six times two little studies

six little drawings and their mirror images


an assortment

teaching demos from the previous year, various sizes, oil on unstretched canvas or panel, 2006-07

The demo on the lower left was done yesterday - a study in white. That one and the fish were done inside - the remainder, outside.


sketch . y . thoughts

Toy Glider Sketch, ink on paper, 6.7 x 4.5 inches

When deciding where to attach the thread on the balsa glider, I had my first clue that this object will be different from all the others. Depending on where the string is attached, the angle of the glider implies a certain type of motion. And that's the major deviation here. All of the other objects seemed to be motionless save for a barely-perceptible optical-sway. This one comes with a definite direction - an orientation the others lacked. The pitchers might have been associated with a rotating-pouring motion but they more or less stayed in one place. I'm wondering if these gliders will need more room to "move" in?



It's getting crowded with paintings here. The time has come once again to decide which ones will stay, go into storage, be destroyed (I'm ruthless, I know,) or go (three favored, dear and smallish ones) to new homes.

As luck would have it, Deanna Wood, author of Artist, Emerging, posted the following invitation recently. I'm happy to say, I was one of her first three commentors. So, as promised, here is my invitation to you:

Pay It Forward (via Deanna, via Sia, via Sandra via Camilla, via Bibbi and so on) - here are the rules:

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

When you leave your comment, please also do one of two things: leave your post address or e-mail it to me.

11.08.2007 update: Congratulations to Tracy, Susan and Nat for being the first three commenters and taking part in Pay It Forward.


A Teacup and More

Without, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches

The "more" in the post title is a bit of good news about this blog. I hope you don't mind me sharing it here. Marion Boddy-Evans selected stillifes as one of her favorites on About.com's Painting site:

There are an incredible number of blogs out there. . . the intention of this collection is to share the ones I enjoy . . . dealing with art, painting, and creativity. . .

[ s t i l l i f e s ] A blog written by still-life painter Mary Klein, who says in her artist's statement she follows "a tradition of looking for the extraordinary in the ordinary". Which is certainly what you get with her paintings of "common-suspended-shadow-less objects immersed in continuous pools of color", aka still life objects hung up with a piece of string against a colored background . . .

Thank you, Marion, for this honor.


easy . to . fly

I remember these from years ago. Some had "rubber-band motors," some rubber-band-on-a-stick catapults and, like this one, some were simply meant to be thrust by hand. None cost as much as this one, though. They were 15 to 20 cents, if my memory serves me. (I'm just now realizing there's no longer a "cents" symbol on my keyboard. When did that happen?)

My plan now is to finish the latest teacup painting while I steal glances of this glider suspended nearby.


A Teacup full of Ambiguity

A Teacup full of Ambiguity, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches

Changing Colors

Keeper Palette, oil on panel, 2.5 x 10 inches, 2004-2005

The burning bush (Euonymus alata) outside is starting its autumn blush. It'll be the last flourish of color this year. In a week or two, until next spring, the outdoor colors will be a far more subtler thing.

The colors I paint with are a simple group. Above is an image of an old keeper palette which shows them at a glance. When I start to see and paint I think of them more as temperatures and emotions. Towards the end, I aim for a more universally understood language. If I think too hard, they become combinations and permutations:

n_C_k = n!/(k!(n - k)!)        n_P_k = n!/(n - k)!

So I try not to think too hard.


Adventures of Kleenex Ghost

It's been a big week for Kleenex Ghost. As you can see by the itinerary below, she's traveled all the way from the middle coast to the great city of Pittsburgh - and in only two days' time. She's resting now at Digging Pitt Gallery where she'll stay for a while. Edward Winkleman made a kind mention today about the show she'll soon be in. It was a bit overwhelming with all of the attention. But I think she'll be OK - she's in excellent hands.


Happening 10.17.07

a new work in progress, 20 x 16 inches



Askance (self-portrait, detail), oil on linen, 14 x 11, 2003

In addition to the work that will be on exhibit at the upcoming Blogger Show in New York, there are plans to put together an exhibition book for the public to view. Inside will be copies of the participating artists' bios, resumes and thumbnail images. These last couple of days I've been looking through my saved documents and putting together current ones for this show's exhibition book.


Daylight after Dark

advert from the 1936 catalogue of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours

It was a dreary one today. The days are getting noticeably shorter now. There's a little more light coming inside due to the fallen leaves but on an overcast-drippy day like today you hardly notice it. I've got various lamps and lights that I use in the studio when I need to. I'd rather not, nothing beats daylight to paint in. But this time of year you can't avoid it.


