Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

~Dr Seuss

Wishing You a Merry Christmas!


North Carolina Cotton Field - 30x40" Acrylic on Canvas

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park #2

When I snapped the picture that was the subject of this painting I knew it was love at first sight. Most of my paintings evolve away from the picture and I begin to take alot of liberties with color and light and other style elements. This however was really a perfect composition. Even my first glance of the river while driving in Rocky Mountain National Park, I knew this scene at that moment would eventually be captured on canvas.

My trip to Colorado took place in the Summer, but this had alot of Fall colors which are great! The red tree really gives a nice accent. It may be difficult to see through the picture, but the rocks in the in raging river are created with thick layers of impasto and dried paint and glazing medium. A real 3 dimensional effect on the canvas.

I painted this during a period in my life when I had alot of external distractions. This coupled with the elaborate detail made the process take nearly two months. In the end I feel this might be my strongest work to date.

Rocky Mountain National Park #2 - 30x40" Acrylic on Canvas

Monday, November 29, 2010

When Life gets in the way of Art

November has been a challenging month. Confrontations at my day job and elsewhere have made it difficult to focus my time in front of the easel. Even when I do find time to paint I find my mind is wandering from color mixing and painting details to bothersome things unrelated to my life as an artist. With November nearing its sweet end I feel a bit re-energized to paint more. Having spent part of the Thanksgiving break in Pittsburgh, I feel somewhat inspired by the great art of that incredible city. The picture shown reflects our visit to the Andy Warhol museum. Like the person the building represents, the museum is way ahead of its time. Several hours spent in the Museum and many more hours spent in the car driving home gave me alot of time to reflect. It made me feel better and rejuvenated that we bought some Andy Warhol note cards at the gift shop with a quote by Warhol on the back of the box:

You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

3 the Hard Way

Last night I attended a screening of the documentary “3 the Hard Way”. The movie was filmed and directed by my friend Robert King. Lisa King did the behind the scenes photography. The story documents a project by Raleigh Artists Sean Kernick, Paul Friederich and Georges LeChevallier – the three artists each began with two or three surfaces and each created a piece of art before exchanging the work with the other two artists who subsequently added their own creative elements to the artwork.

While this is not a groundbreaking idea as far as art projects there are few things that made this exceptional. Robert did an amazing job in the production of the film. There was an element of intrigue of what the finished works would look like – this coupled with brilliant cinematography made an entertaining documentary that even kept my 9 and 7 year old sons interested.

The other stand out aspect of this project and film was the cohesion and uniqueness of the artists. Whenever a project like this starts there is always a concern that the artistic styles will be too similar or too different. I did a project as a kid where the teacher asked students to partner up – one student would paint one half of a subject the other student the other half. The problem was that each student had been instructed the same methods of painting by the teacher so the end results were pretty dull since they looked too similar. Conversely if we had a time machine and asked Andy Warhol to collaborate with Johannes Vermeer on a project it might be interesting but very lacking in cohesion. The styles of artists in this film are different enough to be anything but boring, yet not so far out there that the finished works lacked any continuity from one artist to the next.

The pictures shown are a few of the finished pieces by the artists. These are the result of a cartoonist, a graffiti artist and a mixed media painter. Well done guys!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Down Home: Portraits of the Old North State

Last night I attended the exhibit "Down Home Portraits of the Old North State". The show was sponsored by the Carolina Color Gallery and held at the Raleigh Convention - as part of the Raleigh Junior League's Shopping Spree event. Melissa Peden and Megg Rader juried the show and selected 34 works for the show. I submitted two pieces Sweetwater Creek and Lake Waccamaw. Both my submissions were selected and I found out last night (On my 40th birthday) that Sweetwater Creek was awarded First Place! Needless to say I was thrilled!

It was a really nice selection of art at the show. With all due respect to all photographers and three dimensional artists out there it is nice to see a show consisting of paintings, drawings and and other media. Along with mine (top) the works shown on this entry are those of Adam Breakey (second from top) Jan Van Wyk (third from top), and Margot Holloman (bottom and Honorable Mention). These are a few of the works that stood out for me as quite exceptional.

