Thursday, July 10, 2014


Hi Everyone,

I hope all of you are enjoying the summer.  I've been very busy painting and working on my updating project.  This weekend I finished two more paintings.

I originally began work on this painting last October.  I painted it on and off but after letting it sit for a few months, I realized it needed something more before I could call it done.

This was the original set up.  The finished painting bears no resemblance to this.  Unfortunately, I seem to have forgotten to document the process, so I'll just show you the finished painting.

The Purple Flowers, 12x16, oil

Everything on the canvas has been done for months with the exception of the flowers.  I knew I wanted to add something to the top half of the painting, and when I was wandering around the farmers market this past Saturday, I spotted these gorgeous purple stems and knew they would do the trick.

Next, I finally finished this still life that I have been working on for years.  Yes, I originally painted this about five years ago, but as I gained more knowledge I realized that it needed some work.  Even after I repainted it I was still not happy.  I just couldn't get the green bottle the way I wanted it.

This was the first re-do, but I was just not happy with the bottle.  The light green just did not work for me.  I let the painting sit for awhile, then luckily I happened upon a great dark green bottle.  You know me, I painted the old one right out and now the painting is finally finished.

The Genie Bottle, 16x20, oil

I am so happy with both of these paintings now.  Some paintings just flow off of your brush, but others take time and I've learned that there is nothing wrong with that.  When the right elements showed up, everything clicked into place.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Still Life Redux

I've finished a few paintings over the last couple of weeks, but I'm going to write about this one first.

Do you remember this set up?  I think I began this back in February or March.  I thought it was going to be very easy to do, but as it turned out, this painting was just the opposite.

This was the original block in.  I worked on the painting for a few weeks, but it never really came together.  Add in models coming and going and flowers starting to appear at the markets and it got pushed to the sidelines for awhile.

I did work on it a bit in between other projects.  After I realized that the shape of my vase was wrong, things went a bit more smoothly, but there were still issues.  The most difficult: the white cloth.  If you look at the photo of the still life set up, the cloth was beautifully draped, but I just could not get those folds to look the way I wanted them to.  After several weeks of trying, I decided it was time to move the cloth so that it was easier to paint.  It was still a battle as the cloth looked like it was flowing as it hung off the shelf, but after many coats of paint I finally got it.

I was finally happy with the vase and the cloth, but I felt the painting was still missing something.  I decided to add another spray of leaves behind the orange slice on the right.  A still life should be set up as a triangle so the eye moves from one side of the painting to the other and I felt there was a bit of a gap on the right hand side.

This is the finished painting.  A long haul to be sure, but definitely worth it.  I'm very glad to have this painting done and I'm so happy I did not give up on it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

NYC: Walking The High Line

Hello everyone.  I hope all of you are enjoying the warmer weather after our never ending winter.  Now that the temperature has reached bearable levels, I have been out and about in the city.  A few weeks ago I visited the High Line.

Have you guys been there?  It is an amazing public park built upon an old elevated freight rail line.  It starts at 14th street and ends up around 30th.  It is quite long, but there are benches and lounge chairs all over to stop and rest as well as a little food area with tables.

The views are amazing and the flowers and shrubs are beautiful.  I went in mid May and it was so nice to see all the greenery after our freezing, snowy winter.

The Empire State Building

Flowers planted within the old tracks

I was so happy to see all of this color after our never ending gray winter

I think this is my favorite shot of the day.  Such a peaceful setting.  

Judging from the number of tourists there, the High Line is popular with visitors and locals alike.  There are also special events and programs open the public.  You can check out the schedules here.  The park is now on the summer schedule, open from 7am to 11pm.  Do visit if you get the chance.  It is a lovely place right above the bustling city.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Painting At The Martin Viette Nursery

Hi everybody.  I hope you are all enjoying your weekend.  We are having a three day weekend here in the US and I have been getting a lot of painting done.  Recently, I was lucky enough to take part in a painting day at the Martin Viette nursery on Long Island.  What a beautiful place!  I had never been there before and I was amazed at all the beautiful flowers and garden accessories.  We were allowed to paint anywhere on the property.  After a walk around the place I set up in front of some huge hibiscus plants.

