Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Another Go

My second painting is complete utilizing the workshop techniques I learned. I saw this scene in Kanawha State Forest at Ellison Pond this past summer. I'm happy with the finished product on this one, though I didn't let the under-painting pop through like I was intending to do. Sometimes thinking more and painting less works better than others.

PS: I'll be setting up for ArtWalk next Thursday, December 18th at the Capitol Conference Center at 815 Lee Street E. in Charleston. I'll have this painting framed, along with a few other landscapes for sale. "What a great Christmas present that would make!" you say.

Fishing Hole

9" x 12" Oil on board

I'm back from my workshop

Three weeks ago I attended a 4 day painting workshop at the Art Studio in Easton, Md. The instructor was Shelby Keefe, an impressionist painter with a neat technique of applying bright, complementary-colored under-paintings in acrylic to your canvas, then when dry (just a few minutes) painting in oil over that in a bold impressionistic style, letting the under-painting pop through. Well, I'm not there with the "bold impressionistic style" yet, but I'm working on it.  

This depicts a late evening summer sun spreading across the porch of an old Victorian home on the east end of Charleston.

Here is my first attempt of applying what I learned. 

Fading Summer

12" x 9" Oil on board

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Knock, Knock, Mr. Abstract

I've been playing around with the idea of trying my hand at an abstract, non representational, painting. I love pushing paint around and working with color. Some of the limitations I put upon myself when I'm working on my normal subject matter causes me to tighten up. I always seem to be fighting that. 

This canvas was very enjoyable and freeing. Though I still had a subject in mind, I was able to concern myself with color, texture and paint application. I might have to do a few more of these.

36" x 36" Oil on Canvas

Friday, September 26, 2014


It's been a while since I posted. I've been in an intense study and experimentation phase recently. Most of my "experiments" ended up in the heap of discarded failed paintings. But I'm getting better as a move along. 

I just recently finished this piece. I've noticed in my own home, the importance of smart phones. They have become, in a lot of ways, our main form of social interaction. I watch my wife and daughters zipping through their phones every evening, whether its work related or friendship related, its become part of the routine in our house. Me, I mostly read the sports page with mine. Thanks to my daughter Suzanna for posing for this painting.

24" x 18" Oil on canvas

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dock in Sunlight

Last year our family went on a vacation with our good friends the Morrisseys to Typee Island, Ga. I took a lot of photos while there and in Savannah, Ga., which is a short drive from the beach. This is one of those photos.

Recently I picked up a few DVDs on color, design and plein air painting. I was very excited with them and began to put into practice what I was learning. I painted about seven small 8" x 10" pieces. Though the compositions were good in each, the colors were awful. I wasn't sure what was going wrong. 

I've been trying to "think" more than "paint" while working, but I still was struggling. Something wasn't right. Two weeks of painting and nothing to show for it. 

A couple days ago I ran across the notes I had taken at a recent painting workshop. As I read through them I discovered the source of my problem...I had changed the hues I had been accustomed to painting with. Not all of them, but about half. It's amazing how much that upset my flow. 

This painting is my first after the 'ah ha" moment. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Bend Coming Up

This is the road to my house. Just around this bend you'd make a right turn. I'm the next to the last house on the left. This reference photo was from late evening last fall.

When I finish these paintings I show them to my two young art critics, who happen to be my daughters. Once they finish telling me what's wrong, I like to ask them if they recognize where the painting is. Neither were able to guess this scene was less than 100 yards from their home. So I ask you, is that a reflection on my painting skills or do they not pay attention when they're being chauffeured around town.

14" x 11" Oil on canvas

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Figure Drawing

For the past couple months I've been attending figure drawing sessions on Thursday nights. It's held in the basement of Taylor Books in downtown Charleston, WV. I thought I'd share some of my sketches.

Long pose

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Late Evening Alley

Recently I've been attending life drawing classes on Thursday nights in downtown Charleston, WV. While on a break last week I snapped an image with my cell phone. The alley across from Taylor Books (where the class is held) was lit up with the last rays of the day. The facing street was in shadows. The street lights were beginning to cast an orange glow over the dark building fronts. I thought it looked like a painting, so I painted it.

11" x 14" Oil on canvas

Friday, May 30, 2014

Food For Thought Part 2

Here's the second food painting for my uncle. 

I definitely ate first, then painted, on this one. I never envisioned myself painting hot dogs. The key was keeping the my dogs away while I worked.  Yeah, I know, this one's blurry too.

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Food For Thought Part 1

My Uncle Ernie from Florida, who has done a lot for me over the years, recently requested a couple of paintings for himself when he arrives this week for his yearly visit to West Virginia. He was born and raised in West Virginia, but has lived in Florida since the early 70s. When he visits, my Mom always cooks food he can't get in the sunshine state. So, when your favorite uncle says "I want paintings of my favorite West Virginia food, beans and cornbread and hot dogs with chili and slaw for my kitchen" you naturally have two of your meals for the week set. Then a dilemma, "Do I paint first or eat first?"