Now if there can only be a red dot sticker next to some of those paintings, turning 40 might not seem so ominous. :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hanging Rock State Park

On Sunday we spent the day at Hanging Rock State Park in central North Carolina. It was a great day and I got many cool pictures for future paintings. Ideally we should have been there about a week later as the peak foliage is still not present. Still there are some really nice reds and yellows in the pictures - This will be a nice change as my palette has become way too green as of late.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Where do I get my Inspiration?

Where do I get my inspiration?
This is a question that I am often asked and one that almost always leaves me speechless. The truth is, the reason I create art is not through inspiration but art is my destiny and purpose in life. Yes I know this sounds pompous and perhaps even canonical but to me this is crystal clear. It is hard for me to believe in luck or coincidence when so many things lead me directly toward art.

Growing up I spent a lot of time watching TV in the room adjacent to my Dad’s studio, I was by no means my father’s apprentice, in fact I often mocked some of the art he was doing. Yet the potent smell of printing ink and all those painful trips to art museums were influencing me in ways far beyond my understanding. My adolescence had me doing everything but what my parents did, so I played a lot of sports and participated in activities that I thought to be far removed from art. The immediate years after college had me seeking the almighty dollar – I did not want to be a “starving artist” I wanted money and while I had no idea what I wanted as a career the idea of an artist was far removed from my thought process. I took a job selling art materials thinking that to be business and retail not “creating art”. For the most part I enjoyed my job, but I still wanted more – After some personal trials I found that during my evenings I had more time on my hands, but I still do not think it a coincidence or dumb luck that I picked up a paint brush one night.

I read a quote recently stating “luck is the point where preparation and opportunity meet.” I believe this to be true, but for me it is a little different – remember for 40 years I had no desires or dreams to be an artist. There is no greater feeling in the world to realize a purpose you have in this life.

Shown - Tobacco Field at Old Milburnie Road - 10x30" Acrylic on Canvas

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Is Art Fun?

Is art fun? Today I was asked this question at my job during a meeting for a new fledgling project. A question that I would think would have a definite YES - seemed much more difficult to answer. I spend hours and hours each week in front of my easel, at my day job I spend even more time reviewing art materials and focusing on how to better improve an artist's life, many weekends are spent at museums, galleries and shows. So... probably 90% or so of my awake life (we'll leave dreams and nightmares out for now) is spent doing art, observing art or learning and selling art materials. Shouldn't it be fun!!?? The same person that asked me this question, also later stated during the meeting that art is way for one to learn more about oneself. I certainly believe this is true. This past Saturday as I finished painting the picture that is shown on this entry, I often thought I really would rather be watching college football than sitting in a lonely, isolated room with just my thoughts and my painting. Yet something kept me there . . . perhaps it is my compulsive personality, perhaps I knew I had deadlines to meet, perhaps if I did not paint that day I thought the painting might be inferior. It never occurred to me that the reason I was alone in my studio on a sunny 80 degree day in the middle of football season was that I might be having fun!

I perplexed this question about art being fun for a few hours after it was asked. I think asking me if art is fun is asking me if I enjoy life. Like anyone I have good and bad days, but my life always gravitates back to art. To me fun seems like more of a temporary word. "I had a fun time at dinner the other night". To use "fun" as it relates to art and my life discounts the massive impact art plays in my life. In some ways it is even spiritual - One rarely describes spirituality as fun, but it is often described as positive and fulfilling.

As I sit here now with the computer in front of me and the easel behind me, there seem to be alot of fun things to do between now and when I go to sleep . . . It's already 6:30 - I should be painting by now.

(Shown) Pocosin Lakes Wildlife Refuge - 9x12" Acrylic on Canvas

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wake Forest Area Artists' Studio Tour

October 2nd and 3rd will be the final weekend of the 2010 Wake Forest Area Artists Studio Tour. Pleas come by my home studio as I have about 25 paintings set up outside my house for sale. For directions and full details please visit my link at Wake Forest Area Artists.

