Slow and steady progress

June 30, 2009
work-in-progress, oil on canvas, 20x20

work-in-progress, oil on canvas, 20x20

I need to finish this painting for a show deadline, and I know I have enough time to get it done but can’t help but feel pressured.  I have to remind myself to take my time otherwise I’ll mess it up for sure. I naturally paint pretty quickly, but painting fast and rushing are two different things.

So I’m going to listen to myself and put this away for today so I can get ready for my plein air demo tomorrow. If you are going to be in Clinton, NJ tomorrow (and if it isn’t raining), stop by and see my demo of Chroma Interactive Acrylics in front of the Hunterdon Art Museum. I’ll start at 10 a.m. and if you bring a palette I’ll give you some of the paint to try (I don’t have individual samples but I have a lot of big tubes so I’m happy to hand some out). Let’s hope I don’t get rained out!

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Beginning of a new urban landscape

June 29, 2009
work-in-progress, oil on canvas, 16x20
work-in-progress, oil on canvas, 16×20

Normally, I do not work on two paintings at the same time. I still have to finish the still life of the bottles, but I had to teach today and wanted to demo something really nice in class since this was the last session for my Monday oils class until fall. I decided to start this urban landscape in class for my demo.

This piece is a good example of how certain effects that you might not have planned for can occur in a painting, and how it is a good idea to go with them if you like the direction they are taking. In this case, I’ve already done a pastel color study, which I posted the other day, which was very heavy on the blues. I liked it, it worked well that way in pastel.
But somehow, this piece seems to have taken on a different type of atmosphere, mainly from the burnt sienna I used in the underpainting. I like it, it has a warm sepia-toned glow to it. So instead of leaning this one toward the blues as I did in the pastel, I’m going to go with emphasis on the warm tones with subtle blues that will enhance the glow rather than strong ones that will compete with it.
Neither the pastel study or the oil look anything like the original reference photo I took. I never feel compelled to keep colors close to the way they appear in reference photos–for me, a photo is purely a reminder to something I wanted to paint, never something to be copied.

Adding in the dark and middle value colors

June 28, 2009
work-in-progress, oil on canvas 30x30 in.

work-in-progress, oil on canvas 20x20 in.

Here is the painting I posted yesterday with the darks and some middle value colors added in. You can see how the darks dramatically increase the depth and dimension of the painting. I’ve started working now with the brighter middle value colors and will continue in that direction until the entire canvas is covered to the same level. After that is done, I will add in the brightest colors and highlights.

This is the third time I have painted a variation of these bottles, you are probably more bored of looking at this though than I am. Because I am so familiar with the colors and shapes of these bottles, I can move through them quickly and with a high level of confidence, but I am still discovering new reflections and color nuances along the way. I am also enjoying the square format of this composition, it adds an even more contemporary feeling to the image.


Keeping colors pure and avoiding mud

June 27, 2009
work in progress, value study + color map layers established

work in progress, value study + color map layers established

This is the beginning of another bottle still life in oil, size is 20×20 inches. I have the first 2 layers, the value study and color map, layed in. At this point, the painting will go through an ugly stage–one where the colors are very close in value and somewhat muted in appearance. That is because I am still working with transparent color at this stage.

However, it is important to note that the colors may be muted, but they are not muddy. That is because I have waited for the first layer, the value study, to be completely dry before putting color on top of it. The next layer, the color map, serves the purposed of mapping out how colors will balance in the composition. I use the dark and medium values of these colors in this stage, hence there are no bright brights or highlights to really make things pop, and as a result the image appears flat.

If you are working in layers as I am here, it is always best to be sure subsequent layers are completely dry before beginning a new layer. If you are working alla prima (wet-into-wet), as I will in the next layer, it is important to place colors next to one another as opposed to over blending and allowing colors to mix with one another on the canvas. This keeps color pure and prevents you from getting mud. The next thing I will do on this piece is go back to my darkest darks in a more opaque manner, I will then progress into the medium values and brighter colors, and finally add in the lightest colors and highlights. I will post a photo of this once I have the darkest darks placed so you can see the actual progression from dark to light and how working in this order helps to established depth and dimension.


Register this week for summer classes

June 26, 2009
9th St. & 6th Ave. pastel study, 9x12 on Wallis paper

9th St. & 6th Ave. pastel study, 9x12 on Wallis paper

Register now for my evening summer classes in Painting and Drawing at NJ Visual Arts Center in Summit or the Somerset Art Association in Bedminster. Go to the Workshops & Classes page for more details.


New Painting – New Gallery

June 24, 2009
Last Call, oil on canvas, 18x24 in.

Last Call, oil on canvas, 18x24 in.

I’m pleased to announce that I will now be represented by Chasen Galleries of Richmond, VA. They will be featuring my new still life series and some new urban landscapes.

I will continue to work with both the Michael Ingbar Gallery of NYC and Trudy Labell Fine Art of Naples, FL. I’m happy to be working with all three of these excellent galleries!


“Expressive Drawing” Workshop & Exhibit at Salmagundi Club of NYC

June 21, 2009
Orchard Street, acrylic on canvas
Orchard Street, acrylic on canvas

I’m pleased to announce that I have been invited to conduct a 2-day intensive drawing workshop at the Salmagundi Club of NYC. The workshop will focus on on value, form and perspective in a manner that encourages individual style development and expression. If you want to put more life into your drawings and paintings, or are intimidated by challenging subject matter like glass, drapery or metal this is the right class for you. It will be held August 15 and 16, 2009.

In conjunction with the workshop, I will also be having a special exhibit of my drawings and paintings from August 10 – 21 in the Patron’s Gallery.

The Club is offering a $25 discount to anyone who registers by August 1, 2009. For more details, click here or call the Club at 212-255-7740.