Wednesday, December 30, 2009

East Tawas Explosion #2

I've got to keep shooting until I hit something!
This one is closer to the target than yesterdays version,
although I just noticed that the grasses along the front
are static ... equal spaces, lines the same width, that will
be fixed by tomorrow. Also, I could've warmed up one of
the blue background trees. Still not comfortable with the
style of painting. It seems so far from what I'm used to.
I'll experiment with it for a while and see where it goes.
It needs refinement and some outward confidence by the

Today, the wash brush didn't have total control. It took a coffee
break and I didn't, so took over until it tapped on my shoulder
and said "I'm Back".

Again no mercy! Have at it so I can learn something, huh?
I'm an old dog, so I can't learn new tricks, ooooh sorry Sam.
Hey did you all notice that we have a multiple award winner
on the blogs with us. Check out Loriann Signori and A painting a day.
She's an inspiration for a lot of us.

Till later everyone, and have a great and properous, peaceful
2010. Happy New Year Blog Friends!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hey, who's in charge here?

Yes I know this does not resemble the value study done
for this subject. Let's put it this way, it took me about 3 hours
to take back control. (not sure who was in charge)
By the time that happened the only thing that might save it
would be to hose it off.
So I was sitting there pondering the rest of the day ... I looked
down and saw I was holding my 1" flat wash brush. Hmmm.
Well that's when things went crazy again. I sat quietly and watched
as my hand holding the brush went chunking and stroking away.
I thought, well if you think you can do better than me then go for it.
It was fun to watch (I never gave it much hope with the brush in charge).
After trashing my palette and mudding up the water containers, it jumped
out of my hand and landed back in the brush jar.
Mary walked in about then and said, hey this one is coming together!
I looked at her with a puzzled look on my face and said, "really?"
Well if like it ... Let the record show I went ahead a signed it.
Still puzzled ... whatcha all think ... show no mercy!
signed: the guy with a brush that runs his life.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Huron Side

I'm following the example set by my good friend B.
She has been practicing these value studies and sharing
with everyone at her blog
Take a look at her wonderful work.

I'm taking this to heart. I will faithfully ??? pursue
one each for every painting I attempt. I've been struggling of
late with colors, mud and lack of punch. Seems like doing
a value study will be a good exercise for me. I've done others
but I feel good about this one. Charcoal pencil on good
quality news print. Feel free to share what your process is,
rather value studies are important to painting or you follow
another process.

Remember this is a watercolor blog so we'll see how this drawing
interprets with watercolor. Thanks everyone, have
a great Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

One Minute of Thought

One minute to capture the
movement, mood, line of the
hips, the shoulders and rough
proportions. Certainly a
crude start but gives a strong
basis to continue.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Just filling in.

And what you say is this? Little scrap of blotter
paper I use for testing colors while painting. The
reason it's here is because it's a stand in for the piece
I'm working on.

I guess you could call it meaningless blog fodder.
Hey, maybe I'll change the name of my blog to
Blog Fodder Supreme with onion rings.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Not Another Day

Fear not, a pastelist I'll never be. Just couldn't
stand another day of watercolor so I pulled out some
old cheap pastels. Took the shot before I knocked the
dust off. Watercolor tomorrow.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Scrap paper

When I'm painting, I like to keep a piece of scrap
watercolor paper next to the paper so I can test colors
before painting with them. I should have framed the
scrap, since the painting failed. Isn't it amazing how free
and easy we can be when not shackled by a preconceived
idea. I know that's how it works for me. I need to remember
that. Do others feel that way?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Small but Effective

OK, here it is. In the first photo is of course some guy
in the studio acting like he's retired. The next photo is
the closet storage area. Large metal rack to store matt board
and backer board plus portfolio cases, easels, photo reference,
and anything else I can cram in there.
The next photo shows what I always dreamed of having.
Flat files, 4 five drawer units. Creates a work surface
and stores piles of paintings, some matted, some not.
Different types of watercolor paper, extra palettes, sketch books
and again, whatever I can cram in there.
Shot from the door of the dining room. Most of the time
the door is closed and I have music playing to cover other
disturbing noises. My wife and I are both retired and we
have two kids and 8 grandkids living within 7 miles of our house.
Hence the closed door. Actually, it's a lost cause when the cookie
crumblers show up. I love em anyway. Most days are quiet, especially
in the winter time.

