Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Workshop: One Month Later

OK, so it's been nearly a month since I finished my painting workshop with John Poon at The Greenbrier. It's also been a month since I posted to my blog. I've been painting, but not my small blog pieces. I've been working on some larger works and doing a lot of study and reading.

So what was the most important thing I learned from my workshop? I'm glad you asked, it has to be that I have a lot to learn. I had a great time. I mean come on, it doesn't get much better than spending a week just painting and to top if off, just painting at The Greenbrier.  The road to becoming a better artist begins with finding out what you don't know. I now feel that I'm headed down the right path. I just need to keep working.

I also realized that I hadn't posted the final paintings that I did at the workshop, so I'm posting them all in order of completion. These are not finished works. They're more akin to colors studies. Looking back at these, I think its easy to see progress, and I feel I certainly got my money's worth. The last painting is a value study we completed the last day, so no color in that.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Painting Workshop Day 4

As an artist, I always hoped that one day the flickering light that reside in my head would some day fully light up. I've been painting off and on for about two years now. Today, as I watch John Poon demo his painting techniques, along with a running dialog, it finally dawned on me what I've been missing. It's hard to put into words, but a lot of the different things we consider as we paint, seem to come into focus for me.

I had just finished a painting this morning (see below), and though I was happy with it, I knew I still was missing something. After the demo, I started my second painting of the day with confidence. I'm not finished yet, but I was able to do a complete, seemingly correct, block in. That may not sound like much to non painters, but it's a big deal.

I still have a long way to go, but I feel as if I finally have a complete road map to follow. I will tell anyone who has a passion for painting, to keep an eye on The Greenbrier's web site (click here), for the next painting workshop. Great location, fantastic atmosphere, world-class instructors, and fun workshop participants. It doesn't get any better than this.

PS: I'll take better photos of these when I get home this weekend.

Early morning painting (excuse the shadow of my arm to the left)

Afternoon block in (I'll finish it in the morning)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Painting Workshop Day 3

Day 3 consisted of a live demo from John Poon. He completed a larger painting using two completely different photos. It's one thing to read about techniques, it's a whole other ball of wax to see it in person. Watching a professional artist work his craft, and explain every move that he's making in the process is worth the cost of admission alone.

Our lecture today was on design and composition. Best day yet.  

Here's the results of my labor today. Tomorrow I will get at least two paintings done, even if I have to work after the class.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Painting Workshop Day 2

Another day, another bad photo. This painting looks much better in person....really it does.

Today we worked on color theory. Lots of note taking. We painted in the morning, then lectured in the afternoon. This painting was concentrating on the values lecture we received on Monday. All I can say is it's only been two days.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Painting Workshop Day 1

I've signed up for a week-long painting workshop with John Poon that's being held at The Greenbrier. Anyone on the east coast knows all about the resort. A great first day, I really learned a lot and I'm looking forward to the rest of the week. This morning was kind of a meet and greet and to find out what we expected to get out of the workshop. 

Mr. Poon, wanted to see where we all were with our painting skills, so before the lecture, we were asked to pick a photo from his collection, and paint. Of course, I set up at the back of the room so no one could see me work. Below is my labor for the day.

Hey, you have to start somewhere. I plan on posting my other paintings during the week.

PS: a special thank you to my sister-in law Kathleen, for arranging for my room at The Greenbrier.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Standing on the Dock of the Lake

My busy schedule has precluded me from painting recently. As I've stated before, taking even a week off causes my painting abilities to regress, so attempting a painting with water, sky and mountains is pretty daunting. I'm happy with the outcome though.

This is a photo from our trip to Canaan Valley, WV this past summer. We always stay at a friends cabin, which by the way is available to rent, click here to visit. North Lake Cabin has the only deep water lake in the valley and is full of hungry fish. Not to mention that Canaan Valley is one of the best places in the whole state. That's my brother-in law Brian DuBois standing there like a Greek statue. Nice job Brian.

Buy it now

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Thursday, October 10, 2013

One In, One Out

This is my third version of these flowers. This one is definitely the best of the group. I'm very happy with my brush strokes and color mixing. I think I might have one more in me before the flowers completely die.


still life,oil on gessoboard,6x6,price $40

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

More Flowers in a Vase

This is better. Getting back into the swing with this one. It's funny how much momentum I lose over just a short month of idle time. I did a much better job of painting the flowers. I think tomorrow's piece should have more contrast with the flowers and background. I'd also like to try and get a more pinpoint lighting setup. 

