Last weekend’s studio sale was a huge success, thank you so much to all of you who bought paintings last weekend! I am completely blown away by the response I got, and feeling very encouraged by your support.
Here’s what’s up next – it’s looking like another busy and fun summer full of painting adventures!
*Im teaching a workshop this weekend in Prospect Park Brooklyn where we will focus on careful studies of nature in the tradition of the Hudson River School Painters.
* I’m busy making some new paintings for a group show in Cos Cob, CT at the Drawing Room Gallery, the opening reception is in June 8th.
* I’ll be exhibiting at the Bennington Center for the Arts in my home state of Vermont – June 15th is the opening reception
* I can’t wait to start on my next big studio painting project – a commission of a spectacular private view on Lake Champlain! Looks like that project will occupy my month of June.
* I’m teaching another workshop at the Hudson River Fellowship July 21-24 in Jackson, NH. Sign up through the GCA.
* This will be my 5th year as a fellow at the Hudson River Fellowship and I’m just as excited as always for our annual summer landscape painting retreat. I was on the selection committee this year and the applicants we had were the strongest group ever. I’m so excited to meet the new fellows who are accomplished academic artists coming from all over the world to follow in the footsteps of the Hudson River School Painters. This annual experience has been the most defining influence on my work and I feel so fortunate to be a part of it.
Meanwhile, here’s a recap of the open studio last weekend:
Below are the paintings that sold, either online, or at my studio.
Stop by my studio between 1-6 PM on Saturday and 1-5 PM on Sunday! Here are a few new paintings that have been added to the collection since my last post. Plein-air paintings like this are $7.00 per square inch. Help me make space on my walls for new work to flourish!
A: my studio, 102 Montgomery St, Brooklyn, NY
B: Brooklyn Botanic Gardens – see the Cherry Blossom Festival going on all weekend!
C: the Brooklyn Museum of Art – see the Sargent Watercolor exhibit, the American Drawings exhibit, and El Anatsui
My studio is in an amazing location just steps from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. There are already two great reasons to come visit this neighborhood the weekend of April 27-28: The Cherry Blossom Festival and the John Singer Sargent Watercolors exhibit at the Museum! I’ll have my studio doors open for visitors to stop by from 1PM – 7PM on Saturday and 1PM-5PM on Sunday. I have lots of small paintings for sale and the price is $7.00 per square inch. (different prices apply for studio paintings) If you just want to come say hi, that’s great too! Feel free to email with any questions about the event. For those of you who can’t make it in person and are interested in buying paintings through email I’ll work on compiling a list of what’s available. Please email if you’re interested in seeing this! firstname.lastname@example.org
A My studio: 102 Montgomery St, Brooklyn, NY.
B Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
C Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Now that my studio painting is off the easel and the weather is warming up, I’m excited to crank out some new plein air studies in the next few weeks! Stay tuned for another update on new paintings that will be available during my studio sale.
I’ve recently completed my first “big” studio painting, and I wanted to share some of the work that went into it here. Over the past four summers I’ve been developing my plein air painting skills, working on drawings or small panels under 9″x12″. All along my goal has been to take these outdoor studies into the studio to use as reference for larger paintings. The years of rigorous life study at GCA has been incredible training but I feel limited in my ability to express larger ideas when I can only work with a live subject in front of me. I would love to work from my imagination and still represent nature truthfully. Ultimately I would like to combine figure, landscape, and other elements into my paintings without using the aid of photographs or digital technology. For me landscape painting has been a perfect place to start experimenting with this process.
This painting was commissioned by Mark and Teresa Richey, who have an incredible view from their lake house in New Hampshire. I felt I had plenty of freedom for my own creativity, but I enjoyed spending time with the Richeys on location hearing what they loved most about their special spot. Mt. Chocorua is the star here, but they asked if I could fit the entire mountain range into the composition, which became the main challenge in designing this piece. The panoramic view meant that most of my canvas would be occupied by sky and water, so I paid special attention to cloud compositions and learning how to paint water.
