Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last Paintings of 2012, "HAPPY NEW YEAR"

"Life by the Sea", 20x16 oil on linen
"The Pink Sash", 18x20 oil on linen
As 2012 comes to a close, I found myself scrambling to finish a couple of paintings that I started a short while ago, and for one reason or another had to put them aside.  I was determined to complete these during the Holiday break.  I haven't spent a whole lot of time on either painting.  They were both done quickly over a period of time.  I have had time to ponder possible changes and adjustments......but, I am reasonably happy with finish on the two narrative paintings above.
 "Contemplation", 18x24, oil on linen

"Contemplation" was painted one day about a week ago.  I haven't gone back and tweaked it yet.  A couple of small adjustments, and I will be finished with this one.
Vizcaya Series Sketch, 12x16 oil on linen
This is my last effort for this year, and is technically a sketch for another large painting.  This is another painting from the Miami Vizcaya series.  I have a few more ideas related to this trip.
Until next year, Happy New Year everyone.......and we'll do more of this in 2013.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Red Pillows" Three step demo!

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3, Final "Red Pillows" 9x12 oil on linen panel

I meant to take more shots of this as it progressed, but it went so quickly that I ended up with only three steps. Again, this might end up being the study for a larger painting.  My plan for this coming year is to paint some larger formats.  I am excited about the possibilities.   

Saturday, December 22, 2012

"Waiting at Vizcaya" A conceptual, compositional study.

"Waiting at Vizcaya" 10x7 oil on linen panel

This is a very small sketch (10x7) of what is hopefully going to translate into a large 40x30 composition.  I recently visited Miami on a Portrait Society of America Academy event.  We had the opportunity to do the workshop on the grounds of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a wonderful fifty acre piece of property that is the former villa and estate of businessman James Deering.  Sargent painted a watercolor portrait of Deering.

The minute I saw this particular location at Vizcaya, downstairs circling the court yard, I saw a painting in my head.  Lately, I have doing a lot of these small studies.  This is a rough quick little sketch, but it sort of captures the feeling that I'm going for with this.  I will have to get my model in when I do the large version.  It wasn't necessary on this little one....details are minimal, and I'm still not completely sure of the attitude of the figure....sort of half way made up, but will be something along these lines.  I will post the large final painting when I complete it.  Hopefully after the Holidays I can start.  Thanks for listening to my Cajun ramblings.

Detail #1

Detail #2

Monday, December 17, 2012

Compositional,gesture studies for possible Larger figure paintings."

"Untitled" composition study, 9x6 oil on panel

This is a small compositional study of a planned larger painting.  I usually don't do preliminary studies.  I like to just jump in most of the time, but sketches can spare me much grief later.  It is easy to spend a hour to solve a few problems.....but, it is sometimes heartbreaking to spend an afternoon on a piece and have to wipe out the effort due to poor planning.  The operative word here for me is, I do not approach it same way every time.  This addresses my personal need to keep it from becoming a formula process.  I also painted this on a surface that I haven't painted on in years....a smooth gesso coated piece of hard board or Masonite.
"Untitled 2" compositional, gesture study, 16x12

In this detail, it is easy to see the paint application, and  how economical I attempted to do this little gesture sketch.  I like this type of spontaneous work.....especially in small paintings.  It is a goal of mine to do as much of this in the larger compositions as I can successfully do.  Somehow the little studies do not seem so precious, and if they is no big deal.  Again, the failures in larger work with more time invested somehow do become a bigger deal.  Keeping it in perspective, no one will be injured if my painting fails.

Thanks for listening to my Cajun ramblings.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"Season's Greetings"

"First Snow", 9x12 oil on linen
"Merry Christmas and Happy New Year"
Wishing all of our family and friends a very Happy, and Healthy Holiday Season.  This little Christmas card painting is of our old home in Ct.  We have great memories of the years spent in that old Federal Colonial farm house raising our kids and working hard at establishing an art career.  This time of year brings a longing for the climate associated with this Holiday Season. Everyone have a great, safe one.
                                                                                                    Hodge and Marilyn   

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Two new finished paintings"

"Tools of the Trade", 12x16 oil on linen panel.
This painting is a result of this past summer's trip to Maine....specifically Tenants Harbor Maine.
When I walked up to this pile of buoys, I saw this as a still life type painting.  I had every intention of doing a location sketch of this, but somehow all of the other beautiful spots to paint took up most of my time.  I always come away from these trips with a wealth of reference.  I could probably do enough paintings to fill two shows just from this past summer.  Obviously I won't do all those paintings.  Something else always moves to the front of the importance line.
"Moving the Big Boys", 18x24 oil on linen
I had time to set this aside and let it rest.  I made a few adjustments...very few, and now I am reasonably happy with the overall feeling of this painting.  As I mentioned in a previous post, this is the second painting of this subject.  I initially added some things to the foreground and subsequently removed them.  Generally what one should do is leave out things, rather than add....less is more.  Leaving out, in this case, was definitely the better solution.
Thanks for listening to my Cajun Ramblings!    

