Sometimes you need a hand

It's been a while since i posted here. It's not because I haven't been painting. I haven't been painting in my studio. The last four paintings I've done in the studio I really haven't liked. At all. 2 have been sanded down to the gesso. I have been painting most every week with Johan and Judith. Making some progress there. This is the latest. Not thinning my paint at all. Tomorrow we should be finishing this but I may want one more week.

Catherine Week 2 March 2017

I have found myself being very cheap with my paint. Even washing my oils like watercolors. The frugal New Englander in me or the watercolor artist clawing for recognition. Either way is hasn't been rewarding. Over the past few session of life painting I've made a conscious effort to use mor paint and slow down. I't's working.

Last weekend I  attended Peter Fiore's workshop in Milford, PA. I brought one of the paintings that i was hating, "North of Skinners', for a critical look. Peter is a masterful painter and a great teacher. In about 1 minute he got me on track. I even got another a study done for another piece. I'm pleased with it. It only goes to show that sometimes you need a hand. Check out his site here.

North of Skinner's Milanville PA 20 x 26 oil on linen

North of Skinner's Milanville PA 20 x 26 oil on linen

Skinners Falls Sketch 15 x 20 oil on gessoed illustration bord

Skinners Falls Sketch 15 x 20 oil on gessoed illustration bord

Painting effort on the previous non-pose

This is three weeks of painting effort on the last pose. The pose lasts 1 more week but I 'll be in the city. I'll work on this in the studio over the next week. It is intentionally not a polished realism. It is an exercise in neutrality even exaggeratedly so. When I painted with watercolors I thought of neutrality as earth tone thing. Making grays from colors mixed with various earth toned pigments. These neutrals are created with compliments. The effect is a lot like my acrylics from the 70s, transparent layers that created neutrals achieved unconsciously. 

Our painting group works on.. the pose

This is a continuation of my last post on finding a non-pose pose. The chosen pose. This is week two of over painting efforts. We have a good mix in our group. Johan Sellenraad a long time local artist transplant from NYC. We work in his studio along the Delaware River in Millanville, PA. Johan makes big, Subaru sized, paintings of canvas in a strong confident style full of reference. Judith Reeve paints with a expert feel for the figure and gorgeous approach to color.

Over the past several years this has been a tremendous education for me. The simple length of time that we have painted together has allowed me to observe and absorb knowledge and attitude that has helped me along my journey. Please visit their web pages to find out more about Johan and Judith.

It's all about gesture. At least for me. This is alive.

At our weekly long pose painting session, every Thursday for 3 hours, it was time to find a new pose. Johan likes to find poses that are interesting and not posey. These are the quick 2 to 5 minute poses I did while we searched for the pose. I used grey pastel on bristle plate. Our model Cathrine strikes poses as naturally as breathing. I like all of these gesture pose sketches.

This is the 'non-pose' that we decided on. Not a real expressive gesture but very strong and complicated. Again in chalks.

This is the first session in paint. I'm working on a 24 x 36 canvas. All the colors are roughed in. The drawing needs some adjustment and the color has to be warmed. More next week.

The apps just keep getting better and better.

Today I downloaded the Prisma app onto my iPhone. This is a quick self portrait I did a month or so ago. The others are Prisma conversions. Each took about 30 seconds. 

Original oil painting on paper

Original oil painting on paper

Prisma 'drawing' conversion

Prisma 'drawing' conversion

... Painting conversion.  

... Painting conversion.  

These are fabulous! And I think the app was free😜 

Riverfest 2016

Judith Reeve and I will be sharing a booth at this years Riverfest


Judith Reeve grew up along the Delaware River, not far from Chadds Ford. At the age of nine, she met Andrew Wyeth. This meeting, in hindsight, was a pivotal moment allowing her to recognize the possibility of painting being a vital life-long pursuit. For more information visit Judith Reeve at

As a student Jim Kingston studied the Brandywine style of Illustration under Norman Baer, a disciple of Howard Pyle. He spent his life in the world of humorous illustration, commercial artist and as a leader in transforming art-production into the digital age. Working in watercolor for most of his life he has transitioned to oil painting over the past 5 years. For more information on Jim Kingston visit his web site;

For all you Dr. Who fans

Behind our house in the woods are a group of Dalleks masquerading as pine trees. The powers are great. But what are the chances of Dr Who showing up here.

Ex term in ATE!

Oil on canvas 9 x 12

Paintings in the works, plein aire, and life painting

I've been busy. Shifting directions a little bit. Not a lot, I'm returning to a more expressive style. A few years ago after a long absent from painting, a five year stint at Bloomberg News, I started a little quest to paint with a more realistic polish. I think I achieved the goal but find the polish a little dull. 

For over a year now I've been painting long, up to 9 hour, life poses at Johan Sellenraad's studio. With Johan and Judith Reeve. Two very different influences. I had found myself being frustrated with my fairly good attempts at realism. Real but not expressive. Too much chasing what I thought I was seeing. I had been 'studying ' Judith's color palettes based on the teaching of Robert Henri. That forced me to expand and starve my palette at the same time. Great fun great results. Gone are the umbers and earth tones here now is color based on light. 

At the same time I was building Johan's web page in Squarespace. He had it all organized all I had to do was execute it in a format. It was a revelation. Highly expressive realism in coherent theme. Compositional challenge is the cornerstone. Most of the time copying what you see isn't really challenging. It's the artist job. Johan has done a great job of this for his long artist life. 

The Upper Delaware River Painting Society. Earlier this spring several of my painting buddy's formed a Facebook group the promote outdoor painting. Really it was a way to force us into the outdoors because we'd rather stay home and eat doughnuts. 

So lot's been happening. Lot's more to come.


Stone arch bridge at Ten Mile River pain air

Ten Mile confluence with the Delaware Plein Air

A quicky sketch of yours truly. I'm smiling

The latest from life painting at Johan's

A shop at the Dorlinger Glass factory village in White Mills, PA