Monday, December 31, 2012

Untitled (Reflecting Pool #1)

On this, the last day of 2012, I plan to work on what will be my final pieces created this year.  I always look on this day with melancholy and retrospection - how could you not? I begin each year with high hopes and great expectations.  As the calendar progresses, those hopes and expectations inevitably fall as the reality of life (and of living) take over.

Creatively, I began this year working on a series of canvases based on my 2011 trip to Palm Springs, California.  It took me some time to get over the spectacular light and colors of that area.  I then worked from satellite imagery of my hometown, Raleigh NC.  I also returned to Yosemite, California (inspirationally, at least) to complete a series of small studies, and then turned to night scenes.  Oddly enough, I close the 2012 calendar having created small works based on nothing -- imaginary landscape studies that revolved around what I decided to call a "reflecting pool."  I have no conscious idea where these came from in my mind.  They just seemed to occur.

"Untitled (Reflecting Pool #1)."  Oil on canvas, 8 x 10 inches.  Completed November 2012.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Red Barn in Winter

This small painting was created specifically for my annual Christmas card sent to family members.  It is based on a barn that stands near my parents' house in West Virginia. I improvised the snowy setting and the cold, winter sky but tried to faithfully represent the structure itself.

"Red Barn in Winter."  Oil on stretched canvas, 8 x 10 inches.  Completed November 2012.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Night Windows #1

This small work was the first painting I completed using a new painting medium.  When I first began working in oils as a teenager, and throughout my college and early adult years, I used the most traditional of mediums - linseed oil.  Eventually, I turned away from linseed oil because of the noticeable sheen it leaves on a canvas.  I then turned to turpenoid, a cleaning substance, as my medium for oils.  This worked effectively, although it does leave a dull surface that can make it difficult to "read" some colors. 

Last month I decided to try a commercially-produced painting medium.  I purchased Winsor & Newton's Oil Colour Artists' Painting Medium, and tried it out on this little canvas.  I love how this medium adds vibrancy to the colors, and it dried in a uniform manner.  It also added an element of slickness to the paint that I have found very appealing during the painting process.

"Night Windows #1."  Oil on canvas, 10 x 8 inches.  Completed November 2012.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Yosemite Study #6

This is the last of my series of small studies based on imagery from my vacation to Yosemite National Park in 2010.  This canvas depicts the Upper Yosemite Fall at sunset.  Once again, I completed this piece in upside-down mode.  It was actually painted very quickly, in approximately 15 minutes.

"Yosemite Study #6: Upper Yosemite Fall." Oil on canvas, 10 x 8 inches.  Completed October 2012.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Yosemite Study #5

This is the fifth small piece I produced using Yosemite National Park as an inspiration.  As with the previous four studies, I completed this in "upside-down" mode: looking at a source image upside down, and painting the imagery upside down as well.  It helps me concentrate more on what the eye actually sees, rather than filling in the blanks with what the eye thinks it sees.

"Yosemite Study #5: Nevada Fall."  Oil on stretched canvas, 14 x 11 inches.  Completed October 2012.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Pink House

Happy Thanksgiving.  Yesterday I took advantage of Black Friday sales to stock up on canvas supplies, picture frames and also purchased a Monet French easel for plein-aire painting.  I'm hoping to use the new easel outside at some point when the weather cooperates.

This week's painting is the latest in a series of works I have based on my trip to Palm Springs, California in September 2011.  It depicts more of the colorful and unusual architecture that can only be found in Palm Springs.

"The Pink House."  Oil on stretched canvas, 18 x 24 inches.  Completed October 2012.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Off to Asheville

I am spending a long weekend in Asheville, NC to tour Biltmore at Christmas and enjoy some clear, cold mountain air.  The Biltmore Estate has inspired several of my works over the years, and I'm hoping to find new inspiration on this trip.

"Biltmore in Winter."  Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches.  Completed October 2009.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Palm Canyon Storefronts

This past week I was offered a solo exhibition opportunity next year at the Richard B. Harrison Library in Raleigh, NC.  The exhibit will run for three months from October to December, 2013.  I am planning to create a new series of work for this exhibition based on local architectural imagery.

This week's featured painting was created last month as another in my Palm Springs series.  The scene depicts a short row of storefronts on Palm Canyon Drive in Downtown Palm Springs.  I loved the tall palms along the avenue and wanted to emphasize their height in this piece.

"Palm Canyon Storefronts."  Oil on stretched canvas, 40 x 25 inches.  Completed October 2012.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Yosemite Study #4

This is my fourth study based on my trip to Yosemite National Park two years ago.  This canvas features the park's Vernal Fall, which I hiked to on the Mist Trail.  This piece is another that was created "upside-down."

"Yosemite Study #4 (Vernal Fall)."  Oil on canvas, 11 x 14 inches.  Completed October 2012.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Yosemite Study #3

This week's blog post features my third Yosemite study created last week.  As part of the experiment posted previously, I painted this canvas upside-down until finished.  The painting depicts Yosemite's famed Bridal Veil Fall, which was in full flow when I visited the park in October 2010.

