Mannequin - XVII; Mystic Charm

Mystic Charm, oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches

"Within a composite of influences the mystic charm of art is born. It comes into being in the abstract interval between a thought and a reality and no one, not even the artist, can remeasure the influence that caused it." - Edgar A. Payne (1883 - 1947) in Composition of Outdoor Painting


Mannequin - XVI

Strange Things, graphite on paper, 11 x 8.5 inches
"But in what teacher of art have you such faith? Certainly not in me; for, as I told you at first, I know well enough it is only because you think I can talk, not because you think I know my business, that you let me speak to you at all. If I were to tell you anything that seemed to you strange, you would not believe it, and yet it would only be in telling you strange things that I could be of use to you." - John Ruskin (1819 - 1900) in Sesame and Lilies


Mannequin - XV

Particular Prominence, charcoal on paper, 12 x 8 inches

"Let us suppose, however, that the landscape before [the artist] is especially expressive of repose. As he sketches, he will give particular prominence to the lines and objects that suggest repose, and either subordinate, or sacrifice, or omit entirely all lines and objects whose presence tends to weaken or destroy the reposeful effect." - John Rummell and E. M. Berlin in Aims and Ideals of Representative American Painters


Mannequin - XIV

Melding, charcoal on paper, 11 x 8.5 inches

"In Italian, chiaroscuro means light (chiaro) dark (oscuro) - and notice how language here reflects technique, as the end of the first word melds into the beginning of the second, creating a seamless transition between "light" and "dark." " - Henry M. Sayre in Writing about Art


Mannequin - XIII

Tinged and Altered, oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches
"If you are representing a white body let it be surrounded by ample space, because as white has no colour of its own it is tinged and altered in some degree by the colour of the objects surrounding it." - Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519)


New Mannequin and Gratitude

photo of my easel

Tonight, the last pumpkin from my garden will turn into pie. It will be the beginning of a series of kitchen events that will culminate in the 2pm feast tomorrow. The studio will remain quiet during this time; the mannequin - the blank canvas - the new drawing/idea - all waiting patiently for Friday morning.

To all of my readers here: I'm very grateful you've chosen to read this blog. Thank you for stopping by - and best wishes to you for a happy day tomorrow.


Mannequin - XII

Superpowering, charcoal on paper, 8.5 x 11 inches
"You must be absolutely honest and true in the depicting of a totem for meaning is attached to every line. You must be most particular about detail and proportion." - Emily Carr (1871 - 1945)


Mannequin - XI

Overpowering, charcoal on paper, 11 x 8.5 inches
"[Weight and force] are of similar nature as regards pressure and the stronger overpowers the weaker. Weight does not change of its own accord, while force is always fugitive." Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519)


Mannequin - X

Mustering, charcoal on paper, 11 x 8.5 inches

"As a student I thought there was a formula of some kind that I would get hold of somewhere, and thereby become an artist. There is a formula, but it has not been in books. It is really plain old courage, standing on one's own feet, and forever seeking enlightenment; courage to develop your way, but learning from other fellows; experimentation with your own ideas, observing yourself, a rigid discipline of doing over that which you can improve." - Andrew Loomis (1892 - 1959)


Mannequin - IX

Turning, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches

"I went there often, for Vollard liked to ask questions and learn what you thought about things, sometimes about pictures and often about other matters as well. He didn't mind my turning things upside down, since they were already in that state, and so we got on nicely." Leo Stein ( 1872 - 1974)


Mannequin - VIII

Recovery, charcoal on paper, 11 x 8.5 inches
"There is an acute pleasure in falling, if one is confident of recovery, as swings and gravity railroads prove. " - Leo Stein (1872 - 1947)


Mannequin - VII

Outstretched, charcoal on paper, 11 x 8.5 inches
"Even when reasons are as plentiful as blackberries, one should be careful about using them, since they are often either unripe or rotten." - Leo Stein (1872 - 1947)


Mannequin - VI

Missed, charcoal on paper, 11.25 x 8.75 inches

I've been enjoying R. Chunn's blog lately, Alla Prima, with it's beautiful and soulful still lifes accompanied by artists' quotes. It's inspired me to comb through my own small collection of art books and copy down phrases that warrant savoring. Here's one I came across this morning:

"With the model before it, the background is transformed." - Robert Henri (1865 - 1929)


