Friday, October 9, 2020

 For the past two years, I have been an active member of the Patchogue Arts Council's Sketch Club. We meet once a week, outdoors in the spring, summer and fall, and in the Library during the winter. I like the idea of a group of artists working on a topic, or with the same subject. Here are a few of my pencil drawings done this summer.

At the Islip Grange, Sayville, NY

At the Islip Grange Sayville, NY

Chair on my Deck

My Paintbrushes

Table on my Deck

Saturday, June 29, 2019


Yesterday I dropped off three framed monotypes at the Old Town Arts and Crafts Guild gallery in Cutchogue, NY. This small gallery features local Long Island artists working in a realistic style. My monotypes are abstractions of real objects or landscapes. I like to use a lot of color in these "squashed paintings." My monotypes are done using an etching press, painted first on a Plexiglas plate, then transferred to dampened paper under pressure. Here are the three on view this month in the gallery.
This pitcher is one that I have used often for still life monotypes. I like the shape. The leaves are leaf-prints, placed on the paper before it goes through the etching press. The color is put on with a brayer. The print went through the press multiple times.

This small monotype evokes the wetlands around Long Island. It is "painted" with etching ink using a brayer. 

Although the colors are the classic primaries: red, yellow and blue, the ink has been modified to present less brilliant forms of hue. I used yellow ochre, one of my favorite yellows. This outdoor scene represents wildflowers growing on the bank of a pond in the fall. Eastern Long Island has many beautiful small ponds.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Quick Sketches

Sketching onsite at an event can be difficult! I made the following sketches at the Blue Point Brewery in Patchogue during the Log Jam event last weekend. Sometimes people would get in the way and I had to pause the sketching until they moved.
The band members performing -- mixed media: marker, caran d'ache crayon, and colored pencil.

This sketch is 18" x 24", blue marker.

Outside the venue, looking up at an open window. This is done in mixed media, like the first sketch.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Life Drawing

Drawing from the model is an exercise and meditation that keeps me in shape for all other artwork. Ideally, I draw once a week. Here are some recent exercises.
Seated Nude, charcoal drawing on laid paper, 18" x 24", 4/14/2019

Reclining Nude, charcoal drawing on laid paper, 18" x 24", 4/28/2019

Reclining Nude, charcoal drawing on laid paper, 18" x 24", 4/14/2019
The exercise is not only about getting the figure and anatomy right, but about balance in composition, creating a sense of depth and movement, and expressing a feeling. Each of these drawings took 20 to 40 minutes to complete.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Art History and Studio Art

The background I have in art history is invaluable to me as a studio artist, and I always try to keep up with current shows at the New York museums. Travel -- around the U.S. and to Italy (1969, 2005), France (2004), and London (2004, 2005) -- has been my passion. I fill long days in museums, sometimes looking at a single painting for more than an hour. There is no substitute to observing artwork firsthand. The scale, the detail, the reaction, the color and texture of an original cannot compare to a reproduction or photo on a computer screen.

Among the works I've been looking at is Pablo Picasso's Night Fishing at Antibes of 1939. This large painting shown below (6 ft. 9 in. x 11 ft. 4 in.) is on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This is about fishing -- men fishing, men fishing for women, women fishing for men, and it shows Picasso himself as the main character with the striped shirt standing in the boat. The colors are unusual for Picasso. The black background and emphasis on secondary colors green and purple give it a mysterious quality, almost like a dream. This painting does not portray beauty, but shows truth instead. The viewer is invited into a story.

Pablo Picasso, Night Fishing at Antibes, oil on canvas, 1939
At one time, I wanted to be an art historian. I started Stony Brook University as an art history major. I had amazing teachers, including Nina Mallory for the history of Baroque art, Albert Boime (who wrote about this painting) for the Literature of Art, and Aldona Jonaitis for the history of African Art, Art of the Northwest Coast, and Art of Oceania. The editor of Art Forum, Lawrence Alloway, was my professor for Contemporary Art. He was an influential critic and curator, and coined the term "pop art."

At the beginning of my senior year I switched my major to studio art, and started doubling up on painting, drawing, printmaking, and design classes. I also took ceramics and weaving. Stony Brook had several large floor harness looms! But what interested me most was painting, drawing and printmaking. After a year taking courses in screen printing, etching and lithography, I knew I wanted to be a printmaker. My professors were practicing artists, including Ed Countey, James Kleege, Robert White, and Mavis Pusey.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Painting from a Photograph

I learned to paint from photos when I was a student at Stony Brook University. The professor was Malcolm Morley, who taught to paint using the time-honored grid system. I've done several over the years, and they are my most popular paintings! This oil on canvas of a male mallard, 24" x 18", was completed last week. I took it to my brother Craig to get a critique -- he is a duck hunter and carver -- and he told me the position of the beak and head indicate the mallard is angry.

So there is the title: Angry Mallard!

Malcolm Morley was a British photorealist painter. He lived in Bellport, NY, and passed away last year. My uncle was his butler for a while. I studied painting at Stony Brook in the early 1970s. I didn't register for any of Morley's classes, but he taught in the same studio as my professor, Ed Countey, so students got lectures and critiques from both.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Plein Air Paintings

I am painting more and more . . . here are two plein air oil paintings done in the summer of 2018, on Long Island Sound in Greenport. Both were done late in the afternoon, during that time of day that Leonardo da Vinci talked about as being the best time of day for light. The pink in the clouds is reflected from the nascent sunset in the opposite direction. I find it quite a challenge to paint rocks and sand, especially the small stones on this beach. But I feel quite satisfied with these two paintings.