Saturday, December 31, 2011


New Year's eve. Even though the winter's solstice has passed and the days are a bit longer, they are so dark. And, I am painting in a downstairs room without overhead lights while my studio is painted. I will probably need to repaint a lot of areas that seemed okay in the dim light, but once viewed in good light .... I continue to work only on the leaves.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Caravaggio: Swirl and Vortex by Larry Levis

I came across this today and thought it so beautiful that I had to post and save it. LARRY LEVIS Caravaggio: Swirl & Vortex (reprinted by permisson of University of Pittsburgh Press)
In the Borghese, Caravaggio, painter of boy whores, street punk, exile & murderer, Left behind his own face in the decapitated, swollen, leaden-eyed head of Goliath, And left the eyelids slightly open, & left on the face of David a look of pity Mingling with disgust. A peach face; a death mask. If you look closely you can see It is the same face, & the boy, murdering the man, is murdering his own boyhood, His robe open & exposing a bare left shoulder. In 1603, it meant he was available, For sale on the street where Ranuccio Tomassoni is falling, & Caravaggio, Puzzled that a man would die so easily, turns & runs. Wasn't it like this, after all? And this self-portrait, David holding him by a lock Of hair? Couldn't it destroy time if he offered himself up like this, empurpled, Bloated, the crime paid for in advance? To die before one dies, & keep painting? This town, & that town, & exile? I stood there looking at it a long time. A man whose only politics was rage. By 1970, tinted orchards & mass graves. ~ The song that closed the Fillmore was "Johnny B. Goode," as Garcia played it, Without regret, the doors closing forever & the whole Haight evacuated, as if Waiting for the touch of the renovator, for the new boutiques that would open— The patina of sunset glinting in the high, dark windows. Once, I marched & linked arms with other exiles who wished to end a war, & . . . Sometimes, walking in that crowd, I became the crowd, &, for that moment, it felt Like entering the wide swirl & vortex of history. In the end, Of course, you could either stay & get arrested, or else go home. In the end, of course, the war finished without us in an empty row of horse stalls Littered with clothing that had been confiscated. ~ I had a friend in high school who looked like Caravaggio, or like Goliath— Especially when he woke at dawn on someone's couch. (In early summer, In California, half the senior class would skinny-dip & drink after midnight In the unfinished suburb bordering the town, because, in the demonstration models, They finished the pools before the houses sold. . . . Above us, the lush stars thickened.) Two years later, thinking he heard someone call his name, he strolled three yards Off a path & stepped on a land mine. ~ Time's sovereign. It rides the backs of names cut into marble. And to get Back, one must descend, as if into a mass grave. All along the memorial, small Offerings, letters, a bottle of bourbon, photographs, a joint of marijuana slipped Into a wedding ring. You see, you must descend; it is one of the styles Of Hell. And it takes a while to find the name you might be looking for; it is Meant to take a while. You can touch the names, if you want to. You can kiss them, You can try to tease out some final meaning with your lips. The boy who was standing next to me said simply: "You can cry. . . . It's O.K., here." ~ "Whistlers," is what they called them. A doctor told me who'd worked the decks Of a hospital ship anchored off Seoul. You could tell the ones who wouldn't last By the sound, sometimes high-pitched as a coach's whistle, the wind made going Through them. I didn't believe him at first, & so then he went into greater Detail. . . . Some evenings, after there had been heavy casualties & a brisk wind, He'd stare off a moment & think of a farm in Nebraska, of the way wheat Bent in the wind below a slight rise, & no one around for miles. All he wanted, He told me, after working in such close quarters for twelve hours, for sixteen Hours, was that sudden sensation of spaciousness—wind, & no one there. My friend, Zamora, used to chug warm vodka from the bottle, then execute a perfect Reverse one-&-a-half gainer from the high board into the water. Sometimes, When I think of him, I get confused. Someone is calling to him, & then I'm actually thinking of Caravaggio . . . in his painting. I want to go up to it And close both the eyelids. They are still half open & it seems a little obscene To leave them like that.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Short work day. It's probably difficult to see any progress, but it's all in the lower left and center leaves.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


