Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fantastical Landscapes

These two paintings, I am happy to announce, will be included in the exhibition "Fantastical Landscapes and Imaginary Places" at The Bryan Gallery in Jeffersonville, VT. from November 9 to December 23.  They depict different aspects of the wooden path that winds its way around and through the darker and heavily rooted side of Jordon Pond at Acadia National Park in Maine.  Both paintings are 18x24, oil on canvas.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Someone once asked me years ago if I painted anything else besides trees, and I was asked the other day if I'm not yet tired of painting boats.  You might as well ask me if I'm tired of using paint.   This Gloucester harbor view is a 12x16 oil on panel.  However, I do think I'll be painting something else soon.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Yester House Foyer Exhibition

In July I spent four days painting inside and outside at Yester House at the Southern Vermont Arts Center as the "artist in residence."  This past month the SVAC has been exhibiting the resulting eight paintings in the foyer of Yester House for which I am grateful.  They will be up through this Sunday.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Not Flying Schooners

Another 12x16 oil on panel painting that I did at the end of Pirates Lane in Gloucester, MA.  These two boats are not flying schooners, though I read in The Gloucester Guide that the term "schooner" may have originated at the end of Pirates Lane.  During the week I noticed that sometimes these two boats were gone, but they would eventually always end up in the same spot.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Decrepit Beauty

This the fourth time I've painted this old structure at the Gloucester Marine Railways shipyard, this time at low tide so you can see its age and decrepit beauty.  In some places at the harbor's edge one can only see the ends of posts jutting out of the water to indicate what might have existed at one time over the water.  This painting is a 9x12 oil on linen, which I will eventually mount to a foam core panel.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Old Boats Now and Then

When I was a kid, I found a stash of old lumber under the front porch of our house.  I hauled it all out, removed and saved the nails, and from then on, every summer I built a small "cabin" in the backyard for us to play in.  Every year the cabin became grander.  One summer I built a boat.  It was anchored to the ground, and would never have floated, but it had port holes, and you needed a ladder to get up on deck and into the hold, and it had a mast with a crow's nest.  Maybe that long ago boat explains my infatuation with boats and Gloucester.  These two boats were recently tied up at the Gloucester Marine Railways shipyard at Rocky Neck.  The painting is a 9x12 oil on linen.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Not A Portrait of a Boat

This is not a portrait of a boat, but a view from a pier in Gloucester harbor.  The painting is a 12x16 oil on panel.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Guilty and Gruppe

The Gloucester painter Emile Gruppe once complained that students "... tend to make their ships too big.  Instead of a composition, they end up with a portrait of a boat."   I'm guilty here of trying to do both (no pun intended).  This is a 12x16 oil on panel.

Here a few more words from Emile Gruppe:

“… every student paints a masterpiece sometime during his years of study; only in most cases he doesn’t know it.  There is no one around to tell him—and he keeps working till he spoils it!”

“…the single most important fact to remember when painting outdoors: in order to get a feeling of sunlight in your pictures, you have to paint in terms of warm and cool.”

“Remember when you’re outdoors, you have to be open to the character of the site.  I’m reminded of a friend of mine, a friend who painted marvelously sensitive tree studies—and who was so poor that he would scrape off masterpieces so he could reuse the canvas! I went to his studio one day and saw a large picture of some beech trees, with the light filtering down them.  The subtlety of the piece took my breath away.  I remember standing there in silence for a minute.  Then I thought to myself, “This is God!”  That’s all I said.  And that’s all I needed to say.”

“The more you paint outdoors, the more you’ll notice that you can pass a site a hundred times without its affecting you.  Then, on the hundred and first time—with the right light and atmospheric conditions—the spot comes to life.  It suddenly has to be painted!”

“Simplify the scene in front of you by squinting at it.”

“I find the more paint I have on, the better the painting.  I tell students to paint like a millionaire.”

“Painting is supposed to be fun, after all.  When it gets to be work, it shows in the picture.”

“At best you have about three hours in the early morning and three hours in the late afternoon when the light is fairly consistent.  So three hours is the maximum amount of time you can spend on your painting.  You can’t do much detail in that time.  And, besides, most people can’t draw well enough to do detail anyway.  So why bother?  There’s nothing worse than a picture full of flyspecks!”

“It takes years—maybe even a lifetime—to learn to see in a simple way.  You have to be as old as the hills, sometimes, before you really understand what art is all about.”

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rainy Day Composition

A quick oil sketch from a couple weeks ago of the Beacon Marine Basin building in Gloucester.  It was cloudy when I started and raining when I decided to wrap things up and get away.  I tried to arrange all the presented parts into a viable composition on my 12x16 panel.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Rocky Neck

A view of Rocky Neck near the foundry at the tip of the little peninsula at Gloucester harbor: a 12x16 oil on panel.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Perky Boat

Here's a perky, little boat in Gloucester harbor that I couldn't help but notice, with its slanted windows like a cap tilted over its brow.  And the reflections in the water were so lively and colorful.   Another 12x16 oil on panel.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Capt. Joe

A 12x16 oil on panel of a large fishing boat tied up to a pier in Gloucester.  The boat is the Capt. Joe.  This view from the wharf is like looking down onto a stage from up in the rafters.  There are lights, cables, balconies.  Even a gas grill.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Gloucester View

This Gloucester  view appealed to me because the two boats are pointed in opposite directions and the adjoining building on piers is showing its venerable status.  It's a 12x16 oil on panel.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Slowly Rising

When I was working on this painting, I sensed that something was changing.  Finally it dawned on me that the boat, which appeared to remain perfectly still, was ever so slowly rising, as the dock behind it started to disappear.   This is a 12x16 oil on panel.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Beacon Marine Basin

This is a different view of the crowded boats next to the Beacon Marine Basin in Gloucester on a sunny day.  It's a 12x16 oil on panel.

