Monday, December 7, 2015


I continue to add details to this painting. Some of the work is making a very subtle transition from light to dark on an area that's about 1" square or less; other times it's trying to paint a straight line or get a color to be more accurate, and therefore, more believable.

The Illusion of Reality, © 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Miserable Weather

...But it's conducive to painting. A steady, drenching rain on a dreary day leaves little to do but read, watch TV, or paint. I'm of course choosing the latter, though the TV is on in the background and an interesting article about the vagaries of the upper-eschelon art market awaits for when I need a break. Meanwhile, here's what I'll be concentrating on today:

The Illusion of Reality, in progress, © 2015

Friday, November 27, 2015


Eric is finished. Now I can go on to Robert (Expect to see him pop in here in a week or two). I'm still surprised at how well the acrylic is going since I started using the Slow-Dri medium.

In other news, 8 of the Atlantic Ocean Series are now installed in The Green Phoenix 2 in Annapolis, MD! Feels like things are starting to come back after the recession.

Eric, © 2015

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Eric, Redux

More of Eric. I've been working on him pretty steadily over the last week, and am coming down to the wire on this one. There are a few adjustments to make here and there, the crossed arm needs a bit more gradation from the light area into the shadowy edges, and the shirt folds need work. Might be done by this time next week!

Eric, © 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

Some Good News

Found out on Wednesday that I've been awarded 2nd Place in the MFA@Gallery B show. This is a bigger deal than it looks, as it was an all-media show and out of the 450 artists who entered, only 45 were chosen. And the guy who won 1st place is a sculptor. So, between that and hanging the 2-person "Glimpses" show with Dennis Crayon at 1st Stage Tysons Theatre Gallery, I am a happy camper.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tea is Ready

It's so great when a piece is finished, and while I'm not entirely happy with the way this experimental series has worked out, I've done my best. Here is Tea, ready to go to a show.
Tea, © 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Illusion of Making a Deadline

Sigh. So much more to do, yet I really want this to be ready for my solo show in January. Here's the most recent photo of The Illusion of Reality; yesterday I worked on some of the windows at right and a little of the yellow Walk/Don't Walk boxes, which you see from the rear. I need to sharpen the contrast on them between light and shadow areas today.

The Illusion of Reality, © 2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015

More Tea

Here's the latest iteration of Tea. Fingers crossed for the drying time; I still need one more painting session to finish the piece, and I have to hang it in a show next Wednesday.

Tea, © 2015

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Coloring a Grisaille

Working on the Polaroid series is slow but fun. It takes a long time to paint the grisaille, or tonal underpainting. Sometimes artists do these in grey values, other times they might use browns or greens. Then they float glazes of color, thin, transparent hues over the base painting, and layer them one atop the other with adequate drying time in between.

I thought I'd like to share the process on this blog, so above are three consecutive renditions of Tea, © 2015. It's an image from a little shop in San Francisco, where I visited a few years ago. There's still a lot more to do, but you can't rush this process. If you add a glaze over a layer that's not fully dry, you'll pick up the layer of color beneath and end up with streaks.

It's a little like placing sheets of colored glass on top of each other— if you paint a blue layer over a yellow one, you'll get green. What do you think so far?

Friday, October 30, 2015

A Café Setting

Worked on this painting today; mostly on the two figures at right. Trying to get a sense of light and shadow. Not at all happy with any of the faces, they need more gradation and I think the features are too large on the young woman in the middle. That plaid shirt is going to be a bear to paint. But the chairs are starting to work.

