Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fantastical Landscapes

These two paintings, I am happy to announce, will be included in the exhibition "Fantastical Landscapes and Imaginary Places" at The Bryan Gallery in Jeffersonville, VT. from November 9 to December 23.  They depict different aspects of the wooden path that winds its way around and through the darker and heavily rooted side of Jordon Pond at Acadia National Park in Maine.  Both paintings are 18x24, oil on canvas.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Someone once asked me years ago if I painted anything else besides trees, and I was asked the other day if I'm not yet tired of painting boats.  You might as well ask me if I'm tired of using paint.   This Gloucester harbor view is a 12x16 oil on panel.  However, I do think I'll be painting something else soon.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Yester House Foyer Exhibition

In July I spent four days painting inside and outside at Yester House at the Southern Vermont Arts Center as the "artist in residence."  This past month the SVAC has been exhibiting the resulting eight paintings in the foyer of Yester House for which I am grateful.  They will be up through this Sunday.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Not Flying Schooners

Another 12x16 oil on panel painting that I did at the end of Pirates Lane in Gloucester, MA.  These two boats are not flying schooners, though I read in The Gloucester Guide that the term "schooner" may have originated at the end of Pirates Lane.  During the week I noticed that sometimes these two boats were gone, but they would eventually always end up in the same spot.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Decrepit Beauty

This the fourth time I've painted this old structure at the Gloucester Marine Railways shipyard, this time at low tide so you can see its age and decrepit beauty.  In some places at the harbor's edge one can only see the ends of posts jutting out of the water to indicate what might have existed at one time over the water.  This painting is a 9x12 oil on linen, which I will eventually mount to a foam core panel.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Old Boats Now and Then

When I was a kid, I found a stash of old lumber under the front porch of our house.  I hauled it all out, removed and saved the nails, and from then on, every summer I built a small "cabin" in the backyard for us to play in.  Every year the cabin became grander.  One summer I built a boat.  It was anchored to the ground, and would never have floated, but it had port holes, and you needed a ladder to get up on deck and into the hold, and it had a mast with a crow's nest.  Maybe that long ago boat explains my infatuation with boats and Gloucester.  These two boats were recently tied up at the Gloucester Marine Railways shipyard at Rocky Neck.  The painting is a 9x12 oil on linen.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Not A Portrait of a Boat

This is not a portrait of a boat, but a view from a pier in Gloucester harbor.  The painting is a 12x16 oil on panel.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Guilty and Gruppe

The Gloucester painter Emile Gruppe once complained that students "... tend to make their ships too big.  Instead of a composition, they end up with a portrait of a boat."   I'm guilty here of trying to do both (no pun intended).  This is a 12x16 oil on panel.

Here a few more words from Emile Gruppe:

“… every student paints a masterpiece sometime during his years of study; only in most cases he doesn’t know it.  There is no one around to tell him—and he keeps working till he spoils it!”

“…the single most important fact to remember when painting outdoors: in order to get a feeling of sunlight in your pictures, you have to paint in terms of warm and cool.”

“Remember when you’re outdoors, you have to be open to the character of the site.  I’m reminded of a friend of mine, a friend who painted marvelously sensitive tree studies—and who was so poor that he would scrape off masterpieces so he could reuse the canvas! I went to his studio one day and saw a large picture of some beech trees, with the light filtering down them.  The subtlety of the piece took my breath away.  I remember standing there in silence for a minute.  Then I thought to myself, “This is God!”  That’s all I said.  And that’s all I needed to say.”

“The more you paint outdoors, the more you’ll notice that you can pass a site a hundred times without its affecting you.  Then, on the hundred and first time—with the right light and atmospheric conditions—the spot comes to life.  It suddenly has to be painted!”

“Simplify the scene in front of you by squinting at it.”

“I find the more paint I have on, the better the painting.  I tell students to paint like a millionaire.”

“Painting is supposed to be fun, after all.  When it gets to be work, it shows in the picture.”

“At best you have about three hours in the early morning and three hours in the late afternoon when the light is fairly consistent.  So three hours is the maximum amount of time you can spend on your painting.  You can’t do much detail in that time.  And, besides, most people can’t draw well enough to do detail anyway.  So why bother?  There’s nothing worse than a picture full of flyspecks!”

“It takes years—maybe even a lifetime—to learn to see in a simple way.  You have to be as old as the hills, sometimes, before you really understand what art is all about.”

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rainy Day Composition

A quick oil sketch from a couple weeks ago of the Beacon Marine Basin building in Gloucester.  It was cloudy when I started and raining when I decided to wrap things up and get away.  I tried to arrange all the presented parts into a viable composition on my 12x16 panel.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Rocky Neck

A view of Rocky Neck near the foundry at the tip of the little peninsula at Gloucester harbor: a 12x16 oil on panel.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Perky Boat

Here's a perky, little boat in Gloucester harbor that I couldn't help but notice, with its slanted windows like a cap tilted over its brow.  And the reflections in the water were so lively and colorful.   Another 12x16 oil on panel.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Capt. Joe

A 12x16 oil on panel of a large fishing boat tied up to a pier in Gloucester.  The boat is the Capt. Joe.  This view from the wharf is like looking down onto a stage from up in the rafters.  There are lights, cables, balconies.  Even a gas grill.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Gloucester View

This Gloucester  view appealed to me because the two boats are pointed in opposite directions and the adjoining building on piers is showing its venerable status.  It's a 12x16 oil on panel.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Slowly Rising

When I was working on this painting, I sensed that something was changing.  Finally it dawned on me that the boat, which appeared to remain perfectly still, was ever so slowly rising, as the dock behind it started to disappear.   This is a 12x16 oil on panel.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Beacon Marine Basin

This is a different view of the crowded boats next to the Beacon Marine Basin in Gloucester on a sunny day.  It's a 12x16 oil on panel.

When I was painting near the North Shore Arts Association last week, several people visited me during the week to see what I was doing.  When I was working on this painting, I could see another painter below to my right working on a large canvas.  Later he came by to see what I was up to, and I recognized him from an earlier visit.  What I didn't realize then is that I didn't really recognize him until I started looking at Gloucester paintings on the Internet.  He was the painter Jeff Weaver, probably the best painter working in Gloucester today, who has done some magnificent paintings of the Beacon Marine Basin.