When I was painting near the North Shore Arts Association last week, several people visited me during the week to see what I was doing.  When I was working on this painting, I could see another painter below to my right working on a large canvas.  Later he came by to see what I was up to, and I recognized him from an earlier visit.  What I didn't realize then is that I didn't really recognize him until I started looking at Gloucester paintings on the Internet.  He was the painter Jeff Weaver, probably the best painter working in Gloucester today, who has done some magnificent paintings of the Beacon Marine Basin.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Jumble of Boats

On a gray day in Gloucester last week, I went down to the Beacon Marine Basin to paint boats, a jumble of boats.  If I achieved nothing else, I certainly captured the sense of complexity.  A 12x16 oil on panel.

Monday, August 21, 2017

At the End of Pirates Lane

Last week I did this painting on site at the end of Pirates Lane in East Gloucester.  There's a parking lot there for the North Shore Arts Association and a couple of boat docks.  It's a convenient place to paint.  The painting is a 12x16 oil on panel.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Large Fishing Boat

It's apparent when looking at old paintings of Gloucester harbor that the appearance of where the land meets the water has changed dramatically over the years.  Buildings, wharves, and ships have all disappeared.  Nevertheless, what is there today is still quite exciting to view.  This large fishing boat I found behind a lobster warehouse across the street from where I was staying.  It's a 12x16 oil on panel.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Beacon Marine Basin at Gloucester

This past week I was able to paint in Gloucester, MA, the site where many prominent artists have lived and painted for a long time.  This painting shows an old building, known as the Beacon Marine Basin, which houses people and boats in East Gloucester.  When I did this painting last Sunday morning, I was on the grounds of the North Shore Arts Association.  This is a 9x12 oil on multimedia board.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dark Pond on the Mountain

When I drove up Mount Greylock yesterday, the sun was shining, but it faded away by the time I reached the top.  So, instead of painting a long view, I went to the dark pond on the mountain and painted this 12x16 oil on panel.  The only sky appears as a couple spots at the bottom, which I think are important to the composition.  This time I was in a place where I could hear hikers, but most of them never saw me.  The frogs, however, were aware of my presence.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Looking North into the Haze on the AT

The haze never quite burned off after I reached the top of Greylock yesterday morning.  The spot where I set up is on the Appalachian Trail next to the road.  The view is looking north towards North Adams, MA.  I met several hikers, both women and men, all walking by themselves.  I asked them where they were going.  "Maine."  I asked them where they started from.  "Georgia."  This is the time when they should be going through this spot if they hope to make it to the end.  Some didn't linger, and some spoke for quite a while.  All were interesting people.  This painting is a 12x16 oil on panel.  I hope to revisit this spot on a clear day since I want to paint those humpy mountains again.

A passerby in a car asked if she could take my picture.  I asked her to send it to me.  You can see the guard rail separating me from the cars.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A High Point

One could say that I've reached a high point in my painting: this 9x12 oil on linen I did yesterday at the top of Mount Greylock.  The painting looks southeast towards Adams, MA.

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Lobster Boat in the Sun

An oil painting of a lobster boat in the sun in Perkins Cove at Ogunquit, Maine, on a 9x12 piece of linen.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Surface of the Pond

As I worked on this painting, coincidentally I read an essay by David M. Robinson on Thoreau's Walden.  He writes, "...the description recreates the pond surface as a medium of cognition, an ideal analogue for the completely perceptive mind.  The line of demarcation between two different realms, water and sky, the surface is also the place at which these realms meet and merge, recording and thus comprehending each such event.  Perception, as represented by Thoreau through the perfectly impressionable pond surface, is thus a process of merger or unification."

The painting is an 18x24 oil on canvas of the small pond located on Mount Greylock.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Splendid Prospect

Mount Prospect offers a splendid prospect of Williamstown and the Taconic Mountains in the distance.  I reached the clearing, which is on the Appalachian Trail, using the short hike accessible from Notch Road.   It took twenty minutes even though I carried up my painting gear.  Being so high up, I thought I would be an interesting sight for through hikers, but I only met one, who was in a hurry.  This painting is a 12x16 oil on panel.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

One More Pond

Yesterday I went back to the pond.  I painted this 9x12 oil on linen while the sun gradually disappeared, and the clouds increased.  I could hear thunder getting closer.  I was off the mountain when the rains finally came.  Even though I used bug spray, my legs have been eaten alive in the last few days on the mountain.  Next time at the pond, I will wear long pants.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Painting From The Mountain

When going to the pond on Mount Greylock, I pass by this view going up and down.  If one is going to paint on a mountain, shouldn't one try a long view?  This is a 12x16 oil on panel that I did yesterday from the "Fitch" view on Notch Road below Mount Fitch.  The view looks west toward the Taconics in New York state.  Fascinating how that tree can only expand on one side.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Faster Pond

This is the second pond painting that I did yesterday from my spot next to the old pump house on Mount Greylock.  It's a 12x9 on linen.  I worked a little faster on this one going after a more abstract design.