Counterpoint, © 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

This Is Where Things Stand

Endangered Species has come a long way in the couple of years that I've been working on it, and everyone who sees it thinks it's finished. When I tell them it's not, they kinda look at me sideways like I'm some sort of crazed obsessive-compulsive type, so it's hard sometimes. I know what needs to be done to make this a killer piece, and it's not much more, actually. A little finessing of some of the highlights on the metal; a more believable gradation on the middle phone; a soft reflective shadow on the metal under the phone on the right.
Endangered Species, © 2015

I have high hopes for this one in a few upcoming exhibitions. But it has to be done right, first.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Here's another one in the same series as Tam. I'm finding that working in acrylic, as I'm doing in this series (a departure from my usual oil) is going very, very well. I've never had much luck with acrylic in the past, and while it might be due to the fact that I'm using something called Slow-Dri Blending Medium, it could also just be that practice makes perfect. Well, in my case, I'd hesitate to say perfect, but certainly better.
Eric, © 2015

And I need to get a better photo--- the background should be a flat white.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Been painting like mad, and finished this one a couple of weeks ago. It's one of a series of three that I started back in 2010 with the idea of putting them into a show that never materialized--- when I realized it wasn't going to happen, I put the paintings aside.

Tam, ©2015

The painting is 48"h x 36"w, and the background is white, so it looks odd here against the white of the screen.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

New Work

Chef, © 2015

Have been working pretty steadily on a number of paintings, and I have only one more sitting before finishing Three Women at the MFA. I'm relieved to finally have something new to show. Chef still needs a lot of detail, though it looks finished.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Nearly Done

I've been fussing with the hair of the woman on the right in this painting; it was completely grey and artificial looking, but now it's better. The painting is almost done! There's only some very small detail work left on the gesturing hand and one or two other places.

Three Women at the MFA, © 2015

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Time Marches On

Here's the latest version of The Arrow of Time:

The Arrow of Time, © 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

More Illusion

Here's the latest work on The Illusion of Reality. I felt like I couldn't do anything right today, but I pressed on nonetheless.

The Illusion of Reality, © 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Is Anybody There? Does Anybody Care?

There are so many blogs, and so many artists trying to put their work out on the internet, where it can be seen... But it appears to me that the only hits I get are from crawlbots. If you are a real, live person reading this, please just drop me a line that says, "I'm here." It would help. I feel like I'm a hermit, working in a cave in silence.

(The title for today's post comes from John Adams' plaintive song from the musical "1776." Just in case you're wondering.)

I've been working on The Arrow of Time, and am pretty happy with the way it's coming along.

The Arrow of Time, © 2015

In other news:

Almost time to pick up the paintings and pastels from the Narmada Winery show.

Sent a letter of protest about the proposed new copyright law to the patent office.

Am stressing out about whether or not to participate in this year's Artomatic.

Had some interest in my work over the weekend from a gallery in Annapolis; need to follow up on that.

Have placed 9 of the 13 Postcard images on

Had a great chat with my friend Alex, and will look into entering this year's Red Clay Survey.

Am making good progress on Chef and Three Women at the MFA

Friday, July 17, 2015

Three Women

Back to work on Three Women at the MFA. Also got a bit more done on Chef, but not posting a photo of it today. At this stage of the game, the work is only on details, so it's hard to see from one day to the next any major changes.
Three Women at the MFA, © 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Apples, 1 Through 9

Here's where The Arrow of Time project stands.

 The Arrow of Time, © 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015


Spent the entire day working on this:

The Illusion of Reality, © 2015

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Apples in Progress

Latest work on The Arrow of Time; numbers 1 - 4.

The Arrow of Time, © 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

Wet Paint

The Fourth of July weekend was pleasant enough, even with a fair amount of rain. Had some ribs, watched "1776" on the evening of the 4th, and the USA women's team win in the soccer World Cup was a nice way to finish up the celebration.

Also did some painting, and then more again today. Here's where Chef stands--- you can see some of the wet paint in the bottom right corner, by the way.
Chef, © 2015

And, Three Women at the MFA, © 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015

All In a Day's Work

More work on Chef. I concentrated on the back wall area on the left side of the painting, just above the woman with the golden hair.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Latest Chef

Here's here things stand on the "Chef" painting. As you can see, the left side is fairly well developed, while the right side needs more work. I've been trying to train myself to work from left to right to avoid smearing wet paint.

Chef, © 2015

Apples 4, 5 and 6

Here's where some parts of the Arrow of Time series are at present. I worked on numbers 1-6 today; the last three were still drying.

