Monday, March 29, 2010

Fun with Figures

"Kids and Dogs" 
8 x 16 

For a while now, I've been exploring different ways to express body language with just a few well placed strokes. I've never been a very "accurate" painter, believing that the intuitive expression of a thing is far better than a precise copy. I would like to have a better understanding of proportion though, so when I saw Diane Rappisi's figure drawing class at the North River Arts Society last September, I signed on. Her method is designed to capture the gesture of the pose with just a few straight lines, creating large geometric shapes first. We then "concentrate on the big shapes of light and dark. Work big to small, dark to light. Like putting together a puzzle." Everything I've been taught over and over, from John Kilroy to Ken Auster. It's what I teach my students! So why is it so hard for me to get my brain to act nice and let me handle a live model the same way I do an apple or a barn? I have really struggled in this class. I guess "letting go of what we know" is tougher than I thought.  
Here are a few of my efforts from class 
Go figure. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Getting Ready for Easter

Lindt Bunny 

When my young friend Morgan came over to paint with me this week, I set up three objects. This chocolate bunny, some peeps, and cadbury creme eggs. We did three small 6 x 6 paintings on gessoed water color paper. I forgot to take an image of hers. They were priceless. 

On another note, I read in the paper today that "ornamental grasses should be sheared to within a few inches early in the season to minimize damage to growth as it emerges." So I got out my hedge clippers and gave them a haircut. I didn't know what to do with all that beautiful grass so I stuffed a few baskets with it and filled them with beach rocks. The perfect re-cycled Easter basket!  

(A "Simply Living" entry in my "Simply Painting" blog)  

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beach Light

Peggotty Beach
Scituate, MA 

 I have been inspired by a show of work by Dora Atwater Millikin that I saw yesterday at the Walker-Cunningham Fine Art gallery in Boston. (Click on "artists", then "contemporary") She really captures a sense of "beach light"in her paintings with very simple shapes and terrific values. Today was the only warmish day we are going to get this week, so I packed off to Peggody Beach in Scituate Harbor this morning. There was wonderful late-winter stark light, filtered by high thin clouds shining on the beach houses. Right when I started, the wind picked up and the light went away so I had to paint it pretty quickly. About an hour. It was a slice of heaven.  

"Beach Light"
8 x 16 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Couldn't Resist

8 x8 

I just had to paint that sweet face! It's been a while since I've attempted a "portrait" of any kind so I wasn't surprised by how difficult it is to simply capture the character of the subject. And all that "yellow" fur! I discovered that Labs aren't really yellow. They are purple, blue, orange, gray, black, and pink!

Monday, March 22, 2010


I got to dog sit a sweet 6-7 year old female yellow lab this weekend. She was such a love and so easy to care for. On Friday I set up my gear in the garden, gave her a big marrow bone to keep her busy, and painted the purple crocus that are finally showing off their pretty faces all over the place. There is nothing like those first warm days of spring in New England. It feels like a huge weight has been lifted and everything is light and airy again. I love it.

Maddie and her bone 

My Set Up 

Welcome Spring! 
6 x 6 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Six Paintings on View in Scituate tomorrow night

"You Lookin' At Me?"
8 x 10 

Six of my paintings will be exhibited tomorrow night at an Open House hosted by my friend Poppy Troupe, a Coldwell Banker agent. 45 Turner Road, Scituate  5:00 - 8:00 pm. The house is offered at $429,000. Also showing will be watercolors by Mary Lizzotte and a trunck show featuring Camilley's Closet of Hingham Sq. Stop by and check it out. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More "Beach People"

Today, a good friend, Kelley MacDonald joined me to paint in the studio, which always gets me motivated. I was able to start this before she got here and managed to take it this far before our gang of painting pals showed up for a "surprise"celebration of her 55th birthday! Congratulations Kelley! Irish coffee's, pizza, cupcakes and a lot of laughs. Just another afternoon at "work", I guess.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Figure Demo

I've been experimenting with various ways to approach figures lately. I am taking a figure drawing class with Diane Rappisi at North River Arts Society that is based on grasping the gesture or "body language".  That, as a subject, has always excited me. Especially people doing what people do on the beach. See more of my latest attempts on my website; Today I used black to draw my map. A la Ken Auster and Karin Jurick. My two idols.

 The "map"

Block in of lights and darks

The background added 

Stay tuned to see the final final.....and I need a title. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fun with Prints

Lately, I've had some folks inquiring about getting prints made of my work.
One gal asked if I could blow up a 6" by 8" painting of "Glass of Cab" into a 24" by 30" gallery wrapped print! I couldn't imagine how that would work but my pals Bill and Phyllis at Image Resolutions convinced me to go for it. Here is the result! The client is hanging it in her newly renovated dining room!

Also, the General Manager of the Hotel Commonwealth, Boston asked if I could provide art works for his newly designed "Baseball Suite". I went to see the space and then had these two 8 x 10 paintings "blown up" and printed on 16 x 20 gallery wrapped canvas.
"Go Sox"                                 "Dawgs Hea!" 

We installed them today. That's Adam Sperling, the General Manager. He was quite pleased! 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Suddenly Spring Subjects!

I have a wonderful young girl (6th grade) who comes to my studio on Tuesday afternoons for an hour to "just paint." We usually work side by side, on the same subject. She uses acrylics and I use oils, and today our surface was gessoed watercolor paper. I set up this bunch of bright red Ranunculus on a low stool, with the idea of getting a little abstract and have some fun. To me, these flowers scream SPRING! and it was so fun!

Meghan's painting
(She gets it!) 

My Painting

Funny thing. The ranunculus is a medicinal plant that comes from the Latin word rana which means "frog"!?? 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dreaded Commission

A friend of mine asked me to do a painting of her and her daughter's "lovies". I warned her that I don't do "portraits" of any kind, but told her to bring them over and I'd give it a try. These are the girls. Pretty roughed up and pretty scary looking, really. But talk about "feelin' the love"! These gals have had it all!
Here's my take on them. 
I may have grayed them down a little too much. (They are kind of "dirty") Think I'll add a few warmer values to the face and arms of the plastic doll so she looks more, well, like plastic. Plastic surgery so to speak.  

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I've joined a New Gallery

I have joined a wonderful group of fellow artists from the South Shore in a new Gallery that recently  opened in Duxbury, MA. The Duxbury Gallery is located at Five Corners (Nine Standish St.) in Duxbury, Mass and offers contemporary fine art and 19th century maritime paintings. They are open Tues. - Sat. from 10 - 5 pm. Stop by and check out the wonderful work represented in this beautiful space.

Pretty in Pink 
7 x 9 

Monday, March 1, 2010

This month's "challenge" entry

"Counting Sheep"
8 x 8 
This month, our "Girls Just Wanna' Paint" challenge topic was "Dream". For many of us, this was, well, challenging! After struggling with images of teeth falling out (one of my more common recurring dreams) I settled on this image of sheep crowding into each other in the wonderful way they seem to do. To be honest, I don't think I've ever "counted sheep" to put myself to sleep but I DO count my blessings, and that always puts me right out. Lucky me.