Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Paintings

It's that time of year, again. I tend to use Christmas decorations as subjects for my paintings when the days are shorter and the holiday season begins. Alas, I don't see myself dragging out the abundance of holiday ornamentation that I have stuffed away. I don't venture into that storage area unless I have to. So the subjects this year are items that surfaced since I last ventured into the black hole that holds the artifacts of Christmases past. Pickings are slim this year, In September, I thoughtlessly tucked away the seasonal embellishments that accumulated though the first part of the year.

I will be showing a collection of these holiday paintings later this month at Crow Trading Company in Modesto, CA during the Third Thursday Art Walk.

Bowl Full of Jolly
8"x8" oil on board
A small ceramic santa placed in a bowl of glass marbles with a few colorful ornaments

Plastic Poinsettias
8"x8" oil on board

Shiny Bright
8"x8" oil on board
A box of Christmas Balls, I almost called this one; "Hiny Bright"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

current show, II

On display currently at Pursley's in Turlock are many of my smaller paintings. I paint a lot on 8"x8" and 8"x10" boards. A wide variety of subjects are found among these paintings. Many of these paintings were hung in grouping on the walls of this showroom, and many more lined up on shelves and this showcase. This may not be the best way of viewing each image. But it was a fun and easy way to 'showcase' the pieces as well as a few of the objects that found there way into my work. I enjoy the juxtaposition of the subjects and images. Maybe arranged in a certain way they tell a story, I'm sure it must be a mystery.

I like the way the painted images interact with one another. Often there is a common thread between paintings, a subject, the perspective, color pallet... The list could be endless. It was nice having the abundance of similar sized paintings on hand. I was able to edit a grouping to meet a perspective customer's particular needs.

The painting of goldfish in the photo above was used as the study for a larger painting . This 8"x5" oil on board became the subject on a 4'x9' sheet of glass. I had to paint on the reverse side of the glass with transparent color. The glass was supported on heavy duty saw horses so I could climb beneath it to see the progress of the work. The photo below shows my goldfish in an early stage. Kristi Hughes was painting a similar sheet of glass along side of me that evening. It took all of our strength for us to flip the glass to see the paint from it's front side. I am grateful I never had to move this piece of art or worse yet have to store it.

Kristi and I always have fun being creative together.

current show

I currently have paintings on display in Turlock CA at Pursley's Interiors, 206 N. First Street. It is a show I share with Kristi Hughes who's paintings are also seen here. Our is work distinctly different but we work well together, I feel they show well together. Most of my work is painted in oils but I have included a few mixed medium pieces in this show. The two panel painting of pods in the photo below is one of example of the departure from oil paint. The four bug paintings on the floor and the painting on the left with the calligraphy are Kristi's work.

The photo below shows the corner of the room, better for seeing the placement of the work than the quality. The paintings under the window are mine, a pair of mixed medium wings. I incorporated some of Kristi's techniques in this work, as well as returning some of the materials I used prior to my near exclusive use of oil paint for the last 15+ years.

The view of across the room shows more of the art. Much of my recent work has been 8"x8" squares, oil on board. In this show many of the small paintings were grouped together and hung as a column. It was refreshing for me to see them hung this way, I am more used to seeing them arranged horizontally, lined up on a shelf in my studio. Kristi's work shown in this photo include the two large pieces on the far wall, the bugs below them and the tall narrow piece seen to the right of the cabinet.

I will post more of this shown soon.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Platers and Pomegranates

Red pomegranates and white platters upon a white table cloth. The limited color pallet of these paintings allowed me to focus on the space around the subject. Representing the environmental space within a painting does not need to include vast vistas. The relationship between objects needs to be seen within the space around it.
both 8" x 10" oil on board

Shadows from window mullions create the background for this painting. Dried pods from a flowering tree join the pomegranates on the platter.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Valley Sun Catcher Show

I have three paintings in a show at the Mislin Gallery in Modesto, CA. This show is showing work from members of the Valley Sun Catchers, a group of plein air painters that strive to capture the essence of the world around us by painting out of doors. Also in this show is three dimensional work from members of the San Joaquin Pottery Guild.

10" x 8" oil on board
This painting of a friends front yard captured my interest because of the red crape myrtle that grew along her driveway. It was such a deep blood red, darker than any I've seen before, I wanted to try to capture it's likeness in paint. The other two paintings I have in the show are of Half Dome in Yosemite.

