Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Her Vase, My Roses

It's actually a shot glass, not a vase.  She collects them.  Her stuff never ceases to surprise me and amuse me.
Oil on linen.  5 x 7

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

More Sunflowers

I love sunflowers, they are plentiful this time of year and I can't get enough of them!
I didn't have time to get very far with this painting. It's a shame, by the time I can get back to it, the sunflowers won't look so fresh.That's the price one pays for working from life and insisting on fresh flowers.  The silk ones just don't interest me enough to want to paint them.

Oil on linen.  11 x 14

Monday, August 27, 2012


I learned a lot from my painting a day routine, but I wanted a break.  A little time off to see if this routine should be carried on for another year, or stop before it became too comfortable.
I decided that I still need to acquire a certain "looseness" in my paintings and more confidence as well. I won't do a painting a day, I need some time to work on bigger pieces and get some of my atelier work done.
But I'll post  almost everyday.

Oil on linen.  9 x 12

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Beach Sketches: # 17

I painted a little later than usual today and I'm glad.  The water and the sky just melted together  at the horizon.  It was a pinky-purple-ish haze. I might not gotten it right, but I enjoyed trying.

Oil on canvas board.  6 x 8

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Beach Sketches: 4th of July

This scene could not have been more perfect if I had staged it myself; the American Flag and sandcastles.  There were a lot of children around, but I decided  not to include them. I didn't have a lot of time, the tide was coming in.

Oil on canvas panel.  6 x 8

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Beach Sketches: #15

The huddled masses; I think it's funny how everybody crowds in area and others are almost empty.

Oil on linen.  5 x 7

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Yellow Flowers

These flowers grow all over my garden.  I guess I planted them a long time ago and they keep coming back.
This time, instead of focusing on the flowers and the vase, I decided to include some of the elements in the room.  I'm tring to expand and vary my compositions a little; nothing is ever learned by repeating the same thing over and over again.

Oil on linen.  6 x 6

Friday, June 29, 2012

Beach Sketches: # 12

I was content painting the sky and ocean in my little canvas when this fellow showed up and stood in my line of view.  OK, if you insist.

Oil on canvas.  4 x 6

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Anna: Day 3

Last day not so good; the model developed a stiff neck.  We tried to accomodate her by changing the pose and I feel that my concentration suffered.  Another lesson that I must learn: to deal with these things without compromising my work.  I thought it would be best to leave the painting for a few days and get back and re work it from memory.

Oil on linen.  11 x 14

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Anna: Day 2

Fixing, adjusting, learning; it takes time.  It also takes dedication and above all, you have to love what you do.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Anna: Day 1

First day of the second portrait workshop and we have a beautiful german lady.  I'm very inspired by her looks, especially her eyes.
About the craft, I feel  comfortable with the intructor's manner of handling paint and color, it's a lot closer to the way I was originally trained.  There's something to be learned from everyone, but I feel that it's very important to stay true to our own style.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Andrew: Day 4

Last day, I'm so glad that I stayed late and put that background in.  It looks like I'll be going home with a finished piece.  That will be a first!
I had to ask the instructor about the likeness;  a few pointers got me on the right track.  I seriously need to give drawing skills more time!
Well, here it is! I'm very glad I did this and I'm looking forward to my next workshop; which will start tomorrow.

Oil on linen.  11x14

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Andrew: Day 3

Things are shaping up nicely.  I'm concentrating on the nuances of the skin tones and the form.  The likeness is a drawing problem and I will work on that.
I stayed late putting on the background.  It made the whole thing come alive!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Andrew: Day 2

Today, we  model the form paying attention to skin tones.  I like what I'm doing, but it bothers me that I don't have a very good likeness.  Something is off and I can't figure out what.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Andrew: Day 1

 I consider myself a landscape painter, and I choose to be outside rather than inside a studio.  Having said that, there are so many faces that I would love to paint and express how I feel about them. So, I signed up for two portrait workshops.This is the first step in acquiring the necessary skills.  After that, it will be practice, practice and more practice.
Today was all about  drawing, composition and establishing the light and shadow masses.  I'm always a little behind out of the gate, but I'm confident I'll do a good job.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Happy Birthday,Eddie!

