Friday, December 27, 2013

Crossing Broadway

Study for "Crossing Broadway", pastel on paper, 6 x 6

Merry Christmas Everyone!  Hope you all had a great holiday.  It went very fast!  Time for me to get back in the studio and try to get a lot of work done before I have to leave for the Caribbean.  I have quite a few rainy day studies that I am now working up into larger sizes.  I hope to post some big ones soon!  Have a great Christmas week!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

And It Kept On Snowing . . .

"From My Window", pastel on paper, 6 x 6

We have well over a foot of snow up here in the foothills of the Adirondacks.  It is very beautiful and "Christmasy".  I love watching the snow fall . . from the comfort of my studio!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Rain on Phila Street

"Rain on Phila Street", 5 x 7, oil on panel

Hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas season!  We are digging out from over a foot of snow in Saratoga Springs.  I just returned from the Caribbean last week.  It's quite an adjustment to go from 87 degrees to 0 in one week!  This is another rainy day study of Saratoga.  I guess it's time to move to snow scenes.  I have plenty of source material outside.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


"Moon Rising", oil on panel, 6 x 6

I am still working on Christmas miniatures as most of the ones dropped off a couple of weeks have already sold.  Thanks to my collectors!  This small piece was done completely from memory.   I was thinking of the several summers we used to spend in Maine, both on land and on board the boat.  These days we go to Newport and Cape Cod - an equal but different kind of beauty - but I do think of Maine often!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hommage to Ryder

"Hommage to Ryder", Pastel on Paper, 5 x 7

I am sure I've mentioned that Chauncey Ryder is one of my favorite dead artists.  He was born in Danbury CT in 1868.  He painted all over New England but he mostly known for Connecticut landscapes.  His paintings really feel like a November afternoon!  This is available is currently hanging at Sorelle Gallery as part of their Holiday Miniature Show.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rainy Afternoon Saratoga

"Rainy Afternoon Saratoga", Pastel on Paper, 6 x 6

On with the rain . . . This little study of downtown Saratoga was painted from a sketch that I did in the car a couple of months ago.  I like the texture of the street in this study.  Pastel is particularly good at depicting rough and/or wet textures.   I'll be posting more of these over the next few days.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


"Study for Rainy Afternoon NYC", 5 x 7, oil on panel

Rain has been a motif that I constantly revisit.  I love rainy cityscapes.   There are so many surface variations on a rainy day:  wet concrete, reflections from cars and buildings, misty atmosphere, the list goes on.  The key challenge in creating a rainy day scene is to get the values correct which are usually compressed on the lower end of the value scale.   I have spent quite a few hours in the rain sketching wet streets!  I am currently working on the 18 x 24 version of this painting.  I will post more rainscapes as they appear.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cape Cod Pastel

Cape Cod Fog, Pastel on Paper, 11 x 14

This piece has been accepted into the 23rd International Pastel Society's online show.  It can be viewed in December at the IAPS website in December.  Tonight is the opening for the miniature show at Sorelle Gallery in Albany.  Stop by if you are in the area!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tiny Painting Season

Cape Cod Mist I and II, Pastel on Paper, 5 x 7

It's that time of year again!  The galleries want lots of teeny tiny paintings to sell for the holidays.  It is a trend that has really taken off over the past few years and now every gallery has a Holiday Miniature Show!  These two pastels are from my family vacation to Cape Cod this past summer.  I love the atmosphere on the Cape.  There are misty marshy views everywhere you turn.  Both pieces will be available at Sorelle Gallery for the holidays.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November Haiku

"November Haiku", Pastel on Sanded Paper, 5 x 7

This pastel was done from a pencil sketch along a rural road in Saratoga Springs NY.  The landscape is dotted with these little red buds everywhere.  The composition reminds me a bit of the japanese prints that the early American Impressionists loved so much.  I don't know how well this graphic design would stand up to a larger format but I may give it a try.  This piece will be available at the holiday miniature sale starting at Sorelle Gallery in Albany starting next Friday, November 15th.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Morning Shadows Cape Cod

