Friday, December 19, 2008


Started this as a value study using raw umber but quickly turned into full color as I got into the reflected surfaces.
Oil on Linen

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I painted this rather quickly before the snow fell. When I arrived the sun was bright and there were beautiful cool dramatic shadows. Although I set up my easel fast, a thick blanket of dark clouds rolled in and changed the lighting completely to warm shadows (which I keyed up) and compressed values. If I'm not too lazy, I'll walk back to this same spot and paint it again as I'm sure it's now under a heavy layer of snow.
Oil on Linen ($75.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

oil study-Turnip

I want my paintings to say much much more. Fortunately I live in a place where there are several excellent artists willing to share what they know and critique my art. Last night I worked with Michael Van Zeyl, (check out his still life paintings on his website). It would get too wordy to list all the things I learned about my paintings but I will take the time to list the five essential elements for a good painting.
*Value Relationships
*Color Harmony
*Paint Application
happy art-making and art viewing!
9"x12" Oil on Linen

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Old Slices" (sold)

I set this up ten days ago but then never felt inspired to paint it. I guess the challenge of painting outside in freezing temperatures was too great. Today I woke to minus 10 so I didn't even think about going outside to paint. Instead I painted these lemons which are starting to
dry out giving slightly different values and colors.
Oil on Linen

Friday, December 12, 2008

"Raw" - value study

Painted, or rather tried to paint, in minus 5 degree windchill. That's why today's value study is a bit "raw." I actually learned more about how to paint in the cold so next time I won't feeze quite as badly. This was a corner in Chicago in the area called Bucktown .
Oil on Linen (mounted on museum board)
On a different note---
I put a still life on ebay, listed on my blog Dec. 4, 08. Part of the sale goes directly to the Breast Cancer society.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Value Study (Claudia)

Once again I painted from life at the Palette and Chisel during their open studio session. This model held a very difficult pose. She crossed and bent her legs and arms. The awkward diagonal thing is part of her arm with her hand tucked under her hair. I think I did better with the values today but I'm not happy with the semi-stiff dough figure. Guess I'll just have to keep going back. It's a journey...
Oil on Linen

Saturday, December 06, 2008

portrait study-"John (the Baptist)

(the whitish flecks on the surface of this painting are shards of glass. A lamp broke next to my painting. Once the painting dries, and if it's something I want to save vs. scrape away, the flecks of glass should wipe away clean. A tip for plein air painters in case you should ever have wind blow gravel etc. onto your finished painting.)
This young man posed for a group of us this morning. I need more time, as usual, to finish this portrait study particularly in the highlights.

Oil on Linen

Thursday, December 04, 2008

still life/Value study

Painting for myself is so different than painting for a show. And now that my show obligations for 2008 and the beginning of 2009 have been fulfilled I'm enjoying digging into improving my ability to see values accurately. I thought the execution of painting the inside of the orange peel would be difficult but the real challenge was the value relationships of the tabletop to the backdrop. I spent quite a long time scraping away the wrong paint and reapply the correct value. Once that was done the piece came together much better.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

City-scapes/Value Studies

It's a luxury to be able to paint for myself. So once again I'm concentrating on value because I feel if the values are off, the painting is weak and spoiled. This is the same intersection, painted an hour apart during the morning rush. I used only black and white oil paints.
Oil on Linen

Monday, December 01, 2008

"Northland Woods"

I spent Thanksgiving week in the very north of Wisconsin. This area holds special childhood memories. This past weekend the serenity of painting in total isolation of these gorgeous woods was curtailed for me because it was opening deer hunting season. I had my gear on for the cold but didn't think about wearing a bright orange vest and hat to avoid being shot. Since I was worried about poachers, I painted very small quick studies. I concentrated on understanding the values. Today I'll try to paint something larger in my studio from these oil paintings.
Oil On Linen

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Two Turtle Doves"

This little urn with birds reminded me of the tune, "Twelve Days of Christmas." Even though it's not yet Thanksgiving, so much of our culture is pushing holiday shopping. I must admit I enjoy the Christmas tunes.
Oil on Linen

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Over the Bridge"

Why I thought I could start and finish a 16"x12" painting on a cold November day...
Going to try it again on a smaller canvas so I can finish it in one session.
Oil on Linen
($190. oil sketch)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Sweet & Tart"

