Sailboats in Central Park - mini animation

I did some sketching in Central Park in NYC last weekend. I found myself at Conservatory Water, the spot where model sailboats are sailed. I found this such a peaceful spot - you could hear the sounds of the city in the distance but in the park it was just so peaceful - leaves fluttering and little boats moving gently across the water. 

Join me at City-Wide Open Studios in New Haven, CT

I will be participating in City-Wide Open Studios this year (and working it as well!)

Tomorrow, October 7 is our opening reception, come and see a small painting of mine (as well as work by 350 artists) at the Artspace gallery, at 50 Orange St, New Haven, CT. 

Then the big show, next weekend, October 15 & 16, Armory Weekend at the Goffe St Armory (290 Goffe St, New Haven, CT). I will be showing some big paintings that I have not exhibited anywhere else... please join me!

How I spent my summer vacation - CAPE COD edition

I love Cape Cod - I've been going there since I was a little kid, went to grad school in Provincetown, so when we are back here on vacation I just need to start sketching! This is all work from the last two months since my visit in July/August. 

Herring River, Harwich, MA along Route 28

Herring River, Harwich, MA along Route 28

The view from Coast Guard Beach, National Seashore, Eastham, MA

The view from Coast Guard Beach, National Seashore, Eastham, MA

7day7painting challenge: Day 6....

Well, I did not manage to finish the 7days7paintings due to unexpected events... I had started this one and took an extra week to finish it - but I am pleased with the outcome!

It was inspired by this drawing...

7day7painting challenge: Day 4 & 5

7day7painting challenge: Day 4 & 5

Well day 4 was a bust... I pushed myself a little too far on day 3 and really ran out of time and was a bit exhausted. 

But I took some time to rest, and jumped back into it for day 5, and created this painting: 

7day7painting challenge: Day 3

7day7painting challenge: Day 3

So, I've been saying I would paint this flowering tree for about 10 years now. Its a beauty. 

So it was a natural fit into this challenge. And I took it on with a 7.5 foot long canvas. Challenge accepted!

here's the final version....

7day7painting challenge: Day 2

7day7painting challenge: Day 2

So I spent Monday running around doing all kinds of errands for everyone and didn't really get to begin this piece until evening after dinner. And I ran right up to the wire stopping at midnight (while literally saying "pencils down" to myself) This painting, in the same vein as the previous one of a nuclear power plant in the countryside was a bit tougher. Perhaps I didn't start with as fully a complete color scheme as the last one but I think more importantly I felt the ticking of the clock here. Which is good and bad. It is certainly pressure but on the other hand it does push me to take a risk immediately that I otherwise would otherwise hem and haw about for a while. 

What I felt was interesting to me technically about this piece is the way the jagged grass in the foreground feels nearly entirely abstracted. 

SO what was my soundtrack for this piece: I listened to two episode of the WTF podcast with Marc Maron,catching up on missed ones they were the fairly recent Louis CK and Michael Moore episodes. I also listened to an episode of Fresh Air about a memoir of working at a tech startup from a few weeks ago and classics of the 70's and 80's on my local 105.9 The River. 

so on to the work:

Here I am at 8:09PM, a lot of ground to cover still 

Here I am at 8:09PM, a lot of ground to cover still 

9:42 and things are starting to get intense!

9:42 and things are starting to get intense!

The finished piece, clocking in at midnight exactly, dimensions 4'w x 5'h

The finished piece, clocking in at midnight exactly, dimensions 4'w x 5'h

7day7painting challenge: Day 1

7day7painting challenge: Day 1

Sunday was the first day of painting on what I am now realizing is a very ambitious project of one painting a day for a week. I decided to start with a few existing sketches that I have been wanting to expand into large scale painting for some time.  It is the right type for the style of painting I am currently engaged in - trying to truly draw with paint, to not simply outline and fill in. I have found some success with gardens and plants in this style and am trying to slowly introduce architectural details to see how they can be adapted. The subject matter is also of great interest to me, though I will save getting deeper into that for a later post this week. 

Anyways... on to the work. 

the starting point... a 4' x5' canvas

the starting point... a 4' x5' canvas

the inspiration - this is a drawing on the door of my studio I made during an artist residency in France in the summer of 2014

the inspiration - this is a drawing on the door of my studio I made during an artist residency in France in the summer of 2014

this is where things stood by early evening

this is where things stood by early evening

And drum roll, please:

The final painting - done in time to watch Game of Thrones!

The final painting - done in time to watch Game of Thrones!

7 days 7 paintings

7 days 7 paintings

Tomorrow I begin a big challenge... 7 days 7painting. 1 painting every day, I only have 24 hours to work on  a piece - at midnight its time to move on to the next one. I will be tracking this project each day right here on my blog. I'm super pumped to get going!!

I got all the materials lined up!

Summer Dress Series

Summer Dress Series

Who doesn't love Henri Matisse's cut outs? Infirm and in bed the master artist was still able to create beautiful and colorful work with a pair of scissors and colorful paper. It was the topic of a great show (if really really overcrowded) at the MOMA last year. 

I am also really inspired by fabric prints - this time of year, with the weather turning nice - I am always so pleased to find the upbeat and colorful patterning of my sundresses. 

I say this because my recent paintings with their tropical inspired flowers and palm leaves/Swiss cheese plant remind me of these shapes... I thought it was a good time to bring out my "Summer Dress Collage Series" make from my summer dress fabrics. 

Why make art?

Why make art?

Why do I make art? I think that's a reasonable question to ask myself from time to time. I've been applying to opportunities lately, and finding different ways to spin it, so figure its good to actually think about this, for real. 