Morning Shadows Cape Cod, 8 x 8, oil on linen

This little piece is an example of the indirect technique that I have been experimenting with lately.  The yellow is not nearly as saturated in the original but I can't seem to get a good balance in the photo.  There are probably four or five layers of glazes and scumbles in the piece.  I like the soft hazy effect you can get with this technique.  It results in a look that is more consistent with my pastel paintings.  The down side is the amount of time it takes to work this way. a lot longer to work indirectly because the layers have to completely dry before reworking them.  Th

Sunday, October 13, 2013

En Plein Pleut

"Rainy Day in Annapolis", oil on panel, 6 x 8

I am happy to report that the sun has finally been spotted in Annapolis Harbor after 7 days of rain.  Seriously.  It's been raining for a week.  This is a rainy plein air sketch done from the boat this morning.   At least it is dry under the bimini!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cape Cod Marsh

"Cape Cod Marsh", oil on paper, 6 x 6

I have been using the Arches Oil Paper for small sketches and studies.  I really like this surface.  It is a little more absorbent than a gessoed panel but I like the way the paint looks after a couple of layers.  On the plus side, it is an inexpensive way to test out ideas, compositions, etc.  On the down side, it has to be framed with glass like pastels.  This small study was based on a sketch from Cape Cod this past summer.  I like the general color harmony and will see how it translates to a larger piece.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Saratoga Moonrise

"Saratoga Moonrise", oil on panel, 6 x 8

This is another oil sketch done by memory.  I stood on my porch a few weeks ago in Saratoga and quickly sketched the moon rising behind a neighbor's house.   My main memory was of the red violet color in the lower part of the sky so I developed the rest of the color harmony from that one observation.  I am trying to do at least one of these sketches every day to strengthen my memory skills.  It is amazing how much you can recall of a subject or scene if you spend enough time studying it beforehand!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sunset Cape May

"Sunset Cape May", oil on panel, 6 x 8

I did the underpainting for this sketch while we were bringing the boat down from Newport a couple of weeks ago.  The light was beautiful but it didn't last long!  I had just enough time to get the basic shapes down before it was all over.  After the underpainting was dry I added transparent glazes to the sky to get that sunset "glow".

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Memory Painting

"Morning on Birch Street", 5 x 7 , oil on panel

Yes, another long absence from the blog.   Our new house in Saratoga and the constant travel over the past six months have taken a toll on my productivity and blog material!  I still sketch and paint every day but most of it is preparatory work for pieces that I will work on in the studio later on.   I will have a long stretch of studio time coming up in a couple of weeks.  One of the exercises I am trying to do more frequently is memory painting which I've mentioned before on this blog.  The above sketch was done from memory this afternoon without any references.  It is the view from my window in the early morning in Saratoga.  I did a couple of pencil sketches a few weeks ago when I was there.  I looked at the sketches to refresh my memory and then put them away to paint the above oil sketch.  I find it liberating to not be tied to the scene in front of me!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Twilight in the Adirondacks

"Adirondack Twilight", oil on panel, 6 x 8

I hope everyone's Fall is off to a good start!  Summer certainly flew by fast but I love this time of year.  It is the perfect season for outdoor painting in my opinion.   The weather is still warm but comfortable during the day and the air is crisp - perfect!  As I've discussed in previous posts, I am trying to spend more time sketching and painting reference studies in my outdoor sessions rather than producing finished paintings.  The above color study was painted from a black and white pencil sketch done in the  Adirondacks a few weeks ago.  It captures what artists call the "magic hour" from sunset to twilight.  I have also been rising early to get some sketching done during the early dawn hours.  Luckily the sun rises later this time of year!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fall is in the Air

"Autumn Sunset in Saratoga", Pastel on sanded paper, 12 x 12

It's hard to believe summer is almost at an end.   I feel like I had just started to get into the summer plein air swing of things the past couple of weeks!  Fortunately, I love autumn plein air painting even more than summer painting.  I still have studio pieces to get back to but am trying to get the most out of the beautiful weather we've had here in the Northeast.  The painting above is available at Sorelle Gallery in Albany, NY.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Adirondack Plein Air Festival and Third Prize

