Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Painting at the Vet School

Painting a pastoral scene on location often means a drive out in the country, but at the western end of Hillsborough St. in Raleigh is the NC State Vet school. Between the modern classrooms and laboratories and the I-440 Beltline is this bit of country life, barns and cows, green fields and trees.

So on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in October I drive into Raleigh to stand on the side of a six lane road and paint a rural landscape.

Here is a photo of my easel with the farm

And the finished painting.....

Barn at the Vet School
9 x 12 Oil on Canvas

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Something Different

What can you do with a fox painting? Of course, you could get prints made. Even lampshades, But here is something different, You can now find one of my most popular fox paintings on neckties.

Red Fox Necktie $49.95
as usual, shipping included.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Busy Busy Busy Part 2

In the last post, I told you about the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show. In the last two months I have also been busy doing something else that I love to do. Gold leaf and hand lettering names of boats.

The first two boats are Lightning Bugs, electric boats from Budsin Woodcraft. The ideal boat for a sunset cruise around the lake, quiet enough to hold a conversation whilst sipping some champagne.

Next are two videos of lettering on two Chris Craft boats. The first is a 1947 model. Since it is a post-war boat, it is considered a Classic. This is the same type of boat as seen in the film "On Golden Pond"

This next boat is a 1931 Runabout. Since it is a pre-war boat, it is an antique. Both of these boats will be at the Antique and Classic Boat Show at Lake Wheeler in Raleigh, NC on Sept. 25th. I will have photos of them in the water afterwards.
For information on the boat show go to

Here is Indiscretion, a 1964 35' Fino Runabout a classic Italian boat built along the lines of the Riva Aquarama. She was lettered after a new paint job. The work was done while she was getting her bottom paint and final fitting out. In the photo below she has not yet gotten her teak rails and chrome lights. The lettering and transom will be getting a coat of clear awlcraft. The reflection on the swim platform was accomplished by wetting it down to simulate the final look. The final paint was incredible. The entire boat and everything in it was painted, then sanded with 1500 grit sandpaper and finally buffed out to a mirror finish. The second photo is a look at the bow inside the paint booth and shows off her lines. Just the boat to be scooting about on the Riveria in the early sixties.

December 2011-CORRECTION-I received an email from a Fino owner who has actual facts:

I happened upon your blog entry from last year regarding this boat. I am a Fino owner myself, and have been assembling information about these boats, including the current whereabouts and condition of the various individual examples. Contrary to your post, these boats were actually built in Florida between 1970-1973, and approximately 28 were constructed (mine was #9). The design is certainly influenced by the Italian "Riva", but the designer was Walt Walters, who designed many well known offshore race boats in the '60s and '70s.

In the next post you get a look at one of my painting workshops that was held a Jerry's Artarama Raleigh Store

Monday, August 30, 2010

Busy Busy Busy,

Let me tell you a bit about what has been going on through July and August.
First, the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show took place the last week in July and the first week in August. I was honored by the BRCHS Foundation when they asked me create the painting for the poster, t shirts, cards etc.

The painting is 24 x 36 and was auctioned off at the Horse Shows Gala party to benefit the foundation.
While the horse show was underway, you could have found me throughout the grounds painting scenes of the show, including a "Foggy Day at Blowing Rock"

Foggy Day at Blowing Rock
Oil on Canvas 9 x 12 $410.

Blowing Rock, Afternoon Clearing
Oil on Canvas 9 x 12, $410

In addition the paintings of the show, I had many requests for specific commissions. I am still working on them.

But more that the Blowing Rock Horse Show has been going on, but I am going to leave that for the next post.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Black and White Painting in Color

Today's painting, a horse head, was referenced from a black and white photo. But I can't paint in just black and white, I need color. Starting with a red ground ( artspeak for background ) on my canvas, I laid in the basic dark dark shapes. A few of the not so dark darks and then I jumped to the lights. Not straight white, a bit of orange and ochre to warm it up.

When painting in public, you get to talk to fellow artists of varying skill levels. I talk to quite a few who work in pencil or charcoal but are reluctant to paint or who have tried painting and were unhappy with the results. Let me use this painting to illustrate a couple of helpful ideas.

First, if you draw exclusively in black and white, be it pencil or charcoal or whatever. Make it easy for yourself and try working with only black and white paint. You already know how to discern tthe values ( darks and lights ) and to see the shapes, so just work with learning how the paint works. How it feels going on the canvas. How to thin. How it covers and how it blends. Play with that.

A second step is to work on a colored ground. You can use charcoal and white chalk or pastel on a blue or tan paper. Here is where it gets interesting. The white black and the ground color can be used to create cool and warm colors. Using a warm colored, say a tan paper or background you can use the black and white chalks with the tan showing through to create a range of warm tones. Now if you take your black and white and mix a range of grays without allowing the background color to show, they will have a cool, bluish cast compared to the color of your background.