"Yosemite Study #3."  Oil on canvas, 14 x 11 inches.  Completed October 2012.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Yosemite Studies

After a fairly unproductive summer in the studio, I've been re-energized this fall, and I'm currently working on several projects.  I began a commissioned house portrait this month, have continued working on architecturally-themed pieces, and started a new discipline of working in the studio at night for experimentation and fun.  For the coming weeks I have marked off Tuesday and Thursday nights as committed studio time, no ands, ifs or buts.  My intent is not to produce gallery-quality works, but to explore new ideas and take some risks I normally wouldn't allow myself during my weekend studio sessions. 

I began the idea by assigning myself a project: take an image and reproduce it in oil UPSIDE DOWN.  I chose to use images I took during my Yosemite vacation in 2010 since landscape has not been an area of concentration for me lately.  I placed the source image upside down on foam-board nearby, then painted what I saw on an 11x14 canvas, using no preliminary sketch. I worked for about an hour on each canvas, never turning it over to see the upright image until it was finished. On Tuesday night I completed two small pieces (seen above), and on Thursday night I completed two more (to be posted soon).

"Yosemite Study #1: Half Dome."  Oil on stretched canvas, 11 x 14 inches.  Completed October 2012.

"Yosemite Study #2: North Dome."  Oil on stretched canvas, 11 x 14 inches.  Completed October 2012.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

State Capitol

This canvas is my latest aerial work, based on the North Carolina State Capitol in Downtown Raleigh.  I created this piece as a silent auction prize for an upcoming fundraiser by the State Capitol Foundation.

"State Capitol." Oil on stretched canvas, 24 x 18 inches. Completed September 2012.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

George Bellows exhibit

It's been well over a month since my last blog post. The hiatus was not intentional; it just simply happened. During this period, I enjoyed a successful solo show at the Cameron Village Library. In fact, upon delivering five canvases for the library's circulation desk exhibit area, I was invited to add four more canvases to an upstairs display area. What started as a small show ended up being an expanded experience. My thanks to the staff of the Cameron Village Library for their support.

Over the Labor Day holiday, I took time to travel north and visit several exhibits in the Nation's Capitol. My primary focus was the huge George Bellows retrospective currently on display at the National Gallery of Art (catalog cover pictured above). Having lived in Bellows's home town (Columbus, Ohio), I came to appreciate his work through the permanent collection of the Columbus Museum of Art. This show is exceptional, and very motivating for me. Bellows's sense of bravura and energy in brushstroke have always attracted me, and his cityscapes of New York are gorgeous in their use of light and color.
I also visited the Corcoran Gallery of Art (pictured above) to see a Richard Diebenkorn exhibition featuring his famous Ocean Park series. The size and scope of this work was impressive, but I especially loved his smaller studies created to inspire his larger canvases. The Corcoran also had a moving photographic exhibit by the Dutch artist Charlotte Dumas, featuring images of horses, wolves and dogs. It was a wonderful weekend filled with art, something I needed after a fallow summer.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Exhibit News: Cameron Village Regional Library Show

My work will be featured in a small solo exhibition at the Cameron Village Regional Library in Raleigh. The exhibit, installed by the circulation desk, will run from August 1 through August 31, 2012. The Cameron Village Regional Library is located at 1930 Clark Avenue, Raleigh NC 27605. Library Hours: Mondays-Thursdays, 9 AM - 9 PM; Fridays 10 AM - 6 PM; Saturdays 10 AM - 5 PM; Sundays 1 PM - 5 PM.

I am very grateful to the staff of the Cameron Village Regional Library for this opportunity.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ellington and King

This work is another painting based on aerial imagery. It depicts the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Ellington Street in Southeast Raleigh. I created the work by combining two 8x10-inch canvases into one 10x16-inch panoramic image and then framing them as one painting. This piece was accepted into the Visual Art Exchange's "SCOPE: The NC Landscape" exhibit this month, and received an Honorable Mention from juror Allison Slaby.

"Ellington and King." Oil on two stretched 8x10-inch canvases, equaling 10 x 16 inches. Completed April 2012.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

More Exhibit News

I had more good news earlier this month when one of my entries in the Visual Art Exchange's SCOPE: The North Carolina Landscape exhibit, "Grissom and Talmage," was awarded the Kathy Brancato Memorial Award for First Place in the show. This is a special honor for me, as Kathy and I had exhibited together in the Miriam Preston Block Gallery in 2010 shortly before she passed away. The Brancato family has sponsored this award in her memory, and I am very grateful to them for their support.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

New web site design

For the past two weeks I have been working on a redesign of my visual art web site. This past week I completed the redesign and went "live." Probably the greatest change was a switch from black to white as the background color. I also attempted to streamline the site, and was able to create painting galleries (based on years rather than subject matter themes) that allow the visitor to easily click through the works. Please check it out here. I also redesigned this blog to coordinate better with the new web site redesign.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Exhibition News

This has been a wonderful week of exhibition news for me.  It began on Monday with a phone call from the executive director of the Arts Council of Wayne County, who notified me that not only had both my submitted works been accepted into the ACWA's 33rd annual juried show, but one - "Biltmore at Dusk" - had been awarded the $1,000 Best in Show Prize by juror Andrew Stout of the Florence Museum in South Carolina.  The opening reception is Saturday, May 19 and the exhibit will run until July 9.

