Monday, March 26, 2012


This week I have an exercise in extremes to share. Despite the fact that we are just 30 miles east and a suburb of one of the largest cities in the world, there really is a lot of natural beauty here on Long Island and I constantly search it out to paint it. But there is more to the Island than just the coastal beauty and the magnificent variety of trees. There is the infrastructure which, if the artist makes an attempt to handle it properly, can be quite striking as well.

Last Thursday night I was driving home from teaching on the Long Island Expressway. The LIE, Route 495, bisects the Island horizontally all the way from New York City at it’s western end to Riverhead in the east which lies in the crotch of the two forks of the Island, a distance of about 100 miles. It is not always avoidable (though most of us wish it was) and the traffic, especially during the summer Hamptons season can turn it into one long parking lot! However, at night, it is usually not too bad traffic wise and it gets me home from Dix Hills in about a half hour.

For some reason or another I was captivated by the look of it while driving home. The lights are mesmerizing and despite the fact that it was 10PM there did seem to be a lot of notes of color from the brake lights to the exit signs.

So, I decided to paint it. However, this decision brought with it some logistical difficulties. Setting up an easel in the center lane of a 55 MPH highway seemed…risky? And the fact that I wanted to do this at night took away any real possibility of doing it from photographic reference. My solution was to have my wife drive back and forth between a few exits while I studied, tried to get some photographs, and took loads of notes from what I observed. The result was painted largely from memory and very quickly to try to preserve the sense of motion.

"The Long Island Expressway~A Nocturne"12 X 16 oil on panel. Click on the link below the painting for purchasing details.

I spied the next view this past Saturday and thought to head out to do it on Sunday but the weather was bad so I had to wait until this morning. This marked my first trip outdoors, albeit around the corner, to paint this year and it felt good. It struck me when I returned home that the tree looked as jolly, fat, and exuberant as the artist did knowing that spring was finally here!

"Violets and Marsh Marigolds"12 X 9 oil on canvas. Click on the link below the painting for purchasing details.

I am also pleased to announce that I have been juried in to the Wayne Arts Center’s annual plein air event in Wayne, PA. I participated in this event last year and despite the fact that we had non-stop rain really enjoyed it. I hope we have better weather this year.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Theoretically we on site landscape painters are supposed to be able to bring what we learn out in the field back into the studio. Having spent hour after hour studying the landscape in natural light we should be able to use that knowledge to "inform" our studio work. Nothing about the local landscape has been interesting to me lately as everything is still just different shades of brown and gray. I decided that this would be a good time to try to put to use what I have been trying to learn out in the field.

Last Thursday, one of my ALLI students brought in a photo to work from taken in Provence. I was immediately struck by the subtle light and the bright red of the poppies against the greens of the grass and trees. As part of my teaching responsibilities I roam around the class, from student to student, and offer criticism and help and I wanted to get this painting done in one night. It ended up only taking about an hour to do it but I rather liked the furious application of paint in the foreground flowers.

Poppies en Provence 14 X 11 oil on canvas. Sold

This next painting is one I had begun on site last year somewhere in Connecticut. I say somewhere because I just happened to stumble on this view and probably couldn’t find it again if I tried! I pulled the unfinished sketch out a few days ago and decided to have a go at finishing it from memory. The title was the name of Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson’s catboat. The Stevenson’s were my teachers and I was thinking about them while I finished working on it.

"Little Albie" 11 X 14 oil on panel. Click on the link under the painting for purchasing details.

The building in this next one is at the bottom of the hill that we live on. Every time I pass it, late in the afternoon, I always think “Ooh, that light is very nice”. I decided to finally do something about it!

"Fresh Seafood" 14 X 11 oil on panel. Click on the link under the painting for purchasing details.

Note that all of these small sketches are available for sale directly from me via this website. Simply click on the link below the painting for purchasing details. The price includes shipping costs in the continental United States. All others please inquire about shipping rates.