Today was my last teaching day of 2008. I created a set-up for my remain few students with grapes, pomegranates, limes and copper. They were so enthusiastic about the set-up that I was inspired to paint it as well. I haven't much interest in painting still lifes these days but pushing them and myself to focus and compare the various values made this an interesting piece to paint.
Oil on Linen
($350. framed)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

charcoal sketch

This is a quick study done on toned charcoal paper and vine charcoal. I loved the pose and wish it had been a long pose so that I could have created a finished charcoal study.
vine charcoal on paper

Monday, November 17, 2008

quick sketch - Liz

"Liz" was painted from life, under very cool and minimal north light. I felt like I was painting in the dark. Although I could see the model clearly I could not see my canvas very well. Under these lighting conditions I like to key-up the shadows and make them as warm as possible to avoid that dead gray look from the north light. Once I got it home I realized I had made the shadow values too warm. Oh well, live and learn. And as always, I'm really trying to pay attention to anatomy.
Oil on Linen

Thursday, November 13, 2008

charcoal sketch

I know I really need to spend more time drawing in order to become a better painter so I'm hoping to incorporate
more figure studies in charcoal and pencil.
Charcoal stick on paper

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


A fall storm is about to hit. Actually the chill feels like winter is right around the corner. I used only one brush because I was so cold I think I was frozen stiff. Maybe I'm getting to old to plein air paint in the winter.
Oil on Linen

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"November Chill"

It was wicked cold when I painted this but the lighting was beautiful.
Oil on Linen

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Behind the Scenes"

Because it began to rain and the wind was strong, I took shelter under the green bridge (see last week painting of this bridge). Perhaps the smart thing to do would have been to head back home but I still felt like painting. The only thing I could see was the top back of a building(s) and these wires. It may not be the typical "pretty" landscape but I liked trying to capture the fall blustery air. It may be the beginning of a new series called, "Behind the Scenes."

10"x8" Oil on Linen ($145.)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Oil Sketch/Portrait Study

I think I learn the most about painting when working on a portrait study. I used mostly umber and wiped out my lights but towards the end of the session added Cadmium Red, Ochre, and green to my palette.
Oil on Linen

Thursday, November 06, 2008

"The Green Bridge"

Painted this during the last bits of our beautiful fall weather. My daughter wrote (& published) a poem about this bridge which is in our town. I've included a few lines,

The Green Bridge isn't any ordinary bridge
It links us from the busy town to the gracious woods
It allows us to be bathed by the sunlight or calmed by the whispering wind
The bridge sways as the breeze whistles
No work, no insults come to mind
The feeling is like none other than love for the nature...
...of the Green Bridge.
Oil on Linen

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Fallen Oak"

This is something I've been wanting to paint for over three years. I don't know when this mighty tree fell but I'm glad that "they" have not remove it. Painted once again with my new favorite tool, a #10 round brush.
Oil on Linen

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"Red Oak"

For several months I've been painting with a palette knife but today I used a large round bristle brush. I have a coffee can container of brand new round brushes which I've never used. They've been sitting in my studio for at least 15 years. I liked how I could load up this brush with a ton of paint, make broad strokes, and also had the flexibility to make very delicate small marks.
Oil on Linen

Monday, November 03, 2008

landscape study (sold)

I'm fortunate to be able to step out my door and see several beautiful things to paint. As the fall colors fade, I am enjoying trying to pull out the subtle color notes.
Oil on Linen

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"If Life Gives You Lemons"

This painting was started as a demonstration piece for my still life class but I liked the concept so I thought I would try to finish with my students the following week. Well this week I set up the still life again but discovered I was too busy helping students to really work on the piece (and they didn't need to see how I finish something). I did a little here and there, mostly working on the transparant bag and picking out areas where I wanted more color in the lemons. I didn't work on the background or tabletop. I'd like to recreate a similar set-up in my studio and paint it to what I feel is a more resolved finish.
Why one photo is warmer and one cooler is a mystery to me. I shoot both outside with overcast natural light. The cooler photo is a picture of the final oil study.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Fall Chill"

I think I'm getting too old to be painting in cool weather and winter is just around the corner. But I love fall colors and once again was painting along the river edge.
Oil On Linen

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Cold Day" (sold)

It was freezing painting along the river today. This painting is more a reflection of my reaction to the day than what I was looking at. See Karen Phipps' blog for her interpretation on this same scene.
9"x12" Oil

Monday, October 27, 2008


Another grape study created with a palette knife.
Oil on Linen

Friday, October 24, 2008

"Yellow Door"

Returned to this same section in Old Town to try to capture the quiet and intimate feeling this entrance gives me. It's become a battle. I will certainly be returning there again before fall ends. 7"x5" Oil on Linen ($99.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008


"If life gives you lemons,..." well you know the rest of the saying. This is another demonstration piece which I painted for my students. Hopefully I'll be able to finish it another time.
oil on linen

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

light study

This isn't a piece done quickly or under a hour. I really took my time over the last two days with trying to paint not the objects but rather the air which surrounds the objects. I had initially intended to finish this and include the table. But I have decided to leave it and move on to another another painting.
Oil on Linen

Monday, October 20, 2008

I've been doing a lot of quick sketches, in oil, using various models. I'm trying to get a believable gesture as if I caught life as it is happening. These studies have been helpful painting figures in my plein air street scenes.

