Thursday, December 31, 2020

50 years of sketchbooks


Bookshelf containing numerous sketchbooks of various sizes and colors, many with date labels on spines."

Filing away my latest sketchbook, I noticed that that oldest book on the shelf was from 1970. So there’s 50 years of sketching, cartooning, and doodling, as well as some blank books waiting to be filled.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Pyramus and Bossie

I glimpsed this moment of equi-bovine fraternization while driving down the road the other day. There was no time to stop and photograph it so I attempted to recreate it from memory.

Pen and ink sketch of horse and cow socializing over a fence.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020


I'm very pleased  to be included in the  third annual Small Works Show Exhibit 2020  presented by The Small Works Gallery at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, MA.

Due to the pandemic the show will be presented as a virtual experience online without any physical interaction.
The newly designed GCA website will be the platform to feature the artwork and all the promotions and sales will be handled online by GCA .
The Opening of this show will be presented on Saturday, December 5th at 5pm via streaming link. TBA shortly!
The shipping and/or pick up/delivery of the sold work will be handled directly with the artist.
The exhibit will open on December 5, 2020 and close December 31, 2020.
Featuring work by:
Mie Kurahara, Jen Delgado, Tom Raymo, Robert Markey, Steve Stankiewicz, Lahri Bond, Rachel Bellenoit, Jill Kovalchik, Dominique Thiebaut, Bernice Masse Rosenthal, Maddie McDougall, Erica Langevin, Hannah Rosenbaum, Matthew Mattingly, Becca Fite, Margaret Lloyd, Joanne Bell, Rochelle Shicoff, Jack Brown, Meredith Marciano, Bruce D. Chambers, Christina Giebner, David Barclay, Jessica Gorman, Betsy Koscher, Patricia Hinga, Bobbie Salthouse, Robert Salthouse, Marc Moses, and Vitek Kruta.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Finished making my new sketchbook. Here are some hitherto unpublished candid sketches from the old one, done before the pandemic. I’ve previously posted other sketches, watercolors, and toned paper drawings from this book and its predecessors.

Handmade sketchbook containing white, toned tan, toned gray, and watercolor paper, with mat knife, bone folder, glue, and dental floss.

Pen and ink drawing of woman gesturing, with glasses pushed up on forehead.

Pen and ink drawing of woman with chin resting on hand, pensive expression.

Pen and ink drawing of woman reading aloud (with the words “reading aloud”  visible on right).

Pen and ink drawing of woman looking down intently at phone.

Pen and ink drawing of woman with high hairdo smiling.

Pen and ink drawing of woman’s face from below.

Pen and ink drawing of woman with bandanna looking at phone.

Pen and ink drawing of man gesturing with arm raised.


Friday, November 27, 2020


I started this little sketch this gray and misty morning. I was struck by the way the goalposts showed light against the dark trees and dark against the sky. I had just been reading about this phenomenon, called “counterchange” in James Gurney’s book “Imaginative Realism” the night before, and here was a textbook case before my eyes! 

Ink wash and white ink sketch of athletic field with two goalposts against a background of bare trees and distant hills.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Mini Altoids paintbox color swatches

New colors for a new, hopefully more transparent, era.
This is the mini Altoids box I carry for sketching, containing a modified complementary palette of magenta, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue, violet, and warm brown. The actual pigments used for each color can vary, and their individual characteristics determine the way they mix and interact. I had been using cadmium lemon for my yellow, which is very powerful in mixes but is fairly opaque, so glazes can take on a milky translucency. I replaced it with Winsor Yellow, PY154, which is transparent, and closer to a primary yellow (cad lemon leans greenly). I also replaced my cyan with Winsor Blue (Green Shade) PB15, which is also close to the primary cyan.
I started to familiarize myself with the new palette by making an 8 x 8 grid, with the base colors going up the diagonal, and the combinations of any 2 colors defined by rows and columns. The colors obtained by mixing are above the diagonal and those created by glazing are below. Of course, there are many more possibilities depending on the proportions of the mixes, but this gives a general idea.

Mini Altoids tin converted to watercolor paintbox, list of the colors and pigment codes, and table of swatches showing colors obtained by mixing and glazing the paints. The colors listed are Ultramarine Blue PB29, Winsor (Dioxazine) Violet PV23, Winsor Blue (GS) PB15s, Winsor Green (YS) PG36,  Quinacridone Burnt Orange PO48, Winsor Yellow P154, Pyrrole Orange (RS) PO73, Quin Magenta PR122.


Sunday, October 11, 2020

 I have 8 small pieces up at The Center Dance, 321 Main St. Amherst, MA, as part of the Amherst Arts Night Plus Windows into Art  project.

Front view of The Center Dance building, showing large, mullioned window with 8 small paintings hanging in separate panes.

Close up of The Center Dance window, showing paintings hanging in separate panes.

