Saturday, December 26, 2009

Copal Fraud

The one paint supply that I absolutely could not bring on the plane was my copal medium. Copal is essential to my paintings--it gives me the ability to control the paint the way I want; it gives the paint a smooth, rich flow and a beautiful translucent quality, and it has a drying time that is just right for the speed I work at.

When I got to LA, we went to the Graphaids art supply store, which did not have my usual brand of copal. Instead I purchased a bottle of Weber Archival Copal Painting Medium, thinking it would be essentially the same thing. Wrong! I wish I had thought to read a review of it before purchasing it, but I foolishly trusted the big letters on the front of the label.

Weber's "copal" is horrible. My first clue that there might be a problem was the smell. It smelled suspiciously like turpentine, so I checked the fine print. Sure enough, the list of ingredients includes turpentine. I never use turpentine. I have difficulty tolerating the smell and I find it to be absolutely useless as a medium. However, since I had already purchased the Weber "copal" and because the label claimed that the product has all the good qualities of real copal and none of the bad, I figured I might as well try using it.

As far as I can tell, there is no difference between plain turpentine and Weber's Archival Copal Painting Medium. It made the paint watery and thin, the flow was terrible, I felt like I was almost pushing the paint across the canvas, the paint was drying up on my palette within minutes, and it seemed like I had to use three times as much paint as I would with my regular copal medium. After maybe half an hour, I gave up and went back to the house, declaring that we needed to go to a different art supply store.

This time we were more cautious. I double-checked what I normally used, then we called around to area art supply stores to find one that had it in stock. Walser's art supply had several bottles in stock, so we made a quick trip there, navigating around the holiday mall traffic. I had a nice (short) chat with the man working there about how the Weber "copal" is crap. He suggested I try Da Vinci copal, but I wasn't willing to experiment any further with my mediums right now. Maybe I'll try it when I'm back home. What I did purchase was my reliable Grumbacher's Copal Painting Medium.

This is good stuff. Maybe the Da Vinci will prove superior, but I've always been delighted with Grumbacher's copal. The smell is much nicer than turpentine, the flow is beautiful, it reduces the amount of paint I need to use, and the final colors are gorgeous.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Travel Time

I'm away in sunny Los Angeles for Christmas, visiting my relatives out here and wondering why I ever left. While I'm here, I'll be painting a group portrait of my uncle and his family. There are some supplies which I knew I wouldn't be able to bring with me--the canvas is a little bulky and delicate for air travel, and the copal oil is flammable, so there's no way that would ever get past the TSA. The oil paints and brushes are okay for travel and are too expensive to buy for just one painting, so I was determined to bring them with me.

I started by doing some research. I probably shouldn't have, because it left me paranoid about getting my paints onto the plane. I read countless horror stories about paints being confiscated by security officials who apparently considered them to be on the no-fly list. One artist recommended checking the paints, another wrote about checked paints being confiscated from checked baggage. All of them recommended printing out information sheets from the paint manufacturers to show to the TSA officials in order to persuade them to not confiscate my paints.

I debated what to do for a couple days, reading and re-reading the official TSA information, before finally deciding to bring the paints in my carry-on bag. Each tube is smaller than the allotted 3 ounces and, luckily, they all fit in a one quart bag (just barely!). I wasn't sure if my bundled brushes would get past security or be considered a potential weapon, so I put those in my checked bag.

When I got to the security checkpoint, the manufacturer's sheet turned out to be completely unnecessary. The TSA at Bradley airport have some sort of very quick (a few seconds) test they run to verify that the paints are paints (or whatever it is they were testing for) and that's it. I was good to go (except for the part where I didn't realize there was metal in my new knee brace--but that's a different story).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Warming Up

I've been too busy to paint since the end of July, but thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday, I finally found some time this weekend. For a variety of reasons, I decided to try something in watercolors. I haven't used watercolors in over a decade--my first step was rummaging through my art supplies to see how many paint tubes were still good and whether or not I had the right type of brushes.

I used to paint primarily in watercolors, way back when. I switched to oil paints partly because someone suggested that my watercolor technique might translate very well in oils.

Oddly, when I sat down to paint yesterday, I couldn't remember how to paint in watercolors. I could remember doing paintings way back when, but I couldn't remember how. I checked a couple of resources and was reminded that it is good to start with a wash of color. With that starting point, I dived in. The resultant painting is not my best work, nor is it even close to being my best work. It's my warm-up piece. Throughout the course of creating the painting, I remembered so many things about how to use watercolors. It was, to use an old cliche, just like riding a bike.

