December 9, 2008

Yellow Painting, part 2

I don't spend much time working in the studio on paintings that were begun outdoors, but I really liked this painting of yellow fall color that I'd started in October (the small picture is the way it looked two months ago).   Working in the studio, you have to ask what the painting needs, as I have nothing other than my memory and the idea I was going for to work with.   I knew I wanted to reduce the impact of the rocks in the front and lead into the leaves and sky area.

There will be a part 3, stay tuned.  

December 7, 2008

Now Showing!

I have work on display in two venues right now -- one, a piece is in the Yellow Barn Gallery member's show.  It's a juried show and the 100+ pieces on display are truly inspiring.   The gallery is open Saturdays and Sundays from 12 - 5, 7300 MacArthur Blvd. through December 21.

At the Edgemoor Club,  the holiday decorations include 14 of my landscape paintings.  It's hit or miss whether you'd find the club doors open if you wanted to peek, but the club is at 7415 Exeter Road, Bethesda.  301-907-2961 is the phone number you can call to see about getting in.


November 10, 2008

farm scene in Poolesville

Early morning, the farmyard was dense with sheep, one bull, a few turkeys, roosters and hens.  That didn't last!  I had the animals in place all of 15 minutes and then they all went off to another pasture, leaving me with the question of what to do with the sketched in animals.  I've had two opinions about the bull in front -- either to turn him so he's looking into the yard or to "paint his portrait."  Not sure which I'll do -- but I'll be trying to get to him later this week when I hope he'll pose for me.

November 7, 2008

Waters House, Germantown MD

You'd think the oldest house in Germantown, with parts dating back to 1790, would be pretty spectacular.  And it is -- but it's surrounded, smothered even, by close in housing developments and the construction of a new school adjacent to its site.  Still, with blinders on, you can look at the house, the barns beyond and off into the woods beyond and see a glimpse of Maryland's past.  We had a group of Montgomery County Plein Air painters at the site and a beautiful day to paint.

October 29, 2008

Great Falls, VA -- another day

Along this stream above Great Falls, yellow leaves were everywhere.  In my quest to break out of some patterns I'd gotten too comfortable with, I painted on a vertical canvas and put the emphasis on the color yellow.  I have more work -- maybe a lot of work -- to go on this and I'm hoping to get back into it later this week.

October 27, 2008

Great Falls, Va -- Above the falls

The reflection of the log in the water first caught my eye -- the colors on this very chilly fall morning were what rooted me to this spot.  Several ducks floated in and out of this little channel above Great Falls and I added a few to the scene.

My goal, based on looking at my recent work, was to paint without a horizon line.  No vistas. Look at something close to me.  I was only partly successful -- I ended up putting the water's edge not so far from where I've been placing my horizon line.

October 22, 2008

Kayak at Swain's Lock, reason for an art blog

It was a really cold morning to paint!

One great reason to blog art is painfully evident by the work I've been doing at Swain's Lock.  It's a place with the Potomac river, the C&O Canal, woods, long vistas..... and apparently, one very static horizon line.  This is not something I'd been thinking about, but here it is, right in front of me -- a horizon set 2/3 of the way up the rectangle.  

Time for a fresh approach.

October 15, 2008

Swain's Lock, Again

Returning to Swain's Lock, I finished the painting started on Monday, adding red and trying to emphasize the distance in the painting.  It was a brighter day and I worked in more pure color to make the painting less gray.    I also had an old canvas of a painting I'd worked on near the spot where we were painting today, so I did a quick painting of the river with just a pair of  trees in the foreground.

October 13, 2008

Swain's Lock, Missing Red

I had about an hour and fifteen minutes to paint today and no time to adjust the colors on my palette.  So when I was asked "what color is missing?" I immediately answered "red."  I need to go back later this week and see where the red fits in.

This painting started with a black and white underpainting, which I slapped onto the board in about 20 minutes.  The morning was very gray,  a bit misty, even.  On the moments when the sun broke through, I had a completely different take on the scene.  

October 7, 2008

Bethesda in Black & White.. and Color

Yesterday I added color to the Black & White painting from 2 weeks ago and started another black & white painting.  I found the addition of color to the first one forced me to keep deep grays that I usually wouldn't have in my work.  I liked the result, which is why I started on the second painting in black & white.  The woman squatting with her dog was there for all of 2 minutes; her friend, seated on the planter edge next to her probably sat down for less than a minute.  I waited, painted other quick sketches of others on the trail, but no one sat down to give me a chance to refine the posture of the person seated on the ledge.  I'll be going back -- maybe bring my own model! -- to see if I can finish the underpainting and then put some color in another day.

September 24, 2008

Women's Farm Market in Bethesda

A gorgeous morning to paint -- the array of mums and fall cabbage plants in front of the market entrance made a very colorful painting.  A good antidote to the black & white exercise on Monday.

September 22, 2008

Bethesda in Black & White

Back in a class with the group at Glen Echo, our assignment was to do a value study.  While I am resistant to assignments -- I paint to get away from people telling me what to do! -- I know that it's good for me.

I positioned myself at the intersection of the Capital Crescent Trail and the back of the parking lot.  My view, up the trail toward Bethesda, included the car dealership on the left and a row of crepe myrtles.  Employees at the car dealership kept sneaking through the fence to see what I and fellow painters were doing.