These are a few of the pieces that I recently finished that will be part of the selection at the Studio Tour.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Opening at Horace WIlliams House in Chapel Hill

Today I attended the opening of a show of my recent works. The show is presented by the Preservation Society of Chapel Hill and runs through October 24th. The Horace WIlliams house is a gorgeous historic home that is ideal for displaying artwork. 24 paintings are currently on display. Many of my friends as well as friends of the Preservation Society attended the opening - if you missed it be sure to check it out over the next month.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Some Small Paintings of Rocky Mountain National Park

Oh those smaller paintings are so much trickier.

These 5x7" works reflect scenery I saw during my summer travels in Northern Colorado. Both are acrylic on watercolor paper. Both look really nice when they are matted and framed. These are a few of the works available this weekend during the Wake Forest Area Artists' Studio Tour.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Yesterday my family and I attended SPARKCON in downtown Raleigh. SPARKCON is an outdoor festival focusing on a wide variety of creative activities like art, music and fashion. A great event and alot of fun for young and old.

I was very fortunate in that I was asked to judge the Middle School category for the street chalk painting portion of the event. These bright young ladies took the "green" theme and created an original and very accomplished work of art worthy of a prize in this show.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Yes, this weekend marks the official start of the NFL and the first full weekend of college football. The weekend kick off early on Saturday with Peter and Jimmy sporting the black and gold for the Capital City Steelers. An evening of Penn State vs. Alabama and a Sunday afternoon of the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on Atlanta make this a full weekend filled with obelisk shaped balls and a few cold beverages here and there. I’m not sure a paint brush is in my destiny this weekend.

Looking at Jack Lambert’s picture I can already see an NFL future for Peter.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Louie: 1998-2010

Yesterday we went to the vet and had our dog Louie put to sleep. I will really miss Lou, many afternoons he slept at the base of my easel and kept me company while I painted the day away. To quote Will Rogers " If dogs don't go to heaven, when I die I want to go wherever they went."

I'll see you again soon pal.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sunset Over a Wake County Tobacco Field

For the past couple of months I have really been using geometry and shapes to emphasize elements in my paintings. While I feel this experimentation has been successful, I probably have been too focused on that one aspect and subsequently have neglected other important areas. In looking at my past two paintings (Atlantic Beach and Rocky Mountain National Park) blues and greens dominate the entire surface. I don't think I squeezed one drop of red or mixed one stroke of orange or yellow in hours upon hours of painting. Hopefully my latest painting addresses this issue with a more vibrant palette of colors. The sunset over the field provides a nice contrast of the sky against the trees, while the reds, yellows and oranges give the paintings some punch with colors I do not often use.

Sunset Over a Wake County Tobacco Field - 16x20" Acrylic on Canvas

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park

My first complete painting reflecting my travels in Rocky Mountain National Park. A magnificent area indeed! So many inspirations arose from this trip, I was not quite sure where to begin as I have hundreds of pictures from the few days I spent in Colorado. The mountains are very different from those in North Carolina. Unlike the mountains in western NC that are densely covered with trees and vegetation, the Rockies have many barren spots that are just short grass and foliage. This is evident in this painting where the tree line start about 1/3 of the way up the mountain.

The colors of the setting allowed for vivid blues and greens in all areas of the painting. My version of a triangular sky giving a reflection of hundreds of squares in the river make a nice abstract quality to tranquil scene.

Rocky Mountain National Park - 30x40" Acrylic on Canvas

Friday, August 20, 2010


In the next few months I plan on painting more cityscapes. I find these to be more challenging - Nature scenes lend themselves to more abstraction as there are no "true" lines or manufactured shapes. In landscape paintings if I try to make a straight line and fail, chances are the line in nature was not really straight anyway. Sides of buildings, curbs and other man made structures offer less margin of error. The painting shown was done about eighteen months ago - It is a broad depiction of downtown Raleigh. Lots of different painting techniques were used for this. Initially I was not really fond of this, but several people have remarked this as being one of my best. Perhaps I am my own worst critic.

