Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gold Leaf Mirror, Delftware Finial and Dried Rose (no.90)

7.95" x 7.95" x 3/4", oil on masonite

SOLD


If you'd like to purchase a print of this painting, please feel free to visit my Etsy shop!

The still life is composed of a few items passed down from generations on my mom's side of the family and are set on the mantel of our fireplace.  The mirror cutting into the top left is a gold leaf painted oval mirror that was a housewarming gift from my great great grandparents to my great grandparents circa 1920s, and the blue and white finial was once fit onto a hanging lamp in my mother's childhood bedroom - she liked it enough that she brought it with her when her and my dad bought the house.  The dried rose was a gift to her from my dad's business partners after our second dog died.  The mantel is located in what used to be a family room but was converted into my parent's room years ago.  I have many good memories of sitting in the family room during the winter and watching christmas movies with my sister, or as a family, with a warm fire going.

This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):




Thursday, October 18, 2012

Asparagus Spears (no.87)

7.95" x 7.95" x 3/4", oil on masonite

SOLD

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Another scene taken from the farmer's market in Belmont, MA. And another subject that seemed a breeze to paint and proved to be much more difficult. When I think about it, I really can't understand how I was able to paint at all before I began taking timelapse pictures of my progress for each piece. They are the only way for me recognize the elements of the painting I am happy with, creating a compendium of these likes and dislikes for use in achieving the final painting. I can't imagine how I blindly worked my way through a painting in the past, any working stages I was happy with usually erased from my memory as soon as I worked over them.

For example, during the last session of this painting, I went in and added a lot of detail to the spears because I felt there wasn't enough and they needed the elastic bands and little white triangles going up the stalks to be recognizable as asparagus. I filled in all this detail and stepped away, pleased with my progress and under the impression that I had fixed a problem. Then I took a picture and looked at it in the context of earlier stages, quickly realizing that I had destroyed everything I liked about the painting at the previous stage. The triangles had ruined the form and vibrance of the spears, and the now fully intact elastic bands looked flat and boring. Had I not had reference photos, I either would have put out a worse painting than I could have or I would have sensed that something was missing but would not be able to recall exactly what it was.

This leads me to another persistent question: when do I keep fine details found in the actual subject for the sake of having the viewer recognize it or for adding points of interest, and when do I eliminate those details for the sake of keeping things abstracted and minimal? When starting these small paintings I tried to include the smallest details as that was my habit, but as time went on I realized that this was not what I wanted from painting and that was why I was so disappointed with all of my work; the work I so greatly admired from other artists almost always sacrificed the replication of detail for the creation of something new and abstracted.

John Singer Sargent rarely went in with a size 0 brush and modeled the twine around a bunch of twigs for hours on end until it was a photographic likeness. He took a larger brush, studied the form of the twine for a minute, and quickly swiped in a handful of strokes in an effort to achieve both likeness and abstraction. You were not seeing a perfectly rendered string with the shadow evenly blending into the highlight, you were seeing 3-4 strokes that became a string when you stepped back. While I always knew this, the knowledge seemed to slip away as soon as I picked up a paintbrush and fell into my old habits of having the subject dictate my next move instead of trying to use the subject as an inspiration for something slightly different. This new approach was exciting for me as it gave me something new to work towards in my still life and landscape paintings, as well as making them feel like more genuine expressions. Now, if I start trying to paint an elastic band and can't stand how it fits in with the rest of the painting, I blur it out or use the shadow on the asparagus or the slight white highlight on the very edge of the band to suggest it (many times going boldly against girlfriend's sage advice to keep it in). This takes an internal push against my resistance to spontaneity, but ultimately provides for a more worthwhile painting experience.

                 


This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):




Saturday, September 29, 2012

Yellow Roses (no.86)

8" x 8" x 3/4", oil on masonite

SOLD

If you'd like to purchase a print of this painting, please feel free to visit my Etsy shop!

The last few weeks have been hectic so I've unfortunately had to sweep painting under the rug to make time for the rest.  Namely I have been devoting time to making prints available on my Etsy shop as well as trying to promote that as much as possible, but there have been numerous other unseen situations along the way (including an impromptu tooth extraction, that was fun).  Usually an 8x8 painting takes me about 1-2 days to complete, however this one, being composed of multiple 20 min. sessions, lasted the course of 2 weeks. 

It was a really beautiful scene I was eager to paint as soon as I shot it, but, as seems to be the normal outcome now, the more simple and fun it looks to paint the more deceptively difficult it is.  In this case, the vase was the major point of frustration, quickly changing from the feature I was rushing everything else to get to, to the bane of my existence.  I think it might just be these types of glass in particular as the vase, similar to this one, in my last white flower painting, was also trying on my patience. 

