Thursday, September 9, 2021

Monoprint Collage

 I love combining gel plate monoprints with collage techniques. Here are a few examples, all of which are 9"x12" except the last, which is larger. Join me in Sedona next month for a 4-day workshop!!

Friday, September 3, 2021

Painting Raffle

 I have decided to offer one painting per month as a raffle item to raise money for the Rupert Village Trust, an organization dedicated to village revitalization in Rupert, Vermont, my home town. This month, the painting is "Nowhere to Hide, #2", one of a series of what I'm  calling my scribble paintings. It is 18"x24" on mixed media paper.

Nowhere to Hide #2, 18"x24", acrylic on paper

All of the money collected in the raffle goes directly into Rupert Village Trust's account to help us reach our goal of a community center and café in the Village Center. Our main focus is to upgrade the historic Sheldon General Store building to safety and accessibility standards, and build the infrastructure necessary for a café. We will lease the main floor to a café owner/operator, while Rupert Village Trust uses the upstairs space for continuing community activities. Read more about it here.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Continuous Collage - Composition as Process

 Here is a piece that I am demonstrating at my Composition as Process mini-workshop. Continuous Collage is one approach I take to composing. In this ZOOM virtual workshop,  I will be talking through my process on several pieces, demonstrating my various approaches to composition. Hope you will join me at Winslow Art Center's virtual workshop space, Friday, August 27, 5:00 - 6:30 pm Eastern, 2:00 - 3:30 Pacific time. See details and sign up here.

One participant will win one of my paintings! Sign up includes you in the drawing.

What Happened Here? 9"x12", mixed media on paper

Friday, August 20, 2021

Giveaway at 'Composition as Process' workshop

 In my short and cheap ($40) online workshop next Friday I will be demonstrating this painting, narrating my compositional decisions as I go. One participant will win the painting in this giveaway!

The demo is part of Winslow Art Center's "Technique Takeaway" series. Join me on Friday, August 27, 5:00 - 6:30 pm Eastern, 2:00 - 3:30 Pacific for this workshop. You will get a link to the zoom video afterwards, so even if you can't make it to the real-time demo, you can see it at your convenience.

There will be time for questions and comments too!

Burning Bright, acrylic on paper, 18"x24"

Monday, August 16, 2021

More Thoughts on Composition

 I have been thinking a lot about composition lately because it is one topic that most of my students ask about. "When do you worry about composition?",  "Is it a composition?", "What about the Rule of Thirds?", "It is pleasing to the eye, but is it a good composition?"

The questions beg other questions. 

  • Why worry? I don't worry, I just compose. That is the process, and it involves trying things, changing them, painting over things, suggesting something to the painting and then seeing if the painting accepts it or not. Composing is constant hypothesizing and questioning. Trying things, editing, revising, building, deconstructing. This is composing.
  • How can marks on a page not be a composition? "These I just made, followed your instructions; this other one I tried to make a composition".  Comment from a student in a recent workshop, not uncommon. They are all compositions. You have composed all of them.
  •  What if you don't apply the Rule of Thirds, whatever that is? Anything that calls itself a rule is begging to be challenged. Try out the opposite, or something different from, the rule in question. SEE what happens, rather than just taking the rule as a Rule.
  •  Pleasing to whose eye? "Pleasing to the eye" is often used to mean "I like it". Own your personal taste. Don't project onto others. To me, "pleasing to the eye" suggests that the artist is trying to please an audience. It's great when people like your work, but what matters most is that your work  speaks to you. Then you know it is your work, and what you send out into the world is real.

Below are two pieces that I will be demonstrating in my Technique Takeaway, Composition as Process.

This 90-minute demonstration and discussion is online, via ZOOM, hosted by Winslow Art Center. 

Friday, August 27

5:00 - 6:30 Eastern Time, 2:00 - 3:30 Pacific Time

Sign up here.

I will walk you through my compositional process on the above two pieces and more. This is not an analysis of the finished pieces themselves, but a peek into my thoughts on composition as I am composing. The above two pieces are paintings. I will be including at least one collage piece as well, so you can learn how I think through that process as well. There will be intermittent Q&A during this demonstration. If you can't make it to the live ZOOM event, sign up anyway and you will get access to the video. Find out more here.