I chose a tree-filled view of the Green and St. John's church, leaving out a lot of the details. I figured trees would be more forgiving of errors. Today I'm going to try a still life. I'm not too confident that it will go well, but at the very least I'm sure I'll learn from it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Art Scam

I just stumbled across slightly old news stories from March concerning Lawrence Salander and his Madoff-like scheme to bilk millions of dollars from art collectors and investors. His basic operation was similar to that depicted in The Producers: selling percentage shares of artwork to trusting investors, but selling more than 100% worth of shares per artwork (so, for example, there could be five people who paid for a 50% share in a single artwork). His scheme was exposed by John McEnroe, the tennis player and now art collector. Since McEnroe was suing him because a painting he had purchased from Salander had outstanding liens against it, I'm guessing Salander had more than one type of scam going.

What brought my attention to the story was Arshile Gorky. After reading a NY Times review of a Gorky exhibit, I was reminded of one of my all-time favorite paintings, Gorky's Pirate I.

Pirate was on view at the Mattatuck Museum for many years, a long-term loan from Jean Levy before it was sold at auction by the Levy estate. It's a fantastic painting, perfectly capturing the mess and smell and noise of Pirate, a dog, raiding a garbage can. I loved being able to spend time with it at the Mattatuck and I still miss it.

When I read the NY Times article about the exhibit, I naturally was reminded of Pirate I and did a quick internet search to see if I could find out where it is today. Imagine my dismay to learn that it had been confiscated by "the authorities" as part of the criminal investigation against Salander. Poor Pirate! Do "the authorities" have the proper storage facilities for the painting (it's said to be in the custody of a bankruptcy court in Poughkeepsie), or is it languishing in a standard police storage room next to a wide variety of evidence? I suppose it will be stuck in the evidence storage room until the case is over and the true ownership is established, which could take years.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Horse Fountain on the Green

I think it took me longer to get this blog post up than it did to finish the painting, but here it is (at long last)!

I finished on my last Friday at Goldsmith's, back on the last day of July. Since then, I've been too busy with work (the commute to NYC chews up a LOT of time) and campaigning to upload the photo and write the blog post.

It was an interesting experience, painting in public and with a set schedule. I didn't have as much time to fuss over the details. I'm not sure how I feel about that. With the painting of the clock on the Green, I fussed too much with the detail. This time I think I didn't fuss enough. Which is probably a good thing in terms of my development as an artist.

Next up: a small painting of Immaculate Conception (assuming I ever have free time again!).

Thursday, July 30, 2009

One Friday Left!

Much to my surprise, I think I will be able to finish tomorrow, which is my last Friday at Goldsmith's this summer. I'm going to start early, maybe 10 a.m., to make sure that it's done by the end of the day.

If the day goes really well, I might even come close to selling out--I have a verbal agreement from a buyer to purchase three paintings, including this one, and strong interest in two other paintings from two other potential buyers.

Here's hoping!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Two Fridays Left!

I probably won't be able to paint at Goldsmith's on Fridays in August (have to earn my paycheck so I can pay bills, buy groceries, and keep the cats supplied with food so they don't do cruel and terrible things to me). That means there are only two Fridays left to watch me paint the horse on the Green (for a good story about that, read the Lady Godiva post on my other blog).

I forgot to take a photo last Friday, so I have nothing to show you here, but I am getting close to finishing. At least, it looks that way. The reality is that, while there will be paint on all canvas surfaces by the end of the month, there could very well be a month's worth of "fussing" to do.

Meanwhile... I've enjoyed painting small canvases, so yesterday I bought several more. I'm going to try working on those in my spare time. First, however, I really need to paint my front porch!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More Art!

There's a slow but steady trend towards more and more art venues in downtown Waterbury, which is absolutely fantastic. Be sure to check out the Freight Street Gallery--finally, someone has converted one of our many factory spaces to gallery space!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Well, Crap!

