Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Here you can see two sketchbooks. The work done on our first day reflects a first attempt at designing a pleasing page. As time goes on, these pages will take on a more organized and decorative look. Come on back next week for an update!

Sketching by the Water Off to A Good Start!

Hello all,

Sketching by the Water began yesterday under a beautiful blue sky. Somewhat gusty winds but warm, nonetheless. Four students are participating. We have chosen these five locations to work in:
Squamscott River, Exeter, NH (tidal river in a town setting)
Plum Island National Wildlife Preserve, MA (salt marsh)
Crane's Beach, Ipswich, MA (beachy stuff) or Old Town Hill, Newbury, MA (tidal river in a rural setting)
Bunker Meadowsw at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Topsfield, MA (fresh water pond)
Rye Harbor Marina, Rye, NH (ocean, boats, buildings)

There's still time to jump in if you're interested! Call or email me for registration information.

The primary focus of this class is learning how to design pleasing pages in your sketchbook. It's one thing to go out and record your surroundings with various sketches and notes. It's quite another to put down these notes in your sketchbook in a thoughtful way. We'll use some design elements, more legible handwriting, and thoughtful arrangement of it all. With this as our focus, there will be very little drawing instruction; more emphasis on composition and realizing what it is about the surroundings that captures YOUR attention. Ample "alone" time will be given during classes for students to tap into this process.

Our first class took place along the Sqaumscott River in Exeter. This is a tidal river which flows about 8 or 9 miles out to New Hampshire's Great Bay, leading you out into the open ocean. It flows through about 5 towns along the way. As a tidal river it attracts all sorts of wildlife, from migrating birds to resident river otters and muskrat. Lots and lots of insects use the area, as do a wide variety of plants. Here you'll see a few photos of students at work and what they produced during class.

What makes a pleasing page to look at? Thoughtful composition is key. We began with a 20- 30-minute sketch of the landscape. Each student chose a view that interested them. Using a viewfinder, we focused on how much of that view was reasonable to put down on paper and filled approx. 20-30% of the page. Once that was complete we began to look at the variety of stuff living, growing, passing through and using this habitat. It can be overwhelming to choose! We started this part as a group, relying on the drawing skills learned in previous courses. The river was at hightide, so no wading birds were around. But gulls and cormorants were! Using binoculars, we captured these shapes in a small area on the page. We put down a few words to indicate what species of birds we were sketching. From there we began to focus on smaller things, like the plants and insects around us. At this point we worked individually. Soon it was time to head back to the car, where we compared our work to the examples from well-known artists like Hannah Hinchman and Cathy Johnson, which were shown at the beginning of class. We discussed what was successful on each page and what each student might consider changing to make the page more pleasing; more graphic and decorative in essence.

Now that the students have been through this process of "thoughtful page design", the homework assigned is to repeat the process once again. Begin with a landscape sketch, move on to document some of the details within that landscape. Also, I asked each student to research some artists and come in next week with an example of a pleasing sketchbook page, prepared to discuss what it is about their choice that they find attractive.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Good morning!

I'm delighted to tell you that last night's opening reception for myself, Karen Desrosiers and Joe Montroy was a wonderful success. Lots of friends and family showed up despite the wild thunder storm that took place. It was such a treat to see some friends from the past, a few neighbors and family I haven't seen in quite awhile. It was also a valuable experience for me to see a body of work that represents the past 17 years of my life hanging in one space. It's a chance for me to reflect and summarize on a visual level.

Below I have uploaded a few of my favorite newer pieces that are in the show. I hope you enjoy viewing them. As always, I'm interested in your responses to my work. Take a moment to let me know, would you?



Cow & Barn
framed, 7 x 12"

Ocean in French Ulramarine & Umber
framed, 12 x 14"

Spare and Apple?
framed, 12 x 14"
Lori's Tulips
framed, 14 x 18"

Meredith Harbor, Lake Winni
framed, 11 x 14"

The Brook
framed, 11 x 14"

Little Harbor @ Creek Farm
Portsmouth, NH
framed, 11 x 14"
Canoes & Kayaks
framed, 11 x 14"

framed, 8 x 10"
Evening Meadow
framed, 8 x 10"

Value Study for Pines & Shadows
framed, 8 x 10"

Great Blue Heron 1
framed, 8 x 10"

Great Blue Heron 2
framed, 8 x 10"

Great Blue Heron 3
framed, 8 x 10"

Great Blue Heron 4
framed, 8 x 10"

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Oil & Water Mixed with Stones (and Steel, and Iron)

Hey all!

