Friday, November 4, 2011

Nov 4, Back in Hong Kong One More Night

Little did I know we would be unable to access our blogs or FB while in mainland China.
Lots of images of an absolutely amazing trip and wonderful experience, thanks to Tu Zhiwei.
Back in America on the 5th.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hong Kong, China Oct. 15, 2011

After a 15 hour flight we have arrived in Hong Kong, headed to Guangzhou tomorrow.
Much more to come, of course depending on our wi-fi connection and my ability to keep up.

Susan Blackwood has posted a daily blog as well.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Is BIGGER really better?

While traveling to the East coast 6 years ago I was exposed to the Glouster style easel by guys like Tim Bell and Steve Griffin. I had been using a french easel at that time for the past 20 years but was very impressed with the Glouster easel. It has a bigger foot print which gives it more stability during windy conditions, my old french given by design was not as good in such weather, also the screws always needed to be tightened, kind of like owning a Harley. It can also handle bigger canvas' which was a huge plus.

After switching over to the Beauport, which is a cheap knock off of the Glouster, I was sold and ditched my old stand-by.
With the Beauport I needed to build a paint box, which also adds necessary weight to the middle of it.

My first box was about 18" x 22" x 4". Pretty good size and it is still able to be shipped around the country. It always weighs in right under the 50 lb. maximum limit for travel.
However after chatting with Tim, he suggested building a little bit bigger box, good for close to home and not too far away from the car even.

For those of you that do not know Tim Bell or his work, he does prefer to work large. The first plein air event I did with the guy, he cranked out a 40 x 50 for the event compared to my 12 x 16! It made everyone step back and notice that is for sure.

Here is his website:

Well as much as I questioned his dimensions that he sent me, this is what I came up with.
I must say it does hold a lot of stuff.
Thanks Timmy!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Despite the Storm

Thanks to Margaret and Dick as well as Nancy and Carl, even though my workshop took place during a freaking hurricane, my trip to Easton was as enjoyable as ever.

Nancy insisted on doing Maryland crabs, along with some Smith Island cake, absolutely delightful meal and evening spent with great company.

Also during the hurricane we made the most of it by having a good home cooked - down south meal of shrimp and grits, would have made a few hurricanes as cocktails but didn't think we had everything we needed so we got by with some good rum from Barbados with coke.

Never know who you'll see driving by in Easton.

Even got a chance to snoop around in PA and Delaware to see if there were any places I would be interested in moving the family to. That is still yet undecided, Easton is actually a good option, well besides the earthquake, hurricane, and oppressive summer heat that is.

Even with the weather - you gotta love Easton!
Thanks ya'all!

Little Lu Lu Bell

Leave it to my wife to allow my daughter MiAe to get a new little puppy this summer while we passed through Omaha Nebraska.
Gotta admit she is pretty darn cute.

Smokin' Rags

I have heard many stories of the danger of putting chemical soaked rags into the studio garbage.
This is the first time I have ever had the opportunity to see what actually happens.
During a workshop earlier this year one my students had disposed of her rags some of which had been soaked with linseed oil and to our amazement we watched as the bag started to smolder and then smoke. They actually self ignited as they began to dry, totally on their own, pretty amazing. I wish I would have thought to take a better photo but she did manage to shoot this one. You'll have to trust me on this one.

Go Figure - August in Easton

Who would have thought that one month after being here in Easton with a record high heat index of 125° that I would be giving a workshop in the middle of a hurricane not to mention my first ever experience with an earthquake that also happened here on the East coast, west coast yes understandable but here on the East coast come on now?!

For me it is always a challenge to find good locations for a regular workshop, I was not prepared for what I found here in Easton when I arrived. Not only did I need to find locations that had adequate parking without paying meters, bathrooms, a variety of good and interesting subject matter, I also needed a rain / wind shelter for the up and coming hurricane! Talk about meeting your match.

Well, I must give the ladies credit for toughing it out. Not knowing what we may have to deal with or when it is coming is rather difficult.
One young lady's had to cross back and forth over the Bay Bridge and made the wise decision to stay at home one of the days seeing that there was talk of closing the bridge and knowing she may be stuck on the wrong side of it.
Cu-do's to her when she called in during the start of the hurricane to inquire about a certain tube of paint she needed ( she was at the art store of course ) also seeing that she lives in a flood prone area she was seeking the best, highest spot to leave her car so she would still be able to get out the day the storm and make it back down to Easton for the rest of the class. That is some real dedication if you ask me.

