Tuesday, January 18, 2022


 This series started like any series of mine - a visual inquiry in a given format. I'm exploring color, texture, edges, proportions, the nuts and bolts of visual content. And then what emerges may or may not speak to me. These stripes reminded me of the pilings under piers jutting out into the ocean. The reflections of them and the underwater portion distorting the angle. 

I'm offering this one in a raffle to raise money for Rupert Village Trust. See the right margin.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

A Deeper Dive: Is Your Work Authentic?

I am going to say that authentic work is work that comes from you, the artist, honestly. The images are not imitating other artists, they are not coming from a place of people-pleasing or trying to anticipate what the market will favor. It sounds simple, right?

How do you peel away the layers of influences that are inevitable and necessary, to find what is uniquely you, or what is true for you? Voices in our heads can include:

  • Any rules we were taught about what makes good design or composition
  • Our Inner Critics who voice our self-doubt and give it more importance than it deserves
  • Anxiety over what will sell or what will be accepted in a show or a gallery
  • Opinions of others whom we listen to - a spouse or friend or colleague

Working in a sketchbook, playing, experimenting

How do we learn about composition and still maintain the freedom to develop our own unique way of expression? How do we put aside the Inner Critic or the gallery submission and just get down to work? How do we take criticism (positive or negative) from those we care about, without giving it more weight than it deserves?

Trying out some pinks and reds

We look to other artists for inspiration. This is an important (to me) part of being an artist - be inspired, learn from others.  But how do we keep from imitating artists we admire? How do we avoid making paintings of paintings instead of just making paintings? 

Collage and Crayons

I don't have answers; just raising the question. The sketchbook pages here show some visual inquiries, and I wonder if working in a sketchbook more often helps to develop the honesty, the authenticity.

I would love to get your thoughts on these questions. Please comment; I have to 'moderate' because otherwise I get a lot of bot-generated spam. But I do look at comments and publish them every day. THANKS.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

State of the Studio

 I'm doing a little re-organization in the studio; maybe that is organization. Not re-organization. So I've pulled out all my paints and organized them by color into plastic tubs. I'm putting up some pegboard, which is really painful to do with my arthritic right hand (right handed with a drill driver), but it will be worth it. The goal is to have easy access to my paints and tools (shelves, etc, on the peg board), and to be able to put them away and clear the decks for new projects at any given time. I need to be able to shift gears more easily. 

I generally keep my tools in similar plastic tubs, but each tub contains all the tools I need for Project X, or Technique Y. When seeking a bone folder or a painting knife or a squeegee I have to paw through multiple tubs in endless search. 

How do you organize your paints and tools and surfaces? Love to know. Please comment - I have to moderate comments because of bot/spam comments, but I check every day for those 'awaiting moderation'. Thanks!

Studio Portrait

A View from the Loft (my office and yoga space)

The Fluid Acrylics and a few High Flow

Trying to Color Code the Tubs - this one is reds that are not Tomato Red or Orange. I have another box for just the Cadmium reds, Pyrrole reds, and oranges. This one is for the outliers such as pinks, magenta, and my beloved Quinacridone Gold.
Installation of pegboard in process
The Tubes of Heavy Body

Nelson, my studio assistant (he's technically a subcontractor, as he chooses his own hours and brings his own tools - which are very sharp; he also assists other projects, so he is not on the payroll.)

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Art Basics: Your Supplies

 Here is a video showing you the supplies I recommend for someone just starting out in art. You can see a list of my recommendations, and links, in my previous post.

Thanks for watching, and enjoy your art practice! Happy new Year.

Just to be clear: as you grow into your art practice you will want higher quality paints. Add them gradually as your budget allows. As many of you know, my preferred brand is Golden - they create paints in a range of formats and viscosities (heavy body, fluid, high flow, etc) and a huge variety of mediums and grounds. There are many other high-quality, pigment-rich paints available, too. But to begin an art practice, the less-expensive student-grade paints are a good choice.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Supply List For Beginners

I have been asked a few times what supplies I would suggest for a person just beginning their art practice. So I put together this list of recommendations for those interested in working with acrylic paint, collage, and drawing materials. Download the list here.

My general advice on art supplies: start with basics - paint, brushes, paper, drawing tools - and if you want to do collage, paint your own collage papers. Leave out the fancy stuff: metallic or pearlescent, fluorescent, glitter, or dimensional paints, special-purpose paints such as pouring paints, alcohol inks, and the like. Not that you won't try these products at some time in your journey, just don't rely on the bling factor to make your art for you.


Even though I use professional quality paints, I suggest the beginner use decent-quality but less expensive paints such as Liquitex Basics, Blick Studio Acrylics, or Nova Color Paints. You don't want to feel too precious about your materials. Ease into your acquisition of professional quality (expensive) paints.


