Saturday, November 26, 2022

simple still life


I set up a little still life on the kitchen table and took a few pictures; trying out a couple. Each has things I like and don't like!
I added the orange for the light it would reflect on the cruet, and in the foray one I like that orange blush.
For the second I tried a couple of ways to paint the pattern: dry on wet, dry on dry that I'd then mist, and the one I settled on--drawing with a watercolor pencil on wet paper. Really like the effect!

Started the third, and last I think!, one, below. I like it unfinished! But I think I'll go a little further.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

quail and kestrel

Another bird painted in class with Salty Water Art.
Taking the class means I'll get my paints wet at least once a week! But also I end up painting birds I wouldnt necessarily choose on my own, like the California quail, above, or the kestrel, below. 
And it's also great to see other painters' work!

Monday, November 07, 2022

more shorebirds


A couple of quick, uncomplicated paintings.
I got the ref photos for these from a Facebook group, Free Reference Photos for Artists. The photograspher is Jenny Ryan. Thank you, Jenny!

Friday, November 04, 2022

plein air: higbee beach and townbank

Sometimes, many times?, the value study is better than the painting.
Eliminating the complication of color, and the doubt and hesitation it can provoke, probably accounts for a lot of it. Value studies too often have an appealing freshness and lack of detail.
Gotta bring that value study energy to the painting!

We've been having unseasonably warm temps here, and sunny skies. Going to keep plein air painting as long as it lasts!

Thursday, October 27, 2022

old photos 2

After messing up the painting with the glowing washes, I revisited this subject, maybe with more restraint.
Also began to think about two other subjects: my nana (left), summer on 92nd Street, and me, summer on Montauk.
Both watercolor pencil.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

value studies

Here are the value studies from the sketches I posted previously.
The one above I think worked out pretty well. I may move on to color.
In the ones below, the value study highlighted some difficulties.
In the first there isn't enough variation in the values; but I can make some decisions and add some midtones.
This last one has too much light value. It's also not such a good composition, I think.
Weirdly as I painted it I became more interested in the chair than I was in the people, which made me think I was on the wrong tack.

old photos

 I was pretty happy with the first washes I put down ... but I didnt know what to do next. Next night, I plunged in: bad idea. 
It might have been salvageable but I kept putting the facial features in the wrong place--which led to a lot of correcting and anxiety, and really ruined the freshness that was so appealing in the first wash.
So, I felt pretty disappointed, but I'm over it. Going to do another ... where I hope I will not make the same mistakes!

This is my first go at a photo of my maternal grandmother with her father.
I king of like that when I begin these I have no idea what I'm going to do. I just do something, then react to it, do something else ... It's an interesting process, in which I have to treat time differently than I normally do, which is as a precious commodity to be rigorously tracked and parsimoniously spent!


Another painting from a photo I took kayaking in the back bays. I kept the background wet and grayed, but it still competes too much with the subject, the tern.
Below is a sketch, trying to improve on a previous try.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

shorebird class

A killdeer and a yellow-crowned night heron painted in a class with Ian de Hoog at Winslow Art Center.
It's funny how I often paint better in a class environment.
I think for one thing--an important one--when I'm painting in class I am less likely to make the mistakes I usually make on my own. E.g., not paying enough attention to my psint:water ratio and overworking.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

some sketches

Small sketches made from old  family photos. 
Next: value studies.
Then: who knows?

Friday, October 14, 2022

plein air: assateague

My brother and I camped at Assateague National Seashore in Maryland for a few days this week; this was our fourth year. Camping--especially tent camping--is some work, but what beats sleeping on the beach; looking up from your sleeping bag and seeing the stars; seeing the sun rise over the ocean?
I had intended to paint more, but there's never enough time! 
I managed these two sketches of a view from our campsite.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022


A tern in flight and a few gull shapes that I painted without drawing. I'd like to gain the kind of familiarity and facility with seabirds in flight that would allow me to sweep a convincing shape in freely.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

plein air, parrsboro, nova scotia

Gina and I got back last night from our 3- day plein air workshop with Bill Rogers at the Art Lab in Parrsboro, NS, on the shore of the Bay of Fundy.
What an incredibly beautiful place! I really hope to go back, and to see Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton next time.
Bill is a wonderful teacher and just a lovely person. We learned so much ... For me Bill's emphasis on planning was very useful. 
We visited two beautiful spots to paint: Partridge Island and the Five Islands. Both days the high winds made painting outdoors a challenge, but we did it and had a great time.
We also ate some superb seafood and enjoyed locally brewed ales, and, of course, met a lot of terrific people.
The third day it rained. So I did a few cloud studies.

The view from our AirBNB
The view from my bedroom window:

Wednesday, September 14, 2022


Painted from a photo I took while kayaking. I have a few more-- like a tern on a "no wake" marker-- that I'm looking forward to painting!

Tuesday, September 13, 2022



These bumpers always attract my gaze ... must be that orange color. In this case, there were also the nice shadows cast by the line!

Melo in the entrance to the catio:

Friday, September 09, 2022

plein air week 8

Sketching this a.m. on the grounds of the Fishing Creek School. It's a pretty and historic building, but today the trees were more eye-catching!

Next Friday we'll be painting in Nova Scotia! 

Thursday, September 08, 2022


Adding a few colors--hematite, quinacridone purple, and quinacridone burnt scarlet--to my palette because I like the mixes they make! (See left side.)
Also: Going to try to start each plein air session with a little, quick value and color study. I remember Angela Fehr once recommending doing a little warm-up painting, and I thought it was a great idea! These will be my warmups!

And, finally, tidying up my studio, I found a picture I had taken of a few gulls in the snow and did a little study of it. I think next time I'll add feet!