About Me

My photo
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. My educational history is as follows: Long Beach High School, School of Visual Arts, C.W.Post College, M.A. in Humanities, Hofstra University. A two year stint in the U.S.Marine Corps as a illustrator eased my entrance into civilian life as a commercial artist in N.Y.C. My teaching career of twenty five years began at the State University in Farmingdale, N.Y. and ended as a Professor of Fine Arts at Herkimer County Community College, where I was awarded The New York State Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. I now paint full time in Portland Maine where I live with my wife Sharon. I paint all subjects from portraits to landscapes but I especially love painting the sea. Last year marked the end of forty straight years of teaching workshops on Monhegan Island, Maine, I now conduct three day classes in Kennebunkport every spring and fall. My work can be seen at The Wiscasset Bay Gallery, Wiscasset, Me., Dowling Walsh Gallery, Rockland, Me.,Camden Falls Gallery, Caamden, Me. and here in my studio in Portland. I am a signature member of The American Watercolor Society and the New York State Watercolor Society.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Here's a watercolor I did on a cloudy day at Lobster Cove on Monhegan Island. It was a demonstration for my students at the time. While I was painting an artist walked down the cove and began a painting right in front of me. There she is in the center of the painting. It turned out to be a good thing as it gave some idea of the size of the cove.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rocks And Sea at Prouts Neck

I found these rocks just as you see them at Prouts Neck. Yes, the same Prouts Neck where Winslow Homer had his studio.
I made up the sea around the rocks as the ocean was very calm on that particular day.
It's a rather large painting at 24x36 oil on linen stretched canvas.

October Snow

Snow in October make for great painting opportunities as we can work the warm colors of the gold and red leaves against the cool shadows in the snow.
Everything in the scene is exactly as it was in nature, however I invented the stream. 
The painting was done on a 18x24 oil primed linen canvas board.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Step 1, Jewel's Falls,

This was the initial sketch for the painting. I was looking for a sense of rhythm in the design.
I did the sketch with ultramarine blue and transparent red oxide.

Step 2, Jewel's Falls

I tried to lay in the major masses of color and the darkest values first. The grays are combinations of cobalt blue, rose madder and yellow ochre.  The dark water in the foreground were just about the same colors perhaps with a switch to raw sienna instead of yellow ochre in order to make the green darker.

Final Painting

Here's the painting just about complete. I added a few final touches with the brush but the painting remains a work mostly done with palette knife.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Approaching Storm In Mexico

We were out painting in the campo outside of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I was just about finishing a watercolor of a beautiful old church in the center of town when a dark cloud approached. It stared to rain so we headed back to the car. I did this painting from the back seat as the dark clouds were passing over. Sometimes misfortune turns out to be fortunate!

Western Wind

Published in this winter's American Artist Watercolor Edition this painting was the end result of a demonstration done in the magazine. The article showed the step by step procedures leading up to this final resolution.

Surf At Two Lights State Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Like the painting below, this was also painted on illustration board and like the painting I had a few problems to solve. The high spray in the center was there without any rocks near it. I thought it was fine at first but then after looking at the painting a few months later I decided to add the distant rocks to give a reason for the additional foam shape in the center.
I'm still not sure about the "pinching" effect of the two rock forms meeting at the right center. I think I'll fix that too now that I mentioned it.

Surf Below White Head

I think it's obvious that the entire painting was done in the studio from my memories of Monhegan. There was, what I think, an awkward form in the breaking wave and I couldn't solve the problem so I put in some rocks (center) where the breaking water was giving me trouble.
Did anyone notice that?
Oh yes! Another note:  The painting is on heavy rough 300 lb. Arches paper.

Rising Tide At Lobster Cove

Once in a while I'll paint a watercolor on illustration board. Of course there are pros and cons to this technique.
One of the pros is the fact that you can lift the paint a bit, just a bit. The con side is you loose control of the paint more easily as it doesn't have the tooth of my usual 140 lb cold press paper.
I started with the sky and work forward, painting the dark rocks last designing them to move the eye back towards the breaking wave.

