Friday, August 6, 2010

Show Opening at Crealde Art Center

Tonight, along with Larry Moore and Don Sondag, I will be speaking about my work at a three artist show opening at Crealde Art Center in Winter Park FL. The three of us are landscape painters, Don and Larry being mainly plein air artists. It is always difficult for me to talk about my painting since I don't always know how it happens. Part subconsious, part random, and sometimes a bit of planning thrown in. So it will either enlighten people or they will walk away scratching their heads. Like I said, I don't always get it either.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Targeted Goal

Day 4 of the big push for my Cades Cove Show. I have 4 or 5 small paintings underway and ideas for more but bringing them to completion is always the challenge. I'm hoping I can find that happy creative place where good work flows and no overheated thinking takes place. I always say you have to be there when it happens. With creativity you can't always predict the timing, so stay close to the studio.
November, Cross Creek FL, o/c 5x5

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Time for a Big Push

OK, I had my summer vacation from blogging. My mind went blank there for a couple of months anyway. I don't remember stopping painting but that is the great thing about what I do. Little thinking required and sometimes best if avoided.

I returned from Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park last night/early this morning. I took over 500 photos, plein air painted and rode my bike around the 11 mile loop testing the current strength of my heart and leg muscles. I need to get in shape.

I am entering a big push for paintings in the next 60 days for my Landscapes of Cades Cove show at Bennett Galleries in Knoxville TN Oct 2. It is made possible by United Arts of Central Florida, who awarded me with a grant to finance the trip for inspiration and costs associated with the show, and of course Bennett Galleries.

A trip to Cades Cove cant help but inspire a landscape painter and I was in need of a boost. I'll be posting new work here and on my Facebook page, Landscape Paintings by Stephen Bach.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Blue Ridge Getaway

Back from the North Carolina mountains after a few days with friends. Rest was the first priority but painting outdoors and scouting locations for later paintings was what I was looking forward to. That, plus getting to drive curvy roads, my other passion. In between we all sat on a deck looking at Grandfather Mountain in the distance and experiencing the variety of bug life.

Western North Carolina and North Georgia have always been a particular inspiration for me, a Florida flatlander. Painting there is a challenge and a visual relief to the Florida landscape. In many places in the mountains, you can see 50 miles or more. Atmosphere can be a bigger part of the paintng. The difference is inspiring and energizing. Just what we need sometimes.

What's new: Derelict Barn, Robbinsville NC, oil on canvas 8"x10"

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Painted Out

The Winter Park Paint Out benefit for the Polasek Museum is looking like a great success. A big crowd showed up last night to see the art, have a glass of wine and sample the gourmet tapas at stations spread around the gardens. Some patrons shared the evening at the tables near the lake and some just strolled through the grounds taking in the beauty of the sculptures and blooming flower beds. Approximately 50 paintings had been sold through the week with some collectors buying the work off the painters' easels or waiting at the museum to see what was coming in.

There are two weeks left for the art to hang in the museum for sale. So if you are interested, make sure to check out the museum website artists page or stop by the Polasek Museum.
What's new: An Inviting Place, oil on canvas, 12x12

Friday, April 30, 2010

Winding Down the Paint Out

This afternoon I turned in two more paintings to the Winter Park Paint Out at the Polasek Museum. The sunny days ended today and clouds and a shower broke our string of luck.
I retreated to the studio and cleaned up and framed the work I had.

Last night was dinner with the museum board and patrons. Most of the artists had stories about the week - where they painted and what they saw. I went to Kraft Azalea Gardens yesterday to paint the lake, the old cypress trees and moss. The egrets are still nesting and the racket of the chicks drowned out the usual city noise. I learned a lot from painting each day in the elements. I recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their skills.

