Sunday, December 20, 2015

Taking Time to Learn How to See Things...

Jelly Ingredients, 8 x 10 oil on canvas
Over the past few weeks I've been working quite a few set ups with those really dark grapes from market and produce days. They provide such strong low key values to gauge other items by, and I do enjoy eating them afterward. :)

In truth, these grapes are helping me to see. Their dark mass helps me forget detail and block in a large area very quickly. The basic structure of the grapes is what I must do first; the overall comes before the break down of individual grapes. This is a good thing because we tend to see mass better than line. So I block in the whole of the grapes and find highlights to help me establish one individual grape from the other. From there I can begin to fidget with the two extremes of intense dark, and lightest light to locate mid-tones and help give detail to the bunch.

Here's my set up from a few mornings ago and I've included a portrait sketch in ink. Once again, those lovely darker values come through. :) This beautiful young man is a drummer that often works with a group of dancers that I sketch on occasion. He's great...Thanks for stopping by. Please visit me at

 I enjoy messages there and here. I appreciate your time. Enjoy the day!

Set up for Jelly Ingredients

Drummer, ink on 11 x 14 paper, to accompany dance series

Monday, December 14, 2015

Getting my exercise...stepping across the room and back to paint :)

Little Teapot, 8 x 8 oil on canvas - in process

Apple A Day Works

an apple a day promotes good health, and a quick work at the start of each day keeps me aware of the color, design and shape of my art.






When I was in school there were classes where I was taught the direct study methods of John Singer Sargent. The idea of working from life was stressed as it offers more than a photograph, and we see better because of this. I struggled but learned things which until recently I did not realize.

To say that admire the work of past and present day artists like John Singer Sargent and Carolyn Anderson goes without saying. Sargent and Anderson share a similar skill set in drawing and painting so wonderfully well. Have a look at the beautiful simplicity of Anderson's Yellow Finch just below - Audible Sigh here... :)

Carolyn Anderson, Yellow Finch,

 And Sargent's roses are beyond my comprehension...

John Singer Sargent, Roses,

Even though I can't afford to take workshops by Anderson, I know from listening to interviews with her that she firmly believes in the idea of keeping some distance between ourselves and the canvas. I've read that Sargent would lay down paint on his very large canvases, walk across the room and run back up to create a brushstroke. I keep this in mind each day...great exercise in terms of painting and could be a pretty fine work out too. Who needs the gym?

Little Teapot with Citrus from morning set up, 8 x 8 oil on canvas

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the day! Peace and Health all -

Pitcher and Eats, 10 x 10 oil on canvas

Sunday, December 6, 2015


Learning from the process of wiping paint away...


Dark Grapes and Apple, oil on 6 x 8 canvas panel



Apple A Day Works

an apple a day promotes good health, and a quick work at the start of each day keeps me aware of the color, design and shape of my art.





Ever have that feeling that wiping away whatever you've just begun is the best way to go? You know, we set up that small still life or get outdoors to paint until the light shifts, and somehow things seem off...not in accordance to the stars or our painter's soul. ;-)


It happens to me almost daily, and when it does sometimes I hold off and at other times, I just go for it. The rag is there, just waiting to be used in a big way. If I'm honest, on some level it hurts a bit but once it's done, I feel liberated. 


 These times work to my advantage all too often. That is to say, if I've wiped away a scene, plein air or still life, I've practiced...studied the objects or the scene and have some idea of what is before me. The values make sense to me, I see the line or the design that works best. I've tried things out. More to the point, I CAN do it again and I can do it as good or better than before.

That's all for now...take care all and Happy Painting. Peace and Health - 

City of Water, oil on 6 x 8 canvas

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

 The Act of Painting is What Matters Most...


Quartered Apples, 6 x 6 oil on canvas


Apple A Day Works

an apple a day promotes good health, and a quick work at the start of each day keeps me aware of the color, design and shape of my art.

Quartered Apple Set Up   

To me, a good painting has much to do with shapes and color. Keeping this theory in mind, I really enjoy the act of loosening up and getting my shoulder into the process of painting a work, 
no matter the size.

