Friday, May 15, 2009

Relocated blog at

I've redone my fine art website and this blog will now have posts on that site. You'll find the link for my blog at the top of the page, it'll cover Nature Sketching, Fine Art Painting, Art Shows I go to anywhere in the world, and just all the general art and nature related stuff I go through every day. Please see it at

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Art Openings Last Night" 1-10-09

Friday night around Buffalo is usually a pretty busy art scene night, last night there were a few openings going on. I went with my son Paul to the 'Free Friday at the Knox', every Friday at the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo NY, on Elmwood Ave. We got there kind of late to really have a good walk through to see the exhibits, we were mostly interested in catching the Contemporary Dance performance going on. As we walked through the gallery...we saw Van Gogh, Monet, Dali, Cezanne, Mondrian, Gaughin, Motherwell...oh many great ones and I'm rusty at my art history so it's hard to remember!

After walking around I told myself I need to get back for a long visit with my sketchbook. I'll have to find out if they would allow me to do color studies. I'll pay a visit, do sketches and put it up on the blog.

We eventually made it to the Contemporary Dance it was really interesting. I honestly didn't think I'd like it, but when you have really talented, classically trained dancers, it becomes wonderful just watching the unbelievable control of their body movenment. There was a dancer Erin E. Bahn, who had a solo performance of a snake swallowing a swan. she started I didn't get it, the top half of her was a swan and the bottom a snake. It took me a few minutes to understand that this was two characters in one; the snake swallows the swan as she wriggles the costume tube up her body...complete with snake head with sparkles. It was really good at the end and completley creative!
After that Paul and I headed down to Franklin St. to the Jung Center to see my friend Bruce Bitmead's opening called "A Private Pop Culture". That's me and Bruce above posing by a painting called "Marry Me Mary", I thought that was funny.

Here's my son Paul and I by more of Bruce's paintings.

I had to try taking this photo in the mirror...can't believe it came out as well as it did because I hand held my tiny camera. But I wanted to show how beautiful the mirror, woodwork and candles were.
Above, a candle and glass photo, nice and cozy.
My friend Gene Witkowski, photographer, talking with some visitors to the opening. In the forground is Cornelia Dohsa Peck, a collage artist originally from Germany I met when I was Co-Director of the Museum of European Art in Clarence, NY.
A group shot of visitors...enjoying the goodies on the table. Notice the interesting painted woodwork in the background; the houses in Buffalo have some beautiful old details in wood and stained glass. I am sure it wasn't painted like this a long time ago.
Here I am with my buddy Gene Witkowski posing by Bruce's painting called Lapwing. Reminds me of an idea I'm working on with birds, but in my more realistic style. Gene did some photography tonight of the Dance performance...he can always be seen shooting the Neglia Ballet, a local dance company.

And the last photo, my son Paul standing by the largest tree in the city of Buffalo! It even has a plaque on it! It's a sycamore tree and I think I need to come back with my sketchbook to draw it; it's over 200 some years old.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

"Cold Morning at the Knights Inn" 12-28-08

You can read my notes on the page, really not much to say about this other than it was very cold! My stay in Endicott resulted in one night in a motel with my boys, no room at my dad's when the family comes to town! The Knights Inn has a very large eating area, it was sooo cold I had to eat with my coat on!

So I occupied myself with my pen and sketchbook, just to practice the angles of the room. I need to get back into the habit of drawing everywhere I go. What's that you say?....but Mary, it seems you already do!! Well, no, I could be drawing a lot more for practice as you can see in this picture! haha...well, not all are going to be great, you just have to do them, keep your mind and eye working together, like a workout for an athelete. It's a little more difficult too, to draw with an unforgiving pen, no erasing!

"Waiting in Friendly's" 12-26-08

I did this sketch obviously while waiting to eat at Friendly's in Endicott NY. I went to visit my dad and family after Christmas, always taking my sketchbook with me, like a little kid I need to keep occupied! I originally drew this with a pencil and kneaded rubber eraser, hiding it under the table as I drew. I try not to be too obvious when I draw people in public, they can start to feel like you're staring at them. I try to get the general person sketch in and some lines of the furniture around them, then work on the people leaving furniture for later. You can finish that stuff long after they're gone.

The pencil got so smeared by the time I got back to Buffalo I had to redraw it quickly in pen. So it looks a bit different, but I should learn my lesson by now, graphite just doesn't travel well in a sketchbook that gets moved around a lot.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Art Opening at Buffalo Arts Studio- Buffalo, NY 11-15-08

I just thought I'd put up some pictures from the annual art opening that the Buffalo Arts Studio has just before Christmas. It's a great event to go to, see friends, have a drink and lots of nice appetizers and even some live music. David Kane played the keyboard and there was an improve dancer. My painter friend Sue, me and Carl, a writer and musician.

Some crowd shots.

Me and Roberto, a buddy of mine from Buffalo State College sculpture class.

Wood sculpture by Roberto Pacheco, a woman dancer.
Ken Morgan photographer and David Kane the musician.
Bill Cooper, painter, and for this show he decided to make some paper sculptures.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Green Hooded Woman" tiny watercolor 11-14-08

Well, late last night, I just had to play with my new little watercolor field kit I put together. I love making up new kit ideas to carry my art stuff around in.

A picture of it all packed up, it only stands 6" tall and 4" wide.

Here it is with all the contents laid out, can you believe how much stuff I can fit inside it?

For the painting, I actually painted it while laying on the bedroom floor! Sometimes I think I'm just a kid in grown up clothes, doing things I would have done when I was younger. In College I painted using an old bread board on the floor, all the time! I had no desk in my apartment and it was just easier.

Well, back to my tiny watercolor. It's only 3 1/2" x 4 1/2" big! I used little brushes and the tiny little cup for water. I didn't start with any drawing, I just started painting, looking for the shapes and laid them in lightly. As I started to add the face details, that's when I checked using comparative measurements, where her mouth, nose, eyes all fell. Then I pulled the hood down a tad before putting it's green color on.

Below, I added the background wash and more on the hood, washing some background blue onto the green of the hood. I lightened the eyes also, touching them up. And then darkened the shadows.

Last is the finished little painting. I worked on hair details more, adding some burnt sienna to add warm darker tones and more hair strands. I painted some purple in the shadow on her chest near my signature. The purple was a nice choice, darkened without making it look dirty colored. I added more greens and a light wash of cadmium yellow to the upper hood to warm it up. The hood on the left side (shadow side) got only blue washes. I added some darks on her upper chest and washed over her shoulder, then lifted the highlight by dabbing a clean paper towel after wetting the paper repeatedly. Then after deciding the eyes were as good as I wanted them, (sometimes a hard thing to let go of) I added a tiny white highlight with a dot of white watercolor paint. Finished little beauty!! Hope you like it!

"Harris Hawk" oil (work in progress) 11-2008

I thought I'd put up some pictures of the Harris Hawk oil painting I'm trying to find time to work on. I started this a year or so ago! The underpainting shown below, has been sitting around in my studio so patiently waiting for more! It's done with wet burnt umber then I wiped off to 'draw' the bird on the canvas. A very nice, freeing technique, you just concentrate on the shapes like you should.

Then below, I start what's called the dead color stage, flat blocked in areas of color as close to the final color as possible.

Below you can see me, wow do I look serious or what? I decided to hold the palette this time, sometimes I put it on my custom biult (by me) painting tower. But I like having the colors right there in my hand so to speak, for mixing and direct painting onto canvas. This is it so far...shapes are looking good, colors too. I have to decide what I'll do with the sky or background.