Heavy Seas

I first had the idea for this watercolor when I first took the cliff walk at Prout's Neck most especially the from the sun shinning on these particular rocks.
The painting was done in the studio. The preliminary sketch in pencil came first then I worked from the sky forward. As you can see the sky set the color scheme for the entire painting.
The colors at low tide on Lobster Cove are just too juicy to pass by. My students had left the island the day before and I leisurely set up my easel and quickly painted this 18x24 watercolor.
Once again I had to capture the cast shadows on the beach quickly as the sun seems to move faster in the morning. (of course it doesn't) but the early morning light had to be captured fast. .
Painted with a mix of watercolor and casein, it was done in the studio from an imagined scene.
The cool colors in the rock was inspired from some rocks in the neighborhood. I think they work in harmony with the cool greens and blues in the sea.
It had rained the day before and I just managed to get a feeling of wet ground the next day. I wish I started painting earlier as the puddles of water were more striking.
The light on the ground was extreme because they put down some straw to get the grass seed going.
Painting like this is always a challenge as the sun moves quickly and therefore changes the entire subject.
The subject is the Old Black Duck fish house on Monhegan Island, Maine.
This watercolor was a demonstration I did for my students on Monhegan. It's the laundry room of the Trailing Yew.
As in most of my watercolors I started with the light washes of color working towards the darkest in the doorway. I dry brushed the gray of the roof to give it sparkle from the sun.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Another falls painting from Acadia. As in the other Acadia paintings all the stone and rocks were done with palette knife. The finer lines in the fallen tree were also done with the knife.
The colbalt blue touches in the foreground water are much more subtle in the painting but the digital camera pulls them out way beyond the desired effect. In any case, you get the idea.
This painting fought me all the way as I didn't think the foreground fallen trees and limbs were big enough in the composition, however after working on some of the detail in the dead trees and the light reflections on the right I began to become more confident in the outcome.
The palette knife came in handy in this painting as well. The reds behind the rock are not as red as they are in the photo.
Below Hadlock Falls in Acadia National  Park is an ideal setting for a landscape. About half of the painting was done with a palette knife, most especially the rocks.
It was done on an 16x20 double primed oil linen board.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Winter of 2011, Portland, Maine

It snowed just before we left for Mexico this February. The trees just outside my studio window were coated with heavy snow and the early morning light had just caught on the edge of the branches.
The painting was done in the studio after making several pencil sketches to get a good design of values.
It's a 16x20 oil on linen canvas board.
Once again the palette knife was used to do just about the entire painting including the dead wood on the trees.
I hiked a long way into Cathedral Woods on Monheagan unit I came to the base of Whitehead, the tallest cliff on Monhegan.
I tried, and I think sucessfully, to make a needed focal point at the base of the fallen tree.
The painting is a 16x20 oil on linen panel.

Bridge At Acadia

Acadia Fall

Here the pallet knife came in very handy. About three quarters of the painting was done with a medium knife. The water in this JEPG photo is much bluer than in the actual painting as water, of course, will reflect all the colors around it.
Unless your shooting with slide film the color in digital only approximates the true colors unless you shooting in what is  called RAW, which requires a very expensive photoshop program. In any case you get an idea of what the actual painting looks like.

Tide Pool Play

This painting is a 16x20 oil on linen canvas board. It went through many changes as I was not pleased with the composition. I added the two little boys with the yellow pail (my grandsons) and then the small figures at the surfs edge.
Thee is very little exaggeration of color in the tide pool as it actually comes from a fresh water spring near the beach and is filled with iron residue.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Swim Beach, Monhegan Island

Painting a watercolor on a cloudy day is usually difficult for me as it's easier to use a full range of values which the sun provides. 
This one worked. A few months after it was done I added the red boat to improve the composition and color distribution of the reds.

Maine Coast

The sea was painted from my imagination but the rocks were found only a few streets away on Canco Rd. in Portland, adjacent to a Coca Cola distribution center.

Special attention was paid to the harmony of warm colors consistant throughout the paintng as well as the direction of light from the left.

It's painted on  a 24x30 piece of masonite  that was  coated with  about  six thin coats of  acrylic  gesso.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My friend Bruce Schwabach has a very athletic son with fairly defined muscles. We walked down Steel's Creek in Ilion, N.Y. and I had him strike this pose, along with many others.

What excited me most about the subject were the various colors and the light moving across his back with his head and face receiving reflected light from the water. 

The painting was done on 24x30 oil primed stretched canvas beginning with a warm wash of yellow ochre and transparent red oxide.

I very seldom if ever paint out in the direct sunlight but this position offer the best composition. As time progressed it got HOT! Very HOT!

