August in Burgundy

| 31 August, 2016 16:47

 

 

 

I've added a gallery to display the watercolor work done this summer during and after a residency at La Porte Peinte in Noyers-sur-Serein, a delightful medieval village in Burgundy with a small but lively, creative and intellectual population. It doesn't hurt that there are two or three equally wonderful restaurants in this little town.

 

Although I've worked primarily in oil en plein air and in the studio for the last ten to fifteen years, it seemed impractical to try to continue in that mode for a trip that would involve transatlantic travel. Had I been scheduled to be there all summer I might have stayed with oil and arranged to ship those things not yet dry when it was time to leave. But I spent years working in watercolor and this seemed like the excuse I needed to reconnect with that medium.

 

With the imminent closing of New York Central Art Supply and its world renowned collection of hand-made and exotic papers, I bought up various sheets that I might never again have the chance to experiment with and took them along. To be sure, I painted almost as much on traditional mainstream watercolor papers. But I also tried several, some of which are clearly NOT designed for watercolor. But even these, perhaps because they were not designed to withstand the repeated washes of watercolor, challenged me to simplify and make my work as economical as possible. I hope you like them.

 

My residency eneded with an open studio (this sounds so much better in French: Atelier Ouvert) on the last Saturday afternoon of my stay. I had been warned that "nobody ever sells anything here during an open studio." But several of my pieces did indeed sell, including one painting of a tower, sold to a Jazz musician who said that he had been moved years ago by what New Yorkers suffered when the Twin Towers collapsed in Manhattan and now found it poignant that a New York artist would be painting the crumbling towers in his own little village. I was grateful for the perspective he shared looking at my art.

 

 

 

 

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Race Day

| 02 July, 2016 16:40

 

 

Race Day, 36 x 24 inches, oil on canvas, 2016

 

It's good to live where we do. Not that we have a view as spectacular as this from where we live, but it's pretty close. Within a mile or two are two harbors and a lot of gorgeous waterfront. We're a bit farther inland and in a spot which turns out to have an elevation of about 80 feet -- which should come in handy once this whole global warming thing begins to really accelerate. Meanwhile, another day in paradise. The above scene is one I frequently pass on bike rides along the causeway to Lloyd Neck. I've called this Race Day based on the collection of sailboats, but who knows. Beats calling it 'Collection of Sailboats.'

 

 

 

 

Watercolor sketches of waterfront

| 20 June, 2016 13:40

 

Watercolor Sketchbook, 5 1/2 x 17 inch page spreads, June 2016

 

I'm trying to get out and sketch the local waterfront a bit more, using watercolor, which I have not used for perhaps 15 years or so until this summer. This is great weather, not too hot yet and certainly not too humid. I just slather on the sunscreen, wear a hat and try to find a shady spot so as to avoid Mister Skin Cancer should he be on the prowl.

 

Top image is Cold Spring Harbor from the park. Second image is along Shore Road by Huntington Bay. Both are within a few minutes of where we live. It's good to be us.

 

 

The Flags of Summer

| 16 June, 2016 15:29

 

Second Story Flagpole, oil on canvas board, 8 x 10 inches, 2016

 

I'm a sucker for flags flown in the summer from white clapboard homes of a certain vintage. A few summers back Renee took me upstate on my birthday to a B&B that specialized in hosting artists. The plan was to do some plein air painting, but that July, when my birthday came around, it was blazingly hot and humid. The porch of the inn was in the shade and the AC inside worked though.

 

Oh and the local eatery was excellent, run by a fellow who had been a chef at the United Nations back in the day.

 

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Nulla Dies Sine Linea, Multi Dies Sine Blog

| 14 June, 2016 12:57

 

Cold Spring Harbor, watercolor & ink on paper, 9 x 12 inches, May, 2016

 

The motto of the Art Students League of New York is "Nulla Dies Sine Linea" which translates (loosely) as 'no days without drawing.' But the headline for today acknowledges that there have been many days without blogging. For which my brother and a friend or two occasionally give me a bit of grief.

 

So by way of an offering toward catching up, here is a recent quick watercolor sketch done in one of my favorite spots just minutes from where we live, the waterfront in Cold Spring Harbor. A former colleague and former north shore Long Island resident Sheryl Kornman has exquisite taste in art, which is my snooty way of saying she wanted to buy this as soon as I posted it on Facebook. I was happy to accomodate. Here at my house we have an outplacement policy for the artwork. Thanks for providing a home for this one, Sheryl.

 

 

Another Day in Paradise

| 24 June, 2015 19:07

 

 

 

Painted this afternoon from the park on Main Street in Cold Spring Harbor, looking north along Shore Road toward the Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club. Oil on linen panel, 12 x 14 inches.

 

 

 

Sell them all, the long, and the short, and the tall

| 09 June, 2015 14:30

 

I'm happy to report that my current show at Upstream Gallery is generating interest and sales. The large painting above, at left, Late November Light (a diptych four feet by fout feet), among the largest paintings I've done, has sold to a collector who is new to me and apparently new to the gallery as well. At the other extreme, I've sold the smallest piece in the show, a plein air study I did at Weir Farm last summer, sold to a fellow-artist in the gallery. And in between those extremes, I'm talking with some people who are interested in commissioning work as well.

