September 21, 2021

Narrative Painting


I've been working on this narrative painting for several months.  It's big -- 5 feet wide -- and it is being painted a "start with a part" strategy where I've been making it up as I go along.  The elements in the painting combine painting from life, painting from photo references, and painting from imagination.  The story the painting tells is of a young family and shows places they've lived, experiences they've had and things they are passionate about.  

My next step with the painting is to get it into the room where it's going to be hanging, to see how the colors and elements look in the light of the space.  It's got a lot of natural light, many more windows than my studio, so I want to be sure it works as I intend.  Just getting it out of my studio and onto a wall in my house I can see some things I want to tweak.

It's too wet to travel, so stay tuned.

August 24, 2021

Mason Jars

 I took oil paint and gouache paint to Maine with me this summer.  My usual practice is to start with oil paint and then switch to gouache to allow the oils to dry before traveling home.  This year, I spent the weeks leading up to my trip to Maine working in gouache to really settle in with it. 

I'm using Turner Acryl Gouache, which is an opaque water-based paint.  It doesn't reactivate like regular gouache, so when it's dry, it's done.  It's a challenge, especially outside where the sun and breeze can harden a glob of paint in minutes, but the result is a matte finish paint.

The bouquets of flowers I'd been painting on the porch were arranged in mason jars and every day we had to pull out the flowers past their prime.  I reached a moment when I thought, if I had any courage, I'd paint the jar without the flowers.  Well, I have courage.  And I also loved to look at the way a striped landscape (table, railing, grass, rocks, ocean) seen through a jar became a mishmash of colors and forms.  So the jar series began.  

Now that I'm home and heading back to my studio, I'm planning on continuing the series in interiors seen through jars.  Maybe back into oil paints for larger canvases.  Stay tuned.

Website Updated!

 I have finally updated my website after neglecting it for way too long! now has a painting gallery under landscapes for the work of Summer 2021.  I have been in Maine and painting landscapes and flowers and my new passion, mason jars, this summer.  I still have a lot of work to do to update the site -- and iPhone camera images are not the best way to view work! -- but it's a start.

The pandemic year upside has been my immersion in online classes with painters I admire, whose classes always were out of reach, too hard to get to, too expensive and unapproachable. No more!  Online art instruction is oddly more wonderful than being in a classroom in person.  The artists are generous with their expertise and the process of critique is so much better with online uploading and Procreate software used as a tool to teach.  All of which has led me to new ideas, new approaches and, as Peggi Kroll Roberts so aptly puts it, "expanding the universe."

More to come and happy painting.

October 22, 2020

New Exhibit at Gallery B Nov 6 - Dec 19

 "Ending 2020," an exhibit of my work and artist Sara Liebman, will be on display at Gallery B from November 6 - December 19 at 7700 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda MD.  The gallery will be open to mask-wearing art lovers on Fridays and Saturdays from 12-4 pm.  Come join us and cheer for the end of 2020 with some new artwork for your home or office!

Gallery B_Leibman_NovDec 2020

Gallery B_Levey_NovDec 2020

August 4, 2020

Lobsters, Again???

The top 5 ft x 3 ft oil painting of lobsters is still on my easel, not done yet.  But I am loving painting lobsters again.  The image below is a 9" x 12" gouache painting I did from my live model in Maine, done on slippery yupo paper.  

I shared the painting of the lobster below with a friend of mine, whose reaction "Lobsters again?" made me laugh.  Did anyone say to Monet, "waterlilies again?" and suggest he find a new subject?  Well, lobsters are my waterlilies.  I still have more lobster paintings in me.

Seawall, Maine

When I was in Maine a week ago, I went out to Seawall, a natural rock formation on Mount Desert Island along the coast.  I intended to paint there, but the weather was getting stormy, so I sketched in a notebook, took reference photos and worked on a oil painting when I got back in the studio.    

I've been painting in gouache so much lately that the oil paint felt like great.  I loved playing with it and having it move around and mix.  And the soft edges!  What a lot of fun.

June 3, 2020

Digital Painting

I have had Procreate software on my iPad for at least a year and I have been playing with it, but never really understanding all its features and how it works.  I finally was nudged by my friend Marie to take a class in digital painting.  I love it!  What an amazing tool and so much fun to play with.

The process we were urged to use followed classic drawing techniques, building a face by drawing the skull, the muscles, and layering on up.  The layer feature in the software makes this really work.

We were given the assignment of a profile face with dramatic lighting.  I uploaded a photo of a famous actress, and drew with that as my reference.  You can see the results in time-lapse video.

June 2, 2020

Finding Creativity

I'm like everyone else struggling to make sense of the world today and imagining what the future will be like.  One thing I love about painting is that it gets me out of the wordy world -- so much talk, so much writing, so much sound -- and into a place where paint is the expression.

I've been trying out online workshops and open studios and much to my surprise, I've been loving them.  And in spite of being largely isolated in my home, I'm in these online sessions with people in Madrid, in Dublin, in Texas, Seattle and you get the idea.  Connecting through paint isn't like connecting through words, it's almost like the paint bypasses the brain and goes straight to the heart.  Thank you to the Seattle Artist League, Atelier Dojo in Texas, Peggi Kroll Roberts in California and the Art Digger Lab in Madrid for a lot of inspiration.'

I'm working on on a new painting that I've got in my studio, where I'm.using a wire figure and a wooden person  (studio models used for exploring ways the body moves).  I'm. hoping to express in paint thoughts that completely are failed by any words I can say.

here's the original painting
 I've also been challenged to take a successful past painting and repaint it, thinking of new ways to approach the composition and expression of the paint.  Years ago, I painted metro escalators and here's the original painting and the new ideas I'm working out based on that work.

and my new approach

March 5, 2020

Brooklyn Row Houses

Here's two works in progress -- both 36 x 48" in oil.   I'm working on them simultaneously!  I have a show at Gallery B in Bethesda in April with my studio mate Sara Liebman and I plan to have these two plus a few other cityscapes to show.

this was the early stage of the above painting

February 23, 2020


I'm now working on cityscapes in preparation for a show coming up in April.  I've been doing some sketches and have just started on a series of larger works.  More to come!
This is a small oil study of a street in Crown Heights, I'm planning to make a larger painting of it

Work in progress on another cityscape -- this is a 36 x 48" painting