December 11, 2011

Deconstructing Buildings

I haven't gotten to resolve much of the right side yet ... and the reflections in the 2-story window/stairwell in the minty green building are way off, but my main concern at this point is breaking down the building shapes to up the abstraction level. This is definitely more complex than painting problems I usually confront, which I hope I'll think is a good thing by the time I finally finish this.

December 9, 2011

Working on the Bethesda painting

As I'm playing around with color in this painting, I'm also planning the painting that's going to be next to it -- there's a minty green building which housed Gallery Neptune that's just out of view ... and I'm going to paint it and looking a bit to the west in the next work. That's forcing me to keep in mind how the colors are going to work when there's a companion painting. The paintings are too rest hang side by side in my studio easel, so this is going to force me to do some creative studio spacing to get everything to fit.

In January at Bethesda Library there's an artist whose work is going into our display cases... and these paintings are going to go on the wall.

December 7, 2011

Bethesda in the Rain

I went up to the top floor of a parking garage to get this rainy view looking up Arlington Road in Bethesda. I've got more work to do on this, a lot of work especially on the gray rooftops with mechanical vents and such, but this is the start.

December 6, 2011


I used to paint a lot of reflections, silver, chrome, bodies of water. Inside today on a rainy afternoon I managed to get out my paints for a short while with only a glass of water for inspiration.

November 9, 2011

Great Falls, Beautiful Day

I came back to Great Falls to work on the painting, below, that I'd started on Monday. The ground, in particular, needed nuance. I brightened up the sky where the sun was burning through the trees and built up the purple hills in the background (which are the banks of the Potomac in Maryland). There was still time to take a closer look at the trees on the left side of the horizontal painting -- in the new, vertical painting, I was working on a board with a lot of oil and the paint was sliding everywhere. I need to spend more time on the far shore of the Potomac in that painting, which will be the plan for next week. I fully expect that all of the leaves clinging to the trees will be gone by then.

November 7, 2011

Doing "Nothing" at Great Falls

On the way out to Great Falls, Virginia, today, I passed a political sign that said a candidate for office "Does Nothing." This might have escaped my notice except that last week I was told by my younger admiring daughter that she wanted to do what I did when she was older -- "nothing." So the phrase "doing nothing" was playing in my head like a stuck song. This is the result of doing nothing all morning, proof perhaps (yet again) that the blacker my mood is, the more light and energy end up in my paintings.

November 2, 2011

Back to Gaithersburg Town Center

I started this a few weeks ago, glad to get back to work on it more. I can't even begin to describe how much happier I was with a palette full of oil paint after a week painting with acrylics.

October 28, 2011

Through the trees at the beach

This is what it feels like coming to the beach -- deep in shade, looking through the manzanita trees and seeing the beach beyond. Jane was wise enough to pull a pareo over herself before she fell asleep and became the inadvertent model for the painting.

October 27, 2011

more Mexico beach views

I am using a ton of white, being surprised every time I mix paint and find the intensity of the interactive acrylic paints too powerful.

The painting of my friend Teresa is one I started last year, got to work on again this year. Not quite right yet, but getting there.

October 26, 2011

Painting on the Beach in Mexico

I'm using "interactive acrylic" paints -- a product that's new to me and so far so good. I brought only red, blue, yellow and white and I'm mixing to get color ranges. The Pacific Ocean is an amazing blue green, hard to get right, but I am going to keep trying!

October 19, 2011

Carousel Sketch at Glen Echo

It's hard to resist painting the garish colors of the historic carousel at Glen Echo... but I did. After about 45 minutes standing under an eave in the rain, this is where my sketch ended up.

I always liked it when I went with small children and they picked the deer or rabbit to ride on instead of the horses.

Foundry Gallery's New Website Launches Today!

Check it out -- -- it's our new website! If you find anything worth commenting on or needs fixing, let me know (glitches, typos, bad grammar) since I'm one of the administrators and I'll fix it.

