Friday, February 21, 2014


Living in the Northeast it's a given that the last few weeks have been all about the wild winter weather that's been happening almost daily...

As of today it's turned mostly to rain but next week already has snowflakes patterned across the forecast. Luckily,  I've been caught up in painting still life, and not even considered going out to catch the cold on canvas. 

8x10 Oil on linen;2014
$275, Framed

Monday, February 10, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Eggs 8 x 10 Still Life Oil Painting, Framed

8x10 Oil on Linen; 2014
$275, Framed
Click here for purchase information

These small paintings have given me a great opportunity to experiment with paint application, particularly thick paint application. It takes a great deal of reserve on my part not to go back and destroy those areas but setting a timer helps. I've gotten good with 2.5 hours as a max. After that I put them away and wait till the next day. Usually, once there is some separation,  it's easier to decide if it was to much, or to little. Going to fill another week or so with these studies....more to come.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blue Water and Oranges

"Blue Water and Oranges"
8x10 Oil on Linen;2014
$275, Framed

Friday, January 17, 2014

End of 2013, Welcome 2014

Time to face the silence. It's been over six months since I last posted anything here on my blog. Towards the end of the summer I got caught up with planning a trip took in October to Italy, my first international voyage. I spent a week in Florence, and flew in and out of the airport in Rome, staying there the last night. 

On top the Duomo of the Florence Cathedral, quite a feat in itself as I am terrified of heights.
Because it was late October most of the week had been cloudy to rainy, but this day that I chose to visit the touristy sites was sunny and clear. Prior to this I had stood in line for two hours at the Academia di Belle Arti to see the statue of David by Michelangelo. Photographs were not allowed inside the building, but it was still worth the experience. For some reason I was expecting a mere life sized version, but in reality it is 17 ft high and unlike anything I've ever seen before. After wandering around a little it was the Duomo next. I'd heard horror stories of people standing in line for hour upon hour to get to the top of this site, and in all honesty if that had been the case I probably wouldn't have made it to the top. Inside a stone stairwell that winds up and up and endlessly up and grows smaller and smaller and terrifyingly smaller, I can't imagine being barricaded in by swarms of tourist. After running up the circling stairwell with the tomb-like walls for about 10 mins I encountered my first reminder of fear:
I chose instead to ignore all the devastating possibilities that these heights provide and instead focus on something better:

From the top:

Looking up into the Dome from the floor of the Cathedral:

Overlooking the city of Firenze from Piazzale Michelangelo :

Also got to visit Zecchi and pick up a few nice palette knives and hand-made paints:

The one and only "tour" I did, horseback riding through the mountains of Tuscany:

When in Rome....Saint Peters Square:

So that was in October, and now here we are in January and posts! Well, I haven't been completely lazy. Shortly after returning the holiday season picked up and between commissions and sales from my online gallery ( I barely had time to wrap my presents and get them under a tree, any tree!
After a spontaneous studio move now I'm settled and  have been working on some new smaller pieces to get myself going again and will be posting more frequently. (That's the plan anyways.)
Here's a few pieces to make up for my lack of updating. These smaller pieces are available through my Etsy shop here
Oil on linen, 8x10

"Blue Sake"
Oil on linen, 8x10

"Water and Oranges"
Oil on linen, 8x10

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Blue and Yellow and Lemon and Jar

"Blue and Yellow"
8x10 Oil on linen

Over a particularly long period of rain a few weeks ago I was stuck inside and decided to do some still life paintings. All I had available at the time was a bag of lemons which ended up producing three paintings featuring them. Two are seen here the third has yet to be photographed.

"Lemon and jar"
10x8 Oil on linen

Looking forward to getting back outside this week...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

State Parks and Paint

It seems like every time I go out to paint I end up in one of the many State Parks that are within a 40 mile radius of me. All have their own unique qualities and atmospheres. From waterfalls to rock fields, it's been interested exploring these areas. Mostly I've just done small oil sketches that are more for learning then completing anything fully. I'm not sure if it's an excuse but one thing I find difficult about painting in Pennsylvania is the overwhelming about of green there is. 
Hay Fields, Rickett's Glen State Park

For convenience I primarily work in a limited palette of just 3 colors and white. It makes for a long day of mixing to come up with all those greens in there! Even the sky begins to look green after staring into the ground planes for to long. 
D&L Trailway, White Haven Pa

That said, I have found a few places where I was able to break up the mass of green with some variety. 

"Abraham's Creek"
8x10 Oil on linen panel

The above painting is from France's Slocum State Park. I found some nice quiet back trails around the park and was able to setup and paint uninterrupted for most of the morning. 

"Morning Elevation"
5x7 Oil on linen panel

This morning I had planned on being able to spend most of the day in the park (Rickett's Glen) but changing weather pushed me out. The last place you want to be in a thunderstorm is in open fields on top of a mountain at 3,400 feet. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Weekend update; Plein Air Studies

Over the weekend I spent some time at Ricketts Glen State park, camping and painting. Although the forecast had originally called for Thunderstorms it ended up being great weather and even held out on Sunday until way after I was back home to begin raining. 

Friday morning before I even set up camp I decided to paint. Unfortunately I spent so much time wandering around looking for a good spot of a scenic view I wasn't able to completely finish the 11x14 I started. I've brought it back to the studio to see if I can finish it with the same impression from my sketch, photos, and the information I already had down.