FYI, this Saturday, October 12th, I will be at the East End Bazaar in Charleston, WV selling handmade framed paintings (only $60 each). My 11 year old daughter Madeline, will also be selling a couple of her pieces. She's much more experimental than I am, so if your looking for something wild, come by and visit us.

Buy it now 

still life,oil on gessoboard,6x6,price $40

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Stolen Flowers

I'm back behind the easel with this new piece. Once again, I cannot take a week off anymore. A week off always becomes 4 weeks. Lesson learned, I think.

As I was dropping my sister-in-laws carpet shampooer off to her (I know, TMI), I notice that she had several arrangements of these great looking flowers in her home. So, like the moocher I am, I manage to finagle one from her. I'm going paint several compositions with these until they die off. Wish me luck.


still life,oil on gessoboard,6x6,price $40
6 x 6 Oil on gessoboard

Friday, September 20, 2013

For Sale

Just like in a lot of smaller towns in our country, empty store fronts are becoming common place. Boarded up windows and doors. Some of these past commercial locations will probably stand dormant for quite some time. This was a small gas station call Pride Oil. It's been closed for several years now. This is a study for a larger painting I'm currently working on. 


Monday, August 19, 2013

Day 100

One year and 100 paintings. It's been quite a trip. Lots of activity along with stretches of nothing. I had to kill myself to reach 100 after my winter of discontent. It's really fun to look back at where I started and see where I'm at now. Though I still have a long way to go, I'm very happy at this time. 

I'm going to be taking a few days off before beginning another year. It just so happens that today was my blog anniversary and tomorrow is my wedding anniversary. 19 years of putting up with me. The lady is a saint who has allowed me spend my evenings painting while she took care of our girls. Thank you Elizabeth.

I painted this metal cup a few times in the past, but not recently. Putting it on a couple strips of colored paper made for a neat affect. 

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Striped Metal Cup

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Day 99

Well, I did it. This is 4 of 4. I thought I'd use the last of the apple I've painted over the weekend. This setup seemed way easier than it actually turned out to be. Lots of reflections on the cup was challenging. I'm going to need to re-shoot this one tomorrow in the daylight.

One more day and one more painting to finish. Yeah! 


The Rest of the Apples

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Day 98

I had painted a similar scene 6 months ago. I friend of my sister-law purchase it and I've missed it every since. Though it isn't a copy of the scene, it's fairly close. I'm happy with how this turned out. I'm also happy that I just need to paint one more piece tonight to reach my goal.

NOTE: I'm doing a test run to sell my blog paintings via Daily Paintworks. If you're interested in this piece, click the link below to purchase.

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Apple and Fork

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Day 97

This seemed like a good idea until I started painting the glass, which has small depressions throughout it. I kind of got lost in the detail a little. Oh well, moving on....

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Apple and Yellow Glass

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Day 96

This is 1 of 4 today. I know I said that yesterday, but I don't have a choice today if I'm to make 100 by tomorrow. I'm trying to resist the urge of just dropping in any old object and painting it. I want to adhere to good composition, interesting subjects, and having fun. I think this is only the second painting I've done with cloth as a subject. Very hard to paint, for me anyway.


Blue Cup With Spoon

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 95

OK, so I didn't quite make my goal for today, but tomorrow is another day. Or so I've heard.

This is old shave cup and brush that my sister loaned me. No, she doesn't shave, she just collects old things.

How About a Shave

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Day 94

Hopefully this will be 1 of 4 posts today. I have to go to a wedding later today, so we'll see. 

This is my favorite bird and a little pitcher my sister loaned me. Once again I was able to us one of my fabric samples. Yeah!

But it now

Red Meets Orange

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Friday, August 16, 2013

Day 93

Over a year ago I tried to paint these fake purple flowers that I had purchased at Michael's. It was a disaster. I still have the canvas sitting in the corner of my studio reminding me of that not so pleasant memory. I know this one is smaller in size, but I feel a sense of accomplishment for the way this one turned out. 

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Green Vase and Purple

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Day 92

This will is the start of my multi-day posts in an attempt to reach my goal of 100 paintings by the 19th of this month. These cups are part of my "thrifting" day with my sister.

Group of Blues

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day 91

The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.

I may like this better tomorrow, but tonight I don't. Mr. Overpaint showed up and made me angry. All was going well, then I became detail boy. I really need to conquer this tendency to not be able to stop painting an area over and over and over. Ugh!

The Outcast

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Day 90

A moment of clarity.