Then, on Thursday I received an email notice from the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh that both works I had submitted were juried into the VAE's SCOPE: The NC Landscape exhibition which opens on June 2. This is the second time that I've been featured in the annual SCOPE show, the first being in 2008.  I am very gratified to have both of these opportunities come my way.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Grissom and Talmage

I have continued to work from an aerial perspective on several recent works.  This piece is composed on two 11x14 inch canvases.  It is another that is based on a Raleigh neighborhood.

"Grissom and Talmage."  Oil on stretched canvas, 11x28 inches.  Completed April 2012.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Savannah Rooftop

My most recent effort is another canvas inspired by Savannah, Georgia architecture. I completed this small painting quickly to keep it loose and expressive.

"Savannah Rooftop." Oil on stretched canvas, 11 x 14 inches. Completed February 2012.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Candler Hospital at Night

I returned to source material from Savannah, Georgia for some recent works. This canvas depicts the old Candler Hospital on Drayton Street. The hospital was originally established in 1803 as Georgia's first medical facility, however these remains date to the 1870s. The complex is especially eerie at night.

"Candler Hospital at Night." Oil on stretched canvas, 28 x 36 inches. Completed February 2012.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Joshua Tree

This is a desert landscape study I recently completed as a "paint over" of an earlier canvas I had worked on a few years ago (depicting a street scene in Savannah). I never finished the earlier painting, and I decided to use that old canvas as the support for this work. The imagery is derived from my visit to Joshua Tree National Park last September during my trip to Palm Springs, California.

"Joshua Tree." Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches. Completed February 2012.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Desert Hills

I've been wanting to return to landscape painting for awhile, and last month I decided to return to it. This panoramic canvas depicts mountains outside of Palm Springs as the setting sun bleached them in golden light. Sunsets in California are spectacular, and difficult to capture on canvas. However, I enjoyed this painting experience and plan to revisit landscape imagery again.

"Desert Hills." Oil on canvas, 24 x 48 inches. Completed January 2012.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Savannah Bound

I'm heading out this morning on my annual sojourn to Savannah, Georgia. The weather is supposed to be great so I am really looking forward to the respite.

This past week I completed my first major landscape work in several years. It's based on desert imagery from my fall trip to Palm Springs, California. I'll share more in a future post.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Desert Light

I've been continuing with my Palm Springs theme this month, working primarily on small canvases. This is a canvas I completed quickly (in about an hour), and I tried to focus on two things: the harsh desert light, and a rapid brush stroke.

This past week I was offered a solo exhibition at the Cameron Village Regional Library here in Raleigh, NC. The show will run in August of this year, and I am excited and grateful for the opportunity.

Outside of the studio, I've been somewhat obsessed with the highly acclaimed French film "The Artist," Michel Hazanavicius's love note to the silent movie era of Hollywood. While it may have a simple story, the film is exquisite with fabulous performances by Jean Dujardin as George Valentin and Berenice Bejo as Peppy Miller. I've gone to see the movie three times in the past eight days, and I still feel like I have more to capture from it.

"Desert Light." Oil on canvas, 14 x 11 inches. Completed January 2012.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blue Dusk

This small study of Mid-Century Modern architecture is the third installment in my Palm Spring series. I enjoyed working in a color range that is unusual for me, adding cobalt blue to my pallet.

"Blue Dusk." Oil on stretched canvas, 9 x 12 inches. Completed December 2011.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pool House

I'm taking a lunch break from the studio and thought I'd update the blog with some recent work. This canvas, completed last month, is the second in my Palm Springs series. I have been working small for the past few weeks, trying to diversify the size of my output.

"Pool House." Oil on canvas, 11 x 14 inches. Completed December 2011.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Chi Omega House Commission

Happy New Year! Now that the Christmas holiday has passed, I can post the most recent work I have completed. This painting was a commissioned piece that depicts the Chi Omega Sorority House at St. Lawrence University in New York. I received the commission from a former colleague of mine at the Raleigh City Museum who wanted to present it as a Christmas gift.

During the holiday break I had the chance to visit the "Modern Masters" exhibition at Reynolda House in Winston-Salem. As always, Reynolda House did a fine presentation of this traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian's American Art Museum.

While visiting family up north during Christmas, I happened upon Gallery 322 in Frederick, Maryland. The gallery was featuring several works by Maryland artist Walter Bartman, a painter who also taught at the Maryland College of Art and Design in the 1980s when I was the college's director of admissions. I fell in love with one of his small landscapes painted on fiberboard and decided to purchase it for my personal collection.

I also fit in a day of painting yesterday in the studio, completing two small works in what I am calling my Palm Springs series. More on those in future posts.

"Chi Omega House, St. Lawrence University." Oil on stretched canvas, 18 x 24 inches. Completed November 2011.