I wanted to paint something to honor my friend's birthday and what can be better than his favorite lunch?
Happy Birthday, Eddie; you have won our hearts!!
About the craft, I haven't painted in a few days, lots of drawing. The whites and the geometric shapes are difficult to represent, at least for me. But it was fun, it took about 2 hours to complete. I need to do more of these. I don't like not painting, it makes me grumpy.

Oil on linen.  6 x 6

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fridays at the Met 8

Eight and last chance to work on my master copy.  I am very pleased with the work; I feel that I learned so much!! It was definetely worth the trouble.
My main concern today was to finish the hair and its decorations and to get the gesture of the eyes.  I feel that I accomplished that.  There's still a lot of details that I would like to add and a few things that I would like to fix.  But I won't, I don't want to mess it up.
So happy to finally have my "Judith" home.

Oil on canvas.  18 x 24

Monday, May 28, 2012

Beach Scketches: Memorial Day

My first scketch of the season, now I have a better idea of the information that I need to collect for future paintings.
Oil on canvas. 5 x 7

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fridays at the Met 7

My last "official" day at the Met; but since there was a little chaos at the beginning, we are getting 2 more weeks at no charge. No instructor, just museum time.
Today was very challenging,  I thought copying the face was difficult but the texture on the fabric of her dress was just as bad.  I, again, thought that I could make "my version of". Well, no! Copying is copying stroke by stroke. I'm not sure how close I came, but it was an exercise in discipline and patience.  The instructor said that most people settle for something not entirely right, because they want to be done with it.  As a result, their work never progresses to a new level and they end up wasting their money and time.  There's a lot of truth to that and, just between us, I was going to settle. I was going to let that fabric pattern go and dazzle everybody with her beautiful face. But once he called me on it, I couldn't, because I want to be the best artist that I can possibly be, and there are no shortcuts. Maybe that was the real lesson today.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lifeguard Boat

Yes, I'm on Summer mode!!  I have a show coming up in Brigantine, so I'm working on a few new paintings.  This is a studio painting done from a plein air sketch.  I did use a photo to remind me of some of the details; but mostly, it is my own notes that tell me about the colors and values.  I like it, it has a "fun" feel to it, I'm not sure if I should put the writing on the boat. I'll try it once the paint settles, so if I don't like it, I don't ruin the entire thing.

Oil on linen.  8 x 10

Sunday, May 20, 2012

White Irises

"Nothing in the whole world is of interest to me but my painting and my flowers." Claude Monet.
This statement was very true for me this morning.

Oil on canvas.  8 x 8

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fridays at the Met 6

Today was the best day I had so far, even though I managed to get lost, again!.  The guards were unusually cooperative, not disturbing my time by asking me to move back and forth.
I started early on the face, before the instructor came.  I wanted to change some lines that he put in last week.  I wish he wouldn't paint on my canvas.  I did get a lot of useful critiques from him today, mostly concerning skin tones.  I seem to lean towards the yellows too much.
The painting is coming along nicely and I'm enjoying my time at the Met.  I'm learning a lot!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Sometimes I don't want to get involved with the details.  I like these quick sketches.

