Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Irene tore her way up the east coast on Sunday.  Southern Maine was hit hard but midcoast was spared the full treatment.  So this morning I awoke to bright blue, sunny skies.  The town is temporarily without its usual tourist population.  But all the businesses that closed yesterday are back open, and the fishermen are ready to haul traps. Their boats are normally in the harbor on Sunday anyway since by law they can't haul from Friday night to Monday morning as a conservation measure. Here is a photo.

Two weeks from today my workshop begins.  There is still time to sign up and I have some spaces left. Please join us!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Every artist needs some encouragement along the artistic journey.  Sometimes it's sales.  These two paintings have been sold at my show at Gleason Fine Art this month.  Sometimes it's the encouragement of our fellow painters who know what the struggle is all about.  And sometimes it's a breakthrough painting that signals a new level of competence or successful exploration of a different approach.  I'm grateful that those exterior confirmations have been generously offered. 

As Hurricane Irene approaches New England and with travel plans, I may not post for a few days.  Check back, leave a comment or reaction (encouragement!), and keep painting!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Breaking The Line

My friend Betsy drove over from New Hampshire to paint with me for two days.  This morning I took her to a spot I've been wanting to paint for a while, an old abandoned shack at the end of Linekin Bay.  To let the viewer know that it's a Maine shack, I provided a small peek at the water and a rowboat that wasn't really there.

The real purpose of the rowboat was to interrupt the straight line formed where the shack and the grass met. It also is a "pointer".
The chimney already interrupted the lines of the roof.  The tree does as well.  But study the length of the eave, and you'll see that the line there is broken into three different lengths.  And the space between the chimney and the foreground tree is different from the space between the tree and the pole on the old shed.

I also enjoyed painting the negative space behind the trees on the right.  Certainly an enjoyable morning spent painting with a good friend.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Grouping for Balance

Balance can be of two kinds:  Formal and Informal.  Formal balance occurs when objects of the same "weight" are found on both sides of the page.  Informal balance, which is more prominent in paintings, is like the father and the child on the teeter totter.

In these two examples, setting one of the objects apart provides an informal balance. Grouping several of the chickens or the lightbulbs gives weight to the left side of each painting, while the "outsider" gives weight to the right side.  The space on the right side is the equivalent of the child with the length of the teeter totter helping to equalize the weight.

So use grouping and spacing to achieve informal balance.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Old and New

                                                                     Old View
                                        New View
Change is the one constant.  But for me, it's sometimes hard to accept changes in the landscapes I love around the Boothbay peninsula. 

This is Cuckold's Lighthouse, just off shore at Southport Island.  I'm also including a painting I did over the winter of this very famous lighthouse that marks the entrance to Boothbay Harbor.  This summer, work is nearly complete on rennovations to restore the light to its original condition, including some of the outbuildings that had been demolished years before I got here.  It's hard to accept the "new" view of this old favorite spot.
But I'll just bet, some old timers would say the same thing after they had to tear down the old buildings!

You can see the Cuckold's Light from the Town Landing at the end of Route 27 on Southport Island, Maine.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Opening

After months of painting, experimenting, culling, matting and framing, there finally comes The Night.  Two hours of greeting people who will decide whether all of your effort has been worth the trouble.  Red dots are nice, but every bit as important to me is the reaction to the work.  What will they pick out as pleasing?  I always hope the comments are not just about the subject matter because the painting has been about much more than that.  Will they notice the things that were important to me as I painted?  Color, texture, design, shapes.  Some will, because many of my fellow artists will come to support and encourage.  They know, because they are in the struggle.

So as I anticipate my two hours in the spotlight, it gives me a chance to catch my breath before the next round of painting begins....tomorrow. Always tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Sometimes I go through the stack of my old paintings and cull the worst ones.  But I still hang on to some that I would never show publically.  It's good to see how far you've come in your painting journey. 

My first emphasis was on accuracy.  I strove to depict the landscape as it actually appeared.  But now I want to highlight other concerns.  Color is much more important as its own subject matter.  I'm much more aware of edge quality.  I move or entirely eliminate objects.  And I'm more conscious of  where I can place obliques.

If you want growth in your work, try concentrating less on portraying your subject as you find it, and more on the elements and principles. 

Here are two works I executed about several years apart.