Mannequin - V

With Outstretched Hand, charcoal on paper, 12.75 x 9.75 inches


Mannequin - IV

With an Open Hand, charcoal on paper, 9 x 8.5 inches


Mannequin - III

Remembering, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches


Leaves Alone - X

A Season of Waiting, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches


Mannequin - II

Shades of Gray, charcoal on paper, 9 x 8.5 inches

Mannequin - I

Video of my Artist's Mannequin Spinning by a Thread


Leaves Alone - IX

Photo of a new Painting in Progress (CCW 90 degrees)


Leaves Alone - VIII

Red Oak Leaf in Black & White, 9 x 8.5 inches, charcoal on paper

Leaves Alone - VII

Acorn Derivative, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches



Leaves Alone - V

Photo of a New Painting in Progress - with a Silk Drape behind the Easel

The oak leaf in this set up is fully dry. I'm hoping it will be a more static model than the last one. Also, the white cloth behind it is helping me to focus. It was fun to look at those past paintings, but now I'd rather be looking ahead.

Leaves Alone - IV

Disbelief Suspended, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches

edited 10.14.2008: After painting further on this piece, it was rephotographed and the image reuploaded.



Leaves Alone - II

Photo of Continuing Progress

The maple-leaf model is withering by the hour. My memory of it hasn't quite left me yet. Hopefully, I can hold onto that for a few more days.

There are three very large white oaks here, a swamp oak and a few younger red oaks. The red oaks keep their browned leaves all winter. Those leaves should be fairly wither-proof. I'll try that next.


Leaves Alone - I

Photo of a New Painting in Progress

There are more Studio - Moving In posts to do. Today did not see me getting around to putting on the doors of the large maple storage cabinet like I had hoped. I'm happy with the start of this painting, though. At this point, the background seems uterine shaped.


Studio - Moving In - III

Photo of One of the Two Small Rolling Storage Cabinets (far left)

Photo of the Large Maple Storage Cabinet (8' long and 4' high)

I refinished this, to some extent, a couple of weeks ago. Those four pontoon-like things underneath it are supports I made from 2 x 4's. They were needed to screw the casters onto. There are 8 casters in all and they do a nice job of making this thing portable. It was really important to me that this studio was flexible in its arrangement. It needed to adapt with a certain amount of ease.

Now I'm really wishing I had made a note of the arrangement of the cabinet doors. They're all just slightly different and it's driving me crazy getting them back so they fit nicely. Maybe tomorrow will be the day I stop putting off doing that. It's just a matter of approaching it methodically - at least I hope so.


Studio - Moving In - II

Photo of the Painting Rack

I've been going through past paintings - a task that seems to come around every 6 months or so. It's part of the painting process to look back on where I've been. It's part of going forward to look backward.

The red splotch in the lower right is where I tested a paint color for the floor. It needs to be a bit more muted - less saturated. It also needs to be April, 2009. That's the month I've set aside to paint the walls and floor. It's time to move in now so I can start painting pictures again. The walls and floor will have to wait.




Photo of a Blank Canvas - on the Easel and as Studio

My latest studio move - and hopefully my last for a few years - has got me thinking about my ideal working environment. Painting outside at a field easel seemed like the perfect studio for so many years. Lately, though, I've sought the solitude and pace of indoor painting. Apparently, that's still the case as my latest studio seeks even further refuge from the outside world.

I've been fashioning studio furniture out of discarded kitchen cabinets these past few weeks. You can see one, above, transformed into a taboret. It's got a glass palette inserted into the top surface (under the radio in this photo.) On the far left (and mostly cropped) is another old kitchen cabinet turned drawing table. Two other cabinets are in the works and will become rolling storage cabinets. It seems I've spent almost my whole remodeling allowance on casters - the rest on green paint. I'm not sick of this green yet.



Beach Ball Moon, oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches, 2007

I posted this piece (in one of its earlier states) in the late spring of last year - but deleted the image from this blog soon after. As it turned out, the background wasn't finished at the time. It's experienced a series of color states since then and is finally making a come back. In fact, it'll be one of 33 paintings to be installed next week at the Alice R. Rogers Gallery at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. The exhibition will run from September 26th to November 21st - and the opening reception will be September 28th from 1 - 4pm - with a gallery talk at 2pm.

Other happenings:


From the Garden

On the Vine, charcoal on paper, 8 x 9.5 inches

These aren't from my garden, but in a week or so they could be.

I've been building frames here lately. Five small ones and thirteen large - for a show of twenty seven paintings next month. The 20 x 16 size will go unframed while the 10 x 8s seem to need a bit more presence and the 30 x 24s more structure. Please email me privately if you'd like to know more about this exhibition.