 The Arrow of Time, #s 4, 5, and 6

I've been worried about the way to handle the apple flesh colors, but like every other painting project I've ever worked on, it's just a problem that needs a solution, and usually I work it out. Today it made sense to put three of the panels together at a time and move back and forth from one to another, modifying the colors slightly to reflect the temporal changes. I still have some concerns about the flesh texture, which is going to need some tiny, tiny brush strokes. But we'll see.

Whole Foods Scenario 1

This is the leftmost side of the painting I featured in the last post. Slow going, paint-wise, as always. Lots of precise little lines, shapes, values to be worked on, and at this point some of them need repainting.
Whole Foods, © 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

Whole Foods

A year and a half ago, I was out with my SO and some friends on a Saturday night in DC. I photographed a lot of shop windows, planning to do some paintings in the Saturday Night series from them, but that series is based on a 16"h x 20"w format. This painting and Chef are both from the night we wandered around the bustling 14th Street area, but they seem to be better suited to the long narrative format.

Whole Foods, © 2015

I like the way the story of ordinary people shopping for food on a Saturday night is told along the set of divided window panels. There are going to be bicycles in the foreground, too. All in all, the painting process has been feeling very comfortable lately.


It's been a while since I finished a painting, but here's the last of four in the Atlantic Ocean Series, Turquoise Phase. 

 Atlantic Ocean Series, Turquoise Phase #4, © 2015

It feels liberating to have one of the phases done. I took a lot of reference photos in April to round out the next one, the Dawn Phase, so now I can get back to that— I already had finished the first painting in that set.


The paintings for the "Imageries From Life" show have been delivered. Everything went smoothly, and now I look forward to SELLING SOME ART. Of course, the Greek crisis may throw a monkey wrench into those plans, just like the shuttering of the government by Congress ruined sales at the Berkeley Gallery show a couple of years ago. Can't I catch a break?

From the show: She Used To Be a Dancer, © Susan La Mont

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Arrow of Time, #s 2 and 9

Some of what I've been working on lately. The background, which is supposed to be wood grain, has been particularly time consuming, what with glazes and painstakingly small brush strokes. The fun part is the apples themselves.
The Arrow of Time, © 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Getting Ready to Show

I've been working on The Arrow of Time, but also have had to put in a few hours a day on all of the details involved in getting various upcoming shows off the ground. More details to come.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Hiatus

I'm back from an out of town trip that took me, mentally, far from the world of painting. Now that I'm home, it's been hard to pick up again where I left off... trying to recall which colors I used on a certain painting, for example, or what deadlines are coming up for shows that I want to enter or am scheduled to deliver paintings to. I think I'd planned to do some touch-up work on a few things once I returned, so I'd better quicken the pace and get to it...

It does seem that after a prolonged absence from painting, I find my work improves somewhat. Why is that?

Anyway, here's the latest work on Chef. Everything that I did today was on the left third of the painting.

Chef, © 2015

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Phase Two Complete; Starting Phase 3

Here's how The Arrow of Time is shaping up. The background colors (Phase 1) and the wood grain (Phase 2) are done. Now I'm glazing in a slightly darker color on the woodgrain lines to give them more depth.

The Arrow of Time, © 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

Narmada Vineyard

Last Wednesday I hung a show out at Narmada Vineyard in Amissville, VA. The show is called "Earth and Sky," since it features several pastel early evening skyscapes and a number of bucolic landscapes. Also showing: two still life paintings with wine and fruit, and a painting of grapes on a backlit vine.

Here's a sample:

The show will be up until early August.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Three Women, Coming Down to the Wire

I'm not sure how much I still have to do on this one. Once the background dries, I'll see if it needs a final coat of paint to smooth it out, and there's a little finishing work here and there on the edges of things. And: is there enough contrast between the hair of the woman on the right and the wall behind her?

Three Women at the MFA, © 2015

The wall looks patchy because the paint's still wet.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Something New

Back to work after a few days' hiatus, but one of them, at least, was a day devoted to marketing: I hung a show yesterday at Narmada Winery out in Amissville, VA. It's quite a lovely setting, and it was a very pleasant visit. The show will be up for 3 months. Photos coming soon!

