Thursday, December 31, 2009


16x8,Oil/Canvas Board

When I moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1992, this old pink building was the headquarters for Blockbuster Videos. It is an architecturally interesting old building, but today all I needed was this side since I was really more taken with the tree and its white bark in the morning light. As the painting was nearing completion, my friend Eden encouraged me to add the parked vehicles. I think her suggestion taught me a lot about the spontaneous accuracy I have been searching for... paint your subject matter like it is fixing to drive away... because it did... A lesson I will carry into the New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Palm With A View...

Palm With A view
30 x 9.5 Oil/Canvas

I attempted to do this painting en plein air earlier this year. The tall and narrow format of the stretched canvas made it very awkward for working outdoors... combined with the rapidly changing light and over abundance of info, it quickly became a wiper! Fortunately, I came across the reference photo I took, found the toned down canvas and did this studio version of Palm With A View. Remembering the feel of the day as I painted from the photo helped me to hold onto my plein air approach while enjoying an ample amount of time to work with no changing light.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wet Paint, Plein Air...

2nd & Himmarshee
5.5x12 Oil/Panel

It was a clear & breezy morning that made our Winter day temperature of 68 feel pretty brisk... wearing a jacket with a hot cup of coffee in hand, our Florida blood gets thin!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Palms Up...

Palms Up
8x6 Oil/Canvas Panel

Painting out last Saturday, I was taken by how the edges of these palm fronds became a silvery gray blue against the cloudy sky. The sun peeked out just long enough to illuminate the tree on the left, warming up its silhouette. There is a lot of paint on this canvas, and today became just dry enough to photograph.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Frederic's Cadillac

Frederic's Cadillac
Oil/ Canvas 12x12

This is the Cadillac that belonged to Frederic Bartlett, the builder of Bonnet House. It is parked and on display in the garage there. This is a studio painting from a photo I took while on one of my many plein air outings there.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wet Paint, Plein Air...

The Source II 12x9 Oil/Canvas Panel

I actually had another view in mind when I went to Riverwalk to paint with my friends, Saturday Morning. When I walked around to the other side of the fire hydrant in last weeks painting, I stopped in my tracks. I was astounded by the possibilities the morning sun presented as it played with the elements in this simple scene.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wet Paint, Plein Air...

The Source 8x10 Oil/Canvas Panel

Be Seated 6x8 Oil/Canvas Panel

Clockwise, I got an early start painting Saturday Morning, but as we know, the sun waits for no man, nor bows to the idea of "Daylight Savings Time".. ending or beginning. I was there right on time to catch the shadows of this hedge behind the fire hydrant and the glow of the sunlight as it hit the group of palms, in The Source. I stayed with it a little longer than I meant to... lingering, yet again. Since it was still early and such a beautiful day to be out painting, I chose to do another painting. An Autumnal wedding celebration was being set up right beside me, with lushly colored fabrics and dark table cloths. This time I simply turned the easel to face the tables, found my composition and set the timer for 6o minutes to do Be Seated. Setting a definite time limit along with my focus totally recharged me... the intense scrutiny and intent to put in on and leave it alone. I am Okay with both of the outcomes, the steady and the quick, but I look forward to finding something in the middle next time.

Friday, November 13, 2009



..."Morning without you is a dwindled dawn"-Emily Dickinson

This quote became the inspiration for this 7x5, Oil/Canvas Panel as I tried to reproduce the brilliant way the first light of the day comes through the bedroom window, across the rug and into the quiet darkness of the room.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wet Paint, Plein Air...


It was an early start to a beautiful morning painting at Bonnet House with the low slung cast shadows of the garden walls and the vegetation beyond. Keeping my shadowed areas illuminated was my goal with this 8x10 Oil/Linen Panel. I am sure enjoying the occasional addition of Indian Yellow to my pallet. It is especially noticeable in the warm green foliage of the tree beyond the opening of the wall.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wet Paint, Plein Air...

