Starting 2020 with work going to forever homes!

There is nothing quite like having a painting find its way into appreciative hands, and this January, I’ve been blessed with two of my paintings finding their way to their new forever homes with very happy new owners.

“Once more from the top” – 30″ x 40″, acrylic on canvas

“Once more from the top” went to southwest Montana, where it found a new home with a high school classmate of mine and her wife, and I couldn’t be happier. The setting is perfect for this painting and I hope that Marcia and Nicolette will have many many years of joy with this piece.

The second painting, “on viewing lesser known roadside attractions” was sold at Fogue Studios in Georgetown, where I exhibit in the main gallery and maintain my acrylic painting studio. I can’t thank Patti Curtis-Hair, the gallery’s fabulous curator and manager enough for helping to find this piece it’s forever home in West Seattle.

“on viewing lesser known roadside attractions” with it’s new owner at Fogue Studios, Georgetown, Seattle, WA

And so, onward to new painting adventures in 2020 … it’s going to be a great year in paints, I can tell already! Cheers!

Taking it down a notch … and several inches

“One man short of a three-legged race”, 24″ x 24″, oil and pastel on canvas

Recently I was asked to create a 24″ x 24″ abstract painting for a friend. To say that I was initially daunted at this idea would be a huge understatement.

The thrill of abstract painting for me has come to lie to a great degree in the scale of the works I’m creating. There is nothing quite like the experience of standing in front of a white canvas that stretches seemingly indefinitely in all directions – the bigger, the better, I say. This wide expanse of white just invites one to dive in and let the colors and the paints explode in all directions, the swaths of color diving and swirling off into corners and crevices and then circling back into the center to re-emerge as completely different objects then bouncing off again in a new direction. It is nothing short of a dance of the imagination that unfolds on a large field before my eyes. I LOVE painting large abstracts … just love love love it!

And, as a contrast, a smaller canvas tends to rein in the crazy dance of paints and color and texture. With limited space, it has always seemed to me that every move, every gesture with the paint needs to be more carefully measured and considered. This, for obvious reasons, goes against every muscle in my painting arm and forces me to constrain my enthusiasm and my flow. For this reason, my smaller paintings have generally tended to be more representational or, at best, not as satisfying for me in the abstract outcomes.

So, to restate the obvious, I was not thrilled at the idea of taking on a 24″ x 24″ project. It took me several days to drag myself to the art supply store to pick up two canvases on which to experiment with this silly proposal. And once in my home studio, the canvases sat a further period before I would even look at them in their taunting cellophane wrapping.

But eventually I bit the bullet, unwrapped the first of the two small squares, and set it on my over-sized easel, where it seemed to disappear entirely against the large wooden structure. OH … what was I taking on?!

The initial passes with my brush were half-hearted at best and forced to an uncomfortable point. After working through three different color changes and the various blended ranges between them, I started to lose heart. This was going to be a complete disaster, I told myself.

But I pressed on – I am nothing if not stubborn once I open the paint tubes and spread the color on my palette. And I pulled out some other less familiar colors – a bit more restrained, I would say – in hopes of finding my groove. Switching to straight gloved finger application, a few vague but compelling images began to slowly emerge around the edges and toward the center of the canvas. A quick break to grab a beer from the fridge and assess the progress with a more balance eye, brought me back to the canvas with something approaching excitement. There was definitely something happening on this canvas, no denying it.

I worked without pause for the next several hours, stopped for some dinner and then dove back in. By the time I realized that I needed to take my pup out for her evening walk, I had achieved a place that was actually making me smile at the canvas. Yep, this was not bad at all … matter of fact, I was kinda jazzed about it.

The next morning, coffee in hand, I went back into the studio and sat for a good 40 minutes just taking it in. This was, in fact, a danged good piece of abstract painting if I said so myself, and by golly, I’m saying so.

A few days later, I’m still grinning at this quirkly little canvas and the funny humorous image that is grinning back at me. I think I might just like working smaller for a bit … I still have a second 24″ x 24″ canvas waiting for me in its cellophane jacket … and it’s raining outside to beat the band, so I think I’ll have at it this afternoon and see what new little gem might be lurking in the 24″ x 24″ realm for me.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and healthy holiday with your friends and families.