Another student brought to my attention that Mr. Tim Bell who is a Maryland artist also offers a plein air class here in Easton which is entitled "Extreme Plein Air". I really gave that some thought and even had to call Mr. Bell and inquire.
How "Extreme" can a class be here in November?
Come on now Tim.
First off there are no Earth quakes, no heat index's of which to speak of, and definitely not any Hurricanes, they also threw in a Tornado watch during this Hurricane but I won't even add that in there. But come on what can possibly be so extreme here in November? Over abundance of lightning bugs maybe!?! You have some explaining to do Mr. Bell. : )
However I guess I really can't say too much seeing that we had to move indoors on the day it was heading into town and will cancel the class for tomorrow when it is due to pass through.
Hopefully it will pass without much fuss and we can carry on and pick up where we left off at.

More to come . . . .

A Break in the storm.

Trying to get in one more demo before the Hurricane begins, however the rain soon pushed us indoors.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Plein Air Easton Images

Just a few painting images from Easton 2011.
Enchanted Evening 30 x 36
Morning Calm 12 x 16
Beauty in Chaos 18 x 24
42 Years Strong 12 x16
The Red Door 40 x 30


Summers are definitely busy, kids, paint outs, travel, workshops just to name a few.
My last post I was in Jersey. Since then I have gone off to Easton to endure the 125° heat index, which is actually expected when I am there, so no surprise.
As always, loved Easton even with the heat. Great group of folks and fellow artists.
Got to judge the Local Color Show, which was an honor as well as give a demo.
Below are a few images from that week.

Still off to Easton again to give a workshop in a week then Cali, then close out the year with a 3 week trip to China with Zhiwei Tu, looking forward to seeing and painting in China.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Painting from Life versus using Photos

Here is an example I wanted to share seeing that so many times I am asked about the use of photos. They have their place however more often than not even with the advances of digital photography, I am amazed at how much more I see and experience when working from life.
Here is a painting I did at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park of a fellow painter, Paul Casale.
Below it I attached a photo I shot as well, always clicking away just as a back up of reference material.
You can see how especially in this case that the photo becomes very contrasty and looses all the good variances in the darks and even washes out the light.

Many years ago while studying watercolors under Irving Shapiro at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, he said you can bracket your photos, taking one that is light, one as the meter suggested, and one that is dark to try and capture all of the necessary elements of the scene, he also stated that instead of having one bad photo to work from, now you have three. Painting out on location definitely has its place.

Getting that POP

This past week in Cranford I saw a really good example of applying the paint to get that extra bang for your buck.
This painting was done by Hai- Ou Hou of Maryland.
She really got the green light to pop off the canvas visually as well as physically.
It seems to have been executed by using a tube of paint versus a brush.

You go girl!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Paint The Town, NJ

Will Williams, ready for battle.

Mangia! Mangia!

Paul painting the Antique Shop Window

Bethesda Fountain, Central Park NY

Paul Casale being a rock star!

Thanks to all the folks in Cranford!
Wonderful time painting in New Jersey. Felt like I was in Easton due to the oppressive heat they had but all in all it was fun.
We even got to go into Manhattan for a day, Central Park, Bethesda Fountain, I can see why Chase spent 4 years painting there, pretty amazing.
The Jersey Shore was a nice place to get away from the heat, there was a great breeze. Tried to paint at Bedford Harbor earlier that day and just about died, way too hot! Lots of characters at Asbury Park and some great old architecture too.
Felt like I was back in Little Italy every now and again, thanks to Paul and John.
Congrats to Garin!

Host Families

After doing plein air events for the last 6 years I have obviously stayed with my share of host families.
Always a treat to meet someone new and be invited into their homes as well as their lives.
I am grateful to have always been placed with wonderful people. Usually that is the case but I have heard a few stories.
This past week in Cranford NJ I stayed with a lovely family and their kids.
Upon my arrival I was greeted with this wonder unsolicited note from their daughter.
What a treat to be thought of in such a way and looked up to in a sense. What a little sweetie!
Thanks again!

Blogging (Chatting with Stapleton)

I was in New Jersey this past week for "Paint the Town" and met Stapleton Kearns, nice guy.
Sounds like he has blogged for over 900 continuous days, makes me look pretty bad I must admit, the guy is obviously on a mission. Haven't read his blog yet, suppose I should, can't even imagine what he can come up with on a daily basis. You go Stape!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Florida's Forgotten Coast 2011

Just a few images from the event.
Again it really is a great place to paint.
Hodges Soileau chose the Tiki Hut for First Place for the Quick Draw.
Saw lots of good stuff there and hope to be able to spend some more time tapping into it.