All comments welcome.

Downtown Raleigh #1 - 30x30" Acrylic on Canvas

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Atlantic Beach in July

For years I have struggled with how to paint a view from the beach. On a lazy day in early July it hit me while idling the day away at Atlantic Beach. Looking out on the horizon I saw very definitive shapes and lines. Unlike other paintings I have done that usually involve tress and other complicated shapes, this setting was beautiful in its simplicity. I love the contrasts that this scene allowed fo: the dark blues of the water vs. the light blues of the sky and the tans and umbers of the beach vs. the water made the different segments of this work pop off the canvas.

Despite the apparent simplicity, this painting took an incredibly long time to complete. The water and the sand each were painted in small grids and then later refined. The beach actually has sand particles in it to make it a bit more authentic.

Atlantic Beach in July - 30x40" Acrylic on Canvas

Monday, August 2, 2010

Wet Canvas August Challenge

I was asked to host the August Challenge on Wet Canvas for the Abstract/Contemporary forum. The piece I am currently working on had a lot to do with how I shaped the challenge. I decided to invite artists to focus on the shape(s): whether we realize it or not every piece of art we create is compose of squares, circles, triangles and multiple other shapes. So I challenged people to look beyond the colors, the subjects, the textures and see the minimal basic shapes.

In just two days there have already been some wonderful postings. I am really excited to see how this plays out at the end of the month.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Travels in the Netherlands – Entry 1

I spent last week traveling across Holland to visit some different companies. My trip started in Rotterdam where I met with the people at Artistix. Artistix is a distributor of stones and stone carving supplies. I was shown soapstone and alabaster stones and was given some rasps and chisel to try out the carving process. I found out quickly this is a very difficult type of art to do. Despite the soft nature of the stones, I could not seem to shape the stones into any real shapes (artistic or otherwise). In my lifetime I’ve seen beautiful stone sculptures. My hat really goes off to these artists now that I understand the degree of difficulty involved in the process

On Tuesday my friend Andy from Artistix took me to Kinderdijk – this is an area of Holland with about 25 working windmills. This area has a magnificent landscape and I learned some interesting thing on how the windmill works and its importance in Dutch history.

It was now off to Helmond to see another and an old friend. Check back in a few days for the next entry of my trip to the Netherlands.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Eno River Festival - Best Two Dimensional Artist

I had a good time at the Festival for the Eno this past weekend. The weekend was highlighted on Sunday morning when I was told I won the award for best two dimensional artist in the show! Considering the huge amount of talented artists at the show I really consider this an honor.

Most of the time during the show my family was there with me. The kids swam and played in the river and even did a little kayaking. Overall a great time! I am looking forward to returning to the show next year!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lake Waccamaw #2

This is the second painting I completed that is inspired by a recent trip to Lake Waccamaw near Wilmington, NC. The sky reflects a bit of organized chaos of varying shapes, colors and symbols. The white outlines representing clouds were placed over the part of the color/shape pattern that moves diagonally rather than horizontally across the canvas. Because the leaves of the big tree encompassed so much of the sky, I decided to continue the same pattern - this time using varying shades of greens and yellows. These leaves are accentuated with a glazing medium-fluid acrylic mixture that is evident in the dot patterns. I wish I provided a bit more contrast with the sky and water, but still a very strong piece.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Festival for the Eno

From July 3rd through July 5th I will be a participating artist at the Festival for the Eno in Durham, North Carolina. I am excited to be included in this event, one reason being is many of my paintings are inspired by the Eno River. I will have a nice selection of works in my tent and close to the main stage and refreshment stands. I am sure it will be hot, but will no doubt be a great time. Hope to see you there! For directions, hours and full information be sure to visit the Festival for the Eno site listed below.

