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It's 2am and freezing cold in the studio.

Tonight, it’s 23 degrees out and snowing. Only a few degrees warmer in my studio and I am wondering why I was such a slow learner from a workshop that I took several years ago. All the instructor wanted me to do was simplify with 3 colors! It seemed simple, but time after time I kept adding detail. After a few hours of this during the workshop, he kept dumbing down the paintings. I thought I understood what the goal was and yet I seem to fail miserably at it. Why wasn’t I getting the concept? It’s haunted me to this day and every now and then I start a painting out with an attempt at this formula. For the most part, it helps, but my inability to grasp the simple approach to painting has frustrated me. Every now and then, I will see a post of his showing a old master who has this concept carried through in the painting. I see it, I understand it, but dammit, I can’t seem to produce the same results! And when I read about a designer who has taken his class and “gets it” right away, I am thoroughly pissed. I am just blind to simplification? What is wrong with me? There are other painters who have this down and it’s amazing to see their process from the simple start to an amazing finished painting. Ugh. So anyways, here’s my 3 color approach to my current painting. I’m sure it haven’t dumbed it down as much as it could be. Maybe I’m holding on to visual cues to help when I start to add detail. I think I get this. The color underlying simple painting is supposed to let me know if it can stand on it’s own two feet. If it can’t then I’ve got problems.

My attempt at simplifying what is going to a busy painting once completed. 

My attempt at simplifying what is going to a busy painting once completed. 

Other things on my mind while painting tonight, are just for me to remind myself of why I paint. If any of it is useful to you, great. If not, I don’t care, I said it was for me.

1. If you are just starting out to paint and can find a mentor willing to guide your development as a painter, DO NOT WASTE THE OPPORTUNITY! I only wish I had that, and it wasn’t for lack of trying. Honestly, though, I’m late to the game when it comes to painting and really didn’t show much promise early on. Thank God for the Norfolk Drawing Group!  I owe so much to everyone there for all I have learned.

2. I’m at a place now where my competition isn’t with anyone else but myself. I can see in my mind where I want my completed paintings should look like when they are finished, but rarely do they ever hit the mark.

3. Painting to just paint is reward enough for me. It’s the process of painting and getting better at it is what makes me happy. I’m at a point in my development where much of my old work has made it’s way to the trash bin.

4. I’m not a writer, and half the time I have a hard time trying to figure out what’s wrong with my own paintings that I really am no authority on how to paint.

5. The more I learn about painting, the more I feel clueless. It’s like math, I see it, but don’t expect me to break it down and communicate the reasons behind it.

6. Give up on trying to paint what sells. It doesn’t work for me, it probably won’t work for you unless you are a machine or robot. Paint what you know and love, the effort somehow transcends through to the painting.

7. If I sound mad, I am. Not at you, but at myself and the lack of progress made.

8. I forgot what 8 was for.

9. You can’t help being inspired by others. Just make sure you are feeding your influences beyond just one painter. Nobody likes a clone. So go out there and find as many painters as you can to admire and appreciate.

10. If you aren’t painting for yourself, pack it up, throw in the towel and just quit. I am grateful for every person who has loved my paintings enough to be willing to pay me for them.

I’m going to stop writing now that my feet have warmed up enough to work a little more in the studio. I hope the little heater has gotten it warmer than 30 degrees by now.

Not much heat coming out of this little guy to make a dent in the cold.  Feels like 30 degrees inside. 

Not much heat coming out of this little guy to make a dent in the cold.  Feels like 30 degrees inside. 

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Winter colds and mixing paint

I hate to say it's too cold to paint.  When I'm fighting a cold that won't go away, the only thing I like to focus on is to get better.  I don't know about you, but being sick really sucks.  My energy is gone, but the motivation is still there.  I just finished my second largest painting to date, and already I'm feeling like I may need to paint another one the same size so that I get better at mixing larger amounts of paint.  If you haven't painted in oil before, paint is expensive.  Especially when you have paints that is rated in series numbers.  For instance, a series I burnt umber is a lot cheaper than a series V cadmium red.  So when mixing colors and a large amount of paint isn't the right hue, sometimes I have to start over mixing.  That wasted paint goes into my mud mix.  What's a mud mix you say?  Well it's a mixture of various paints mixed to a nuetral color that I then mix into most of the other colors that go into my painting to help balance all the colors in the painting.  It's easier to write this than to do it, believe me. 