Try creating two value scales (a row of ten squares going from black to white) side by side, one with the black and white mixed opaquely, the other with the colored ground showing through (work from your ground color adding white as you get lighter and using the ground color and black to create your darks. Do not mix black and white together in this scale)

In the painting below, white mixed with orange, ochre and red are used in the lights. The darks range from a deep mixture of blue and brown, to greenish midtones to bluish halftones and both warm and cool reflected light. A lot of fun, playing with a black and white image. If you find this interesting, I will be teaching a workshop in August. See below for more..

8 x 8 Oil on Canvas
$240. Shipping included

The workshop will be in Raleigh NC at Jerrys Artarama on August 14, from 10 - 4.
For more go to Jerrys Raleigh store.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More Small paintings

A summer's Sunday evening in Middleburg Va. The town has quieted down but the sun is still bright and high in the sky. This is a view down Washington St. I am always amazed that by painting this shape in one color and adding another color blog there you end up with a painting of a scene.

Of course, all that throwing of color on the canvas has work and time behind it. Working with the same colors on the palette for years will enable you to mix colors almost unconsciously.
And we have to learn how to translate the incredible range of values (light and dark) of the world around us into that narrow band we can create on canvas. How do you create the luminosity of an awning glowing from the sun behind it with just paint? How do you paint a black wall in the sunlight?

When painting is going well, and here I am using "painting" to refer to the action of painting, not the object on the easel, I seem to be holding a running conversation with myself, or more accurately, I find that a part of me is telling me what to do next, "Mix a bit of cadmium orange into that blue. Make that shape darker in value towards the bottom. Bring that line over to the left..." All that practice and lessons learned come back as they are needed. Then at some point I will look at the painting and think to myself, "Wow, did I do that?"

To me, this is one of those paintings.

Middleburg Afternoon
4 x 6 Oil on Canvas
$100. shipping included

Of course, it isn't always this way. Sometimes I look at my subject, at the canvas and the palette saying to myself, "How the heck am I supposed to do that?" or "What am I supposed to do now?" A painting will often go through a stage that an artist friend call "the uglies." So persevere and you can bring it on through.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Small Paintings Horses and Water

Here are a couple of small oil paintings, 4x6 on wood panels. These will definitely be used to create larger works. They were painted while exhibiting at at the Aiken Spring Classic Horse Show in Aiken SC. Hot sun, temps in the 90's and humidity made the subject very appealing. I will definitely be working on larger versions of these subjects.

Normally, these paintings would be on my 1hundredpaintings blog but I wanted to get them up now and there are three or four paintings scheduled before them on that site.

Cool Drink
4 x 6 Oil on Wood panel

Afternoon Swim
4 x 6 Oil on Wood panel
$100. shipping included

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

Painting the town

It feels great to be out painting in the sunshine and warm weather. I'm trying to take advantage of these days to get out and paint. Painting the town is a series of paintings I am working on of small towns, the countryside and city scenes from here in central North Carolina. Painting outdoors "on location" is a entirely different animal than painting in the studio.
In the studio you take your time, for time stands still for you. You study the painting, mix a color on the palette. Look at it, try it on the canvas. Maybe its not quite right. Get it right try it again. That's better, but the brush stroke is a bit off. Try it again. Meanwhile, Sunday afternoon, out on the side of the road.....

Bridge over the Neuse River
8 x 10 oil on canvas

This old bridge crosses the Neuse River at a small community called Falls of the Neuse. The falls were replace with a dam and the community is now part of the city of Raleigh. The area has a distinctly NC mountain feel to it with the road winding down hill to the river. I will definitely be painting here again

When you are painting outdoors, time is moving. You take what you learned in the studio and just do it. The time you spent mixing colors from different combinations of paint have made matching the colors almost second nature. But the sun moves, the light changes and the shadows shrink and grow and wander around. No time to let you mind wander, it is a matter of focusing exclusively on the painting and the scene. Not that I am oblivious to what is happening around me. I stop, look around, talk to people who wander over, but when painting I am totally painting.

Farm on Harris Road
8 x 10 Oil on canvas
This farm near in Wake Forest NC has been turned into a park rather than a subdivision.

On of the most obvious differences between painting outdoors vs indoors is the range of value, or the amount of the shades of dark and light that you see. If you are using a photograph to paint from this is easy to see. Take a photo of a scene outdoors. Then look at the shadowed areas in the photo. Just flat dark shapes, yet if you look at that scene you can see what is in the shadows. The shadows just aren't as dark as the camera shows. So I keep this in mind when working from photographs, something to take back into the studio with me.