Painted Palms 12x12 Oil/Linen Panel
Private Collection

Plein Air painters are without a doubt some of the finest people to spend time with... painting , laughing and sharing ideas, all outdoors in nature. We had a great time painting Saturday morning and I couldn't help but just have fun and let go with this painting.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blackbirds At Dusk....

Oil/Wood 9x16

Sitting in traffic at a red light the other evening, I passed the time watching several large flocks of birds moving like a roller coaster in the sky as they were deciding where to roost for the night. Their movements were amazing and I imagined the thrill they must be having... it was thrilling just to watch how fast they were moving and with such choreography.

I did this today from memory in the studio using a limited pallet of Manganese Blue, Cad Yellow Light, Ivory Black and Titanium White. I also used a warm gray that I made from mixing the leftovers on my pallet from the day before to temper the blue of the sky... that worked really well.

Here is my question about this painting... I did it with an upcoming abstract show in mind. In concept I saw this possibly working... I will be the first to declare that abstraction is not my forte... is it too defined to work for this show? Probably just by asking the question, the answer is already "Yes!"... oh well, I still have two days before drop off ...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wet Paint, "Coming Around"...

Coming Around Oil/Canvas 18x18

For this painting on Sunday, I revisited a reference photo that I used for Towing The Line, an earlier painting. This time, I zoomed in on the focal point, cropping out much of the background info. I was attracted by this man moving his boat from one side of the dock to the other... man versus machine... using just a rope, a piling and determination.

I apologize that my photo has a bit of a highlighted glare. I felt this photo shows accurately the richness of color and the textures of the painting as I built it up in the alla prima approach... constantly moving and working the overall painting with brush and pallet knife.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

60 Minutes...

Andrews Bridge, Silver Day

Bonnet House Structures, Morning

For each one of these 6x8, Oil/Canvas Panels, I set a timer for 60 minutes, start to finish. I have no plans for hitting the road as a speed painter... I hear that gig is already taken... it was just an exercise in keeping the brush moving and the eyes open, hopefully with synchronicity.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Captain Jack's Wharf 2009...

A trip to Provincetown would be incomplete without a painting of Captain Jack's... so I did it again. This 7x9.5 version was painted when the sky was starting to pick up some pink hues from the approaching sunset. The shiny low tide made for some nice muted reflections. The Marsha Savage pastel collection I brought worked nicely for this last painting on our last day on the Cape.

The first time I saw Captain Jack's was twenty-five years ago. Since this was before the self-isolation days of the iPod, you were carried along the dock by music played from an LP. The speakers were set up discretely among all sorts of groovyness. We didn't stay there, but I do remember the music being the type that would make any pirate want to come to shore with roses for his mate.

Monday, September 21, 2009


About five o'clock one afternoon, I walked over to the Moors to see what I saw. It had been a cloudy, rainy day so I was pleased to see that the lowering sun was making a presence as it prepared to go rest. When the tide comes into the Moors, it comes in fast!... so, with no easel this time, I stood with paper in hand to do this 6x9, Pastel/Sanded Paper. About a half hour into it, a fine mist of rain started leaving small pock marks on the surface of the paper. I had the basic info I needed to pull it together, so I packed up, went back to the cottage and finished it at the table.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Painting In The Dunes...

