Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A New Show!

Please join me Friday, May 10 at Plumley Real Estate in Potsdam for the opening arts walk and reception for my portion of the St Lawrence County Arts Council's Community Gallery Project.

I am very pleased to be participating in this project which pairs local businesses with area artists.

I will have nineteen works on display through out Plumley's offices through August.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Where to buy my art

Currently you can find cards from my paintings at the Blackbird Cafe in Canton, Ny, River Magic in Clayton, Ny, and Jones Outfitters in Lake Placid, NY. Online work is available from Red Bubble and Fine Art America Cards, prints and originals are also available directly from me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


One of the nice things about the internet is the ease with which connections can be made. Not only am I able to keep in touch with friends widely seperated by time and space, but I can shop for art supplies from any manufacturer and of any type, browse for reference images and inspirations, advertise and connect with possible customers, all without leaving my chair. I currently have art for sale on both Red Bubble and Fine Art America,this blog, a new facebook fan page, and am active on the Wet Canvas artist forums. Quite a reach. I can use electronic tools to post content in multiple places at once. I can write long posts here and send short sound bites to Facebook. I can have a virtyal portfolio available world wide 24/7. The best part is it's all doable for free. Of course I still enjoy meeting people in person and talking art, fishing, and life. So keep your eyes open and you might make some new connections.

Friday, May 11, 2012

In which I Become a Card Shark

Well, actually I am becoming a card trout, but nobody knows what that is. I am having greeting cards done from my paintings. many include trout as a motif, thus "Trout Shark". For printing I am having them done at the local UPS Store. The printer there used to work at a printing and copy shop so I get scanning and printing at a very reasonable rate. There are also several options for online printing, but I haven't tried any yet. Locally cards are available for sale at the Blackbird Cafe in Canton and at River Magic in Clayton, NY. On-line they can be purshased from red Bubble and Fine Art America.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A quick sketch in watercolour. About 20-40 minutes, aproximately 4x6 inches.

A friend posted a photoshopped elephant on Facebook with butterfly wings instead of ears. I commented that I would like to paint such a beast. She said it would be even better with Luna Moth wings.

Thus was born this fusion of pachyderm and insect. The colours got pushed as I started into it. It's hard to go subtle with a sunject like this.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A brush with Greatness

One of the Four Scholarly Treasures of Chinese painting is the brush. For any painter the brush is a basic tool. The humble brush, a tuft of hair on the end of a stick.

Brushes are the source of endless debate, natural or synthetic, what size, what shape, who makes the best?

For my own use I am comfortable with the better quality synthetics. They may not match true Kolinsky sable, but the are clearly better than the cheap brushes. From what I have read today's sable may not be as good as yesterday's sable in any case. The quality of a sable brush depends on the quality of the weasel's winter coat. Sable farms are in warmer climates than the range of the wild sables that were formerly trapped. The result is animals that do not produce quite as thick a coat.

Chinese brushes are another story. The hair they are made of sounds exotic, and in some cases is. Bear, weasel, wolf, rat wisker, baby's first hair cut, sheep, goat, wild horse mane, white cloud, rooster feather, peacock, orchid-bamboo... The best brushes are made individually by hand. In China decent brushes can be had very cheaply compared to prices in the States. The inexpensive brushes I picked up for the equivalent of $5.00 or less were easily the equal of $20-$40 brushes here in the US.

I have found that after trying quality brushes the cheap ones of poor quality are almost impossible to use. A good brush become an extension of the artist. A poor brush must be fought every step of the way.

It is an unfortunate truth that the only true test of quality for a brush is to use it. Most brushes are shipped with size or starch in the hairs to protect them during shipping. This must be soaked out of the brush before the brush can be tried. Some art suppliers are happy to let customers soak and try brushes before buying, others frown on the practice.

Buying brushes of known and reputable makes is the best bet. But, poor brushes can still slip through. The sad thing is that there is no way of knowing it is a poor brush until it is used. Even epert brush makers occasionally get an unepected failure.

A further aspect of brushes is size and shape. I paint very small works, but I am a fan of big brushes. A big brush will hold more paint. This lets you produce longer, firmer strokes. A quality brush, even if large will still come to a needle point. This point is very capable of producing fine lines with a light touch.

My go to brush for painting ATCs is my half-inch flat. That's right, a half inch brush for a painting only 2 1/2 3 1/2 inches! 5 strokes side by side will span the whole width. But using the edge and corners as well as the flat I can get a huge variety of marks. It is far from being the only brush I use, but it is the most versitile for the size I paint.

In Chinese Ink Painting I use a wider variety of brushes on a single painting. I will load different brushes with different tones of ink, different mixtures of tones, and use a variety of sizes to produce varied width strokes. The width of teh stroke is limited by the width of teh brush, so when I want wide, full strokes I reach for a full bodied brush. Fine strokes require only that the brush come to a fine point.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Life Drawing again

I have finally been able to join a life drawing group. Once a week I get to join others at the local university for a life drawing course. The instructors are two senior art majors and they do not seem the least intimidated by correcting and instructing a group of their parents' age.

We have been working in charcoal. The last couple of sessions have been working o toned paper, lifting out highlights and drawing in darks. This is a new method of drawing for me, and I find it a great aid to start with the middle value and then work by subtraction back to the lights.

Usually in both ink and watercolour I start from the lightest values and gradually build up the darks, always taking care to preserve the lights. Charcoal is turning that on its head.

I will note that figure drawing has me working considerably larger (18x24 inches) than I am used to. It is also considerably easier for me to draw the figure from photographs than from life.