I was really hoping to be able to work on my painting at Goldsmith's tomorrow, but I have to go to Jury Duty instead. There's always the off-chance that I'll be dismissed early in the day, in which case I'll go paint, but I'm prepared to spend the day at the courthouse instead. I've printed out all my notes and draft for my next article in The Observer to work on, and I've got a novel (Tears of the Giraffe) to finish, so I guess it won't be all bad.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Today's Work

This probably represents just under three hours of paint time and fifteen to twenty minutes of pondering time. Keeping the canvas in progress at Goldsmith's is a little challenging, since I don't get to spend as much time thinking about my next move, but I think I'm doing okay. ;)

Today I decided that it's time to get the main focus, the fountain, filled in. Once I finish fleshing it out, getting the right contrasts, colors and intensities, then I will know how to finish the trees, background and people. At the moment, there are only one or two small areas of the painting that I consider to be "finished". Most of it needs a LOT more work.

I'll be back at Goldsmith's next Friday, unless jury duty gets in the way. [I have jury duty next Friday, but maybe it will be canceled the day before, or maybe they'll let me go early, in which case I'll head over to Bank Street.]

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Technically Proficient, But Lacking a Soul

I've been working in NYC this week and last, and this past weekend I came down with a bad case of the common cold (how I hate thee, common cold!), the combination of which has left me without the time or energy to do any art. However, working in NYC means I get to walk past galleries on my way to/from work.

Last week while walking to work, I came to an abrupt stop in front of the Hammer Galleries. They had placed a large and very eye-catching painting in one of the windows. At first glance, it seemed like the artist was pursuing similar interests to my own--realism and urban genre. But after a moment of looking at it, I discovered an instinctive dislike for the painting. My basic thought was "it's crap!", but I couldn't figure out why I thought it was so terrible.

Here's the painting, Louvre, Pyramid by Robert Neffson:

There's a lot of important detail that you can't see in the small photo. I wish you could see the actual painting, as it would make it easier to understand why I think it's crap.

I spent most of the day puzzling over my reaction to the painting. The best explanation I could come up with was "it has no soul". Technically proficient, yes, but lacking in some fundamental quality to make it great art. This bothered me largely because of the similarities between Neffson's painting and what I am trying to achieve with my own art. What is that fundamental quality that elevates art to greatness?

The trend throughout much of the 20th century seems to have been the belief that "great art" does something new and different, but that's just gimmick marketing. Truly great art, that continues to inspire awe in the viewer for centuries afterwards, has a sublime, inspirational quality.

That still didn't answer my question about why I felt such a strongly negative response to the Neffson. Plenty of paintings aren't great masterpieces, but they're still good. I showed the painting to a friend, and he hit the nail on the head: Neffson's painting isn't art, it's what an architect or interior planner would create to show a client what their proposed design would look like, complete with museum visitors carefully arranged throughout the space in staged poses showing the many ways in which visitors will interact with the architectural space.

It's not art, it's engineering.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Set-Up

Last Friday I took a couple of shots with my iPhone of my set-up at Goldsmith's and the painting I'm working on there (normally I use my good camera, a Canon Rebel, but I didn't remember to bring it with me).

I won't be at Goldsmith's this week (working in NYC, hard to be in two places at the same time), but if they are open next week, I'll be back at the easel the day before the Fourth of July.

I've been enjoying painting in the window on Bank Street now that I've adjusted to being a window display. It's very social painting--lots of people stopping by to chat, ask about prices, etc. No final sales yet, but many potential buyers, including a few who want the same paintings.

I've also gotten to know another Waterbury artist, Zufar Bikbov, who stops by while I'm painting. His work is absolutely amazing, truly inspired and inspirational. I'm rethinking my painting technique after having visited his studio. It's great to have a chance to exchange ideas with someone tackling the same subject material.

It's also interesting and useful to be interacting with the public--up until now, I've painted largely in isolation at home, with only friends and family giving me feedback. Now I'm getting feedback from a much more diverse audience.

I still prefer painting at home, where I can be completely absorbed in what I'm doing, but spending one afternoon per week "on display" is definitely a good experience.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More merchandise!

I stayed up late last night adding images of more paintings to my online shop. Someday maybe it will become lucrative!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


It looks like everything is in place for me to spend most Friday afternoons this summer painting in the window at Goldsmith's, starting this week, noon to 5 p.m. Here's what I've got done so far on the horse fountain painting:

I'll do more on Friday, mostly with the trees.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bank Street, Goldsmith's, and the Clock on the Green

I had a great time at Goldsmith's last night. It's too bad the weather was so cold, I'm sure we would have had a larger crowd. There's a lot of talk about making it a regular event, possibly monthly, which would be great. Since that section of Bank Street is closed to traffic, we could probably turn it into an evening street fair. I think the Elegant Evening concept is something people in Waterbury are looking for.

