Wednesday, December 30, 2015

#60 - Cap Off the Year

6" x 6" Oil on Gessobord

Had a glorious day off from work with nothing else planned so I painted for a few hours without guilt. Most days at work I look forward to painting and often when I get home I am too worn out to pick up the brushes so it was nice to jump right in this morning.

I painted the majority of this with an empty stein and only filled it for the last half hour. Hmmm, good thing it is afternoon now...can't let that subject matter go to waste!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

#59 - Around the Bend

8" x 10" Oil on canvas panel

This past summer we spent a wonderful weekend at the Michigan home of our friends Dave and Kathy. We had the opportunity to drive around the beautiful Michigan countryside and I commented on how there was an abundance of Plein Air spots to paint. Recently Kathy sent me a photo she took later at the beginning of autumn of just such a spot.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

#58 - Candlestick Spark

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel

I wanted to paint something from life after working so much with photographs lately so set up a crystal candlestick. I love painting light refracting thru the glass.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

#57 - Firefly Sunset

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel

Each June we are treated to a lightshow when the fireflies make their first appearance in the wetlands behind our house. I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in a June sunset as I painted this on a cold December evening.

Friday, November 27, 2015

#56 - Woodstock Opera House

6" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel

I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. My family is first on the list, but this year I am very thankful for the town we live in, Woodstock, Illinois. Having lived in New England for several years we were first drawn to Woodstock because of the town square that was laid out by pioneers from Woodstock, Vermont back in the 1850's. The anchor to the Woodstock Square is the Woodstock Opera House where Orson Wells first performed and from where Bill Murray famously fell to one of his deaths in the movie Groundhog Day.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

#55 Lowertown Texaco - Paducah Arts District

6" x 6" Oil on Gessobord

Last summer we visited Paducah, KY and were impressed by the art community. Several years ago some enlightened souls in the town decided to offer real estate at reduced prices in the town's Lowertown section to artists. This, and a population that appreciates and supports art, have created a community bursting with creativity; a town symphony, playhouse, quilt museum and numerous galleries. This little old Texaco station is in Lowertown and I just loved the lines of it.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

#54 - Outstanding in His Field

6" x 6" Oil on Gessobord

We stopped at a barn sale a while back and this beauty was out front. Wish I had the acreage for this old Farmall tractor.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

#53 - Sentinel

11" x 14" Oil on Canvas Panel

My wife Maureen took a picture of a country lane with a big old tree standing guard. I liked the lonliness of the photograph and she suggested I paint it. I had a lot of fun with the background's muted colors and the simple composition.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

#52 - Harvest Time

8" x 8"
Oil on Canvas Panel - Plein Air

Another beautiful Sunday morning in nothern Illinois. I was out driving and enjoying beautiful autumn colors and came up over a ridge. Down below sat a busy steel blue grain elevator; a nice contrast to the warm earth tomes of the surrounding fields. I thoroughly enjoyed myself with a good vantage point, a couple free hours and a cup of coffee. A great morning.

#51 - Omi's Garden

8" x 10"
Oil on canvas panel

We spent another memorable 4th of July in Arcadia Michigan with our son's girlfriend's family. They are a big close-knit family and own two homes next to each other on a tree lined street with classic midwestern frame homes. Last year I painted our host's house and this year I hoped to get a good shot of the grandparent's house to paint from. Omi and Grandpa are just amazing; she cooks and he grills and with their easy conversation and hospitality they both made us feel like part of the family.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

#50 - Queen Anne Gem

8" x 10" Oil on canvas panel, Plein Air

My fiftieth painting. Another beautiful morning, so I ran out with my paints to a nice high spot on Queen Anne Road where I had a nice view of this gem of a farm and the distant Illinois horizon. I felt rushed during this painting session because of diminishing shade, sudden mosquitoes, and a big to-do list at home, so I probably could have added a little more detail. Still, it turned out alright.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

#49 - Made in the Shade

8" x 8" Oil on Canvas Panel

My wife and I woke to a beautiful morning, so after a cup of coffee and an apple clide donut on the deck we drove out into the country. She dropped me at a corner of two country lanes that was shaded by three big oak trees across the road from this little red barn shaded by an oak of its own. She went off to take pictures and I set up my easel. Great morning.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

#48 - Garden of Eatin'

