Saturday, December 31, 2016

Reflections on 2016

My parents were right. Each year goes by a little faster than the last.

2016 proved this point for me. As I look back, I can't believe how fast this year came and went. Overall, it was a good year both personally and professionally.

Before I dig into 2017, I want to reflect on some of my personal favorite paintings from 2016. Yes, I know, I'm not supposed to play favorites. But while I like to refer to my paintings as "my children," it's only a figure of speech. So, therefore, I get to play favorites at the end of the year.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the paintings from this past year that really stuck with me (for the right reasons!). Enjoy, and I'll see you in 2017.

Parallel Universe 18 x 18 pastel.

I thought that this piece from the heart of Chicago captured the woman and the brilliant summer light effectively.


Please Continue to Pull Forward 12 x 24 pastel.

I chose this piece because of its unusual subject matter and its optimistic title. What better philosophy for how to proceed through life?


Woodward Avenue, Detroit 6 x 12 pastel.

Luminous light, bright colors, and strong shapes made this piece from Detroit pop.


Skyscape No. 9, Sapphire Spring 8 x 12 pastel.

I have positive vibes about this landscape because I discovered the subject while on a bike ride.


Twilight Highway 8 x 12 pastel.

Sunset in central Wisconsin, my home state.


Follow My Gaze 16 x 30 oil on linen.

A wonderful portrait and portal into another world.


Star Gazers 36 x 36 oil on canvas.

I wanted to begin working in oils because it would allow me to work larger. Here's one of my first larger pieces in oil.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Winter and Experimentation

Yesterday was the official start of winter and today, happily, the days start to get longer. I'm already looking forward to getting out into my veggie garden in just a few short months, but I also value this time of year for the opportunity to rest and restore my creative spirit. This is the season when I experiment with my art materials and try some more ambitious motifs in my studio that I don't have time to explore during my busy summer months. After all, when the wind is howling and the snow is blowing sideways, what better time to slink into my studio with a warm cup of tea and really dive deep into a big piece or new idea?

My Palette featuring several different blues (and one green) mixed out from full strength down to lighter tints to see which one has the vibrancy that I need.

Right now, I'm doing precisely that. I'm tackling a series of larger cityscapes during these upcoming months. I have a bunch of exhibitions coming up in the spring and I'm excited by the opportunities ahead. I'm currently working on a 36" x 36" oil on canvas featuring a view along West 48th Street in midtown Manhattan. Over this past year, I've had a fairly established selection of oil paint colors that I've used in all of my works, whether they were landscapes or cityscapes. A consistent palette of colors is important to streamline the working process and maintain predictability in color mixtures.

But for this particular subject, I found that my blues were falling short of the mark. Naturally, I took to the Internet and ordered in some new colors from my favorite online suppliers (Jerrys Artarama, Dick Blick, and Utrecht). Have I mentioned that the coolest thing about being an artist is that you can paint _AND_ satisfy your compulsive shopping urges at the same time?

Anyways, I ordered in some new paints from a variety of manufacturers until I found just the right ultramarine blue for the job. Gamblin won, in case you were wondering. The big piece is still in process and you can grab a sneak peek of it via my Instagram account, but it isn't quite ready for its full-fledged debut on my web site. Instead, today I'm posting the small 8 x 8 study, "Midtown Mist" here for you to see what will come off of my easel early in 2017. Enjoy!

Study, Midtown Mist 8 x 8 oil on panel.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Custom Artwork

It's been a topsy turvy fall here with bouts of very mild weather juxtaposed with some chilly days and a few snowflakes. When the weather cools down and the allure of working outdoors on my painting or in my garden lessens, I find it easier to focus on big projects in my studio. Right now, I'm working on custom commissioned pieces for several clients and I thought I'd share with you a peek at one of the projects.

I was asked by a Penn State College of Engineering alum to create a series of works highlighting the beautiful campus in State College, Pennsylvania during the fall. Since moving to this area back in 2004, I've been dazzled by the gorgeous autumn foliage of both the town and the surrounding state parks, so this idea appealed to me.

We began working together earlier this year to identify subjects and compositions that were meaningful to him. I like to give people some options when they approach me with an idea, so in this instance I created a series of black and white sketches first. From there, we identified the best compositions and I created initial color studies. Following some minor adjustments based on client feedback, these color studies will become the basis for the larger, final paintings that I'll complete in the coming winter months.

Shown here are the initial black and white sketches for a couple of the compositions we selected: the Nittany Lion Statue on the Penn State University campus and the Old Main administrative building on campus. If you'd like to commission a custom painting, you can contact me through my web site. Happy Holidays!

Initial black and white study featuring a composition of the Penn State Nittany Lion statue.

Second black and white study featuring a composition of the Penn State Nittany Lion statue.

Color Study 12 x 18 oil on canvas of the selected composition that will serve as the basis for the larger final painting.

Initial black and white study featuring a composition of Old Main on the Penn State University campus.

Second black and white study featuring a composition of Old Main on the Penn State University campus.

Color Study 12 x 16 oil on canvas of the selected composition that will serve as the basis for the larger final painting.