Monday, December 7, 2015

One's destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.

I’ve had a love affair with Bermuda for over 40 years and just returned from a week long art festival on island. A big part of Bermuda’s charm is its natural beauty and as an artist it represents a dramatic change of scenery from what I’m familiar with in Boston. Plein Air painting celebrates the making of art in the great outdoors. Visiting new places allows us to experience the world with a fresh eye and revitalizes our spirits. I’ve found that a radical change of scenery shakes up old ways of working and forces a reconsideration of seeing and interpreting the landscape.

"The purpose of the painter is simply to reproduce in other minds the impression which a scene has made upon him. A work of art does not appeal to the intellect. It does not appeal to the moral sense. Its aim is not to instruct, not to edify, but to awaken an emotion.” George Inness

Local and visiting festival artists
Painting in Somerset Bermuda
The ultimate moveable studio!

National Gallery with Bill Hanbury (CEO of Tourism) and wife Valerie

The gala reception was held at the Bermuda National Gallery. Each artist had the opportunity to enter up to 6 paintings for the final exhibition. I have no idea how the committee managed to hang so many paintings in such a short time but they did a fantastic job! I'm very pleased that several of my paintings sold and I'm looking forward to exhibiting some of my work later this year on island. To read more about the festival visit:

Castle Point 11x14 Oil on linen
Ely's Harbour, 9x12 Oil on linen

Monday, October 26, 2015

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

"Creating is honesty at its rawest form. How we respond to our surroundings and interpret those ideas is the basis for all art."

Madaket, 26x16 Available at Gallery Antonia
Painting class, 1950's
Artists & model, June 2015
Where did the summer go? A few months ago it stretched before me full of promise and the inspiration that comes from exploring new places. The life of the artist is a restless one and this summer was no exception. 

In early June, I was invited by artist, Paul Shulenberg to paint at the historic Hawthorne Barn in Provincetown, MA. The barn was built in 1907 and is a testament to the towns rich history and the illustrious artists who painted in the barn.  It was an honor and privilege to paint with such a fine group of artists and continue the legacy of Charles Hawthorne, the founder of the Cape School of Art.

North meets South in Gloucester, MA

From Cape Cod to Cape Ann... over 30 artists from the south of Boston enjoyed a day of plein air painting with members of the North Shore Arts Association. The weather was a bit of an issue but we had a great time painting on Rocky Neck and East Gloucester’s sparkling Smith Cove. 

In early summer I returned to Nantucket for a residency and stayed at the Century House Inn which is just a few blocks from the historic town. I took my moped on the ferry and it was a great way to explore, out-of-the-way places on the island. The weather was superb while painting in town one day I met Candace Lovely, a fellow Copley artist who invited me to paint at her "lobster shack". 

In August, Copley Society of Art held a special exhibition at the Cape Cod Museum; Structures & Remnants. I was unable to attend the reception but was happy to learn that my painting received a second place award. CoSo's annual Holiday Small Works will open with a reception on November 2. And lastly, the next time you're on the Cape visit Gallery Antonia in Chatham or check them out online to preview new paintings or for events this holiday season. 

Cool One, 8x8 Available at Copley Society
Mixologist, 6x6 available at Randy Higbee
I may not be rich but I feel like I’ve hit the lottery every day. Money can't compare to the riches of these boundless experiences. I can feel the winds of change stirring, which leads me to my next journey…

November 20-22, 2015
Bermuda Retreat
There's still time to join me for a unique experience... from the breathtaking beaches to alleyways of St. George’s - learn the fundamentals of painting the landscape. Price is only $1,200. all inclusive. Contact the studio to register or for more 

2016 Workshops:
Make an Emotional Statement with Painting
The Art Studio, CA 
January 15-17, 2016
Regsiter Now!

February 18-19, 2016
Painting the Figure
The Lighthouse Center for Art - Jupiter, FL
Register Now!

February 12-13, 2016
Painting the Figure
Delrey Center for Arts - Delrey, FL
Register Now!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Stalking My Art Heroes

"I do not judge, I only chronicle. Every time I paint a portrait I lose a friend." J.S.S 

I recently visited the Metropolitan Museum to view the exhibit Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends. The exhibition brings together paintings that have seldom been shown together. This collection of diverse and often unfinished portraits allows for an in-depth exploration of Sargent’s extraordinary talent. Every painting was a revelation, each displaying the effortless, virtuosity for which Sargent is most notably recognized.

“La Duse" While in London in 1893 Sargent managed to persuade Eleonora Duse to pose for him, but for barely an hour. In that brief sitting he was able to capture the essence of her enigmatic personality.

“In art, all that is not indispensable is unnecessary” 

From Velasquez he had learnt to simplify. Sargent worked with an economy of effort in every way, the sharpest self-control, the fewest strokes possible to express the truth. 

“George Henschel" This portrait was painted in approximately five sittings during which Henschel was required to stand on a platform and sing for Sargent. When Henschel’s wife saw the portrait for the first time, she remarked, "How beautiful! It’s George having arrived in heaven."

I suspect from reading notes on Sargent’s technique that he began by laying in a middle flesh tone, light on one side and dark on the shadow side, carefully sweeping the flesh into the background while maintaining the accuracy of the drawing. Every head is painted as a sculptor models, alway with an eye for the great masses.

“Painting is an interpretation of tone through the medium of color drawn with the brush."

Sargent strove to achieve a balance of shape and color as he developed the image, ever mindful of the relationship of figure to background. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the way in which he painted a forehead, expertly expressing the receding planes of the head. I was in awe of the subtle drawing of the mouth and eyes, fusing tone into tone, until carefully applying highlights and accents. Above all maintaining the principle of oneness.

