January 30, 2014

Experiment with Galkyd

I'm going to be traveling next week and continuing my endless search for an ideal way to paint, transport gear and get wet paintings home.  When I went to Montana, I brought a box with slats for a 12" wide painting and that seemed to work well enough to get the work home without a lot of mess.  This time, in my support of our neighborhood art supply store, when I went to get 12" wide boards, they had one.  So I got a mix of sizes and can't use the box to allow separation between them.

My idea this time is to use galkyd, a Gamblin product, as a medium for mixing the paint.  It's a bit shiny, but it offers the promise of "dry to the touch" in 24 hours, so I should be able to bring home a week's worth of work -- fingers crossed.

Today's little painting is my practice for using galkyd.  The tea cart is a new piece of furniture in the studio and it seemed like a good spot for a little painting of a teapot.  The paint seemed to be drying as I was working and I will get to check on it tomorrow.  I also hope the clean up got all the galkyd out of my brushes!

The other work I did today was finish the still life. I made the grapes a bit more defined and touched up the watermelon a bit.

January 25, 2014

Maine Still Life with Watermelon

I had an oil study of this still life and I'd also taken a photo of the set up at the time -- it was mid-August in the kitchen of the house in Maine.  I liked the study well enough, but when I was looking at the photo of the set up, I liked the view out the window and the greater depth of the image from that angle. Working in the studio today on a large painting, I used them both as reference for the painting in progress.

January 24, 2014

A little portrait sketch

I didn't have any flowers or still life or ready ideas for work in the studio today, so I put a photo up on my phone of two family favorite people and sketched out a little painting.  I didn't want to take out any fresh paint, so I did this with what was on my palette -- an interesting exercise.

January 23, 2014

Flowers, revisited

In 2012 I painted a picture of a flower store in Paris.  At the time, I was very happy with the finished painting, but a few months later, was dissatisfied. It seemed too flat, some of the drawing was noticably off, it was just not working for me.  It's a big painting, like 5 feet wide, so it was taking up a lot of storage since I didn't want to hang it anymore.  I brought it into the studio earlier this week and made a lot of adjustments to the painting to make the space seem deeper.  I also repainted a lot of the roses, leaves, well, just about everything.

this is what the painting looked like last year

this is the repainted painting, finished today
And I made some progress on the tulip painting.  

January 18, 2014

Tulips & Spumoni

Here's the progress of the large tulip painting.  I was struck by the colors in the light from the hallway behind the tulips -- they reminded me of the Italian spumoni ice cream cake at the restaurant Parm in NYC.  I played up their color a bit and the thought of that very happy dessert makes it especially fun.  I think the blue/orange of the cloth under the arrangement needs some additional work, but I'm going to give it some time to consider what it really needs.

unforgettable dessert!

January 17, 2014

Bethesda Now, New Tulip Painting

I was interviewed for Bethesda Now, an online publication and they put the story up today, with photos.  You can go to www.bethesdanow.com if you want to see the whole article and all the not-too-embarrassing quotes from me in the story.

I also worked on a new tulip panting today.  Here's how it was looking in the early stages.  

January 16, 2014


Now that I've got these long days painting, I am getting a lot of work done.  I went back into the Lone Peak painting and worked on the tree coverage on the mountain to finish that off.  I pre-mixed my greens -- a luxury that should be a routine, but I've never had the time -- so that I could put some dimension into the pine trees.

I tamed the 3rd floor of the Maine house, bringing it into scale and that painting is now done.

And I still had the vase of tulips sitting there.  I thought the vase wasn't a great size for the tulips, so I decided not to paint it and just focus on the flowers.

January 15, 2014

Official Opening Day -- Studio B

Today was our first official opening day and it was nice to be in the studio with Steve Hay, the artist in the other leased studio.   We had a few visitors and I think one of them may have purchased a painting from Steve!  If so, this bodes well.

