Monday, August 28, 2017

"Garden of Eden Beans" - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas - SOLD"

Garden of Eden Beans - 6 x 6 inches - oil on canvas
Last weekend I dropped by a friend’s house, and, as we sat chatting at his kitchen counter, a neighbor came by to drop off beans she had just picked from the garden.  She had the beans in a berry basket and I was immediately struck by the color combination of the aqua basket with the green of the beans.   

Before I left, I asked if I could take home some beans to paint as I thought they were quite beautiful.  I gotta be honest, he seemed a bit reluctant to let them go and asked if I planned to eat them (as I assume he wanted to make sure they wouldn’t go to waste).

I had my own berry basket at home (you can probably tell that I like painting these as I’ve done several in recent weeks) so I filled it with my handful of beans, added a few cherry tomatoes and put everything on a dishtowel.

I started with a bright pink wash of acrylic and painted the beans first and then the basket.   I decided on a very dark background to add drama and contrast to the beans.  I had my choice of several dish towels but settled on one with blue stripes as I liked the extra pop of color in my composition.  The painting flowed easily without many sticking points along the way so I was quite happy when I finished.

I was told these are called “Garden of Eden” beans and after I painted them, I enjoyed them immensely!  They were crisp and sweet and juicy.   I ate them raw and loved every last crunch.

Monday, August 21, 2017

"Maine Coast" - 12 x 16 inches - oil on canvas

"Maine Coast" - 12 x 16 inches - oil on canvas
Last week I played hooky from work on the most glorious summer day and took a trip up to York, Maine to visit with friends who have rented the same cottage for the past 40 years.  Their cottage is only steps to the famous Nubble Lighthouse which was a pretty cool backdrop for the afternoon.  

We spent the day telling stories, eating, laughing and just soaking up the sun.  I didn't think about much of anything other than simply enjoying the moment.

I brought my paints along but never pulled them out.  Instead, I walked along the rocks and took several photographs of their amazing view.  When I returned home, I was definitely inspired to capture the experience in paint.  

In other news, last week my painting "Diversity" sold at the Artists Corner and Gallery in West Acton, MA.  Apparently, the woman who purchased it has a son who is autistic.  He only verbalizes a few words and donut is one of them.  So, when she saw the painting she knew she had to have it. 

That story was a good reminder that art enriches our lives in so many ways.  I sometimes think about the fact that my paintings are hung in various homes around the country and it is humbling to know that I can brighten someone's day with the images that I create.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Seoul, South Korea - 12 x 16 inches - oil on canvas

Below is a progression of a commission of a street scene in Seoul, South Korea that I recently completed.  My reference photo was a bit dark so it created a bit of a challenge.  Fortunately, the structure in the center is a famous landmark (called the Sungnyemun Gate) so I was able to find other photos to help me see its colorful and elaborate architecture.

I started with a thin wash of orange over the entire canvas as I knew there would be a lot of blue in this painting so I picked the complement to make the blue shine a bit brighter.

As you look down at the progression of photos, you'll notice that I started in the background and worked my way forward.

I stayed pretty true to the reference photo but to balance the composition, I asked if it would be ok to add a car or a bus entering from the right side.  We agreed on adding a car.

One of the biggest challenges was the tall office building behind the Sungnyemun Gate.  You can see that I initially included some detail on the windows but later softened and blurred the detail so that it wouldn't become an area to focus on.

I was given a pretty long lead time so I spent several weeks thinking about the painting before I even put my brush to the canvas.  I've heard that painting is 90% mental and 10% execution and in this case it was definitely true!  This was a challenge but I was pleased with the final painting and more importantly, so was my client!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Olivia - 8 x 8 inches - oil on canvas

"Olivia" - 8 x 8 inches - oil on canvas
I just finished this commission of "Olivia" who was a "bagel" (part Basset Hound and part Beagle).  Olivia always had a bit of a worried expression on her face but was the sweetest dog.  She was adopted with her brother, Beau, who I painted last week.  

Beau and Olivia's claim to fame is that they were selected to be the Grand Marshalls at the 2015 Tri-State Bassett Hound Rescue BoardWaddle Parade in Ocean City, NJ.  

Olivia recently passed away so this portrait will be a loving reminder of her sweet face.

Commissions can be challenging especially with mediocre photos.  I much prefer to take my own so that I can control the lighting and position of my subject.  Below is the reference photo that I was given.  

This photo presented a couple problems for me.  Most importantly, her eyes are very dark and I can't see much detail at all.  Fortunately, there were other photos so I used those to determine how to paint her eyes.  The second major issue was beneath her chin.  I think she has folds of skin that hang down in front of her neck so that only a piece of her collar and tags showed.  Considering I just couldn't figure out exactly what was happening, I turned her bandanna around so that the knot was across her back and the bandanna covered the area below her neck.  I kept the color subtle so that it isn't something you really notice unless you study the painting.