Oil on linen.  9 x 12

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Flower Study: Iris

Not a good picture, I'll re take.
Vincent Van Gogh is my favorite painter of Irises.  He painted them in a vase or growing in the garden;  always taking care to show the individuality of the plant as a whole as it reaches out from the group to get to the light.

oil on canvas.  4 x 4

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fridays at the Met 5

Today was the first day that I did not get lost in the museum looking for my gallery.   Now the copying is getting more intense, trying to match the colors and overall mood of the painting and putting the eyes and some color on the nose and cheeks.  Time goes by so fast, that before I know it, it's 3 o'clock and have to rush to finish.
I love what I'm doing!!! I know there's a lot of things that could be improved with the painting, but it's not really that important to me right now, just being there, doing this, is great.  The tourist and onlookers are pretty distracting, it only bothers me when they stand too close. And I can't figure out why they would want my picture!!  I'm thinking of hanging a sign that says:"May bite if provoked", but I don't think the museum would be too happy with that.
Anyway, this is what "my Judith" looked like today.  I can't wait to bring her home.

Copy after :

Judith with the Head of Holofernes

Massimo Stanzione  (Italian, Neapolitan, 1585–1656)

Monday, May 7, 2012


This is the first of many more; my orchids have been blooming for a while now, and if I don't start painting them soon, I would have to wait 6 months to a year.
They are so beautiful and perfectly symetric, one could never do them justice.  I think of my painting them as an opportunity to study and admire them.

Oil on linen. 6 x 6

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fridays at the Met 4

Today I was told to paint her face as if it was a plaster cast, in black and white.  This is new to me, but OK, I'll do it.  I carefully apply different tones to the planes of the face, but I was told to treat the face like an egg.  From there I applied brighter blues to the shawl.  Next week I'll work on the dress and more of the face and shawl.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Magnolia Tree

There's this beautiful magnolia tree across the lake.  I know what it is, but all I see is a pink spot surrounded by greenery.  The house was not an aferthought, since somebody had to plant the tree, it made sense to represent a human presence.  I have been researching how best to put houses and buildings on a landscape; I find it very daunting.  The best advise I got was to put a landscape with a house, not a house with a landscape.  I'll keep working on it.

Oil on linen.  5 x 7

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Still Life

I put some finishing touches in the pears, fixed the plate and a few other things.  I want to bring it to a conclusion, even if I'm not crazy about it.  I think this painting is  a good learning lesson.

Oil on board. 12 x 12

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fridays at the Met 3

Had to miss last week because of a previous obligation, so I really want to work today!!
The goal was to start coloring, a soft glaze, just looking for the colors, trying to match those in the painting, how they were before they aged.  I like doing that and I think that I was doing pretty well until I reached the sky.  I put a color down, I scraped it, I  started again, scraped it again, and no matter how much I tried, did not even come close to the real thing.  There is an instructor to this workshop, I'll ask for help. He's there mostly for guidance and to make sure we don't run amock,. I don't see him more than once or twice.  In his defense, we are one copyist per gallery, so the poor man has to go from gallery to gallery to see his students.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Flower Study

This morning's painting was an effort to capture the beauty of the flower in an artistic way, in 20 minutes.

Oil on canvas.  4 x 4

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I wish the best painting time wasn't around 6:30 - 7 in the morning, but, one must follow the light.
I titled this one Spring because after I was finished I could see the yellows and greens pemeating the entire painting.
These little landscapes are the essence of my painting experience, my favorite thing to do and the only reason why I get up so early.

Oil on canvas.  4 x 6

Monday, April 23, 2012

Still Life 2

It's been a few days since I last painted.  The business of painting sometimes gets in the way of the craft.  I also cleaned and organized my studio; it was long overdue.  Just to get back into the routine, I played around with last weeks' still life.  I made the over all color scheme more cohesive; now the white jug doesnt look out of place. Two things became clear; the first, it'll take at least lifetime to master white objects, if ever.  The second: I seem to have a curious weakness for busy fabric patterns.

Oil on board.  12 x 12

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Purple Pansy

I really just wanted to paint the flower.  Looking at the painting I should have just done that.  Well, "every painting is a lesson for the next", I forgot who said it, but it's so true!!

Oil on canvas.  8 x 8

Monday, April 16, 2012

Still Life

Just experimenting using patterns.  This one is work in progress; I will change and rearrange a few things.

