Friday, December 18, 2015

Painting Process for "4 Pairs", 26x46, oil on canvas (Part One)

     I started this painting about one month ago and I tried to take a photograph of it at the end of each painting session to track it's progress.  In a big painting like this I use photographs to help me transfer the arrangement to the canvas.  I do this by taking a photo at the eye level I want for the painting and printing the photo out on transparency film.  Then I use an overhead projector to project the image onto the canvas.  More often than not I change the dimensions of the canvas at this stage to suit the image.  Once I've traced the image up onto the canvas, the next step is to go over the drawing and make some adjustments.  Even though I'm starting from a projected image, I don't really want it to look that way.  I want the horizontals and verticals to be true.  I want to eliminate any arcs or distortions that the lens creates, and I want the man made objects to be symmetrical.  I don't like to make any changes to the composition once I'm painting so these first drawing steps are important to me. I don't use the photographs any more after the drawing stage unless the fruit is too far gone at a later point and I need them to finish.

     Once I sense that the drawing is in order it's time to paint.  I start by blocking in the color, usually the background first because it's such a large white area, and once it's in it will help me see the value and color of the smaller shapes in the set-up better.  So here I'm taking my best shot at what I want the background color and value to be. It always looks too dark to me at this point, but once the rest of the white is gone it will be too light.  In this first pass I like to make the paint as opaque as I can without building up any texture.
     So this was day one.  It took me a few hours to paint around all those edges. I don't want to loose the drawing at this point.

Day 2:  I'm continuing to block in, trying to find a decent color and value for the objects as I go, while knowing they will need many adjustments later. Already the background appears a lot lighter.

     Day 3: First pass finished. Everything is blocked in.  This is when the painting process gets interesting, because for me the exciting thing is fine tuning the value and color relationships.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

"Chayote Squash and Bosc Pear" 9x12, 2015

      I see chayote squash all the time at my local Wegman's, where I get a lot of the fruit I paint.  I've thought pretty seriously about painting one many times but they seem so strange that I wasn't sure I wanted to do it.  The challenge of painting those puckers kept calling to me though. They definitely have a lot of personality.  This painting is headed to West End Gallery in Corning NY, along with "4 Peaches"below, and one other.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

4 Peaches, 12 x 20 inches, oil on canvas

     I finished this painting about three or four weeks ago.  I was interested in the more pink colors of the donut peaches against the yellow peaches behind them.  I really enjoy trying to get the color variations of peaches while creating the illusion of a solid form.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Three Paintings Going to Principle Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia

     I'm shipping these three paintings to Principle Gallery tomorrow for their small works show in December.   Please stop by if you are in the area.  I've had a new large still life set-up, ready to be painted for a few weeks now, and I can't wait to get to it.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

One More Fig 2015, oil on panel, 6x4 inches.

     As the title says, here's another fig painting; I love painting figs.  I'm still thinking a lot about the color of the background drape.  The background drape is the same in these last three paintings I've posted, but it comes out differently each time.  I'm surprised that such a simple thing could be so challenging to paint and hold my interest as much as it does.  I tell myself that since I paint it so often I should come up with a formula for it, but each time I change my mind about what it looks like. I suppose that it's partly due to the things in front of it being different, and partly because I haven't really nailed it yet.  Not that it matters though, I enjoy the attempt.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Friday, October 9, 2015

2 Figs 2015, 4 x 6 inches

     I've been getting back into the studio since school started up again, and I've started off with some smaller paintings as sort of a warm up.  This is 4 x 6 inches.  I like the loose quality of the brush strokes and the exaggerated color.  Sometimes I like to see how far I can push the color and still have it seem believable.  I almost always use the same background drape, it's a muted medium brown color, but in this painting I made it a little lighter and greener than I've painted it before, and I like how it looks against the green and purples in the figs.
     I have a few more new paintings to post which I will try to do tomorrow.  I finally bought the new photoshop elements tonight and it took me a while to download it and figure out how to "clone stamp" the sparkles out of this one.  I think I have the hang of it now.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Speaking at Memorial Art Gallery Thursday, July 30th, at 7:00 p.m.


      The big event of my summer is almost here.  I was invited to speak about my work at Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester tomorrow night. The program begins at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday July 30th. Fellow Ithacan Cary Joseph will also be speaking.  Please come if you are in the area!  My painting Still Life with Starfruit, Blue Vase, and Teapot, pictured above is included in the current Finger Lakes Exhibit at MAG and was awarded the Docent prize!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Painting Auction to Raise Money for Women Swimmin'

     As some of you may know, there is a popular event here in Ithaca each summer called "Women Swimmin'", where about 350 women swim 1.2 miles across Cayuga Lake to raise money for our local Hospice.  I am participating this year in memory of my mother-in-law Joyce Coonrod who died this past March from cancer.  Joyce was helped a great deal by Hospice in Austin Texas.
     My goal is to raise $1,000 dollars for Hospice by August 8th.  To help raise the money I am auctioning two of my paintings on Ebay and donating 100% of the sale price towards that end. So if you can, please bid on one of my paintings, the opening bid for either is just $75.  If you'd rather just donate directly, that would be fantastic too!  The direct link to my fundraising page is just below. There is a link to each paintings auction below each painting.  Thanks and Best Wishes!