October 17, 2011

Fall Along the C&O Canal

A beautiful morning to paint along the canal at Swain's Lock. The leaves were starting to turn and I exaggerated their intensity while the sky was grey and dark -- when the sun came out, the color was all there. There's some shine in the image here that's from wet oil and the camera flash, but I have to see how the painting dries a bit to figure out whether there's also some real life spots that I need to fix.

October 7, 2011

Ready to Move On

I've now explored the effect of lighter and darker foregrounds, warmer and cooler light areas... and I think this is it for the Brookside Garden banana plants... until next year.

October 5, 2011

Model & Banana Plants, 2.0

A gorgeous day today but I didn't finish the painting. Much improvement in depth, model's hat, light/dark balance, but I still have unresolved areas around the pot on the left and just to the left of the model. We won't be painting again at Brookside, so this is going to force me into my studio (and force me to clean the work space!).

October 3, 2011

Black, White, Burnt Sienna

Dreary day outside, we had the model in the studio. Painted with a limited palate, chose to keep her skin tones all warm and let her dress, the chair and background stay cool.

September 26, 2011

Back to Banana Plants

Today I was back at Brookside Gardens, back to my favorite pots of banana plants. I painted from a spot at a little different angle, and I sat down in the wet grass so I could catch the back of the model sitting in the middle of the scene. If experience is any guide, I'll be looking at mums when I get back to finish the painting as the banana plants give way to fall. I've got some work to do on the hat -- the "easy" part of the painting! -- which needs emphasis on the back of the hat, a better fit on the model's head and maybe some color adjustment to take its proper place in the arrangement of pots and arching leaves.

September 14, 2011

Back at the Orchard

I brought back yesterday's painting to put another hour into resolving some of its distance issues.

September 13, 2011

Butler's Orchard

Beautiful day at Butler's Orchard. They had huge bags of honeycrisp apples, our absolute favorite. The painting wasn't bad, either, but I was rushed (aren't I always?), this time because I had the 9-week-old puppy at home and was worrying about him. My friend Marie and I compared notes about teacher/artist Christine LaFuente as it turned out she'd also taken a workshop with her. I am hoping the puppy wouldn't mind if I go back tomorrow to get a few more thoughts into this painting.

August 28, 2011

Mark your calendars! 2012 Shows

I've just scheduled 2012 --

I will be part of a two month group show in January - February 2012 at Har Shalom Congregation in Potomac, Md.

In June 2012, I will be part of a group show at the Ratner Museum in Bethesda, Md.

September 2012 will be my next solo show at the Foundry Gallery. BIG paintings are in my sights.

On an ongoing basis, I'll have work at the Foundry Gallery's group shows.

August 24, 2011

Quartermaine's Next Steps

There's something unsettling about painting a coffee shop before you've had your morning coffee. I almost left the paint in the car and went in to get coffee, forget this painting stuff. But the weather was beautiful and the work had to get done. I added people sitting at the tables, juiced up colors, light and shadow. There's some refinement to be done (how sad that I painted the name of the store without the "m" and need to fix that up) and maybe the blue umbrellas will come and seem like a good thing to add... or not.

August 19, 2011

Pizza Boxes & Jumper Cables

I learned two things while in Maine:

1. you can buy empty pizza boxes and transport wet paintings in them -- this is a wonderful thing;

2. if your car dies and you pop the hood, every grizzly bearded guy in the state will stop to give you a jump. And when the jump doesn't work, they will happily diagnose your problem, offer a ride, whatever you need. I think there's a reality tv show in there somewhere. Happily, for $35, the problem was solved by "Big Al" and I am eternally grateful.

August 17, 2011

Loose in Maine

I can't describe -- so here's a photo -- how spectacular the porch is of the house I'm in. I had time to paint this morning on a sparkling day and there were five Windjammers anchored right off the beach. They departed while I was painting, but I tried to catch a few just before they left. After last week's workshop, I felt a need to loosen up some more (bigger brush).

August 15, 2011

Maine Workshop

I had the amazing good fortune to paint this past week with artist/teacher Christine LaFuente -- -- in a workshop run by the Acadia Workshop Center.

