Saturday, January 23, 2010


The Sheep Quartet
Oil on Linen
Image 9 x 12 - Framed 13 x 16

I often talk about music and painting together on this blog so to celebrate my 100th post I want to invite you to a visual concert. It is an original piece called The Sheep Quartet and all you have to do is listen to the painting. The music will, of course, have a pastoral theme. I hear it as a string quartet, 2 violins, a viola and cello. If you prefer you may substitute a flute or recorder, or maybe a piano or harpsichord, for your version. Sheep have been with us for a long time so my piece sounds like something that might be played by members of an early music ensemble, perhaps using original instruments. But sheep are also contemporary so your version may be more modern, played by friends that you have invited to your home to play for you, or with you.....

The Painting of the Month is a special offer to my blog readers (click on the image for a larger view). This month The Sheep Quartet, which retails for $1600, is being made available for $600 (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.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

After Hale finished his anatomy lecture he would go to the back of the room and critique drawings. Those who wanted to draw would work from the model while the rest of us watched the critique. One day a young man put a drawing of a standing male nude before the instructor. "I see you put a rather prominent bump on the flank of your figure. Why did you do that?" Hale asked. "Well I saw a bump so I copied it" the student replied. "After you've studied that part of the anatomy you will come to realize that the bump you saw is the external oblique. It starts at the rib cage and extends down to the crest of the pelvis" Hale said. "It has a form and a function" he continued "and the more accurately you can draw it the more human your figure will become. But you can't draw something until you know it exists." What a profoundly beautiful way to think about drawing, or life. To discover the existence of things or ideas or characteristics, of healthy food, of philosophy or music, humility and compassion, that, when applied to our lives, make us more human.....

Saturday, January 9, 2010

It always takes a few minutes to get into your rhythm when you start painting, to get your hand and mind working together. Most artists just flail around during this period and hope that they don't ruin what they did the day before. I don't like to leave anything to chance when I paint so this was a problem that had to be solved. I began to look to other disciplines to see if they had a similar situation. A musician would never step out on to the stage to give a performance without first warming up. A singer needs to vocalize. A dancer would not perform without first stretching, a runner would not begin a race without doing the same. So how does an artist warm up, vocalize, stretch? I keep a small sketch pad in the classroom and before I start to paint, or teach, I like to draw. It doesn't take very long, sometimes 5 minutes but never more than 15. Whatever I was thinking about when I entered the classroom begins to melt away, I study the model and the pose, my hand starts to feel the flow. My mind, heart and hand are working as one. I feel confidant, I'm ready to step on to the stage, to teach, to paint, let the performance begin.....

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Peonies and Lace
16 x 24 Oil on Linen

Gemstones and precious metals are the usual way to acknowledge wedding anniversaries. Being an opera lover I prefer to recognize them by composers. Your 1st anniversary, for instance, might be your Donizetti anniversary (I'm thinking here about his lighthearted paean to love L'elisir d'amore not Lucia di Lammermoor, which might be better for your 1st night anniversary, should you survive it). The 10th anniversary would be the Mozart anniversary, glorious and joyous. The 25th would be the Puccini anniversary, undeniably passionate. The 50th is the Verdi anniversary, profound and beautiful. The 75th would be Wagnerian, for longevity. Today Elizabeth and I celebrate our 25th anniversary. We observed the occasion, appropriately enough, by attending last night's performance of Puccini's Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera. It's one of those rare dramatic operas with a happy ending. The final line of the opera has the Princess Turandot announcing that she has discovered the name of the unknown prince, "Il suo nome รจ Amor!", his name is Love.....