Tomorrow is the last morning for painting. Our work has to be turned in by noon and the gala is in the evening. Then it's going to be a day off for me.
What's new: Park Avenue South, 9x12, oil on canvas

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chasing the Light

A cool and beautiful morning. A repeat of yesterday, just 10 degrees cooler. The grounds at the Polasek were filled with artists consumed in trying to beat the changing light. I went back to a painting I started yesterday. It is the Pan sculpture.
This week is a test of skill and endurance . Figures, water, trees, buildings and streets. Set up, paint, move to another spot, repeat.
Chase the light. I'm tired tonight.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Night at the Museum

Tuesday is officially day two of the Winter Park Paint Out. I started out at the Polasek about 8am and got a couple of paintings underway on the grounds. The weather was "picture perfect" (sorry) so I couldnt come up with a reason to leave until after lunch time. Then I had to get back to the studio and give time to a large painting I started last week. I went back to the Polasek and got in an hour or so of painting as the sun went down, we all ate pizza and I then kayaked with Matthew Cornell through the canal to Lakes Virginia and Mizell. The moon was coming up and we listened to the peacocks along Genius Drive calling from the woods. A few of the die hards stayed late on the museum grounds and worked with lights to get a nocturn painting. Not a bad day at work. Tomorrow night is a painting session on the lake at Houston's Restaurant on 17-92 in Winter Park. And it should be a great show next Saturday.

Monday, April 26, 2010

First New Piece for the Paint Out

Monday morning was gloomy and damp after a huge storm that lasted most of the night. Sunday night the artists got together with the Paint Out committee and the museum patrons for a socializer and it was capped by a number drawing for display spaces on the museum walls. It's time to get busy since the event starts in earnest today.
I headed back to Park Ave hoping for a little sun and just as I left the museum grounds, the sky lifted and blue appeared. I spent the next couple of hours on the second of two Park Avenue paintings. At around the same time of day I had previously worked on the other painting, I moved across the street and continued on that one.
Today things were a little more lively on the avenue and the light a little brighter for painting. I got the first piece finished. It now hangs drying on my reserved wall at the Polasek.
I might pick a little simpler composition next time.

What's new: Park at New England, oil on canvas 20" x 16"

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Ghost of Sam Peckinpah

I awoke this morning and got out of bed way too early for the amount of sleep I got. I made it to the Polasek Museum without coffee though I knew that was begging trouble. While I and a few of the museum staff and volunteers waited for the coffee to brew on the breezeway, someone asked me where I was going to paint. I thought the old Colony Theater might make a good subject. The Colony sits on Park Avenue in the center of town. At one time it was where Winter Park went to the movies.

Debbie Komanski said, "I worked in that theater when I was 15. I ushered and I also sat in the little booth at the front and sold tickets. When it was hot, it was hotter in the booth. When the weather turned cold, it was cold in there too. And I listened to the soundtrack to Straw Dogs so many times it still gives me the creeps. When there weren't ticket sales going on, my manager would make sure I was doing my homework instead of wasting time."
That conversation made it even more inviting to paint the street and the old Colony marquis. No one sits in that booth anymore. These days the Colony cleverly disquises itself as a Pottery Barn, and I doubt the staff does any homework when things are quiet.

But still, I love that kind of background when I paint something. A story, an experience... it makes the paint come alive somehow. A good painting is built on experience or a recollection or emotion. It gives it purpose and usually just makes it a better painting.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Let the Games Begin

Day One of Winter Park Paint Out. I checked in at the Polasek Museum our headquarters for the week. We artists are being asked by Winter Park Magazine to keep notes in a journal detailing our experiences. While I normally use my blog for that, this week I will handwrite some notes too.

After check in, it's off to find the perfect spot. I think this is like finding your own fishing hole where you know the big ones lurk. Of course who really knows. I drive by a couple of spots that look great. By the time I circle the block these spots look as ordinary as dirt. I drive over to the Rollins campus thinking of painting Knowles Chapel but I'll just let parking guide the serendipity. What was I thinking. I've never found a parking spot on this campus in 25 years if the school was in session, so this Saturday morning in April is just another 5 mph convoluted drive-by.

Downtown Park Ave is bustling. Crowds from an event in the park are breaking up and I notice a previously thought of target for painting - the big clock at Park and New England. The parking gods smile and the sun breaks from behind a cloud. Looks like it is meant to be.