 

The show is up for another week and a half, through Sunday the 21st. Pictures on the web are nice, but I painted them to be seen in person. Do stop by and say hello to me or one of my colleagues at the gallery.

 

 

Before the leaves appear

| 19 April, 2015 16:33

 

 

 

 

12 x 16 inches, oil on linen board, premier coup, en plein air, April 19, 2015.

 

Cold Spring Harbor, from the park looking across toward the Cold Spring Harbor Lab. I've painted this scene before but later in the spring when buds have appeared on the trees. We're running a bit late this year.

 

High point of the afternoon came when a family strolled by and the seven- or eight-year-old proclaimed loudly, "Wow! That is SSOO good! That's exactly how it looks!"

 

Young man, you and your family now qualify for a discount!

 

 

 

Etching and drypoint

| 18 April, 2015 13:19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I've been taking a class in printmaking at the Art Students League of New York where Bill Behnken is teaching. I thought I would do some etchings but instead I've gravitated toward drypoint where the image is created directly by scratching onto the plate without using acid to achieve the groove that holds the ink. The softer shaded lines in these images were created with a roulette, which, sadly, has nothing to do with gambling or winning money. Like drypoint, the roulette, which is a small rotary kind of tool, makes its marks directly into the plate, punching tiny dots and leaving a shaded track almost like pencil shading where the wheel has been dragged. These are just experimental images but I'm happy with some of them, particularly the drawing in the top one.

 

Two of the three here were printed with sepia colored ink. All are printed on a warm Hahnemühle paper, not unlike the photography paper my brother likes to print his photos on.

 

 

View from a Brooklyn Rooftop

| 31 January, 2015 15:21

 

 

 

Renee has a colleague whose apartment has fabulous views of Brooklyn and Manhattan. When we visited him last summer I made sure to bring my camera and from the roof got this view of the Verrazano Bridge from between two buildings close to Prospect Park. Recently I previewed the painting to Charles, from whose roof I had taken the reference shot. He agreed that the views have made this apartment a place he wants to stay for quite a while.

 

I do love assembling a vertical landscape. The challenge with this one was that it's really about three different visions combined in one painting.

 

 

The Blasphemy of the Artist

| 24 January, 2015 11:57

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Only God can make a tree" proclaimed Joyce Kilmer in the poem we all learned in grade school. But artists can come close to imitating the range of colors and textures in the brilliant autumnal display, even if they can't quite breathe life into their creations.

 

This was a fun series to explore over the fall and into the early winter this year. In each case the actual leaf or twig was pasted down to the board on which I rendered a copy (sometimes in reverse, in a mirror image) in oil paint. The Latin phrase, "Ars Longa, Vita Brevis" translates roughly to 'Art lasts, life is short.'

 

And even though in many cases I coated the leaves in alkyd, thereby slowing the deterioration, the change is inevitable. In the first example, at top, there was no attempt to preserve the leaf on the right (from a tulip tree) and so the leaf is already quite a dark brittle brown. But I like the idea that as time goes on the difference between the the real and the rendered will become more apparent.

 

One problem with painting these was that as I worked the leaves continued to change and I tended to keep changing the painting as well to keep it accurate. I had to force myself to find a point at which to stop in nearly every case.

 

 

Lily Revisted

| 27 October, 2014 10:39

 

 

 

OK, lilies aren't in season but, for the moment, I'm tired of painting autumn leaves. So here's a rendering of one of our lilies from late last spring or early summer. I was smart enough to get some photos at the time and this paitning was extracted from one of those photos.

 

I am lucky that Renee likes to keep our yard flowering with one thing or another for as long as possible during the warmer months. Even though we'll be stepping into November later this week we still have begonias blooming like crazy by our front door. 

 

 

Autumn: Ars Longa, Leaves Brevis

| 20 October, 2014 20:40

 

 

 

Two panels, each 8 by 8 inches. Left, the oil rendering. Right, the once-living model, fading and drying out. Already you can see the colors changing. That won't happen in the panel on the left because, well, as the ancient Roman said, "Ars longa."

 

Below two versions of a leaf from a tulip tree. Same idea. Larger panels. 12 by 12 each.

 

 

 

Tide Running Out

| 19 September, 2014 18:35

 

 

 

This is just beyond West Neck Beach, about two and a half miles down the road from where we live. I set up my French easel and painted the tide running out on this brilliantly clear Friday afternoon at a little inlet along Lloyd Neck that empties into Cold Spring Harbor.  12 x 16 inches, oil on linen covered board, plein air, premier coup.

 

 

 

 

Still More from Weir Farm

| 08 September, 2014 14:43

 

 

 

I managed to start 18 paintings during my month-long residency in August at Weir Farm. 15 were finished when I left. Those three unfinished still require some more work. (Let's not use the word 'stuck,' ok?) Meanwhile ideas for other paintings from the Weir Farm experience continue to emerge, including the painting of the copper bucket, above, found in the garden just north of the Weir House, and the sketch below based on a scene at the edge of the pond.