Either way, though I am fairly happy with the final product, this painting was a challenge for me, and I don't really know why.  Paintings are poison apples: you never know which bite is going to be the wrong one, and for me it seems the most delicious looking are almost always the deadliest...and I am a guy dressed like Snow White with a paintbrush.  Just picture that...



This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):




Thursday, September 6, 2012

Figs (no.85)

8" x 7.75" x 3/4", oil on masonite

SOLD

If you'd like to purchase a print of this painting, please feel free to visit my Etsy shop!

I found these while at a farmer's market in Belmont, MA and thought they would be good opportunity to move away from my usual muted palette and experiment with color.  They were one crate I picked out of many, and forthcoming pieces will also feature flowers and fruit/vegetables from this visit.  

Some of these colors, namely cadmium yellow and cadmium orange, had dust on them and the linseed oil had become unbound from the pigment and leaked out the sides (from non-use).  Another great reminder of why I find importance in this exercise: I am unafraid to try colors that haven't even once appeared in older conceptual pieces.  Not that I didn't still feel self conscious about using these rainbow colors, but it was lot of fun.  

The figs themselves were extremely difficult to paint and required a lot of slowing down when I got frustrated and carefully planning each stroke until I felt comfortable again (a helpful technique I picked up from a fellow painter Simon Shawn Andrews in a recent blog post about crashing and burning, and pacing yourself to avoid it).  They share the frosted characteristic of the skin of plums but are a more grey-blue hue, and the challenge was using alot of white to give them that frosted look while maintaining the underlying form and making sure they didn't fall flat.  Did I succeed at this?  I don't know, that's for you to decide.  I've been staring at it so long I can barely recognize them as fruit anymore.



This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Black Cherries In White Bowl (no.84)

8" x 7.88" x 3/4", oil on masonite

SOLD

If you'd like to purchase a print of this painting, please feel free to visit my Etsy shop!



This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):




Thursday, August 30, 2012

White Flower Arrangement (no.83)

7.95" x 7.95" x 3/4", oil on masonite


SOLD


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This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Lakehouse Dining Room, Lake Monomanoc, NH (no.82)

7.95" x 7.95" x 3/4", oil on masonite

SOLD

If you'd like to purchase a print of this painting, please feel free to visit my Etsy shop!

I've always appreciated this room in the lakehouse with its high ceiling, various ornaments and beautiful lighting coming through the 8 large windows facing the lake.  The paper lamp especially always caught my eye as I love painting white objects with subtle gradations, and the large dark burnt sienna rug hung high up on the wall also appealed to my aesthetic tastes in a very different way.  I decided to capture it all in a painting, attempting to include all of my favorite elements kind of colliding together at the center of the composition.


This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):



Lakehouse Dining Room Timelapse






Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lakehouse Clouds, Lake Monomanoc, NH (no.81)

7.95" x 7.88" x 3/4", oil on masonite

SOLD


This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):





Thursday, August 2, 2012

Overcast Morning, Lake Monomanoc, New Hampshire (no.80)

7.95" x 7.95" x 3/4", oil on masonite

SOLD

If you'd like to purchase a print of this painting, please feel free to visit my Etsy shop!

A scene I captured from the backyard of the lake house in Rindge, New Hampshire.  I was really attracted to rich green-blue color in the trees and bushes that this photo yielded and the flowers in the foreground gave the scene life.  I tried to experiment with some lighting effects with the sky and the light cast over the tops of the trees, which I also attempted to a lesser degree in "Broadmoor Field 2" by lightening the color of the tree tops with more white than the rest of the background to create a (hopefully) subtle glare effect.


This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):



Blast from the past

12" x 12 x 1", oil on masonite panel, 2010


Here's a relic of a painting for me (well only from about 2 years ago, but it feels like much longer) that I painted for my girlfriend's mother, using her antique creamer and an eggplant as the subjects.  I believe this was the second still life painting I had done in about 4 years and although I don't hate it, I'd like to think I've improved since then (why wouldn't I?).  To me it looks like someone else painted it, but what I've learned is that most objective observers are able to see far more similarities in your work than you, no matter how diverse you think it is. 

I was experimenting with oil glazing techniques at the time and had a lot of trouble with them.  If you're not familiar with glazing, it is the laying on of thinned, semi-transparent layers of color one over another on a dry black and white underpainting.  So if you wanted something to be green you would first use a layer of blue then a layer of yellow over that to create the illusion (somewhat like pointillism where you are using multiple different colored dots that when combined deceive the eye into thinking it's looking at solid colors).  The result at best is a painting with an unequaled amount of depth in the color and a photo-realistic quality (just look at a Vermeer).

