Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hooker Falls

Part of the Dupont Forest, Hooker Falls is a short walk from the main road. I really like the way the impasto work came out in the lower left of the painting. The picture from which this was work is depicted has this rock as level with the main part of the falls, however the thick impasto makes it look like it is the side of the other rock. I guess this is one of those good accidents as I like the appearance. I think it is the focal point of the entire piece.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Falls Lake in July

The work was a welcome relief from the some of the bigger canvases I just finished.  This 16x20” work took me under 25 hours to complete.  The satisfaction level is a bit different from larger works, but the early stages of the painting process are more gratifying since there is always a clear end in site.  When working on a piece larger than say 30x40” I can work for 8 hours and look at what was done and think very little was accomplished.  This can be a bit daunting at times, so smaller canvases are a nice change of pace. 

This is one of several paintings I have done of Falls Lake.  Being the picture was taken on sunny day in the summer there are obviously some dominant greens.  Chromium Oxide Green is one of my favorite greens.  This is a very opaque green, I can use this straight out of the tube to achieve full coverage.  This is very different from another of my favorite greens – Permanent Green Light.  Here I try to mix about 10% white to achieve a good opacity.  This does not weaken the color at all, in those instances where I want to use this color for its transparent qualities it actually provides a subtle contrast.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Someplace Like Home

In early September One View from my Back Porch (Top) was juried into the Someplace Like Home Show.  The show was sponsored by the Junior League of Raleigh a part of a Shopping Spree at the Raleigh Convention Center.  I really liked the works selected for this show as there was alot of diversity both in style and technique.  I look forward to again submitting works to this show next year.

I found Judy Bauman's My Neighborhood (Bottom) piece quite striking. Very interesting use of space and color.  I think this work won an award.  It certainly was very deserving of one.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Robert Rauschenberg, Curly Howard

Two admirable people with more commonalities then one might think

Robert Rauschenberg's use of everyday "found" objects in his art artwork suggests the line between life and  art might not even be a line, but they are both one entity.   I admire the diversity of Rauschenberg's works; a piece such as the untitled "combine" that is shown combines dozens of snapshots of life to create a chaotic interplay of pictures and colors.  Yet I see a work like this and compare it to some of his monochrome work of pure simplicity and I can see the brilliance of his ability to change techniques, but still keep an abstract expressionist style.

Every male member of my family from ages 4 to 80 loves the Three Stooges.  Simplistic humor that does not ask any thought provoking questions.  It is only there to help us enjoy the absurdity of everyday life. Curly is my favorite of all the Stooges, seeing the way my 8 year old son laughs at him until his belly hurts, puts life in a much simpler place.  And like the work of Rauschenberg helps me to understand that art and life are pretty much the same thing.

You might be asking why on earth am I writing about these two people on my blog.  Well . . . They have another commonality that I too share with them. The three of us were all born on October 22.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

North Carolina State Fair

My family and I went to State Fair last night. As always we had a great time! This was the first year I submitted artwork to the Fair's Juried Show. I was fortunate enough to have my
Eno River piece selected. This was very different from any other show I have been in. Before going to the Fair, I really had no idea whether one , two or zero pieces were selected, so the anticipation was alot of fun.

I love seeing the different levels of art. Everything from Kindergarten to professional. I am certain I will never see this type of diversity in any gallery show.

There is no doubt this is most foot traffic that my artwork will get for a while. The place was packed! I am happy that amongst the giant pumpkins and prize winning livestock one of my paintings can take its place at the North Carolina State Fair.

Now it's time to get on the treadmill and try to lose the corn dogs and chili fries that I enjoyed at the Fair.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

San Antonio

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit San Antonio twice in my life.  The last time I was there was in December of 2007 when I saw Penn State defeat Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl.  The riverwalk is just a real fun place to see; great food, great art, just a lot of happy people. During this trip I became real interested in Oaxacan wood carved art.  The intricate painted designs and the hand carving represent an enormous amount of time and detail.  I bought a Oaxacan rhinoceros during this trip, this is an incredible piece that is currently adorning my dining room.

The painting shown of course reflects the riverwalk.  I generally do not paint a lot of cityscapes, but this was fun because the aspects of water, trees and sky all were immersed with the buildings and other man made structures.  This was done exclusively with acryl gouache, it was interesting to see how water would look using just opaque colors, but I think it creates a pretty interesting effect.  

Monday, October 12, 2009

Using Dried Paint/Glazing Medium in Paintings

I almost always use acrylic glazes in my paintings.  Generally I mix about 20% paint to 80% medium.  Usually the technique only requires a fraction of the mixture and the rest ends up drying in the palette.  I began experimenting with these dried paint skins by cutting out shapes, usually I use gel medium as a glue to adhere these shapes right on the canvas.  Below is a technique where I use these dried paints in conjunction with impasto medium.  The demonstration was a practice for the larger piece shown at the bottom right.

