Thursday, September 23, 2010


In an effort to keep things fresh and possibly interesting to whomever is reading this blog, I give you this entry:

Today I got up extra early (6am) and hit the road for the 3 hour ride to Boston.  The reason for this journey?  To file my paper work with the Italian Consulate in Boston for dual citizenship.  Italian and American.  Two Passports.  A citizen of the European Union. Thanks Nicole.
Things went really easily for me.  The hard part was getting my Mother's documentation in order to prove the lineage.  So now I wait a month for my birth to be recorded in Belcastro.

Tonight I also accepted my first proper portrait commission. This is something I am extremely proud of and really looking forward to.  It is a direct result of the live portrait drawings I did at the Clark back in February. A met a very nice man who sat for me and his wife.  He wanted to give his wife a special present to commemorate her 25th year of being in the States, and decided on a portrait painted by yours truly. I am really looking forward to the one on one interaction.  What a story this guy has already told me after our first meeting tonight!

So after showing him around my studio, talking over the logistics of the portrait, and getting to know a bit about each other,  we will be off and running on Tuesday of next week.  I logged 336 miles in the car, and about 3,200 mental miles in tonight's conversation.  All in all a productive day.  And I even got some fresh paint on the Kripalu painting.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

En Plein Air

For my birthday this year I treated myself to a French Easel so I could start painting outdoors.  There is nothing quite like finding a great spot and working on location.  I have been reading a great blog lately by Stapleton Kearns who got me inspired to get outside.  His blog is incredibly useful and full of everything you need to know regarding outdoor painting.  Plus he seems like a fun guy and is a hell of a painter.

For my first venture, I went out to Mt. Greylock, and camped out at the base in a meadow looking south.  I worked for about 4 hours in the field before bringing it back to the studio to finish it off.  Not bad for someone who hasn't done something like this in a while...

For my nest venture, I traveled south to Kripalu in Lenox.  Another beautiful place to paint.  Looking out over Stockbridge Bowl surrounded by peace and quiet, I set up my easel on the grounds of Kripalu and set to work.. This is where I am after about 6 hours.  I think I'll take it back to the studio to finish it off, or I might head back out on location.  We will see when I get a chance to get back out.  

The leaves are changing and Fall is such a wonderful time to be outside.  I've got a list of places that I want to paint.  I'll try to post them as I make them.  I'm shooting for one a week.

On a side note, I had a catastrophic easel failure today (second time it has happened) where the a leg suddenly collapses.  this time it smashed my turpentine jar and so I had to go home early.  Totally lame.  I've got an idea about how to rig the easel so this NEVER happens again.  Imagine... the whole rig just suddenly falls to one side.  I've got 5 paint brushes in 2 hands, and a paint soaked cloth. The easel has my full palette, extra brushes, turpentine jar, rags, and canvas attached.  what do you drop and what do you grab.  I'm with you.  I grabbed the wet canvas.  It only smudged a little. everything else lay scattered on the ground.

All in all, it was a very fun time and I can't wait to get back out there.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back in the Fire

I have started packing up many paintings in the past few days to get them out of the studio to make room for new work.  I'm a bit tired of looking at some of them honestly, and I also don't want them to influence anything from this point further. So they are getting wrapped in bubble wrap and into the archives for a loooong time.  It will be fun to upack them some day - maybe I'll even be surprised.

But a couple pieces have been giving me the "eye" for quite some time, so I needed to address them.  The "eye" means that I never quite gave them what they needed at the time, and they are now ready (and so am I).  I've got to start taking better photographs though....

First up - Figure Study from 2010 -
I had submitted this to a show WAY before I should have.  (see this post) I didn't give it a chance to evolve.  I had always thought of the figure as "emerging" or being birthed, but didn't show it.  The additional figures sit as partially resolved; unable to gain the flesh and longing for a chance.

Next up - After Michelangelo from 2008 -
This one has been a long time coming.  I just moved right past it after it was "done", but it's time has come too.  I often rework the drawing and the tone/color of paintings.  This one got a bit of both. 

I was never happy with the flesh tone or the form of the top figure. It had no punch and was painted rather weakly. A reworking of Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna and a touch of Cad. Red light got this figure back in shape.  It also added a much needed degree of "finish" to push the composition. 

So two pieces back in the fire.  They will get a new coat of varnish and then bubble wrapped and put away.  New work awaits.