Friday, December 14, 2012

Near Peak

Near Peak, 14x24 (click on image to zoom)

Here's one from October.  I've painted this farm in South Glastonbury for over a year now, from various angles and in all seasons.  No two days or paintings have been the same.  On this particular day, the sun lit up the greens of the recently-harvested fields, and the hillside glowed with golden autumn color.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Blackhead (Monhegan Island, Maine)

As winter approaches, I was reminiscing about painting on Monhegan Island this past September with my good painting friends Kim Ruggiero and Bob Schweizer.  With the threat of rain, we took a shot at hiking over the island to paint the most distant of the headlands, Blackhead.  The black colored rock, as I just learned ( is called gabbro, which is igneous rock.  What makes Blackhead really striking are the veins of white rock, which apparently is feldspar.  It was challenging to paint the feldspar without it looking like sun bouncing off the black rocks, particularly since it was somewhat overcast.

In the photo below, you can see the unusual colorations of Blackhead.  To get a sense of how big it is, look at how small the pine trees above it are.  My easel is marked with the name "Henry Kallem," as we stayed at the former summer cottage of the late Henry Kallem, a well respected abstract impressionist who died in 1985.  The island, with a population of about 35 people, has only a few vehicles, mostly all pickup trucks.  When one of the small ferries comes in, you can have your supplies trucked up to your cottage.  But once you're settled in, you have only your own drumsticks to get you up and down the beautiful trails that traverse this small painter's paradise.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Autumn's Approach 9x12  (click on pic to zoom)

This week I was in South Glastonbury just as the last of the cool morning fog was lifting off the eastern hills.

But this journal entry is about something else --  authenticity.  In a review by about Mary Chapin Carpenter's recent album, "Ashes and Roses," MCC spoke about how she just tries to be true to herself.  Well said, MCC.

Though she is grateful for the positive reviews she has received over the years, she says that nobody pleases everyone all of the time. "No one is going to like everything you do," she admits. "That's just an impossible standard. I think the way I feel about what I do is that I'm trying to be authentic. I don't know what else to write about. So, if it doesn't connect with someone, or they don't like it, I can't be angry or disappointed. I'm just trying to be true to myself."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Monhegan Island

(click to enlarge)

Just back from Monhegan Island, Maine.  This is Jamie Wyeth's house, formerly Rockwell Kent's studio.  Monhegan is a spectacular place, especially for painters.  This unique island is particularly beautiful this time of year, as the number of visitors dwindles, and there's a crisp feel to the air as summer wanes and life returns to its normal, rustic tranquility for the 40 or so year-round hardy residents.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Drying the Tobacco

(Please click on image to enlarge)

Just back from a week of great painting up in Port Clyde, Maine, along with my good painting friends Kim Ruggiero and Bob Schweizer.  I'll post work from Maine soon.

Today, I painted right here in South Glastonbury, where they're harvesting this year's tobacco crop (the kind that's used for cigar wrappers).  After it's picked, they hang it in the barns upside down to dry it out.

This morning, there was a full house in this particular barn -- Mr. Horton's '45 Chevy along with an old tractor.  I particularly like the variety of colors in the tobacco, ranging from yellow and green to burnt sienna and deep blue shadows.  Worked super fast on this 12x24 to grab the early light before it changed.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Old Oak

This is one of the oldest and most majestic trees here in Glastonbury.  I recently spent several days painting it from different angles and at different times of day.  Here's a morning painting.

A few folks passing by asked how old I thought it was.  I suggested that cutting it down was the only way to find out for sure.  Got a few strange looks (even more than the usual).  Without a chain saw, I'd say it's easily 200 years old.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chromatic Gray

Here's a view of the Connecticut River from Middle Haddam yesterday.  This is a 12x12.  Sometimes the square format suits a subject well.  I've painted at this location many times, almost always using a horizontal format, and usually with a high horizon line.  But yesterday afternoon's clouds were so spectacular that I had to make them prominent.

It was also a good excuse to play with subtle variations of chromatic grays.  For non-painters, that's a fancy way of saying gray formulated from primaries, rather than black and white (which tends to be ashen, and not suffused with color).  Chromatic gray is how Mother Nature mixes gray on her palette.

I always enjoy the lyric in Counting Crow's song "Mr. Jones" that goes: "Yeah, well you know, gray is my favorite color."  Adam Duritz, however, probably was singing about gray because he thought it had a cool grunge connotation.  I like chromatic gray because of the subtle beauty of its seemingly infinite variations, and the way it serves as a foil for more vibrant colors.

Ah, color theory.  Gotta love it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ready to Plow

It's been a beautiful spring here in Glastonbury.  This week at Horton's Farm, they were dusting off the tractors, preparing to plow the fields.  Just after I started painting, the green John Deere was called into service.  But fortunately it returned to pose for me after a couple of hours.  I like the contrast of the old and new tractors.  I guess painting is generally all about finding and balancing contrasts -- color, value, even subject matter.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I just painted this 12x24 in South Glastonbury, capturing the arrival of spring.  

Although I've often painted among these barns, this is the first time I had access to the western part of Horton's Farm.  What a spectacular view, looking back up with the morning sun raking down from behind the structures.  The emerging grass just glowed!  

Forsythia?  Well, I got a little cute with the title.  Two small forsythia bushes are back-lighted in the upper right corner.  I admit, coming up with titles is not my forte.

You wouldn't know it, but the wind on this brilliant spring morning was steady at about 15 knots!  I had to anchor my easel box by placing my backpack in it.  But, like the Irish proverb, the wind was rising up behind me, as my back was turned toward the Connecticut River. Much better than wind in my face, which really grabs the canvas like a sail.

A fellow painter, Kim Ruggiero (take a look at her beautiful work at:, commented that all the little barns on the horizon were like gathering people.  I like that. Reminds me of how the gestures of trees are sometimes quite anthropomorphic.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Inaugural Blog

Welcome all!

This is my debut into the blogosphere.   Seems like only yesterday that Al Gore invented the internet.  Heck, I remember the days of warming things up without a microwave.

Well, for my very first blog post, here is a recent painting, "Hilltop," 24x48.  It was just accepted to the 111th Annual Juried Art Exhibit of The New Haven Paint & Clay Club (  Wow!  William McKinley was in The White House during their first show.  Picasso had yet to take a detour that would turn the art world upside down.

Since The NHP&CC is geared toward contemporary art, I decided to enter this piece. It is based on the painting below that I did several years ago on location at Hammonassett State Park on the Connecticut shoreline.  The nature center is silhouetted atop the hill by the November afternoon light.

The original was 10x24, with less forground.  In my frustration to solve the problem of so much foreground in the new piece, I pulled a knife on my painting, and used bolder colors than in the more subdued original.  The intent was to pull the foreground closer to the viewer and create more depth looking back to the hilltop. I found the palette knife to be a great way to push the energy level of this piece, a nice departure from my usual assortment of brushes.

Well, thanks for visiting.  I look forward to doing more of this blogging thing and sharing many more of my paintings and thoughts with you.