Saturday, April 30, 2016

Walking in Toulouse

A 9x12 oil on canvas painting of a view of a side street in Toulouse.  Toulouse is a wonderful city, not as stressful as Paris, and warmer being in the southwest of France.  It marks the start of a canal that runs from Garonne River all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, creating a link from the Atlantic Ocean.    The canal was built during the time of King Louis XIV.  What I found appealing about this view is the shadowy foreground.  I also like the walking figure below the sculpture.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Stripe in Bordeaux

A 9x12 oil on canvas view of a side street in Bordeaux late in the day.  I was struck by the stripe going down the middle of the alley, which was as wide as a car, so it would be impossible for two cars to pass by each other.  A slow and fast lane for motorcycles?

Thursday, April 28, 2016


Since I've been away, I have posted nothing for the last couple weeks. is a 9x12 oil on canvas of a street view in Saint-Emilion, a medieval town near Bordeaux, which seems to have more wine shops than people.  It's also surrounded by vineyards.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


This is a 9x12 pen, brush, ink, ink wash, and pastel drawing of an alleyway in a small town in Provence called Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume.  I was there five years ago.  I love the narrow streets and old stone buildings of France.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Current State

This is the current state of the painting I'm working on at the moment.  It's the 18x24 oil on canvas version of the location at Third Avenue and 19th Street in Brooklyn.  I'm still trying to figure out what it's telling me.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Notice the Objects You Notice

A 9x12 pen, brush, ink, wash, and pastel drawing of the painting I am currently working on.  It depicts the corner of 19th Street looking under the Gowanus Expressway at Third Avenue in Brooklyn.

Here's another interesting comment from the book Art and Fear:  "To see things is to enhance your sense of wonder both for the singular pattern of your own experience, and for the meta-patterns that shape all experience.  All this suggests a useful working approach to making art: notice the objects you notice. (e.g. Read that sentence again.)  Or put another way: make objects that talk--and then listen to them."

Friday, April 8, 2016


In Ted Orland's other book, Art and Fear, co-authored with David Bayles, these harsh words are written, "...[T]here's generally no good reason why others should care about most of any one artist's work.  The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars."

What soars in this 9x12 oil on canvas are the structures holding up the Gowanus Expressway.  It's a kind of Piranesian edifice in the middle of Brooklyn that is always dark underneath when the sun is shining, and even when the sun is not shining.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Sounds and Shadows

Another 8x10 study drawing for a painting.  It's a view from under the Gowanus Expressway on Third Avenue around 20th Street in Brooklyn.  The noise from the rumbling girders and passing cars and trucks accompanies the shadows.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Being Special

The 18x24 oil on canvas version of this view of Third Avenue near 20th Street.  The Gowanus Expressway is on the left held up by the girders.

In the book The View from the Studio Door, author Ted Orland cites a book by Ellen Dissanayake, What Is Art For?  about how long ago art making started.  He writes, "A hundred thousand years ago humans were already engraving artifacts with symbolic markings, and by seventy thousand years ago were ritualistically decorating their burial sites.  Those who embrace creationism or intelligent design might see this as evidence that artmaking is quite literally a sacred activity, guided and blessed by God and given to mankind alone so that we might understand and honor His design.  There is, however, a disturbing fly in that theological ointment: some of the early sites which hint of ritual and ceremony addressing the meaning to life and death were created by Neanderthals--an entire species doomed, every last one of them, to total extinction.  Where does God fit into that scenario?"

I've read somewhere that Neanderthals were probably killed off by homo sapiens.  With that in mind, another question we might ask, "What makes us so special?" I believe or want to believe that there's a good answer to that question, but the situation always seems precarious.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Third near 20th and Productivity

An 8x10 study drawing for the painting I'm working on now.  It's a view of Third Avenue near 20th Street in Brooklyn.  The drawing is done with pen, brush, ink, wash and pastel.

I just read a book titled The View from the Studio Door by Ted Orland.  He writes that the most important thing for an artist is "productivity."  "If you learn to live your life productively, your artwork will take care of itself...If you are productive, your creativity will take care of itself."  I was happy to read this, since I am productive.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bend in Eagle Street

It's wonderful to paint when one has latched onto something.  This is the current iteration (I use that term only because I might continue to work on the painting, though likely not) of a large (for me) vertical, 24x18, oil on canvas of Eagle Street in North Adams.  This time at its slight bend.  What makes this short section of street remarkable is not only its narrowness, the way it receives light, but the great variety in the buildings in terms of color, shape, age, all of which lead to fascinating compositions.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Current Eagle

The current iteration of a 14x18 oil on canvas that I started yesterday.  It represents a view of Eagle Street in North Adams facing north from out of the shadows.