During this time, I'm making quick sketches with charcoal. It's a nice diversion.


From the Garden

A Little Vase Dangling, Containing a Single Coneflower, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches



coneflower painting in progress, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches

The clip on top of the easel used to have bright-green-plastic tips and handles. I'm so much happier now that they're off. I painted the clips a nice-dull brown too. It's all about the little things.


In Progress

coneflower in progress, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches

Towards the end of the day I came back upstairs for better lighting.

By Degrees

I'm working downstairs today as it's much cooler there - by about ten degrees. You can see my latest set-up above - as well as portions of some older paintings of mine; a still life (done as student work) and a self portrait.


On Collecting

So starts chapter nine from THE FURNISHINGS OF A MODEST HOME by Fred Hamilton Daniels

I bought this delightful little book awhile back from Gustavs Library. It was written in 1908 by the Director of Drawing for the Public Schools in Springfield, Massachusetts. It has ten chapters and my favorite, by far, is this ninth one: Pictures & Casts. I referred to it recently when matting, framing and hanging some new pieces in my small art collection. Daniels' intructions are seldom ambiguous (e.g. "a dark picture appears to the best advantage against a dark ground.") It's comforting to think of a time when there was less confusion - when someone had all of the answers. Of course, that time didn't exist then - or ever. He does a good job of creating the illusion though - which isn't such a bad thing to indulge in now and then.

A new addition to my collection; an exquisite ink drawing by Steven LaRose - front view with piano lamp . . .

and a side view


On Clouds

Clouds over the Arboretum - May 2008, oil on canvas, 4 x 6 inches

Frank Wetzel taught me how to paint skies. At first, he had me make copies. "John Constable was a master of skies," he told me. So I copied Constable's skies for awhile and learned a lot about how incredibly nuanced and unpredictable skies can be. When I'd copied enough, I was sent outside with canvas marked out in a grid of little rectangles. I was to set out my colors and mix them according to what I saw above. Each rectangle was then to be quickly filled with a 5 to 10 minute glimpse of sky. This wasn't fun, at first, and much harder than it sounds. But I stuck with it. Four years after Frank's lessons, I've learned to really enjoy painting skies.


From the Garden

On Being a Bean, oil on canvas, 10 x 8 inches


Late July Color Exhibition

Black-eyed Susans below the Sunny Garden

I planted this "yellow stroke" from seed last fall. To the right of these blooms is my dog's path - the one he runs and barks along to keep the cars out of the garden. So far, he's been very successful.


in progress

Being a Bean (in progress - and sideways), oil on canvas, 10 x 8 inches

My poor cactus. It got bent over that way when it outgrew the small bay window in front of my kitchen sink. To compensate, it started growing an offshoot. I just noticed another tiny offshoot bud. This cactus is unstoppable.

Beans for Breakfast

I'm going to start painting a piece of my breakfast today - a single green bean hanging by a thread.

I just went out and picked these and, for some reason, laid the fist-full on the scanner bed. It's an interesting image, I think - requiring some thought and effort to discern what's happening.

You can read a recent review of my work at J.T. Kirkland's blog, Thinking about Art. He's generously put together a very rich-multi-layered project there called "Artists Review Artists."

my breakfast, freshly picked and scanned



a detail (with raking light) of the middle-left edge of the painting in the preceding post

I love this canvas. It's Allens Artist Canvas' unprimed medium weight #12.


The Potential of a Pear

The Potential of a Pear, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches

I painted the finishing touches of this one while listening to Maggot Brain - thanks to my s.o., Robert, and his CD.

Robert's far cooler than me.


in Progress

oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches

Every time I see those bright-green-tipped clamps in one of these photos, I cringe. I've been meaning to get some stuff to dunk them in to turn them black. Come to mention it, I think I'll hop on my bike right now and get some. Bye.

update at 4:30pm: I couldn't find any Dip & Grip at the two stores nearby - I guess I'll look another day elsewhere.
update on July 16, 2008: The bright-green tips slide right off. Since I'm not that worried about the clamps marring anything, that's what the tips will do - slide off and into the trash - bye.


from 1999

plan for a mobile; ink on paper; 11 x 8.5 inches

Leaves; oak leaves, spray paint, fish line pivots, thread, glue, birch dowels and dust; about 30 x 30 x 30 inches

I decided not to put an acorn at the top of the mobile - but I still like it in the drawing.