A reminder for the Studio Tour...

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday The Wayne County Arts Alliance is holding a tour of 24 artists at 17 different location in Greater Honesdale, PA. About 100 miles NW of New York City.  

www.waynecountyartsalliance.org  for a map and directions to locations.

Here's a radio interview from WJFF that Lindsay George, Alan Wood and I did on Monday's Making Waves program.

Heres a look at some of my stuff set up in the studio.

Painting with plastics...

I've mentioned how my studio is too airtight to paint with oils in the winter. Especially when the temps outside are hovering around zero most of the time. This winter I've been playing with watercolor, gouache and acrylic. Here is a work in progress using acrylic on a panel. 

Dead low tide

Dead low tide

I haven't done an acrylic this big in years. Todays acrylics seem different. More like gouache in its flatness. My studio is so dry that I've had to spray the palette with water every 10 or 15 minutes. I'm happy-ish with it. About 70% done. It's a study in grays.

A real departure in composition style. More lyrical than boxy. Now I have to loose some edges. I only have 3 or 4 days that I can get at it before I trade in my knee.


Here is the finish as it is. I took a real different approach to the composition on this. The curves and arcs are the structure of the image. The arcs of the land and water mimic the arcs of the gunnels of the front boat. This was all carefully constructed as a photo comp over the past year. Though it's a  representational or impressionistic reality it's certainly more of an illusion creating the real look. The colors are all grays created by mixing complimentary colors.

Overall as an project I think it's successful. I like it. Is it beautiful art. I don't know. Style wise it's similar to the acrylics that I did early in my career because of the medium. I do prefer Oil or watercolor.

The painting itself took about 10 to 12 hours. That on top of panel preparation, and building the image which actually stared several years ago. I do like that when you look at this from a distance it looks realistic. Up close its a mess.


Finish 3.9.2014

A little explanation of the composition

Arcs an diagonals

Arcs an diagonals

I mentioned that this composition is different for me. Usually my compositions are based on rectangular relationships within the defined rectangle. This painting is based on arcs and diagonals. The picture rectangle was defined by the interlocking of the arced shapes.

26.5 x 22

26.5 x 22

This happened unintentionally during the process of cutting and pasting for the photo comp in photoshop. I used a couple of versions of the same shot. Moved boats around. Left out outboard motors. Forced some tonalities. Ending up with an image in the 26.5 by 22 scale.

The arc shapes are all base on arc A defined by the foreground boat's shape. It's an abstract where nature and objects blend. Add the strength of the diagonals and the fact that the objects are boats... how can I go wrong. Most of the time in the process I looked only at the subject matter. The lyrical base composition  was difficult for me. I let it sit for a long time. I had distractions. I made a panel for it and let it sit some more. More distractions. frustrated by distractions I started painting. I used Acrylic for several reasons. Because I was unsure of how to handle the surface. Real or more representational? Acrylics can easily go either way. As I painted i realized the abstract nature of the painting. 

It turned out to be a good painting. Not because of realistic detail but the inference of detail. Not real strong colors all grays. A lot of motion based on the above abstract but not so much that the eye escapes the frame. The main arc shapes support the natural arcs of the objects and nature. 

Okay. This is the result of an unconscious process. Not an unknowing process. Because of many years of being a visual wrist in a lot of disciplines I have internalized many mechanisms. Developed an eye. I finally becoming happy with my eye. 

In a later discussion I muse on the visual eye. How some people have to nurture it and others gifted with it.

Real or repro?

This is going to be a short post. I want to pose this simple question. " Would you rather own an original pairing or a reproduction." 

Maybe it's not that simple. We're talking about my work not Van Gogh. My oils sell for  anywhere from $600 to $3000. I haven't done a reproductions of this years painting because it's almost as much effort and a lot more expense than the original painting. In the past I've made reproductions and made a few bucks. Though with a less expensive option available in the print people mostly chose the print over the painting. I sold a lot of prints and a few paintings. Weighing the cost in time and expense it wasn't so profitable.

So I ask you this. Would you like me to make reproductions of my paints and if so which ones?

Self branding - or - Am I too fat to fit in a tube?

This is a different age we are living in. At least it's different from the age that I grew up in and learned to do business in. It's new but its been changing for a long time. When I was a young illustrator I could call an art director and make an appointment to show my work at just about anytime. It was pretty casual. But it worked. Things changed and after about 15 years the Art Buyer had replaced personal contact with the art director. You didn''t actually see anyone. You dropped your book at a prescribed time and picked it up without seeing a soul. An appointment with the Pope was easier than personal contact. Our work was become brand. The world was moving on. Advertising yourself in industry books like The Black Book, Showcase and others became essential if you were to reach the ever more insulated creators within the publishing and advertising firms. Not only did you need a style but also a look for your ad. And it got expensive. Very expensive and even more impersonal. I missed those personal days of selling my art. Gradually my career changed and became a creative consultant. Regular pay pretty much. The illustration world was crumbling, the world was passing it by. 

In 2003 I renewed my artist life showing at Outdoor Juried Art Fairs in the Northeast and Florida for 4 years. It was up close and personal. I could talk to hundreds of people about my work over a weekend show. I had only moderate success but it was personal  and I liked it. 


Time marches on. I've been able to paint for almost a year now. I'm feeling better about my painting. but how do i create the personal thing.  I've build this website, added e–commerce. I've been following a fabulous Dutch plein air painter on YouTube for a while, Roos Schuring. She is convinced that social media is the way to create a network to sell more work. I've been sticking my toes in the social waters and find it kinda fun. Its not personal as Art Fairs or my early days of illustrating but the weather isn't as much of an issue either. I've come in contact with a lot of new people. Maybe only a hundred characters at a time but still it's communication and I have more time to paint, hunt and fix flat tires. I see this time as an evolution. Social is almost personal. It's more personal than dealing with a corporate art buyer.

I started this blog to communicate who I am to people who might be interested in my works. I don't know how successful it's been so far but my numbers are creeping up. I don't believe in art as a commodity. By that I mean manufactured and faceless. Good art always has a personality behind it. People are as much interested in the person as their art. 

Life drawing tune-up

Every week I do at least 1 life drawing session. That's no easy task where I live in Northeastern PA.  I find it essential in my ability to see. I been doing this for about 6 months and it's made an enormous difference in both how I look at thing and how I'm painting. After a very long layoff from drawing and painting with my hands  I'm kinda loving this. Every week I experiment with different tools and techniques. 

It's quite different from painting plein air which I suck at. I am most definitely a studio painter. I feel too clumsy when outdoors painting. I do like to do quicky line art even if they nothing more than minute or two. The radiograph pen has something to do with that.


At Ianni's 9//3/13