I'm not sure if I will be pestered to death by passers-by but I am supposed to talk up the show and what better place. Wow, I picked a complicated scene though. A three point perspective throwdown, though after a few minutes I forget about everything except what I'm looking at. And it seems I'm invisible to everyone around. That's good and bad- right now mostly good.

It always seems kids are the best at talking to the artist. One little one briefs me on her art resume and further lets me know she will be staying up late tonight to paint the sunset at home. Heads up, mom and dad.
I'll post the finished piece later. It needs another hour or so of work in similar light.

Friday, April 23, 2010

One From Column A and B

For me, the biggest dilemma for the Winter Park Paint Out is scene selection. Gardens or street scene? Frankly, I enjoy painting street scenes more but they don't often convey the serene mood of trees and water. And there is the added work distraction of people wanting to know what you are doing painting there on the sidewalk. Got to say its fun though. Here are a couple of warm up paintings. One from each genre.

What's new: Eucalyptus Tree 10"x8" and Lyman at Pennsylvania 8"x10"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring Training

Yesterday I gathered my courage and loaded my paints and easel and into the van. This is the painter's version of, "the hardest thing about running is lacing up your shoes". I drove over to the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens in Winter Park for spring training of sorts. Next Saturday the Winter Park Paint Out begins and I will be painting plein air in the event for a week.

The controlled light and climate of the studio are hard to leave. But for someone like me who spends five days a week painting trees, it helps to occasionally get out and look at some. I bust out all my shades of green for this event. Nearly everything is in bloom and standing under the canopy of trees around here makes it seem like there is a giant green scrim filtering the light. I got a nice little painting, I thought, and today I was feeling cocky enough to get out again. This time a street scene. I'll post them when I clean them up.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mc Rae Studios Spring Opening

This Saturday evening another opening is upon us at McRae Art Studios. This is our annual Spring open house and new work will go up on the walls in each artist's studio. I always try to get as many small pieces up as I can and showcase a couple of large ones. While there is a lot of cleaning and preparation needed to get the studios into shape, it is a good time for all of us to come together for a few hours and enjoy each other's company. ugh, there is all that sweeping and mopping though.

What's new: Great Plains Barn, oil on canvas, 5"x5". $275. framed

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Case of ENF

The economy is on the mend. Or is the economy still at bottom? Our houses are worth more this month, though they might be worth less than two months ago. Job losses have stabilized but might stay at these high rates for years. Consumer confidence is low, but there was more consumer spending last month than in the last 12 months. The stock market? Closing in on 11,000 today.

I think I have Economic News Fatigue. No wonder artists and galleries are finding clients hard to come by. No one knows what is going on. Remember when economics was somewhat stable and boring?

Whats new: Colorado Skyline, 6"x6"

Monday, March 29, 2010

Nuts and Bolts

Occasionally people at shows or in the studio ask how the business of art works. In one sense, I'm not sure how it works, but I know about the arrangements between galleries, shows and artists.

First, to clear up a common misconception, artists don't keep 90% of a gallery sale. Generally we keep 50%. In most cases we pay to frame and ship or deliver the work. The gallery does the sale, collects taxes and pays the artist the arranged percentage after 30 days. If work is returned, it is usually the responsibility of the gallery.

Another occasional misconception is that an artist wanting to do an outdoor show simply calls up and asks to have a space reserved. In truth, he or she has to be juried into the show, paying a fee for that jury process. If accepted, they typically pay between $300-$900, and receive an assigned 10 or 12 square ft. piece of real estate. The artist supplies all materials and equipment to display the art and keeps all proceeds from sales. The artist is responsible for collecting taxes for the state and municipality they sell in and must file as any other business in that jurisdiction. Occasionally a show will charge a nominal fee to the artist to participate, doing the transaction and tax collection, while keeping a percentage of each sale.

I wrote about this once upon a time on this blog but this is the Cliff Notes version.

