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....