Category Archives: oil paint

Islands at the Schoodic Peninsula, Acadia, Maine

I heard a fog horn when I left breakfast and drove around the loop road in a fog mentally. It’s so pretty I was just day dreaming and didn’t recognize my overlook pull off because the tide was low and it looks totally different at low tide. It was a fun drive on the loop because from one spot up on the hill I was in the clear but could look down on a thick fog rolling in. It was sunny so the fog was bright. Then you go around a corner and it’s gone. If you look away for a minute it’s back. Plus, the trees are all at peak fall color on 186. Acadia has mostly pines but there are colorful trees too.

rocks with seaweed close up

Yesterday I went back out on the rocks at the point in the afternoon and looked down in the chasm at the water churning in. It was too windy. I couldn’t sketch.

I heard someone say, “Is that a seal?” So I looked where they were looking and yes it was a seal in the water with his head up looking at the people. Then he was gone.

close up of background trees and rocks in shadow

I did those skinny tree trunks with the edge of my palette knife.

Tonight I’m having lobster!!

close up of reflections

The first time I painted the water I used my modified fan brush and it looked weak so I did it again with my round brushes using a cooler gray blue and a very light tint of warm gray trying to make the direction of waves. Some times the reflection is there and then it’s gone. I wasn’t sure about painting it then decided to give it a try. Moving water is a challenge. I could use more practice. I hope this is convincing to the art viewer’s eye.

Tomorrow I’m going to drive home. And the next day. I want to come back already.

Homage to Surf and Turf / with close ups

That was fun and I think it worked out. I’ll try another pointillist painting next year.

If you eat enough crabs you find a claw gripping a leg sometimes. PETA would tell you this is why not to eat crabs. They think their death is a violent struggle. It’s not. When the crab hits the boiling water it’s dead instantly and cooking. They jump and snap their claws but that’s a reflex. When you cut the head off a chicken it can still run. Could the chicken be alive without a head? I don’t think so. The same thing with a snake. They keep moving without a head. The crab has similar nerves but if it got out of the pot and back into the bay it would be dead in the bay.

The legs come off easy in nature. When a predator tries to catch a crab the leg comes off and the crab doesn’t die. It escapes from the predator and grows a new leg! Some sea critters can direct stem cells in their bodies to replace a lost limb. Scientists are trying to learn how they do it so humans can grow new limbs or organs or what they need to live longer.

I had to buy more crabs so I could mix the right colors. I like the colors of nature and try to match them most of the time. When I started dotting this crab I had one on the table as a model and I noticed that my sketch in the underpainting stage wasn’t finished. The crab has a face from this perspective and I dotted it in. He looks happy. The crab mouth isn’t a horizontal slit. It’s more like two vertical slits from what I could see feeding ghost crabs last year.

This is a focal point on the far right, a black dot close to white dots.

This is another reason I’m glad I didn’t skip the color rough stage. When I did the rough I wasn’t sure about how to paint the table top. Checked tablecloth or no checks? And where to draw the edge of the table so one crab can be falling off. I didn’t do the checks and the painting doesn’t need them. I lowered the edge of the table and now I like the way that one leg breaks the line.

The subject falling off the edge of the table is an old master trick to make the art viewer want to be in the picture. You want to push it back from the edge. The masters often had fabric or plates or grapes or something going off the edge. It also represents “we all fall down”.

I wasn’t originally planning to have the horse step on the crabs but when I drew it on the canvas with charcoal I made corrections on the sketch and the hoof was on the crabs. I decided not to redraw it, just let it be.

The horse was really hard to do. It’s a view where you see down onto the horse’s back which foreshortens the neck and legs. Also the right front hoof is closer to you than the right rear hoof. Since you’re looking at it on an angle instead of directly from the side the body is slightly foreshortened. I drew it and redrew it so many times all freehand. I knew if I kept at it I’d get something close to visually realistic. This was good drawing practice.

I leave you with some flowers.

