Monday, March 21, 2016

Visiting Cuba

President Obama's historic trip to Cuba yesterday had me and my travel buddies thinking about our trip there last year and how much we enjoyed visiting the island.  We all hope to go back someday.  I hope things open up enough between the US and Cuba that we can just go there on vacation whenever we want to.  Cuba is a beautiful country.  Though much of it is crumbling, you can still see the beauty of the buildings and the landscape.  I've written a few posts about my painting trip, but I thought you might like to see some of the photos that I have not previously posted.

We spent our first few days in the older part of Havana.  The buildings were beautiful and the old square was a lovely place to paint.

The architecture reminds me of the French Quarter in New Orleans, but there is a strong European influence as well.

I love book stalls on the street.  We found them when we were searching for the art supply store.

After the first two days in Havana, I spent the rest of my time on the Paseo de Marti, a grand boulevard in the city.  Painting there was so much fun.  People stopped to talk to us all day long, and so many of them were artists.  I got the impression that the art scene was a bit on the DL, but they were still working and doing the best that they could with the limited supplies available.  Everyone that I spoke with was so happy that we were there and seemed particularly happy to have artists coming to visit.  We asked some people what they thought about relations opening up between the US and Cuba and everyone responded positively.  I don't think politics had much to do with it, it was more that they were hoping for money and visitors to be coming into the country.  As a person who lives in New York City and can have just about anything I want, any time I want it, I was shocked at the inability to buy even basic goods in Cuba.  I could see a clear difference in the residents who had relatives in Florida to bring them necessities and the people who did not.  I have no idea how they are surviving, but they do.

There were chess players out every day.  They made chess boards by drawing the squares on pieces of material.

This was my favorite building on the street.  I spent two days painting it.  Even though it is a bit dilapidated, you can still see the beauty in it.

This is getting to be a bit long.  I did not realize how many photos I had.  I will save the rest for another post, but I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Cuba.  I'm having a great time going through my photos and remembering the trip.  If you would like to read my earlier posts, the links are here, here and here.

As always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Two New Paintings

Hi Everyone.  I have two new paintings to show you today.  Unfortunately, I seem to have had a photo meltdown and many of the photos of these paintings seem to be missing. However, I would like to show them to you so I will just do the best with what I still have.

First up, I have a new floral painting.  I began this painting when the cold weather finally hit New York, so it was nice to have something spring like to work on.

 This was the bouquet.  I don't often do multi colored bouquets so this was a fun change.

I did my usual block in, this time using a different background color.  It is still gray, but not as warm as I usually go.  This was a combination of french ultramarine, transparent red oxide and titanium white.  I really like the new color for this painting, but when I tried it on a second canvas I got very frustrated with it and reverted back to my usual black and yellow ochre :)


Next I blocked in the flowers, just trying to get the basic shapes and colors.  I was not sure how long they would last, so I wanted to get as much info on to the canvas as possible.

This was my third session on the painting.  The flowers were the most important thing, so other than building up the background color, I worked on them while leaving the rest of the painting for later.

After the flowers were done, it was time to get on with the rest of the painting.  I started by painting in the pattern on the vase as well as the leaves that were scattered about on the shelf.  This vase has a very intricate pattern and it took some time to get it right.

A close up of the pattern.  It takes some effort to keep track of where all the darks and lights are suppose to be, but it is worth it to get the pattern done correctly.

This is a hilarious photo that my friend took the day I finished the painting.  As you can see, this bouquet was done!  When I'm painting flowers, I give myself permission to break the rule about working on the entire painting at once.  They are only going to be around for a short time, so you have to get them done as soon as you can.

The second painting I have to show you is a still life with a cantaloupe and grapes.  I've been wanting to paint a melon forever, but I figured it would be difficult and kept putting it off.

Here is the set up.  The painting went on the canvas pretty easily.  Unfortunately, all my progress pics seem to have disappeared into the ether, including a hilarious shot that showed the cantaloupe looking like it had teeth!.  I was painting in the seeds, but I went a bit overboard and it looked like an open mouth ready to bite.  I started calling it the "cantaloupe monster".   I solved the problem by wiping out most of them and just leaving a few behind to show that the cantaloupe did have seeds, I just didn't need to show every one.

This is the finished painting.  It was fun to switch things up and paint something new.  As soon as these are dry and varnished, I will photograph them and add the images to the drop down menus.

I think that covers my crazy winter painting spree.  I started a new still life last week and there is no deadline! I'm taking my time with this one and will post it as soon as it is finished.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Travel And Destinations Show At The Art Guild Of Port Washington

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick note to let you know that my painting, Monet's Pond At Dusk, will be in the Travels And Destinations Show at The Art Guild Of Port Washington.

Landscape painting is not my usual forte, so I was thrilled to be accepted into this show.  The show will be up from March 5 to April 3, 2016.  The opening reception and awards ceremony will be this Sunday, March 6th, from 3-5pm.  If you are in the New York City/Long Island area, please stop in.  It is a fun show and we would love to see you!

The Art Guild Of Port Washington
200 Port Washington Blvd
Manhasset, NY  11030

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Blue And White Vase With Chinese Lanterns

I have another new still life to show you today.  I started this painting back in June.  This was the original set up, but I ended up tweaking it a bit at the end.

I blocked in the colors as I usually do, including the different colors of the cloth.  I usually just put in the primary color and then add the accents later, but because there was so much of the beige color, I put it in at the beginning.

The photo above was the third session on this painting.  It is hard to see in the original still life shot, but there are tiny gold flecks throughout this fabric.  I only put in a hint of them, but there are enough that you can clearly see that the fabric has a pattern to it.

Unfortunately, the photo I have of the pattern being painted in has disappeared into the ether, so I will show you a photo of the finished painting.  As I mentioned above, I did make one change to the set up.  After the painting was complete I let it sit around my studio for a few months.  It was a good painting, but I felt like it needed something more.  One day I happened upon some dried Chinese Lanterns and thought they would be the perfect finishing touch.

This is the finished painting.  I'm so much happier with the set up now that there is another element with the orange color in it as well as a piece balancing out the painting on the right hand side.  It is sometimes hard to see those things when you are setting up a still life, but there is nothing wrong with switching it up in the middle or at the end.

I'll be back soon with another new painting.  Have a great night and as always, thanks for reading!