Meanwhile, here is the start of a 9-panel piece inspired by the wonderful series on the Science Channel--- particularly Brian Cox's "Wonders of the Universe," Neil Tyson De Grasse's "Cosmos," and of course the inimitable Morgan Freeman and "Through the Wormhole." This one is called "The Arrow of Time."

The Arrow of Time, © 2015

Thursday, April 30, 2015

And a Little Further:

Had a lovely lunch with a good friend today, an artist friend, actually, and we talked a lot of art and exchanged a few marketing ideas. The weather folk had been insisting on afternoon thunder showers, so I picked up some macarons (spelling?) on the way home for my sweetie and me and decided to forgo planting the dahlia and other summer bulbs that need to go into the ground IMMEDIATELY and just paint.

I am very excited about combining the long, narrative format that I used on A Long Way To Go and Night Life with an idea that I came up with a couple of years ago for a series. Very excited. I need to decide whether to pin down a size that I'll stick with for the series or if it's better to customize the size to each painting.

But! Here's today's work.
Chef, © 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Back to Work

After a couple of weeks hiatus, I got back to painting again. Here's today's work:

Chef, © 2015

Had an unexpected visitor in the afternoon, so I didn't get as much done as I'd planned. But I'm feeling more confident about the direction this one is going in.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Getting the Work Out There

This is a phrase I've heard many an artist friend use, and lately I've been trying to be more active about getting more visibility for my own paintings. It seems to be paying off in little ways, slowly, but I'll write more about the new opportunities soon.

Meanwhile, the break in the weather forced a huge amount of yard work into my schedule, and painting has had to take a bit of a back seat. I'm back on track now, however, because with a show to hang next week and another in the works for July, panic had set in. I spent all of yesterday organizing and prepping work and did some repainting today. It's falling into place.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Three Women and a Paintbrush

The background wall did dry down to a less yellowy color, and I worked on it for a long time today. Of course, it still needs another session or two just to finish the wall and the spot lighting on it; then the hair, the outlines of the clothing, and the bags. Sigh. Sometimes it seems like the finish line is very far away.

Three Women at the MFA, © 2015

And here's Chef with some of the blank background filled in:

Chef, © 2015

Monday, April 6, 2015

Shaping Up

I really enjoyed winter. It seemed like everybody was complaining about the cold, but I realize now that it allowed me to concentrate on my work. Now that Spring is here, there's the lure of the outdoors, plus a boatload of yard work to do: planting, transplanting, dividing, raking, weeding, mulching...

So I'm a little worried about keeping up with output. But here's today's addition to Chef, and I really like the way the left side is coming together. It's beginning to get a sense of that mysterious soft light that I wanted.

Chef, © 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Three Women

More of today's work. That background wall is beastly. I'm using the same 2-color mix, but the paint I applied today looks more yellow or gold than what I've been doing. And yes, I used the same manufacturer's Raw Umber.

Three Women at the MFA, © 2015

Maybe when it dries down it'll look all right.

Additional Darkness

Painted in some deeper shadows on the right side and lower part of the painting. I want to keep this one soft and hazy but am already creating hard edges on the figures in the foreground. Will have to remember: wet on wet.

Chef, © 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Back to the Big Paintings

Worked on the painting of the yellow telephones today.

Endangered Species, © 2015

I used a different (and obviously better) camera to photograph today's work. The color is truer. The new camera is a lot better in low light situations.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Sketching in the Right Side

Here's today's work; I've put in the preliminary layer of paint that defines the guy sitting in the chair.

Chef, © 2015

It's a smudgy mess right now, but it'll sharpen up with the next paint application.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Adding a Few Customers to the Scene

Chef, © 2015

It looks like I've been working on nothing but this one painting all week; that's not true, but I haven't got the other ones far enough along to post pix of them. And I'd really like to get back to the big ones in the studio (I've been working upstairs all week) but it's been easier to manage the smaller ones due to time constraints. Hopefully next week will prove to be more productive.