There are a lot of reasons people do make art - some people focus on issues and politics, others focus on process and technique, or on an intellectual insight or concept.  I’ve always been most interested in taking personal experience and filtering them through the action of painting. The ultimate hope is to connect with others – that my work will be a point of connection and understanding with people otherwise unknown. To borrow from Robbie Hart in the Wedding Singer, "I kind of just wanted to be a songwriter, you know? That's the hardest thing, to write a song. A song that when people hear it...they go, 'Ohh, I know what that guy was feeling when he wrote that'." But ya know, with paint. 

The biggest compliment I feel I can give an artist, musician, writer, etc. is "thank God you made this." Like, I know there are a lot of demands on your time, and maybe this particular art form was not what is considered 'successful' financially or otherwise, but it has made my life better, richer. When I think of what makes the world an awesome place, these are on my list. Plus, I feel like appreciating this make me, its maker and fellow appreciators simpatico. I am ambitiously intending to create something someday that resonates this much with someone else, something that is very me. This I would consider being very successful, indeed.

Plus you know, it is really fun. And engaging. And allows me to obsess about color and line. Or not and let it flow with no thought whatsoever, only doing. To make something with my own hands that is a product of my mind and body and movement. To do something that requires no technology, no time in front of a screen, no typing, no feedback from anyone else. Real freedom. 

I know my way is a little out of fashion these days - the era of personal expression is over in favor of art that deals explicitly with the issues of the day, though oddly,  the personal is still going strong in music, film, theater, fiction... This begs the question, why is fine art not wide enough to hold multiple trends and multiple movements at once - why is there one dominant movement at a time in visual art (at least when you look at the gallery/art fair system)?

The making of a gigantic painting

The making of a gigantic painting

Working big has been good for me lately. I stretch out a big sheet of canvas, buy paint by the gallon and attack, using not just the tiny little motions of an easel painting but giant full body mark making of all stripes. So far, my max size has been 4ft by 5 ft, which is about the size I have worked years ago on stretched canvas. So when I found a finished piece of canvas measuring 6 ft by 9 ft, I thought this was the opportunity for a truly massive piece. A Hagrid sized painting.  I decided to continue working through my Costa Rica sketches as inspiration. Here is how it developed:

Of course such a large work presents some trouble with display, especially in the home. So a little macgyvering and I installed it in the only spot large enough - the living room picture window (with its very convenient curtain rod). I also stumbled upon a happy accident. Hanging in the window, occasionally backlit by the sun, the work was able to change, to cast shadows, to feel like a living garden or jungle, sometimes dark and moody sometimes colorful and bright. I can not wait to experiment with this effect in future works. 

with indirect sunlight and light in the room

with indirect sunlight and light in the room

with the sun shine directly behind, no light in room looking moonlit,

with the sun shine directly behind, no light in room looking moonlit,

as best I could take from a chair hovering over the piece in the very bright lights of the studio

as best I could take from a chair hovering over the piece in the very bright lights of the studio

As a big piece, the detail can get lost, so here are some detail close up shots:

New Process - GIANT Unstretched Canvas Painting

New Process - GIANT Unstretched Canvas Painting

I have been working in a new method of work that has been making me downright giddy. Painting on GIANT unstretched pieces of canvas (up to 12 ft wide!). 

It all started when I was asked to paint some large scale garden backdrops for the CT Virtuosi & CT Lyric Opera Production of The Marriage of Figaro. I had to paint big and fast, it was such a rush!

So back in the studio I bought some 9 ft by 12 ft canvas painting drop cloths at the hardware store and tons of big containers of cheap acrylic paint + a variety of large brushes.  

I started with a free form garden scene, similar to what I did with the backdrop. 

I then moved on to working out some of my past thus for unpainted drawings. I don't know if this is a process I will do all the time, I really do love the thick juicy surfaces on stretched canvas and board, but working so large really does loosen things up - maybe this will be a regular exercise to keep the work from getting too tight. 



Images from my trip to Switzerland, Italy, Austria & Hungary!

Images from my trip to Switzerland, Italy, Austria & Hungary!

I've finally posted images and work from my trip a few weeks ago, 

I landed in Zurich> staying in Lucerne> took a train over the Alps> had lunch in Milan > spent a night and a day in Venice > overnight train to Vienna > headed out the next morning for Budapest > and stayed there for a few days for a family wedding.

Click on any of those links to see more!

Three New Paintings of NYC

Three New Paintings of NYC

Living so close to sights I see often (like Boston & NYC) I tend to neglect sketching and painting them. But, after several springtime visits to New York this year, I made a mini-series of three paintings based on sketches from Bryant Park and from both sides of the Roosevelt Island Tramway (remember it from Spider Man 1??) 

Bryant Park in springtime, with the Empire State building in the distance and the NY Public Library to the left. For sale on Etsy, $200  click here. 

Bryant Park in springtime, with the Empire State building in the distance and the NY Public Library to the left. For sale on Etsy, $200 click here. 

View from Roosevelt Island - looking back at Manhattan, the Queensboro Bridge and the Roosevelt Island Tramway. For sale on Etsy, $199,  click here . 

View from Roosevelt Island - looking back at Manhattan, the Queensboro Bridge and the Roosevelt Island Tramway. For sale on Etsy, $199, click here

View from Manhattan looking across the East River towards Queens and the Queensboro Bridge. For sale on Etsy, $125,  click here . 

View from Manhattan looking across the East River towards Queens and the Queensboro Bridge. For sale on Etsy, $125, click here

New images from my trips to Scotland & Orlando

I am back from two wonderful trips this May and June to very different yet very similar places.... Scotland and Orlando, Florida.  

Check out the full report on:

York | Stirling | The Highlands |  Hogwarts  | Edinburgh