What's new: Lace of Light, 4o" x 40", oil on canvas

Sunday, March 28, 2010

An Hour in the Park

Friday afternoon I got outdoors to practice my plein air skills. I decided to return to Kraft Azalea Garden, a city park on Lake Maitland in the Winter Park chain of lakes. I was looking around the park for an inspiring view when a city employee struck up a conversation. He pointed out the Cottonmouth Moccasin on the dock.
There is a structure called the Exedra Monument popular for wedding photography and ceremonies. It's a good subject to practice my perspective skills while painting the flora and fauna. It was also a suitable distance from the snake.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Warmer Weather Coming

I missed seeing snow this year. I lived the experience through our daughter in Atlanta who saw more than usual. I ran across a series of photos of snow I took years ago and painted a large painting from. This week I painted a smaller painting just because I like the image so much.

Winter Field, oil on canvas, 9x12

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Plein Air Paint Out Coming Soon

It's soon time to switch gears. Next on the schedule is the Winter Park Paint Out April 24 - May 1 at the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens in Winter Park FL. I need to get out and hone my plein air skills for next month.

Meanwhile this is a painting I completed last week in the studio, and was shown in the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. It measures 24" x 24", oil on canvas. Title: Early Moon.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Art Shows Gone Wild - Boston Mills Artfest 2005

This is the first in what I hope is a series of artist submitted weather stories from outdoor art festivals in the past few years. Barbara Kline, wrote about Boston Mills Art Fest 2005 in Ohio after she read about this past weekend's early end to the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival Sunday due to weather.

"For extreme weather stories, I'll always have Boston Mills. As I headed to the Gala Event at 3:00 PM, scattered storms were reported on the radio. Once I reached the show the large parking lot was flooded with water and I had to park at the far end on higher ground. The show takes place at a ski resort in Boston Mills, OH, outside of Akron. I managed to get to the lobby of the building only to find people watching the water rise outside the locked doors flooding the tents of the art show.

The show was set up in three tents at the foot of the ski mountain and next to a small, mostly dry creek. Lightning struck a tree which blocked the creek and sent the water rushing through the art show tents. The only way out to my booth was to go upstairs in the ski building and down the outside stairs to the show. When I stepped off the bottom step into the water it was nearly waist deep. Pushing through water and past floating garbage such as oil drums, branches, and wet critters with beady eyes which washed up from the creek. Car alarms were going off from new cars that were on display for the gala evening. Wine bottles and food were floating by. Potted plants and yes, art. Many art vans in the parking lot had water over their wheel wells and more alarms were beeping and then failing when the water covered the system.

I finally made it to the North Tent which was a shambles. Booths were knocked over by the torrent of water. Mud and branches were everywhere. I went into my booth and tried to pick art off the walls and put it on top of a table that had not fallen over yet. Walls were trying to fall in from the crush of water and art floating in the current. Other artists were in the tent attempting to rescue their art. A beautiful inlaid wooden jewelry booth across the aisle was in shambles. The big tent over head was bulging with water pools and the poles were wavering. Tubs of art were spilled into the muddy torrent. Credit card machines and just about anything you can think of floated by. A group of artists rescued a case of wine, brought some of the shrimp plate out to the tent and were making the best of a bad situation. Borrowing glasses from glass and clay booths provided holders for the wine.

Eventually the rain slowed and the water began to subside leaving the mud caked carnage visible. Noticing the mud building up, I began sweeping the water as it subsided out of my booth in hopes of finding the rug on the ground. It worked. I was able to have a somewhat dry spot in an otherwise mud filled mess. I emptied the water from the bins of art and sorted through my art and other art which floated into my booth.The show did open without me the next day at noon with a few booths remaining and the North tent emptied to other locations. My next show was Cherry Creek and I had some work to do cleaning the booth, etc., if I were going to salvage the next show.

Okay, Steve, that is my one story. I also have the Storm of the Century in New Smyrna Beach, FL, several years ago. Artist tents floating in the intercoastal waterway with weights attached. My booth and four others survived that mess. And on and on it goes.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Duck and Cover

"Schedule an Art Show". That's the punchline to the joke, "How do you end a drought?"

