Thursday, October 29, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I easily chose Jamie Wyeth for my series ArtistZ - although I worship the three generations of the Wyeth painters, N.C., Andrew and Jamie equally.    Something about growing up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with a mom who painted - many Sunday drives through nearby Delaware County where the Wyeths lived and painted - all of that must have made an impression on me.  They made my want to be an artist.

I also chose one of my personal favorite paintings by Jamie Wyeth titled 'Pumpkinhead  (Self Portrait)'.  It has always spooked me, even when I was painting my piece.   In a past interview, Jamie told this story - 'I had been elected to the National Academy of Design in New York, and one of the requirements was that you give a portrait, a self-portrait of yourself.  Well, I didn't want to do myself in a self-portrait, but I love pumpkins.  It's the sinisterness, the Halloween I've always loved.  It's a bit edgy. So I did it and of course they were furious and rejected it.'  Imagine anyone rejecting a Wyeth painting?

The Wyeths were known to be very fond of Halloween,  N. C. was the famed illustrator of great stories like Treasure Island and loved to round up costumes for the kids and get lost in imagination.  His studio would be decorated for family parties complete with pumpkins, Indian corn, candles and symbols of autumn and Halloween.  Taken from Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life,  Andrew,  the son of
N. C., developed the same love for Halloween.  'Wyeth has made Halloween a personal Walpurgisnacht, an annual reconnection with the unearthly, with witchcraft and hidden meanings. On that day he is electric with fun.  He picks the deformed pumpkins and carves them into jack-o'-lanterns, a long lineage of fantastic death masks summoned up from childhood by the remembered scent of candle-heated pumpkin flesh.'   I read that the family had a long tradition of wearing their costumes for dinner on Halloween night - here's a photo where you can see Jamie on the right.

I gathered up just a fraction of those wonderful paintings by the three generations, expressing their love for the images of autumn and Halloween, starting with three of my favorites....

Treasure Island illlustration by N. C. Wyeth

Automaton by Jamie Wyeth

The Witching Hour by Andrew Wyeth

 and more .....

and a Happy Halloween to you.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Van Gogh"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

I took a little break for a road trip to visit Brett's family - it was and is always a pleasure getting together.  Now I'm back to painting and added to my series ArtistZ - choosing Vincent van Gogh for the letter V.  It was a toss up between Van Gogh and Vermeer,  I love them both, but really, to see a Van Gogh in person is an experience everyone should enjoy in their lifetime.

His colors are as vivid and saturated as the day he painted his masterpieces, the oils are laid on thick in most, adding to the movements and textures of the landscapes or still lives.  There's great emotion is his paintings, especially my personal favorite 'Wheatfield with Crows', the piece I featured in my painting above.

'Wheatfield and Crows' is considered Van Gogh's last painting by most, proving color was his greatest means of expression.  When I had my frame shop,  I always had this framed print in the gallery.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Two Paintings Going on Auction

Just a head's up - these two paintings are in my studio and need a good home.

'The Reel Thing'
7 x 10"
oil on panel

'The Chapel at Palmetto Bluff'
7 x 9"
oil on panel

Monday, October 12, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I absolutely love the figurative paintings by the British painter Euan Uglow - an easy choice for the letter U in my series ArtistZ.

Uglow's painting method involved a lot of measuring and mathematics, and those markings could often be seen on the finished paintings.  Taken from a biography of Uglow "his measuring process was laborious and time consuming to the point that Uglow himself joked that one model he began painting when she was engaged, was still painting when she got married and did not finish until she was divorced."

What I particularly love is how he painted color in blocks or areas, surprising any viewer with skin tones that include greens, violets, golds, reds, greys, etc.   He, like Lucian Freud,  has taught me so much about painting skin in a bold and realistic way. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel 

I don't remember exactly the first time I saw a Wayne Thiebaud painting - I'm guessing years ago I framed a print and it was love at first sight.  It was probably one of his fabulous dessert paintings - wedges of pie or decorated cakes.   It stirred up my creative juices, it made me want to paint again.   It made me want to paint with oils.  

Thiebaud's distinct style is paint laid on thick, as if he's really icing a cake with his paint brush.  You can almost see in your mind his process of outlining and swirling the brushstrokes.  I love that.  Besides his recognized plates of foods, pies, cakes, candies, ice cream cones, shoes, lipsticks and figures,  he has painted the most stunning bird's-eye-views of California landscapes, laying on the paint and colors in patterns that just perfectly harmonize.  He has painted cityscapes that defy perspective rules,  stretching San Francisco-like streets and shadows to an almost vertigo-causing image.  Just genius.

Wayne Thiebaud was born in Arizona in 1920, grew up in Long Beach, California - as a teenager, worked at Walt Disney Studios - essentially becoming a commercial artist until he was influenced to go the fine art route, like many artists I know.  In the 60's, an art dealer in New York grabbed on to him - during the Pop Art movement of Warhol, Lichtenstein, etc.  I read somewhere he didn't define himself as a Pop artist - he referred to himself as a 'traditional painter of illusionistic form'.  Thiebaud is nearly 95 years old and I think still paints.

If I could personally meet any living artist,  it would be Thiebaud.  I regard him as one of the most influential, brilliant painters of our time.  My great admiration for Wayne Thiebaud was an easy choice for the letter T in my series ArtistZ.

As for my painting, the young man is viewing 'Three Machines', which hangs in the de Young Museum in San Francisco.  I tried to paint in the same swirly, free, ebullient style as Mr. Thiebaud.

Check out more of Thiebaud's paintings here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hilton Head Art Auction This Saturday

I have two paintings in the Hilton Head Art Auction, held this coming Saturday - I'll include details below.  Auctions can be a rare opportunity to get an original painting for a really good price, you just never know.  The best way to play it, in my opinion, is to name your top price and roll the dice.

Here are my pieces in the auction,  both are framed....

'A Lot To Juggle'
8 x 10" oil on panel

 'A Big Thumb's Up'
10 x 10" oil on panel

Saturday, October 3, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

When I was working on the letter S for my series ArtistZ  and chose John Singer Sargent, I came up with a couple of compositions and started both paintings to feel them out.   When I sat down this morning, I felt compelled to finish the other one I'd begun and put it on auction.

A young woman viewing John Singer Sargent's 'Mrs. George Swinton' in the Art Institute of Chicago, both wearing the fashion of their time.