The foundation of this painting is made on the piles of careful drawings and notes that document my observations from life. When I was on location, my mission was to absorb as much information as possible about the structure of the landscape. Detailed drawings of the mountain ranges, the foreground elements, and the behavior of the clouds helped form my vision. With the light conditions constantly changing, my ability to paint detailed scenes was limited and my color studies were abbreviated. What the paintings lack in structure, the drawings accomplish. In these I focused on understanding the three-dimensional form of the landscape so that in the studio I could put the sun wherever I chose and paint the scene accordingly. I may have gone a little overboard with the amount of sketches I made, but now I have enough information to do several more paintings of this spot! I’d love to try a sunset or sunrise.
When I look at each of these studies, I am transported back to the moment I was observing when I made them. I use this time-travel device to help re-create the moment in my mind. The full sensory experience is important, so I try to recall the smells, sounds, emotions, and thoughts that I had at the time I made the initial study. I make my painting decisions from this state of meditation, fully occupying the memory. Ultimately, not everything can be recalled, but the most important things make it through and into the final piece. Over time this exercise makes your memory stronger!
Two months passed before I had a chance to begin the studio painting phase. Meanwhile I was continuing to paint outside in other locations, and always keeping in mind the things I would need to learn in order to tackle my commission.
Once back in the studio, I took out all my drawings and began working on a composition. Using a perspective grid, I was able to piece together my different sketches into a believable space. I placed a few sailboats in the scene to help give a sense of distance since the receding shore line is nearly horizontal and I thought it might be hard to sense how far away the right hand side of the far shore is.
After shuffling around all these parts until it felt right, I transferred the drawing to a small 9″x14″ canvas to start a small version of the painting I envisioned.
The small painting was a crucial step in this whole process. It gave me a chance to work through a lot of the questions I had in a more forgiving scale. After Mark and Teresa approved of this version, I dove into the final process.
Working through this whole project has taught me so much. When I come up against a section that I don’t know how to paint, I go do some research. I look at master paintings of a similar passage, or go outside to observe nature. Back in the studio I try to bring my observations to life in the painting. The process becomes a feedback loop – from plein air study to studio painting and back. It keeps my mind constantly challenged and learning. Among the many reasons I don’t paint from photographs is that it prevents this analytical learning process. The photo flattens out the world and it’s too easy to just copy the flat shapes in the photo. It feels limiting and lifeless. I’d much rather struggle through some unknown territory and learn along the way!
If you took the time to read all of this, thanks for sticking with me, I hope some of it was helpful or interesting! I welcome comments or discussion too, so don’t be shy.
In late February, Joy Tomasko and I took a spontaneous trip to Stowe, Vermont for some quiet work time. Joy is writing a play for a fellowship and I focused my energy on painting. We had perfect winter wonderland conditions with fresh snow coming down every day!
Perhaps my favorite experience of the trip was on this day. Joy and I took snowshoes and hiked about 3 miles uphill through the forest to reach the Slayton Pasture Cabin – a remote rest stop for nordic skiers on the Trapp Family ski trails. On our hike through the forest, the snow was falling so thick and fast that I couldn’t imagine painting outside. It made for a magical hiking experience though. When we reached the cabin we were wet from the snow but inside was a cozy fire, hot carrot-ginger soup, ham sandwiches, and 7-layer bars! We spent the afternoon camped out at a table while Joy wrote and I did this small sketch of the cabin interior. Skiers came and went and the snow continued to pile up outside. At the end of the day we packed up and slid through the fresh powder snow on our way down the trail as dusk settled in. It was the perfect day.
This painting is from a short visit I made to my dear friend Christine’s house. Gracie is a 14 year old collie who was born on our farm and was part of our family during her early years. I had a delightful afternoon painting Gracie, sipping tea, and catching up with Christine. Life is grand!
Taking photos of my paintings is something I haven’t quite mastered and I’ve been putting off the inevitable task for months now. Today I was able to snap some good enough shots and I’m excited to get this blog caught up to speed! I know we just celebrated Easter, but I’m going to post about Thanksgiving first.
My Dad and I took a trip out to California to visit our cousins. We had an incredible week exploring the landscape around Occidental and Bodega Bay. Lots of hiking, biking, running, and eating great food! Here are a few paintings that I came back with.