Five Points
8 x 10 Oil on Canvas
This area is closer to downtown Raleigh. A collection of shops and stores at an interesction of five roads. A really interesting part of town. To the left of the painting is a neighborhood of big old homes. To the right side would be neightborhoods of 1920's bungalows. A very paintable area, I'm just waiting for Spring to get here and give me some green leaves and flowers to paint.

I have touched on a few of the differences between working outside and inside. I always seem learn something to take back to the studio and the studio work helps me improve my work outdoors..

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Fox in Snow Series

I am currently working to complete the 18 x 30 oil painting below of a fox walking throught the snow. This painting began now that I think about it over 4 years ago. I painted this fox three times before, from a 2 1/2 x 3 1/2" oil to a couple of 4 x 6 oils to the 18 x 30.

Here is the first, a ACEO, the size of a baseball card, though this is an original oil on canvas done in 2006.

Then last year came back to it, this time as a 4 x 6 oil. A bit easier to see when painting. I added some snow covered hemlocks to create a background.

Here is another version the same size as above. We have been having a bit more snow than usual this winter, so I simplified the design, just the fox and the snow.

Here is the start of the latest painting. I worked it on a red background. Patiently working on drawing the fox before painting the snow.

A this point, I have decided that I have worked enough on the fox to have some fun, so I got out the 2 inch brush and squeezed a pile of white paint on the palette and went at it. I had planned to paint the row of hemlocks in the background again, but I wanted to show the fox as a survivor, making it through the winter. I decided to paint the blue of the sky instead of trees. At that time I had already painted a line of green where the base of the trees would have been. I decided to keep that as a distant tree line, with our fox crossing an open field or frozen lake.

A this point my wife came into the studio. She is a portrait artist M. Theresa Brown and we often critique each others work. Well maybe we make suggestions to each other. She suggested that I paint him walking across grass next to stone wall. A great idea, so it looks like this painting won't be the last in the series of Fox walking in Snow. Check back the finished painting should be up in a couple of days.

Out and About on a Saturday

Yesterday was another reminder that Spring is almost here. After some work around the house, I loaded the easel and headed out to paint. Now I could have found some secluded spot in the woods or an old farm field, but after mostly working in the studio, I decided that I would go where there are people!

The Café
8 x 10 Oil on Canvas

This building is in a nearby town. I liked the afternoon sun on the brick and the shape of the copper roof. I did misjudge the weather. When you walk out of our house in the winter, the wind is blocked by the house and the trees that form a windbreak behind it. The sun shines on the porch. When I set up my easel it was in the shade and the wind, under-dressed would be the word. Can you get hypothermia at 50 degrees F? Actually you can, not that I did.
So here is the latest plein air (French for Outside) painting. I will be returning to town to paint again, the combined paintings to create a portrait of the area.

's painting will be someplace a bit more rural, maybe the view for the side of a busy highway. I try to capture those little vignettes of landscape that are in our commonplace views.
So I will add a jacket to the supply list this morning, and not set up in the shade...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Evolution of a Painting - Two Cows Too

I have always intended to show sort of a step by step, work in progress series of photos of a painting from beginning to end. Usually what happens is I take a photo of two and the beginning and then the painting takes over and when I am almost finished,I realize that I forgot to continue with the photographs. BUT NOT THIS TIME!
I managed to paint and photograph as the same time yesterday. Rather than a series of photos, I put them into a short ( 25 sec.) video. (The music is from the editing program )

The painting (it's for sale is a 4 x 6 oil on canvas will be posted on my other blog,

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Painting a Series Leadline Class at Horseshow

I don't think this would be considered a series just yet.. I am working on a painting, 12 x 16 that I originally did as a 4 x 6 oil for the 1hundredpaintings blog. Here is a look at that painting. You can click on it to see the original blog post.

Here is a photo of the 9 x 12 painting in it's early stages

Here we are a bit further along. The trick here is not to lose the spontaneity of the little painting while refining the details. Her expression is rather tricky to paint also. It doesn't take but a dab of paint of the wrong value and she will be pouting.

Monday, January 11, 2010

January already Website and Workshop

The Christmas portrait and painting rush is over and now its time to get down and get organized. Taking care of the business. Updating our client and collector list. We moved the website to another hosting company and the names to another name registrar.

We will be updating the paintings on our portrait website. Most of the work we did the last three months were given as gifts, so we didn't want to ruin any suprizes by posting the images on our website.

We have added a couple of videos and a downloadable brochure on choosing a portrait artist. I am also posting paintings on my 1hundredpaintings blog:

More workshops this year:
I will be leading workshops in Wake Forest and Theresa and I will be conductiong seminars in "art as a profession, how to make a living" at the Jerry's Artarama store in Raleigh.

Off to the studio...

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