My studio is in transformation. New ceilings are going in and additional lighting will be added. So, I'm painting in a downstairs room. The light is somewhat better, but I have no maneuverability to deal with glare. The tedious work of detailing has slow, so slow.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Christmas Day. Cold and raw with a few flakes. Found an hour to paint before the prime rib is ready. Changed the ground color closer to the desired finish.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Christmas Eve. There will be the watching of It's a Wonderful Life, the crying at the end, and the toasting of the tree. There will be the reflecting upon our good fortune and past Christmases.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Spent the last 2 days in Boston looking at art and listening to music. The MFA has a Degas show that is comprised of just his nudes. The majority of the pieces are monotypes and monotypes with pastel over drawings. Overall, the show has a feeling of works done as exercises in form and composition studies. The figures don't seem to change at all over the decades, same poses, same line, same palette. There are 4 paintings (that I remember), one of which is strong. The others are either unfinished or appear student-like. The other viewing was of Draw/Dance at the ICA. I liked this show with it's experimental and expressive forms of line. The works suggested the use of line to express or illustrate an event or personal experience. The materials were unorthodox from yarn to metal to video. In the evening we attended the Christmas Revels as Sanders Theater in Harvard's Memorial Hall. Sanders Theater was inspired by Christopher Wren's Sheldonian concert hall at Oxford. The space is beautifully covered in rich dark wood. The Revels concert was not so good this year. It used a play format that was in the genre of a children's play. I would have preferred more singing. So...when we got home I used the remaining daylight to paint a bit.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Having a bit of a problem with glare in photographing this piece. The area to the right is a deep blue green with some lighter indication of foliage. The shingles in the background are more of a green gray and lower in contrast. I worked on the color and light of the leaves in the lower left.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


I've changed the scale of the two closer blossoms, enlarging them.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Since datura is an evening blooming plant with the blossom fading by midday, I was unsure how to use the light. These were observed in full sun and thus, I'm unsure how the night light would show. So, I'm playing with the ground. In this version I've presented a ground that could be early evening or morning. But it may not work once the strong shadows are created.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


It was dark when I finished today. Thus, the photo has a glare from my lights. It's good to be painting somewhat larger. My arm appreciates the movement of applying paint in large swaths. And my eye gets a workout with the composition by considering negative space.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


This painting is 24"x27" on board. The expansive view will show the datura in scale.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Datura Metel IV

This point of view does not do justice to the regal datura. However, I've come to appreciate the leaves as well and they show themselves here. 5"x7" on board and gold leaf.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Datura Metel III

The datura never bores me. The lyrical, arabesque lines of the form are ever changing affecting the light and color. 5"x7" on board and gold leaf.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


The cleome is a wonderful annual that is tall and continues to bloom all summer. It's also known as the spider flower. Nice long seed pods develop as the flower continues to bloom up the stem. And the great thing? All those seeds set themselves for a garden full of cleome the following spring. 5"x7" on board and gold leaf.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Life Drawing

Another lovely morning figure drawing at PAAM. Today's model was more interesting than Tuesday's. She had more weight on her bones and an ability to hold a long pose. Tonight is an opening for a Kenneth Stubbs show at PAAM which we will attend. Also, the galleries are open late and offer wine and cheese.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Life Drawing

We are in Ptown this week doing some dog and house sitting. The house is situated on a hill at the end of Bradford Street overlooking Herring Cove. We can see Truro from the deck. The dog is Ruby, a red-headed Irish Terrier. All in all a fabulous favor to do. Gallery hopping, whale watching, and dune touring are in our future. Today I took advantage of the Provincetown Art Museum's life drawing class.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Echinacea Purpurea Maxima

According to the University of Texas website "the genus name is from the Greek echino, meaning hedgehog, an allusion to the spiny, brownish central disk. The flowers of Echinacea species are used to make an extremely popular herbal tea, purported to help strengthen the immune system; an extract is also available in tablet or liquid form in pharmacies and health food stores. Often cultivated, Purple Coneflower is a showy, easily grown garden plant." I love the hedgehog connection. It reminds me of England. I've framed the piece and placed it on my Daily Gallery page. We are in the process of ripping off our deck and replacing it. This will slow down any daily studio progress. Stay tuned. 5"x7" on board and gold leaf.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Echinacea Purpurea Maxima

This cone flower has been in the garden for years but never has thrived. It doesn't get enough sun. This year, however, it has produced multiple blooms. I think it deserves some praise.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Datura, Another Point of View

Datura Metel, also known as Angel's Trumpet, Devil's Trumpet, Thorn Apple.
Datura metel grows in the wild in all the warmer parts of the world, and is cultivated worldwide for its chemical and ornamental properties. It was first described by Linnaeus in 1753, but no botanically correct illustrations or descriptions were made until after the New World was settled. It is not possible to be sure about its original home. According to
Preissel, Ulrike; Hans-Georg Preissel (2002). Brugmansia and Datura: Angel's Trumpets and Thorn Apples. Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books. pp. 120–123. ISBN 1-55209-598-3. 5"x7" oil on board and gold leaf.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Datura, Another Point of View

The datura is an interesting flower to grow. It blooms in the evening or sometimes early morning and wilts as the sun rises in the sky. The dew on it in the morning reminds me of Man Ray's Tears. And the flower is so delicate that the light shines through like through silk.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dature, Another Point of View

Been taking a lot of pictures of the garden and some cut flowers set against black. Hurricane Irene is going to destroy the flowers.
Today I worked a bit on the whites of the bloom.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Datura, Summer 2011

I added the botanical name because I consider the painting in the vein of botanical illustration. The first try I thought the font was too large and disrupted the balance of the whole. The smaller font is what I settled on.