Marsh, 4 x 6 plein air study, oil on canvas

Abstract Storm Study, 30 x 30 oil on canvas

Whether drawing or painting, good decisions go a long way - do this enough and we're in good shape, even on our way to success. :)

Dance Series Study, ink on paper

That's all for now....thanks for stopping by and happy drawing/painting! Peace and Health

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hay Bales over Thanksgiving

Hay Bales, 6 x 8 oil on panel

Apple A Day Works

an apple a day promotes good health, and a quick work at the start of each day keeps me aware of the color, design and shape of my art.

Over Thanksgiving our daughter and I visited my eighty-four year old mother in Macre GA. We cooked and got caught up with yard work. She's very active and although there's plenty more to do, we worked hard. Early that morning, before the real labor began, I took the opportunity to get out my paint box and do another type of landscaping - painting. ;)

The hay bales image above shows early morning light across one of the fields close by. I wanted to do a small work that allowed me to focus on counting brush strokes, using a limited palette of ultramarine and pthalo blue, cad red, cad yellow, plus white and touches of ochre. It's warmer at my mother's and the leaves have begun their change, but not to the extreme we have here above Atlanta in Northwest GA. Her grassy areas have warmer greens still but much of that landscape has turned pale in color.

I began by blocking in large forms with warm tones, a mixture of ultramarine blue plus cad red with a larger brush. The number has long since worn off, but it's larger than a 10. After this I began to look at ways to brighten up those base colors with warmer and some cooler greens. The hay bales were in shadow. Purple hues against the pale grass allowed them to stand out more readily. Brights from the light of the early morning were done with a small knife, and a mixture of alizarin plus yellow and white.

Upcoming shows include the annual fundraising gala for Georgia Lawyer's for the Arts. This takes place on 10 December 2016 at the King Plow Arts Center in Atlanta. I have two works in this show, one 18 x 24 charcoal and an 8 x 10 oil, both are presented in antique frames I found at estate sales. Each are included below without frames. Information at

Direction VII, Charcoal on Paper

Bridge Early Morning, 8 x 10 oil on panel

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Rainy Day Painting


Apple A Day Works

an apple a day helps keeps us in good health - a quick work at the start of each day teaches me and keeps me aware of the color, design and shape of my art.

The holiday season is here and I've been spending more time painting at the square in Marietta GA. We've had several consecutive days of rain in November, and loads of wet pavement. I set up inside my vehicle one afternoon and took advantage of this. When I do this small panels are easy to work with, 5 x 7 or 6 x 8 panels and a small limited palette of colors. Folks are beginning to trickle in to the square in Marietta for the new skating rink and Candlelight Shopping Nights. Business vendors set out wine and snacks as an offering to those who stop by. Hot Cidar is one of my favorite drinks to offer up as the weather gets chilly and folks appreciate the thought of something warm. :)

Strand Theatre, oil on 6 x 8 panel

Quick Charcoal of the scene, maybe 6 x 9 paper

So I previously posted a few small hand made paper works with ink drawings. These were made as gifts for a media party last week at the Marietta Square. At that time I mentioned a few basic instructions for paper making. I'm self taught, but have sort of come to realize the process can be as simple or as labor intensive as you have time and energy for. The results can yield note cards, journals or sheets for collage works. Here are a few of my works over the years plus a few link for paper making processes.

Hieroglyphs, Hand Made Paper, Watercolor, Metal Screening, Hemp

Book of Hand Made Papers

Pulled Sheet with poured processes

Witches Boots, note card

I make hand made papers from natural materials like branches that are stripped and boiled down, leaves, grass, flowers and the like. That said, I also recycle materials like shredded printer paper, cardboard egg cartons, non-glossy junk mail, old phone books, newspaper...I like to get creative and mix things up. :)

Their are plenty of kits on the market for purchase that have basic supplies, or you can purchase supplies and make some things yourself, but I have come to learn that a few household items can get me what I need; for example, picture frames of the same size paired with metal screening works great for pulling sheets. I'll see about getting something up soon with photos to better explain this simple process. 

Here's are a couple of good sources for paper making information - take a look and have fun.

How to on Handmade Paper -

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Apple A Day Works

an apple a day helps keeps us in good health - a quick work at the start of each day teaches me and keeps me aware of the color, design and shape of my art.

