Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A 3y/o take on an old theme

My grandchildren, aged 2 and 4 years are up for Christmas and then off skiing, if it stops snowing. Last year, Theo, painted this picture of Santa over the trees. He was 3. Both he and Phoebe love to paint and when they come I usually set something up and let them go at it. They have completely different styles. Theo prefers small brushes and gets his nose right next to the paper. Phoebe likes big and makes lots of strokes and keeps going over them with different colors. I am quite amazed at this picture because there is no mistaking what he was trying to paint.
Merry Christmas to all and to all, a good night.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

After the rain

Sunday, a rainy day, fine for imagining a sunny field, barn and a puddle from the rain. Lots of time to paint today after a wonderful dinner party last evening. Hosting dinner parties is fun from the moment of deciding what to have, then preparing it to saying goodnight to the guests. The liquor cabinet takes a big hit, but so what, it positively effects creativity.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

San Francisco Bay in December

The weather has been spectacular even when it starts off a touch nippy. The group wanted to paint trees and we found one in Sausalito along with a few boats. Painting is a great way to handle the holidays; a little sanity between delicious parties and great friends, and...lots of wine.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Portofino Italy

I was in Portofino on 9/11 and could not believe the story that people were telling. I was sketching and taking pictures. With all flights grounded for the next few days I continued to sketch and paint. It was not easy to concentrate, yet, it was difficult to get details on what had happened.
Portofino is a charming seaside town attracting wealthy vacationers to its expensive shops. It has this small opening to the sea and is splashed with sunshine. Despite the upscale neighborhood, the wash is hung out and extends from many windows. A huge church is on the hill in the corner and has steps in front. I did this picture from my sketches just last week. I have fond memories of the place.

Back in Mexico

It's December and I have neglected the site. I was in Mexico over the Thanksgiving holiday and got some painting done. It was grand to sit on the beach with old friends and just gab. Lots of surfers including my kids who came along. Many stories but the scariest was my rental car had the oil light come on while heading to the airport. Stopped, found oil leaking, left the car, and got a taxi to the airport for my flight home. Hertz contacted and they picked up the car. Next, my credit card had a $4700 USD charge. No explanation; the ball is now in my court to file a claim. Here is some of my recent work while in Mexico.

The top one was done on a rural road and I soon had about 20 kids, first watching and then pulling out my brushes and turning the bolts on my easel. I then felt something warm on the back of my leg and this little naked kid was peeing on me. Quite a day.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This watercolor is done on aquabord. I have been trying this out because it allows framing without glass. There is a big difference between this system and paper, espcially if you are working wet into wet or just wet. The paint quickly sets up and glazing causes it to lighten or wipe off, somewhat like using Yupo. I have tried several boards now and have yet to feel comfortable with the aquabord system.
The fog in this painting was created by running water through a previously applied wash that was still wet. It is difficult to create soft edges. It is my feeling that this system only works with dry brush painting. If you cannot glaze then you might has well be painting with acrylics or oil. The magic of transparent watercolor painting is lost.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sausalito watercolor

There is color in the hills but the weather is still ideal. Mt. Tam is in the back and there is some thinning fog. All the elements are there for painting in Sausalito.

My bags are packed and I am ready for Mexico. Bringing my paints and there is a gang going from the 'hood.
Celebrating a couple of Bdays and working on a song. Can't wait to be there. The sharks are gone and we plan on surfing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Crashing wave

I have been painting the ocean for years and the crashing wave with the foam and mist that is created, is my favorite. I was back in Sausalito yesterday painting and it was wonderful. The fog was clearing from the headlands and the sunshine was getting stronger with time. I brought my grandkids back home with me which made this a wonderful trip. They make grampa feel important. We will paint when we get to my house.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I've been away experimenting with some new presentations. My goal; paint with transparent watercolor and display without glass. I have only read about this on the internet. I tried the special canvas for watercolor but was not happy with the outcome. The watercolor medium is too thin when painting wet, and the fabric shows through. I next tried some clayboards made for watercolor. I find them difficult to paint on because I like to paint with my paper nearly vertical. These clayboards do not hold a wash and leave hard edges. I painted this picture of pomogranates on clayboard and just barely tilted it and then did some dry painting. I think that it works. I then put on the gel and sprayed the varnish a few times. Without the glass there is much more punch to the color and no reflection. My next experiment is to use adhesive to put paper on masonite and see how that works.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Main Street Harwichport, MA

This was a quick sketch while sitting indoors during the rain. I have painted the Kite Shop many times on location, so I know it quite well. The distortion is whimsy to an otherwise well known set of buildings here. Only the figures are standing upright.