10" x 8" oil on board

8" x 8" oil on board

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pink Roses

As I mentioned before painting among friends is a particular pleasure of mine. Here again is pair of paintings I did during a "Paint Day" a few months back. The floral arrangement that included clusters of an old fashion pink rose with ball shaped blossoms. I planted this rose bush almost nine years ago, this year is the first time I've noticed the shape of the flowers. The wet spring with cooler than usual temperatures metamorphosed this shaggy shrub into one covered with cascades of bubbly pink blooms.

both 8" x 10" oil on board

If there is anything blooming in my yard when a Paint Day comes around I try bring an arrangement to the gathering. Not only for the possible subject matter, but flowers do enhance the festive atmosphere of the day and it is a nice way to say thank you to our host of the day. It seems I have less blooming in the heat of summer than in any other time of year.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Table top

Two more recent still lives. Objects on a table top. I paint things that are in front of me – I place things in front of me to paint. This table top is in easy reach to where my easel usually sits. Sometimes I select a object to paint because I wonder what it would look like painted, would I be able to capture the essence of the subject. When I paint I think about the relationship of objects, shapes, colors... How does the space around an object effect how we it.

10" x 8" oil on board

8" x 8" oil on board

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hydrangea the color of wine

Flowers have been a subject for my paintings for quite a while. I recall receiving a book on how to draw flowers back in 1970. That book focused my awareness of the unique beauty of nature. Trying to capture the essence of this complex and varied subject has been a long time pursuit.

both 10" x 8" oil on board

A floral arrangement bursting with hydrangea, rose of sharon, oregano and a whole lot more, is the focus of these two paintings.

Painting is often a very solo pursuit. The application of color and the expression is something that comes from within. I find that the environment (where I paint and who I paint with) can be a big influence the outcome of my work.

Painted among friends at a monthly "Paint Day" these paintings capture more for me than a representation of the flowers, the camaraderie of my fellow artists are also represented in these images. Our group lost a beloved member just days before this gathering. Jan Rapp will forever be missed.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Last week I had the joy of painting in the Yosemite. Only a few hour drive from my home I realize it is something I should do more often. Hoping to escape the heat of CA's Central Valley, I was surprised to find it 94 degrees on the valley's floor. Painting in a shady spot with a view of Halfdome with rafters and swimmers frolicking in the river in front of me I was able to capture these two images.

10" x 8" oil on board

8" x 8" oil on board

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer workshop

This summer I have been teaching a six week painting class. With one remaining class I thought it was time to show some of the work I did during the class. Focusing on painting from still lives during the weekly 3 hour class, gave us an opportunity to focus our attention on interpreting the subject in front of us.

While trying to communicate painting concepts and techniques I find it is easier for me to demonstrate with a brush in hand. While working around the room assisting my fellow artists, it is good to return to my own easel to work on capturing my own impressions of the subject. Having very little time for my own painting, I try to demonstrate how quickly the elements of a painting can come together to express a likeness of a subject.

Featuring plums from my tree, pairing colorful California pottery with the blue violet fruit allowed me to juxtapose intense colors with the subtle variations within the skin.

Week 2 the fruit includes apricots and a donut shaped peach. Actually this peach was the shape of a heart, just not the viewpoint I was painting from. The odd shape of these peaches are not a good choice for a subject, I only included it in the still life because from the right angle the heart shape could make an interesting statement. Although this new variety fruit is very tasty its shape is not easily recognizable and thus more difficult to express convincingly.

Week three, and not wanting the class to be thought of a fruit painting class the only fruit I brought to the still life are some blue glass grapes. I expanded the still life to include many combinations of subjects. I was the only one to work from these elements. Someone brought eggplant and green onions, and they were the unanimous favorite this time. I don't know why no one wanted to paint an agapanthus blossom.

.Fourth week I included the glass grapes again. This time on a tin tray with a metal sphere perched upon a silver candle stick. The red of the tin toy bring some warmth to a mostly cool subject. This time I was not alone in trying to render the glass grapes, they showed up in two other paintings that afternoon. The red car stood alone in another painting, and wine bottles were the main focus of the remaining studies done that day.

Week five while an old electric mixer dating back to the 1940's seamed to grab the interest of most of the people painting that day, I could not resist the simplicity of these tomatoes in a vaseline glass dish. The one odd hot pepper makes me think that heart shaped fruits and vegetables are more common then we think.

Painting organic objects like fruit or flowers are often more forgiving then trying to render an accurate image of a some thing man made. If the apple is lopsided it could be how Mother Nature made it, but if the bowl seams to be cockeyed or the teacup askew, the artist will more likely to be called to task.

Tomorrow is the last class in this workshop. I do not know what subjects I will bring to paint. I find I am willing to paint just about anything, or at least have fun trying. I try to convey the idea that just about anything can be the subject of a painting. It is important to decide what relationships you want to express. It can be shapes or colors, everything is a part of something larger. We decide what we want to show.

