Wednesday, June 23, 2021

New Work Available

 I have some new work available as prints and on products at Pixels/FineArtAmerica. Take a look at a few of the options here:

Framed Print

Canvas Print

Metal Print

Framed Print

Acrylic Print

Wood Print

Tote Bag

Carry-all Pouch

Shower Curtain

Throw Pillow (cover)

Enjoy! Thanks for visiting.

Friday, June 11, 2021

My Jeans

 When people see my jeans all covered in paint, they say "You could get a lot of money for those". Now is our chance to see if that is true. I am raffling a unique artifact - jeans bearing evidence of my painterly life - to raise money for the Rupert Village Trust, a non-profit of which I am a founding board member.

Buy raffle tickets here. Note that your credit card statement will show Rupert Village Trust as the vendor, not me personally.

Check out the jeans:

Cut them up and make a Painter's Tote Bag or decorative pillow.

Display them on a wall, or use them to build a scarecrow.

I have another pair, always, in the works.

You could cut out the colorful part and sew them onto your own jeans.

 We formed the Rupert Village Trust in order to save an old general store building and make it into a café and community center. Rupert is a tiny, but spread out, rural town in southwestern Vermont, population just over 700. The Sheldon Store Café and Community Center will add significantly to the social infrastructure of the Town. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Thoughts on Composition

Often composition is equated to planning, as if you could compose first (i.e. plan out the painting) and then paint, or execute the plan. Some artists and teachers use the terms Design and Composition interchangeably,both meaning to plan. And this approach works for many artists, but not for me. 

Take a look at my Technique Takeaway coming up, Composition as Process.


Pink Shape, 9x12"


This sense of composition may be analogous to a piece of music that is written out before it is played, a music composition. The way that I paint is more like an improvised solo - I make it up as I go along. But that does not mean that it not a composition. 


Stripe Collage #4, 11x14", "You can't make this stuff up"; well, yes, you can. What you can't do is plan a piece that ends up like this one. You have to find it in the process of making it.


Throughout my process of painting, I am engaged in the act of composing. The visual elements and their relationships to one another change many times during the course of creating a painting. The composition is in constant flux until it isn’t. The composition of the finished painting (if it finishes, which not all my paintings do), is an unknown until it reveals itself through the process of composing. 

Sunshine Stripes, 11x14", Even a very structured composition goes through many changes in its evolution towards a finished piece. Sometimes people mistake structure for planning.


Rising by the Second, 20x20"

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Layering and Excavating: Working the Surface

 If you missed last week's zoom mini-workshop on Layering and Excavating, you can now purchase access to the video recording of it. Click here to buy it.

This is one of the pieces demonstrated in Layering and Excavating. Learn how to layer with transparent paints using a squeegee, create fog with opaque paint, carve lines through alcohol-softened paint, and more. Click here for access.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Layering and Excavating Technique Takeaway

Join me this Friday, May 21, for a Zoom demonstration of Layering and Excavating Techniques. This is part of Winslow Art Center's Technique Takeaway series, little bite-size workshops focusing on specific techniques. 5:00 - 6:30 pm EASTERN TIME, 2:00 - 3:30 Pacific. Sign up here.

This is a brief video showing some of what I will cover.


Friday, May 14, 2021

Abstract Invitational at Shain Gallery

 A selection of my Stripes pieces are in the Abstract Invitational 2021 show at Shain Gallery, in Charlotte, NC. If you are in the area, go take a look. It is only up for a couple of weeks.

Common Thread #7, 20x20", acrylic on canvas

Common Thread #5, 20x20", acrylic on canvas

Stacked Stripes #12, 12x12", acrylic on panel

Stacked Stripes #11, 12x12", acrylic on panel

Stacked Stripes #14, 12x12", acrylic on panel

Stacked Stripes #13, 12x12", acrylic on panel

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

New Directions

 I wander into the territory of representational painting every now and then, with the idea that maybe I can explore the abstract content I so love in the context of pictures. I SO love works that walk that line between purely abstract and representational. I'm fascinated by how little it can take to suggest a whole scene from what is otherwise just shapes, lines, colors, values, marks, and scribbles that consist of material applied to a surface.

Jane Lewis's life drawings, for example, are masterful scribbles evoking all the weight and presence of the figures they represent. I see the figure, but I see the charcoal or pastel, and the gesture just as much. Material, process, subject, all have equal importance in these.

Sherri Cassell's Landscapes, countless other landscape painters, Jylian Gustlyn's vessels, Wendy McWilliams' florals, Julie Hamilton's work: these are just a few examples of artists whose work, to me, speaks as eloquently of abstract content and material as it does of its subject. 

Here are a few examples of my latest foray into representational images. Consider these all in process. They are on 18"x24" Bristol.

Thank you for visiting!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Opacity with Marble Dust

 I was investigating what happens to acrylic paint when you add marble dust. I have used it cold wax and oil media, as well as printmaking inks, to stiffen the consistency of the material. So what happens if you work it into acrylic paint?