I am in the countdown for days remaining on Cape Cod. The weather is getting cold. I am almost through my list of things to do before leaving. Not a bucketlist, but house closing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sailboat for saleboat

Here are two guys looking at a sailboat that is listed for $500. It looks like a deal. Everything is there including the sails and the boat is in great shape with no dings. Maybe it is the crumbling financial world that put such a bargain on a vacant lot. I love painting boats and especially when they are out of the water. There is a certain awe in seeing the depth and shape of the hull exposed. Sounds almost erotic! I painted this yesterday and I was totally lost for a couple of hours. It was an antidote to the realization that my pension is rapidly going down the tubes.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Irish Pub of West Harwich, MA

Hard to believe, but one day is nicer than the next. Had a wonderful lobster dinner last night with fresh corn and good company. Awoke this morning and out painting. I had run by the Irish Pub earlier in the morning and decided it was ready for painting. I have done it before but there is enjoyment doing it and remembering all the good times singing and dancing in the place.

The road in front was extra busy with cars. This is the end of the summer season for a lot of families with children returning to school next week. The remaining summer will be less joyous without their squeals and laughter around town.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Searching for Sea Shells

Another beautiful day on Cape Cod. I painted this in the morning and will probably look at it and do some changes. Here, the light is so special and the air so clear. This has to be good for your lungs and your spirit. The Cape is basically one long sand dune and there are dunes everywhere. People grow gardens and lawns on the two inches of turf that can cover the dunes but you need plenty of watering because it is the best drained area in the world.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Painting pictures on Cape Cod

This is the home across the street from the park in HarwichPort, MA, where we sell art every Monday. I set up my easel and painted it while dealing with clients. The house is gigantic and I only included one end of it along with the drive.
My sales of paintings have been picking up and I need to build up some inventory. Last week at the gallery, six of my paintings sold. Wow. I am having a great summer.
There is a bit of fall weather today and the sun is warm and sky is clear. Great for painting on location.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Up From the Beach

With the summer winding down and my grandchildren headed home, I can now ponder what their absence means. No more early mornings at the beach and no walks over the dunes. Every experience was new and 'the best' according to Theo, the spokesman. He is such a cool dude in his sunglasses, which he rarely removed.

I painted this picture while in the park selling my art. I love the effect of the sand. We are headed up to Wychmere from the beach.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

On Our Beach

The sun was out but I was at Art in the Park, so did my painting there. I had in mind a beach scene that I recall from somewhere and painted it not exactly but you can see the result. My bod wasn't built for sun and sand but I love it. I avoid the bad sunburns of the past but have to be careful.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sailboats on the Herring River

Today turned out to be ecstatic. I kept waiting for the sun and it was always promising. My scene was the Herring River, the home of these two wonderful boats. I pass them every day and they never seem to be out sailing. They have been here for as long as I can remember...12-15 yrs.
The beauty was not there due to the changing sky but it needed to be created. I loved putting it together and talking to all the joggers that stopped to critique.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Fishing Shack

It doesn't get any better than this. When I am alone and painting I feel alive. It was such a great day on Cape Cod. Low humidity and sunny. I saw a little guy trying to catch crabs with his father and put them in the picture. Painted on location at the fishing shack on the Herring River, West Harwich, MA.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Irish Pub Race in Harwich

Today is the day of the great Pub Race on Cape Cod. I have been here painting and enjoying lots of guests for the past 3 weeks. Families that I know, wait and train all year for this event. My friend Paul lives and dies based on his performance. One year he was totally humiliated by his new daughter in law beating him at the finish. They have reconciled only by producing new grandchildren. It is a tough race and today was hot and humid.
There is something new to get in shape for an event like this. I read the other day that a pill was given to ‘couch potato mice’ and when tested they were as fit as the mice that were working out. Wow. I hope that it works in humans because I would love one about 3PM. I remember a similar 'breakthrough' in the ‘70s. It was put out by the Royal Canadian Air Force and said you did not have to go to gyms, jog for miles, buy exercise bikes or rowing machines or weights, you could get fit by answering the telephone or putting your hat on.
The answer; isometrics. Isometrics is a muscle stress technique in which you gave total effort to every action you took. You lift a phone like it weighed a ton, you put your cap on like Arnold Schwartzenegger was trying to hold your hand back. The effect was to drive oxygenated blood to your muscles and transform your body into a rippling powerhouse. I tried it. There were drawbacks. My wife worried about a heart attack everytime I was on the phone; “your knuckles are white, your veins are popping and you’re covered with sweat”. When I served drinks to friends I could hear their concerns: “he closed the door like there were two wrestlers trying to push it open, he’s gripping the glasses like a madman, his face goes purple everytime he lifts himself out of the chair.” You try to ignore such comments when you’re transforming yourself into the Hulk. I’m looking forward to the couch potato mouse pill and next year's pub race.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Back home with my muse

Whenever I need to get started painting after a break, I return to my favorite subject, the local train station. I know it so well, that I can paint it in my sleep. I like to set up somewhere around the structure and I always see something new. I knocked this one out in about 20min.

Hey, I've been busy but still painting. Was volunteering at diabetic summer camp and the kids were great. No major problems and everyone returned to their parents better than they left. I have been painting scenes in Sausalito where there have been some dramatic skies along with many great boats. These are some recent works. I will soon be painting on the New England coast from my Cape house. What a great life.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Making my summer plans

I spend my summers on Cape Cod. It is the great escape that provides lots of different painting venues along with wonderful friends. We have a cooperative gallery there where I exhibit my paintings and sell some. I love painting Main Street in Harwich Port. It used to be mine exclusively, but now, everyone has a version of it. Here are two views from last year.

