Archive for July, 2009


oldschoolWhile I’m waiting for my website to get updated with a ton of new stuff, I’ll just gradually post new things here until the additions get made.

Sometimes a beautiful painting of a lanscape is a marvel to behold and then sometimes it’s just not enough. I like a story with my painting. I like to feel involved with the subject and the artist when I view a painting. Maybe that’s why I go back to the same place in Oxford, MD every year for Easton. I could just paint at this one location for the entire week. Cutts and Case boat builders. They  are kind, gracious, hard workin boat craftsmen who make them the old fashioned way. It’s a marvel to see a hand-made 65ft wood hull, perfect lines all the way down. And they don’t mind an artist setting up in the midst of their action. I always ask, mind you. It’s just the polite thing to do. I ask the owners and I ask whoever is in the woodshop I want to set up in so I’m not in anyones way.

This is one of those scenes where I had other choices but anywhere else and I would have been right in everyones way. And this was a nice scene. It just wasn’t enough, though, to have it as an interior, it needed a worker. So I went about the drawing portion of the event in the hopes that someone would show up and do something in that door way. And he did. In fact he asked me if he’d be in my way, and I said “Heck no, this painting needs you, work slow” He didn’t stand there long.. a minute maybe and then he came back once or twice. But I like the composition, like a little narrative to the painting. Sold it at the event…. everybody likes a good story.


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talbot lambscape

talbot lambscape

Well, that was a good week. I felt pretty good about my paintings at least until I saw the show and then I changed my mind. but I’ll get to that in a minute. It was full on painting from sunday morning until the following sunday afternoon. sun-up to sundown. Although we turned our paintings in thursday eve, I did my host painting friday, there was a quick draw saturday, then I did a two hour demo saturday afternoon. and on sunday morning was the winners paint out, a high-end quick draw and auction extravaganza with great food and drinks and music and amazing house, property etc. The people at Easton have this thing down to a science and I can’t say enough good things about how they run the event.

So, my first two paintings were good, I thought, did the above painting, a 20×20 and a 16×20 of a boat at my favorite location on the first day. I was set. The rest of the week was just looking for other cool things to fill out the replacement list (when one of your 2 show paintings sells they replace it with another). I mean I really felt good about my Talbot Lambscape, unusual composition (for me) and well handled drawing, I thought. It won an award for “best pastoral” which is good. But the whole show was overshadowed for me by two painters who just blew me away, Tim Bell and Stephen Griffin. Don’t get me wrong there were some really great paintings there by others Ken Deward, Rob Barber, Roger Dale Brown, Gavin Brooks, Scott Prior, Camille Przwodek, and more.  Tim won the coveted artist choice and best marine and Stephen was severely overlooked for an award in my opinion. But these two did large, very inventive paintings that made me feel, well, small. Got my ass kicked. Which is good. So I made some commitments to myself:

1) get a gloucester easel

2) get some cahones

3) go big or stay home

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headin out

Man what a crazy week. So much to do, so much to get done. Galleries wanting paintings,I’m leaving in the morning to go the the Easton plein air event, plan and pack, just discovered that I have to have paintings delivered midweek after next for a show of new members ( I have only 2 right now, changed my flights to get back a day early to paint, a major workshop event that needs finalizing,  just finished the 2nd of two illustrations for a major cruise line, sketches were due for a national restaurant chain (got em done), shipped paintings today to somebody who’s waiting. One of these days I have to get organized and stop living out of my head. I really need to live by the calendar, write down the event and back up however many days to the critical point of getting it done in time to ship or frame. I always think I know what needs to be done and when, just like I always think I know how to get to a place I’ve been before. I rarely do. If only there was a way to get other people to do the planning for me.

I’m hoping to find a computer at my guest house so I can post updates on the blog about the event. So many cool things happen during these things. I did have the foresight to check the weather and it looks like rain so for the first time, I’m packing one of my 7 raincoats. And looking forward to whatever comes. I feel good going into this which is usually a bad sign, I do much better when I’m in total fear. But either way I’ll do my best. Oh and the book is almost done, it looks amazing! very excited. We’ll talk soon.

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Many years back my father and I went to visit his sister, Antenna, at least that’s how she is known to me. She was cleaning house, out with the old and in with the only slightly more contemporary. There on the floor next to the table was a stack of photo albums from my grandmother and they were heading to the curb. Why people throw out old photos that encapsulate where their ancestors have been, I have no idea. But I opened one up and what I saw blew me away.  You know how granma’s are, they start out old and just get older. She was the kind of woman who somehow made crotchety charming. Sweet yet bitter at the same time, but I really didn’t know much about her. As it turns out, She was a fascinating woman. She traveled the world as a young woman in an opera troupe, worked for the office of General Pershing abroad during WWI, was in the Woman’s Army Corps, went to Nagasaki and walked through the rubble after it was bombed and she took pictures of all this stuff. She was an amazing woman with an amazingly good eye. I contend that these would hold up in any museum photography exhibit or book of old travel photos by crotchety grandparents…  so with Antenna’s blessing I took an album home and now I have a bunch of these. I should have taken them all. Good eye granma.


