Monday, December 22, 2014

FALL SHADOWS

Pulling into the driveway early one morning I glanced across the front lawn and saw these shadows playing on the front lawn.  I walked in side and did this on a scrap of watercolor paper with a watercolor sketching pocket kit.  For some reason it has a charm for me that these kind of paintings don't usually hold.  Watercolor, 3.5x5.5 inches.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

NEW SKETCHES: OSWEGO WATERFRONT

Perhaps one or several of these sketches will be worked into finished paintings.  Or perhaps not.  They show the Lake Ontario waterfront in the port at Oswego, NY.  The boats in the images are at the H. Lee White Maritime Museum (a little gem of a local historical museum)


LT-5, Major Elisha K. Henson



    
These are two sketches of a retired fishing tug which has been restored.
...And what waterfront would be complete without a gull?


Monday, December 15, 2014

JIB SERIES, #4


This is the fourth in my jib series, Jib on Foredeck NY9930FF.  This is also mounted on a stretcher.
Watercolor, 12x18 inch.





Tuesday, November 4, 2014

JIB SERIES


Studies of the jib (or foresail) on the foredeck of my J22 sailboat. The random folds have always looked quite sculptural to me because of the stiffness of the fabric, almost (when they're new!) like thin white sheet metal.  The top two paintings were accepted into the fall 2014 show of the Rochester Art Club, the fourth time in a row that I've shown there.
From a technical point of view, one thing that's interesting about these paintings is that they were done on 140 lb cold press Bockingford stretched while wet onto a conventional 14x18 inch stretcher (the kind often used for oil-on-canvas paintings) so that they constitute a self-mounted piece of work; the paper is quite taut and the image is painted around the edges. They can be hung from wire stretched across the back.





Thursday, October 2, 2014

SKETCHES AFTER A BRIEF HIATUS

During the last month I've been working on a number of pieces.  Amongst them are images I did in the Strathmore Series 400 sketchbook we're using in the Beginning Watercolor classes at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester.  The point was to test the paper (pretty good) and the new, limited palette--after a long, long discussion--that Glenn Miller and I agreed upon for student use.  After all it wouldn't be fair to tell people to use paint that wouldn't work for me!  Anyway here are some of the sketches, all of them approximately 4x6 inches.













Thursday, July 24, 2014

VASE AND TWO BOTTLES

VASE AND TWO BOTTLES
This drawing was done in Brian O'Neill's workshop on photorealist drawing, as a class exercise, in the Rochester Art Club studio.  Charcoal pencil, approx. 6x8 inches.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

VICTOR FEED AND SEED

VICTOR FEED AND SEED
A sunrise scene looking to the west along the tracks of the Ontario Central.  The rail tracks curve around behind the Victor Insulator factory, and have carried clay deliveries for many years. My first use of Bockingford paper....different versions took a month.  Watercolor, half sheet.

Monday, May 19, 2014

CASUAL CLOUDS

CASUAL CLOUDS
These clouds created themselves from a splash of water and color that moved as it pleased.  Like "the carpet is the soul of a room" (Poe), clouds are the soul of a watercolor landscape.  Once they fixed themselves in place, a little foreground in contrasting color finished this study. Watercolor, 3x5 inch.

Friday, May 9, 2014

NOTEBOOK SKETCHES


NOTEBOOK SKETCHES
Of late I have made a resolution to work in a more disciplined fashion in my sketchbook.  It seems like a practice that's frequently recommended but one which a lot of artists find difficult to actually do.  The top image here is a tree on the property line behind my house, with the woods beyond it going down the hill to a creek.  One problem I remember vividly from when I started to paint was being able to put trees in the background so that they would seem to recede into the distance...at least now I have better tools for that.  The other image is a sunset on the tidal pond behind my sister's home on the Patuxent River in southern Maryland.  It's calm there on a spring evening, and serene.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

FISHING TUG REBUILD, PORT DOVER

Fishing Tug Rebuild, Port Dover
This is a Lake Erie fishing tug in the process of being rebuilt in 1984 on the north shore of Lake Erie.  It's already had a rough life, and is being prepared for more of the same.  To see sketches and source material used in painting, go to StagesWatercolor, half sheet.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

SKETCH: BARN IN DUSK

SKETCH: BARN IN DUSK
This is one of a series of quick barn sketches, roughly finished.  It evokes that moment of twilight when the darkness starts to gather and the shadows fill in. As a boy, the barns on our farm started to become places of vague and looming menace after the sun set, even though we knew every inch of them from playing and working in them all the long summer days.  Watercolor, 9.5 x 11.5 in. approx.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

SKETCH: PEDESTRIANS IN PARIS

SKETCH: PEDESTRIANS IN PARIS
It's always exciting to get a new brush!  A week ago I got this medium size grey squirrel mop, and just started throwing some water at the paper to try it out. It's like painting with a fire hose. This is one result, based on some street sketches I did in Paris last year...it only took a couple of seconds, really, but it makes me laugh because something about it captures a certain insouciance that I love. Watercolor, 8.5x11.5 in. approx.