 Joyce and I on the day we met in 2003.

"Ludlowville Falls, Late Summer", 20 x 10, oil on gallery wrapped canvas

"2 Jonquils", 14 x 11, oil on canvas

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Recent paintings for sale at Memorial Art Gallery

     I'll have these four recent paintings for sale at the Memorial Art gallery store during the Finger Lakes Exhibition this summer.  Please stop by to see them and the large "Still life with Blue Vase, Starfruit, and Teapot" which was juried into the show.  

 Strawberry with Reflective Bowl, oil on panel 8x10

 Green Pear 2015, oil on canvas, 7x5

Radish, oil panel, 5x7

Seckel and Bartlett, oil on canvas, 10x10

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Seckel and Bartlett

One more, done a couple of weeks ago.  "Seckel and Bartlett", 10x10, oil on canvas.

Friday, May 22, 2015

"Still Life with Blue Vase, Starfruit, and Teapot" included in the Fingerlakes Show at Memorial Art Gallery

     I'm delighted that my Painting "Still Life with Blue Vase and Starfruit" was chosen to be included in the Finger lakes art show at the Memorial Art gallery of The University of Rochester this summer, and in addition, I've been chosen to speak about my work there on the evening of July 30th.   I'm very grateful, excited, and nervous too. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Still Life with Kumquats, Plum and Pear

     I started this painting in a demo I did about 4 weeks ago in my studio and finished it over the next three weeks.  It's 11x14 inches.  If anyone out there is looking for fruit for their still life compositions try kumquats.  These looked the same for the entire three weeks with no sign of decomposition. 
     I've also been putting together a talk about my work to give to some of the students at my sons school.  The last time I gave a talk about my work I used a slide carousel, so it's been a while!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Salmon Creek Falls, Spring

    This is another painting of a spot in Lansing, NY where I live. I started this one a few years ago and put it aside unfinished until a few weeks ago. I had three unfinished paintings that I wanted to finish up and this is the last of them, so now I get to work on some new things. This will  be showing at the East Shore Festival of the Arts in early May along with two other paintings. It's 20 x 40 inches and done in oil.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Daffodils with Purple Drape

     I finished this a few weeks ago and posted it on Facebook but forgot to post it here.  I had started it a few years ago and am very happy to have it finally finished.  I'm on a roll of sorts, finishing up paintings that I've had hanging around unfinished. It's been sort of painful really, because they were all put aside for a reason, namely, they had problem areas that were so frustrating for me that I gave up! I always liked the glass vase in this one and one day recently I looked at it and the problems in it seemed a little more manageable.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Salt Point Winter, 14 x 38 inches

      I started this painting about 2 years ago but set it aside, and I didn't foresee ever getting back to it.  I hate not finishing paintings but from time to time I  get stuck.   In this one I got overwhelmed by all of the details in the reference photo like the ice on the water and land, and I wasn't sure how I wanted to handle all of the branches, which got lost when I painted in the sky anyway...  So I hung it on the garage wall outside my studio for a couple of years and one day a few weeks ago I felt like I could figure it out, and was kind of excited to give it a try.  So here it is.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Painting Process for "Still Life with Starfruit Blue Bottle and Teapot"

This is my newest painting, "Still Life with Starfruit, Blue Bottle and Teapot".  It's 30 x 40 inches and it's oil on canvas.  I took more photos of it while in process than I usually do and I'm posting some of them here in case anyone is interested.

 This is from December 8th.  I like to have the drawing finalized before I start any painting. This is what I got done on the first day of applying paint.  I like to start with the background to get rid of as much white as possible.  When I put the first colors in they usually look a lot darker than they will in the end, because there is still so much white on the canvas.


This is from the second day of painting.  I'm blocking in the colors for the objects in the still life. I'm doing my best to get the colors as accurate as I can but I know I'll need to make many adjustments after everything is in.


 This is from December 11th and everything is blocked in now.  This is when the painting really gets going, because for me it's all about the value and color relationships and I can't see those relationships properly until everything is in and the white is all covered. I've also put a second coat on the background, making it darker, especially towards the bottom where it meets the table and I want to create the illusion that it's behind the table.

From December 15th,  more messing around with the background. I put a lot more thought into the backgrounds than it would appear.  I like them to be dynamic, with a wide value range. At this point I made it warmer behind the blue bottle to help the bottle stand out.

 December 18th.  With each pass I like to fine tune the drawing, making the verticals and horizontals true and making things symmetrical that are supposed to be. There's no shame in using a ruler!  I'm also deepening the shadows, adding highlights and texture. I try to do all of this quickly because the fruit won't last very long.  This was the last day I worked on this before going away for the holidays.

 January 11th.  Back from Texas! The starfruit fell over and the orange was a gonner.  I got a substitute orange for color reference which helped some, and I also used a photo I took at the start to help me finish it. I worked on this for a few more weeks before I decided it was finished.  In the end I was never crazy about how the orange came out but that's the way it goes sometimes. Whatever I can't finish before the fruit expires is often a struggle, but there's always next time.