Thursday, August 30, 2012

New York City Wildlife

My blog name says I'm a painter, but I'm also a photographer.  In fact, I was taking photos long before I ever picked up a paint brush and one of my favorite subjects is New York City.  I have always loved everything about the city.  Every place that you look there is something or someone to photograph.  I started doing this as a child.  I remember taking a class trip to the top of the Empire State Building and taking photos with my little Kodak Instamatic camera with a flashbulb on top (yes, I just outed my age).  Speaking of which, last week I saw some kids on the subway trying to put film into a 35mm SLR.  They were looking at it like it was an ancient artifact!  Too funny.

Anyway, I was looking through photos today and realized that I have a lot of pictures of wildlife around the city.  When I think of NYC wildlife, I mostly picture cockroaches and rats running around the subway, but if you look around, there are many cute critters running and swimming around.

Turtles in Douglaston

Ducks and seagulls in Long Island City ( I know it is hard to spot the seagulls, but I love this shot with the UN and the Chrysler building in the background)

These guys were hanging out and watching me paint at the Abingdon Square Market

A pretty bird hiding in the trees at the pond in Douglaston

It is always fun to see animals in the city.  I'll be on the lookout for more.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Art Supplies

I'm always curious about the supplies artists use to make their creations so I thought I'd talk a bit about what I use.  When I first started painting I had a million different supplies.  I had paint in every color, a ton of brushes, different mediums, palettes and every gadget imaginable.  I could go into the art supply store for one thing and come out with bags of art materials.

What I didn't know at the time is that having a ton of art supplies around will not make you a good painter.  Educating yourself and practice are what it takes.  A few years ago I noticed that the best painters in my class had very few supplies- usually just a small paint box, some brushes, a medium, palette and a limited number of colors.  I decided to do the same and it completely changed the way that I paint.  When I got rid of the clutter I became a much better painter.

My current palette consists of:

Titanium White
Cadmium Yellow Light
Cadmium Yellow Deep
Yellow Ochre
Cadmium Red
Burnt Sienna
Transparent Red Oxide
Burnt Umber
Raw Umber
Alizarin Crimson
French Ultramarine
Ivory Black

I use a variety of filbert brushes, 922 Medium, two palette knives (one large and one small) and turpenoid.  I paint on Innerglow Panels. I started using these a few years ago and doubt I'll ever go back to canvas.  These boards have a great surface to paint on so no prep is needed and they are double sided.  If you don't like your painting, just turn it over and start again.

With the exception of an easel, this is it. Using a limited palette of colors is actually much easier and the colors are better when you mix them yourself.

Last, but not least, my studio assistant. Every artists needs one.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cityscape Painting

Every year my teacher, Gregg Kreutz, takes us on an outdoor painting trip here in New York City.  This year we went to Abingdon Square Park and Union Square.  Painting outside is always a challenge - you have to deal with weather, wind, changing light and of course all the people who want to chat with you while you are trying to paint.  It is all worth it though.  Some of my favorite paintings are the ones I have done outside here in the city.  Most important, we always have a great time and lots of fun. Here are a few shots from our weekend out.

This was the first painting I did in Abingdon Square Park.  I ended up wiping it down but looking at it now it wasn't too bad.  I just wasn't feeling it and when that happens I've learned it's best to just move on.

The next day I moved to just outside the park.  They have a great farmers market there on Saturday so I decided to paint the tents.  This turned out to be a great spot and the weather was perfect.

This is my painting of the farmers market and my favorite of the cityscapes I've done so far.

The next day we moved up to Union Square.  Union Square is always a challenge as it is loaded with people and it seems like they all want to chat with you!

This is the painting that I did that day.  Unfortunately, just as I was about to finish up, a huge wind gust came along and blew my easel over and the painting landed face down on the ground.  It was a wet oil painting so of course it was covered with dirt, sand and who knows what else.  I am still trying to rehabilitate it and will post a photo when it is finally finished.

You never know what is going to happen when you are painting outdoors and painting in the city is especially challenging, but so much fun and the paintings you end up with are unlike any place else.

Our teacher, Gregg Kreutz.  The man that makes it all happen. Thanks, Gregg!