Fog Burning Off

I went out early this morning but the rising sun chased away all the nice fog. I’m still not feeling very comfortable with oil paint.

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Hello, Portsmouth, RI

We landed in Portsmouth, RI. We don’t have any family here and no emotional attachments (yet), but it’s very pretty and I feel lucky to get to paint here. I haven’t really painted in months. Now I’m trying to get back on my game, but I miss my home. This doesn’t feel right yet, but it’s time to get back to work. It’s been terrible suffering being unable to paint for much too long. These are oils (8×10) and it feels weird because I’ve been using only watercolors for months.

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Goodbye, Lancaster, PA

Thirteen years of mostly good times with only a few bad times. We made so many wonderful memories here, but due to an unfortunate turn in our lives our family is relocating. It’s difficult to say goodbye to your home and difficult to pack up a house you thought you’d never leave. It’s a very sickening feeling to take your kids to the dentist and return to find a “For Sale” sign in your front yard for the first time even when you were expecting it to show up eventually.

It’s been so hard for us to leave our families and friends to move very far away, but our efforts to stay only revealed more and more reasons why it was time to leave. We’ve spent the last several months packing and getting our house ready to sell after two previous months of trying to stay. Other people ultimately made the decision for us. It’s funny that not until you are leaving do people open up and tell you the truth while others show their true colors and disappoint you. I know my wife is going to be much happier and I’m glad she’ll be disassociated from such sleazy and dishonorable people. Our kids are excited to move and at times we’ve had to lean on their optimism for support without really showing them how unhappy we are about everything in our lives for the past six months.

All but one of our children were born here and this is the only home they’ve ever known. We always imagined seeing them graduate from high school and college here and maybe see our daughter get married in the backyard where she learned to walk and ride a bike. It’s hard to see our kids saying goodbye to their friends knowing they’ll probably never see them again. I remember saying goodbye to my friends when I was a kid and had to move. Part of me never wanted my kids to experience that. It hardens your heart a little, but the other part of me, the part that was enriched from more diverse people and experiences is happy for them. I know how hard it will be for them at first but I know they’ll adapt.

Packing and cleaning the house to leave was difficult and only got worse the emptier the house got. Seeing the drawings and names on walls that once launched me into a rage when the kids first did them years ago now burst me into tears. Painting over them was a horrible thing to have to do. Memories fade so I took as many photos as I could but I can’t even look at them yet.

We weren’t sure what to expect when my wife’s job brought us to Lancaster, but it fit really well and we stayed. It was nice to be able to live so close to our families. Lancaster is such a great little city. My wife and I had spent so much of our lives together moving around for her job. The most we ever spent in one place was four years and we were very ready for Lancaster to be our final stop. My wife was to retire here and we were to sell our house as empty nesters to the next family to enjoy and raise their kids in ‘our’ house so we didn’t expect to have to say goodbye for another 20 years. It feels much too early to say it but I have to… Goodbye, Lancaster.

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Fast and Slow

I still don’t have much time to paint right now but I took the day off to spend one last time with my figure group friends. First I did a fast one, then I did a slower one that I didn’t have time to finish. Just focused on trying to do a portrait today. I don’t think I came close to a likeness in either attempt.


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Another Breather

I’ve been very busy lately and needed a day off so I met with some friends to paint from a model. I’m a little rusty but it felt really good to paint again.

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I haven’t painted in a long time and needed to just get out of the house this morning.

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The End of Something Old Or The Beginning of Something New?

Sunset or sunrise?

This painting is another one of my plein airs reworked and rescued from the trash. It has transformed from a sketch into a more controlled work. All changes to the plein air painting were done out of my head and developed on their own without a predetermined plan. No photo reference, no observation. Maybe I’m channeling my inner Thomas Kinkade.

oils, 11×14″ 

Here is the plein air painting from June, 2016 before I fixed/finished it:

I know at this location I was looking southeast and I know I painted the plein air sketch in June in mid-morning and I know from painting there a hundred times year-round that the sun would rise in June much more to the left (well off the edge of the canvas, at least a full canvas width off the left edge), but you don’t know any of that.

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Wall Study

This started as just a quick study to understand the color of the shadow part of that wall thinking it would help me try this with watercolor (which would allow me only one shot to get it right). It ended up turning into extended playtime to do things with oil paint that I typically don’t do. I learned a bit about layering with oils thanks to some advice from a friend from art school, Sadie Valeri. This started loose and ended up with hard edges and straight lines. My favorite part was still painting those trees in the background bottom corner (which lead to another painting which I’ll post soon).

It isn’t quite finished, but then it was never supposed to have gone this far to begin with. It just kept going and going. Maybe I’ll finish it someday.

unfinished, oil, 9×12″ 

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Susquehanna Winter

I think this one is finally done. The plein air sketch for this was done in February 2015. We haven’t had ice like that since. So far this winter it hasn’t been very cold here, but my fingers are crossed that a deep freeze will be coming.

acrylic on canvas, 24×48″ 

This is the plein air sketch from 2015. acrylic, 10×20″

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Happy New Year

My New Year’s resolution this year is to reduce the amount of time I spend doing plein air paintings and instead focus more on producing finished studio works. I feel like I need more direction and structure in my work.

Also I want to drastically reduce my social media and online exposure. I post nearly everything I do. I love seeing other artists’ sketches and like sharing mine too because they are my favorite part of what I do, but I’m considering maybe I should do what other artists do and only show my successes. That helps create the mystique that this is easy (for me) because I’m so awesome and never have failures and never struggle. Maybe I’m also giving away too much. I’m doing a lot of work and sharing my trial-and-errors and experiments with everyone. Those should be closely guarded trade secrets or something. Most people don’t seem very “social” online anyway. I’m evaluating how much I really get out of participating and flirt with closing my accounts.

I also considered ending my blog at the end of last year. I don’t get much traffic anymore and the only comments are from spambots. I like it as an online diary though and use it to reference works as I haven’t found a useful (and free) app for artists to keep inventory records.

Until I can decide what I want to do here are a couple of watercolor sketches and a small plein air done this week. .


plein air, oils, 8×10″ 

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