I had a church related event with my daughter tonight. So when I came home I knew that I wouldn't have much time to paint. Being up against a looming deadline, I couldn't afford to miss a night. So off I went, painting quickly, but with a plan in mind. 

I've been struggling recently with my tendency to "over-paint" these blogs paintings. Working within a short time frame forced my hand today...and this turned out to be a good thing. 

I'm really happy with the finished product. Clean color, simple brush work and a nice composition. And, I got to use another fabric sample. Much simpler pattern and the colors work well with the red in the apples.


Happy Painting

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day 89

This piece started out with a lot of promise. I still had some great tomatoes and apples to choose from. I also used one of the upholstery samples that I recently purchased. I was very excited. As I got further into the process, I started to think I should have started with a less complicated upholstery design. Once again, the small painting surface makes it difficult to paint the smaller areas and still have a fresh color approach.

It also didn't help that I couldn't get a decent photo afterwards. Oh well, win some, lose some.

Meeting of the Reds

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Monday, August 12, 2013

Day 88

I needed to take a few days off at the end of last week and the weekend. I tweaked my back, so no painting. This has put my stated goal of reaching 100 paintings by August 19th, my one year anniversary, in jeopardy. If you do the math, I'm going to come up a little short. So what's a fellow to do...cheat! I'm going to double up on a couple days and try to make it anyhow. As I sit here typing, I'm lamenting that two and a half month break I took during the late stages of winter. 

Well, I can only do the best I can and be happy with it. 

I went "thrifting" (second-hand shopping) with my sister last Friday and picked up a couple of new items. I also was able to purchase an assortment of upholstery samples which will make great backgrounds and foregrounds. Very happy with those. I had to shoot this painting late and I've picked up a lot of glare on the right side. I'll need to re-shoot this later.

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Crazy Tomato Head

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day 87

The family went out for dinner to "celebrate" the start of a new school year. When we returned home at 7:45pm, I didn't really feel like painting. I slumped in my chair in front of the TV and started to formulate all the different reasons I could use to not paint. At 8:15pm, the good part of my brain made a rare appearance and I found myself staring at a blank gesso panel. 

What to paint? Cups, no. Fruit, we were all out. Looking through my collection of stuff, I pulled this ceramic bird out for double duty. I'm happy with the results. Sometimes pushing yourself when you don't feel like it, works out well.

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It's a Bird

6" x 6" Oil on gessobard

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Day 86

This is my wife's WVU coffee cup. I thought since football season was approaching, now would be a good time to paint something with a Mountaineer logo on it. It's also been awhile since I painted a cup, lol.

PS: This "lol" thing is great. You can send someone a nasty email, or make a rough comment on something, put the "lol" at the end and it seems to mask the emotions. So, with that being said, "Have a @*!#^& day, lol".

Go Mountaineers

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Day 85

Who would have thought something so small, could fight so well. These cherries kicked my a$$ last night. At one point I sent my daughters upstairs because they were "interrupting my concentration" and it was affecting my painting. In reality I was lost in the detail again and the painting was going nowhere.

So I put down my brush and took a few steps back and spent a good 5 minutes just looking at this monster I had created. "Ah-hah, I had forgotten to squint!" Squinting removes the detail and helps to simplify the subject. So instead of dropping this into the trash can, I just started painting over my mistakes. You'd think after nearly a year of these daily paintings I wouldn't forget to squint.

After finishing I apologized to my girls and let them know that it wasn't "their fault" that my painting wasn't going well.

To finish off the evening in grand style, I ate these trouble-makers. That will teach them a lesson. 

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And in This Corner...

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day 84

This is a close up of a black cherry. I overworked this a little, but I'll continue to try and keep it simple as I paint a few more of these before they either go bad, or become eaten. Cherries this time of year are very tasty, so I better work fast.

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Lonely Cherry

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Day 83

Needed to take a break from the vacation stuff. This is a good time of year for peaches, so after a trip to the grocery store, this is the "fruit" of my labor.

Peachy Still Life

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Friday, August 2, 2013

Day 82

For an artist, hanging out at the beach can be an exciting color-filled experience. Now I realize that anyone can appreciate bright colors, but an artist starts to see these colors as an opportunity to crack open that new tube of paint purchased a few months/years ago. The colors that don't usually come up in everyday studies. Though I've tried to stick with a limited palette for these daily paintings, I was able to finally use my 2 year old, brand new tube of Transparent Oxide Yellow. Oh baby! What I found out is that it's really about the same as Cadmium Yellow Light, which I use about everyday.