DRAWING: TERN DEAD ON A BEACH

DRAWING: TERN DEAD ON A BEACH
Another loose line and wash drawing, done from a photograph taken on a beach near Big Sur in 1984 during my first visit to California.  What struck me was how the body felt totally abandoned, completely forgotten and dropped by the tern, like a discarded glove. Watercolor and ink, 8.5 x 11.5.

Monday, April 14, 2014

DRAWING: ORCHID IN POT

DRAWING: ORCHID IN POT
Recently I decided to do some line drawings in ink on a wash background, and then filling in the drawing with color. This Christmas orchid was sitting on my studio table, gathering its strength for next year. Watercolor and ink, 8.5 x 11.5 in.

Monday, March 3, 2014

SKETCH: HIGH STREET SUNSET

SKETCH: HIGH STREET SUNSET.  Just a quick impression of the sun going down over the hills in the Finger Lakes.  Watercolor, 9x13.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

SKETCH: Shadow Falls on the Big Barn

Sketch: Shadow Falls on the Big Barn
This quarter-sheet sketch is a preliminary study for a painting of what we used to always call the Big Barn (next to the Little Barn, of course) on the farm in Victor.  Some of my earliest memories are of my mother pulling out huge burdocks by the base of that tree as our family reclaimed the deserted and overgrown fields of the farm.  I'm deliberately working here with a limited palette of ultramarine blue, burnt sienna and alizarin crimson to see how unified an effect they can create.
Watercolor, 9x12-3/4 in.

Monday, January 20, 2014

DEEP WINTER....Select Watercolor Landscapes


A First Friday Show
Rochester Arts Club Studio, 4th floor
Hungerford Building, corner of North Goodman and Main Street, Rochester, NY
Friday, February 7, 5pm – 9pm
A small selection of recent paintings, not for sale.

Monday, January 13, 2014

ISLA MUJERES WATERFRONT (Teaching Sketch)

T
Sketch: Isla Mujeres Waterfront
I'm working out a minimalist approach that will make it possible to use this image to teach an introductory watercolor course at the Memorial Art Gallery's Creative Arts School this spring and summer.  I'd like to have several images which look colorful and pleasing but that can be produced using a limited palette and basic techniques (e.g., no masking, no scraping, no complicated perspective). 

My introduction in class will stress four concepts:
  • We're not here to make a painting, we're here to learn how to paint.
  • Paint as though your materials are free.
  • Simplify.
  • Let the watercolor do the work.


This is my work area right after finishing this sketch.  A photograph, a sketchbook, a pencil and kneaded rubber eraser, three simple brushes, a plate, and the M. Graham & Co. Basic Paints set of five colors.  What else do we need?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

SNOWFENCE

SNOWFENCE
It's kind of a funny idea, a snowfence.  Do you use it to corral a blizzard? Do 'snowboys' brand snowflakes in snow pastures surrounded by snowfences?  Actually, it was originally an ingenious form of irrigation that farmers used to put out in their fields to cause drift to form on top of their winter wheat.  The captured snow would melt and leave the ground moist for months.  Now, since we live on top of a hill, I use it to snag the wind driven snow before it can completely plug our driveway.  It was surprisingly pleasant to paint each slat in this fence, and melt the colors together to form a weathered grey.  Don't even ask how long it took... Watercolor, 14x16 in. approx.

Friday, January 10, 2014

CYC FLEETS, No. 4: J22 RIGGING FOR PRACTICE RUN

CYC FLEETS, No. 4: J22 RIGGING FOR PRACTICE RUN
The crew of this J22 race boat are completing the rigging before they cast off from the dock for a Saturday morning practice run.  It's a moment for paying careful attention that each line and fitting are properly attached; when the wind comes up there won't be time for correcting mistakes.  Except for a couple of accent colors, I painted this entire piece with one dark color I mixed from six different blacks and blues, which accounts for the unusual depth of the color.  Watercolor, full sheet 30x22 in., floating mat, blue metal frame.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

