New Pope Benedict painting


This is a partial of an oil painting in progress now of our soon to retire Pope Benedict. 

This oil is the first in a new series, and has renewed my interest to travel to Rome and get serious. 


Biking to Paint

A Palette for Burgundy and Cadmiums



Dusty old bottles of Burgundy and new tubes of cadmium are good ingredients to have in your studio. I didn’t invent it.

There are common features and terminology with both. There are temperatures to search for with each.  I look for surface depth and textures in what the bottle and the tubes hold.

There is the chance of great potential and crushing disappointment with your fine art materials and results and a fine wine.  A corked bottle, a disappointing vintage, or a painting that turns bad or a composition with problems. There are also opportunities for wonderful results while taking chances at the easel or trying a new vintage.

It’s an interesting thought to think about all the paintings that have produced while an artist enjoys a fine wine in the studio. And then to think about how decades later, maybe many collections later to have your patron sipping and enjoying a fine wine while relaxed, examining this canvas of your artistic efforts.

Both the occasional burgundy and the daily cadmium’s I use, are drawn from the earth. I like my oils to have almost a texture to them as i begin to paint. A grainy unprossessed raw feeling as i mix and apply my colors.

I like a little sediment in the bottle of the carafe also, a little bit of the grape to leave alone.

Many artists enjoy and keep a wine and other liqueurs in the studio. Absinth has been painted and written about, brandies discussed. I have been offered beer in tomato juice by an artist friend of mine in his studio one morning overlooking Nantucket Sound.

I have been offered and enjoyed pots of hot tea and coffee too. Learning to paint back in Gloucester we all drank a lot of coffee.

I can remember my teacher bellowing across the open studio, “If you are stirring your coffee with your brush handle… you are living right!”

These are the types of things I think about when I paint.


Please leave a comment and let me know what you have in your studio, wine cellar or on your walls!









Christmas Cheer

Killington Vermont

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



This is a new ski study.

This is where I want to be, heading down the Great Northern Trail. It is that time of year.

Actually,  I painted it last winter and put it away in a safe place.  Now (that I found it) it is up -front in my studio where I can live with it for a little while.

There are a million subjects for an artist like me, in a place like this.  There are dozens of trails, with dozens of angles and vistas to catch. On top of that, the light in the mountains changes quickly in the short days.  It’s cold, but it’s worth it, Vermont.  I can still see the coyote tracks in the  snow, from the lift, as I went up.













September, Working Outside

Painting on location keeps me fresh. It makes the studio work stronger and it’s fun.

This is a study of Wychmere Harbor. This is just how a study of mine looks on site. Loose, heavy rich paint and soft edges.

This new painting is available.  Just email for details or contact one of my galleries.








Flying Air Lingus back from Ireland,  as I have done many times.  I felt fairly relaxed and familiar using this airline.

No one likes to fly. Too many people packed into small seats, breathing recycled air.

We got to the airport early so we could get to the lounge early, eat,  relax  and listen for our boarding call. Immediately we found the convenient automated check-in for our luggage.

Only then did I learn that I was “Tagged.”

What does that mean?

It means you cannot put your luggage through early. It means you must first speak to an airline steward and then hopefully, zip, zip I’m in, I guessed.  So we were still really early and there was plenty of time to get through this check-in process.

Air Lingus opened my bags, inspected my easel, asked a lot of questions, stated how happy they were with me painting there lovely country, and sheepishly informed me there was “no way I would be boarding this flight with a box full of oil paints.”

I haggled and reasoned and pleaded to them that they certainly were not in the habit of confiscating every artist’s oil paints from all the artists like myself that travel, to paint their marvelous Island.

I reasoned all the previous times I have traveled there and other international destinations to paint on location, and no airline ever took away my paints. Or even looked twice at my cadmium and ochers . (Except for the years I painted with the big tubes of lead white which always set off the security x-ray machine alarms and they thought it was a gun.)  But even then, they just taped over the hinges of the paint box to secure it for the flights and always let me keep my lead white.

But they did take all my oils this day.

They confiscated my dangerous, toxic very expensive oil paints and they are probably sitting in some drawer somewhere being very dangerous.

But it didn’t end there. Air Lingus searched my bags again and again at every stop, before I boarded.  Then when I finally got into my seat after waiting in long now late passenger lines,  I relaxed for a minute, only to be asked to get off the plane with my bags to  meet with additional security personnel.

Here I was patted  down, apologized to, and my nearly empty carry-on searched once again.

They were so nice and let me keep my brushes and my paintings.  And actually after being searched so many times, I had to wonder while I stood there watching that last search,  how they could continually miss my palette knife and mat knife in plain site.

Working in Northern Donegal

Gort A’ Choirce is a beautiful region of steep farming hills near the sea. There is so much beauty to paint. The new lambs are everywhere and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Old stone walls separate the fields, whitewashed stone working barns with bright doors accent the greenery. Roosters dominate the sounds and carry from way off.

It’s been windy (we are high) and that has really been my only challenge to paint. I get past this by weighting down the easel, hanging my paint bag off one of the legs.

On the downside there are tiny ticks everywhere and I can see how the mosquitoes are going to be thick shortly.(glad to be missing that).  It’s frustrating to only work small with such big views, and it’s hard to narrow down the subjects to paint with the strong landscape vistas everywhere. I have been told I can paint anywhere and not to worry about trespassing on any of the farms, so I don’t.

I have done seven studies here in three to four days and am sad to be leaving this area today. I like the feeling that I will make it back here again to continue to explore such a vibrant array of subjects. This is my fifth trip to Ireland  and could very well be my last with so much else to see in the world. It’s hard to immerse yourself in such a beautiful place, soak it all in, capture the essence of a land, and then abruptly leave forever.

But that is the reality of traveling to paint.

My peeps and I are off today, heading back towards Dublin City unless we see an intriguing area along the way and then we will stay there a night or two.

Working in Dublin City

Dublin has more to paint then I’ll ever get to. But I try.

I was able to paint two studies on location in St. Stephens Green, going for the urban landscape.  The weather has been excellent, sunny, warm and comfortable. I have also taken a lot of photos around the city in preparation for a series of paintings I have been thinking about doing for years. These will be large major paintings for studio work.

Below is the windowsill in our B&B. When you travel and paint on location, knowing you eventually have a flight to look forward to,  everything must fit into your limited space…without sticking together. You must keep the oils in locations conducive to drying.  Keep them in the sun.

More soon from Donegal.

Where do you work?

I had a death in the family and my inheritance was a bunch of plates.

I seized them greedily, as this picture displays. Yes, they break but I like the weight of them. I like that they were eaten off of by my aunt for years. Now they live in the studio and soon a couple small plates will make it to Dublin in my paint box for a trip abroad.

Have you seen what they are selling in art stores for palettes?  What  a waste of money. Round plastic saucers with no place to mix your colors.

This shot is of my easel and the bottom of a Manhattan painting in progress. With the display of my aunts dishes, which mirror this paintings colors. To me it displays a comfort zone of a work station showing studio tools of the trade.

By Monday I will be in Ireland with my portable studio, ready to work under unforeseeable conditions and subjects.

I am still young enough to hike around the moors and go trespassing, after a long day of driving on the other side of the road. It will not be a successful painting trip, till some farmer hollers at me from across his field. These trips are all about pushing it and getting out of your comfort zone, and having fun.

I will be posting from Ireland about this trip, my fifth here and most likely my last last to the Emerald Island.  The world is so big and there is so much to see.

Happy Holidays

“Night Skaters, Boston”

Wishing everyone a happy holiday season from snowy Cape Cod.