Hopes and Plans / oil abstracts

This is my car sliding through New York City without having to stop in a traffic jam because it’s early on a Sunday morning and I’m sailing across the Tappan Zee Bridge which I found without getting lost even once.

This is me making piles of things I need for my vacation which will all fit in the trunk of my car and I’ll have all the art supplies I need in Maine which I couldn’t take along if I flew there.

Unless these abstracts look like something else to you, in which case whatever you think is right, good or bad, because the art viewer’s interpretation is the correct one despite what the artist intends, so they said at the academy.

pointillist painting progress report and plan

close up photo with horse hoof still showing up in the underpainting stage on top

I got a start on my 5 crabs and 1 crab claw. I’ll have to go over the crabs again when this dries. You can see a lot of the underpainting gray showing through the dots. If I fill that in with more dots the crabs will be brighter and more solid looking. It took hours to dot the first crab colors but the second layer of paint will be a little faster and easier.

On Oct. 1 I’m leaving for my vacation in Maine. I’m counting down the days. Art camp is Oct. 6 to the 13th. I’m driving so I think I’ll get to Acadia on the 3rd and I’ll have a couple days to scout for the best locations to paint and maybe get a sketch. One week isn’t much time for me to do a painting since I go through a slow process ( I won’t try to do pointillism ) but I got 2 paintings done at the Ghost Ranch in one week and if I don’t finish a painting in 1 week I can stay a few extra nights in Bar Harbor if I want to. There’s no reason I’d have to rush home.

The thing I really like about art camp is that they advertise it as “no drama” which means no pressure, no contest, no judgement, etc. All the Plein air painters there will be knocking out a painting every day, some will be doing more than 2 a day. But I’m free to do whatever I want to and I won’t hear anything about it if I don’t put my painting up for display every night. Because I don’t really want to paint like that.

Also, the food will be great if the Ghost Ranch was any indication of future food plans. I’m a big fan of Eric for putting these great art vacations together, I’ve wanted to go to Acadia for 20 years. 20 years ago I entered an art show in Kennebunkport and got accepted so I shipped my painting and my daughter went with me to the opening. Acadia is North of Kennebunkport but I wanted to see more of Maine and when we got to Acadia it was cold. It was warm in VA. and she didn’t bring her coat so we just drove around the loop but didn’t hike.

Phone reception and internet access might be spotty up there but I’ll take my camera and lap top so I can do a blog post from art camp if possible. And I hope I can finish this still life before I go.

underpainting for Homage to Surf and Turf

This will be my new pointillism experiment. I wish I knew how the pointillism masters did it because I like the visual effect. It’s kind of a color experiment. I tried to do a dot painting before and I’m still trying to figure out what works best. Do they draw an outline on a white canvas and start dotting on white or do they do and underpainting? I did the underpainting because this is complicated. I’m guessing Seurat did an underpainting.

My underpainting is in warm and cool gray. The areas showing up in warm gray will be dotted on top with cool colors and the crabs, horse and flowers will be warm colors so they are the blue gray in the underpainting. The underpainting colors might show through or even if they don’t show they will have some effect on the finished dot colors.

Some times I try a color experiment using complimentary colors in the underpainting and I don’t always like the finished look. These crabs, if I used green that is the compliment of red, or blue is the compliment of orange, the two main colors in the crab being shades of red and orange, the color contrast would be very strong. In fact it might look psychedelic which is not my favorite look in a painting. So this time I used grays instead of pure blue or green for this part. I hope you can see what I’m trying to do, make color contrast but not so contrasty that it looks psychedelic.

This is a big painting for dotting all over it. What if I have to go over it twice?! OH NO!! hahaha Then what if it looks stupid finished?! OH H-LL NO!! It could happen. That’s how it is with art experiments. I’ll give it my best shot but it could take a couple more weeks so don’t worry, I’ll post it and let you decide, either way.

this painting will never be seen again

Spring blooming magnolia with Southern magnolia in the background

It’s 24 x 36, oil paint. I worked hard on it, first doing pastel sketches of the flowers because the flowers don’t last long and a charcoal sketch of the branches. Then I painted the background first which is a finished background.