 I have created a list on the Blick Art Materials website. You can order from the list, or just take a look at each product and find comparable products at your favorite art supply retailer. 


This is my Beginner's Supply List. Download it here.


Monday, December 27, 2021

Why Do You Make Art?

 I want to ask: What are your aspirations in art-making? What does your ideal art self look like? Where are you trying to get with your art? Is your goal a moving target or fixed? But... in the end it's all the same question. Why do you make art? What is your primary motivation for making art?

I am sorry that I have to moderate comments. It is because I have gotten a TON of bot-generated spam. Please do comment, though. I do check every day and publish all comments that are not spam. Thank you for your thoughts, and for visiting my blog.

Friday, December 10, 2021

How Do YOU Study Composition?

 Composition is the one aspect of painting that I am most often asked about, so I am continually evolving my approach to teaching it. There are many ways to explore composition. Cut paper collage is one of my favorites because it is very direct, and it is accessible to any level of technical skill. 

 Join me for a Technique Takeaway on Zoom, Friday, December 17, 5:00 - 6:30 pm Eastern Time.

See details at Winslow Art Center, and sign up here.  

Composition with Cut Paper Collage!


Tuesday, December 7, 2021

COLOR!!! For Cut Paper Collage

 Join me on zoom for a Technique Takeaway, hosted by Winslow Art Center. 

To make strong images in cut paper collage, it's best to start with a HUGE palette of painted papers. This includes all the colors around the color wheel - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and everything in between - and a broad range of values - very light, very dark, and everything in between.

I've noticed that when painting papers for collage most of us default to the mid-range values. Lighter values are often omitted. To make light values, start with white, add a tiny bit of color, mix thoroughly, and then paint a sample. Acrylic paint generally dries a bit darker than it is wet, so mix it to look lighter than you want.

Finally, make sure you have a range of neutrals - beige and gray, colors that you would not assign to a spot around the color wheel - in a range of values, and muted colors, again in various values. If this sounds like a lot of work instead of a lot of fun, do something else. I find painting solid colors on paper very soothing and at the same time enlightening.

Friday, December 17th,5 - 6:30 EASTERN Time (2:00 - 3:30 Pacific)

Cut paper collage is a powerful tool for exploring some elements of composition. In Composition with Cut Paper Collage we will first focus on this broad palette.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Composition with Cut Paper Collage

 Join me on zoom for a Technique Takeaway, hosted by Winslow Art Center.

Friday, December 17th,5 - 6:30 EASTERN Time (2:00 - 3:30 Pacific)

Cut paper collage is a powerful tool for exploring some elements of composition. In Composition with Cut Paper Collage I will show you how to use this simple technique to better understand shape, scale, negative space, color, and value.

Find details and sign up here.

The following are examples of student work, all-over layouts, nothing glued down.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

More New Stripes

 I am starting to explore stripes with a lot of texture, in repeated colors. 

24"x24" acrylic on panel

30"x30", acrylic on canvas

30"x30", acrylic on canvas

And some other kinds of stripes..

"Going with the Flow #5", 36"x36", acrylic on canvas

Various small stripes, 10"x10", available at Edgewater Gallery.

Thank for visiting!

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Technique Takeaway - The Short Workshop Format

 The Winslow Art Center in Seattle has been offering a series of "Technique Takeaways", which are short, one-session workshops that focus on one technique or concept. The workshops are on zoom, so you can watch them from the comfort of your own computer, and ask questions of the instructor in the chat box. 

Forty bucks, an hour and a half, and you have got a 'takeaway'. I have one scheduled next month, which you can see here. I would love to know your thoughts on this short form of a workshop, whether it is Winslow Art Center's Technique Takeaway or something similar.

What is your favorite form of a workshop? A five-day intensive in-person? An online weekly video workshop with or without feedback from the instructor? A one-day crash course? Videos you follow on your own?

If you are interested in The Short Workshop (tech takeaway style), what kinds of focused topics would most interest you? Would you like to be introduced to a new tool or material? A new technique? A particular aspect of color mixing? Or something specific about composition? What would YOU want to learn in the short takeaway?

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

November Raffle

 This month for our raffle, you have your choice of three paintings. If yours is the winning ticket, then you get to pick your painting. So far, the summer and monthly raffles have raised over $2000 for Rupert Village Trust. We are building community, weaving social fabric, in the village of Rupert, Vermont, by renovating an historic general store building to create a cafĂ© and community center.

Buy your raffle tickets here. Drawing is the last day of the month. These are the paintings you get to choose from if you are the winner:

Burning Bright #2, 18"x24", acrylic on paper

Floral Wannabe, 18"x24", acrylic on paper

There for the Asking, 12"x12", acrylic and collage on paper