August 3, 2011

Rossdhu Gate, before the rain

This is how far I got before the rain started this morning. Close, maybe close enough, to being done.

August 1, 2011

Quartermaine's Coffee Sketch

This painting is being done as a commission for Quatermaine's Coffee to use in a future marketing campaign. I've been waiting to start it in anticipation of blue umbrellas coming to the patio, but my time is short and the flowers are at peak state, so I got it underway this morning. The inclusion of the railing that curves along the patio is to add depth to the painting. I may be adding some people to the painting as it progresses.

July 23, 2011

Perspective, Looking up at a House

I had a small deck to stand on, looking up to paint this old Vermont house. When the sun got high enough in the sky to get past the roofline, it was impossible to look up and the glare obscured the view. I had to paint early in the morning and I didn't have nearly enough time to do it.

Like all these old houses, this house has a front section, a kitchen wing off of that and then a barn attached to the kitchen. Renovation has turned the barn into a really nice living space.

To get the full perspective on the foreshortening of the different segments of the house, I'd have had to stand back further -- an impossibility since there's a steep drop-off from the deck.

In this as well as the other Vermont photos/paintings, I used the camera in my phone for the images. Not as good as my normal digital camera and I think the color is a little off.

Here's a first sketch and the painting as far as I could take it.

House Painting in Vermont

I took up a spot across the street from the house -- here's what I was looking at and how I painted it. The hardest aspects to this painting were 1) making the street go downhill (it's a steep one); 2) using my sensibility to create the color of the house down the hill .. and having to use sense to make the house I was painting the right shade of gray to match the owner's view; and 3) 97 degree heat in Vermont.

In the winter, you can see the Village Green down the hill. It was peeking through the trees in the lush summer leaves, but I gave the landscape a little pruning so you can see the green a bit more in the distance.

I loved that you can see the mountains surrounding Woodstock beyond the houses.

Busy Week in Vermont

I was up in Vermont, really on vacation, but with the plan to paint at least one work -- the house I was staying in. While I was working on that painting, a man stopped by, asked if I'd paint the house he lives in. It was just up the hill, an 1800s bungalow that will be torn down in the next month by its owners.

There were so many interesting emotional aspects to this painting. In front of the house was a huge woodpile, clearly the result of many hours of hard work chopping wood. The house was surrounded by a spectacularly colorful garden with a rich array of perennials and annuals in such abundance that even hungry deer couldn't diminish its beauty (although you could see how they'd been feeding off the sunflowers!). And there was this old house, a survivor on its last days, showing its age. I took the photo from a little different angle than the spot where I'd painted, and you can see that I edited the view a bit to include more of the garden.

It was a wonderful experience, including the bouquet of flowers left for me on the front porch by the man who'd commissioned the painting.

July 14, 2011

Nostalgia for the old playroom mural

Back in 1998, I painted a mural on three walls of a room in our house that the kids used as a playroom. It was painted over 4 or 5 years later when we renovated. I recently tried to recall what it looked like, but really couldn't remember. The room has silvery green walls now.

I knew I'd painted farm animals and my older daughter (who was then 6) and I'd added my younger daughter when she was just pulling herself up to stand. I didn't remember at all using the Playskool dollhouse, horse and carriage that they played with as the house in the garden. I completely forgot about the boat and pond.

I found these photos from 1998 of the mural in a file of completely unrelated paperwork.

July 12, 2011

Light, Shade & TV Cameras

I was invited to paint this morning with Walt Bartman, who is being filmed for a pilot for a TV show. I'm not sure exactly when, if ever, anything will come of it. The cameramen filmed a lot of Walt talking about art -- I think I'm looking on attentively in the background -- and also offering suggestions to painters on works in progress.

We painted out at Washington Grove and my mind was very much on a painting I'd sold last month. The painting has a pattern of light splashing through trees. Today I was thinking both about that rhythm and the progression along the gravel path. The front of the house was a light yellow, but in shade I think it needs to go a little darker than I have it now.