Closing in on the end of another year in oil and pastel

“Learning to dance with the Dead” – 40″x40″, oil and pastel on canvas

Only a couple more weeks left in 2019 and it’s a great time to look back on this year in painting. For me it’s been another year of experimentation, growth, and discovery. My artistic voice seems to be finding its range and honing in on the particular visual melody I want to play.

What that’s meant in broad strokes is that I have allowed myself ever more freedom to explore media combinations, paint application methods, and a wider range of colors that play both nicely and not so nicely together. It’s been a time for me to forcefully push aside the inner critic and just move on the canvas.

The results haven’t been uniformly ideal and I have painted over almost as many canvases as I’ve actually painted … what am I saying, I’ve probably painted over more canvases than I’ve painted fresh. This journey, like so many artistic journeys, has mirrored the trajectory of my life this year, and for me to be honest in my art, that is as it should be. No hiding, no pretending, and no make believe – just give expression to the experience. I can’t ask more of myself as an artist than that. And so, I end the year very grateful for the process that has played out on canvas these past 12 months. It’s not been a consistent path and it’s not always been pretty, but it’s been very gratifying.

Wishing all a very happy holiday season and health, happiness, and the free flow of creative energy in 2020.

Painting on unstretched canvas – pick your dimensions

“Let’s pretend we never met” – 32″ x 60″, oil and pastel on unstretched canvas

As a kid, I dreamed of just having my way with paints on a blank white wall. As an adult artist, I get to have the next best thing, painting on unstretched canvas stapled against the wall. It’s as if all the rules have been broken!

“Let’s pretend we never met” is a bit of an unorthodox size, but when I unrolled this last section of canvas that remained from the roll, I realized with not a little glee that when painting on unstretched canvas, dimensional considerations can be thrown out the window without a second thought. And I did.

Since any unstretched canvas offers a range of options for cropping and stretching and framing, why not just go with a less traditional sizing profile and see what comes of it. In this case, the painting fairly flows across the canvas left to right, like a hieroglyphic scroll. And I just love it.

Here’s to tossing aside convention and making your own statement in whatever format you choose. Cheers!

When the best is the second time around

“Imagine the look in their eyes” – 60″x72″, mixed media on canvas

Sometimes it takes not only time, but absence and revisiting much much much later to arrive at the sweet spot with the canvas. “Imagine the look in their eyes” has had several incarnations since I first put paint on this canvas in 2017. Not only has it had several incarnations, it has hung on the wall home and even in a gallery in two separate prior incarnations.

But when I recently brought this painting home, I only needed a little bit of time to find the swing into the spot that I would have killed for in my first time out with paint on this canvas. I don’t know what the secret is – it’s as much of a mystery as it is an ongoing surprise, but I do know when a piece resonates with me, and this one definitely does. I hope it does for you as well.

Now all it needs is the perfect wall on which to show itself off …

New artwork at Fogue Studios and Gallery

New work for November and December: “A panel discussion on equilibrium and the alignment of loose ends” and “Squirrel, Squirrel”, 48″x48″ oil paintings on gallery-wrapped canvas

My second year as part of the fabulous group of artists at Fogue Studios and Gallery in Georgetown, Seattle, WA is slowing coming up. So for the last two months of 2019, I decided to go with some bright and bold colors to celebrate this milestone and this wonderful space that I am allowed to share with this amazing group of people.

Want to thank Patti Curtis-Hair for bringing us all together and throwing her creative energy and inspiration behind our little undertaking. She has made this one of the most lively and supportive artist cooperatives that any artist could hope to find.

So, cheers to Fogue Studios and Gallery and here’s to another great year ahead. Stop by for Art Attack on Saturday, November 9th and enjoy a great night out with some fantastic art.

Wine sipping and art viewing all at the same time! Woo Hoo!

First peek at my solo exhibit at Barrels Wine Bar on Mercer Island

Starting with today’s art installation, a selection of my artwork is on exhibit at Barrels Wine Bar on beautiful Mercer Island. The exhibit, which includes ten of my abstract paintings, will run through the end of August. Barrels Wine Bar is a charming spot to spend an afternoon or an evening, sample some great wines, and on Wednesdays and Fridays even enjoy some great live tunes from a variety of local musicians. Owners, Joe and Tina Kennedy, are gracious and welcoming hosts who will make your visit an outing to remember, and the wine selection on offer is first rate without being overwhelming.

