The cookie jar

This is a painting of the Cookie Jar. The cookie jar that sat on the kitchen counter while I was growing up. We didn't have a lot but we did have cookies. My mother was a fabulous baker. The cookie jar was always full. Oatmeal, molasses , wheaties, chocolate chip, sugar, all kinds of wonderful made from scratch cookies.I can see that little knotty pine kitchen with the latch cabinets and covered cake dish. Where there was always a freshly made cake.

Recently I was cleaning out a shed and found it full of a clan of mice living in the at cookie jar. Eggh! I 'washed it out good', popped insome freshly cut Peonies and painted it on a 12 x 9 rough canvas.

A finished sketch really. Just enough to write the story of Ma's cookie jar.

Ma's Cookie Jar with Peonies 12 x 9 oil on canvas 2017

Ma's Cookie Jar with Peonies 12 x 9 oil on canvas 2017

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.

Back to work

I haven't been working very much since before Thanksgiving. What with the shortest days of the year, hunting season (a bust), Santa season (several appearances as the jolly old elf and then the holidays. Our cars stopped working in the same week and we had to buy a new one - ouch. For over two weeks I've been laid up with what I hope is simply a torn Meniscus. We'll hear tomorrow and have fixed soon. So I've been really distracted though I have done a couple of watercolors and made some panels. I got a free flat file which has helped me organize my paints, printing papers and prints. I got 3 paintings framed and ready for an office hanging. I worked a lot on the website structuring it for direct sales and have begun categorizing and sorting my older humorous illustrations for a web showing. Time hasn't been totally wasted. 

Here's what I learned while being bored, lame and distracted. I can't just sit and paint. The mental, unconscious process, is the most important part of my painting and I have little control of it. There's no hurrying it. I happens only when i'm not distracted or preoccupied with the mundane. I've been feeling bad about not painting and I shouldn't. The holidays are gone and there's 2 more minutes of sunlight every day.

Bummer. My knee is not so simple.

A new model at Ianni's. 010714

A new model at Ianni's. 010714

Life drawing from Ianni's 010714  • Click to enlarge

Santa season

Yes it's that time of year again. Santa time. Time for me to get dressed in my Santa suit and sit for pictures with little kids in my lap and have our photos taken. This year I have two gigs both for not for profit groups. 

Between now and Sunday I have to make sure that I don't accidentally burn off my beard or get my hair lobbed off by some Delilah. When it's all over maybe the lbs will magically disappear. Ha!

Why am I mentioning this? It's had me itchy for the past few days. It's the end of deer season the woods are all icy and snowy and it cold as a .... you know. So I started a watercolor painting to scratch the itch. It's of my young setter Trout. Trout the dog. I like it it still has a few sessions until it finishes. Paintings finish themselves. Sometime we go too far.

This isn't much of a post. I'm busy. I have to feed the reindeer.

iPhone shot of Trout the Dog a watercolor in progress Dec12/13

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?

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