Monday, August 31, 2015

No Comfort Zone

A last batch of four drawings from a drawing session this time at the Shoestring Press in Brooklyn.  I read something recently about the value of getting out of one's comfort zone in order to grow mentally and spiritually.  Drawing the figure, especially if one doesn't do it often, certainly is a way to get out of one's comfort zone.  There's no faking what you can and cannot do, and discovering what you need to learn and work on.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Drawing in New York 2

Two more drawings, different model, different session, different location, but also led by Simon Levenson in Manhattan.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Drawing in New York

I've been away, to Brooklyn, but still painting and drawing, mainly drawing.  My son, a fine draughtsman, arranged for both of us to attend life drawing sessions run by painter Simon Levenson in Manhattan.  Above are two drawings from the first session.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Eyes Moving

This is an 8x10 oil painting that I did a couple weeks ago trying to capture as quickly as possible the clouds forming over the mountain top.  There's a row of trees bordering a pasture in the foreground.  As you can see I painted the trees quickly as well.  Gruppe in his book on color says that the eyes move quickly over what they see, and he advises doing the same when painting.  The brush doesn't move as quickly sometimes.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Postage Stamp Sky

This little 8x10 oil on panel I did Monday this week in the afternoon at Haley Farm at the end of Hopper Road.  Trying to avoid the heat by setting up under a tree, I could only see distant fields, trees, mountains, and an enormous sky, which I tried to paint on a postage stamp.  I didn't set out to repeat the trees in the clouds, but it seems to have worked out that way.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Brooklyn at District in Pittsfield

Today I installed eighteen larger paintings of Brooklyn scenes in the Pittsfield restaurant District. District is the sister restaurant to Public, located in North Adams. I hope you get a chance to visit District, located at the center of Pittsfield on West Street, and see the paintings. There's plenty of free parking close by. The exhibition will be up for four months.

In the Sun

This 10x10 oil on panel painting is closer to what I want in paralleling the structures with the mountains.  When I arrived yesterday morning, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, but they started to appear so I put them in.   I worked under my umbrella since there's no place to escape the sun where I was standing.  The painting took one hour to complete.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Paralleling the foreground roofs and the distant mountains is an interesting idea, but it probably needs more space around it to work well.

Monday, August 17, 2015

No Clouds

This 10x10 oil on panel painting I did last Friday morning.  When I arrived at the high meadow the sky was cloudless, everything illuminated equally, and quite flat in appearance.  So I decided to paint anyway.  I felt it was like chiseling out a pattern in low relief.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Little Big Sky

This 8x10 oil on panel of the clouds is the only one left of the group that I have photographed.  It was also done last week in the morning looking south from the high meadow.  I had a busy weekend with no painting, so I have to rely on previously done paintings.  I wrote "in the morning" because the clouds were holding back, and became more dramatic only as the day went on, but I was there when the clouds were like this.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Simple Quick

This 8x10 oil on panel I did last week.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Clouds and Mountains

A day later.  No bull this time.  This is a 12x12 oil on panel done yesterday in the morning at the same location from a different position.  The previous day's painting of the same shed was done in the afternoon when the sun was also in a different position.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Beauty and the Bull

This time a view of the clouds and mountains with a garage and shed, which are there, set against the background to provide contrast.  

I was joined by Walt Pasko,  who has been painting plein air for a long time.  His venerable Gloucester easel reflects the fence posts.

The fence, though it has four strands of barbed wire and sturdy posts, is not as strong as it seems.  While I was painting, I heard a loud snort behind me.  Someone on Facebook had joked recently about meeting a bull.  Well, I turned around and there he was about ten feet from me, and on the wrong side of the fence, my side, that is.  He had already run by Walt who was painting higher up.  The bull was big, dark and powerfully built.  He whined a little when I looked at him, and continued to run down the hill.  I saw him again a few minutes later.  Somehow he had managed to get through the fence (again), and was slowly walking back up the hill, but this time inside the pasture.  Nature is a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Small and Large

Here are two skies looking in the same northeast direction from the high meadow, done five days apart.    My little 8x10 panel is insufficient to capture the enormity of the sky and clouds.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Under the Sky

Today it's raining, so I overloaded yesterday,  making five small sky paintings, all 8x10, all done quickly.  This is another view looking at the Taconics toward the southwest.  I recently acquired an umbrella which makes it possible to paint in places that are less shady, though when I took this picture another cloud was passing over.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Slant of Light

This 12x24 oil on canvas painting is a studio piece that I completed a few days ago.  It depicts the entrance to Haley Farm and the end of Hopper Road with the Hopper in the background.  The light is often unusual accenting the Hopper's distinctive slopes.  I'm easily reminded of Emily Dickinson's poem, "There's a certain slant of light"  even though it's not a winter afternoon.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Southwest in the Berkshires

This 12x12 oil on panel was the last sky painting I did Thursday.  It was mid-afternoon and I was looking southwest toward the Taconics.  Again the clouds and sun were constantly changing.  I did notice that in the late afternoon the clouds seem more static.  I'll have to keep looking.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Ten Second Pose

Another 8x10 oil of the sky above the high meadow,  this time looking in the northern direction.  Painting clouds is like going to a figure drawing session with only ten second poses.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Above and Beyond

Thursday was gorgeous and I returned to the high meadow to paint clouds a la Constable.  This is an 8x10 of the view looking north.   I painted all day up there, making four paintings.  The place is inspiring.

Thursday, August 6, 2015


Yesterday afternoon I visited a high meadow that reminds me of the Alps, except it's New England.  The wind was perky and the clouds kept changing.  So I set out to paint quickly and keep whatever I settled upon for sky and near and far mountains,  resisting the temptation to fuss details.  I noticed that though the clouds transformed frequently, they repeated themselves in a large, generic way, as if going through a cycle.   What I like about this place is that the field is so large, and the vista so encompassing, that one becomes puny, just an eye, taking it all in, looking.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Encountering Green

When I went to Hopkins Forest yesterday late morning, the sky was blue and the sun was shining.  Halfway through painting this view of the picnic table under the apple trees,  the clouds quickly appeared, and then it started to rain.  I finished the painting in the room where I paint.

I'm still in my "painting green project".  The red table and benches I realized are another way to counter green.  So are red metal roofs, tree trunks, and boulders in old foundations.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Old Milk Shed

This is an often depicted and photographed shed, often by me as well as others.   The mountainous background is stunning, and often the setting for intriguing skies.  It's an old milk storage shed that used to be next to a no longer existing cow barn.  Now there's only a tall locust tree, which provided a wonderful shady spot while I painted the shed yesterday early in the afternoon.  The panel size is 11x14.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Brilliant Pond Scum

Yesterday morning I went to Field Farm where the light was shining brilliantly off the pond scum.  So I proceeded to make a painting of an unappealing subject as quickly as possible before the light faded.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Old Foundation and a Potential Hazard

Friday afternoon,  I went back to Haley Farm into the pasture where I had started this 11x14 oil on panel the previous week.  However, this time the cows were present though out of sight.  After I got started a big cow discovered me, and came to within a couple feet.  The cow had horns and was snorting and drooling and covered with flies down its snout but its eyes only revealed curiosity.  I could easily imagine my puny easel pushed to the ground.   But the cow decided I wasn't so interesting after all and left to munch grass nearby.  I went into the pasture to begin with because of this view of the partially hidden house with the stone foundations of another  long gone structure.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


The other day I asked a friend if I could paint in their backyard.  This quiet painting I did yesterday morning standing in a shady spot in the backyard.