This is my afternoon setup from Saturday. It's a few steps from the campsite looking into the woods. It got so dark towards the end I could barely see but I did manage to finish it. Also i in the morning I setup near the Lake on the top of the mountain but didn't remember to take photos in progress. Here is my morning painting:

"Lake View"
6x8 Oil on Arches 

and the other one:

6x8 Oil on Arches

Looking forward to getting back other there again!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Packing for a Painting Trip

 I'm heading out on a camping/painting trip and since I was packing my gear up I figured I'd snap some photos to show. Now I don't do a lot of plein air (mostly because I am horrible at making decisions about what to paint and most of my trips outdoors have been well planned excuses to walk in circles lugging my easel and bag until the sun is about to go down and I am forced to pick something). However I've never had a bad enough experience to keep me away and I always learn or am reminded of a ton. Nature is the best place to learn, so if I'm already going to put myself in the middle of it I may as well be productive and paint something.

   This is the typical amount of stuff I take with me. I do take a full French easel and also a pochade box for smaller paintings. Usually I use the box around the campsite and just set it on my lap. Most of my stuff fits into the travel bag which is an old photo bag with various pockets that has plenty of space for my immediately needed items. I do take two sketchbooks as well. The larger one I use to actually sketch in when I'm tired of painting, while the other small blue one I use for doing thumbnail sketches in to build a composition for painting.That red lidded Tupperware container (clearly labeled "Do Not Eat" in case of stupidity after to many bonfire drinks) holds the leftover paint piles from the day. Not so much the clean colors but the mixed up muddy grays or "graveyard piles" as I call them. 
   Since I know I will be painting in easy to walk to areas most of this stuff, such as the tubes of paint(I just load up the palette that's kept inside the easel or pochade box) extra supports, and trash bags I will leave either at the campsite or in the car and get between paintings or as needed. 
   One of the things you don't see (which I didn't forget) is my brushes. I was in the process of washing them so they were left out of the picture but I take about 4-5 various sized brushes with me and keep them in the easel under the palette.
One thing I've learned to do is carry those small plastic bags you get at the supermarket to put fruit and veggies in. They are great for holding your used brushes for the weekend and I just wrap them up to keep them from drying. This is also great in the studio since brush washing is not on my agenda. It rarely happens to be honest.  I've gone about 5 days with my brushes in the bag like this and never had an issue. A little swish through the turps and they are good to go. I do sometimes put a rubber band around them if its excessively hot out. 

This is everything packed away and as you can see all I will need to carry is whichever setup I'm using and the camera bag. My water and turps can hang on the bag with metal key chain clips. I also have a small folded stool and attachable umbrella that usually stays in my trunk unless I am lazy enough to sit or will be in extreme sun.

This is my paint bag (overnight bag from Ikea $5-$7 I think??) lined with one of the plastic grocery bags in case the paint leaks. (It's always the cadmium red that leaks..) Palette knives right in front, although they really get thrown into the easel before I go out. The bag usually stays.

This is the smaller paint box I use. It's a gorilla painters cigar box that I've had for a number of years. I generally use it for small paintings as the largest fitting for it is 8x10 but because of the way it holds panels you can't paint all the way around the support. To remedy this I just tape smaller supports to an 8x10 panel. The front are museum boards and the back is the Arches Oil paper. I have several taped on there so when I finish one I just take it down and start on the next behind it. Eventually I will invest in something like the Open Box M or Easy L models, but for now this works just fine for me.

Hopefully I complete something and/or something good enough to post! Follow me on Facebook as I'm sure I will be posting throughout the weekend.
We shall see...

Friday, May 24, 2013

"Orange and Silver" and "Oranges and Pitcher"

"Orange and Silver"
5x7 Oil on Panel

"Oranges and Pitcher"
8x10 Oil on linen panel

These are two paintings I did recently in the same sitting, first the small one and then the larger one. I was trying to work in very thick paint building it up with a palette knife and then laying brush strokes overtop. Although I like how both paintings turned out even on an overcast day it was impossible for me to photograph them without some glare. I'm sure there are filters and tricks for this (or better cameras)....

Friday, May 17, 2013

Teacup 20x24

20x24 Oil on linen

During a few cold rainy days I setup a larger still life to work on. I kinda just took all the leftover fruit and veggies in the studio and threw them in together. Some were nearing the end of there useable cycle....
Luckily the new craze now is "juicing" and smooth making, with recipes flying all over the internet. Now I'm not the only weird one at the grocery store buying two of every fruit and vegetable available. Although I enjoy throwing them together in the blender its more effectively given me an ongoing inventory for painting props. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Plein Air 5-9-2013

8x10 Oil on linen

Finally made it out for some plein air painting last week. It started out very cloudy and gray in the morning which made it perfect weather for painting in a cemetery. Halfway through this the clouds starting splitting open with beams of light but I stuck to the original plan and finished it quickly before I started adding in the brighter colors. In all actuality the greens are much greener during cloud cover as the direct sunlight tends to wash them out. 

"Farm Field"
8x10 Oil on linen

One thing I was unaware of until this year was what it's like to have allergies. Standing in an open field with the sun blasting you in the eyes while all the pollen and such floats around is apparently not good for this. Next time I go out I will be sure to have some Allegra on hand. I finished just about the time my head started pounding though and felt pretty satisfied with it. 
We are back on a frost advisory so it may be a few days before I get out again. (I am partial to the warmer weather if I'm going to be out standing in it)

Monday, May 6, 2013

By the Creek

"By the Creek"
11x14 Oil on linen

I painted this on a rainy day when I couldn't get outside and had just cleaned up the studio (aka thrown out all the produce I use in still life painting) I took alot of photos last summer with my nephew out for walks by the creek and through the woods that made for great references. 

Friday, May 3, 2013


Oil on linen 
(mounted on cradled hardboard)


After painting so many small to mid sized paintings it nice to have a large surface to work on. It makes the previous seem like lessons and this is the test. It's always a bit daunting at the start but after 3 days of work I was happy with my efforts.