One of the usable technologies for the outdoor show artist is the smart phone with internet radar display. By noon the warnings were circulating at Winter Park predicting a sharp line of thunderstorms and high winds. The radar was painting yellow and red.

"Twenty minutes." I heard from a neighbor. I ran to the van for plastic and a dolly to move things out that werent essential. Sometimes the crowds congregate inside the open tents for cover, so it's often so crowded you cant move. Here there are shops and restaurants along the avenue so most took refuge where there were drinks and food. Rain led to heavier rain and winds and by 2:30, a show committee person gave us the word, the show was closed.

Trouble is it's hard to safely load art outdoors into a monsoon. Meanwhile a pool of water was growing deeper inside my tent. And I had to use a stick to push off water standing on the roof. In a half hour most artists were packing up. Everyone was soaked through by this time anyway. No need to stick around for more of the same.

My wife Susan had to leave the show before the rain reached its peak, so I needed to pack 2 tents and contents in the storm. Luckily I have good friends. OK, really good friends. Ones who came out in the rain and helped load it all out to 2 vans. Thanks Tim, Patti, Cynthia, and a special thanks to Ellie came out but who also loaned her van and wall panels to Susan. You are saints, one and all. I owe you. Five hours later and the skin on my fingers is just now starting to smooth out.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Winter Park - Day 2

This morning was cool and clear and the crowds came out. I had a descent day of sales. Thanks to each of you who bought a painting. And thanks to you all who signed my guestbook and spoke kindly of the work. It is all greatly appreciated.

Sunday looks challenging, weatherwise. Thunderstorms are forecast in the afternoon so the artists will have the stress of keeping things from flying as well as keeping them dry. I'm hoping this show doesn't add another chapter to the book of art show weather catastrophies. I have experienced a few personally. Some of those might make interesting postings.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day One of Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival

Today marked day one of the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. Day two if you count most of yesterday that it took to load in a truck full of art and support equipment. Yes, the muscles are a little stiff and achy but the weather was near perfect and the crowds were respectable. Since this show is only blocks from my studio, it's a chance to talk with local friends and acquaintances. Thanks to everyone who stopped and said hello today. Saturday and Sunday should be beautiful spring days, so I hope to see even more of you.

What's new: Early Moon, 24x24, oil on canvas

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Painting at Amelia Island

A few weeks ago, a friend and collector of my auto art called me from Jacksonville FL with some information about this weekend's 2010 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance car show at the Ritz-Carlton. This is an annual affair where admirers and collectors of rare and beautiful cars meet and share a passion.

The theme of this years show was the 40th anniversary of the Porsche 917, a purpose built racer that dominated the international racing circuits in the 1970s. I got in touch with the chairman of the event sending a picture of my painting of the 917 that won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1970 and 1971. I did the painting in 2000. I was searching for my next life in art after 15 years as the Olive Garden Restaurants mural painter.

The 917 painting is certainly different from my landscape paintings, but I consider it one of the best pieces I have ever done. The painting was featured as part of the display for a seminar in one of the ballrooms. The talk featured a number of distinguished racing stars and a team manager who had worked in the development of the car. The panel was hosted by Sam Posey and Tim Considine. I had the opportunity to meet car's the current owner, Bruce Canepa, who has restored it to original and race ready condition, and keeps it in his car museum, the Canepa Collection near Santa Cruz, CA.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Painting the Night

The idea of plein air painting at night has always intrigued me. There is a lot to see and document at night that just isn't that interesting in daylight. Street lights, lit windows, mysterious shadows - all make for a fascinating mix of the dark and moody. Problem is it is hard to see your palette and canvas to paint what you are seeing. I know artists that have played around with miners lights and car battery powered lamps and any other number of lighting tools. I have never seen anything that worked so well that I wanted to get out there and paint at night.