This month is busy for me and one of the things I have to tackle is to get two more solid plein air paintings under my belt.  Tuesday is looking like my best opportunity to go out and get a solid painting done outside.  The weather forecast says partly sunny with a strong chance of rain.  I'm hoping the sun stays out that morning at least.  I have this vision of where I want my paintings to be at in this stage of my painting career.  I got one done last month that fits the bill, but my second fell short.

I'm still playing with the Apple Pencil and so far it's been great.  The responsiveness it incredible and it makes any work done on a wacom feel feeble and sluggish.

My largest solo is coming to an end this month on the 29th.  I would make sure you see it before then, because I will be there bright and early to tear down so I can ship out all the paintings that sold.  Here's the address in case you missed it.

 

2101 Parks Avenue

Virginia Beach, VA

23451

 

I like to use the marker in Notes when building a drawing up with the Apple Pencil.  Next I'll use the pencil to add detail.

I like to use the marker in Notes when building a drawing up with the Apple Pencil.  Next I'll use the pencil to add detail.

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"Moonlit Pier" 30x40 - oil on canvas.

Despite the odds these past two months, I managed to get this done. Looking forward to the next big painting.

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Currently in the studio

All painting has been on hiatus lately due to a nasty cold. Starting to feel better tho.

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"Gabrielle" 12x16 - oil on canvas.

Our Norfolk Drawing Group had the opportunity to paint Gabrielle, who is expecting. I went with a high key this time and tried to loosen more up. Overall I'm happy this went well and I'm happy with the finished work. So far I am enjoying using CaptureOne to edit my paintings more than Lightroom. Just need to work out a good flow.

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Captain Jack Sparrow. #applepencil #ipadpro

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"Red Canoe Resting" 9x12 Plein Air

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New place to paint! "On The Hard & Waiting"

I found a new place the paint and there is plenty of subjects to choose from.

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First painting of the year, "Catherine".

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Trying to get back in the saddle again

Katherine was gracious to fill in for the Norfolk Drawing Group when the scheduled model bailed on us.

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In loving memory...

After 96 years my Grandmother passed on to a higher place today.  My last painting of her and my son, Cole.

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Cold weather days ahead for painting!

Now that there's two months of winter painting left, I need to break out the new winter gear. *photo courtesy of Tony Calabro

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Happy New Year!

I hope my friends that you find 2016 as the amazing and incredible opportunity that I do!

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Test 2

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StarWars Fan Art

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StarWars Fan Art

I've had the chance to play around with an iPad Pro and Pencil using the Notes app.  I have to say it's an amazing tool.  Here are my StarWars fan art.

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Awards and New Paintings

I was stoked to discover that my alleyway painting in Norfolk for the 6Squared Juried Exhibition won a $250 award.  Considering all the great work from amazing painters, this was a huge honor.

Afternoon Alleyway

Last night I finished up two paintings.  One from the legendary band, Pat DiNizio of Smithereens. I had the opportunity two photograph and meet him in Richmond, VA in 2003.  I had started a second painting of him after delivering the first, but the second was lost in a move.  Finally, I got around to painting this.

Pat DiNizio

The second painting I did last night was of my friend and neighbor, Ryan.  This is the start of a new on going project of painting portraits of my friends, so stay tuned for new ones. 

Ryan  

Ryan  

Painting in the living room for a change. 

Painting in the living room for a change. 

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Solo Exhibition dates have been extended until February 29th!

The fine folks at the RunnyMeade Corp asked if I would allow the work to be exhibited until the end of February. So I was more than happy to oblige them, in addition to update the show with two new works to replace two that had to be delivered to a new home in time for the holidays! I would love to hear your responses if you have the chance to stop by to see the show. Don’t forget the work is on almost all of the floors of the Pavilion I building, so start at the top and work your way down.

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Sunday Bible Reading

"Sunday Bible Reading" 16x20 oil on linen. I've really struggled with this personal piece of my grandma and my son for awhile. It's too personal to be objective while painting. I started off from life, which was amazing because in that moment she knew who I was and she knew I was painting her. She posed for me and keep still, and for a time, we had a connection that we hadn't had since her heart attack and stroke. The tough part was finishing this up in the studio, to try and remove myself as a person and be a painter. I may not be done with this, but I have it at a stage now to where I feel ok showing it. I hope I captured the humanity of what was before me as I saw and painted it. Most of all, even though she can no longer see, I hope it would have made her proud.

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6 Squared Exhibition Work Available!

Great news! My paintings featured in the 6 Squared Exhibition are up and available for sale!


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