Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Plodding Along

Another case for leaving things alone: the dog.  After the cocky "how to paint a dog" post, it's been tough going.   The white in the last layer added fluffiness but it destroyed all of the volume from the first layer.   I spent a good deal of time painting the volume back in and it will take some work to get the spark back.  On a brighter note, the colors used are now meshing together as a whole.  The setting is coming along, you can see a frozen marsh area developing on the left, and snow in the foreground. 

Overworked, defined

After posting, I realized that I was taking the word "overworked" for granted.  Of my handful of readers, there is an even split of artists and non, so I was forgetting that the non-artists may be lost.  This blog gets distributed to Facebook, where "overworked" has a much more conventional meaning, the "I'm trapped at the office-overworked" sort of meaning that I genuinely feel for. So,  I need to clarify:  I'm not overworked, the painting is. 

Sometimes a painting goes too far:  what was once easy becomes effort, then chore. As a result, the image loses some of the life the artist wishes to convey. When this happens, the picture is overworked.  I tend to overwork things, pride myself on the effort, the struggle to bring them back to life.  The picture may never regain it's vitality, it's youthful exuberance,  but it may gain something of a hard-won maturity-- adulthood, grit.   However, sometimes the effort fails, it's a loss, a wash.   The torture of the digital age is having a record of the past steps. or what was.   In Photoshop, you can click undo.  The game of oil painting is a constant wager of risking safe solutions for somethings perhaps better.   Of course, this can be addictive.  Somethings stages may be better left alone. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I refuse to allow myself to work on this painting anymore.  Unlike some of my early blob-successes, this painting was at a graceful state after the first wash of blue, then it has gone progressively downhill.  The foreground is crusty mess of successive layers of paint. The figure, perpetually awkward, has been scraped, glazed, and repainted too many times.  It's a work on paper, so I should think of it as a sketch, but it's definitely has the surface of a canvas by now. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Horror

Had to recast the lead in this one.   You can still see a ghost of the old one behind him. 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Snow Man

This one developed enough atmosphere to call it a start.   I'm imagining a tree or two in here as well.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


A wanderer appears, and the scene is considerably darker. More work to do to bring this one back from the murk.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Eastern Michigan University

I have a painting on display in Michigan as part of the exhibition "Contemporary Painting" at Eastern Michigan University's Ford Gallery until November 5.   My thanks to old friend and master painter, Michael Reedy, for inviting me to participate in this national invitation exhibition.  I just got word from Michael that the painting is on the university's homepage at  If you wait long enough, it comes into rotation.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Hat

Much happier with the figure in this one now, as strange as it is. I should leave it alone now, unless something else occurs to me. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009


This face came together pretty fast in only two sessions; the landscape had been sitting around for a while, though. 

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Paper Continues

Though it looks like the amount of works on display in January will be scaled back to make room for the bigger canvases, I'm still working on the small paintings on paper.  A figure just ran into this one; it might take some detective work to find the start of this painting from previous posts...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Third Panel

Only two sessions so far, punctuated by six months.   No figure yet.... 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Panels Continued

Two more, the bottom one is just starting.  The top one was nice an an earlier stage, but needed some grunge and cold.  I didn't use the auto on Photoshop here (previous post had)  There's a lot of subtlety of surface in these from matte areas I want to feel cool and some of the darks I want to be wet.  Any contrast adjust tends to blow out the haze which is part of the atmosphere.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Linen Panels

I've been working on (among other things)  these small linen panels for the January show.   This one is almost there.