Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Art Apart

Staying home in response to the pandemic has been interesting for Bruce and me. In some ways things are the same. We take walks in the woods, ride our bikes, I spend time in the studio and Bruce practices his bass. Of course, many other things are different. We really miss getting together with our family and friends.

My artist friends and I decided to keep our art dialogue going by sharing photos of the artwork we're making during this time of isolation. Bruce dubbed this "Art Apart". I have found it a little hard to focus on painting and there have been pieces that ended up in the trash. Here are some paintings that I think worked.

The first three paintings were done from life in my studio. The painting of pomegranates was done from a photo I took years ago in California. That was the first time I had seen pomegranates on a tree instead of in a bin at the supermarket. I love the way they hang and split open.

"Clementines & Mug"
14" x 11", oil on linen panel

"Pitcher of Tulips"
18" x 14", oil on linen panel

"Pan of Onions"
12" x 16", oil on linen panel

"California Pomegranates"
24" x 12", oil on linen panel

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Good Year for Beets

Last summer we had a great crop of beets in our garden. They made an irresistible subject for painting. The grays of the newspaper set off the bright burgundy of the beets and their dark glossy leaves. I painted this in my studio, but added the grassy green background to give the effect of being outdoors.

"Beet Harvest"
12" x 9", oil on linen panel

Friday, May 8, 2020

Lime Green

Every year our local art gallery, Art Beat of Hayward, organizes an exhibit celebrating a color. This year's color was lime green. Everyone is invited to submit a piece of art work. Folks get creative and the pieces range from paintings, pottery, wearable art and beyond. It's a big event every February.

I painted a couple of pieces and ended up submitting "Apple Peeler". I've cranked out lots of apple crisp using this little piece of Yankee ingenuity. I decided to pair it with some Granny Smiths in a still life. It's a complicated arrangement. I wanted lots of lime green apples to set off the red peeler. I kept the background values close to unify the apples and dish towel. There is strong contrast in the foreground with the peeler, apples and ribbons of peels.

"Green Glads" was painted from a photo I took years ago. I love the sculptural quality of the flowers.

"Apple Peeler"
12" x 16", oil on linen panel

"Green Glads"
8" x 8", oil on linen panel

Tuesday, May 5, 2020


I've always been interested in using patterned fabric in my still life arrangements. It's a challenge to combine and paint two-dimensional patterns with three-dimensional objects. I set up the peaches on a dish towel with a great 60's mod design. It was fun to paint the pattern reflected in the silver bowl. I've had the fabric printed with the samurai for years and finally used it in a still life. I like the way he's eyeing the mangoes.

"Mod Peaches"
12" x 9", oil on linen panel

"Samurai & Mangoes"
12" x 12", oil on linen panel

Monday, April 20, 2020

Plein-air Still Life Painting

Last June my friend Judy and I enrolled in a 2-day plein-air painting workshop at the Peninsula School of Art in Door County, Wisconsin. Our excellent instructor was Kyle Martin. We spent the first day painting a still life outdoors and the second day working on a landscape. Kyle is an accomplished and passionate plein-air painter with lots of great methods for organizing a composition. I left inspired to paint plein-air still lifes. Summer whizzed by and I didn't get as much done as I intended. Here are a couple of paintings. The first was started outside, but finished in the studio from photos. I set up the second still life outside, but painted it entirely in the studio.

I set this painting up outside and blocked it in, but finished it in my studio.
"Pitcher with Chives"
16" x 12", oil on linen panel

This one was done entirely in the studio from photos.
"Garden Hose"
12" x 9", oil on linen panel

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Gouache Paintings

During the past year I've experimented with acrylic gouache. It's a water-based opaque paint that dries to a matte finish. Unlike traditional gouache, this acrylic version doesn't water spot. I spray each painting with a couple coats of matte varnish for extra protection. I paint on multi-media board and then mount the painting on a cradled wooden panel. Because the paint dries almost instantaneously, I can't blend like I do with oils. It forces me to think about shapes and work more abstractly. I also like the bright colors. 

"Pink Sponge #1"
8" x 6", acrylic gouache on board

"Pink Sponge #2"
6" x 6", acrylic gouache on board, SOLD

"Green Apple & White Bowls"
6" x 6", acrylic gouache on board

"Green Apples & Obi"
8" x 6", acrylic gouache on board

"Avocados & Chopsticks"
8" x 6", acrylic gouache on board, SOLD

"Plate of Pomegranates"
6" x 8", acrylic gouache on board

"Green Apples & Mug"
16" x 16", acrylic gouache on board

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Composition and Values

I continue to focus on composition in my paintings. That is the basic structure of the painting. When the composition is strong it attracts a viewer's eyes from across the room and then takes them on a journey through the painting. A big part of this is simplifying the subject. Looking for a few big shapes and reducing all the various shades (values) of dark and light to 4 or 5 shades. That means massing similar values into one value shape. Each color has its own value. It's often hard to "see" that value.