Photo-Ken Tackett

Since I decided to pack light for this vacation to Cape Cod, I took a set of Terry Ludwig pastels that I thought would work best for the local terrain, 60 Deborah Paris' Plein Air. This collection has a great assortment of sandy and grayed colors plus a nice. limited range of greens. I found I was getting frustrated by the tones I was seeing versus what I was putting on my paper. It wasn't until I finished this 7x12 on Sanded Paper that I realized I had packed a different set!... the 60 Marsha Savage Southeast. This is a beautiful collection, nonetheless, and in hindsight, I see my mistake took me literally out of my box and made me look for accurate values using what was on hand.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Plein Air, Cape Cod


We are in Cape Cod for the week. I am traveling light this year with only a box of pastels, a few sheets of sanded paper, and no easel! I actually thought it might be a vacation where I would do everything except paint. I am having a great time with my friends, running into old acquaintances and making new ones, but I started getting a little on edge with the "not painting idea". I took about an hour this morning before lunch and walked over to the Moors to do this 6x9, pastel/ Sanded Paper. This is a spot I have painted at many times before, and was only too happy to be here again looking out toward the dunes and painting...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Plein Air, Bonnet House...

I got an early start painting today with my friend Janet, at Bonnet House. I did this 6x8, Oil/Linen Panel, Raking Light. We both walked away from my painting spot a few times during the process and found it extremely funny how my painting seemed to keep getting smaller and smaller each time we came back upon it.... My plan had been to do several small quick 6x8 studies today. Instead, I got captivated by the Banyan-like tree... probably a ficus, of sorts... with its multiple trunks and the glowing yellow trim of the Bonnet House as the morning light crept up on the bank and across the lawn. Next time we are setting a timer to limit ourselves to an hour for each 6x8 canvas ....

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tarpon Bend Morning

In this 12x6, Oil/Gessoed Panel, I wanted to emphasize the high key of the clear morning light as it contrasted against the lower key of the cool shadows. I quickly put in the sunlit areas first to hold the shadowed areas in place... amazing how fast the sun rises, leaving a very small window for this sort of view.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Plein Air, Tarpon Bend


It was a bright and beautiful morning here today painting with my friends, so this 8x10,
oil/canvas had no choice but to be bright, clear and fun ... just how I saw it, folks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wet Paint, In The Studio...

The tropical weather made my friend Janet and me take a raincheck for painting at Bonnet House today. So instead, I did this 10x8, Oil/Canvas, of my friend and painter, Eden Compton, with sketchbook in hand, roaming one of the breezeways at Bonnet House on one of our earlier paint days. You didn't know I took your picture, huh, Eden?...

Still working on getting the abstract forms, I also turned the canvas and reference photo upside down to keep from falling into the bad habit I have of lingering. Again, old dog, old trick, but it really helped me keep looking at the shapes and values as opposed to the subject matter. I found this especially helpful in seeing the drama of the reflections in both the floor and the archways.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pastel Self Portrait...

This 12x9, Pastel/LeCarte Sanded Paper is my first attempt at doing a portrait with pastels. I used a combination of both hard and soft pastels while staring, obviously, into the mirror with great intention. Each time I use them, I am astounded by their richness of color and vow to use them more often. For the soft pastels, I used Terry Ludwig 30 Portrait Collection as well as several others from his Plein Air Collections.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Plein Air, On Track...

Why is it that the best views are always in the middle of the road or in this case, in the middle of the railroad tracks? Standing next to the downtown tracks with my friend and painting partner Janet Onofrey, we both did this view looking north to the water tower. For this plein air, 10x10, oil/linen panel, I again concentrated on painting the abstract shapes while paying close attention to my values.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Wet Paint, Pickled Okra...

Working on this 10x8, Oil/Canvas today, I approached it by treating all the shapes as abstract forms... laying in areas of color, shaping up with the negative spaces and building up to the highlights. A common practice for many, but it was a different and purposeful approach for me with this painting today. This method simplified the act of painting the subject matter and allowed it to flow freely without getting bogged down. It is funny how freeing it was in being mindful of this approach... duh.

Thanks to our friend Judy for the pickled Okra... now we can eat it!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wet Paint, Ripe Peaches ...

After several weeks of a head banging dry spell, I decided it was time to get over myself (once again) and make something happen. These ripe peaches set against a handmade rice paper with leaves seemed to be a good challenge in the studio today. I felt it was important to get the feel and texture of the paper, so I used a combination of brush work and palette knife while paying attention to the natural imperfections of the pressed leaves. The vivid ripeness of the peaches allowed for some bold color choices, rapid brush work and lots of paint in this 20x16, oil/canvas.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wet Paint, Plein Air ...