Today was a travel day. I delivered work to the Georgia Lawyer's for the Arts and took a look through Westside Antique Market on the west side of Atlanta. There space is impressive. I was interested in showing work, possibly even becoming a vendor there. Here's a link to their website -

The GLA, or Georgia Lawyer's for the Arts annual art event is the second week of December. They do great work for artists. Please check them out here

I returned to my home studio and did a few things; one was to look at seascape palettes. 

That's all for now - thanks for stopping by. Peace and Health all -

Spray, 8 x 10 oil on canvas

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Blue Green Waters, 6 x 8 oil on panel
Apple A Day Works

an apple a day helps keeps us in good health - a quick work at the start of each day teaches me and keeps me aware of the color, design and shape of my art.

This study is something I'm returning to as a reference for a larger painting. Although I would like to improve certain aspects of color, the information here is invaluable. Having a good idea of the local color on site is so helpful. These small paintings help me in terms of the memory of that day, the climate, atmospheric conditions, and even how I felt out at a particular location. I take notes about temperature, sun and shade, as well as the visible color within the environment. A sketchbook is invaluable to me and I keep one pretty close. I can leave one in my car with a tin of charcoal for quick sketches on the road. A small piece of sandpaper taped to the backing of the book gives me a way to sharpen up vine or pencils. Quick and easy...

It was raining like cats and dogs today, but here is a small daily piece from an outdoor session last week with charcoal.

Mother and Child by Fountain, charcoal on paper, sketchbook

The past couple of days I've been working to get pieces ready for an event at the Marietta Square in Marietta GA. They are putting together a Winter Wonderland for the upcoming season, and Red Door Gallery is helping with a media party. I've put together twenty-five small gifts for various media folks. The two pictured below feature ink, hand made and commercial paper, reclaimed note cards and thread. They are a playful look at a series I've worked on for a number of years now - Common Threads Works. My intent is to call attention to the commonalities that make us more similar than different.
Anyone interested in making paper can do the basics with a few materials. When I do paper making workshops, I have folks bring in non-glossy junk mail, old phone books, cardboard egg cartons - anything meant for recycling. A blender is needed, plus a kitty litter size tray, two frames of the same size, metal or plastic screening, metal staples, and water.  I'll work to post about the process tomorrow or Friday. It's really fun - a bit labor intensive, but really fun. Dyes can be added and there are loads of organics out there that make great color on paper, beets, spinach, paprika, turmeric...lovely natural colors.

Elf Hat, ink, hand made and commercial paper, thread

Bells, ink, hand made and commercial paper, thread

One of the first works I decided to do with this Common Threads concept in mind was Working Hands. I love the idea of hands and the things they do each day. We each have chores, jobs and our hands are a wonderful tool. They certainly help me get things done.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great evening. Peace and Health -

Working Hands Study, watercolor and thread on paper, about 12 x 14

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

6 x 6 oil on panel, Fountain, Marietta GA

Apple A Day Works

an apple a day helps keeps us in good health - a quick work at the start of each day teaches me and keeps me aware of the color, design and shape of my art.

On this crisp morning, I'm looking through summer works and catching up with photography. I try to take care of these things as they are done, but some slip through the cracks; if I'm honest, many do... :)

The painting above is a study from early in the summer of 2015. The square in Marietta, GA is a beautiful spot and this antique fountain just prompts folks to sit and chat on Saturday afternoons. Kids play all 'round the fountain, delighted by the cool spray as grandparents watch on in complete wonder. Sound good? It is...see for yourself...

Marietta, GA - Plaza and antique fountain

I painted this little one with a couple of painting knives. I find these tools great for broadcasting color, and creating interesting detail. The ease of color change is quite liberating and very exciting. They clean up easily in between color application with a wipe of my rag, and when I'm outdoors trying to work with my tools and the environment, that is a wonderful thing. :)

Here is a selection of my painting knives.

I have others, but these are a few favorites. The size I choose depends on the need, and often the size of my painting. Smaller works, smaller knives and larger knives are helpful for blocking in larger areas efficiently. I also use knives to apply leftover paint to canvas paper, or panel. It's a fun way for me to use up the paint and just play with color, directional lines, form and space. Try it and have some fun with that leftover material....