Looking Within

Looking Within, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches


A Little Bit More About

. . . Juan Sánchez Cotán.

To add to my previous post; more about Cotán from Sybille Ebert-Schifferer's book, Still Life: A History:

"His pictures are almost hypnotically fascinating because of their calculated composition and rigorous concentration on a limited number of objects. Sánchez Cotán was an educated man, and well informed about the mathematical research being carried out by his countrymen."


A Recent Remark

Someone recently remarked that my work reminded her of the Spanish painter Juan Sánchez Cotán (1560-1627.) From wikipedia:
"Sánchez Cotán was born in the town of Orgaz, near Toledo. He was a friend and perhaps pupil of Blas de Prado, an artist famous for his still lifes whose mannerist style with touches of realism, the disciple developed further. Cotán began by painting altar pieces and religious works. For approximately twenty years, he pursued a successful career in Toledo as an artist, patronized by the city’s aristocracy, painting religious scenes, portraits and still lifes. These paintings found a receptive audience among the educated intellectuals of Toledo society. Sánchez Cotán executed his notable still lifes around the turn of the seventeenth century, before the end of his secular life." - from wikipedia on Juan Sánchez Cotán
One of Cotán's most famous still lifes is titled Quince, Cabbage, Melon and Cucumber (1602, in the San Diego Museum of Art). It depicts the named objects hanging by strings in such a way they appear to create coordinates on a cartesian-algebraic arc. You can see an image of this piece online at the San Diego Museum of Art's excellent IMAGE gallery - as well as zoom in on details of an enlarged version.

edited 2/2/2009 to add links to the SDMA.


u p c o m i n g

Excitement is building here for an upcoming group exhibition of which I feel very fortunate to be a part. It’s called The Blogger Show – a groundbreaking effort made possible by the vision, perseverance and dedication of John Morris – artist, arts activist and gallerist of Digging Pitt Gallery in Pittsburgh.

The Blogger Show will take place in four separate venues and in two different cities. It will "showcase the work of over thirty artists whose common interest is in clarifying artistic discourse through their blogs.” You can read more about the show here in an article by Bill Gusky of Artblog Comments.

Below are locations, dates, receptions and exhibiting artists of The Blogger Show listed by venue:

Digging Pitt Gallery
4417 Butler Street
Pittsburgh PA 15201
November 10, 2007 - January 12, 2008
Public Reception: December 8, 6-9 PM

Digging Pitt Too
45th & Plummer Streets
Pittsburgh PA 15201
November 10, 2007 - January 12, 2008
Public Reception: December 8, 6-9 PM

Panza Gallery
115 Sedgwick Street
Millvale PA 15209
November 10, 2007 - January 12, 2008
Public Reception: December 15, 6-9 PM

Agni Gallery
170 East 2nd Street, Storefront #3
New York NY 10009
November 3 - 30, 2007
Public Reception: November 3, 6-9 PM


China Cup all in Blue

China Cup all in Blue, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches

This is the painting pictured on the easel from two posts back. The model belonged to my grandmother, Clara.

(edited 10.08.07: image reuploaded after this piece was repainted and then rephotographed)


An Outdoor Sketch - 10.06.07

The Marsh Creek in October, oil on unstretched linen, 6 x 10 inches

My friend and I painted out this week. I was positioned at almost creek level while Gloria was on the foot bridge right behind me. This is my effort - a little piece to catch the feeling of the marsh's last green.


Happening 10.05.07

Here's what's happening in - and out of - the studio today:

A 20 x 16 inch canvas is on the easel with the beginnings of a china teacup painting. The still life stand is about 12 feet tall which allows for plenty of room to get a good view, adjust the lamp, change backgrounds and stabilize the object to keep it from spinning.

The oak tree is just starting to lose its leaves while the maples have already let half of theirs go. The squirrels are still busy burying acorns but the hummingbirds and monarchs are long gone.


A Post Script

Many thanks to all of you for stopping by over the last two months – most especially to Eva, Steven, Susan and Tracy for your comments and kindness.

Best wishes to those of you celebrating milestone wedding anniversaries this year. In particular - Eva -10th last month - - and Susan - 25th a week from yesterday.

Robert, May 1977

And last, but most essentially, thank you Robert – for photographing all of my work on this blog, for your never-ending support and for thirty wonderful years. I love you.