Saturday, November 24, 2012


"Dancer in Purple"16x12 oil on board
I have been thinking about dancers lately, or I should say painting some dancers again.  I haven't painted that subject for a few years.  I started looking at some old images....2005 or 06, I believe.  These two paintings were painted sort of as book ends, and ended up being sold in different venues to different collectors....which is not a problem for me.  Maybe they were too similar to be sold as a pair, and in hind sight should have changed one or the other just a bit.  Anyway, they both sold and that was a good thing.  I apologize for the poor quality of the images.  I had a very poor excuse for a digital camera back when these were photographed.
                                                   "Dancer in Green", 16x12 oil on Board


It is always fun to revisit older paintings and see the progress, or change in the work.  I still like these two paintings, but I see a difference that pleases me as an artist.  I think the paintings still hold up, and although it might be subtle, I do see some change and difference, that hopefully translates into improvement....I certainly never intend to intentionally stay in the same place, or continue to do the same thing over and over again.
These paintings were painted on a surface that I rarely paint on any longer.  As I recall, the surface was a heavy illustration board sized with an acrylic gesso.  I now choose to paint primarily on oil primed linen or linen panels.  I do like to mix it up now and then....not get to comfortable.  Again, thanks for listening to my Cajun Ramblings.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Addition small format paintings", 6x6 inch squares.

"Evening Low Tide", 6x6, oil on linen panel.
This little study is going to be painted as a larger piece.  I like that late afternoon, evening light.  This was later in the afternoon, and the light was disappearing very quickly.  I tried to paint as though I had that urgency to catch the fleeting light....which is what occurs on location.  If one does this outdoors on a regular enough basis, it can be simulated in the studio.

"What a View", 6x6 oil on linen panel.
This one is probably my favorite of this grouping.  It is small of course, but I particularly like the idea that when I look at these out of context, they look as though they could be larger paintings.  It is a goal of mine to try to achieve this spontaneous response more consistently in my larger work....not always a easy thing to do.

"Creek Side",6x6 oil on linen panel.

"The Gardener",6x6 oil on linen panel.
This is a little concept study I did a while back.  It was an idea for a garden painting that I eventually had a model come to the studio and tried to duplicate.  The model session produced some valuable reference and sketches for additional paintings.  It did paint a large garden painting from this idea.

"Solitude", 6x6 oil on linen panel.
This little study was done prior to last years Third on Canvas event in Naples Florida.  I used the sketch and reference to produce a painting on the street in Naples, that was later auctioned off for the fundraiser.

Some, if not all of these small pieces will end up in miniature shows, or given as gifts, etc.  As always, thanks for listening to my Cajun Ramblings.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

"More small paintings, 6x6 format, Four step demo"

Step # 1

Step # 2

Step # 3

Final Step # 4
"Yet untitled", 6x6 oil on linen panel
This is a little 6x6 inch painting that I painted yesterday.  I have been doing all of these small paintings for different Holiday shows.  They are fun to do and quick.  The speed that this was completed is why there are only four steps.  I did this one and another one (the untitled horse painting below) yesterday.  I do like the square format very much.  I had a series of books back in my illustration days that was a square has nice compositional possibilities.

"Yet Untitled Horse", 6x6 oil on linen panel

This little painting is also far, but I'm thinking it will have to be something to do with that flying, swooshing tail.  I will post a couple more in this format later.  Thanks for listening to my ramblings.

Monday, November 5, 2012

"Portrait Society of America Miami Weekend Academy"

Set up and waiting for the Friday Demo audience to arrive at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens.
This is the beginning of the two hour demo.
Quickly trying to paint and talk through the process.
The model, Laura, and I.  I wish I could have had more time.  Two hours, when one is answering questions and explaining the process goes by very quickly.  Too much talking I guess.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the demo, which makes it worthwhile.  I believe we had seventy five or eighty folks signed up for the lecture and Demo.  I met some really nice people who are very enthusiastic about art.....particularly portrait painting.
Two hour demo of Laura
This is the beautiful spot at Vizcaya Gardens where we set up for the second day, Saturday, one workshop.  David Chang, Kerry Vosler and myself rotated amongst the three groups....each having there own model.  One male model and two female models including the model who helped with the Friday demo.
Kerry Vosler offering her expertise to some of the workshop participants.
David Chang making an adjustment to one of the students portraits.
Here, I am assisting a very nice lady with placement and softness of the best of my recollection.