6" x 6" Oil on Gessobord

I love early September because gardens around here are in full production and mine is no exception, despite the weeds, rabbits and deer. We've got a lot of tomatoes, poblano and jalapeno peppers, and a bumper crop of onions. Perfect for salsa and bruschettas on the deck.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

#47 - Next Stop: Dahlgren

6" x 6" Oil on Gessobord

Last month we found ourselves traveling thru Dahlgren, Illinois, a sleepy little town of 500 with a great old Scandinavian train depot. It made me wonder who designed it and where they came from.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

#46 - Red Iron Tavern

8" x 10" Oil on canvas panel

There's a great bar in town that's a throwback to the local corner watering hole every little town had back in the day. It's a great place to watch a game and enjoy a pint and the proprietors are good people too. The building has great lines and with a low afternoon sun it makes for some nice warm brick colors that play well against a blue sky and cool colors of the street out front.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

#45 - Rolling thru Kentucky

8" x 8" Oil on canvas panel

We spent the last week in Kentucky and I got the green light to go off by myself and paint a couple times. This barn was near the entrance to Lake Barkley Resort and I painted it one morning before it got too hot. I love the vertical barn with the round hay bales.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

#44 - Knee High by the 4th of July

8" x 10" Oil on canvas panel

On the way home from work the other day I encountered a cornfield and stopped to take a picture. I was especially drawn to the narrow strip of gold in the distance past the corn; another summer crop ready for harvest. I also liked the threatening clouds above (been a lot of those this summer in northern Illinois!)

Friday, June 26, 2015

#43 - Looking West from Hobe Road

8" x 10" Oil on canvas panel

It's been very rainy in northern Illinois so last weekend when I woke up to sunshine I grabbed my paints, got a large coffee from Dunkin Donuts and drove into the country. I was lucky to find a big old oak tree to shade me while I painted a lush field and the distant horizon. A wonderful morning!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

#42 - Survivor

8" x 10" Oil on Canvas Panel

Everyday on the way home from work I pass a silo sitting alone in a field, but the trees are getting closer. It's one of those silos faced with terra cotta tiles and is beautiful, especially when the sun is setting and casting a warm glow. Some farmer invested for the long haul because it still stands, alone. Everything else is gone.

Last night I  stopped and painted it. Few better ways to spend a beautiful June evening in northern Illinois. While I was out there a buck called and a doe ran past, followed by the buck. So, maybe it is not alone.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

#41 - Hustling to Ketchup

6" x 6" Oil on Gessobord

It's so cold in northern Illinois I had to wait to put in my tomato plants and put one to work as a model. I fully expect this one and his 5 friends will satisfy our bruschetta, & BLT cravings later this summer.

Friday, May 15, 2015

#40 - Just My Cup of Tea

6" x 6"
Oil on Gessobord
It's been a while since I've painted so it was good to get back. I thought I might be a bit rusty so I went with an old standby, our heavy duty kitchen mugs.This is also the first painting I did using Ampersand gessobord. I was somewhat reluctant to try it because I like the way canvas grabs my brush and I was afraid gessobord would be too smooth. I was pleasantly surprised however, and really like the way I was able to move the paint around, and think coverage was maybe even a little easier than with canvas. I'll definitely be using gessobord again.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

#39 - Glory Days

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel

May is my favorite month of the year. No bugs, perfect temperatures, everything coming to life. I revel in the couple weeks when the world pops outside and color is everywhere you look. The first responders in that explosion of color are the daffodils; when you start seeing them you know more is on the way! My wife cut one and put it in a simple vase and I enjoyed painting it, but it was more challenging than I expected. I might try again before they close up shop for the year.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

#38 - Tequila Rocks

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel
A good friend of mine recently vacationed in Mexico and brought back some top shelf tequila. He's been generous sharing it with with me on a couple late nights when we both talked about our vacations in the sun. I painted this for him, sharing my tequila.

Monday, April 20, 2015

#37 - Looking East

8" x 10" Oil on canvas, Plein Air

A hazy spring morning in northern Illinois looking east. I went out into the country and found a spot where I could see some terrain shift in the distance.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

#36 - Seating for Two

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel

Last painting from St. Croix, I promise. This was a scene so inviting I snapped a picture and couldn't wait to paint it. My wife and I sat on these two chairs for a little while, soaking up the sun, watching the surf and listening to the breeze in the palm tree above us.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

#35 - Want a Lime with That?

