Night time River Cruise, Saranac River 6x12

Night time River Cruise, Saranac River 6x12
Night Time River Cruise, Saranac River 6x12View at Strand Center for the Arts Plattsburgh, NY

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Plunging Headlong into The Project

Now I am in it there are things that are popping up - like a woman with a stroller in an obstacle course.

Not in panic mode, the flow isn't hard, but it is full.

I have finally gotten my project for the year underway. Face to Face: Drawn to Saranac Lake. 125 - 200 faces in a year. One-foot square images of anyone who would sit for me in Saranac Lake. 

I am working in a small corner of Compass Printing across from the Town Hall.

I have been wanting to do this for a long time. Every time I wrote a request it had been turned down. Each time I tuned it up, made things clearer in my mind what I needed to do, what I wanted to do. The process of a grant is beneficial. The planning, the steps, the parts that you don't want to do but need to are all part of the planning process. Gathering up all the info the parts and pieces is like making a painting. One needs materials and a means to get them - Money. One needs some skills that become sharpened by use. Composition, design, color sense, balance.

Alternatively for a grant - numbers, in-kind services donors, location. Get it all together, dot the i's, cross the t's, balance the numbers. Tell the truth with passion and desire.

I got the grant. First notified in December then officially January 9. Not the money. That is another story.

Location, location, location. I thought I had nailed it, I was dreaming in technicolor about where I would be. It was gonna be terrific. I was starting January 15 then, arrghh, the floor fell out. Got a toe in the door for a different location but the longer I waited to hear the more I knew it wasn't gonna happen. It didn't.

The Chamber of Saranac Lake had a business networking event I decided partake to "Get the word out." Designed some cards with info to give out. When I picked them up at the printer - I knew where I could be. Had to ask, "How about here?" Compass Printing, John, said yes. Awesome! Went to the network event with my cards, with my location and started in "Getting the word out".

The event was just the beginning. Next - contacting those who expressed an interest, start the sign up process. It helps everyone if it is not too spontaneous, though the first portrait was all that. The second was close but the third was a plan. Next is press releases. One thing that really works is Facebook. There are a lot of great friends here and they too are getting the word out, connecting with the various circles that are Saranac Lake and environs.

A big Thank You all goes out to everyone. Now let the sign-ups begin.

First pics up shortly. 

One other thing. It seems the time is about two hours to sit and get your likeness.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In the beginning: Face To Face

January 21 things actually started to happen. Having found a place to to be and a starter amount of materials to work with, I headed to Compass Printing, my F2F venue.

Unloading my easel and materials, my very first sitter showed up on a whim. Cat, "I came down to see how you were doing." "Come right on in!", said the spider to the fly.  Cat was looking real good like she knew when she got up that day exactly what she would be doing. The color layers up. Blending brings edges together and  I sense the end of how much time that can be given and it is done.
I won't touch things up. It is a direct impression of Cat.
After, she saw the work, "Wow I never realized how much of my father is in me!" A good thing.


Next day I asked my friend Barry to come in and he graciously obliged. And snapped a pic for the record.

While anyone is sitting, there is in and out traffic, printing business. Some folks are immediately curious, others are sort of looking from a distance. The network of people, friends and neighbors is phenomenal. One friend leads to another in conversation, only first names are used and everyone knows which Jim one is talking about. Halfway through Barry's portrait,  Grace came in and signed up for Friday. She bought a hat special just for the sitting. It had a personality of its own. I hope Grace doesn't mind that I aimed for her character vs. the hat.

All in all a good start.


Monday, January 13, 2014


Last but not least: Moonset at Sunrise, Blue Mountain Lake.

SOLD! Moonset  at Sunrise, Blue Mountain Lake - December Calendar Pic

This painting, like all before it has a little backstory. I had the opportunity to be an Artist in Residence at Adirondack Museum last August during the full moon phase. My last morning there, I rose in the dark at 4 am to set up at the edge of the lake. In order to paint in the dark I had searched for and found a neat light set up designed for music stands: LEDs with two lights on goosenecks, battery operated magnetic clip-on base. Someone thought of everything. Light on the painting and light on the box of color.

I had worked at this location the evening before painting on the sunset, so I knew the topography of the spot in the early darkness.

I worked for about 2.5 hours with this scene in the moonlit pre-dawn, then had to quit. The sun was pushing light into the sky and changing things quickly. The breeze started picking up and riffled the mirrored surface of the lake. I wrapped my work in glassine, packed it in and headed back to the cabin for a cup of coffee.

I did not look at this image again for a week. When I opened it up again in the studio, even though the initial color took me by surprise, there was a realization that -  Hey, this one worked.

The calendar is available at my studio and at Adirondack Artists' Guild in Saranac Lake. Like a catalog of works with dates, it is printed on cardstock. All the full moon dates are in it with their old Farmers Almanac names. Some of the original paintings have been sold, some are framed and ready for a new home and some waiting for their frame. Contact me for purchase.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Is Bigger Really Better?

"Promise" 20x24 November Calendar Pic
This piece started out as a smaller plein air painting (11x14) made in the back field of Crystal Springs Dairy. A visitor to the gallery pointed at it once and said, "I would get that if it was bigger." Of course, I did not get her name.

What was great about working this painting larger in the studio in February was the memory of the original, a warm summer day, humid, maybe the sun would come out strong, maybe it would storm. When the early morning clouds lifted and revealed St. Regis, it surprised me for a minute then I quickly placed it in the plein air piece.

Bigger pieces take time. Pastel is one stroke at a time. Color build up is longer. I work across the painting for a couple of layers then break and come back the next day. The painting and myself are never the same with this approach. Re-engaging with the painting after a 24 hours takes a little time. But eventually the rhythm is found and the next stage develops. I work like that for a few sessions. Each time the pace slows a bit more, looking at the work, seeing what it wants, moving in and out of the shadows, into the light. Finding the swathes of flowers that never were in the original smaller piece, then come to a close.

The work has been framed in a lovely gold frame with that crazy clear museum glass. When November comes and the calendar reveals this work, remember the sun will return. That's a "Promise".

"Promise" is hanging out in my studio. Contact me to purchase or go on line to my website:

And, oh yeah, so are the 2014 calendars.