, oil on Raymar panel, Venice Florida, plein air, alla prima,sand dunes, sea grapes, sea oats, stormy skies

SOLD"Cloudy Day at Sharky's on the beach", 12x9, oil on Raymar panel

This was the scene that greeted us this morning as we arrived for the second day of Hodges Soileau's annual workshop in Venice, Florida. The weather was freezing (by November Florida standards) and we all kept adding layers of clothing as Hodges did his demo.

As you can see from the photo above, the light temperature was very gray, with a cool light and limited value and contrast range. What was very cool about this day, however, were the whitecaps on the water, (an aftermath of Hurricane Ida), which are atypical for the Gulf Coasts' typically serene aquamarine waters.

When painting plein air, I happen to love days like this, when you don't have to chase the light every fifteen minutes, and deal with the enormous range in values that you can get in Florida on very sunny days.

Although this was a three day workshop, I will unfortunately miss the third day, which is the part I like the best and learn the most from-portraiture. That being said, this was the fourth year that I took a workshop from Hodges and I feel very fortunate that I have had these opportunities with this incredibly talented artist. The very first year that I took his workshop I had only just begun to paint and barely knew how to hold a paintbrush. I was totally out of my element and scared to death of everyone in the class. Nonetheless, Hodges made me feel comfortable and was very sensitive in all of his critiques.

Thankfully, I have grown a bit since then, and I have finally been able to absorb a little bit of the finesse that Hodges employs with his painterly approach, and sensitive brushwork. I used an earthy palette to obtain the above result and I must confess that even though I consider myself a colorist, I now realize the importance of limiting the range in which one must go in order to "push" color.

Whether or not my collectors will approve of this new subtlety in my palette remains to be seen, but I have to admit that I was very happy with the outcome of this painting which was an attempt to be both painterly, and also replicate the cool color temperature of the day to the best of my abilities.

Please contact Leah Sherman at Collector's Gallery and Framery in Venice , Florida, at 941-488-3029 if you wish to purchase this painting.

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sloop John B-impressionist still life grapes, flowers

"Sloop John B", 7x5, oil on wrapped canvas

I have really been lacking creativity lately. So much so that I could not for the life of me come up with a descriptive name for this painting. The whole painting is rather weird- not just the title. I used a totally different palette than what I normally paint with - substituting cobalt blue for what is typically my Manganese and Ultramarine. I also added yellow ochre, olive green and sap green to the mix- three colors that I almost never use. It started out as a grape study and then I went off into some loosely rendered vases and flowers. The entire time I was painting I played the Beach Boys "Sloop John B" over and over. I set the CD player to repeat and over the three -four hours it took me to paint this I never got sick of the song. I've always liked it as a matter of fact, so I guess if you like a song once, you'll always like it.

So anyhow, that's how the painting got it's name. Send me an email if interested int he painting, otherwise just go watch the Beach Boys as they sing the Sloop song. Here's their old black and white video from YouTube, which is pretty funny to watch actually. However, watching it kind of ruined the song a bit for me, because the lyrics always evoked some really strong imagery in my mind of a cute young guy on a sloop with a bunch of drunken sailors, fighting and throwing corn. Oh well.
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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Last Man Standing- A Sad ( and ridiculous) Ballad of a surviving pumpkin

"Last Man Standing", 7x5, oil on wrapped canvas (Note: Please click on the image to see the impasto better!)

Below is the sad and pitiful (and slightly ridiculous) ballad of the last man standing in the pumpkin patch, whose life has been immortalized in this juicy palette knife painting by Paintdancer, aka Maryanne Jacobsen.

"The Last Man Standing", written by Peter Pumpkin, (no relation to Peter, Peter, the Pumpkin Eater who uses pumpkins as battered wife shelters)

You know this is it. You are the LAST MAN STANDING in the pumpkin patch. Most of the others have either been sliced, diced and gutted by stupid adults cow-towing to their little kids regarding some ridiculous satanic holiday, or else they've escaped the slaughter but now their backsides are rotting in their orange skins, and as they shiver in the autumn dusk they know there's nothing in the world a pumpkin can even do to reverse the rot.

But me? Hah! I'm still the last man standing. Yep.

Even though I am standing next to an arrogant pinecone who thinks he's in charge here just because he's as tall as me! He even tried to become the focal point of Paintdancer's painting, but she's wise to his kind, thankfully. Well, just wait, Mr. PineCone. Your days are numbered, too! The Martha Stewarts of the world will quickly gather you up for festive holiday baskets soon, and you will be all alone with the other dried up pinecones in the basket, unable to even feed a squirrel, just as I am now in this frigid pumpkin patch in nowhereland, USA.

The last man (hmmmmm, maybe pumpkin is a better word) , standing in a world where no one cares. Where no one even sees that your brethren have been butchered and just murdered for fun and trysts. (or maybe pumpkin pie:0()

Trysts, you say. What is a tryst?

Just look at the purple grapes that grow next to me. These grapes know all about trysts, you see because they grow in clusters! (Please don't ask me how a pumpkin patch ended up in a vineyard, as I haven't figured it out yet either !)

But there are vineyards and there are vineyards, and I just happened to grow next to an exceptionally plump group of grapes this harvest season. Which is maybe why I didn't get sliced and diced on Halloween.

Go figure.

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