Still being relatively new to painting, I have purchased some crazy paint colors over the years. But when I started these daily paintings I made a concerted effort to work with just 8 colors, they are: Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Red Medium, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Umber and White. So basically a warm and a cool version of each color.

PS: I miss the Pro Art & Framing Center that was located on Summers Street in Charleston, WV. It closed over two years ago. Hello Mr. Trail, wherever you are.

My Kingdom For Some Shade

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Day 81

Occasionally, I bite off more than I can chew when it comes to these daily paintings. The small size is difficult to work in if your subject is too detailed, too many moving parts. I think this is one of those times. 

Though it turned out OK, it's not the loose painting style I've been striving for.

Well, tomorrow is another day.

Sunset at Tybee

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day 80

On our trip to the beach this year, I wanted to make sure I did some sort of artwork while on vacation. I took a sketch book and pencils with me everyday as we packed for the walk to the water. Though some days I did nothing, I did manage to do some work. 

As everyone knows, seagulls can be a pest at the beach. Drop some food, or god forbid, throw some food toward one, and you'll suddenly have a whole flock giving you the stink eye. 

This year I discovered a new appreciation for these birds. They actually will stand still for you while you're drawing them. For anyone that's drawn outdoors, sketching people without them knowing (or as I like to refer to them as "Non-Paid Models") can be difficult. It teaches you to sketch quickly, because, unless they're sleeping, people do not seem to stay in one position very long. These birds will stand in the same position for minutes at a time if there is a remote possibility that food will soon arrive. I filled pages of my sketch book with my new friends.


Model for Hire

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Monday, July 29, 2013

Day 79

I'm hitting the home stretch for my upcoming one year anniversary. I'll have 21 paintings posted in the next 24 days. I've established a nice routine over the last couple weeks, so I know I can do it.

This painting is from our vacation. One of the items you always see in these southern sea-side towns is the use of bright colors for the houses. Seeing a pink house is West Virginia would look odd, seeing it near the beach seems normal. I also like the hurricane shutters a lot of home have there.

But it now

Little Pink Houses for You and Me

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day 78

This scene is a road on your right as you cross the marshes to Tybee Island. It was evening and the road looked wet and the sky was interesting.

Now to my drowning story. My friend Rafe had suggested that we could swim to an uninhabited island (Little Tybee) just off shore from the beach to hunt for shells. At low tide we would just have to swim a narrow channel, then walk/wade the rest of the way. 

So the next morning off we went. Rafe, his two daughters, myself and my daughter Suzanna. As we began to swim across the channel everything was fine. I was at the back, making sure no one lagged behind. 10 minutes of swimming, 15 minutes, 20 minutes...still no one had reached the shallow waters. Though I can swim, I hadn't swam this long without resting in quite some time. Breathing hard, I started to think "I don't believe I can make it. I better turn back.". I turned to go back, but it was too late. We had swam more than half way. That's when I started to panic. My heavy breathing picked up and I thought "I can't believe it, I'm going to drown on my vacation. Crap, that's going to ruin an otherwise great trip!".

I rolled on my back to catch my breath, but my panic was full blown by then so that wasn't going to help me. I had to suck it up and start swimming harder than I ever had. I went into full Tarzan mode. I could feel my heart beating like crazy. I keep thinking "please do not cramp up Mikey!". That would be the end, I thought.

Finally I saw Rafe walking out of the water. Relief. Only about 20 yards to swim. As I walked out of the water onto the sand bar, Rafe said "We're not quite there yet. We'll need to swim one more channel. It's about the same width as the one we just cross." That's when I told him of my embarrassing near-drowning episode.

"Why didn't you say something." he said.

My response "I wanted to die with dignity" 

It's funny now, not so funny at the time. That was the end of our adventure. The old man of the sea was spent. I rested, and we found a more shallow channel to cross back to the beach.


Evening Rain

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 77

So I'm still behind schedule with painting this week. Before I went on vacation, I had completed a painting on Sunday and posted it on Monday and then throughout the week. This allowed me to photograph the previous day's painting in the daylight. Daylight photos look much better than these late evening ones. I picked up a lot of glare on this one, so I'll re-shoot tomorrow.

Our vacation this year was spent at Tybee Island, Ga. It's about 15 miles from Savannah. I look a lot of photos while at the beach. So you'll be seeing those images appear as paintings this week or so. 