   I did this quick little 10x8, oil/canvas this afternoon in the back yard as a rumbling thunderstorm was blowing through just to the north. I worked with a limited palette of Titanium White, Ivory Black, Cad Yellow Medium, Cad Red Light, Ultramarine & Ceruleun Blue. I used Liquin as my medium. The sunlit edges of the dense clouds shined against the blue of the sky. I also liked how the sunlit hotness remained constant on the blowing bamboo and kept the heat of the reflected light in the shadows.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Wet Paint, Plein Air...

    These red Bromeliads seemed an appropriate choice for this 10x8, oil/linen panel painted on the Forth of July. The intensity of the hot day added vigor to my brushwork in this attempt at catching the morning's backlight.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


  Summer has arrived, bringing hot humid days and frequent thunderstorms. It is perfect weather for painting indoors with a glass of iced tea. This still life, Plums, 10x15, oil/linen panel is the first of what may become a regular series here in the studio during these coming hot, dog days.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Little Prince


Despite the fact that this little Buffo Frog has a face only a mother frog could love, that he has an abundance of upholstery, and that he is poisonous to dogs, I had to do this 6x6.5, oil/linen panel, anyway. This guy showed up here one day, sat still long enough for me to take a photo and then went on his way... no harm done. There is a lesson here somewhere...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wet Paint, Plein Air...

    The back lit glow of the early morning sun was my main interest in this 8x10, oil/ linen panel.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wet Paint, Plein Air...

     This 10x15, oil/linen panel was an exercise in looking for the warm and cool values on the dormer and roof while keeping the colors clean. The simplicity of the subject matter was deceiving once I began dealing with the perspective and all the various reflections in the glass, the roof and even the shadowed areas ...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Clean Start

  I see this gentleman every Saturday morning when I paint downtown. He skillfully washes away the residue of Friday night's celebrations and provides a clean start for those who see the morning light. This is an alla prima oil/canvas, 18x18.

Friday, May 29, 2009

No Wake Zone


    The rains have set in here in South Florida, so I have been working in the studio lately. No Wake Zone, 24x24, oil/canvas is the result of my efforts. I painted it while holding on to the  Italian phrase " il dolce far niente " or, " the sweetness of doing nothing "...  time well spent, in my opinion.

  The photo I took one afternoon last Summer, provided the info I needed to work on the glowing effects of the sun as it reflected on the water and backlit the idle guys. I used a limited palette and enjoyed the challenge of  finding and combining the neutrals with the "glow" in what I hope is a harmonious manner.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reaching Out

   These large old trees seemed to be growing out as opposed to up, hovering close to the ground with their protective canopies and keeping each other in check. The early afternoon sun lit up the trees inner foliage in this 9x16, oil/linen panel.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Southeastern Paint Out, Day Five

                                                         Fourth & Broad

      We had lucked out with four beautiful days of painting in North Alabama, so the Friday morning thunderstorms were an opportunity to see things differently and to stop chasing shadows. Local Artists, Craig Reynolds and his wife Estra  were kind enough to share the awning at the corner Pawn Shop where they were already set up, dry and painting. They were in the front looking down Broad Street and I was on the side looking across toward the old Print Up Hotel.