This is one of the paintings that got stolen from my door when I was moving a few years ago and the key got stuck in the lock so I ran over to the apartment office which was about 100 yards away but they were closed because it was 5 already and when I got back to the new apt. the art I left at the door instead of putting back in my car was GONE!! Stolen by my would be neighbor. I didn’t take that apt and they gave me my money back to keep me from going on yelp. A few days later almost everything was returned to me by another artist who lives in the same complex but in another building. He wasn’t the one who stole it. The neighbor who stole it probably saw that guy carrying canvases into his apt. across the yard between the buildings and put my things at his door. He opened his door to go out and it was blocked by my art. His name was coincidentally Chris and he had a lot of his own paintings and wouldn’t take a reward. My phone number was on the back of one drawing.

That happened in 2020 at the start of the lockdown and I got a hotel room at the ocean front after vacating the old apt and putting my things in a mini storage. I enjoyed the hotel for a week and it wasn’t expensive then got the apt I’m in now and it is much quieter and safer than the apt. at the ocean front.

I was glad to get my art back. It was all my best stuff from so many years. This was a new painting from 2019. Every time I move I give away or throw away a lot of art because you never know when your number will be up and I don’t want to leave my daughter with hundreds of canvases so I get rid of a few at a time and now I’m painting on canvas paper a lot because it’s more practical for storage.

I don’t get a sentimental attachment to my paintings. They are all just another step to making a better artist of me. It doesn’t matter how hard I worked on a painting or how much time is in it. All my life I’ve been working many hours and never saw much money for my labor or got any praise for it. I’m just a worker bee. That’s what we do.

I had this hanging in my apt. for a few years but now I’m tired of it and I know I can do better. It’s not going to be a give away. It’s going directly into the dumpster.

It’s hard to get a decent photo of the painting because it’s a little shiny from my Maroger medium. I’ll paint the magnolia flowers again another time.

bay painting update

This is a 24 x 30 canvas. Now I wish I had a 24 x 36 so I could paint more ships out there. They look huge when they come into the picture on the right but you can see them far away too. Sometimes if you hang around there for a couple hours you can see 12 or more boats of different kinds.

I’ll go back tomorrow and paint the sky when we get some nice clouds. Today it’s sunny and only a little haze. I’ll paint the fence when I get the clouds in then I’ll have to go back with my sketchbook and do some ship sketches. I want to paint people in the scene too. The water’s still too cold to get in but the kids are working on their sand excavations in the afternoon.

It was cool with a strong breeze out of the Southeast this morning. I had to keep a hand or foot on the canvas or it would blow down. Sand got all over it and into the paint on my palette.

wave close up with sandbar

A man came over to check my progress and he said he didn’t notice the sand bar until he saw it in my painting.

OH NO! Look at all those little lines I painted! Yikes! The jurors would h8 it! You’re supposed to use big brushes and simplify! Not spend hours painting lines!! hahahaha When some well meaning person tells me to use bigger brushes I say, “Yeah, I should use big brushes.” Then I use whatever brush I want to use.

beach scene underpainting / oils

It was great to get out on the beach today, cool, (45*F.) sunny and windy at around 10mph out of the West. I faced East so the wind was on my back and not blowing my canvas down, which was standing on the sand leaning on my beach cart. I sat on a washed up board and felt fine out there but not a lot of people were on the beach.

I have big plans for this painting. It could take a while. I’d like paint pilings, dune grass, people and a ship. I’ll have to take my sketchbook and try to get sketches of people and a ship. The waves looked like they will be easy because they’re small. This is close to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The Atlantic is 5 miles or so East.

modern art fun / oil paint

Kayaker on rapids

This is just another fun play thing I did by slapping down some paint and scraping through it with my palette knife in different directions. I didn’t have any idea in mind, just to go with the flow.

This is me reading a story to the kids at the Y

Next week I’ll get started on another Plein air painting but it’s too windy today and will probably be windy tomorrow too.

I don’t know what this thing is.

Do you see anything in this picture?