Oil on board.  12 x 12

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Angel in the Garden

A friend of mine gave me this tiny canvas and asked me to paint a pansy on it for her.  Well, it took a couple of years for me to comply because I was so intimidated by such a small canvas.  But today I did and I was rewarded by seeing for the first time that the dark pattern on the flowers make an angel's wings.  Does everybody know that?? Am I the last one to know?? Wow, it's beautiful!!
Thanks my friend, come and get it, you know who you are.

Oil on canvas.  2.5 x 2.5

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fridays at the Met 2

Second day of the workshop, redefining shadow shapes and studying very closely the gesture.  I tend to rush my paintings a little, a lot, I guess is from my plein air background.  Can't do that here, everything has to be observed and given a lot of thought.  My tendency would be to make my version of the painting, but that's not the goal here, so I'm struggling.  My arm wants to paint freely, but I must follow Mr. Massimo Stanzione.
I still spent some time very lost in the galleries, it did not get any better than last week.
After the workshop was finished, I stayed in the European Galleries and just looked in awe, especially in frond of Diego Velasquez's "Juan de Pareja", and Rembrandt's self portraits.
Today was a good day!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Glass and Pear

I missed my daily painting routine.  It's amazing how quickly I can get disorganized!!  Well, vacation is over, I'm ready to start again!! A painting almost every day starts today!!

Oil on linen.   6 x 6

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fridays at the Met 1

I joined a workshop on Fridays for the next 8 weeks.  The object is to copy a masterwork from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I cannot begin to describe how excited and honored I am.  To think that I have the priviledge of standing with my easel and paints in front of a mastepiece.
I chose Judith with the Head of Holofernes, painted by Massimo Stanzione(1585-1656). This picture dates from around 1640.
I am an official "copyist" at the Met; my canvas was stamped on the back, as not to be confused with the real one, and I have a permit and a locker!!
The workshop is only 3 hours.  Today I worked mostly on the charcoal drawing.  It was a pretty exhausting day, there's a lot of walking and the first day was pretty disorganized.  And of course, I got lost a lot!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

# 359: John's Tree

This is another Cherry Tree that graces my front yard.  I'm not too happy with this study, it doesn't really capture the gesture of the tree.  I'll try again tomorrow if the blooms hold.

This painting marks the first year of my blog.  I missed 6 painting days, not too bad, mostly they were traveling days.  I think this daily regimen has improved my craft.  This and the classical training I receive will hopefully make up for lost time.  I'm a late bloomer.
I will keep a blog going, but change it to be a daily painting, if possible, no promises.  This way I won't feel guilty when I can't paint.
It's been a good year, this was a good idea.  Tomorrow is a new beginning.

Oil on linen.  6 x 6

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Across the Lake

Here, I'm trying to get a sense of the willow and the house across the lake without getting too involved in the details, which I really do not see.

Oil on canvas.  4 x 6

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tree Study: Forsithyas

They seem to be holding hands and having a good time.

Oil on linen.  5 x 7

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tree Study: Kevin's Tree

 This young and beautiful Weeping Cherry graces my front yard.

Oil on canvas.  6 x 6

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Weeping Willow

This is just a quick study of this beautiful tree across the lake.

Oil on linen.  6 x 6

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Bouquet

Here's the finished version.  Finished for now.
I didn't know which one to paint first, so I painted them as a bouquet.  I need to resolve the fallen petals and put some finishing touches.

Oil on linen.  9 x 12

Monday, March 19, 2012

Almost Spring

It looks as if nature is getting ready to burst into color.
As I'm nearing the end of my Painting a Day Blog, I'm reverting back to my usual canvas size which is about 9x12.  I find that is the right size for my outdoor painting; big enough to use large brushes, but not too big that it takes too long to finish.  Light changes very fast and usually 2 hours is all that you can get to resolve the painting.

Oil on linen.  9 x 12