Here is the start of the painting.  I used an old canvas that had a green background so that made it a bit easier for me.  When you are painting en plein air anything that saves time is very helpful.

I wanted to paint in the whole hibiscus bush with a few of the flowers.  I never paint anything like that so it was a new experience for me and outdoor painting is always an adventure.

This is where I ended up at the end of the day.  In the early afternoon the weather changed from sunny and perfect to cloudy, windy and cold.  I have a ton of photos so I may try to do something with this in the studio, but even if I don't finish it, I had a fun day and a great time painting at the nursery.

Here are some other photos I took that day.  The giant peonies were killing me!

Thank you to everyone at the Martin Viette nursery for a great painting day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mentoring With The Masters At The Salmagundi Club, 2014

It was quite the weekend at The Salmagundi Club here in New York City.  It began on Friday night with the opening reception for the members and masters show.

The club members had their paintings displayed in the main gallery.  Also on display were paintings from the artists who would be participating in the mentoring event on Sunday.

Self portrait by Gregg Kreutz

Painting by Sherrie McGraw

Painting by Leah Lopez (mentor from the 2013 event).

In the club's upstairs gallery, there was a separate show of paintings from the four artists who would be painting with us on Sunday.  

These paintings are by Jacqueline Kamin.  I was unfamiliar with Jackie's work before the show, but she is an amazing painter and a lovely person.  As you know I love florals and Jackie's are incredible.  

These are some of Gregg's paintings.  Of course, I've seen them in his studio, but it was great to see them all framed and hanging in a gallery setting.  

And here we have a painting from the man we all descended from, David Leffel.  David is the master artist and teacher and we were so lucky to have him at the club for this event.  

There were also some paintings from Sherrie McGraw, but my shots did not come out very well.  If you have a chance, check out this exhibit.  It was unbelievable to see these four artists exhibiting together.  

On Saturday, David Leffel did a portrait demonstration in the gallery.  I was devastated to miss this and believe me when I say there is only one person on the planet who could have kept me from this event.  I was very lucky, however, to be able to observe on Sunday when David came back to work on the painting.  

You may have noticed some video and lighting equipment around.   The demo was being filmed and I hope at some point it will be added to the video library that David Leffel, Sherrie McGraw and Jacqueline Kamin have made available through The Artist Guild and Brightlight Publishing.  

On Sunday morning we arrived at the club bright and early for the Mentoring With The Masters portion of the weekend.  The set up was the same as last year.  There were models in several rooms at the club and the mentors and students could move around to paint or observe anything that was going on.  

As I did last year, I stayed in the basement pool room the entire time.  I'm happy to report that this year I  worked on a bigger canvas (11x14 as opposed to 9x12) and got more of the painting done.  As you know I am no daily painter, so getting a somewhat finished painting in one shot is unusual for me.  It is not finished by any means, but I was happy at the end of the day.  

This is the view I was painting.  I was lucky that I had some experience after being there last year and I think that made it easier for me.

This was my original block in.  As you know, perspective=hell for me, so I spent quite a bit of time just getting the angles of the pool table right.  

This is where I ended up at the end of the day.  Definitely not my usual fare, but you have to step out of your comfort zone every once in awhile and try something new, right?

Painting by Gregg Kreutz

Sherrie McGraw with a student

When the painting portion of the day was concluded, the instructors gave us a critique and David Leffel  talked to us about painting (what an incredible treat, I could have listened all night). 

Sherrie giving a critique

David Leffel talking to us about art and painting

Whew! I think this is the longest post I have ever written, but there was so much to tell you I wanted to get it all in.  I had a fantastic time and I must give special thanks to Gregg Kreutz, David Leffel, Sherrie McGraw, Jacqueline Kamin, Robert Pillsbury, Tim Newton and the staff of the Salmagundi Club for an incredible, art filled weekend!