I'm getting ready for my group art show to open tomorrow evening! It's very exciting! We just hung the show yesterday afternoon. I'm working on my labels, printing up my artist statement and loading up the Ipod. I can't wait for tomorrow night!
Hope you can check out the show sometime this month. Here's a few pics for preview...

Just click on any of the images for a larger view.

Many blessings to you all!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I participated in a wonderful painting workshop with Rod McIver this past weekend. His website, Heron Dance, is posted to the left under My Favorite Links. His work is incredible and I learned so much! I feel particularly lucky in that he may never teach another workshop again.

You should check out his website. His work is really beautiful.


I finished the newest cow painting. You'll have to come to my July art show to see how I finished it up!

I'm working on some great blue heron paintings now. I'll post them as soon as I they are ready for viewing. Well, OK, here's a peak at one. It's called Heron Back. It will be for sale at the July show...

July Art Show!

I am participating in a group show at the Discover Portsmouth center in downtown Portsmouth! It will be my first exposure in that area.
That's right...I'm having my first Portsmouth art show! Karen Desrosiers ( and Joseph Montroy ( will be joining me in this exciting event at the Portsmouth Historical Society's Discover Portsmouth location.
I will be showing a a collection of brand new watercolor paintings! This is an ecclectic collection representing a step in my transoformation from Illustrator to Fine Art Painter. For the most part, this body of work is representational of the natural world, my passion. But there may be a few surprises in there, as well!
Karen paints in oils. She has a passion for Ireland and so has developed a body of work devoted to that country.
Joseph is a sculptor working in a variety of mediums. His work is slightly more abstract and makes for a wonderful compliment to the work of Karen and I.
SAVE THE DATE: The opening reception is scheduled for the evening of July 3rd, which coincides with Portsmouth's Art Walk-one night per month when the galleries of downtown Portsmouth stay open late for visitors. It's also the same night as the fireworks display near downtown Portsmouth. We'll be hosting visitors with wine and snacks from 5-8pm. Make a night of it with dinner downtown, do the Art Walk and then head over to the shore for an awesome night of color and sound!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Welcome spring and summer!!

Hello all,

I can't believe that November was the last time I posted anything here. Wow, how time flies. I've been very busy at the art center, developing several new programs for adults and learning the ropes of running a non-profit art center. In addition, I've been painting fairly regularly, developing business skills & partnerships, and preparing to participate in two upcoming watercolor workshops.

I recently joined up with a plein air painting group. I think I'm the only one working in watercolors. I consider it an opportunity to make the leap from field sketching to painting en plein air. Since I'm still learning how to master the medium of watercolor, I don't expect very much of my work on these days to be of framing quality. It's really just an opportunity to have a block of time every week devoted to practicing the art of painting on location. However, this first week I ended up with something I love.

I wanted to paint cows – so I did – and I love how my cow came out!

I drew just a very loose and light shape of a cow. Yes, I had a bunch of them in front of me and you know how challenging it can be to draw live animals. I was quite pleased to have produced something that resembled a cow in a loose yet still representational way. Just the way I want my drawings and paintings to look.

It's not finished, however. I posted two version of it here. I still need to work on the values in the painting. What I'm not sure about is how to crop it. Do I want the entire image showing the dead tree in the background and a larger middle ground of meadow? Or do I want to feature the cow more prominently by cropping the image closer in to him (or her). What do you think? I would love to see comments about the shapes, the values and the composition!

Three more new works are posted below!

These are framed in a gold metal frame that has some detail on the edges and are covered with an archival mat and uv, non-glare glass. I call them the smalls. I'm working on a series of smalls to re-purpose some wonderful frames and mats that once held pen & ink drawings from "The Nature of Cape Cod" project. As much as I loved seeing the pen & ink works framed, it was time to move on and try to use the frames in a different way. The mats are of a dark olive-brown color. I love the challenge of trying to match the color of the mat with new paintings. It's kind of backwards but what the heck? Maybe something awesome will come of it. I do like what I've produced so far. What do you think?

Evening Meadow

Spring Birches

Value Study 1