Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chapter 2. Tom awoke early the next morning and was anxious to get started. The canvas was already stretched and prepared with a light umber tone. He had two rules for starting a painting. One was to take your time and decide what you want to do before jumping in, and two, not to wait to paint what you are most excited about. He squared the canvas lightly in pencil and broadly sketched in the composition with vine charcoal to satisfy the first rule. But he had been dreaming about those figures all night and couldn't wait to get going on them. To the casual viewer this looked a bit like starting a portrait by painting the eye first and then building the head around it, but Tom was so well prepared for this painting that he was able to take this bold step with confidence. He had so much to say that it ended up being nearly 30 figures.

Toward the end of the day he finally got around to filling out the rest of the painting. It was all going beautifully, it was the best composition of the quarry he had ever done. Then he suddenly realized how exhausted he was. He was so excited about what he was painting that he hadn't noticed how hard he was working.....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chapter 1. Once upon a time Francis and Clare wandered into a gallery and saw a painting of the local marble quarry. While they were deciding whether or not to purchase the piece it was sold to someone else. They knew it was just what they were looking for so they contacted the artist, Tom, and commissioned him to do one for them. Tom had painted the quarry a few times before and was happy to do so again, but this time it was a little different. When he paints something for himself he can take a bit of artistic license. If the trees are shorter or the figures larger than in nature who's going to know or care? But when he is commissioned to paint something he views it as a collaboration. Francis and Clare knew the scene well and wanted the painting to be a fair representation of it. It was, therefore, important to him to find the view that best represented the quarry and to make the proportions reasonably accurate. He had been to their house and measured the space where the painting would hang so he knew the dimensions of the new piece. So one sunny afternoon, when Tom knew there would be lots of activity at the quarry, he made some compositional drawings and sketches of some of the characters on the scene. When he got back to his studio he made another drawing to the exact proportions he wanted for his painting, then squared it to transfer accurately to his canvas.....

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Ruby Red and Gold
Oil on Linen
Image 14 x 16 - Framed 20 x 22

Imagine an exhibition catalog where each painting is described as if it were an entree on the menu of a fine restaurant.
Ruby Red and Gold..... A light and lively treat. Two grapefruits, a pitcher and cloth arranged in a delightful composition, executed with bold confidence and bravura brushwork. A perfectly balanced palette dominated by yellows and golds set off with cool grays and topped with warm red glazes. Finished with a simple American frame accenting its quiet elegance.
That sounds really good. Oh curator, could I get that to go.....

The Painting of the Month is a special offer to my blog readers (click on the image for a larger view). This month Ruby Red and Gold, which retails for $2600, is being made available for $1800 (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.

This offer is currently available to my Facebook friends.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

16 x 16 Oil on Panel

It was late. It was very late. I went outside to study the night. Each step I took away from the the house took me deeper and deeper into the Stygian darkness. Except for the fact that I could feel my feet on the earth I could have been floating in space. Soon my eyes began to adjust and shapes and patterns and colors started to appear. The shapes were massive, the patterns unrecognizable, the colors variations of black. I heard music. Music that I'd never heard before. A piano sonata for the left hand alone. It was deep and lovely. I don't think it ever rose above the lowest octave on the instrument. No composer had ever stayed that low for that long. Or any painter. Even Whistler didn't go that far in his nocturnes. Rothko and a few others did black paintings but they were spiritual journeys, color experiments, abstractions. I was experiencing the landscape. The shapes became familiar. A mass of trees. No details, just a hint of form, a suggestion of color. The pattern was the tree tops against a moonless sky. The color a subtle shift from dark greens and grays and blacks to gentle, but still dark, blues and violets. Then a flash. Then another. Fireflies. Beacons of life. The right hand hovered above the piano occasionally dropping down to find a fluttering eighth note. Then another. Each with its own color. One yellow, one orange, one iridescent green. It was beautiful. I watched and listened. Then I walked back inside and began to plan my painting for the next day.....