But I was playing around with the settings on my point and shoot camera the other night and rediscovered a night shot function. It uses a slow shutter setting but it works surprisingly well. I walked around the block clicking shots in the street lights. I was surprised to see just how much I could document with a small amount of light. I knocked off a fast sketch yesterday in a well lit studio where I could paint off a computer monitor. Maybe these night scenes would make for an interesting series of paintings
What's new: Eola at Palmer, oil on canvas, 12" x 9"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Painting Air

Atmosphere -The gaseous mass or envelope surrounding a celestial body, and retained by the celestial body's gravitational force.
Painting atmosphere can be a challenge. The above definition sounds like it's just visual background noise, but if affects everything in a landscape painting. One elementary rule is the farther off the object, the less vivid it appears. I did the painting at left purely because of the atmosphere. It's as big a part of the mood as the light.

I took a photograph at dusk in the bluegrass region of Kentucky after a rainy afternoon. The moisture was still heavy in the air. When I later looked at that photo, I could feel the dampness and I wanted to try painting it. It took several layers of paint to convey that air. I still have some details remaining but I like the feeling it conveys. I've learned painting air can be a challenge.

Whats new: Haze at Nightfall 9"x12", oil on canvas

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


A sizeable portion of my paintings utilize a light source from behind the scene or away from the viewer. To me, when you couple this with low light as in a sunset or sunrise the landscape takes on a most beautiful tone. It's like a veil that hangs over the imagery and lends a saturated color richness that I love to paint.

I am currently working on a number of small paintings for the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival which is coming up in about 2 weeks. Above is a sample.

What's new: Marsh Study 12" x 12"

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cades Cove

The economic news affects us all in different ways. As a painter I am getting a daily reminder of the recession. Paintings are a tough sell in an atmosphere of thread-bare budgets.

I mentioned a week or so ago that I had been awarded an artist grant by United Arts of Central Florida for which I was going to use the money to put together a show at Bennett Galleries in Knoxville TN. My proposal was to spend a week at Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains painting and photographing that area exclusively. I had hoped to get into the park in early Spring which would give me another season in my series of visits.

Then I read where the 11 mile paved loop was to be repaved and the road and the trails through the park would be closed from March 1 through late May. Today additional news comes that Senator Jim Bunning, R-Ky., blocked an extension of the Highway Trust Fund because he wanted the spending offset with cuts in other areas or with additional revenues. The Cades Cove project which was part of that package and which had started just hours earlier was halted and the workers sent home. As of now the road will stay blocked off and the park will remain effectively closed until the issue is resolved. This will certainly affect my schedule but more importantly a lot of people in the area that rely on the tourism generated by the park. I hope all this is resolved soon and a beautiful spot can be re-opened.

What's new: Outpost, oil on canvas, 16x20

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rosalind Club Soiree

I am re-posting a painting here because I put it on display last night at a fundraising soiree. It will remain with the Rosalind Club in downtown Orlando until Thursday evening along with a couple of other smaller pieces. I enjoyed being able to visit with some old friends there last night and make some new acquaintances. Thanks, Sherrie Krawczyk and the Rosalind Club.

whats new: Approaching Storm, oil on canvas, 40"x40"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Some Paintings are More Challenging

Commissions can be the most difficult of assignments for a painter. I have written about the challenges of getting inside someone elses mind and expectations. I can tell what works for me but its hard to know what works for others until you gauge their reaction to the finished product.

This painting is one of the hardest ones I have attempted for awhile. I'm not sure why. I have worked it and worked it until I was ready to wipe it off and start over but through persistence, I got it to finally respond. I'm satisfied with it now and judging from the several people who have liked it at first impression, I think it is done. This is one of a pair. I'll post the other one tomorrow.
What's new: Untitled, 26x24, oil on canvas

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Open Studio Night Wednesday at McRae

Tomorrow evening, we are having Open Studios Night at McRae Studios . This will be our first of a series of monthly events to draw some attention to our group of 20 working artists. Those of us who can will be on hand in our studios looking creative. I plan to paint and jabber with who ever walks in. This is pretty much what I do every day so I doubt I will be nervous or self conscious.

What's new: Morning Glow, oil on canvas, 9"x12"

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Throttle Up

If you graphed inspiration and productivity, it wouldn't be a straight level line. Certainly not for me. The good news is right now I am getting ideas and executing them competently. The last couple of days anyway. Tomorrow - who knows. The truth is, I have to make my time count. I have an overdue commission that just wont come to completion in spite of my best efforts. Also I have the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival in a month. All of my work is out to galleries so its a clean slate.