Reflections of Frustration

I think I still hear someone!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Next time Listen

This haunted me for 5 days. Laughing at me from the flat
file. It didn't deserve the amount of time I gave it. While I
was working on it, even today. I could here someone hollering
STOP, STOP, STOP! Then I realized it was me. Instincts didn't
pay off this time.

Up in the Beech

Plein Air, 5 x 7 watercolor on cold press.

Failing realism last week I went with the 1" flat.
No one said plein air was about realism. As a painting
it was short and sweet.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Post Something! OK.

Little doodles lead to something.

Time to say thanks!

Blogging is still fairly new to me. I'm still amazed at
how many people take time and thought to leave helpful
and rewarding comments.

I just wanted to take a moment to thank those of you that
are followers and the many that just stop by and leave
comments. Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ludington Pier

This is my contribution to vertical formats.
It's my favorite lighthouse in Michigan
because of the sharp angle shape and the play
of light on the sides. The black base just adds
to what interests me. I love the worn pier and
pieces that have fallen into the water. It stands
solid through all the storms that have tried to
take it. I've painted it several times because of
the great perspective of the pier and the range of
colors from the surroundings.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Blue Bucket

There is a warning attached with this post. The photo is awful.
I will post it again later when I have a chance to get a decent

This is a beach scene I painted on hot press paper. The effects
are totally different than painting on cold press paper. The
paint tends to sit on top of the paper surface rather than
settling into the rough surface of cold press. So this painting
is more of an experiment than a finished piece.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kauai Coast

This is a very simple memory painting from our visit to Kauai.
There are new paintings coming so stay tuned.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Somewhere, No where

Sometimes I just have to paint something from somewhere
in my mind or imagination. It might take 30 seconds or
5 minutes, just enough to say the brush was wet the colors
were flowing and now I'm done. I've accomplished something.
That's right, I painted.

Monday, November 2, 2009

First on the Scene

As you can see by the paper
texture that this is a very small
piece. However, it is a piece
so lets go with that. This was
going no where until I hit it
2 or 3 times with the
spray bottle. I suppose you
could call it an accident, I call
it the right set of circumstances.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

High Wind

from the flat files

Found this one hiding deep in a flat file.
A plein air attempt from a couple of years ago.
Yup, that's right, it looks like a perfect clear
day. It was ... only the wind was howling straight
into my face at a steady 40 with gusts much higher.
I had enough tears in my eyes to keep my brushes
clean. I sat with my back against a large pine tree
and trying to hang onto my board, water, colors
and anything else that was loose. Maybe I'll
finish it someday. Just brought back a memory.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

San Francisco Peaks

from the flat files

Just outside of Flagstaff Arizona.
7 x 12 plein air on Arches cold press,
140 # watercolor paper.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

From by gone days

I thought I would throw this one in
just to change things up. A painting
I finished long ago for a client.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Life Drawing

Just getting back into life drawing after about 45 years. Here are some rough
gestures from last night. It's a beginning.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wild Orchards by the Bay

Just finished today. 12 x 18 watercolor on Arches Cold Press.
Compare to the previous post of orchards. Two different days,
two totally different results. Mostly intensional. The suggestion
to try this came from my friend Loriann. Thanks Loriann, it
was a lot of fun.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Orchards on the Bay

from the flat files

15 x 20 plein air piece from 2 years ago.
Watercolor on Arches 140 # cold press paper.