I think it was a combination of my being so rusty after years of not painting as well as not having the patience and confidence required to execute such a precarious technique.  I was using all different materials then including many cheap valu-pak brushes, I'm sure, and I also wasn't using any kind of alkyd drying agent, so I was waiting 3-4 days to lay on each layer of color.  Also, if you notice in the image are vague scratch marks and outlines under the painting.  After looking at it for a minute or two I realized that it was a failed conceptual painting from years ago I had forgotten about that I had gouged out parts of with an exacto knife (probably to cut shapes out of the tape I would tape off paint with).  I recycled cut up failed paintings all the time with this as a result (never again).          




Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rosemary and Kalamata Olives (no.79)

7 14/16" x 7 15/16" x 3/4", oil on masonite

SOLD

If you'd like to purchase a print of this painting, please feel free to visit my Etsy shop!


This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):



Monday, July 23, 2012

Black Tea and Milk (no.78)

7 15/16" x 7 15/16" x 3/4", oil on masonite

SOLD

If you'd like to purchase a print of this painting, please feel free to visit my Etsy shop!

This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):



Friday, July 20, 2012

Cumulus Cloud (no.76)

7 15/16" x 7 14/16" x 3/4", oil on masonite



SOLD





This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):





Thursday, July 19, 2012

Louis Bay Inlet, West Yarmouth, Cape Cod MA (no.75)

SOLD





This is one of a few scenes I will be painting from a trip to Cape Cod in early July. 



This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):




Thursday, July 12, 2012

View Across Lake Monomanoc, New Hampshire (no.74)

8"x8"x1", oil on masonite

SOLD

If you'd like to purchase a print of this painting, please feel free to visit my Etsy shop!

A very straightforward portrait of a beautiful summer day spent on Lake Monomanoc in New Hampshire.  In the back of my mind I am always searching for the perfect cloud formations for my taste, which are usually puffy cumulus clouds with a strong form that have high contrast bursts of white light in them, to paint from.  While sitting in the living room of the lake house I saw these and ran outside to capture them before they dissipated.  I have always been fascinated by these random masses of water vapor that can, for some reason, be so incredibly beautiful and moving to us humans.



This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pine Branches in Wooden Crate (no.73)

8"x8"x1", oil on masonite

SOLD

If you'd like to purchase a print of this painting, please feel free to visit my Etsy shop!
 
I know this one's a little out of season (in my opinion at least) but I loved the image and that's all that matters right?  Right.  This comes from a couple of photos I took at a friends lake house in New Hampshire on the 4th of July, which I thought I might have exhausted all possibilities for paintings from last year but I was wrong.  The pine needles were tough as they just beg to be painted needle by needle.  After roughly painting the general forms of the branches they wouldn't look crisp enough to register as pine branches so I'd fall into a trance of painting needles until I had to stop myself and blur it all out again.  The push and pull between specific detail and general strokes is an important and difficult part of painting (to me) in these pieces as well as my larger conceptual pieces in which I aim to paint far more abstractly but with areas of focus.


This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):




Monday, July 9, 2012

White Dhalia and Ballerina Roses (no.72)

8"x8"x1", oil on masonite

SOLD


Sorry about the long rest period, I was completely without painting panels after White Kousa Dogwood and had to put together my table saw before I could make any more...


This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):


Saturday, June 23, 2012

White Kousa Dogwood (no.71)

8"x7.5"x1", oil on masonite

SOLD

If you'd like to purchase a print of this painting, please feel free to visit my Etsy shop!


I came across these beautiful flowers while taking a walk around the neighborhood and had to paint them.  I am very attracted to all white objects in painting for some reasons not fully understood to me but one reason I do understand is that they provide an opportunity to look past the initial white one sees to find the subtle colors that make up the light bouncing off of the petals.  This is one of the most challenging aspects of painting to me, but I also see it as one of the most important characteristics distinguishing a painting from a photograph: the exaggeration of subtle colors that a camera usually fails to fully capture. 

 Another challenge this piece brought up was trying to make an interesting composition when the entire picture plane is full of leaves.  It is very easy to start trying to perfect the leaves and give the painting an overall flat, uniform feeling while forgetting that they are not the focus of the painting and, because it's a painting and you can do virtually anything you want, it is possible to create your own depth of field.



This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Red Rooibos and Tiger Lily (no.70)

8"x7.5"x1", oil on masonite

SOLD

If you'd like to purchase a print of this painting, please feel free to visit my Etsy shop!

Up until a few days ago, I had been sick with a nasty cold for about a week, forcing me to immobilize and recover.  This included not touching any painting, which proved to be incredibly difficult and very frustrating.  It feels great to be able to get back to it, and has shown me how important these small paintings have become to me as an emotional release. 

This still life is composed of a tiger lily head picked from our backyard and a pot of red rooibos tea, which was my best friend while sick.  The pot is an extra-fine glass tea infuser purchased by my girlfriend last year.



This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):