“Sequential equations” overlooks a choice of select summer splashes in the back tasting room.

We will be scheduling an artist reception at Barrels Wine Bar in the next few weeks and I’ll be sure to send out an open invitation to come out and enjoy an evening of wine and art with me and Jeff as soon as we have the date set. ‘Til then, cheers and enjoy your own summer celebrations.

Studio time means time for contemplation

“Contemplation on a groove” – 30″ x 48″, acrylic on canvas

Today’s studio time was spent on a contemplation – not the one I’d anticipated, but one that crept in on me. Life’s been challenging lately, and I’m not sure what direction it will be heading next, but I still had to put color on canvas. This piece is light on color and bold contrast, but it strikes me as the perfect response to the emotional waves that have been washing over me and I’m going to sit with it, contemplate it, and give myself some breathing space for now.

Hoping you’re life is flowing more calmly and sending peace your way.

The new palette seems to be a keeper … for now.

“A panel discussion on equilibrium and the alignment of loose ends” – 48″x48″, oil and charcoal on canvas

Somewhere around two months ago or so, I picked up a couple of oil sticks and several tubes of Williamsburg and Gamlin oil paints from a charming little art supply store in the Totem Lake area of Kirkland (if you find yourself up there, it is definitely worth a stop to check this little gem out – An Artful Touch – although the name of the store calls to mind a massage parlor, this store most definitely is directed to those of us more in touch with our brushes and palette knives than our achy muscles and joints!)

Anyway, back to the subject, I picked up some new oil sticks, Williamsburg oil paints and Gamlin oil paints in the most luscious warm summer colors – gold green, burnt orange, cherry red, olive, periwinkle blue, pale lemon yellow – I know, those aren’t the colors on the tubes, but those are the colors they call to mind for me. And I started going to town with these new hues, painting with my fingers, rubber nubs, old brushes, and palette knives – a veritable toy box of paint applicators, and found myself having the time of my life and just reveling in the brilliant cheerful colors on the canvases.

“Elements” – 40″ x 30″, oil on canvas

“Elements” was my first painting employing some of these new colors and since then I have been on a tear, ripping off one canvas after another with these delicious warm shades. And, oddly – or perhaps not – I have found myself steering toward similar colors with my acrylic paints in my studio at Fogue Studios as well. However, it is without question, the creamy rich oils that have captured my heart again, and that are dancing my senses into pure bliss.

Thinking it’s pretty likely I’ll be playing in this color realm for awhile to come. Hope you enjoy the results as much as I do.

Soak up those warm summer sunshine rays and cheers to ya!

New work going up for June and July at Fogue Studios and Gallery

“One step away from head over heels” (40″x30″, oil on canvas) makes it’s gallery debut at the entry to Fogue Studios

New oil paintings are heading to Fogue Studios for the months of June and July, just in time to celebrate the one year anniversary of Fogue Studios and Gallery’s Grand Opening. And I’m just thrilled that my fun new work, “One step away from head over heels” has the wonderful honor of overlooking the entry to the Fogue Gallery at the top of the stairs that lead into the gallery space.

Other paintings that will fill my regular wall space in the gallery for the next two months include my two long and tall, drip oils, “Livin’ la vida lujosa” (livin’ the luxury life) and “Jumpin’ at the Savoy”.

“Livin’ la vida lujosa” – 60″x30″, oil on linen

“Jumpin’ at the Savoy” – 60″ x 30″, oil on linen

And rounding out the new exhibit will be one of my new favorites, freshly stretched and framed by Kurt Pape at Unique Art Framing, “Mi mariposa de amor” (my butterfly of love)

“Mi Mariposa de Amor” – 42″ x 57″, oil on linen

… and yes, I’m going for a definite latin swing in my hot summer grouping and hope that I might have hit it.

The new exhibit will go up next week and will be on full display in time for the June Georgetown Art Attack on June 8th. I couldn’t be more excited. Would love to see your smiling faces at the big event if you find yourself in Georgetown – it promises to be one big bad blow out evening, complete with live music and cake!