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel

Is there anything better than a cold beer on the beach? A couple weeks ago we sat at a bar on a beach and I couldn't help but take a picture of my beer as it was set down by the bartender. I enjoyed that beer twice: drinking it on the beach and painting it on my easel.

Friday, April 10, 2015

#34 - Best Reading Room Ever!

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel

Another picture from St. Croix that I took when we were down there recently. This is early morning (early for St. Croix...9am!) and this couple was enjoying the ocean breeze with their iPads and coffee.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

#33 - Spring Break!

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel

My wife and I spent a wonderful week on St. Croix recently, and I took a picture from our cottage on Chenay Bay. What a spot! Normally I'd say I couldn't wait to get home to paint it, but this time I would have happily stayed a few more days.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#32 - Reflections on St. Patrick's Day

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel

My wife and I just happened to find ourselves downtown Chicago during the St. Patrick's Day festivities this past weekend. The good cheer and abundant Guinness on tap inspired me!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

#31 - Outside Looking In

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel

It has been so cold in Chicago that even my dog, who loves the snow, has been spending too much time inside. The other day she was waiting to be let back in and I snapped a picture on my phone. Let's hope it warms up soon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

#30 - Noch Ein, Bitte!

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel

Some things in life are perfectly proportioned: the Parthenon, a VW Beetle, Jennifer Aniston and any of Frank Lloyd Wright's homes. Another for me is a German salt-glazed stein. It just looks right. So, I picked a favorite from behind my bar from the HofbrÀuhaus in Munich and set to work.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

#29 - 'Next Year' is Almost Here

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel

Hey hey Cub fans, 'Next Year' is almost here! I'm fighting off the cold and snow by thinking about springtime in Chicago and sunshine at Wrigley. Let's hope this year's team lives up to the collective guarded optimism.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

#28 - Bloody Good!

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel

Lately we've taken to Bloody Mary's with friends on Sunday late morning afternoons after church. I like the way light only makes it so far down into the murky goodness, and the contrast between the deep reds and the cool greens.

Friday, February 20, 2015

#27 - Hard Boiled

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel

The contrast between the smooth white egg and cut glass salt shaker interest me. Add a cup of coffee and you have breakfast!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

#26 - Lake Granby Popup

8" x 10" Oil on canvas panel

A few years ago my wife and our three little boys took a camping trip to Colorado pulling a 1969 Apache popup camper. We camped a lot with those boys, and Lake Granby was one of our favorite campsites. We were right next to the water and the mountains rose majestically on the other side of the lake. I recently found a snapshot of that campsite and it made me nostalgic for those trips with the boys so I thought I'd paint it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

#25 - Frothy Monkey Cappuccino

6" x 6" oil on canvas panel

Last weekend we were in Nashville and stopped at the Frothy Monkey for a cappuccino. The barista presented me with a work of art, and when I got home I responded in kind. Delicious.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

#24 - Souper Bowl

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel

My son enjoyed a bowl of soup the other day and I thought it summed up this past weekend: finding comfort from the brutal cold and snow in warm food and football! I'm still interested in ellipses...not sure I've conquered them yet but I'm getting closer.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

#23 - Moe and Caillebotte

11" x 14" Oil on canvas panel

Been working on this bigger painting for a couple weeks. Last October, my wife and I spent a day downtown Chicago at the Art Institute and I took a picture of her admiring one of her favorite paintings, 'Rainy Day in Paris', by Caillebotte. Props to Karin Jurick for the inspiration. She's one of my favorite artists working today and trying this myself makes me appreciate her talent all the more.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

#22 - Plymouth Rocks

5" x 7" Oil on canvas board

I have been unable to paint as much as I'd like this week because the brutally cold temperatures and snow in Chicago have made life a bit miserable. So, instead of painting when I got home from work I was shoveling snow. Arg. The winter weather made me want to paint a scene from a nice warm week we spent in Duxbury, MA on Plymouth Bay this past summer. Thanks for checking in.

Monday, January 5, 2015

#21 - Resolution Wrecker

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel
As I started painting this I realized it was a study in ellipses. From the rim of the glass with a level of milk to the Oreo stack on the small round plate. As always, I plan to try this one again.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

#20 - Resolution: Slim Down

6" x 6" Oil on canvas panel
Happy New Year! 

Image Comparison

I am trying to improve my photographic images this year and today took some time with some settings on our camera. Here is the best I've been able to achieve today vs. the image from my iPhone the other day.