Paintings Inspired by Cleveland

Cleveland #3 Train Yard12x12" oil on canvas$350

Cleveland #3 Train Yard
12×12″ oil on canvas

I have two new paintings at the State of the Art Gallery.  During the last month and a half,  I have been working in a variety of media on remembered images inspired by my trip to Cleveland in the beginning of December. I did charcoal and pen and ink wash sketches. The first to be resolved, Cleveland #3 Train Yard, is 12 x12″, oil on canvas. I worked directly from the charcoal sketch with palette knife, using thick layers of paint.

The second, Cleveland #8 Cayahoga Commerce, 11 x14″,  required two acrylic sketches to work out the color and composition.  I needed a good sense of what it should look like because my technique is to paint the whole thing thickly and directly in one session, and because of the way the web of electrical wires fragments the background, the integrity of the image would be compromised if I had to go back into it and adjust the background.

I look forward to seeing you at the opening reception this Friday, February 1, 5:00-8:00 pm.

Cleveland #8 Cayahoga Commerce11x14" oil on canvas$350

Cleveland #8 Cayahoga Commerce
11×14″ oil on canvas


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Time Out

I haven’t painted in the last week and a half, and canceled a trip to NYC to see a dear cousin and the Development of Abstraction show at the MOMA because of Bronchitis. However, I have been busy in my little art world, all be it in a quieter and more reflective way. I have been getting the management side of things going. I am continuing to work on a comprehensive catalog of my paintings, which will list title, size, medium, price, where it has been shown, and if sold, to whom. It is necessary part of managing the business of art, something that I have done sporadically, in bits and pieces at odd times with huge lapses. It is crucial because it is so easy to forget those details, and then I have to scramble to look on the backs of the paintings for the titles, and dig around in the storage boxes to measure things. It is also important to have a consistent pricing policy.

I have also been trolling the internet, looking at works in particular styles to learn more about what is out there, reading other artists blog posts, and seeing how they arrange their websites. This is making me more comfortable with the act of blogging. It is enabling me to look at my website with the eye of the outsider. I spiffed up some titles and captions to make them more understandable to people who are not familiar with the whole context.  Yesterday I learned how to put captions under the paintings in the gallery, for which I had to learn some html code.  Only two bits of code , not a lot, but a start – and even just  to start something sometimes is a huge accomplishment.

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Sketches and unfinished things

These images represent the beginning of a new series inspired by a trip to Cleveland. I was impressed by the variety of urban shapes and colors, and the associations they conjured up. After the recent election season, with talk of heartland, industry that built America, and diversity, I was where the multitude of diversified industries, small and large thrived and withered. Carl Sandburg’s poetry resonated, and memories of my recent visit to the George Bellows retrospective came to mind. We blew in and out in a whirlwind, couldn’t stop to sketch or photograph, so I came home with only my memories and a few sketches from the moving car. Never the less, I got busy in the studio. first I sketched some rough memories with charcoal. Then I tried out some small acrylic compositions, and some larger oil starts. I made a trip to Syracuse to study and photograph the intertwining highways, I81 and 690, around Almond Street. That led to some pen and ink wash studies.

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November Member’s Show at State of the Art Gallery


Here’s a link to the Video for the November Member’s Show at the State of the Art Gallery. I have five pieces hanging – the Jillian Portrait, finally finished, and four landscapes done on location at the St. Lawrence and in Chautauqua during the last month.

I am currently working on three more portraits. There is a good start on Julia, a Couch surfing guest, a third try at Susan, my daughter, and another pass of paint on the portrait of Andrejs that I started way back in January. Each portrait that I start, and each revision makes me more sensitive to the nuances of color and structure. I am using a brush, and trying to be very accurate. It is amazing how a minuscule inaccuracy,for example, a nose that is an eighth of an inch too wide or long creates a jarring perception of wrongness. We as human beings are that tuned in to the tiny variations that make us able to identify each other. With the landscapes, I can happily edit or even make things up, removing a branch or shifting it over to satisfy the needs of the composition. No such freedom with the human face if we want to recognize our friend or relative. It is a little nerve wracking to paint so slowly, and to see things reveal themselves after I thought I saw it all. Humbling, to be honest.

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Video for Turning Points

Here’s a link to the video that Stan Bowman made for the exhibit Turning Points at the State of the Art Gallery, where I am currently showing my paintings.

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