Abstract with leftover paint

Detail of abstract with leftover paint

Here's are a few daily works in charcoal - straight out of my sketchbook. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day. I appreciate your time. :)

RR Crossing, Marietta GA

Blue Heron

Water Founain

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Wave Value Study on leftover paper, about 12 x 14
Apple A Day Works

an apple a day helps keeps us in good health - a quick work at the start of each day teaches me and keeps me aware of the color, design and shape of my art.

Seascapes are a favorite of mine to work through. I learn so much each time I make the attempt to draw or paint water. This wave was great fun to play around with in charcoal.

I like to try these out in charcoal first, experimenting with light and dark values and looking at the varying degrees of those really helps me with composition, proportion and value.

A range of values allows me to utilize black, gray and white to the advantage of the composition.
Value Scale picture below courtesy of

I've incorporated simple value scales using vine and compressed charcoal with my drawing of this sphere. The dark value in my background helps me show the edges of the sphere without need for line.
Sphere, charcoal on paper

Cone, charcoal on paper

Just for fun, I decided to draw a cone too -
it's my favorite. 

That's all for now - Thanks for stopping by.
Have a good evening

Peace and Health -

Daily - Orange with Oil, 5 x 7 oil on canvas

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Portuguese Village, oil on 6 x 6 panel
Apple A Day Works

an apple a day helps keeps us in good health - a quick work at the start of each day teaches me and keeps me aware of the color, design and shape of my art.

Today was spent talking with a couple of artist friends and measuring gallery space for a January showing, so this evening I decided to revisit some field works from a while back. I've always had the desire to look at sketches done when we visited family in Portugal, but finding time can be an issue. This evening I worked up a small painting of a village - I believe this is Real, Portugal where we have family; beautiful area.

This has certainly made me want to do larger paintings of these areas...tonight is questionable, but tomorrow is another day. :)

Here's an 8 x 8 from earlier in the summer. A quiet place by the lakeside here in Woodstock, GA where the rocks glow pink and red early morning. By ten this spot really is quite breathtaking.

8 x 8 oil on canvas

That's all for now - thanks for stopping by and have a great evening. I appreciate your time.
Peace and Health -

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Working up a Portrait and studying Sargent...

Portrait Detail, charcoal on wood panel 

Apple A Day Works

an apple a day helps keeps us in good health - a quick work at the start of each day teaches me and keeps me aware of the color, design and shape of my art.

Today is a portrait work session in preparation for a January showing. These pieces begin with charcoal studies like the one above. I make decisions afterward concerning which will become works in oil. Please wish me luck...:)

In looking at these pieces, I can't help but consider the works of John Singer Sargent. Just a few of my favorites can be seen below...thanks for stopping by. Have a great evening - Peace and Health

John Singer Sargent, Mrs. Charles Hunter

John Singer Sargent, Portrait of Vaslav Nijinsky

      John Singer Sargent, Carmela Bertagna,  beautiful...

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Slice Anyone? 5 x 7 oil on canvas

Apple A Day Works

an apple a day helps keeps us in good health - a quick work at the start of each day teaches me and keeps me aware of the color, design and shape of my art.

Today I'm preparing materials for a presentation and chat tomorrow night in Dallas, Georgia. Members of the Northwest Georgia Artist's Guild have invited me to chat, give a demonstration and show work. I happily accepted and am most grateful for this opportunity.

That said, I'm putting things together and trying to organize in studio. Although my work can takeover our home at times, I use two room for my art. There's a portion of our common area that I've sort of quartered off for painting and computer work. Then I also have a room for storage of finished work and framing. I've decided it's time to invite clients to tour my studio and have a demonstration, showing here. I think clients appreciate this - they are able to see my work in various stages...we talk and they can ask questions. It's a personable experience and they can get to know me a bit better.
So, I am actively working to better organize my space for my benefit and for those who enter. The process is good for my own well being and overall confidence, not to mention when I need something, tools are placed within reach or eyesight. I don't spend valuable time looking for things, and that's a good thing. It makes me more productive and ready to create.

This morning I worked with a quick set up of dark grapes and a single clementine. The contrasting color combination won me over instantly. It was a good, fun set up for a limited palette - ultramarine blue, touches of pthalo blue, terra rosa, cad yellow, plus white. I took this shot 30 minutes into the work. After a quick break I went back and make final touches to the work.

Morning set up still in progress
Final work is here - I like the developed, undeveloped look of this daily and they are quick to finish up as well.

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