Monday, July 31, 2017

From A Spot At A Corner

From late morning until mid-afternoon today, I spent three hours at the fantastical pond on Mount Greylock, painting from from a spot at one of the corners of the pump house.  This is the first painting I did, an 11x14 oil on multimedia art board  (which I previously coated with gesso to make it less absorbent).  The vegetation around the pond is so thick that less than half of the pond edge is accessible.  This is probably why this pond is in such nice shape.  Even on a Monday, I saw about twenty-five hikers go by.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Fantastical Pond

The pond, the pond.  I spent a couple hours at the pond yesterday when the sun finally came out. There's something magical, dark and fantastical about this pond.  This painting is a 9x12 oil on linen.

I've been reading Julian Barnes' "Keeping An Eye Open: Essays on Art."   He quotes Georges Braque, who wrote, "The only thing that matters in art is what cannot be explained."  Barnes tries to explain a few things nevertheless, but I like the quote, nevertheless.  I'm trying to get at something I can't explain.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Another Boat

Another boat at Perkins Cove.  I might do a series of boats like baseball cards.  The boats always park in the same spot.  They all have names.  This one's called the "A MARIA".  The previous one is called "BUCKWACKA".  This painting is also a 9x12 oil on linen.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Whirring of Bird Wings

Since I was already set up at the pond on the mountain at the intersection of Notch Road and Rockwell Road, after I finished my first painting, I turned slightly to the right, and painted another view.  My guidebook has no reference to this pond.  My vague recollection suggests that it had to do with getting water up to the mountain top via a pump station, which explains the tiny building at the pond edge.  As I painted, it was so quiet I could hear the whirring of bird wings in the trees, and occasionally the footsteps of approaching hikers.  This is a 16x12 oil on panel.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Painting On The Mountain

When I drove up Notch Road this morning, I could barely contain my excitement.  I've painted the mountain many times over the years, and it took me until now to realize that I could paint on the mountain.  My destination was a small pond just below the last leg up to the top of Mount Greylock.  Fortunately there's a small parking lot nearby.  All I heard for a while were the bull frogs chanting.  Eventually hikers came by since I was next to the path.  Some were day hikers, and some were on a longer journey.  All seemed happy and cheerful.  This painting is a 9x12 oil on linen.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Boat

A lobster boat at Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine.  I painted this on a 9x12 piece of linen from a pad as an experiment.  I figure I can mount the best results to foam core. While painting, I attached the linen sheet to a 9x12 board with clips, though I might use masking tape for the next try.  The surface is nice to work on and the sheets won't take up much space.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Corner

A painting of a Brooklyn street corner, Grand Avenue and Pacific Street.  This view is painted on an 11x14 multimedia board, which I coated with gesso beforehand.  I've discovered that the gesso makes the board less absorbent and easier to paint on.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Final Two

Here are the final two paintings from today and this week at the Southern Vermont Arts Center.  I spent the morning on the back porch looking out at the mountains.  In the afternoon, I stepped over to a nearby shady spot to paint the Cafe Sora.  Both paintings are 16x12 oil on panel.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ins and Outs, Ups and Downs

Thursday at SVAC: an interior and an exterior painting.  For me, the challenge of painting is to do something with what's there in front of you, or maybe just to the side.  The interior painting is a view looking out of the large red piano gallery into the main hallway.  All the ins and outs, and ups and downs, aren't so obvious until one starts looking at them.  The exterior painting is of Yester House at the back from down the grassy slope looking up.  Both paintings are 12x16 oil on panel.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Inside and Out

Today at the Southern Vermont Arts Center, I did one painting inside in the large piano room, this time looking out the double doors towards the mountains.  That sunlight reflection didn't last very long.  I relied on a sketch that I made prior to the painting.

The other painting I did outside in the early afternoon.  It depicts the front door of Yester House, and as you can see from the accompanying photo of my setup,  I had to work in the sun to get this particular angle.

Both panels are 16x12 oils.

At the Origin

The paintings I did yesterday at the Southern Vermont Arts Center are on display at the locations in Yester House where I painted them.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

SVAC Interiors

This week from today through Friday, I am working/painting at the Southern Vermont Arts Center as the artist in residence.  This means that I get to paint inside and outside the SVAC Yester House, which is currently holding a very fine members show.

These are the two paintings I did today, both 12x16 oil on panel.  The first painting is a view of the hallway on the second floor where some offices are located.  People suggested it reminded them of Van Gogh's bedroom.  Imagine that.  The second painting is the large gallery on the first floor where the piano is situated.