Friday, April 29, 2011


Experimenting . . . trying to use paint more loosely so the result is
airier and less "concrete." This is painted from an image on the TV.
My aim is to move farther away from realism while still working
figuratively and the thought was that an image from a moving screen
would help my brain in the transition. There are many versions under
this one (for anyone who might have missed me and thought I was
slacking off :-)) but however loosely I approached this subject, I always
steered automatically towards smoothing and trying to get it right.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm forcing myself, too much, to go against my
"natural" inclinations. I do think I've made a lot of progress and have
done some competent and decent paintings but am feeling there is still
so much more to explore. The drive seems to come from incorporating
the abstract sensibility I seem to have lost once I decided to paint

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Break Time

I had thought this was finished a few days ago but I had 
spelled out every leaf and it seemed wrong. So I set it aside 
and did the study I posted yesterday before tackling it again. 
I love painting this tool because of its ruby-red throat . . . it 
seems like it has a heartbeat. Is it sick to anthropomorphize 
a tool? That's kind of what we're all trying to do as painters: 
bring life to paint? Animate the inanimate? I had once 
thought of painting as self-indulgent because it doesn't really 
help anyone but then Daily Paintworks offered the Help Japan 
challenge and raised quite a lot of money! "Splendor in the 
Mess" did sell by the way and proceeds will go to the Japanese 
Red Cross. 

Thanks so much to all of you who are so supportive and take 
the time to comment and encourage!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chisel Study 2

I had so much fun painting this . . . the good thing about
being willing to paint the same subject many times is that
you lose attachment to result. It's very freeing to know that
you can try again to use paint differently, emphasize different
aspects, experiment with color. Since embarking on painting
from life, I had lost my adventurous side . . . became fixated
on getting things "right" to the detriment of thinking pictorially.
I've taken down my lightbox and now set things up outside in natural
light and photograph them. I know many artists think it's a copout
to work from photographs but it's useful to me because I'm not
really interested in making pictures that look real. I'd rather make
pictures that have poignancy and presence and working from
a photo gives me a step away from "real reality." It gives me
license. This chisel was set on a warm earthy flagstone but once I
got the yellows and reds down I needed turquoise to make the reds
pop. I felt none of my usual compulsion to be faithful. There are
leaves in this setup and I had no real need to portray them . . . they
were amorphous shapes and colors, just supporting players. I am
feeling momentum.

Chisel Study 1

Also posted on

Monday, April 11, 2011

There They Are . . .

Always misplacing those glasses . . .
This is a little larger than usual --- 8 x 10. Maybe because it's spring
and I feel like breaking out but I'm finding the need to include more
space and background in my paintings.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On The Rocks Sold

I thought this was finished twice and I photographed it twice. But
each time it looked dead to me. I had rendered it fairly well, the second
time better than the first but it still didn't have the life I hoped for it.
I had read a comment from someone online who had said that in looking at a
Stuart Shils' painting, he thought Shils' had painted it with a credit card.
I wasn't happy with what I'd done so I mixed a wad of paint and gathered
it up with a credit card and scraped it vertically down the surface. For a
split second it felt actually painful to do that, to obliterate the hard work in
rendering a complicated subject. In the next second, I was trying to assess
what to do with the mess I now had on my hands and feeling no regret at all.
My thought was to put in only what was needed to make the subject recognizable.
In the end, this painting is not "it." I don't see that I'm any closer to achieving
what I'd like to see myself do---as result. I do, however, see myself as braver
in the process.

I'm shrugging here . . . I don't know . . .