The completed painting of the clock on the Green is now at Goldsmith's where it will be framed next week.

Nothing has been finalized yet (at the very least, I need permission from work), but it looks like I might be painting in the window at Goldsmith's on Friday afternoons this summer. I think that would be a lot of fun (and it only took an hour last night to get used to being a window display). I've started a second large canvas, of the horse fountain, which a lot of people took interest in last night. If I work on that canvas in the window every Friday, it would probably take me the summer to finish. People could come downtown every Friday for lunch, then stop by Goldsmith's to observe my progress. Or stop by to observe my progress before going to an early dinner.

Goldsmith's is also interested in giving me wall space for my paintings. I'm in NYC all next week, but after that I'll put some effort into filling up the wall space. I might have to swipe two paintings currently at the Waterbury Club, plus the clock painting, the tiny cross painting, and then maybe I can get a handful of little canvases done quickly. I think I will also order a few things from my store to sell to people who don't want to buy online.

Things are looking up!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Last night I was feeling motivated to try a small canvas. I dug up one of my photos of Holyland (well, a photo of the cross on the hill taken from the mall--and that's the old cross, not the more elegant, yet controversial, new one) and in four hours completed a 5 x 7 canvas.

I might still go back over the sky surrounding the cross. Things got a little muddled there, working wet on wet while trying to paint straight lines.

The next time I buy canvases, I really need to find a smooth weave. Every time I see the bumpy weave on my paintings, I wish I had a smooth surface to work on.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Back to the Fun Stuff

Now that the painting of the clock on the Green is essentially finished (photo to be posted later), I'm eager to start the next one: the horse fountain on the Green!

I think what I learned from the clock on the Green is to avoid getting bogged down in fussy details. There were so very many fussy details. The horse fountain painting should be relatively fussy-free. There are only two groups of people, plus one lone man. Also, I'm feeling much more confident in my ability to leave things out. It's been a long, slow process of learning to do that. The painting of East Main Street originally had many more cars, but a friend urged me to leave out 80% of them (so I left out 40%). For this painting, I already see loads of things to leave out, starting with the excess of flags on lamp posts.

I had planned on waiting to start this painting. I wanted to switch over to small canvases for a while. I still want to do that, but today I have a compelling urge to lay down some green paint. I love painting trees. I don't know why.

Assuming the Bank Street event doesn't get rained out on Thursday, I might do some small paintings there. Maybe watercolors, maybe oils. Maybe just drawings. Come to Goldsmith's on Thursday evening and find out!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bank Street Open House

Merchants on Bank and Grand Streets will be hosting an Open House on Thursday, May 28, 5-8 p.m. There will be a lot of great things to do and see. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. And, for those of you who follow my efforts to be an artist, you'll have the opportunity to see me do my thing--I'll be the "Live Artist Showcase" at Goldsmith's, and I'll have with me the newly-completed painting of the clock on the Green!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fussy little details

At least now we know what time it is!

The little details are so much more arduous than you might think. "Lamp posts," you might say, "why, those will take no time at all to paint!" If you were to say that, you would be very wrong. First there is the challenge of painting a long straight line (something I have never been good at). Then you have to get it the right thickness, while still keeping the edges straight. I've done all I can with them until the paint dries some. Next time I'll finish them off, which includes correcting the one that's gotten a little lopsided.

The top of the clock took a long time to finish. A small area of the canvas with a lot of complexity. I haven't decided if I'm going to include any of the pigeons that hang out there. I should include them, but that's more fussy detail. The numbers on the dial turned out alright, especially considering what terrible handwriting I have.

Writing with a brush is very different from writing with a pen or pencil. The gestures and motions needed to form the letters/numbers are entirely different, since a brush handles very differently. I'm still developing my painted signature. At first, I imagined that it would look pretty much the same as my normal signature, but that turned out to be impossible. Instead it looks more or less the same as when I was 11--blocky and awkward. I should probably spend a few hours practicing on scrap canvas.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Waaay back on March 19 (I believe it was a Thursday), I was looking forward to spending the weekend finishing the painting of the clock on the Green. Unfortunately for that plan, I had to unexpectedly leave the country for nearly two weeks, and that threw a lot of things off-schedule.