I found having 6 hours to work at a stretch meant I needed to work on more than one painting.  I continued to work on the Maine house, taking the shadow I'd painted green back to purple as it was in the original study.  I think it's a little too strong, more work on that tomorrow.  I might also make the house a little shorter -- I think it looks too tall and needs a bit more grounding.  

first stab at the still life
The other thing I did today was bring in a bunch of tulips and set up a still life to paint.  I was going for very soft, very loose and I thought its first incarnation was the right direction, but not quite right.  I think, though, my messing with it didn't improve it and in fact seemed to make the color harmony (such as it was) even less harmonious.  I'll be scraping down the bottom to work on a new color down there tomorrow.

a change in the color at the bottom, a mistake to be corrected

January 14, 2014

Larger Painting of Maine House

I started working today on a larger painting of the Maine house.  I've painted that house … a lot of times, too many to count… in the 15 years that I've rented it in the summer.  I'd done a study this summer that I liked a lot and used that as a reference for this painting.  I still have a lot of work to do.
30 x 40 house painting in progress

summer study of the house

January 9, 2014

New Beach Painting, Questions about a Still Life

 I started working today on a painting of the beach in Puna Mita, Mexico. I painted the small piece on the left in acrylic paint on paper while sitting under a beach umbrella while on a vacation in the past.  I love the feeling of that small piece and want to see if I can, with oil paint, get better color and distance while keeping the feeling of what it's like to be in the hot shade reading a book while the cool water laps nearby.   (the painting on the other easel is my studio-mate, Linda Button's work.  She paints store windows and mannequins)

  The lemon still life that I'd painted in Maine last summer has had its reimagining to a 30 x 40 painting.  When I started it, below, the painting was rough and energetic.  Although I wanted to create a more open still life than the original set up, and I think I've done that, I miss the roughness of the sketch and the study.  I though it was done, left, but not sure now.  Something I will keep pondering.

January 7, 2014

First Afternoon in the New Studio!

I am now convinced there is nothing more fun than having a studio and time to paint in it.  I was there by myself this afternoon and put on some music (I won't do that when other people are there -- it's in my lease!).

I finished the 30" x 40" Montana Pine painting, using my small study as a reference.

Then I got out another 30" x 40" canvas and a really big brush to work on a reinvention of the sunlit landscape from this summer.  This is how it started & you can see the original small painting hanging on the wall across the room.  Even though a photo makes it look pretty detailed, I used a brush that's 2 inches wide and I can tell you it's just the roughest, softest paint.

January 6, 2014

Moving Day!

Linda Button and I moved into our studio at 7475 Wisconsin Avenue today.  It's awesome!  We set up an area with chairs and a bookcase with art books so there's a great space for hanging out, creative thinking and maybe for someone to come pose for a portrait.

Studio hours aren't quite firm yet, but they will be, soon, 11-5 Weds - Fri and 10-6 on Saturday.  I will be there at odd times on other days, too.

January 5, 2014

Studio work on Lone Peak

I used the two small studies painted in the snow in Montana, which were painted on two different days at different times in the morning, as references for the larger painting in the studio.  

"Double Take" -- Montana Pine Painting

I'm moving into my new studio tomorrow and also getting ready for a solo show in April at the Foundry Gallery.  As I expect to be spending a lot of studio time in the  next couple of months, I decided my April show will feature "double takes" -- a second painting of a work I'd done in a small study and then brought into the studio to revisit, refine and enhance the idea.   I'd seen Van Gogh's Repetitions exhibit at the Phillips Collection in DC and it was fascinating to consider the ways he'd taken a subject and played with change of palette, focus and elements in the composition to express different ideas.

the study done outside
I've done one now of Lone Peak (I have to photograph that and post it) and I'm working on the painting of the pines in the snow and their shadows.  On the larger canvas, I've been able to work on more variation in the color of the snow and make the snow a more tactile part of the painting than I could on the small board I'd painted on outside.  The pine tree is in a pretty simple state right now and before this is done, I am going to work on bringing the branches in and out of the light as I did in the study.

the studio work in progress