Tuesday, September 22, 2015


After a long hiatus I am back at painting.  A trip to Labrador and Newfoundland was wonderful, but now I am glad to be back in the studio and working on a new painting.  Months ago, I asked my niece to pose for this piece.  She held a plastic milk bottle in the photos. 
I'm not sure how I will title this piece, but it's function is to suggest that the earth, or Gaia as represented by this young woman will heal itself in spite of all the the terrible things we have inflicted upon it. 

She contemplates an egg shaped glass terrarium which holds all of the new life that will restore the earth. She stands in a fiery matrix, which is to represent the scorched earth.  I am searching for a title to make all of this clear to the viewer.

Saturday, August 8, 2015


This was a new experience for me.  I spent three days on the same painting, instead of two hours - something I would like to do again.  It gave me an opportunity to look at the painting with fresh eyes each day.  For example, I was able to see that I needed to move the eye a tiny bit closer to the nose and to raise the mouth by a millimeter or two.  All in all, I am happy with the result, but I feel also that I might be running a risk of over working the piece. For me, an important part of painting is knowing when to stop.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bringing the models to me

These three portrait studies are from my first week of having models come to pose in my own studio instead of traveling long distances to attend various painting groups around northern Vermont. I think it worked out pretty well - considering. The real problem that I was sick most of the week and actually had to cancel three modeling sessions.  The guy in the middle who posed was late and took so many long breaks and eventually fell asleep, so I had only about an hour to work on that one. Oh well, it is all a learning process and now, I am not only trying to learn to paint but am having to learn how to arrange that models and scheduling and how to deal more effectively with people. It is hard for me to tell the models what to do. I am not used to ordering people around.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


This is a painting I started last Thursday night at our Montpelier painting group. The model was entirely back lit, presenting quite a challenge for me. But I wanted to concentrate on the face so I went ahead with it.  I am fairly well pleased with the result - enough that I would like to work on it some more. I will even up the shadows, especially on the shoulder. And I will straighten the eyes. The hair looked like a glowing cloud against the dark background. I was encouraged to paint it in white for now and to work on it later with glazes after the paint dries. So that is what I will do.

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Thomas Urry Young

Sarah Ann Wilderspin
I have been making a lot of little paintings based on old black and white photos that I have found on the internet. These two people are part of my history - my great - great grandparents who lived in the first half of the nineteenth century in England and Ireland. I've been having so much fun with this series and now I am off on a whole new tangent.  I plan to create a gallery of family portraits for my nostalgia wall.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


I've been practicing my portrait skills by using old black and white photos as references. I supply the color and I try to work as quickly as possible.  I think that this exercise is a lot of fun and is teaching me to be faster, less uptight and more confident in painting. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


I came across an old black and white photo of my uncle Sam, taken when he was about two years old. I felt compelled to convert it into a tiny color portrait.  This painting is 8"x6".  I find it really fun and useful to use a black and white photo as a reference for a color portrait.  I already know something about painting skin tones, so I can rely on that.  But since there are no colors there for me to try to copy, I won't slavishly try to render them exactly.  I tried to be a quick as I could with this one and had enough sense to know when to stop.  If I had worked on this any further, I think I would have lost all spontaneity and ruined it in a useless quest for perfection.  The perfect is the enemy of the good.