This weekend I finally got back to the painting, but managed only two sessions of about two hours each. It seems like there's always something getting in between me and my art--usually it's work, this time it was the holiday.

The new bits are subtle--benches, clothing, and the beginnings of lamp posts. In some ways it seems like there's hardly any painting left to do, just little details (like shoes and the clock face). In other ways, it seems like there's a million little fussy details that need attention and will take forever to complete.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


What to paint next? The clock painting is nearing completion, although I am dragging my heels about finishing it. I'm not sure why, but I just don't feel motivated to finish it. I suspect it has something to do with not having a lot planned for afterwards. The next that I intended to paint is another largish (20x30) canvas, which might be part of the problem, since the larger canvases take longer to work on.

After that, I don't really know what I'll paint. I have two other, smaller canvases prepped, but they don't excite me. I have some ideas for a new batch of canvases, but they're just vague ideas that will require some effort to formulate and prep, so again, not too much excitement or motivation there.

However... there is another painting, very small, roughly the size of an index card, that I started way back in 2005 or '06. It was the first canvas (if I'm remembering correctly) that I attempted after deciding to give painting a try again. I chose the small size for a couple of reasons. A year or two earlier, when I was working at the Mattatuck Museum, I had been given a similarly-sized canvas to do art on for the Festival of Trees fundraiser. It was the first time in about a decade that I had painted, and I really had fun with it. That was the event that inspired me to try painting again. It was also the first time I had worked on such a small canvas, and the scale really appealed to me. So, naturally, a small canvas was my first choice.

I bought a few brushes that I thought were small (oh how wrong I was!), selected a scene, and gave it a try. It was a disaster. Nothing worked right. I promptly decided to switch over to larger canvases, which were less challenging.

For the past year, I've had that first tiny canvas sitting on the bookshelf next to my desk. For the past two weeks, I've been looking at it more and more, wondering what to do with it. Today I finally realized that I now have enough experience to do a good job painting it, and quickly too. In fact, I might even be able to crank out half a dozen tiny paintings every month (yes, I am an eternal optimist).

Now, finally, I feel very motivated!

Here's a scan of the little painting. At the very least, it will be interesting to see if it really is as quick & easy as I imagine.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Flowers & Fenceposts

I think I've spent too much time thinking about the clock dial, because this weekend I really didn't want to work on it. Instead, I painted the flower bed and the fence posts.

I had been worried that the pinks and purples would clash with the rest of the composition, but I think they look nice. They make some of the people look even worse than they already did, so I'll probably do some more fussing with some of them.

There really isn't much left to do now. The clock dial, some pigeons, the outer edges of the clock, fence chains, a few benches and people, lamp posts and flags. And little fussy stuff.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I'm back in one of those cycles where I just don't have time to paint, and every day I walk past the painting several times, longing to work on it. I'm so close to being finished. I'm eager to see how it turns out, and I'm eager to start the next one (the Horse Fountain on the Green). I also feel a little bit of guilt-ridden pressure, since the frames for both paintings were ordered back in January and have been languishing at Goldsmith's. If my cash flow were better, I'd pay for them before needing them. Instead, I have to assuage my guilt by telling myself that I've been doing my framing at Goldsmith's long enough for them to know that it takes me a couple months to finish a painting. Maybe one of my paintings currently at The Waterbury Club will sell; then I could pay for the frames.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Clock, rounds 2 & 3

Sometimes I can be very silly. Take, for example, one week ago, when I was certain that if I could get some painting done during the week and then paint both days on the weekend, I'd probably be done with this painting. Silly, silly me.

It's been a while since I last worked on a painting with a lot of buildings, so I guess I forgot how long it takes to paint architecture. The Lux clock on the Green definitely counts as architecture, at least in terms of painting it. Verticals, horizontals, ins, outs, undersides, shadows, subtle modulations of color and texture, solid three-dimensional forms, endless precision. With trees, I can paint somewhat fast and loose--no one will notice if the tree in the painting does not look exactly like the tree in real life. But if a well-known landmark isn't painted correctly, everyone will notice. Add to that the fact that the clock is the centerpiece and focal point of the composition, and my hope of finishing quickly becomes even sillier.