By July I'll be there but already dreaming of the fresh fish dinners prepared in my little cottage by the sea. Lots of company and long suppers with lots of wine make a special brand of magic. The biggest concerns; what to read and keeping the wine supply up. What a life.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Plein air painting

This is the main street of Winters, CA. We had a wonderful time painting with great weather and plenty of artists. I did set up in one field to paint a barn only to be confronted by a snarling dog dragging a chain. Hmm, need to add dog biscuits along with bug spray and sunbloc to my painting kit. Three of my paintings are in the Briggs Gallery in Winters, with one of them with a tiny red dot (sold). Yea!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Painting on location

Been out painting the past few days. The weather great and in a small town, Winters, CA. It is the great paint in. Lots of people roaming around painting here and there. Wondering what they have done. It is exciting, everyone doing a painting and there is going to be a show at the end of the week, It gets the juices flowing. There is nothing familiar in this town, so I feel like I can't use any of my tricks or filling in with something I've done before. It is a farm town that really respects the arts/ We will see on Sat. night when all of the paintings are up. Every paper or canvas requires a stamp indicating that it was not done before the paintout.

I had a great site today, but realized that I was standing on an ant hill. I had ants all over me and on all of my equipment. I imagined ants as I started to paint and want contantly scratching. Finished with a good painting which I will show you once the show is over. It is the creek that runs thru the town and is a great site.

Painting is away from all of the news. Nothing to do but listen to the sounds of the scene. It is a wonderful and relaxing way to spend a beautiful day. The Red Sox also won again yesterday. What could be better?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Ready for launch

Painted this picture thinking about summer and fun on the water. My son and I had sailing lessons on San Francisco Bay a few years ago. We needed some official document that testified to our abilities so we could charter wherever we went. It was great fun and excitement. Sailing on the Bay has to be one of my best experiences.
Tomorrow, I will be there to launch my Boston Red Sox as they open the 2008 season against the A's. It is schizophrenic for me since my other favorite is the A's. However, the Boston grip is much tighter having grown up with them and gone to Fenway as a youngster with my dad. Wonderful memories of hot dogs, peanuts and big crowds. It was good training because baseball is the perfect escape from the world's woes; it is the postponement of adulthood.

Friday, March 28, 2008

It's a sunny day in northern california, perfect for painting. Was out all morning and haven't finished. Accidentally, I took along some hot press watercolor paper which is not my favorite but did what I could with it. Last year while living in San Francisco, I only painted on hot press. Here are a couple of my paintings from the neighborhood.

It's very difficult to do graded washes on hot press. I think that it works best for line washes using pen and ink. It is amazing how the water media is so different with what you paint on.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Puerto Escondido; Punta Zicatela

My good friend, David, showed up for lunch in Troncones. I told him about my sore ribs and the need to cool it for awhile; we had some wonderful wines and he left inviting me to his place in Puerto Escondido. It is called Roco Rohas and is out at the tip of the Punta Zicatela. Truly a magnificent view. Red rocks with iguanas keeping watch. It is very private and the home is an architectual gem. Every view is framed and at night the lighting; done by an artist, exaggerates interesting shadows on walls and ceilings. Wow! I'll never forget Puerto Escondido and will return for the surf and some more painting. It is way down on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca. Not east to get to, unless willing to ride a coach or make a few plane connections.

Monday, March 24, 2008

An Artist Treat

Was in NYC last week; weather beautiful and took in alot of new art. Went to the Whitney Bicentenial and was very disappointed. Few exhibits and drab color. Very amateurish videos; one making fun of another culture which I believe were New Guineans. Very crass. Won't get my expectations up for this show next year. Chelsea galleries don't disappoint. Lots of stuff to enjoy here. In general, this is the fast lane and one gets their batteries recharged with every encounter. There are galleries, pubs (it was St Pats) and eateries. High end boutiques with shoes that start at $595. It's fun imagining who buys these things. There is awe at the price of home made jeans and shoes. You have to feel good in them.
Flew there on the new Virgin America service to Kennedy. Great idea not to have carts in the isles and video to chat, order drinks, food, watch movies or TV, or to play games. The time from one coast to the other was very short. Cheap prices too.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


This is an Inn at Manzanillo Bay which I painted from the beach in the hot sun. Totally slathered in sun bloc I managed it before taking a dip in the ocean and heading up for a cold Corona with lemon. Lots of rocks at this end of the bay but not in the center. Nevertheless, I managed to crack two ribs falling off my board and landing on top of it. It really hurt to laugh.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Brush With Color

I am a painter who loves painting on location; plein air painting. My medium is watercolor. The noise, activity and smells of the scene all add to the excitement. I try to paint daily although this means indoors on those cold nasty days. I spend a lot of winter in remote areas of Mexico where I can paint or ride the surf. Summers are at Cape Cod.