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Gitter done

Man, I don’t know about you but getting anything done is nearly impossible. Writing emails, deleting emails, blogging, facebooking, sending out workshop info, teaching workshops, creating new workshop venues, staying in touch with galleries, being president of a painting association, ordering frames, supplies, working on an 80 page book, illustration work, there’s so much stuff to do it’s hard to actually get to the painting thing. And I don’t even have kids…. or a real job.  I don’t know how anybody gets things done…. I end up painting every night till 8 just to stay on course.  I get more painting done when I do the plein air events than I do in a month at home, or so it seems. I’m going to have to start scheduling my time better, it’s that time of year to crack down and get all the galleries new work which means ordering new frames, getting canvases, contacting the galleries, asking what they don’t want, arranging to get the work back, moving work from one gallery to the other, shipping. OY! Maybe when I retire I’ll have more time to paint.

I’m heading out for Easton on Saturday. It’s a great event with a good track record for sales, it will be interesting to see how it goes compared to last year. But it’s a week away and am I ready? hell no.

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a la carte title maker

Robert Genn just sent out this thing on titles, so I sent him this. He probably won’t publish it so, here’s a system i like to use in titling my art. it’s an a la carte title maker. Sorta like ordering your titles from a vietnamese restaurant.  You got your modifiers, nouns and adjectives to choose from. What’s that? you want a side of prepositions with that? that’ll be $1 extra, on thursdays you can mix and match all you like:

Prepositions        modifiers                                     noun
Along                         the busy                                            forest
By                               my                                                      buddha
From                          the dimming                                    carousel pony

In                                a partially broken                           Chico’s diner

On the                    shimmering, resplendent                hills                                                                                                                                                   Our lady of                a big bowl of                                    sheep
please enjoy my painting which I call   ” From the dimming carousel pony forest ”


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Any of you who paint outdoors know that we are intentionally setting ourselves up for public annoyances in the form of curious minded people who happen to ask the same questions over and over. So I’ve devised a series of responses for you to use. I’ve field tested most of them, but be advised timing and delivery are essential:

1) Are you an artist?

a) You can’t tell?

b) (moving your brush rapidly through your painting, messing it up as if you were startled) Holy Crap! You scared the bejeeezus out of me. Makes some noise next time, (sobbing) my masterpiece is ruined…..

c) well, no. but my psychiatrist  says it’ll help quiet the voices.

d) has anyone told you that your feet are very attractive?

e) You know, I don’t tell many people this but I’m actually a hit-man.

f) I’m an actor. You may have seen me in Ghost Busters as the Stay-Puft marshmallow man.

2) Is this a profession or a hobby?

a) It’s the profession that pays like a hobby!

3) What are you painting?

a) you can’t tell?

b) Mans inhumanity to man and his relentless quest for death.

c) a domed stupa within a truncated pyramid—semi-interred within a gentle Andalusian countryside

4) Hey, if I stand here long enough, will you paint me into your picture?

A) okay but it’ll take me a couple of days.

B) I’ll put you in metaphorically as a rock.

C) I don’t do wildlife.

D) In a serious tone… “okay, stand still, now lift your leg up… good now stretch out your arms, higher. Great, now wet your lips and pretend to whistle. work it. yeah! got it.
You know, i’ve worked with better but you have that mysterious je ne cest quoi! Do you have an agent?

E) I only do nudes, take off your wife beater and jorts and we’ll get started.

F) Okay but you’ll have to shave your back first.

5) Oh great, another landscape painter.

A) Oh great, another ass-clown on a bike.

B) Oh great another ass-clown with a dog.

C) Your bar has last call at 9am? (or whatever the current time is)

D) Do I follow your truck around and critique your waste management skills?

6) My grandmother was an artist!

A) that’s awesome,  mine was just killed by a grizzly.

B) Yeah mine would get drunk and tape us all to the couch and make us watch Lawrence Welk, thanks for the reminder.

C) If I had a dollar for every time someone said that, I could afford a decent attorney for my grandmother.

D) (haltingly)  Wow…. If only…. if only… I……. If only I cared.

E) That is so cool!

7) I can’t paint. I wasn’t born with the talent.

A) thank god.

B) you aren’t born with it, you earn it.

C) you can be anything you want to be. you are magnificent. now go away.

8) Do you sell your paintings?

A) Not really.

B) Mostly I trade these to my drug dealer for crack. He’s very erudite.

C) Actually, this is the only one I have ever done.

D) Oh, I’m not a professional, this is just part of a work-release program.

9) $1400, is that your best price?

A) Well no, actually $12,000 is my best price. I like the way you do business.

10) How long you been paintin’?

A) Hour and a half

B) 35 years and about an hour and a half

C) How long have you had that mullet?

D) Since before those cut-off jean shorts with the frayed ends you are wearing went out of style.

11) Wanna paint a nude of me?

A) “Okay, the sooner you get naked, the sooner we’ll get this over with. Sound familiar?”
B) “How refreshing, a guy who wants to show me his penis!”
C) “You bet! Go on home and slap some nair on that shag rug you call your back and we’ll get going.”
D )“You know, I have not seen a naked man since my herpes tests came back.”
17) “Just curious, are you alergic to mace?”

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