"Morning on Bloomingdale Road", 9 x 12, Pastel

I just returned from the Adirondack Plein Air Festival in Saranac Lake, New York.   We had perfect weather for the event:  three days of absolutely beautiful clear skies and moderate temperatures.  I wishI could have spent the week up there as it took half the weekend just trying to decide what to paint!  The event was attended by 70 plein air painters from the Northeast and Canada.  There were some really good painters so I was quite honored (and surprised!) when I won the "Saranac Health and Healing Award" which was 3rd prize.   Second Place went to Charlie Hunter whose unique, starkly beautiful and moody paintings are always top award winners and First Place went to George Van Hook whose large painting of a fly fisherman in the stream was quite impressive.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Flowers on Cape Cod Marsh

"Marsh Flowers", 6 x 6, oil on panel

Well it has been a whirlwind of activity since last I posted over a month ago!  In that time I have closed on a new house in Saratoga Springs NY, sailed in Newport, RI and had a family vacation in Cape Cod.    While I was able to get some sketches and field work done, I did not have a lot of time for studio painting or blogging.  I am still unpacking and traveling between Saratoga and Newport but I am focused on getting some painting done this summer!  The above was a quick field sketch from last week in Cape Cod.  It was fairly early in the morning and quite humid.  I was focused on capturing the color relationships created by the humid atmosphere.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rising Mist

"Rising Mist", 8 x 10, pastel on sanded paper (currently available at Mimosa Gallery through 6/30)

The last few weeks have been spent experimenting with an indirect painting technique which is opposite of the way I usually work in oil.  It involves a lot of pre-planning and patience.  The way that Deborah Paris teaches this technique is to develop a very thorough and detailed underpainting in a transparent color and then add layers of glazes, velaturas and opaque paint passages at the end.  It takes a LONG time and it requires your concept be completely thought out prior to even starting the painting.  I need to experiment with it more as I don't feel I have anything worth posting yet.   I have come to the conclusion, however, that what I really want is for my oils to look like my pastels.  So I am going to experiment with trying to marry the indirect method with my pastel technique.  We'll see what happens.   I'll keep you posted . . .

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Maine Landscape

Study for "Evening in Maine"  6 x6 oil on panel

Thanks to everyone who braved the rain to attend my opening at Mimosa on Friday!  It was great to meet some new collectors and I really enjoyed talking to everyone.  Thanks to Michelle at Mimosa for a lovely evening.  The show will be up until the end of June so please stop by if you're in Saratoga Springs.  The above little painting will be staying in my studio until I get the time to paint a bigger version of it (hopefully soon!).

Friday, June 7, 2013

Show at Mimosa Gallery in Saratoga Springs NY

Please stop by Mimosa in Saratoga Springs NY to see my latest show "Latitudes."   There will be a reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight.  See you there!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Caribbean Market Women and Lion's Paw

"Strength", Pastel on Sanded Paper, 18 x 24

A selection of my Caribbean Market Women paintings is currently on view at The Lions Paw in Fairfield, CT.  There is a fundraiser for Kids in Crisis ( tonight from 6 to 10 p.m.  The event will feature live music and wine tasting and is sponsored by Lions Paw and Venu Magazine.  Stop by for a glass of wine if you are in the area!  Lion's Paw is conveniently located next to the Fairfield train station on Donnelly Walk (63 Unquowa Rd.).

Sunday, May 26, 2013

New Paintings and Show

"Sunset Sail", 9 x 12, oil on linen

Another long absence.  I have been busy painting everyday since returning from the Caribbean a couple of weeks ago.  I will be featuring all my new work at Mimosa Gallery in Saratoga Springs, NY from June 4th to the 29th.  There will be an opening on Friday, June 7th from 5 - 8 p.m. so if you are in the area please drop in!  I will post more details this week.  