A Touching Moment

I was down in Apalachicola a week ago for the Florida's Forgotten Coast Plein Air event.
Great place to paint, lots of good ol' stuff, maybe I just have to learn how to paint good new stuff.
The event went well, met a lot of great new folks, saw some dear old ones, and had a wonderful and productive time.
Came back very inspired which I usually do, but usually struggle to find time to act on it, seeing that I am usually preparing for my next event as well as catching up on what I missed, just not enough time in the day, right Morgan, what a sweetie.
I was very fortunate this trip to meet and spend a little time with one of the East Point locals by the name of Alton Lee. He is the figure in the painting entitled " One Very Colorful Character" 24 x 30.
I stumbled on to him when I was out early one morning painting Fred's Shrimp Shack, turns out to be the place that Alton keeps an eye on for the owner after hours.
While I was painting he crept out from the Shrimp Shack, I had no idea anyone was even in there, looked over in my direction after noticing me and said, " What the F _ _ _!
So naturally I chuckled to myself. He did mosey on over before I was done to inquire as to what I was doing. He actually liked the painting and we chatted just a bit, mainly about his dog that stayed closely behind, named Lulubell.
The following morning while painting a larger version of the Shrimp Shack, I had this brilliant idea to go ask him to pose for me.
Surprisingly he jumped at the chance, I assume it had more to do with the 30 bucks I offered versus being captured in paint. In any case he was ready and I figured no better time than the present so even though he said he was nervous we dove into it. After about a half an hour he wanted to go get breakfast, so naturally he asked for some money. I paid him $10 and watched him stroll off towards the gas station, hoping he would return. He did and for the next 2 hours he told me his life story and asked about mine. Lulubell came in and out of the scene and finally settled off to his right side even though I anticipated her to be at his left. After about 3 hours we called it a day and again I sent him on his way.
I stayed on another hour or so working out the details of the background when from behind me I felt this hand upon my left shoulder. "Please Lord, bless this man, watch over his family, never let him go to bed angry, always let him wake up hungry, dear Lord we pray this, amen." It was Alton Lee.
I have to admit it was very touching.
Thanks to all the folks behind the scenes in Apapalch, you did a great job! Hope to see you all next year.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Drying Time

During many events, folks will ask me how long it takes for a canvas to dry.
I have found depending on the time of year as well as location it of course varies.
Keeping a canvas in the car during an event can help the drying process.
During the Florida's Forgotten Coast Event this year I came across Charles at the quick draw and notice not only was his van a drying machine it was also a gallery on wheels, advertising his work as he drove.
If you look closely you will notice there are many dabs from many painting all over that windshield.
Great job Charles! Love it!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring has Sprung

Not really sure about that but it sure feels like spring is close by.
Knowing we will still get more snow, but also knowing it most likely won't last. It has been a beautiful winter, however after having a slight warm up and the snow melting quickly, it is nice to start focusing on other things. Finishing off some pieces for the up and coming 6x6 show with Randy in California again.
Nice to do something other than a winter scene.
This years schedule is finally coming together and it looks to be a busy one. I will start with Wilmington, NC in April, then Florida's Forgotten Coast in May, new one in New Jersey for June, applied to Easton hopefully for July, then a few others as well as a few workshops to finish up the season.
Back to the easel.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Little Colder Today . . .

However the softness of the light was definitely more alluring today and made for some wonderful sensitive nuances within the colors and values. Gotta love a truly gray day, especially towards evening.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

And I thought Winter was over . . .

We lost a lot of snow last weekend and even though it is only February, I kind of thought we may have been somewhat done for the winter, foolish on my behalf, but actually I am relieved and delighted.
I can't say it enough about how beautiful this winter has been. I am absolutely enamored with the colors and subtleties I am seeing out there. Thank goodness it is only February in Wisconsin, another 3 months of winter still lies ahead. : )

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Follow ups

Still in need of some finishing strokes.
In the winter time it seems harder to finish up out on location, the whites, even with Permalba don't always do it for me. The weather has been great, even worried about how much snow we have lost, but I assume it'll be back.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Winter Scenes

There is really something about the subtleties of the winter grays here. I always strive to be more of a colorist, always being excited by good color, but also loving tonal scenes however always struggling to find good grays, but this winter we have had has been absolutely magical.
Hard not to think about the old guys that really did it right.
This morning I was moved by Aldro Hibbard and then Redfield jumped in my head this afternoon. Gotta love those guys.