CYC FLEETS, No. 3: START OF 2012 ENSIGN NATIONAL


CYC FLEETS, No. 3: START OF 2012 ENSIGN NATIONAL
The committee boat is on the north end of the line in this view looking to the east, and the crash boat three quarters of the way down the line is preparing to set the mark for the start of racing on the second day of the Ensign National.  From the look of the water it will be a slow race unless the PRO calls a postponement.  A spectator boat is heading out of the CYC to watch such excitement as there may be.  Watercolor, full sheet 30x22 in., floating mat, blue metal frame.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

SMELT FISHERMEN LYING AT PORT DOVER, LAKE ERIE, 1975

SMELT FISHERMEN LYING AT PORT DOVER, LAKE ERIE, 1975
This is the finished full sheet painting of these wonderful old boats that we saw so many years ago.  I wonder if they are even still afloat or if they've been broken up for scrap.  Fishing quotas for the lake have been severely reduced and reports say the fleet is down to a third of its previous size.  In the right light, they were vessels of ghostly beauty.  Watercolor and gouache, full sheet, 30x22 in., floating mat, blue metal frame.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

CYC FLEETS, No. 2: SHARKS WAITING OUT THE NOON CALM, 2011 NATIONALS\

CYC FLEETS, No. 2: SHARKS WAITING OUT THE NOON CALM, 2011 NATIONALS
To most sailors it would look quite unusual--alarming even--to see a fleet of boats sitting at the dock with their sails up and nobody on board.  When there's a summer high pressure system locked in place, Canandaigua Lake can become dead calm a little after 10 am and remain flat until around 4 pm, when the wind will resume.  This national regatta was plagued by very light breezes, but the Sharks got in enough to qualify for their series.  Watercolor, full sheet 30x22 in., floating mat, blue metal frame. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

IRV FREDERICK HAS RETIRED

IRV FREDERICK HAS RETIRED
Irv worked in this little garage at the end of our driveway for many years, welding and repairing the farm machinery for all the the farmers in our part of Victor.  On winter mornings, we used to huddle next to his blazing coal stove while we waited for the school bus. He was there the entire time I was growing up but when I came home from college he had closed up shop.  Merit Prize, Fall 2012 Show, RAC.  A smaller version won a Jurors Award at the Bridge Gallery, University of Rochester.  Watercolor, full sheet, 30x22 in., floating mat in blue metal frame.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

SEEKING SHELTER AT PULTNEYVILLE

SEEKING SHELTER AT PULTNEYVILLE
Three sailboats head in from Lake Ontario for the shelter of the harbor at Pultneyville.  The harbor is on the left, and they need to make a sharp dogleg to come in through the channel outlined by rocks in the foreground.  Painted at a plein air workshop with Roland Stevens.  Watercolor, 12x16 in.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

THREE BIRDS INSPECT LAKE ONTARIO

THREE BIRDS INSPECT LAKE ONTARIO
These guys were spending hours just looking at the water.  They make it look like a full time job but it's hard to tell what they are looking for.  Done at a plein air workshop in Pultneyville with Roland Stevens.  Watercolor, 12x16 in.

Friday, January 3, 2014

ERIE CANAL NEAR FAIRPORT (Sketch)

ERIE CANAL NEAR FAIRPORT (Sketch)
A couple of boats tied alongside the canal were the inspiration for this quick sketch.  It's not a tight depiction of the actual scene...I was more interested in trying out several recently acquired colors.  Working with a limited palette appeals to me as a creative stimulus.  Watercolor, 8x11 in.



Thursday, January 2, 2014

CYC FLEETS, No. 1: VANGUARD REACHING FOR THE GYBE MARK

CYC FLEETS, No. 1:  VANGUARD REACHING FOR THE GYBE MARK
This one of a series of large paintings showing boats from the fleets at the Canandaigua Yacht Club.  The Vanguards are small racer/daysailers which are fast for their size but quite tender, so much so that their annual meets are called the Muddy Mast Regatta.  These guys are hustling to get around the last mark and head for the finish line so that they can get in before the rain coming up from the south drenches them.  They may not make it.  Watercolor, full sheet 32x40 in., deep blue metal frame, floating mat.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

SPECTATOR BOAT, ENSIGN NATIONALS AT CYC (Sketch)

SPECTATOR BOAT, ENSIGN NATIONALS AT CYC (Sketch)
The Ensign Nationals were held at Canandaigua Yacht Club in 2012.  This is a party boat heading out to watch the start.  It's a study for a section of a full sheet painting of the entire starting line on the far side of the lake.  Watercolor, 10.5x14.5 in.