Friday, August 6, 2021

The Repeated Mark

 Those of you who have taken my workshops know that the lens through which I look at composition, composing, is contrast. Color, value, scale, quality of line or edge.... I look at contrasts, differences more than I look for repetition, "echoing", or sameness. But a crucial aspect of contrast is degree.

Contrast does not always mean 'high contrast' as in black and white or red and green (value, color). It doesn't have to mean tiny and huge, or soft and hard (edges, e.g.). I look at degrees of contrast - subtle contrasts and dramatic ones, and everything in between. How subtle can I make this contrast in value (for example) and have it read as different rather than the same. Or how little dramatic contrast can I inject to make a big difference in a piece? 

I have been looking at all-over patterns or designs that read as very compelling images, to me. Often, too much repetition creates a weak and blah piece. Nothing speaks out because everything is speaking at the same time. So what is it about these images that I find so powerful, even though they have this all-over repeating characteristic?

Here are a few images from a Pinterest board I call (tongue in cheek) "Wallpaper". Please see the board for attribution of these images and many more examples.

Check out Japingka Aboriginal Art Gallery for so so so many inspiring examples of contemporary Aboriginal art, much of which makes use of a repeated mark - dots, brushstrokes, stripes. Take a look at the gorgeous (to me) work of Carbiene McDonald at Outstation, which represents contemporary Indigenous art and works directly with Aboriginal owned art centers.

Here is one of Carbiene McDonald's pieces:


Look at Emily Kame Kngwarreye's work here. These are a couple of pieces of hers. Dots and stripes! What could be simpler? But what is it that makes them so compelling?

Aboriginal art is my new inspiration, but it makes me look at art that is based on a repeated mark in a new light. The repetition, done by hand, makes you see the subtle contrasts, the subtle shifts of color or scale or angle or nuance. This is some of what I've been exploring in my stripe pieces. Thanks for visiting!

Note: be aware of cultural appropriation. The repeated mark is used EVERYWHERE, and is not confined to the art of Indigenous Peoples. However, if you are inspired by the work of a culture, read this. In general, when inspired by a culture, a movement, or an individual artist, steal, don't copy. That is, do enough work to make it your own. Make lots and lots and lots of pieces until the work is your own. Be honest with yourself.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Composition as Process

This video is a little glimpse into what I will be showing you in my upcoming Technique Takeaway at Winslow Art Center via ZOOM:  Composition as Process. Friday, August 27 at 2 - 3:30 Pacific Time, 5 - 6:30 Eastern Time.  I will be narrating live my thoughts on composition as I work though several paintings and collages. Hope you'll join me on Zoom!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Painting for Collage

 Here is a little video in which I am painting pieces that will be cut up and used for collage. It is a little different than just painting Papers For Collage, with all-over designs. 

The supplies I use in the video include: Golden Fluid Acrylics, interior latex house paint, cheap bristle hardware store brushes, a blunt stiff brush, Lyra Graphite Crayon (9B), a 2" soft rubber brayer, and a  1" flat brush. Here is the paper I'm using, and you can see the paper holder/cutter here. Links are for your information. I'm not trying to promote these particular items; they're just what I'm using.

Here are the collages I made using the pieces in the video. I used other elements as well. They are all 11"x14" on Bristol:

You can find these images and others as prints or on products at Pixels/FineArtAmerica here. Thanks for visiting. I would love to hear if this is useful, or if it is something you've tried.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Composition with Imagery

I have been experimenting with floral-like paintings to see if I can still get at the compositional issues that intrigue me even when creating an image that represents something outside of the painting itself. Can I explore dense areas of small bits against large areas of 'open' or quiet space in a floral arrangement? How about color and value relationships? Can I create space and depth with 'flowers'? My interest is in the abstract visual language, but I really love some paintings that ride that edge between purely abstract, and representational, so I'm giving it a try.

Win Flowers of Summer in a raffle!

There is a bit of variety here, as I've been taking inspiration from a lot of different artists and different gardens. You can win "Flowers of Summer" in a raffle. I am donating the painting to raise money for the Rupert Village Trust, and organization of which I am a founding member. Thanks for visiting.

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"