| 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.
| 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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| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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!
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 28 August, 2014 20:04
Today was my Open Studio, a tradition among the artists-in-residence that allows the rangers, administration, grounds crew and volunteers to come take a look at what the artist has been up to for his or her month here. Renee provided her famous artist's palette cookies, much remarked upon at this reception. One ranger whipped out her iPhone to grab a photo, then apologized: "I'm sorry. We're supposed to be looking at the art and here I am taking a picture of the cookies."
I am extremely happy to have produced 18 paintings in 29 days here. Granted, three are not finished and some are only 6 by 8 inches. But two of the 18 are also the largest I've ever done, too large to have been tackled in my studio at home and done in sections so that I can fit them into the Prius for the trip home.
17 of these paintings -- even the unfinished ones -- were on the wall this afternoon for the park reception. Then, after some clean-up and packing for my departure tomorrow, I hiked down to one of the south meadows to paint one last time, number 18, a view of two apple trees.
All of these images will find their way onto this website eventually.
Participating in an artist residency, particularly at a site devoted to American painting, has been a dream. It's kind of like winning the lottery but without a cash award. Instead, the award given is the time and space to do what you dream of.
The staff at Weir Farm have a great deal to be proud of and I have a great deal for which to be grateful.
| 22 August, 2014 16:17
This is the side or back door to Julian Alden Weir's studio, preserved here on the grounds of the Weir Farm National Historic Site. Renee says these are beans growing beside the building.
The gardener here at Weir Farm told me that all of this is pretty meticulously researched. "If we grow heirloom tomatoes, we have to plant them where Weir would have had them and they have to be tomatoes that existed in Weir's day, not heirloom tomatoes created in the 1970s," I was told.
This is the largest painting I've ever done -- perhaps not huge by the standards of some artists but certainly bigger than I could have accomplished in my studio at home on Long Island. It's 48 inches high and 72 inches across, on coarse Russian linens on two panels, in large part because 36 inches is about as wide as the Prius can handle. Otherwise I'd have to pay to ship this and, unless one has a buyer already lined up, that seems unnecessarily expensive. When I was awarded this residency and found out about the studio that comes with it I resolved to do some larger canvasses than I would normally be able to do at home.
I've pointed out to a number of people that if you go into Weir's studio you'll see a 'French easel' made by the Jullian company. This same company that equipped Weir and many of the original French Impressionists is still in business today. I have a version know as the 'half-easel' because it's a little narrower (and therefore a couple of pounds lighter.) I was explaining this to one visitor who thought I was telling him that the National Park Service let me use Weir's equipment!