Thursday, March 27, 2008

Harbor Sunrise
8 x 12 Oil on Panel

We were painting in Maine on the morning of September 11, 2001. It was a brilliant sunrise. We both painted well, then cleaned up and headed back to the little cottage we were renting. After breakfast Elizabeth decided to take a shower, I turned on the TV. Why was Tom Brokaw on at 11 in the morning and what did that crawl at the bottom of the screen mean, "The World Trade Center towers have collapsed?" Elizabeth came out of the shower and asked if there was any news. "Yeah, big" I replied. We bumbled around in a daze for the next few days, trying to paint. I wanted to go to New York, my home for so many years, but I had promised to visit my sister after our painting trip. Finally, 10 days later, we made it back to the city. I had never known it to be so quiet. We made our way downtown. As we walked quietly down Broadway toward ground zero others passed us quietly on their way back uptown. We paused, gazed, prayed then turned away as new mourners quietly came to toward us. Profoundly saddened, we went to the museums for consolation.....

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Kitchen
25 x 30 Oil on Linen

When we lived in New York our studio was less than 400 square feet, which included the corner kitchen. A desk in another corner served as our office, the drop leaf table indicated the dining area, everything else was studio space. I made a large open cabinet where we could store paintings, the top was our still life table. The counter space in the kitchen was no more than 2 feet square so when we had guests for dinner the still life table doubled as a sideboard. Visitors were routinely introduced to the food, "This is an appetizer", "Don't eat that, that's a still life I'm working on". There was a little bedroom in the back that was so small you couldn't walk around the bed, whoever was sleeping in the back had to climb over the person in front to get in or out. We had a big north window, however, so the light was good for painting, nothing else really mattered. We painted all day then went to work as ushers at the Metropolitan Opera at night. The Met has a beautiful production of Puccini's La Boheme, we must have seen it 50 times or more. After everyone cleared out of the opera house we would return to our cluttered little studio, like Puccini's bohemians...healthier...but just as romantic.....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Harmony in Green and Gold
Oil on Linen
Image 20 x 30 - Framed 27 x 37

In the first post on this painting I said I heard it as a Mozart piano sonata. I still do, however on different days I hear different interpretations. The first day Alicia de Larrocha guided my brush, lovely, charming, delightful. Rudolf Serkin came to me the next day, structurally sound, beautiful phrasing. The third day was odd, wild, heavier, mesmerizing, Franz Liszt improvising variations on Mozart's theme. Not the vision I had for this piece but I followed along to see where it would take me. For the final day Arthur Rubinstein tied it all together. As his hands floated gently over the piano, my brush floated gently over the surface of the painting. A color wash here, a bit of detail there. Harmony. Joy. Beautiful...Finished.....

The Painting of the Month is a special offer to my blog readers (click on the image for a larger view). This month Harmony in Green and Gold, which will retail for $4800, is being made available for $3200 (includes shipping, VT residents add 6% sales tax). To purchase this piece contact me at Payment is by check only please, no credit cards. If you prefer you may make 3 monthly payments. This offer is available for 30 days from the date of this post.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Harmony in Green and Gold, day 3

Very exciting! Everything is moving! The whole painting is singing, dancing, swimming in atmosphere, filled with joy! All the masses boldly stated, each object beautifully realized, there is harmony throughout, sincere, simple yet powerful. Very exciting. Visual Poetry. When most artists sit down to paint a still life they approach it with the idea of copying what is in front of them as closely as possible. I prefer to see it as a portrait, a chance to capture the personality and character of my sitter. It's more important to me that the lace be gentle and flowing rather than counting threads to make sure it is reproduced with rigorous accuracy, that the pitcher, books and fruit are not just rendered but expressed. A poetic interpretation. To quote the pirate king from The Pirates of Penzance, "For what, we ask, is life without a touch of poetry in it?"... very exciting.....

Friday, March 7, 2008

Harmony in Green and Gold, day 2

Starting a new painting is a bit like falling in love. You are both new to each other, there is great excitement, you can't wait to learn everything there is about each other. I fell hard for this still life. That first day was quite magical, short though it was, and promised some delightful days ahead in the studio. But the next day I came down with the flu. I wanted to be at my easel, laughing with the grapes, enjoying the twinkle of the stem bowl, exploring the mysteries in the shadows, discovering the subtleties that made this still life so appealing. It wanted me there too, wanted to know how good an artist I am, am I sensitive and poetic, are my skills mature enough to put into paint just how beautiful it is. For 10 days we were separated. Finally, this morning after breakfast, we met in the studio. I fumbled with a few different brushes, attempted some lame brushwork, it was an awkward conversation. I went back to the fruit in the stem bowl which had so charmed me the first day. Before long the grapes were laughing again, the glass began to sing, we were back together again.....