Rocky Mountain Extreme

I was fortunate enough to recently spend a few days in Northern Colorado. I spent some time with my friend Carl Judson and his family. Carl owns the company Guerrilla Painter which sells plein aire painting accessories. Jerry's Artarama happens to be one of their biggest customers, so my job offered me the opportunity to learn more about Guerrilla Painter through my own personal observations. One of my goals of this trip was to try one of the Guerrilla Boxes out and do some plein aire painting in the Rocky Mountains.

I spent Thursday and Friday enjoying the hospitality and AMAZING cooking of the Judson family. I stayed in the guest apartment of the Judson ranch, and while I'm certainly no ranch hand I'm never one to stray away from home cooking and sitting around a camp fire drinking beer. The picture shown is of the Phantom Canyon Ranch and is painted by Carl Judson.

On Saturday I woke up early and headed to Rocky Mountain National Park. I was immediately overtaken by the magnificent scenery on the way to the park. After several hikes and diversions, I made it to the park around noon. The day was flying by, I spent about three hours in the park highlighted by a moose sighting and a herd of elk three miles above sea level.

After seeing just a fraction of the park I broke out my Guerrilla box and began painting. I found a roaring stream with the mountains in the background, I sat down to a picnic table and started my plein aire painting.

Check back later to read my blog entry on Plein Aire Painting.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic

On June 11, I attended the artists reception for the National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic Annual Showcat the Salamagundi Club in New York City. I was fortunate enough to have my painting Gablesland Trail Along the Eno (bottom Picture) selected for the show. The show had an incredibly strong selection of about 80 works. The winner of the Robert Sanstrom prize was Nina Maguire's New York City, July 4th (top picture). I chatted with Nina Maguire about her career as an artist, her passion for art is very evident in powerful works like this.

Eileen and I enjoyed the weekend in New York. On Saturday night we saw Red a broadway play depicting the life of Mark Rothko and his studio assistant. An amazing play portraying the personality of a great artist.

The long lines and crowds at the MOMA did not dissuade us from seeing the most amazing collection of art anywhere in the world. Although my feet were tired on Sunday from all the walking it was really a great weekend.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lake Waccamaw

Over Memorial Day Weekend we visited Lake Waccamaw near Wilmington, NC. It was an overcast day so the sky offered some interesting colors. This is a very shallow lake - the kids and I walked nearly 100 yards into the lake before the water got too deep. This allowed the bottom of the lake to be faintly seen in the picture from which this painting is depicted.

I really like the water effects on this painting. Eileen remarked that there is not enough contrast with the land mass and water, and I think she is right. However I think I hit the nail on the head with two of the three elements in painting the sky and water.

Lake Waccamaw 16x20" Acrylic on Canvas

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Pretty Good Weekend!

As far as weekends go in my art life, I would have to rank this past weekend at the top of the list.

On Friday night I attended the opening of SCOPE: North Carolina Landscape Show at the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh. Two of my paintings were selected for this show: Quarry at the Eno River and Pocosin Lakes. I was thrilled to find that Pocosin Lakes was also selected as First Prize in this show! The entire show was amazing - Congrats to the VAE, it sponsor Navis Pack and Ship and juror Jonathan Stuhlman for putting on a great show!

On Sunday I was fortunate enough to attend the opening of the National Juried Art show at the Imperial Arts Center in Rocky Mount, NC. My painting Looking Glass Falls was selected for a Merit Award in this show! The Imperial Centre is a really cool place offering something for everyone of every age. The is the second year I have participated in this show, and once again I was not disappointed. Approximately 40 works were selected juror Amy Freeman. A well rounded selection in an outstanding venue. A great show made possible by the great staff and volunteers at the Art Centre.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pope Strawberry Fields

My friend Bryan’s family owns a big farm in Knightdale, NC. Every spring the open up the farm and let public come by to pick strawberries. The kids enjoy picking the berries and we all enjoy eating them. The patterns of the rows are very interesting as they create very defined lines in a natural setting. It be nice if more of the reds of the berries came through on this paintings, but the small accents of red dots due give it some zest. Blueberry season is just a few weeks away, although a blueberry is smaller than a strawberry so my dilemma might not be solved. It will be a very tasty painting if nothing else.

