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.

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.