Dature, Another Point of View

Today the wind has blown a steady 20 mph, but the air is crisp and the sky clear. It is one of those days that the sailors love on Buzzards Bay when you can set the spinnaker and race. We are on alert for a category 2 hurricane, Irene, to hit Saturday or Sunday. That will be the end of the garden.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Datura, Summer 2011

The last 3 days I've been in Ogunquit, ME and Rockport, Salem, MA. The NYC library's Hudson River School paintings were on view at the Peabody Essex. These were early paintings by those artists interested in capturing the American landscape. They are not as strong as the later pieces by the group. What I found more interesting was a show of Man Ray and Lee Miller works created when they were a team. His work appealed to me more, but I think that may have been because she was the subject.
We attended a concert in Rockport at the new Shalin Liu Performance Center. It is a small but visually powerful venue which sits directly on the coast. The back stage wall is glass and the interior reflects the shapes and colors of the rocks and water. Just beautiful.
The Datura
Undulating edges
Leaves traps shadows

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Datura, Summer 2011

The white emerges
Contrast grows to please the eye
Settle on green ground

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Datura, Summer 2011

Datura, the most beautiful flower and the most perfectly white flower I grow.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

August Flowers, 2011

Got to work late today and only spent a couple of hours in the studio. Finished off the right side of the gerbera and added some water drops to all 3 flowers. Tomorrow will clean up the details and finish.

Friday, August 12, 2011

August Flowers, 2011

Another beautiful summer day. The osprey are over head teaching the chick to soar on the thermals. the gold finch have found the sunflowers the chipmunks planted and the tomatoes are coming.
I worked back into the gerbera (left side only) and added some details such as water drops to the zinnia.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

August Flowers, 2011

I removed the smaller gerbera flowers in the middle frame because I felt they distracted from the whole rather than unifying the panels. I also went back into the red zennia. Tomorrow I will refine the yellow gerbera.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August Flowers, 2011

As I was thinking of ways to unify this composition, I came upon the idea of painting one flower through 3 stages of its life. Next project. Meanwhile, I worked more on the dahlia and carried some elements across the boards.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August Flowers, 2011

The reader might not notice a change from yesterday's post. Look carefully at the left side of the dahlia for subtle color adjustments and brush work.

Monday, August 8, 2011

August Flowers, 2011

I added my favorite dahlia to the triptych. More work tomorrow will reveal the true color. It is a syrupy caramel.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

August Flowers, 2011

I'm working simultaneously on some small flower paintings from our garden. This triptych study of yellow flowers is a small, 11 x 5.5", oil on board. The divisions are routed. I am thinking of participating in a daily painters site. These (and single flowers) would be what I present.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Highbush Blueberry, Spring

Reworked the middle ground to a darker color and more vague forms. Still may reduce some more of the sky.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Highbush Blueberry, Spring

Today I put in the basic placement of the branches and made some indications of the leaf placement, which should help me decide how to handle the far ground. I tried some green along the top and now think I should add more toward the horizon line. The color needs to be in high contrast with the blueberry bush, though.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Worked mostly the foreground and then the distant trunks. The foreground is Brownish Madder. Magnificent isn't it? Working with translucent colors like these on white board is similar to the glazing I've been doing on gold leaf. But, I intended it as only a wash. I'm intrigued enough to experiment with it later. The quality of the chroma is so rich.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Went back onsite today to make some more sketches. As a result, I noticed some light and form changes. The painting stage is still focused on ground color and aerial perspective. The color is much more chromatic than the past pieces.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Highbush Blueberry, Spring

After much sketching, I've started the 3rd series of the Highbush Blueberry. Same size 34" x 24", oil on board. I'm changing the composition a bit from the drawing, putting the bush more in the middle ground and reducing it's size to fit the canvas. It will have more of a composition like Fall. Concentration will be more on color and less on form. Then for Summer I will return to a closer view of the branches as in Winter. I keep humming Louis Armstrong.
I found my thrill ......on blueberry hill
On blueberry hill ......when I found you
The moon stood still ......on blueberry hill
And lingered until dreams came true

(the wind in the willow’s sweet melody
But all of those vows we made...... were never to be)

Though we’re’re part of me still
For you were my thrill......on blueberry hill

Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Works

New Works for Judith Klein Gallery.
Gold leaf and oil on 4 panel board. 8" x 12"