So without further ado, I present painting number 1. West Virginia Beans and Cornbread (with green onions on the side).  A little blurry on the photo, sorry.

6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Weight

This is a social commentary painting in regards to our country and the state of mind of a lot of folks that try to make a living in small towns. I used the beaten down train station near my home to represent the decay of society, but left the figure surrounded in the yellow painted clapboards as a sign of hope. It seems that we're all just waiting for better times to come and we carry that weight with us.

I talked my brother into posing for this one.

20" x 16" Oil on Canvas

Thursday, May 15, 2014

April Plein Air Canaan III

My final piece before we left. I wanted to spend a little more time on this one and I really liked the look of the abandoned house next to where we were staying. I was able to pick up some of the details of the house and the grounds around it by moving closer.

11" x 14" Oil on Canvas Board

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

April Plein Air Canaan II

My second piece painted in Canaan Valley in April. The weather warmed up so I was able to spend a little more time on this one. You can see the snow still on the ski slopes in this painting. Everything else was still in a dormant state, so lots of yellow and browns.

8" x 10" Oil on Gesso Board

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

April Plein Air in Canaan

Our family was able to spend 4 days in Canaan Valley, WV during the third week of April. That's a very dicey time weather-wise, so when we arrived there was still snow on the ski slopes. 

I was able to paint three plein air paintings while there. This first one is of the valley with an old abandoned house that was next to our cabin. About 30 minutes into the painting the wind started to pick up and the temperature started to drop, so I couldn't paint this one fast enough. I'll post the other two later this week.

8" x 10 on Canvas Board

Monday, May 12, 2014

Hey, I'm back!

I know I haven't posted since March, but I have news...I've had a painting accepted into the 2014 West Virginia Allied Artist's Juried Exhibition. The show will be at the Huntington Museum from June 14th to July 13th. 

I'm very excited to be included. The entry that was accepted is one I've posted on her of my lovely daughter Suzanna. It's call "Girl in a Blanket" originally titled "Girl in a Quilt". I think the name change my have gotten me in. I posted this back in March.

I'll be posting new paintings later this week, so come back often.

24" x 24" Oil on Canvas

Monday, March 31, 2014

Workshop experience this weekend

I attended a workshop at the Huntington Museum of Art this past weekend (9-4, Friday - Sunday). Thank you Barrie Kaufman for the encouragement. It was part of the Walter Gropius Master Artist Workshop series. This session featured Hung Liu, a Chinese-born American contemporary artist and was titled Self-Portraits and Selfies.

I had a great time. We did some life drawings with class participants volunteering as models. I've been meaning to join a local group that holds a class every Thursday evening, now I think I'm ready. But the main push of the workshop was the relationship between self portraits and "selfies". I've been kidding my daughters about the "puckered mouthed" images on their cell phone, now I needed to bring in my own selfies to work on, but not with the puckered mouth. There's only so much I'm willing to sacrifice for my art.

Hung Liu shared her experiences growing up in China. She started each day with a lecture and slide show. She introduced the class to lots of different contemporary artists in China and throughout the world. 

During the workshop, we were treated to beverages, snacks and lunch. Kind of hard to go wrong there.

Below are my efforts. After going through the three days, I do see one advantage of getting older....with more wrinkles and contours I have, the easier to draw yourself.  I also see the value of shooting photos of your work as you move toward a finished piece... it makes it easier to see the imperfections, kind of like looking at your drawings in a mirror. Didn't recognize that value until I posted these today.

Day 1: Selfies (not just drawing yourself, but using your imagination to make a statement with your image.)  Yeah, I know, scary.  First one is me releasing all my bad thoughts and artwork.  Second one is just, just....is my nose really that big?

Day 2: Selfies, painting, same concept. Don't just draw your image, work out a composition. First image is life drawing from the day, the second image below is a painting with me and my daughter Maddie sporting a fake mustache and beard, standing below a painting I did of her a few years ago. My, how things have changed.

 Life drawing

Day 3: Black and White photo composition painting (I still have more work to do on this one)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Girl in a Quilt

I've been working on this piece for a few weeks. My lovely daughter Suzanna is my model. I wanted to develop a more decorative style with this one. The realistic approach to the figure that is draped in a quilt, that becomes a flat, pattern design. This is also a very high key color palette which I don't usually work in. 

I had trouble with the photography on this, so I'll need to re-shoot when the weather clears. (I'm told that there is something called "Spring" coming soon. So I'm looking forward to that) Notice the glare on the left side of the painting. Ugh!

It's always nice to have girls that will indulge their father's art by becoming models when needed. I'm very thankful.

24" x 24" Oil on canvas

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Late Evening Stroll

Well, I haven't posted any new material in about 6 months or so. I actually had planned on letting the blog die a slow death, but I've been instructed to begin again, so here it goes.

Though it's been 6 months, I have been working on my art. Tonight's masterpiece was conceived while I was pumping gas one late evening. I liked the way the last rays of the winter sun were lighting up the distant mountains. I added the cat for fun.

8" x 10" Oil on canvas