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pastel Plein Air: Oak and Cherry

"Oak and Cherry", Pastel on sanded board, 9 x 12

This is my first plein air outing with my pastels in a long time!  I didn't get a chance to do any pastels in the Caribbean (pastels are not allowed on the boat!).  It was a beautiful morning in Saratoga Springs and this Oak tree was the first thing that caught my eye.  The park is filled with blooming cherry trees so it is literally a field of pink and green everywhere you look.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Back in the USA

Study for Spring in Saratoga, 6 x 8, oil on panel

The Caribbean season is finally over and I am back in the US!  I am enjoying the beautiful weather here in Saratoga Springs NY and have been visiting my favorite spots in the area.  This is an area of the Saratoga Spa State Park that has geysers and beautiful meandering brooks.  The last couple of days have been great for painting outside.  This study is an example of my new approach to developing a painting.  I now spend more time on numerous pencil sketches, trying out different compositions, and then execute a quick color study to capture the basic scene in terms of color relationships.  I will use the sketches and color study to paint the larger version in the studio over the next few days.  I will try not to use any photography references but I am keeping my options open . . .  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Afternoon Cloud Study

"Afternoon Cloud Study", 6 x 6, oil on panel

Another long stretch without posting!  Unfortunately, it has been a bad winter for technology in the Caribbean.  Between frying my laptop (now replaced!) and lack of internet access it has been difficult to post the last few months. But, the season is winding down here in the Virgin Islands and I will be back in Saratoga in a couple of weeks.  I am looking forward to some Spring painting!  This is a small study for some cloud paintings that are in the planning stage at this point.  This painting is all about the edges:  edges of the clouds and edges of the trees against the sky.  Again, it is painted from memory and sketches in an indirect manner.  For me at least, it helps to paint these kind of paintings in stages rather than alla prima (in one sitting) as it allows more time to work through the design, drawing and edges in the first phase of the painting process.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Late Afternoon in Lubec

"Late Afternoon Lubec", oil on panel, 8 x 10

This was the view from the backyard of a house I rented in Lubec Maine a few summers ago.  I painted this study mainly from memory and pencil sketches.  My photo reference was quite dark and blurry so I  used it solely as a starting point.  I am trying to do more complete drawings and studies in pencil, pen or charcoal on location so that I can use as them as references instead of photos.  Drawing takes much longer than painting and really requires you to focus on what aspect of the scene you want to capture.  I think you end up retaining more visual memory of a location because it takes so much more time and concentration to render something in pencil and paper than with a brush and paint.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Moody Marsh

"Moody Marsh", oil on panel, 8 x 8

I have done several paintings of the marshes around the Thimble Islands in Connecticut.  There are so many design possibilities with marshes because of the serpentine nature of the water winding its way through the islands.  I have revisited this particular design a few times and am still refining it.   I wanted to avoid leading the near edge of the river directly into the corner but I think I created a perspective problem.  I will adjust it when it is dry.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Edgar Payne Study

Wow! I can't believe it has been almost a month since the last post! I am still in the Caribbean and we have been very busy with guests the last four weeks so I have not had much time to paint or post. I have been able to get some work done between charters for my Deborah Paris online classes which I will talk about at a later date. The painting below is a copy of an Edgar Payne painting that I did for a recent class on painting water and reflections. I would normally spend more time on something like this but I ran out of time . . . As usual!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Work in progress eden

I havenot had an internet connection for days. Here is one of the final paintings afer two layers. I know it needs more mid value transitions between the light and dark areas which u will do in the next layer.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

More Caribbean Skies

This study was painted at dawn so it was still dark outside. It is painted on carton board which is an interesting surface. It is the color of cardboard and quite "scratchy" in texture. Carton board is also very absorbent so the color change is more noticeable when dry versus linen. The impressionsts used a similar surface for their oil sketches at the turn of the last century. I like it for studies and sketches but the drawback is that it has to be framed under glass (as do all works on paper) .

