Saturday, February 27, 2016

Diary of vagabond artist...

"There are three kinds of people: those who see, those that see what you show them and those who do not see" - Leonardo Da Vinci

The adventure begins with an artist residency in Palm Beach. I left behind mountains of snow in Boston so palm trees and sandy beaches were a welcome site. Dropping my bags, I head out to explore and do a few small oil sketches. The sun is low in the sky and as the clouds start to roll in, it makes for a moodier  scene than I'd originally intended. I pack it in and head to the huge Art & Antique Show at the Palm Beach Convention Center. (more on that in my next blog)

The following day, sunlight greets me, and I head to Delray where I enter the world of COLOR – orange brick walls, purple cast shadows. I set up quickly and knock out my second oil sketch of a brightly colored, surf shop. There is no better way to arouse the senses than through travel. It offers an increasingly vast series of landscapes; lively cafes, a stretch of beach, stunning sunsets, gardens and architecture. It’s always an awe-inspiring and enriching experience.

Here's my block-in for Surf Shop.

Surf Shop, Delray Beach

Society of the 4 Arts, Palm Beach
It’s often said that technology is making the world smaller. Nowhere is this truer than in the community of artists. By simply reaching out through social media I have widened my circle to include; painters, sculptors, educators, students and patrons, many of whom have become friends. A huge thank you to my wonderful hosts… Peter & Manon Sander ( and Steve & Pati McGuire ( Which leads me to the second half of my adventure...

Delray participants
It’s Thursday morning and I’m preparing to teach my first workshop at the Old School Center for the Arts in Delray Beach. We began with a series of gesture sketches and then move outdoors for the quick figure study in oil. The weather could not have been better for an outdoor session. I was excited to work with such a talented group of painters. Everyone did a great job and we covered an overwhelming amount of information in two short days. 

Our talented model, Randy Orwig

My second workshop was at the Lighthouse Center in Tequesta with another talented group of seasoned artists. The class was held in the gallery which as fate would have it, was hosting The Manoogian Collection. Considered to be one of the most significant private collections of 19th and 20th-century American paintings. Having these works on view during my workshop was an inspiring and invaluable tool for instruction.

Lighthouse Art Center participants

Manon's "surprisingly" good painting!
I was given permission to copy one of the paintings in the collection titled "Hush Do Not Disturb Them" by Hamilton Hamilton. The painting depicts a voyeuristic view of two children in the shade of a large boulder on a quiet beach. Copying a masterwork can be very instructive; Although my format was different, I was sensitive to the subtleties of temperature shifts from violet to yellow and the variety of beautiful tones of grey throughout the painting.

My copy of Hush, 10x12
One of the highlights of my time in Florida was my participation in the 2nd Annual Plein Funfest in Delray Beach. Fifty artists from around the country were juried in and competed for cash prizes on February 20th. We had 6 hours to paint and because it was overcast I chose a a cafe scene on a busy corner because of the tiny lights illuminating the figures inside. The paintings were on display that afternoon at the Old Square Center for the Arts. I was honored and pleased to have won an Award of Excellence. It was a picture perfect day in a picture perfect city!

My winning entry, The Fat Rooster, 11x14
If this is Tuesday it must be Miami… I had a few days off from teaching I so drove to Miami Beach to visit with friends from my Gloucester residency in 2015. We attended the Art Wynwood Exhibition which was a mind-blowing experience. I loved Wynwood Walls where the people watching was as fascinating as the graffiti-covered buildings.

Just down the road from where I was staying lives Dan Peterson, a renowned sculptor who just happened to be unveiling a new work that day. This large scale sculpture sits on his front lawn was created in collaboration with his wife Christina who is a talented painter.

"Conga" 2016 by Dan Peterson
Once again I hit the road and made the two hour trek across Alligator Alley to Naples to catch up with family and friends. I spent an afternoon with Nancy Smythe whom I'd met last November at the Bermuda Arts Festival. We had a great time visiting art festivals and galleries. Welcome to the world of the vagabond, I highly recommend it!

I'll be teaching a week-long workshop at the Bonita Springs Center for the Arts, March 19-25, 2017. I'll also be offering new workshops in Delray Beach and Jupiter next winter. Visit my website for more info at 

Nancy Smythe and I show off our new hats.