    My first composition had an old pickup truck sitting at the corner behind the street sign... it looked like it had been sitting there for a while. Once I had my pallet set up and with brush in hand, I looked up to see it was gone! I should have known.. I have yet to paint a boat that didn't set sail. However, it was fortuitous once I saw the trolly pull up and realized it would  be there every half hour. His scheduled and on-time visits gave me all the info I needed  for the trolly while finishing in between his stops the watered down street scene in Fourth & Broad, 12x12, oil/linen panel.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Southeastern Paint Out, Day Four

                                                          Condo On The Coosa
                                                               Coosa Sunrise

     Since I didn't take any photos of Day Three, painting the historic neighborhoods, I will go to Day Four... painting on The Coosa River. The Coosa , a major energy source for these parts, moves like a slow Southerner as it meanders through Gadsden. It provides scenic beauty, recreation and is home for an abundance of wildlife, both in the River and in its backwaters.

   I was envisioning painting a sunrise here all week having been greeted every morning by a clear and welcoming sunrise. This day, however, was a gray drive all the way there... until I parked and got out with my easel... the clouds parted and I had a two minute window to get set up in record time and quickly blocked in the rising sun and its reflection. Working on a panel toned with orange and with a minimal pallet plus the addition of Holbien's Grey of Grey, I was able to get the proper tones of the sky before the clouds overtook and calmed the glow. Then it was a matter of putting in the darkest parts of the landscape to give me the info I needed to bring Coosa Sunrise, 12x12, oil/linen panel, all together as the morning got brighter.

   My second painting of the day is Condo On The Coosa, 12x12, oil/linen panel. I wanted to make this overlooked old building with its pink rose bush take center stage over the landmark Broad Street Bridge in the background. Very few people knew of its provenance as the ticket booth for the Alabama Princess Riverboat that once gave rides up and down the Coosa.

   While I was rapidly painting Coosa Sunrise, I was mildly aware of a few vehicles parked at the dock where I was painting... apparently people taking in the sunrise, a few waiting to fish. As I was packing up my days work later that afternoon a white SUV pulled up beside me. The driver told me she had sat there for a while that morning watching me paint. She picked up her three young sons at school and brought them down to see the artist painting. Her middle son, she told me, is autistic... he couldn't write his name but he could draw beautifully anything you put in front of him. I was only too happy to show them the paintings I had with me as he then held out some little drawings for me to see. This experience totally made this trip worthwhile as well as confirming the value of having plein air painters visible in the community.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Southeastern Paint Out, Day Two

Vineyard Gold

The second day of painting was held at Wills Creek Vineyard, where they make Muscadine Wine. It is located in the beautiful valley of Duck Springs.. unless you are a local who is holding on to your proud Southern heritage, then it is in Duck Sprangs... my preferred pronunciation, by the way.

I arrived at the vineyard shortly after sunrise, with the first light taking a glowing chunk out of the mountain and casting long shadows across a pasture. My first painting was a pastel, 8x16 of that pasture with its shadows and a stand of trees in the distance. Since I don't have a photo of Duck Springs Sentinels, I will tell you,... it was outstanding!

My second painting of the day is Vineyard Gold, 12x20, oil/canvas panel. It is still early for the Muscadine Vines, so their leaves were just beginning to pop out. Standing on a rise to the side of the vineyard, I could see a field of glowing yellow wild flowers through another stand of trees. This photo was taken on site while still on my Take-it-Easel, the clip is showing at the top. This is a wonderful easel for working in the field since it is virtually topple proof, even with my umbrella attached. It is a remake of the Glouster Easel and will accommodate a large canvas.

It was a great day painting in the open valley. Even after consuming six bottles of water, I still felt dehydrated by the intense sun. Stopping at the gas station on the Chattanooga Highway that I used to ride my bicycle to, I of course, got a 32 ounce Coke on ice and had it finished before I got home.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Southeastern Paint Out, Day One

                                                               Wild Azalea

                                                              Little Falls

     The week I spent painting in the Alabama Plein Air Festival was really fantastic. It was a well thought out event with a different location chosen for each day. I did nine paintings and met a terrific group of painters. Unfortunately, I was so wrapped up in the momentum that I didn't photograph all my paintings nor did I properly photograph the ones I took! Nonetheless, here is my first day's work painted at Noccalula Falls....