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sky Painting

Sorry for the long delay in posting. Unfortunately, I have had a tragic incident with my Macbook and a glass of water. I wish I could say it is the first time it has happened but it isn't. It's tne second time in less than two years. They can create all this incredible technology but they can't (read:won't) make a laptop than can withstand water. aaarrgggh. In any case, I am solely reliant on the ipad until I return to the US. It is maddening. i am growing less fond of the ipad on a daily basis and I am REALLY unhappy with the blogger app which as you can see has basically no capabilities to edit or change anything whatsoever. So, after all this complaining, here is one of the sky studies I have been working on this week. It is really interesting painting clouds. Quite challenging! i will go into more discussion on "skying" as Constable called it in the next couple of days.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Snow Paintings

"Saratoga Fields", oil on linen, 24 x 24

I've finally finished up all the winter paintings I've been working on the past few weeks.  I've done quite a few studies and paintings of the area between Saratoga Springs and Schuylerville.  I'm leaving for the tropics tomorrow so this will be the last cold weather painting I will be doing for a while!  Next stop Tortola . . .

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Schuylerville Sunset

Study for "Schuylerville Sunset", oil on linen, 6 x 8

Another painting from the Saratoga-Schuylerville area done from sketches and memory.  I am working on a 24 x 24 version of this painting but changed the composition to accommodate the square format.  I am happy with the progress so far and hopefully will be able to post something tomorrow.  Busy, busy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Winter Landscapes and Memory

"Winter Vineyards", oil on linen panel, 8 x 10

This little painting is a scene from the same area as the last few posts.  Working from memory is both liberating and confounding!  It is liberating in the sense that the artist doesn't feel constrained by the limits of what is in the photo or sketch and is free to move trees around, change the direction of light and create different color harmonies than what may have been there initially.  It is confounding for just that reason as well.  There is no guidepost or map to follow when painting from memory.  The color of the bushes against the snow was what I remembered most vividly of this scene.  I may have overdone the saturation of the rust colored bushes but I'll let it sit a while.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Saratoga Sunrise

"Saratoga Sunrise", oil on linen, 5 x 7

This little painting was one of my first experiments with indirect painting.  I didn't intend to paint in layers with this little study as the underpainting was done in opaque rather than translucent paint.  Paintings done in an indirect manner usually start with a translucent underpainting followed by layers of thin glazes to build the color.  I like the soft effects you can get with glazes but I also like the bold, fresh quality of paintings done in one go ("alla prima").   There will be more posts on indirect painting as I experiment with this method in the coming months.   This painting is currently at Mimosa Gallery in Saratoga Springs NY as part of their small works exhibit which is on view through February 17th.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Along the Road to Schuylerville

"Road to Schuylerville, oil on panel, 6 x 6

This painting was done from sketches and memory.  I have been visiting a few spots on the road between Saratoga Springs and Schuylerville every day for the past week or so.  This is beautiful country very close to the New York/Vermont border.  Bordered by the Hudson River on the east,  there are horse farms, corn fields and apple orchards along the road.  From some vantage points you can see the Adirondack Mountains and Vermont's Green Mountains on the horizon.  I particularly like the winter landscape here.  Below is a pastel version of the same composition.  The colors are cooler and stronger in this version.  I like the texture of this piece (it reminds me of a Twachtman winter scene) but I am doing the larger piece in oil.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Saratoga Lake Oil Sketch

"Lake Ice Saratoga", 6 x 8, oil on linen

Part of my new approach to painting involves working more from memory and on site sketches.  Eventually I hope to get rid of photo references all together.   I am spending more time working out different design ideas and color combinations before starting a new work.  I worked from a couple of graphite sketches to create this little color study.  I was trying to capture the feel of an icy morning at the lake in late Fall.  There was just a light dusting of snow on the lake grasses and trees.   I remember the different colors of the shoreline were a mix of pale warm and cool colors.  I love the pale pinks, greens and greys that you see in a late Fall landscape.