I like the way the base looks right now, the shadow is just right. It's going to take at least one more session to finish the clock. Not only does the clock need to look good, but it also needs to work well with the trees. That's the tricky part: making two very different types of things work well together. I know I can do it, it just takes time. Maybe, if I can get in some painting on a couple evenings this week, and then paint both days this weekend, I'll have the whole thing finished by next Monday....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Clock, round one

Last night, instead of collapsing after work, and instead of working all night, I started painting the clock. Raw umber, olive green and titanium white, with just a little hint of Naples yellow and a bright orange. Round two will probably involve some indigo, to make the clock a little less brown and a little bit more gray. Round two will also involve fixing a little bit of wobble at the top of the clock, where a line that's supposed to be vertical slopes inwards.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Getting There

I finally had the time to paint this weekend. Worked more on the ground and started the people (and the bus) to the right of the clock. I started doing something new, using a short, stubby brush to draw outlines. I think I like it. I've been afraid of bold lines, even though I'm drawn to them.

I wish the photographs could do a better job of showing you what the painting looks like.

Next time: the clock and flower bed!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Working on the People

I got a little bit more done recently. More work still to go. I like the woman with the two kids, but the seated woman in front of them needs to have her sunglasses toned down. The ground needs some work too.

My first reaction at the end of the last painting session was not good. I did not like the way the people looked. They all seemed too intense, too different in style from the beautiful trees. My tendency is to have one of two reactions at the end of a painting session: either excited & pleased, or dismayed & annoyed. However, after several days, I eventually can see what really is good and how to improve the parts that aren't as good.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Here's about two hours' worth of painting since the last post. I fussed some with the tree on the right (I feel better about how it looks now, but I might fuss with it more before I'm done) and started fussing with the people. At this stage, they remind me a little of Maurice Prendergast (see examples here and here) in that they are undefined blobs of color.

With a few exceptions, the colors of the clothing are going to change dramatically. The first layer is mostly about defining form and trying to capture the subtle hints of color that the average person never thinks about. For example, the woman seated on the left edge of the canvas is wearing a white shirt, with hints of green in its shadows. So, for the moment, her shirt is green, and I will build up the brilliant whites as I go along.

I should mention that the canvas is 20 x 30 inches; the pencil grid is comprised of one-inch squares.

At this stage, I have two choices: continue to work on the left-hand section, or finish putting the initial layer of color on the rest of the figures. My inclination is to focus on the left-hand group, but by the time I get time to paint again, I could very well feel differently about it. (That's what happens when you spend days or weeks thinking about your next actions!)

One decision that I made several weeks ago: the trash barrel in the middle foreground is going away! Now that I mention that, I wonder if the empty bench should disappear too. Hmm.... no, that stays. I like it. It balances the clock and connects to the guy standing next to it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Better Trees

I was ready to tackle the trees again last weekend, but I was too wiped out from being sick all week. I didn't have any free time during the past week, so painting didn't happen again until yesterday.

I'm very pleased with the work I did yesterday. The tree on the left is perfection! The tree on the right needs a little more work, but overall the trees are coming along very well. Much better than they were before. The trickiness of trees is the leaves--I can't paint every leaf, I can't capture every subtle nuance of all those leaves, so instead I have to generalize and create something that looks convincingly like a tree (or like several different types of trees), even if it doesn't necessarily look just like the real thing. I now have a better appreciation for the fluffy trees of the Rococo.

The next step: fuss only a little more with the trees, then move on to the people and ground, starting on the left.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Greenery, Round One

Yesterday I tackled the trees. Six hours of painting, with a break in the middle to get a pot of chili started. I don't seem to ever be able to paint for more than six hours at a time.

I don't know how well the colors come across on your screen, but in real life the greens have too much yellow and brown. Or maybe too many yellows. There's a chaos to the greens of the trees right now. It could take me a couple of days to decide what to do about it. I might stop by the Mattatuck to revisit their Inness painting, which is a beautiful medley of green. I want harmony, not discord.

Friday, January 2, 2009


I started 2009 by working more on the backgrounds. Added some white to the sky, added definition to the distant buildings, working right to left, and then laid down a little bit of color to the ground. I think the next step is to start working on the trees, which will end up covering a lot of what I've done so far.


I ended 2008 by starting the Clock on the Green painting. Backgrounds first: some blue for the sky, then the first layer of color for the buildings in the distance, working left to right.