Monday, September 26, 2011

Reset The Pieces

I have an old and dear friend who throws a large party every year. A lot of you may not know that I also play music. In fact, I’ve been playing longer than I have been painting…so I’ve been playing for a long time! I bring this up because I have been playing with these friends since we were sophomores in high school and, every year, we get together to play at this party.

Now I do admit to two facts, I am a bit older than I was when we started and, since I have been working hard at painting over the last number of years, I don’t practice my playing as often as I used to. So, when the party annually rolls around, I have to get out me axe and limber up my fingers which takes away from time out painting.

Were we any good you wonder? Surprisingly…not too bad! But I guess that’s what happens when you play with guys you have been playing with for the better part of your life. That’s me on the left in the first picture and all 5 of us in the second.

Sunday morning, thankfully, meant a return to painting and I felt secure in the knowledge that I could safely put my guitar away for another year. And the first painting on Sunday?…a scraper! In fairness to the panel I was painting on I couldn’t get that waste of paint scraped off of the canvas fast enough. I once read that when the great chess genius Bobby Fischer lost a game (which was rare) he would become very agitated and want to reset the pieces immediately for another game. I think I know how Fischer felt and, after lunch and some very unkind words to myself, I set out again late in the afternoon to reset the pieces.

Rottkamp’s Farm is not far from my house. I wanted to head over there because I like rolling farmland and also because we had overcast skies that day and I was in the mood to paint a nice sky. The forecast for the pumpkin crop is grim this year owing to all of the rain we have had…but I managed to find a few which would add a nice note of color in the foreground.

"Pumpkins~Rottkamp's Farm" 9 X 12 oil on canvas. Available for sale. Click the following link:Pumpkins~Rottkamps Farm

To sum up the last four days…a whole weekend with only one painting to show for it. But I am very happy with the result and am happier still that I got to spend some time making music with old friends who are very dear to me.

Note that all of these small sketches are available for sale directly from me via this website. Simply click on the “Paintings and Prints” tab and then on “Available Paintings”. The price includes shipping costs.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Art and Jazz and eBay

What fun I’ve had over the past couple of days painting in the beautiful seaside village of Cold Spring Harbor at their annual “Art and Jazz” event. We painted for two days on the site of the CSH Laboratory which has lovely views of the harbor. On Sunday we painted on Main Street in the heart of town and were treated to the sounds of different jazz bands playing up and down the street. There are worse ways to spend your day...beautiful early autumn weather, great views to paint and roaming jazz bands!

First up is my painting from Friday evening. I loved the way the shadows fell across the beach and I had just about gottten the canvas covered when the sun disappeared behind the clouds! I was left having to finish up from memory. As I was just about done a man and a small boy and their dog arrived giving me a perfect focal point for the painting. The Gods took away my sun but rewarded me with the appearance of this small family out enjoying a nice evening on the shore.

"Father, Son and a Buff Lab" 11 X 14 oil on canvas. Contact me if you are interested in purchasing this painting.

I returned to the same spot on Saturday morning but faced in the opposite direction. I have painted this view before but I like it and decided to have another go at it. Again, the light was coming and going and I had a pretty stiff cool breeze at my back but am happy with the result.

I have a friend whose sister is facing some dire health issues. A fund has been set up to help and I am auctioning this painting on eBay with 100% of the proceeds going to help in the effort. Click the link below the painting if you wish to place a bid. A low starting bid means you might be able to get one of my originals at a low price. Bid early and often!

"Windy September Morning" 11 X 14 oil on canvas. The link to the eBay auction is:

The next painting is a bit unusual for me. I wasn’t overly happy with the view but had only 2 ½ hours before the deadline to submit paintings for the auction. Something told me that I might be able to squeeze a nice result out of it so I started slashing away. I’ve written about this before…you forget about your training, what you think the painting should look like, etc. and just mindlessly throw paint at it. I think this is where one’s experience and individual “voice” take over because I am always happy with the result.

"Art and Jazz" 12 X 9 oil on canvas. Sold.

As always, thanks for your interest in my work!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Earthquakes, Irene and Teddy's Home

Wow! We have finally dug out of what can best be described as Old Testament conditions here in the Northeast. First we had a very noticeable earthquake followed about five days later by the arrival of Tropical Storm Irene. Houses shaking, wind blowing, tree limbs down, no electricity for three days and about three inches of water in the basement. It took a while to get everything straightened out, bailed out and dried out but I was finally able to get back outside to paint.

I started this painting the night before the arrival of Irene. I figured I wouldn’t be able to get out the next day and decided I was long overdue for a studio painting. As I mentioned above, we were without electricity for about 3 days so I had to wait a while before I could get back to the easel to get it finished but am happy with the results. Painting outdoors helps to “inform” anything that might be done in the studio…you learn a lot about how nature behaves when painting on site and can use that knowledge with great benefit in the studio.

"Moored For the Evening" 14 X 18 oil on canvas. Contact me if you are interested in purchasing this painting.

There had been a paint out scheduled in Oyster Bay, which is very near to where I live in Locust Valley, for the day that the hurricane was forecast to arrive. The event was to take place on the grounds of the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site which was the home of Theodore Roosevelt. These are lovely grounds with a nice view of the house, the surrounding fields and orchards as well as a short hike to a lovely view of Cold Spring Harbor. I had not painted out there in years and decided to go scout around for possible paintings a week before the scheduled event. This small study was a result of that trip.

"Eel Creek Beach~Sagamore Hill National Historic Site" 8 X 12 oil on canvas. Contact me if you are interested in purchasing this painting.

The Sagamore Hill event finally got underway on the 9th of September. I had spotted this view the previous week on my way up to the beach and decided to stop this time and have a go at it. This photo was shot before I added some cool red wildflowers in the foreground and in the left hand shadows. Unfortunately I did not re-shoot it after the changes because it worked much nicer…so much so that the painting sold at the opening the following night.

"Up To The Barn" 12 X 12 oil on canvas. Sold

Friday afternoon found me back not far from where I painted in the morning. I was hot and tired but cannot resist great light on the trunk of a tree. This began as a study of the trunk and tree but grew into something that has a nice warm and peaceful feeling to it.

"Sagamore Maples" 11 X 14 oil on canvas. Contact me if you are interested in purchasing this painting.

I planned to paint with my buddy Anthony Davis on Saturday morning. We arrived at the site early and made our way down the lovely wooded path to the beach. I immediately gravitated to the spot I had painted the week before. The overcast was just starting to break up and I was treated to one of the nicest skies I’ve ever had the opportunity to paint on site. In fact, this was somewhat of a backwards painting for me. A sky that active won’t stay still for long and experience told me that I wouldn’t have much time to get it down on the canvas. I laid in a wet line where I knew my horizon would be and then set about laying in and finishing the sky in one shot then moved on to get the distant headland and the near shore.

"Saturday Morning~Sagamore Hill National Historic Site" 12 X 16 oil on canvas. Framed and available for sale from the Oyster Bay Historical Society. Contact me if you are interested in purchasing this painting.

Next week will find me taking part in a paint out in beautiful Cold Spring Harbor. Hopefully there will be no more natural disasters and I will be able to have some nice paintings to share with you then!