From the Easel to the Storage Rack...


Working through a painting I hit all those stages we all know: Good idea, great start! Maybe not a good idea… Stop wasting time on this one. Maybe not as bad as I thought! Hey, this one turned out good! Then it comes back from a gallery, or a competition or it doesn't even make it into a competition or juried exhibition. The painting racks are full of such pieces. And then some that went straight from the easel to the storage rack... 

There comes the gamut of emotions when creating art. I insist to myself that I paint strictly for myself, but even there I have my doubts. Being in my profession I show up everyday and put my hours in. Some hours are filled with real spiritual rewards, others come closer to torture. Struggling with colors or getting paint to leave the brush just right can be grueling. It is the image in my head that causes all these emotions. I forget what it takes to get the image I see in my head to a finished painting. Once I understand the struggle ahead of me though, it vanishes and there is nothing but the joy of the process. At times I have to stop and talk to myself. I am teacher and student at such moments. Other voices aid me with some creations.

I've had three great teachers over my career. I would love to discuss this struggle with other artists. 

How The Petals Are Joined To The Stem

Four Rover Mums in a Glass 20x24, O:C.jpg

    Outside my studio the city decorates a tiny park with beautiful plants, both flowering and those with just beautiful foliage. Leaves with amazing shapes and colors. Autumn is the season when artists give most of their attention to simply leaves, the yellows and golds of the maples and the deep reds of the oaks. A thousand hues and shades; all the warm spectrums of the color wheel inspire artists to go out painting and turn to landscapes in the studio. 

For several years I've taken notice of the shapes and colors of the different flowers and leaves on the plants that the city decorates the parks with. Back in 1974, in Taos with my friend Ron Barsano, he first got me to notice such things, like the different shades of green on the plants of summer. We talked about how much an artist needs to really know about their subject. At the time, I argued if one could see it, one could do a painting of it. I still believe that, but over the years I have learned the knowledge of a subject can hold my interest more, making small things important both to me and to any taking the time to view my art. The delicate petals of a rose are so beautiful, so are it's rich green leaves and its so interesting how the petals are joined to the stem.

Some artists make beautiful paintings of flowers without placing any detail into their art. They let the viewer decide whether it is a pink rose or a pink peony they are looking at in their painting. My nature is that I want people to see a rose when that is what I am painting. I want people to see the rose that I raised in my garden or the peonies my friend Mary Kay gave me. The rule in my studio is never pick off dead leaves from my geraniums, they add character to my window plants. Different geraniums have different leaves. Some have orangish rings, while others have a ting of blue in them. Painting is about observation and editing. Is it important to me to place the rings and veins of a geranium leaf in a painting, for other artists not so much. What we observe and how we edit what we see is what gives painting a different look when we all are painting from the same subject.