Friday, October 9, 2009

5 x 7 Conte Sketch

Trying a less literal route to this future painting of
the view from Cadillac Mountain in Acadia. I've been
using Conte Crayon for life drawing. It was handy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Off in the Distance

from the flat files

This is a plein air piece from my last visit to Sedona.
Not sure how this ended up in my flat files.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Wee Little Studio

Thought you all might want to see where all the paintings
come from. It's sufficient but could always be larger. I think
it's time to get clean water and put the top back on the palette.

Bark Island Light

I think something is wrong with my camera, possibly me.

This is attempt number 2. I figure about two more tries and
I think I'll have it. This is different paper (Fabriano Artistico)
It may be too soft for this subject. I'm going to let this sleeping
dog lie for a while. I'll try again later. In the mean time I'm moving
onto another subject.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

New Hampshire

Passing by a New Hampshire farm on the way to Maine.
This painting went in several directions today. It came up
just short of the burn pile. I'm still considering it. What
do think ... burn or save?

This is a very poor photo of the painting

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Washington Lumber Mill

From the flat files

Decided to post this while I work on paintings from
Maine. 15 x 20 watercolor on Arches cold press paper.

Friday, September 25, 2009

On Watch

The beginning of paintings from Maine.

Morning came early and told me it was time to paint.
There are still some things I want to change, but generally
I like the direction of this painting. Any thoughts?

As always, thanks for stopping by and I look forward to
future visits.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Acadia, 2nd try (Maine)

Still poor photo quality. This version is quicker and seems
to have more depth. To me it feels like a cartoon background.

Along the Coast (Acadia)

Not only is this a poor quality photo, but I'm not thrilled
with the painting. It started out way to literal and ended up
even worse.

Bar Harbor (Maine)

Only time for sketches yesterday.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

View from the top (Maine)

7 x 10 Watercolor on Arches Cold Press.
A cold windy day with gray clouds rushing by and about
8,000 people all trying to stand on the same rock.

Bass Head Light (Maine)

I think it's time to clean the mud off this palette.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Truth!

Yes I'm in Maine. I had great expectations of painting
and drawing in plein air. So far that's been a bust. I want
to but I can't work up the energy to try. Can't explain it, but
it's happened before. We've done plenty of site seeing the last
two days and like all the impressive views. I tend to worry about
things I have no control over. This creates unfounded anxiety, my
worst enemy. I appreciate everyones support and kind comments.
Just wanted you to know what's happening.

Maybe tomorrow.


Just wanted you all to know that I'm really here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Walk in the Park

From the flat files

One of the first plein air attempts from several years ago.

After spending far too many years as a commercial artist, plein air
painting was something new for me. Now retired, I have time to
try it out. I joined a group that met once a month and got a feel
for what I needed to do.

This trip was too a small town in southern Michigan. I found this
park and settled into this spot. It was a cold misty day in the fall.
Not conducive to brilliant color and contrasting shadows, it became
a struggle and challenge. I wanted to put in the base color scheme
with wet in wet technique. That part went well ... it was at that time
I realized that the wet paper was going to lay there wet for the rest of
the day. Wellllllllll, I was cold and damp, the paper was cold and damp,
so I fired up the car and turned the heat on high and hoped for the best.
It did finally dry enough to continue. I think at this point my interest
was no longer what it needed to be and the painting lost something
because I was in a hurry to finish and go get some coffee. The big tree
is too heavy and over worked and dominates far too much. I think the
best thing about the painting is the last stroke I made. I quick brush
across the road up close to the front. Adds a little flair. All in all it's ok,
but as I sit here writing about it, I see the things I should have done and
are anxious to attempt it again in the studio.

I know an artist is his own worst critic, but I choose to write about the
good and bad about paintings so that people at different levels of
ability realize that all of us struggle and sometimes fail. Everyone
needs to know this so they feel comfortable with continuing.
I think it's important!!

Well, Thursday I'm off to Acadia National Park in Maine for 7 days.
Hopefully this will spark my interest in plein air painting again.
Wish me luck.