Watercolor of corn stubble receding towards line of trees in background

Corn Stubble, October     Watercolor 4” x 6”

Watercolor of house with curved veranda in a field of grass, trees in background

Victor’s Neighbor Watercolor 4” x 6” 

Watercolor of road, fields, and bare trees under a blustery sky

East Hadley Road, November Watercolor 4” x 6”

Egg tempera painting of nude woman and man seated by a woodland pool. She is dabbling the water to make ripples,  which spread out towards the man seated on a rock in a listening attitude
Ripple Egg Tempera 5” X 7”

Egg tempera painting of woman playing an old fashioned wooden flute. Outside the window, snow is falling about in swirling vortices

Shed Egg Tempera 5” X 7”

Watercolor of ocean waves and surf

Waves Watercolor 4” x 6” 

Watercolor and ink drawing of kayaks, boats, surfboards, etc on wooden rack in bright sunlight

Kayaks Watercolor 4” x 6” 

Watercolor of wheelbarrow propped up against ladder leaning on shed wall. Hills and fields in background

Joan’s Barrow Watercolor 6” x 4” 


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Workshop 13 2nd annual Northeast Fine Arts Exhibition in Traditional Realism

 Abandoned Fort and Mount Norwottuck from Mount Pollux: Showers Likely are in the Workshop 13 2nd annual Northeast Fine Arts Exhibition in Traditional Realism,  13 Church St., Ware, MA 01082, September 26 - October 11, 2020.

Online show:

Oil painting of kid's climbing structure in snow with woods and distant houses in background

Oil painting of apple tree in foreground and Mt. Norwottuck against a gray sky in backgound. A woman walks her dog beneath trees and shrubbery in the middle ground.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Beaver pond

 Riding on the bike path and came across this scene, both beautiful and melancholy, with the bare ruin’d choirs of dead trees white in the late afternoon light surrounded by marsh grass and lily pads in the beaver pond. I only had one page left in my sketchbook, a failed and partially scrubbed out sketch of my trusty climbing structure, so I attempted take a page from James Gurney’s book, so to speak, and build the new picture on the ruins of the old. I managed to finagle most of the original elements into the new picture except for those lines in the sky.

Watercolor sketch of pond with marsh grasses, dead trees, and trees with fall colors.

Sketchbook page with partially scrubbed out image of climbing structure.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Screen porch light and shadow

 A little 5” x 7” oil sketch of the back porch. I love how the light blanches the screen, leaving the true color to come through in the shadows. I used the mini pochade box I put together to use with my kayak, but realized I could mount it on a regular tripod to do a small painting in a confined space. It’s not quite where I want it to be, but I think I’ll let it ripen a bit and then either work on it more or start a larger version.

Oil painting of corner of screen porch, seen from the inside. A yellow couch in the foreground with two chairs behind it. Brightly lit foliage is visible through the shaded areas of the screen; the sunlit areas appear almost colorless and flat.

Small pochade box fashioned from a cigar box, mounted on tripod, with porch interior behind.


Close up of small jar affixed to front of pochade box, containing mineral spirits and plastic scrubber material for washing brushes.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Wedding tent, Cape Cod


Black and white ink on toned paper, 4” x 6”. The fluttering flags and their shadows are very hypnotic.

Pen and ink drawing of white wedding pavilion with four banners under a partly cloudy sky.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Cape beach sculpture

 Not sure what this totemic assemblage signifies, but it was a worthy challenge to depict in watercolor. I had brought along a chopped down clip board along with a tripod, and realized I could C-clamp them together to make a nifty watercolor workstation.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

 Day two at Cape. Work in progress - oil painting of dunes and distant houses from our porch. 

1. Current state 

2. Set up and ready to paint. 

3. Initial sketch, tape cropping to root 2 rectangle.

4. Starting to find the dark accents.

5. Blocking in the middle values, connecting the darks. 

6. Starting the sky, restating the darks. 

7. Me at work

Tuesday, September 8, 2020


 First day on Cape Cod. This seagull came to visit - they may have been interested in my chicken salad. Nice contre jour effect against the late afternoon sun.

Monday, August 31, 2020

I recently had occasion to reassemble my old homemade easel, which I built back in the mid Eighties based on plans by the great painter and teacher Paul Rahilly. I had only a circular saw, a power drill, and minimal carpentry skills, but it wasn’t too hard to do. It stood me in good stead for about 20 years until I got a David Sorg.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Mount Norwottuck from Mount Pollux: Showers Likely

 I’m calling this done. Tentative title “Mount Norwottuck from Mount Pollux: Showers Likely” oil on linen panel 7 3/8” x 12”. I started this back in June, then put it aside for a while and returned to it last week.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Standing palette table

With the passing years I grow less tolerant of hunching over low work surfaces. I had already raised my palette table up a bit with furniture lifters, (see second pic) but I really needed it higher. Today I built a small sub table out of odds and ends of lumber to go under the palette table, raising it to belly button height. Much more convenient and ergonomic. My DIY ventilation system can be seen on the upper left.

Saturday, August 1, 2020


 Thank you note for neighbor’s gift of corn. We ate the originals upon receipt; these ears are ringers. Watercolor on cold pressed paper post card.

Cropping to size

 When I started this one I marked off the rectangle I wanted on a larger panel with blue tape. Today I made it official, lopping off the extra with a table saw.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Took the new brushaside for a shakedown cruise on lakewarner with SketchpadL. I had done one additional mod - I turned the bolt hole into a slot so I wouldn’t have to disassemble it on the high seas. It’s much easier to drop it in and give the bolt a few turns. I found a nice motif in this old shack with its handsome stove pipe. Got as far as a basic block- in. The BrushAside worked fine, apart from being a bit bouncy.