What's new: Untitled, 12x9 oil on canvas


I am lucky to have a great place to work. My studio is part of
Mc Rae Art Studios, a large warehouse complex that houses 20 visual artists. We work separately on our own projects and in our individual mediums, but we enjoy friendship and support. It's usually a very warm environment to work in - except lately. If our building has a down side, it is climate control. No heat and no airconditioning in a large part of the building. This winter has been challenging with the temperature inside hovering in the 40's and 50's. A day or two of this is not unusual, but for weeks now our normally temperate Central Florida winter has felt more like Nashville or Dallas.
What's new: Early Fall 26x24 oil on canvas. On its way to Miller Gallery, Cincinnati OH

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Satisfying Day of Driving

Today was a long day of rainy travel but a couple of satisfying accomplishments to show for it. I drove seven new paintings to Studio E Gallery in Palm Beach Gardens FL which should be hanging by now. Studio E was one of my first galleries 5 or 6 years ago and while we took a break from each other for awhile, I'm really pumped to have fresh work there again. I can't wait to see what happens.

After about 15 minutes to change clothes and vehicles, it was off to Melbourne FL and the Melbourne Museum which was hosting a gala and auction of art for the Brevard County Early Learning Coalition for kids . I donated a partially painted piece which the children finished off. I was very impressed by the results and happy to see it auction off for $600. Even better was being told the State of Florida will contribute $16 for every dollar donated. So that painting ultimately brought $9600 to a very worthy cause. Congratulations and thanks for all this organization does for kids.
What's new: Cool Dawn, oil on canvas, 11"x24"

Monday, February 8, 2010

An Autumn Show Planned

I am happy to announce I have won a Professional Development Grant from United Arts of Central Florida. The cash grant will be used to finance a week of photographing and painting the Cades Cove Park in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A solo show has been set up with Bennett Gallery in Knoxville TN for October 2nd, 2010. This grant will make it possible to spend a week or so in the park bringing much more insight into the creation of the work. I'm looking forward to reporting the trip here and putting together a show of cohesive work for the fall. My thanks to United Arts of Central Florida.

Whats new: River View, oil on canvas, 36"x48"

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Small Contribution

Chatham Acadamy in Savannah is having their annual fundraising auction and I did a small piece for the cause. It is a study of a creek at nearby Tybee Island called Lazarette. Good luck K-Kathy and C-Cathy. Hope it helps out.

What's new: Lazarette Creek, oil on canvas 5"x5"

Friday, February 5, 2010

This Weeks Special

I don't know how it works for all artists but when I accumulate a number of paintings in the studio, I tend to notice a common thread of color theme. This past month may be my green period or my yellow period. I can't say why that is. I have all the colors on the palate every day, but I gravitate towards some over others occasionally. I don't think it is a bad thing, but there you have it.
What's new: Calm Waters, 16" x 20", o/c

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Are You Done Yet?

My friend Rachel Cornell writes an interesting blog about human nature and the sometimes puzzling aspects of our behavior She recently polled some of us about how we determine when a piece of artwork, writing or other creative endeavor is declared finished. I contributed a few paragraphs in response, but I admit I don't really know how to answer the question definitively. I nearly always see some flaw or unresolved issue in my work. It may just be the obsessive traits within me but I usually regard work finished only if it is gone and I can't get it back to work on.

That said, the above painting was returned from a gallery and after 9 months I wanted to improve it. It's done now.
I promise....
No, really.

What's re-newed: Beginning Anew, oil on canvas, 39"x39"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Big Change

Today started out without inspiration and plenty of frustration with what I saw around me in the studio. By late afternoon I had three paintings I was finishing and, in my eyes anyway, looked good.

Sometimes I get off the path and forget where I am trying to get. This is a painting that has morphed from a previous mediocre image to what you see here. As of 6pm I was happy with it. We'll see how much it has changed in perception overnight.
What's new: Untitled, 36" x 48" oil on canvas

Monday, February 1, 2010

Are Painters Competitive Enough?