“The thicker you paint, the more color flows.”

Sargent’s interior scenes were rich with ambient light, beautiful form and incredibly well designed. From Duran he learned that “objects in nature relieve one against each other by the relative values of light and shade which accompany and are a part of each local color, an outline or contour is a pure convention.”

Sargent believed that a sketch must not be merely a pattern of pleasant shapes, pleasing to the eyes, or a mere fancy but that It must be a very possible thing, a definite arrangement. He drew with his brush as readily and as unconsciously as with a pencil. Carolus Duran (Sargent’s mentor) stressed how important it was “to capture the envelope of the figure” and the dynamic relationships between the model’s contours and it’s surroundings. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hanging it up, showing it off.

This past month I felt as though I was in the business of moving rather than making art. The season is in full swing on Cape Cod. I have a lot of new paintings on view at Gallery Antonia (Chatham), Sosebee Gallery (Nantucket ) and Willoughby Fine Art (Martha's Vineyard).

A really nice crowd showed up on June 5th for the opening reception of an exhibition of my paintings at The Marion Art Center along with pastels by Kim Morin Weineck. Art in Bloom was a special part of the exhibit and floral arrangements were created expressly for each painting. The show runs till July 11th. 

Speaking of “Portable Studios” I’ll be doing a demonstration this Saturday, June 27th from 10:00am to 2:00pm MAC. Marion, MA is a really cool town to visit (it's like Cape Cod without the hassle of crossing the canal) I hope to see you there!

Marion Art Center
Main & Pleasant St, Marion, MA (508) 748-1266 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fortune favors the persistent...

Last weekend I taught a full day, landscape workshop in East Walpole with a group of very talented, extremely motivated and hard working, painters. It was a pretty rigorous program which began with making value studies in charcoal and oil. The idea was to work quickly and develop the underlying design on an abstract level. The second part of the day was devoted to color mixing, creating atmosphere and paint handling. Although we worked from photos, I think it’s important that students experience the spacial aspects of reality, so in the future they know how to integrate these effects when working from photos. I think everyone there would agree, there is great value in making value studies! 

My goal as an instructor is to give students a thorough understanding of the techniques of oil painting and how to interpret the landscape & figure while creating the illusion of reality and light. It’s important that what they learn dovetails with their own intrinsic, artistic identity and that they develop their own style with the goal being to transform any subject into a visual, poetic language. 
Below is a list of my workshop offerings this summer and 2016.

June 15, 2015  |  Painting the Figure - East Walpole, MA
10am-2pm  Fee: $75.
The focus will be on achieving accurate drawing and correct values; two of the most crucial aspects of representational painting. Other topics: gesture, form, varying edges expressively so that your painting has more vitality and understanding how to achieve pictorial unity. 

June 24, 2015  |  Painting the Landscape - Gloucester, MA
10am-2pm  Fee: $75.
There are no formulas to painting the landscape, we need to observe what happens in nature and respond with a knowledge of how to see color and value as a unit, and to transform paint into the language of light. 

June 27, 2015  |  Painting the Landscape - Marion, MA
10am-2pm  Fee: $75.
Learn to capture the scene before you with a simplified design and correct color relationships.

November 20-22, 2015  |  Bermuda Painters Retreat
Join me for a unique experience... from the breathtaking beaches of the South Shore to the winding alleyways of St. George’s - you'll learn the fundamentals of plein air painting while following in the footsteps of Winslow Homer and others. Contact the studio to register at:

January, 2016 | Figure & Landscape - Laguna Beach, CA
Dates and location TBA

February 18-19, 2016  |  Painting the Figure - Jupiter, FL
Register here:

February, 2016  |  Painting the Figure - Naples, FL
Dates and location TBA

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I can. I will. End of story.

Society of the Four Arts
I drove up to the home of Manon Sander, ( a fellow painter who was my host last week in Florida. I was there for the Festival of the Arts at the Lighthouse Art Center in Tequesta. I was thinking I’d taken a wrong turn - the house is palatial to say the least. Manon has a parakeet named Fritz and the home is jokingly referred to as The Fritz Carleton so you get the idea. Anyway the other guest at the "Fritz" was Morgan Samuel Price, who just happened to be one of the judges. Morgan is one of the finest landscape painters in the country and is the most energetic person I've ever met.

I’d been preparing for this trip for several weeks, trying to get outside to paint in spite of the staggering amount of snow and bone chilling temps we’ve experienced in Boston this winter. I often painted the views from my window in the comfort of my studio. I’m primarily a figurative artist so it's great to get out of the studio to paint nature from life. It was great to be juried in but I was a bit apprehensive given the talented pool of painters. 

Some of the most accomplished artists I know are riddled with insecurities when it comes to their work. Self doubt is a sign of creative progress and if anyone doesn’t believe they’re doomed to fail, I figure they are. In any case, as I said earlier this is my year to say YES to new adventures. It doesn’t always work out but I’m an optimist at heart. For now it's back to Boston (yes it's snowing) and the struggle continues at the easel but I have faith in what comes next.

More than 50 artists traveled from all over the US and as far away as Alaska for the Festival. The paintings are on exhibit and available for purchase through March 28. I’ll be teaching a 3 day workshop at the Lighthouse Art Center, February 2016. For more info visit:

"Riverbend Reflections" 11x14
Available at the Lighthouse Center for the Arts
Jason Sacran won Best of Show
John Caggiano and Michele Byrne
Quick Draw at DuBois Park
Ken DeWald's painting of me painting.