12"x6" Oil on Linen

Friday, October 17, 2008

"Autumn Haze"

Today I painted under gray skies which seemed to compress the value range, eliminated dramatic highlights but, created mysterious shadows.
Oil on Linen

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Yellow Doorway"

I thought this side-entrance was very inviting. I had to try to capture its appeal.
Oil on Linen

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Soft Breeze"

Like yesterdays piece, this is also looking down the river but facing into a hazy sun/sky.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Autumn Bursts"

The falls colors are so pretty along the river. It's hard to decide which to focus on, the colorful trees themselves or their reflections. This is a palette knife painting.
Oil on Linen

Sunday, October 12, 2008

"Moonless" (POEfest Exhibition)

The Plein Air Painters of Chicago were asked to exhibit paintings for the October POEfest. The theme is anything that gets your skin crawling. We gathered last night and painted after the sunset. It was really fun. I stood under a gas lite street light so I wasn't painting totally in the dark but some were painting in near darkness. I thought all the pieces were successfully creepy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

"Feeling Nantucket"

I was walking my dog near my home when I noticed this house. It struck me that it would look great sea-side and so the title. This piece gave me lots and lots of problems because I wanted to make it painterly vs. architecturally. Then there was the added problem of dappled light.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"Still Life"

Although this painting has several objects it is really about painting luminous light.
Oil on Linen
($480. +$5. s/h)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"Last Rays of Summer"

I've been reading Karen Phipps' blog regarding her week studying with Camille Przewodek. Camille's creating process is very different from mine but what I respond to is how she stressed finding the big simple shapes and using what's important to you as a vehicle to express light.
Today went from sunny to gloomy but I clung to the feeling of an Indian summer day. From where I stood I could have painting several different pieces along this same theme. I wanted to saturate my painting with autumn sun/glow. I played my colors and values off the front flowers. I've attached a photo of the scene which I took just before leaving this site to paint another piece a few yards away. Originally I intended to paint the background trees and shrubs but now I think I'll just leave it as is.
Oil On Linen

Monday, October 06, 2008

"Fall Bounty"

This wasn't painted today but it is an alla prima oil painting made with a palette knife. A painting friend set up the still life and chose artifical lighting. It was fun and challenging to paint something arranged and lit out of my comfort-zone.
Oil on Linen

Saturday, October 04, 2008

"Rush Street"

Quick study painted with early morning light & gray skies. I was interested in catching the interior lights and the street lights before they turned off for the day time.

Friday, October 03, 2008

head study stage 1 & 2

This is a head study painted in about two plus hours in a workshop conducted by an amazing young artist, Marci Oleszkiewicz. The image with the clip is after about 45 minutes during which time I was just trying to get the correct value relationships while thinking about the anatomy. The remaining time was spent trying to flesh out the head but continued to check my drawing so that I wouldn't distort the face. I need a lot more time to bring this piece to a "finish" so here sits another unfinished head study. But I so loved working on this. What a challenge.
14"x11" Oil on Linen

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"Turquois Hoops"

one last time,...
Worked more on this figure piece but know it still has so many more wonderful little things to bring out but I think I've exhausted my ability to do so. When I started, I was primarily concerned with getting the drawing correct and establishing the big shapes. I'd like to continue this kind of study from life.
Oil on Linen

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

head study part 2

I woke early to paint on this head study before everyone woke in my house. I've been painting fast and furious for several different exhibitions. It's been really nice to slow down and search for all the subtle little passages. This morning I worked from a photo which I took of this model. It was really different going from life to working from a photo. Also, I used rags and soft sable brushes instead of a palette knife. I hope to get the model back to finish this piece.
Oil on Linen

Monday, September 29, 2008

head study

Today I started a portrait study. Unlike most of my previous paintings for this blog, I'm not concerned with taking this piece to a complete finish in the time I have set aside for "painting in a day". Instead I focused on value and form. I'm using a minimal palette of colors, rags, and brushes. I hope to keep developing this piece but will probably have to finish it from a photograph.
Oil on Linen