Looks like we've found a way to make transparent acrylics opaque without adding white, which changes their value. 

From right: quinacridone magenta, manganese blue hue, Indian yellow hue, and quinacridone gold, each in their straight-up form and with marble dust added.

This is what I got from Blick.

At the top, the magenta and blue are opacified quinacridone magenta and manganese blue hue
At top on the left you see Indian yellow hue straight out of the bottle; to the right you see it with marble dust added.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Studio Work

 Here are a couple of pieces I have in progress:

48"x60" unstretched canvas. This is where it is today. Below are a couple of previous stages.

Several layers in, but establishing the stripes

More layers in, establishing the bottom section of stripes

Another work in progress, on stretched canvas, 40"x54". This is where it is today. My next task is to vary the values on the bottom row of stripes.

An early stage of the above piece

A few more layers later. It is starting to look like a pinstriped suit to me, so that is why I started obscuring the top area of stripes.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, March 15, 2021

Free Live Demo with Q&A

 I am offering a FREE DEMO at Winslow Art Center on Tuesday, March 23. This is part of a series of freebees Winslow is offering next week, in their "Spring Fling".

Slack Tide #6, 11"x14" acrylic on paper

I filmed the process of painting this image, which I will narrate live on Zoom, sharing my thoughts on composition, as well as tools and tips. I will take questions as well. Hope to see you there.

Even though it is free, you do have to sign up for this session. See details and sign up here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Practicing Composing

 Composition - the arrangement and qualities of elements in your painting - is a topic that seems to mystify people the most about art making. This is my impression from teaching thousands of students over hundreds of workshops over the course of ten years. Here are a few beliefs that some of you might hold. The 'you' is hypothetical.

  • You want composition to be a set of rules or guidelines.
  • You think composition is something you can learn and then apply.
  • You want there to be, or think there is, a set of rules that guarantee 'good' composition.
  • You approach abstract painting differently from representational painting from a compositional standpoint.
  • You may thing of format as the bulk of composition: the cruciform, the abstract landscape, the grid, for example.
  • You think there has to be a focal point
  • You believe in a rule of thirds
  • You think of 'spontaneous' painting as different from a composition, a composed painting.
  • You think a composed painting, a composition, is planned.

Any of this sound familiar? None of it is true. Where do these beliefs and assumptions come from? I've probably contributed to some of these beliefs myself, in earlier workshops. But believing any of the above does serve as a starting point.You can begin to un-learn. You can become aware of assumptions. This is where real composition begins.

In an attempt to address these issues directly I am offering two new workshops this year:

Abstract Composition Bootcamp

Fridays on Zoom, beginning April 9.


Paint Solo #9, 22x30" acrylic on paper

In order to become fluent in visual language, you need to become aware of what you do by habit and what you can do by choice. The more fluent you are, the more spontaneity and freedom you can bring to your art practice. See workshop details here.

 100 Paintings

Online with a blog, no zoom. 10 weekly lessons beginning September 8.

Pink Shape, 9x12", acrylic, collage, drawing on paper

 Join me for one or both of the above for a deeper look at what it means to compose.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

A New Take on Stripes

 These layered and textured stripes came out of a fallow period, just after an intense six weeks of teaching. I wanted to loosen up, lighten up, and just get some paint on surfaces with no particular ideas. The first couple of days of this practice - just go into the studio and put paint on paper/canvas/panel - felt pretty unproductive, like just spinning my wheels. And it IS just spinning my wheels. But persistence paid off in the form of a new exploration in stripes.

I will be demonstrating these techniques on May 21 on Zoom.

See details of my Technique Takeaway at Winslow Art Center here.


Stacked Stripes #1, 11"x14", acrylic on bristol

Stacked Stripes #2, 11"x14", acrylic on bristol

Stacked Stripes #3, 11"x14", acrylic on bristol

Stacked Stripes #4, 11"x14", acrylic on bristol

Stacked Stripes #5, 11"x14", acrylic on bristol

Stacked Stripes #6, 11"x14", acrylic on bristol

Stacked Stripes #7, 11"x14", acrylic on bristol

Stacked Stripes #8, 11"x14", acrylic on bristol

Stacked Stripes #9, 11"x14", acrylic on bristol

Stacked Stripes #1, 11"x14", acrylic on bristol

All of these are available as prints and on products on FineArtAmerica/Pixels. 

The Bristol I am using can be found here.

I use a squeegee to apply paint in many of these. See them here.

Other supplies include Golden paints, Blick Matte Acrylic White, and Utrecht Matte Medium.

Although the pieces do not particularly feature it, some have Golden's new So Flat Matte paint in them. These are just gorgeous, lush paints, with a beautiful consistency and opaque coverage. It just became available at art retailers last month. Here it is at Blick

I am excited to experiment more with layers and textures in this new stripe format, and this confirms my hopeful idea that When In Doubt, or when I feel out of steam or out of ideas, just putting paint on surfaces - keeping my hand in it - can lead to a path forward.