Sometimes I marvel how we artists sometimes rave out loud about artists we like. I do it almost every day too. Today a couple of my painter friends and myself were talking about painting and looking at some famous dead artists' work in a book. It's a pastime to be practiced in moderation, else we would become overcome with self pity and overwhelming loss of ego.

Still, I am impressed at how we talk openly and so often about other artists we know and admire, - and without much jealosy or resentment. Well OK, maybe a little. In general, I think it reflects true respect for good work and those who create it. We seem to be inspired by it and not envious.

I suppose it's because we don't compete directly. Most buyers arent going to be swayed by the next artist. They come to an artist's work because it calls out to them specifically. Other artists usually bring their own collectors. I think we also share a tough mission in life. Making a living off something proven to be hard to live off. That creates a camraderie that allows us to encourage and admire. That's a nice place to be.
What's new: Autumn Sentinels, oil on canvas, 40"x40"

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mazel tov

Yesterday kicked off three days of the annual Temple Beth el benefit art sale in St Petersburg FL. I delivered work on Tuesday of last week. Artists are typically chosen by a committee of talent scouts that travel to other shows and art fairs. Last night there was great food and the crowd was large in spite of the steady rain. This probably marks my 6th or 7th year of participation. There are docents and sales people who do a better job than I could at selling so I usually stay clear and let them work their magic. But this year Susan and I made the trip and enjoyed the whole experience. And a few sales helped make it even better.

What's new: Barn on Moonlit Night, 8" x 24", oil on canvas. SOLD

Saturday, January 16, 2010

First Real Tests of 2010

Shows are coming at me fast. February sweeps in with three opportunities to test the economic climate: January 30th through Feb 1st brings the Temple Beth el benefit show in St Petersburg FL, Temple Beth-el - St Petersbrg, FL., a solo mini show of six or eight pieces that will reintroduce my work at Studio E in Jupiter FL, HomeMar08 then its the Miller Gallery 50th Anniversary Show. Miller

Let's all keep our fingers crossed that the market is confident of recovery and art is on the shopping list.
Whats new: Kermit Coughlon Barn, 16"x 20", oil on canvas. This barn in Cades Cove TN blew down in a storm Christmas Eve 2009.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Real Look Back

Friday morning dawned at the regular time. At least I trust that was the case. The New Year was ushered into Florida with rain and gloom. 2009's parting shot. I arose late to see the ceiling weeping water in our kitchen. So much for the 2010 optimist in me. Cruel reality hangs tough at least for the first day of the decade.

I got the ladder out and made the climb to the attic to search for the cause. Our attic is a much friendlier place in January than August - by about 50 degrees. Something positive to grasp.

The previous owners of our 1930s era house punched out a kitchen wall and put a glass atrium on the west side of the house. It took us less than 24 hours after move-in to see that was not a true improvement to the livability of the house. Ants would spontaneously combust under the glass around 5pm on a summer day. We soon saw that heat issues along with subsequent leaks meant it was best to retrofit to a solid roof and enjoying air conditioning like God intended in Central Florida. Still, leaks are programmed when patches are applied to shingle roofs and it seems our time is due.

While crawling around in the recesses muttering about my bad new year fortune, I found a plastic tub with photo albums and memorabilia. When my father passed away in 2000 a lot his possessions I was not ready to deal with were thrust on me. They went to that safe place where they wouldn't threaten me with their daily presence. I guess 10 years was the time I needed to emotionally deal with his loss. All the photos and mementos are now very precious and have taken on a more profound meaning.

As it would happen, my cousin is putting together a 1,000 page genealogy of my family going back before Johann Christoph and Johann Sebastian Bach in Germany. Some of the pictures and records from the attic fill a few minor historical gaps. Also, pictures of her part of the family surfaced in that box along with mine; images unknown to her. So maybe the roof leak was a message from above. The new year is a time to look to the future but also a nudge to deal with the past.

Happy New Year.