The entire group from the Saturday workshop. 
The Faculty of three.  Left to right, me, Kerry, and David.
I would like to thank the Portrait Society of America for inviting me to be part of this weekend Academy in Miami.  It was a bunch of fun seeing Kerry again and meeting David and the staff of the portrait society, Tyler and Brent.  They did a bang up job organizing everything....all we had to do was show up.  A thanks to all the nice folks who signed up for the demo and workshop.  A big thanks to the Miami Arts & Entertainment Council and the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Miniatures for upcoming miniature shows"

"Spanish Dancer", Detail

These are recent small paintings and sketches for miniature shows that are coming up soon.  I occasionally like doing small pieces like this, mostly as studies for larger works, but sometimes they stand on their own and are hard to duplicate as bigger pieces.  The problem I sometimes have is keeping the freshness of a quick study when scaling up.  I have discussed this with other artist friends, and it seems to be sort of a universal challenge for some.  It is something that a casual viewer probably would not pick up on.  The artist knows if he or she has made a successful transition to an enlarged version.  I sometimes end up with something a little different, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  I think the goal should be to capture the essence of the small study....sort of like capturing the essence in a master copy.  It is not necessary to duplicate it verbatim.

"Spanish Dancer"7x5 oil on linen panel

"Lemons and Silver, Detail"

"Lemons and Silver", 5x7 oil on linen panel

"The White Robe", 7x5 oil on linen

"Swimming Hole, Detail"

"The Swimming hole", 7x5 oil on linen panel

"Moonlit pony huddle" 11x14 oil on linen panel

"Evening Gallop" 7x5 oil on linen panel

My favorite way to work is to just jump into a large painting, and develop the initial idea in the process, but that can be risky and perhaps less efficient in the long run.  Problems can be resolved with studies, like composition, color themes, etc.....but, it is fun to take a little risk now and then....after all it is a relative risk, and not exactly like walking a tight rope between two cliffs with gator infested waters below...or something of that nature.  As usual, these are my own observations, and though the accent is no longer evident, thanks for listening to my Cajun ramblings.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Narrative Paintings", works in progress.

A recent conversation brought up a favorite subject.....Narrative Paintings.  I guess the old illustrator in me can not resist paintings that have a narrative, or suggest some kind of a story.  The narrative could be a complex involved description, or a very simple subtle suggestion of something happening.  These types of images can be anything from sweet and sentimental, to very strong and powerful imagery that tells, or suggest some story line.....or leaves an opening to the viewer to imagine some kind of story taking place.  I have always appreciated and have been drawn to this type of work.  Most of my generation were brought up on Saturday Evening Post and the great illustrator/painter, Norman Rockwell.  He was one of the great story tellers.  His covers always wove some kind of a tale.  As a kid, the influence of this type of image had much to do with shaping my desire to want to create those kinds of pictures....hence the illustration career, and pursuit of representational painting.

I think illustrators who become fine artists are well equipped to do this.  The only difference is, as an illustrator, one is painting someone else's stories.  As a fine artist, one is painting his or her own story.  It is always more fun to do something that interest you personally.  The two works in progress that I am near finishing, and the "Lula Belle and the Preacher Fisherman" included here are what I would consider narrative type paintings.  Each has, or suggest some kind of a story....or leaves the viewer to create or imagine their own version of that story.  Without titles, the viewer could certainly come up with similar scenarios....or possibly different ones.

Paintings do not have to be narrative in nature to be great works.  Paintings can be about paint quality, about light, about sense of place, about things that have nothing to do with any story many landscapes.  I have heard mentioned the notion that figures in paintings automatically suggest a narrative.  I'm not sure that I totally agree with that .  A painting of the figure can be just a study of the human form and be absolutely beautiful, without the suggestion of any story attached to it.  That prevailing attitude may be because stories usually involve people, so if a person is in a painting, the chances that a story is occurring is more likely than one without people.  I think this an interesting topic....of which I obviously do not have the absolute answer to.....but, it comes up occasionally.  I usually don't think about this kind of stuff regularly unless the subject does come up in conversation, or as a class question.

These are my personal observations, and don't necessarily reflect any universal opinion or attitude towards this subject.  I will post the images of the paintings in progress again as they are finished.  Thanks again for listening to my ramblings!