Finishing up with the last touches of dark watercolor I couldn't wait to get some relief in the shade, when an elderly man came by with an arm full of mesquite wood.

I quickly went for my camera in a motion that was reminiscent of an old cowboy movie and took a photo. I usually ask for permission but I knew it was now or never. Put him in the painting back in the studio

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lobster Cove, Monhegan Island, Maine

Painted with Lobster Cove in mind this was done from memory in the studio in Portland. It's on a piece of 24x30 masonite and is presently in the Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland, Maine.  I painted the entire board with a wash of yellow ochre and transparent red oxide providing a warm background which I let show through . The oil application is very transparent especially in the rocks and foreground sea. The most opaque areas are the lights of white mixed with yellow. They were the very last strokes of paint laid on top at the very end.

Christmas Cove, Monhegan Island, Maine

Most artist know this spot right off Lobster Cove on Monhegan. Christmas Cove (don't know how it got it's name) is one of my favorite subjects on the island as it's one of the few places where you can get to paint the sea at just about eye level. The painting is on linen canvas board. It's a good example of simple value patterns of black, gray, light gray and white. You can see these patterns especially when you squint at the painting. By the way...I thought I might mention that squinting at the subject as you paint is a must.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mexican Village

This painting was done on the spot outside of a small Mexican village. We would never have made it to this place without my friend Mike Klimo's SUV. We set up and began to paint when all of a sudden we were surrounded by onlookers, most of whom were little kids. They were very quiet and attentive with a few giggles now and then. 
The only changes I made from the scene was to take the tile roofs of the "houses" in the foreground and tilt them the opposite way so they would be seen. I knew they were red tiles as I walked around the road before beginning to paint. The painting was done on an 18x24 Arches cold press watercolor block.

Monday, January 24, 2011

After making a careful drawing of the ship I masked the ship in order to paint around it freely. The sky was done by applying clear water then painting the entire area with a warm mixture of winsor yellow and cobalt blue. While this was still wet I went in with the dark color for the clouds. The sea was painted with dark blue watercolor as a base with lighter blues of casein on top for the halftones. The lights on the sea were totally opaque with casein white and a bit of yellow. I then removed the masking from the ship and painted it with pure watercolor except for the light on the sails.

My Son Ted

This portrait of my son was done quite a while ago but this painting has really held it's own through the years as it's not only a good likeness it also shows his personality. I had just taken a portrait workshop with Daniel Green and was intent on doing paintings of family members. It was painted on oil primed canvas. I first did a charcoal sketch, fixed it with a fixative and then painted the entire canvas with a mid tone transparent greenish wash letting the drawing show through. The shadows came first then the halftones and finally the lights. I was especially careful not to over blend these values. Ted and his wife Patricia just had their first baby, a girl, Sofia born this January 18th. It just happens to be one day after my Dad's 102nd birthday. Everyone is doing well including my Dad
This painting was one of the largest I've recently created. It's 24x36 on very rough stretched canvas. The rough texture helped me to more easily obtain sparkle in my highlights. In the darks beneath the snow the high points of the canvas, if left unpainted, permit small lights to come through enabling the eye to penetrate the darks. I always try to keep the darks in all my oil paintings as transparent as possible. An important point is the fact that the canvas was first stained with a warm color before applying any paint.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My World of Watercolors and Oils

   Welcome to my world of watercolor and oil paintings.  Having taught hundreds of workshops, a fancy name for classes without grades, I suppose the most common question from my students is which medium do I prefer? My answer is the one I'm presently working with. That answer is often met with awed responses by my students, which of course, my ego mutually responds by it's, hopefully undetected enlargement. No! Seriously, some of my students and colleagues are curious as to how and why I easily change from one to the other since the approach and procedures to each are so different. Frankly, I can't come up with a satisfactory answer except perhaps that, when I started teaching painting in college I would always do a demonstration in the medium being taught at the time. Lecturing to students on how to paint is like teaching sailing in a row boat.
   I'm new to blogging, but as I understand it I'll be able to show you many times during the course of a week both watercolor and oil paintings in progress, from the first stroke of paint, in the case of watercolor, on paper and in oils, on canvas or canvas board. It's important to keep in mind that although the processes are quite different the basic principles involved in making a successful and powerful painting are the same. Since I paint in a traditional manner those principles are accurate drawing, following the rules of perspective, design of the subject, attention to simple value patterns and finally color harmony.