I have a painting in another book. I can’t remember if this is #3 or #4. There’s also another book coming out soon with one of my paintings in it. My kids really get a kick out of seeing my work in books.

Here is the book on Amazon.

The author (Lorena Kloosterboer) is posting photos of the artists on her Facebook page so I snapped this to participate.


I never usually get anything back from participating in these books, but I’m flattered to be included in these types of books because acrylic paints are only recently beginning to gain respect as more and more artists use them. I still get a lot of comments on my paintings like: “I thought it was oils!” Lorena’s book shows all the various possibilities with acrylics. “Looking like oils” is just one of them.

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Star-Shaped Box #2

I tried that box again (and the ornament!). I felt like I was controlling it more than I wanted and not playing enough so I quit. I want these to be sketchier. I suspect the demands of that box to look a certain way are inhibiting me.

acrylic, 11×14″ 


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Star-Shaped Box

Just some holiday refuse laying around my house this time of year. And like the poem I posted previously, I’m still looking for some magic in the mundane.

acrylic on paper, 11×14″ 


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My kids had dentist appointments this morning so I didn’t really have much time to paint. I did a few quick little color studies of my Christmas balls before it was time to leave. Typically I avoid such highly saturated subjects. I had been struggling with the intensity of the color I was observing and my inability to replicate it in my painting. It’s frustrating because I feel it’s due to a shortcoming in my ability, but through this play I’m accepting the limitations of colored pigments versus photons (or whatever scientific bit pertains to our eyes seeing light).

If I look at them over my glasses I see the specular highlights as two little bursts of intense, vivid color that rival anything on my palette and those two little sparks dominate the scene. If I could just reach those two colors they’d carry the rest of the painting. I can’t. So now I’m trying to figure out how to suggest them enough to at least be believable. The image below is overexposed and the painting is actually darker than this image.

First (top), I tried darkening the entire scene to make the highlights seem brighter. That seemed like the logical way to go since the highlights seen over my glasses are so much brighter relative to the rest of the scene. I kept the highlights as saturated as I could without losing the color in the tint. I liked the colored highlight even though my pinks still aren’t hot enough but the rest of the painting was too dark.

Directly under that one I tried desaturating everything else in the scene around the highlights which are just a straight tint of the colors (phthalo blue and primary magenta). The thinking here is that by neutralizing or “stepping on” the colors surrounding the highlights they’d seem brighter by comparison. The highlight of the pink ball is lighter but actually a little more saturated than the one above, but it looks cooler surrounded by the muted (cooler) colors. It’s my favorite interpretation so far but not the solution to the problem I’m trying to solve.

Next to that one I tried keeping the colors as pure as I could. Even though they are possibly the least accurate to what I am seeing in the scene they are probably the most successful in reproducing a believable feeling of what I’m looking at. Averaging the values and the colors is a compromise. Nobody ever gets everything they want in a compromise. The highlights aren’t nearly the pops of bright color that I wanted, but over-saturating the rest of the ball compared to what I’m observing tells the story in a believable enough way.

All I wanted to do was describe that highlight, but I had to settle for merely suggesting it with the other supporting cast members making it less important than I wanted. I feel a little disappointed with it downplayed, but it was a useful lesson for me. If I have time later I may paint a little in Photoshop since it has a much greater color range than what is available to me with pigment. Also, I think I’ll apply some of this to my last painting of the ball in the pie plate.


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Now Showing!!!

Opening tonight (5-9 pm) and running through New Year’s I’m proud to be a member of Lancaster Galleries’ Holiday Show. If you’re reading this and in the area please stop by.

Lancaster Galleries,  34 North Water Street, Lancaster, PA 17603, (717) 397-5552

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Pie Plate 2


acrylic, 8×10″

I took another stab at that pie plate. I had two Christmas balls in it to begin, but I hated the blue one and removed it. I hated the pink one too but it reminded me of a poem I read in high school that I always loved so I left it. (Poem below)

The hot pink was a struggle just like it was when I painted roses in the city rose garden. If I add white to lighten the magenta I create a tint (pink), but while lightening the value it also decreases the chroma. I tried to reach it with glazing magenta transparently and got as close as I could. I think I’ll try again to learn some lessons.

Red Slippers by Amy Lowell

Red slippers in a shop-window, and outside in the street, flaws of grey,
windy sleet!

Behind the polished glass, the slippers hang in long threads of red,
festooning from the ceiling like stalactites of blood, flooding the eyes
of passers-by with dripping colour, jamming their crimson reflections
against the windows of cabs and tram-cars, screaming their claret and salmon
into the teeth of the sleet, plopping their little round maroon lights
upon the tops of umbrellas.

The row of white, sparkling shop fronts is gashed and bleeding,
it bleeds red slippers.  They spout under the electric light,
fluid and fluctuating, a hot rain — and freeze again to red slippers,
myriadly multiplied in the mirror side of the window.

They balance upon arched insteps like springing bridges of crimson lacquer;
they swing up over curved heels like whirling tanagers sucked
in a wind-pocket; they flatten out, heelless, like July ponds,
flared and burnished by red rockets.

Snap, snap, they are cracker-sparks of scarlet in the white, monotonous
block of shops.

They plunge the clangour of billions of vermilion trumpets
into the crowd outside, and echo in faint rose over the pavement.

People hurry by, for these are only shoes, and in a window, farther down,
is a big lotus bud of cardboard whose petals open every few minutes
and reveal a wax doll, with staring bead eyes and flaxen hair,
lolling awkwardly in its flower chair.

One has often seen shoes, but whoever saw a cardboard lotus bud before?

The flaws of grey, windy sleet beat on the shop-window where there are only
red slippers.

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Still Life Season

It’s that time of year again. It was cold and ugly outside this morning so I set up a still life and stayed inside to play. I’m not crazy about the pie plate, but it was my first time painting it. Hopefully I’ll figure it out in the next painting.

acrylic on paper, 11×14″ 


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I think this one is finally done. I’ve played with it enough. I’m ready to move on to a new painting. All that’s left is signature, varnish, frame. This was started over a year ago. Looking back through my photos I like some of the older versions.

acrylic, 20×40″ 


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Edited Stream

I recently discovered a pile of unused 16x2o panels in my house so yesterday and today are both larger than my usual. Painting larger is a lot of fun and really doesn’t take any more time than painting a smaller one. I also haven’t used a toned ground in a while (that gold color showing through). This painting is about editing, invention, and trying to create some visual interest in a scene where there really isn’t any. The most interesting thing about standing there this morning were the geese flying over and the kingfisher and the woodpecker that were working in the trees along the stream.

acrylic, 16×20″ 


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Early Ice

The weatherman said there was ice on the river and we don’t usually get it until January or February so I got excited. Of course there was just a little and I was delusional to think it would be much of an element for my scene today. I had some fun anyway even without the ice and with 19°.

acrylic, 16×20″ 



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