Pope Strawberry Fields – 9x12” Acrylic on Canvas

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Page-Walker Opening

A Painted Mosaic of the Carolinas
This show opened this past Friday night at the Page-Walker Arts and History Center in Cary, NC. The show looks spectacular! My sincere thanks go out to everyone who helped make this possible. Also a huge thank you to all of you who attended the opening, it was a very proud moment in my life.

The show will run through June 22nd. There are thirty of my paintings on display, along with a selection of photographs by Ted Raper. This is a great venue and a great show, I encourage everyone to come see it before June 22.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunset Over Blue Jay Point

In this painting I tried to make the sky very distinguishable using a series of grids, colors and symbols. The water also uses grids and colors, but has a more distorted look to give the appearance of reflective shapes. I tried to use a limited palette of blues and greens for the majority of the painting in the hopes that this would create a strong focal point of the reds, oranges and yellows seen in the sunset.

This work combines varying elements of many of my recent works, and is one of many paintings that will be on display at the Page-Walker House in Cary, NC. This is an exciting show that opens on May 28th and will run through most of June.

Sunset Over Blue Jay Point - 20x16" Acrylic on Canvas

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Field at Watkins Road

Many of the farmers around my neighborhood have been busy plowing the fields getting ready for the next planting. This plowing makes for some interesting patterns in the rows. When the earth is disturbed it frees up many great earth tone colors not normally seen. I took a picture of this setting around 7:45 PM. The sun was just setting on a slightly overcast day. Many blues and purples filled the sky , but there was still enough light to allow for some brilliant siennas in the recently plowed field. The field was painted in a series of grids - I have used this method for sky and water however this was my first try at land mass using this method.

Field at Watkins Road - 16x20" Acrylic on Canvas

Saturday, May 1, 2010

20th Mid-Atlantic Art Exhibition

Last week I attended the opening of the 20th Annual Mid-Atlantic Art Exhibition at the d'Art Center in Norfolk, VA. I was fortunate in that my Flanners Beach (bottom image) painting was selected for the show. A very competitive show with only about 30 artists selected. One of the more unique shows I've attended - The juror Laura Roulet selected quite a few photographs and digital works, something I have not seen in most of the shows I've attended. Along with mine I only saw two or three "tradtional" paintings. The work shown by Chris Luckman Kayakers on the Path (middle image) is one of those paintings. The other work shown is that of Kathy Guzman Archival Man (top image). I really liked this work, particularly because it only 8x8" - Alot going in a small area. It is easy to see alot of time and detail went into this work. Overall a great show that I was proud to be a part of!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fall Lake Near Blue Jay Point

Over the last few years most of my paintings have been inspired by pictures taken in various spots in the Carolinas and elsewhere on the east coast. I always put alot of thought into where I might find my next painting. Will it be a lake, a river, a waterfall or field? Usually my family comes with me on these trips so we generally find that "perfect" location between 10 am and 4 Pm. Of the hundreds of pictures taken and all the sites we have seen, I now realize I am neglecting the time of day in finding an ideal subject. I am certainly aware of the different colors and tones involved with atmosphere and time, but I have never made the effort to go out and seek them. Even in this most recent painting of Fall Lake which is only a few miles from my house, it was just by coincidence that I was able to take the picture at sundown. Sometimes the perfect subject might not involve driving 5 hours to the western part of the state, but rather just a matter of waiting a few hours for sundown or getting up early for sunrise.

This painting was inspired by a view from Blue Jay Point Park at Falls Lake. The sundown setting allowed me to dust off some of my red and yellow paint tubes and create a neat sunset.

Falls Lake Near Blue Jay Point 20x16" Acrylic on Canvas