I enjoy painting with other artists, I'm grateful I had this opportunity to share my ideas and insights. While painting I am always thinking about the process of painting. This workshop allowed me to verbalize some of my thoughts and processes. It is nice when someone listens. I'm learning and I'm not alone.

Sorry it has been so long since I last posted anything • I will blame my computer, or what is left of it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


One of my favorite symbols of spring is the lilac. I have enjoyed these since childhood, with fond memories of the various colors of the blooms that grew in my parent's yard. I tried planting lilacs the same colors in my yard but with no luck. But an old bush does live in my yard. It is the traditional old fashion type with what I would call – lilac colored flowers.

These paintings both the same flowers and painted the same day but in a different location and with totally different lighting. The top image painted during the class I teach, where a large room where florescent and natural light came from every direction. The bottom image painted at night with more directed light in a dark room. I like the paintings done at class, I set up my models on a aluminum table top which reflects the abundant light of the room.
both 10" x 8" oil on board

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

star magnolia

I've noticed that I have been painting in pairs. Typically I chalk this up to inner programing that tells me: "if it's worth painting once why not paint it again" I fool myself thinking that it will be easier the second time. I always think I could have handled something differently. So many options, how to handle something, you don't know what it will look like till it's done. I just get to express my impressions at the time.

These blooming branches, barely more than twigs actually were painted during the class I have been teaching for Modesto Parks and Recreation. If the class is progressing smoothly I am able to set up something to paint. Between working the room assisting students I would demonstrate with my paintings. I try to impress the concept that it's possible to paint quickly.

these are both 10" x 8" oil on board

Monday, March 8, 2010

painted in the dark

Painting at night in a place where I did not have control of the lighting. I did not see the results of my efforts till the next morning. The colors within this painting are not colors that would be found in the interior where I painted. In a dark room it is difficult to see colors. I was able to perceive contrast but the low light neutralized the yellow.

both 8" x 8" oil on board
A glass bottomed tray with a glass carafe, martini glass and colored floats. Again painted at night, the reflections and highlights are the major focus of this painting.


These small spheres of hollow glass show up best against a light background. Capturing the transparent look of glass is a challenge I enjoy taking on. A simple subject, playful and colorful.

both 8" x 8" oil on board

Placing the floats in a martini glass gave an uplifting to the familiar subject.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

ripped apart

A tangerine plate with a tangerine torn apart upon it. A study in orange, or maybe that should be oranges. I opened the fruit to increase the colors and textures of the subjects. It also expands the challenges within the composition. It also makes the room smell nice and citrusy.

both 8" x 8" oil on board
The orange and grapefruit was painted while teaching the Thursday afternoon oil painting class. I manager to steal enough time to paint while dispensing guidance and enlightenment. I try to instill that it is possible to paint quickly. For me it all changed the day I realized I don't need to spend six months on a painting. That day was 17 years ago, yesterday. I did a painting in the morning and decided to do another in the afternoon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

pair of pears

both 8"x 8" oil on board
Painted some pears the other day. Same pears, different time of day. The top pair had the cool light of a foggy day reflecting on the table top and back lighting the fruit. The second painted after the sun set, show the rosy side of the pears with a spotlight aimed upon them. The contrast between the two images reiterate the truth "timing is everything".

Sunday, January 17, 2010

sunny day paintings

10" x 8" oil on board
We had a sunny day last week. Seems like it was the only this year. It was energizing and I ended up spending the day indoors painting. I did gather up some hose hips and privet berries from my yard for a still life. This winter bounty from my yard, inspired me with the blues and orange.
20" x 16" oil on canvas
It still looks a lot like Christmas around here. Probably the final Christmas painting of the season. I managed to get all three trees in this painting. I've done details of each already, glad to capture them together in there environment. The complexity of the trees is a challenge that I could go on painting, but by this time of year it seems an odd thing to do. The subject of the top painting is visible in this painting also. I did not have the lights on the tree in this painting, feels odd to light them the last few weeks. I have a few other paintings this size of interiors that I like this with. If I ever want to exhibit them together I need to be aware of the time of year. Christmas trees are much better in the latter pare of the year.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

by the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful...

after what seams like weeks of fog and gloom the sun is out today

9.75" x 3.75 oil on board
This location is one I have painted many times. This painting from a photo I borrowed brought back so many memories of this vista, I felt I was there again. I took painting workshops in Carpintera over 15 years ago. I haven't been back since, but with a paintbrush in hand the terrain was very familiar.
18" x 36" oil; on canvas
This studio painting of the Santa Cruz lighthouse is also from photo reference. Not a vista I have painted before, it was more of a struggle to capture the feel of the place. I created more of a feeling of winter in this painting, taking more of a clue from the weather around me as I painting than the atmosphere of the day I took the photos.