  1. Using masking tape I isolate the area where the paint/impasto medium will be applied
  2. I use an exacto knife to create a rough edge, to make one side of the tree
  3. I mix about 20% paint with 80% Impasto Medium
  4. I apply the mixture on the intended area
  5. Using a palette knife I smooth out the mixture and remove the tape.
  6. After cutting out a selection of shapes form the dried glaze mixture, I imbed those directly into the impasto mixture to represent the tree bark
  7. The impasto medium mixture takes about 24 hours to dry.  
  8. When dry the impasto mixture will hold the glaze chips securely in place

I have a video on this at

The finished painting is the 5th painting in my Beidler Forest Series.

Comments, criticism and questions are always welcomed.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Valle Crucis Paintings

I recently finished three painting for some friends of mine.  The pictures depict an area of Western North Carolina where they were married.  I feel these are some of my most major works to date.  Comments and criticism are of course welcome.

Valle Crucis #1 (View from Herb Thomas Road)
 30x60" Acrylic (Top)
After spending some time at St John’s Episcopal Church where Jane and Braden were married I decided the best view was overlooking the valley from the road leading up to the church. It was a little overcast that day, but the sky still offered some incredible blues.  Using several layers of masking tape and glazes, I created a cloudy sky.  To further accentuate the clouds I outlined some of the cloud formations using Acryl Gouache.  I feel the sky is the best part of the painting.  The field was done in a similar way to the sky with contrasting greens accentuated with grass blades painted with Acryl Gouache.   

Valle Crucis #2 (Waterfalls near Conference Center) 30x60" Acrylic  (Middle)
A long uphill climb led us to a breathtaking waterfall about a mile from the Valle Crucis Conference Center.  I love painting waterfalls, the motion of the water allows for many different possibilities.  In painting the waterfall for this painting I used 20/80 ratio of paint to glazing medium and then used detail applicator bottles to apply the waterlines.  I really like the top middle of this piece, there is just enough bright yellows used to give the impression of light coming through the dense forest.  The big rock at the bottom was created using a thick layer of neutral grey and impasto medium.   

Valle Crucis #3 (Crab Orchard Creek) 30x60" Acrylic (Bottom)
 Located close to the Apple Barn at the Valle Crucis Conference Center is Crab Orchard creek.  The tranquil stream is typical of most mountain streams, being very shallow and more rocky than muddy.  This landscape allows for some interesting glazing techniques.  The sienna glaze on top of the creek surface gives an effect of the water surface where can see but not define the rocks underneath.  The most interesting part of this work is the left side; Here I used detail bottles and poured glaze to create some of the leaves.  At the bottom I actually used dried glaze and applied the chips with gel medium. This was the most time consuming painting of three, but I feel it is the best offering several different painting techniques and a diverse array of colors.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Artist Trading Cards - I Want to Send you One!

From time to time I like to take a diversion from larger canvases and work on Artist Trading Cards (ATC’s).  A typical painting will take 40+ hours, where a 2.5x3.5” card takes under a half hour.  Strathmore makes these cards on variety of different surfaces and small mats and frames are available to make a nice presentation.  I never sell these, but rather just enjoy trading them with my peers or making these with my kids.  Growing up on a culture of trading baseball cards, I never dreamed that thirty years later I would be trading ATC’s. 

If you are interested in receiving one of my ATC’s, please join my e-mail list and send me an e-mail with your name, address, etc.  I promise to send you an ATC at some point in the next few months.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mandy Budan

I came across an outstanding artist recently.  This is the work of Mandy Budan from the Toronto area.  I can relate to her work in many ways.  Her use of contrasting colors is amazing.  In the Kaleidoscope painting shown you definitely see a defined sky as a background for a complicated tree image.  The choice of violet for this sky and the dark violets vs. lights really accentuates the tree. The swirling branches and the details on the tree trunk further add to this great painting.

An outstanding work Mandy.  Congratulations!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hoop Hole Creek

Located in Atlantic Beach, NC, Hoop Hole Creek offers some interesting compositions. It is not a beach scene, but has marshes, dunes and twisting trees that one might fine on the southern east coast.

This painting consists of 12, 10x10" Gessobord panels mounted to an oak board,  My goal was to create one composition, but each panel would use a different painting technique.  The following are some of the techniques I used:

Row 1 - Middle Panel - Using glaze as a pourable paint 
After painting much of the sky and some of the tree using traditional heavy bodied acrylics, I created an impasto barrier about 1/4" high.  From there I poured a mixture of paint and glazing medium.  The impasto "wall" confined the liquid to the panel.  While still wet I dropped some chips of dried glaze in the liquid to represent the leaves and branches.

Row 3 - Middle Panel - After applying masking tape on the panel, I used an exacto knife to cut out the shapes of different tree branches.  I then layered a mixture of impasto medium and pant into the cut out area.  With the impasto mixture still wet I inserted some pieces of dried glaze.

Row 4 - Left Panel - Before applying any paint I used a generous amount of gesso on the panel. From there I used a palette knife and some other instruments to create different sculptural effects. The background made for several peaks and valleys which added to the painting process.

Row 4 - Right Panel - Being this was the sand part of the composition I mixed in actual sand with the paint.  The texture is very subtle, but up close it helps convey the beach effect.

Comments and criticism are always welcome.