Tomorrow, if I have time, I'll tell you about my near death experience while swimming. Don't laugh, I'm still moaning and crying about it.


Tybee Life Guard

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day 76

Back from vacation. I took Monday off to catch up on my sleep. Tonight I thought I'd pick something easy to paint. I poured over my photos from the beach and chose this scene. I should have learned by now that when I try to choose something "easy" to paint, it never works out that way.

This is a photo of my youngest daughter Maddie at the beach. Low tide to be exact. I like the composition on it, not the execution.  

Beach Maddie

6"x6" Oil on gessoboard

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Day 75

The Teel family will be heading south for a week's vacation at the beach. I've been painting up a storm before I leave so that I'll have some paintings to post during our trip.

These puppies belonged to my daughter Maddie's best friend Rebecca. Dachshunds to be exact. I liked the way their tails all lined up together.


Puppy Dog Tails

6" x 6" Oil on Gessoboard

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Day 74

Recently I spent a few days in our nation's capitol for business. When I go to DC, I always stay with my friend Rafe and his ever-growing family. He lives in Annapolis, MD and always feeds me.

While there we went to a beach on the Chesapeake Bay (or was it the Severn River) to relax with his boys, all four of them. Next to where we were setting was a stack of kayaks, canoes, boats and a catamaran. The colors on them were nice and bright and as the late evening sun started to cast the long shadows, I pull my phone out and shot this image.


Annapolis Beaching (alternate title "Why can't I live here")

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day 73

Another painting of the bird sanctuary. This is towards the far reaches of the raised platform. It takes you into the trees and, specially in the summer, the bugs. The sky had a nice warm red in it this evening.

Once again, love this new camera. These last few blogs have the best representation of what the real paintings looks like since I began, nearly one year ago. Money well spent.


Path to the Trees

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day 72

I'm very excited about this painting. I've hit on a nice groove recently with my work and this one continues the trend. 

This scene is the bird sanctuary that's located in the middle of Canaan Valley. It has a raised wooden path that allows you to walk back into the woods. There are  natural springs that bubble up in the water along the way. These raised wooden paths become a nice blue-purple when the sun begins to set. I really like how the sun glows at the top right corner of this painting.

The Bird Path

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Day 71

Another Canaan painting. We recently purchased a new camera. I've been taking my daily paintings photos with my cell phone since I started doing this blog. After seeing how much better the camera is, I'll not be using the iPhone again. 

This scene is from the trail that begins near the Black Water Lodge. It winds it's way through a forest of hemlocks and has several smaller waterfalls on it. The rocks near the tea-stained stream are covered in a bright green moss. Very cool.

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Black Water Stream

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Monday, July 8, 2013

Day 70

Over the next few days I'm going to be posting paintings from the photos I took during our vacation to Canaan Valley, WV. Though it rained most of our time there this year, I managed to shoot some nice images. I've also managed to get ahead of the curve and paint a few pieces over the weekend. Now I'll be able to get some nice photos of these paintings.

This painting is from near the lake where we stayed. High grass with lots of wild flowers.


Fields of Flowers

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 69

This is a photo I took in downtown Charleston, or what used to pass as downtown. Like a lot of smaller cities, lack of parking and a big honking mall, put a hurt'n on the city. This used to be Stone & Thomas department store. We had two large, multi-floor, department stores on one block back then. Sometimes it's hard to wrap your mind around the fact that there were more people living in the city limits of Charleston, WV in the early 1960s, than there are today. Very sad.

By the way, I ordered new gessoboard panels two weeks ago. When they arrived, I realized that I had ordered the wrong size. So I might have to take a small break this week until my new order arrives.

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Stone & Thomas Still Stands

6"x6" Oil on gessoboard

Monday, July 1, 2013

Day 68

A couple of posts ago I proclaimed "this is the worst photo I've taken" of one of my paintings. I'd like to redact that statement and use it here. "this is the worst photo I've taken". I have just got to get ahead of the curve on taking this photos. I need to start one day early, then shoot the image the following evening before it gets dark. It's now 10:20pm and it's way too late to shoot the image outside. Shooting inside, in the low level light of my studio is killing me. So tomorrow I'll re-post this painting with a better photo.

Anyway, now that my whining jag is over, this is one of the photos I took during our vacation to Canaan Valley. This is near the cabin we stay at. It's a good thing I took this photo during our first day there because with the rain that came later, it never looked this serene again.

Canaan Stream (adjusted image)


Canaan Stream (old)

6"x6" Oil on gessoboard