Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Some paintings are HARD WORK. They seemingly just will not show themselves and evolve into something I am satisfied with. This is one such painting, but I'm done with it-- time to move on.

Sentinel  24x24  acrylic on birch panel

(click on image to enlarge)

Friday, September 9, 2016

Absent but not idle . . .

It's been too long since my last post, but my time away has been well spent.

Two month ago I completed Karen Rosasco's 5-day Workshop in Waynesboro, VA. I owe Karen a debt of gratitude for all she taught me over the course of her instruction. She saw my struggle and my need for more information and a clear process. She knew she could help me and she did.

I've been very busy since, more confident, more productive, and finding abstract painting easier and more satisfying. I have learned that I do need "a process" for what I'm trying to do.

I'll finish today's post with pictures--selected work I've completed over the last two months.

"Climb" 11x10 Acrylic

"Indication" 11x10 Acrylic
VMRC Award 2017  -  Honorable Mention

"Inlet" 24x24 Acrylic

"Whirl" 11x10 Acrylic

"Cold Passage" 12x12 Acrylic

"Strike" 11x10 Acrylic

"Tidal" 10x11 Acrylic

"Tombstone" 10x11 Acrylic

"Blue Pool" 24x24 Acrylic

"Waterway" 22x30 Acrylic
VMRC Juried Entry 2018  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Conscious Color

Entry  24 x 24 mixed media

Cradle  24 x 24 mixed media

(click on image to enlarge)

You can see that the track I’m on now excludes color, beyond of course black, white, and shades of grey. “What color should I use?” is the question I keep asking myself. But, if a specific color keeps creeping into my consciousness in a compelling way during the process, I’m going to try it out—It did and I did here in painting #2—Cradle.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Outfoxed  24 x 24 mixed media

(click on image to enlarge)
Have you noticed? There is a new conversational "fad" perpetrating the English language wherein the first word in a sentence is So. I hear it over and over again on the news.

So, I completed a 3-day mid-week workshop last week, instructor Janly Jaggard. Janly, an inspired artist and endlessly patient teacher, set up our room such that her five students each had their own art studio. Throughout the 3-day workshop, Janly dropped in, as it were, to visit each artist and talked about our works-in-progress, gently guiding/consulting, and tug-boating us toward our individual port-o-call.

So, I learned a lot. The most curious lesson learned was the realization, no let's call it revelation, that I have an unconscious compulsion to see realistic forms where none exist--at least not seen by teacher and fellow classmates. Cows, chickens scotty dogs, teapots, trees, mountains--you get the idea.

So, near the end of day three, I was working on the above painting, when Janly dropped by, looked at the painting, and shouted, "STOP", which I interpreted to mean STOP. Conversation followed, and we both agreed that this one was finished and truly an abstraction. Success!

So, I should not be surprised that I discovered a curious little fox with cute whiskers in the white character on the left. Oh well.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Grace behind form

Placeholder   24 x 24 mixed media

Downhill  24 x 24 mixed media

(click on images to enlarge)

As I continue to explore the process of abstracting form, I'm discovering that there is a particular beauty in an illusory rendering, particularly in greyscale where there are no color clues. It feels a little like that occasional inspired painting you discover that brings forth the negative and allows positive forms to recede--those beautiful passages that feel like grace behind form. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

"You have to paint the bad ones first" -- Frank Hobbs

Swim  30 x 30 mixed media

Landscape  12 x 36 mixed media

(click on images for larger view)

On the path toward abstraction, I was recently reminded of a quote by artist and teacher, Frank Hobbs . . .  "You have to paint the bad ones first". Although I don't like to think in terms of good and bad, his succinct point is taken and understood in a way that calms me down. We can't expect to reach our ultimate goal of accomplishment and satisfaction at the beginning. He reminds us of that obvious reality.

Today's paintings will be hung today at Co-Art Gallery in Staunton as new work. What's mostly new here is my approach. A sweetheart of a teacher and a remarkable abstract painter, Nicholas Wilton recommends we "make mindless marks and then respond to them" in one of his video tutorials, The end is found by the beginning. 

Both of these paintings in their earliest iterations were simply many random marks in charcoal for blacks and gesso for whites--images akin to what you might expect from a Jackson Pollack painting--black and white field paintings essentially. And then, at some point I switched my process and began to pull out forms, lines, images that somehow resonated with me--responding to my earlier marks. Although the finished works are too representational for my goals, I see progress.

Another friend, incredible teacher, artist, and fellow Co-Art member, Karen Rosasco assured me that in time and with practice, the literal representational forms will begin to melt away and I'll find my own inner abstractions. So, I'm quite encouraged and interested in this approach.

Do you struggle with abstraction? What's your approach?

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Baby steps . . .

And Beyond the Goat Shed   14x22   oil pastel on paper

Outbuilding Abstract   14x22   oil pastel on paper

(click on images for larger view)

Not much new to say about these other than I'm working toward a vision I'm not yet able to express. An abstract composition that has more to do with design and essential form than reality and detail.

My current thinking is that perhaps I just can't be rushed along this path, and that I should just enjoy what I'm producing now, with the knowledge that one day soon I can reflect and enjoy my baby steps along the way.