   When I heard this would be our first location, I immediately thought of how much I loved going down into the gorge of the Falls as a teenager... I even knew of a "secret" trail! With my Soltek, back pack and Raymar panel carrier strapped to my shoulders I set out for the 45 minute hike down the rocky trail into the gorge and to my envisioned destination. My youthful enthusiasm was amused by the realization that this hike was a heck of a lot easier when I was 18... but I was not disappointed by the effort. It was unbelievably beautiful down there and I went directly to my spot where I did Little Falls, 8x10, oil/linen panel. The emotional connection I felt by just being there made this painting a blast to do. This waterfall was one of three  tucked into the rocky ravine that tumbles down here in the canyon.

  I could have spent the week at this one location but I simply packed up and got off the rock I was standing on in the middle of the running water and painted Wild Azalea, a 6x8, oil/linen panel. From this spot, I could see the ravine with its waterfalls to my left and the rapids of the creek rolling with intensity from all the Spring rains to my right. This day was going to be a hard act to follow!!...


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wet Paint...

     I finally got out again with the Saturday Plein Air  Group and painted yesterday. We went to Old Fort Lauderdale Village downtown on the New River...  I did this 11x12, oil/canvas of one of the historical homes located there. This was an attempt to reel in the vivid Spring light that we have down here, and present it with a softer edge. All the colors seem to be magnified ( see previous post! ) as a last hurrah before the Summer drives away their intensity, along with the Snow Birds... Hmmm, I'm looking forward to Summer, now that I think about it...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Plein Air, Wet Paint...

       Going out to paint today, I got a late start without a certain destination in mind. I drove around and wound up at a wooded park close by.  I walked around a bit to see what it had to offer since I had yet to paint there. My late start put me there at almost high Noon, which proved to be right on time to catch this lake illuminated head on in all its questionable glory... this really is the color as it appeared !! The large turtles swimming all around seemed to be enjoying their vivid  environment as much as I did, along with the occasional Blue Heron and jumping fish. I did this 11x14, oil/canvas board and was home by 3:30...

  By the way, the first spot I checked out today, a nature preserve on a canal, didn't appear at its best for painting this late in the morning. However, the Mother Manatee and her Calf swimming leisurely by as I walked out on the dock , stuck their noses up out of the water letting me know that I was there right on time as well ...

Monday, April 13, 2009

In The Yard...

                                                                   Sunday Arbor

                                                           Out With A Blast

      I like the idea of painting ones own surroundings, so lately I have been working on my plein air skills in my own yard. It is convenient and the parking is free...

     The Confederate Jasmine in the backyard has engulfed the arbor and is in full bloom right now, filling the air with its sweet fragrance... Sunday Arbor, 16x12, oil/canvas.

     In the front yard there are three Washingtonia Palms. When the fronds are ready to be trimmed, they turn a brilliant yellow. As we took Gobi for a walk this morning at 7:30, the early sun was beginning to hit this one , making these aging fronds light up like lanterns. The walk became brisk so I could get back and set up the easel before the effect was lost. Out With A Blast, 18x24, oil/canvas.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Golden Mounds

  The glowing bushes in this 8x6, oil/linen panel are called Golden Mounds. They truly live up to their name. When the morning sun hits them, as it did here, they illuminate everything within reach.. Their vibrant lemony, chartreuse color always captivates me and pulls me right in... 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Plein Air

     After wiping off the first painting today at Bonnet House, I decided to use the paint left on my palette with a half hour to use it. This little 6x8, oil/linen panel is the result... somedays are just that way!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pastels Today...

                                                              Golden Bamboo

                                                              Copper Plant

      For the first time in about a year, I dusted off the pastels this afternoon and took them out to the backyard to see what I could come up with. I did these two, each 6x8, on sanded paper. Like visiting an old friend I was reminded of why I like them so much. I was also reminded of the importance of keeping in touch... I felt a little rusty...