I decided to take a new approach to my painting process by making a value study of my subjects before I begin the actual painting. At first I used pastel pencils on toned paper to make the studies. The pastel was too easy to blend and didn't force me to make simple shapes. I switched to gouache on white or toned paper. I use 5 tubes of gouache: white, black and 3 grays. These studies are approximately 4" x 6". I don't spend time trying to get the drawing correct. I'm focusing on values and shapes. This process has helped clarify the structure of the painting for me. Sometimes after doing the value study, I realize the set up is  not working. I then can make changes or decide to abandon the idea.

Here's the process for my painting "Syttende Mai". I painted it from a photo I had taken on a recent trip to Norway.

My gouache palette

6" x 4" gouache study

Sketched on canvas

Beginning the block-in

The finished painting "Syttende Mai".
18" x 14", oil on linen. SOLD

Here is another example. This was a complicated set up with an antique patterned coverlet, objects and reflections. I liked the subdued colors and close values in the composition. The study helped me organize the values and shapes.

The finished painting "1847".
20" x 16", oil on linen  SOLD

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

"Colors of Summer" Exhibit at Firefly in Cable

I'm happy to announce "Colors of Summer", 
an exhibit of my paintings at Firefly in Cable, WI.  

Summer is here and I'm celebrating with paintings of my favorite subjects... flowers, produce from the Cable Community Farm, folks enjoying the season and lots of color. You'll find the paintings in the gallery space of Firefly, one of my favorite shops.

Dates of the exhibit are: July 3 - 31, 2018

You're invited to the gallery events on Friday, July 6th. 
      Demo and color discussion: 1:00 - 2:00 PM
      Reception: 5:00 - 7:00 PM

Firefly is located on Highway 63 just south of Cable, WI. The shop hours are:
      Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 - 5:00
      Sunday: 12:00 - 3:00

Here are some of the paintings in the show:

"Sunny Sunflower", 18" x 14", oil on linen

"Farmer and Chicken", 12" x 9", oil on linen, SOLD

"Reflections - Eggplant & Teacup", 9" x 12", oil on linen

"Cherry Tomatoes", 14" x 18", oil on linen  SOLD

"Flower Girl", 8" x 8", oil on linen

"Ribbon & Grapes", 12" x 9", oil on linen

"Pears & Circles", 14" x 18", oil on linen

"The Eclipse of La Pointe", 8" x 8", oil on linen

"Bag of Honeycrisps", 16" x 12", oil on linen, SOLD

"Inside the Coop", 12" x 9", oil on linen, SOLD

I've created a series of small oil paintings. They are each 6" x 6" and are mounted on a cradled board which can be framed or displayed unframed. The paintings work individually or can be grouped. 

"Sunflower #2"

"Sunflower #3", SOLD

"Sunflower #4", SOLD

"Yolk in Glass", SOLD

"Yolk in Silver Bowl", SOLD

"Yolk & Fork", SOLD

"Blue Glass & Lemon", SOLD

"Blue Glass & Apples Slices", SOLD

"Yellow Mug, Red Napkin", SOLD

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Thinking Abstractly

In October I attended a workshop designed to help representational painters think and work more abstractly. Our instructor was the painter Mark Daniel Nelson. He guided us through exercises in flattening space, massing values, cropping and generally prioritizing inspiration over technique. Mark was an excellent instructor. While I never intended to become an abstract painter, I'm trying to incorporate these concepts in my paintings. It is difficult to break old habits, but I'm trying to approach each painting from a different point of view. Here are a couple of the first paintings I completed after the workshop.

My reference for this was a photo I had taken on a trip to Barcelona. It was a busy street scene, but I was able to find big shapes, simplify areas and mass values to organize the composition. 

"Watching the Dance in Barcelona", 12" x 9", oil on linen

The challenge with this painting was combining the patterned background with the objects on top of it. I focused on the shapes and flattened the space.

"Mod Oranges", 14" x 18", oil on linen   SOLD

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Blue Moon Art Tour Comes to an End

After 10 successful years, the Blue Moon Artists have decided to discontinue the Blue Moon Art Tour. It has been a wonderful experience to work with my fellow artists in creating this event. I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet so many of you over the years. Thank you for visiting my studio and your support of my work.

I continue to paint and I haven't lost my love of making art. This year I have been exploring color palettes, thinking more abstractly and experimenting with new things. I'm still exhibiting work in Wisconsin at Art Beat in Hayward, Firefly in Cable, and Riverwood Art and Frame in Eau Claire. In Minnesota, I continue to show paintings at Lizzards in Duluth. I'm always happy to have studio visitors. Just contact me first to set up a time.

Here are some of my recent paintings. 

"Jackie's Cabbage", 20" x 16", oil on linen

"Dominant Red", 12" x 16", oil on linen

"Eggs & Espresso", 9" x 12", oil on linen

"Saki Bottle & Pomegranates", 12" x 9", oil on linen

"Pomegranates & Seeds", 8" x 8", oil on linen

"Picnic", 20" x 16", oil on linen

"Yellow Tulips", 18" x 14", oil on linen, SOLD

"Sportfisher 55", 8" x 8", oil on linen   SOLD

"Daffodils in Jar", 12" x 9", mixed media on board  SOLD