Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ski Season

We took advantage of the holiday weekend to open up our Vermont ski lodging and to get out on the white stuff. Very fine snow at Okemo on Monday (29 November.) Pretty much just one path up and one path down, but several lifts open and a nominal 13 trails, mostly on the upper half, but the snow on the bottom wasn't bad either. So few people skiing and boarding that we almost felt like we had our own private ski resort.

I'm working on a half-sheet farm-scape for a holiday card. Already have the verse written. That part is more intuitive for me than the painting. Working my way through the painting, but today transferred my drawing to 300 lb Arches and started another color study. I'll work up both versions, but the heavier paper will hold up better to my quite wet approach. We're not very good at getting our cards out before Christmas anyway, so I'm not yet too concerned about my timing.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


In April of this year, I learned from a newspaper article (Old Saybrook artist is "Portrait of a Survivor"), that a friend and award-winning portrait artist with whom I had lost touch had had a nearly fatal collision with a drunk driver in January of last year. After multiple surgeries, months in hospital, and numerous ancillary disasters, she has regained substantial physical function. She is not able to drive or return to work in the corporate arena, but she is able to paint again.

With her limited mobility and physical stamina, she has started creating small moderately priced works -- "Healing Waters" -- a series of oil wash and pastel seascapes, which she is selling through local galleries and her website. She also has developed a line of simple but elegant watercolor greeting cards, each an original painting, not a copy. To see her work, please follow the link to her new website: These pieces make wonderful gifts.

Aside from the ongoing physical pain and emotional stress associated with this event, the transition from a good job to disability insurance makes maintaining a home and starting a new business particularly daunting. If you like her work, please consider making a purchase now, and pass on the website link to your friends. Even small sales help to cover the costs of living, and one added to another can make a big difference.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


When I was in our loft today, looking for something, I sat for a moment, looking at an old oil painting that I started some time back in the early 1970's. It was meant to cover up another failed painting and recycle that canvas. At the time, I threw down a wash of bright yellow and worked a meandering pattern of organic shapes in primary red and blue. I'm not sure why I stopped, as I can remember feeling very "in the moment" and focused while I worked. But with about 2/3 of the canvas covered, I set it aside and never touched it again. It lived in the attic, in boxes, in closets, and then, more recently, in our loft. I stood it up where I could see it now and then, as I still like it, insofar as it goes. I have toyed with finishing it.

This year I have made many similar starts in watercolor. Some are worth working on some more to bring them to completion. Now and then I haul out a small pile of paintings and focus on finishing them. But finishing is when you discover whether you are skilled or lucky. That is when you discover whether a painting will be art or a learning experience. Either result should be worth the effort. But I always have to ratchet up my courage and draw deep. I almost never finish a painting in one sitting. I need to live with it for a while to imagine what finishing touches will turn it into art.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

At our little local Labor Day Weekend show, I sold Island Winter (framed watercolor on paper, 8.5x11") and the companion poem; also three matted watercolor sketches and a matted pigment print photo.

Island Winter

A Winter's Walk

Our footfalls fret against the unplowed way
As under a lifting sky we go to walk.
The fragrance of our wood fire lures us back –
In from the wanton freshness of the day.

Our snow-bound bay rests easy on the eyes.
The muted crystal-clicks of salty ice
Breathe not a whisper here of freedom’s price –
But raise the siren song of freedom’s prize.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Back into Art Mode after a summer cruise with more adventure than we would have liked. We high-tailed it out of Gloucester, motor-sailing back to Branford, CT, in 2-1/2 days. "Earl" ended up passing us by here in Connecticut, but it's nice to be home.

My first agenda was to pick up my paintings from the Davis Gallery and prepare for our local community art show tomorrow. I will be showing just five framed works, plus some matted works in my "sale" bin. But my energy is building to complete paintings begun before we left, and some new ideas are evolving. I'm thinking I want to explore working in earth tones for a while. Maybe I'll pursue that in this week's plain air outing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Portland, ME. ..... So far, this cruise has been more about those firedrills than fun. Not enough time devoted to the boat over the past two years, and a few intractable problems have kept us scrambling to keep things running. But those issues are nearly resolved, and we have finally reached Maine, our destination. And it's always good to be living aboard, and there has been some time for art. I have been trying to do some exercises in abstract painting to loosen up and become less literal. Nothing I want to share, though.

That's it for now. Hopefully the next few weeks will bring more quiet opportunities.


Friday, July 16, 2010

The final blitz is on. We really are going to probably leave the dock tomorrow, ready or not. A friend will sail with us -- whose name is actually Friend. Next land stop will be Wakefield, RI, where we will pick up Bob's brother, Rich, we think. I think Art goes on hold until our second stop, Boston, where we hope Bob's son, Mark, will join us for the next leg. Friend and Rich will leave us there. By then, we will have our sea legs and will be settling into the routine of the boat.

The boat is a Valiant 40 -- a good sea-worthy vessel, equipped for blue water sailing. But this year, we are coastal cruising -- largely because I like to sleep at night -- in a secure, at least relatively quiet harbor. I am not fond of the all hands on deck routines, that although not that common, are what one remembers of offshore sailing. The long lazy downwind days of idyllic passages are lovely, but for me they are spoiled by those midnight firedrills. None of that this year, please.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Counting down, scrambling, probably not going to make our planned departure date, but I painted -- plein air on Tuesday morning -- studio on Wednesday morning. I might be able to use the plein air start and finish in the studio. It's not bad. The studio painting is coming along but not close enough to finish before we leave. It will have to wait for fall. I'm taking two big totes, in addition to my camera bag.

Not sure where all this stuff will stow on board, but stuff always seems to get put away somewhere. (Maybe this is a bit more than usual... I plan to draw and paint the summer away -- in addition to reading the half dozen or more books I've tucked in.

Reminder to myself -- colors for "On the Road" painting -- n.gamboge, thio violet, prussian, cobalt, ultra. blue (center jacket) with aliz., left jacket aliz. top & brown madder below. Fields have n. gamboge, br. madder, cobalt, prussian. Biker shirt n.gam., br. madder, w cobalt glaze.

I hate to leave a work in progress before it is close to finished. Let's see if I can upload the current status.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Working on a new painting in between preparations to head off Down East for a 6-week cruise of Maine waters. I really want to finish this painting before we leave, as I've been planning it now for too long already. But yesterday was dedicated to prep-ing and varnishing brightwork on the boat; today is for clearing my desk and tomorrow is dedicated to a volunteer task for a three-week urban summer camp. With just a week to go before we sail away, and one morning dedicated to plein air painting, I'm afraid there will not be enough time for the new studio painting.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I paint mostly in the studio from my own photographs. With thousands of images stored on my computer, finding a suitable subject to paint is as simple as browsing. But my photographs also enable me to relive our travels daily, through screensavers.

Waiting is on exhibit at the Davis Gallery in Orange, CT, through mid July, 2010.