Saturday, August 01, 2015

Daily Painting Practice - Do, redo, what ever it takes to get it Right

If a painting hangs around long enough it is bound to get worked on again, and again, and again... Until I get it right.

 Here's a painting in progress I posted back in 2012.
 Right off the bat I focussed on how the birches lit up the forest.

 I thought I was close to being finished back then. Two years later...
 it still hung around the studio, I'd work on it then figure I was done...Of course I wasn't. The painting never caught my attention like that first spark of the idea. So I worked on it some more....
Birches 12x16

and now I finally called it complete.  I may have lost the light but I'm pleased none the less. So, how do you know when a painting is complete?  When she-who-must-not-be-named says so.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Cape Elizabeth Land trust Wet Paint Auction

Doing it big.

I was honored to be juried into the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust's Wet Paint plein air event this year.  This was going to be a little different than  other plein air events I have been to.  First, you get assigned a location to paint and to make things even more interesting... you only get to paint one picture for the day.  Then that painting gets auctioned off in the evening. No pressure right?

I was told I should paint as large a canvas as possible by friends who have done this event  in prior years.  To me 16x20 was large for plein air.... however, being the brave soul I am I upped my game and boldly went for  18x24.

 We had to get up at 4:30AM in order to drive down to  Cape Elizabeth and arrive at 7:30.  Luckily, she who must not be named  did the driving and I ..."centered myself"  (actually it's called a nap).
 Arriving fresh I scoped out a place in my assigned area ( Danforth Cove) and went to work.  I was so lucky, this place was  beautiful!

  However, the heat was not.   This is a very poor photo of the finished piece I took with my  phone that evening  at the auction. 

 The venue was very nice ... so was the food. To end the day on a happy note...good news ,the painting sold!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Daily Painting Practice - the composition you want... or a surprise

Continued with the painting hoping to  unbalance the composition. At this point I was leaning towards  making the  bird feeder the  focal point.

Tea For Two
But surprise surprise the hydrangea flowers just kept pulling me back.... so forget everything I wrote about last time.  Flowers or bird feeder... the focal point is out of my control.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Starving Artist Sale -Maine Composition and Color studies -

Starving Artist Sale:
Composition and Color Studies - $200 Framed Free shipping-
To purchase see the Starving Artist Sale on my website (

Coastal Study #1
oil on hardboard panel 
A great way to start a collection.  Composition and color studies are paintings not brought to the same degree of finish as my usual work but do capture the feelings and sense of place I hope to bring to my larger pieces.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Daily Painting Practice - Too much balance in the composition

When is balance in a painting a bad thing?

I knew when I started this composition there would be a point when a decision had to be made. Of course this decision should normally be made before you start to paint, but then my approach is hardly ever normal.
 The problem is the ever sought after and much in demand...focal point. Where does an artist want the viewer's eyes to begin and how long does he want those eyes to remain there? These should be deliberate decisions by the artist. When I have a painting that is weak in composition it is most often because I haven't made a decision about the focal point.
 The analogy is often made that the focal point should be the star of the picture and everything else is part of the supporting cast. Not having a focal point in a painting would be like not having a main character in a play or movie. The audience needs a reason to care or in the case of a painting a reason to spend time looking.
 So here we are right at the point of deciding, two actors are standing on stage, one on the right and one on the left. Who should be the star of the scene?  
It is too balanced, even though the bush is round and fat and the pole is thin and straight, that diversity is not enough . We need a star to care about. So, I must make a decision: the hydrangea bush or the bird feeder? Something must stand back and support the other.