September 16, 2008

Mark Your Calendar

I've just signed on for an exhibit of my work at the Ratner Museum ( for June 2012.   The reception will be June 3, 2012 from 1 to 3:30 pm.

I don't want to hear any excuses if you can't come -- this is plenty of advance notice!

In showing my work to the curator, I think she liked this painting, done last year and sold.

September 11, 2008

Norman's Farm Market

This was actually the 2nd day painting at the Farm Market. Whether or not the painting is worth it, the ratatouille I made from the vegetables at the market was delicious.

September 10, 2008

Kids, day 2

Adjustments made, I thnk it's done.

September 9, 2008

Kids at the Playground, first morning

I went to Candy Cane City -- which I think used to have striped playground equipment -- with the goal of painting nearby Rock Creek.  Last week's flooding scuttled that plan, as there was mud everywhere and heavy equipment pushing it around.  The playground was empty when I arrived, and I liked the arrangement of swings and red arches.  As strollers, moms, kids, sitters, dads, came and went, I painted them in and scraped them out.  I settled on this group -- but I plan to go back tomorrow to work on this a bit more.

August 20, 2008

Painting in Maine, August 2008

I've just returned from a 10 days in Maine, where we rent my dream house on Mt. Desert Island.  The house is an 1880s victorian which has actually been the site of L.L. Bean catalog photo shoots and has been in some movies.  Here's a view of the house and a view of the entrance to Bass Harbor from the side lawn of the house.  I painted these small paintings on clayboard, which keeps the paint very loose.

July 31, 2008

short showing at Bethesda Library

We have a new installation coming in our display cases on Friday and our walls on Monday -- in the interim, my work is up -- July 31 - August 4.

July 17, 2008

Tips for the Day

1. This weekend at Glen Echo, July 18 - 20 from 12-5 pm each day, there's a show I've coordinated of landscape painters who have been studying under Walt Bartman.  Talented painters, low prices, it's a great deal.  I'll be in the gallery on Friday from 12 - 5.

2. Murphy's Oil Soap to clean brushes -- why didn't anyone tell me this before?  I put a big handful of brushes, tightly packed, into a jar with about 3/4 inch of Murphy's Oil Soap, left them overnight.  They are wonderfully paint-free today and the whole deal was cheap, easy, effective and much better than any brush cleaner I've tried before.   The deal's off it it means the brushes won't hold paint... but I figure a few swishes in mineral spirits before I paint next should have them in fine shape to pick up and lay down paint again.

July 15, 2008

Rossdhu Gate, day 2

This was a day to tackle a complex subject!  I  painted this from the other side of the court, but I need to spend more time on this to make it make some sense!

July 14, 2008

Rossdhu Gate

This is painting heaven.  Historic Rossdhu Gate -- -- is amazingly beautiful, beautifully restored and landscaped.  I have to thank my friend who is the lucky owner of the property and has let me come paint at his house.

July 11, 2008

Final Installment -- House painting for a friend

This is the final of the house painting for my friend.

July 9, 2008

House Painting for a Friend, Part 2

I came back to my friend's house to work on the painting in morning light -- even though her house faces north, it seemed to make a pretty big difference.  I'm not done yet -- but if you scroll back to the earlier post on this painting, you can see the work in progress.  One thing that I struggle with is "straight" lines.  If you look at a painting of a house by Edward Hopper you can see that the lines aren't straight... but his great gift is that it doesn't matter since the edges of windows are not the focus of the painting.   When I do finish this painting, I hope to have the vision of the house hold the viewer's attention so that the "drawing" doesn't matter. 

July 3, 2008

Washington Sailing Marina with George, Jody and Uncle George

On a beautiful morning just south of National Airport, George's sister and uncle posed for us.  The photo of my finished painting has some shine (it's still very wet) but that's the idea of it.

Painting in Finland & Estonia

I made a spectacle of myself while on vacation in Finland and Estonia.  With the summer solstice light, I was able to paint at 10:30 at night and it was just about as bright as midday.  I had planned on doing a lot of mixing and bringing only primary colors, but I found that I'd brought cadmium red and it mixes pretty well into mud and that's about it.  While I bought mineral spirits at an art store in Helsinki, I didn't pick up crimson and I wish I had.  Quick dry white and a quick dry painting medium didn't really seem to offer much in the way of quick drying -- I did get these home in a Ray-Mar box that kept them separate, but they were still plenty wet when I got home.   Each of these oil sketches was done in about 45 minutes.

July 2, 2008

Estonian Modernism

I've just come back from a trip to Finland and Estonia.  One of the great delights of the trip was the KUMU art museum in Tallinn and the exhibit of Estonian artists.  This is a sample of work by Nikolai Triik.

I've tried to search a bit on the web for Estonian modernism and it's not easy to find -- but worth searching out or going to Estonia to see this museum ... among many wonderful reasons to go.

June 21, 2008

Working on a house painting for a friend

Today I sketched out a house painting -- it was afternoon sun (I never paint in the afternoon!) and I'll have to see how morning looks.

June 19, 2008

Great Falls, MD

This was a 1 hour quick painting.  I was across the canal from other MoCo Plein Air painters on a beautiful morning at the river.