Frames on the Brain

I'm adding a few more photos of artwork that I have framed. All but one of these pieces are painted on the covers of old Readers Digest books. I call them 'Literary Birds' (or 'Literary Boats'). They are smaller, so they go for about $45 each.

The bigger painting is one I have just finished. It's called 'Huddled Red Birds.' I'm taking all of these and more down to the farmers market on Thursday, so drop by if you can.

The Frame Game

Most of the artwork I create doesn't need to be framed. Nearly all of the paintings I have done have been sold, delivered and hung without any kind of frames. Because I use gallery-wrapped canvases, frames are optional.

Except for the works I call 'Literary Birds (or Boats).' With these I use the hardback covers of old Readers Digest books as the canvas. Then I make the frame and attach the artwork to the back, and then cover the back with a piece of fabric. As much as I enjoy not having to frame my paintings, I do enjoy how the 'Literary Birds' look once the framing process is complete.

Just for kicks I decided to frame the 'Grain Elevator' painting that is the subject of the posting below. My frames are simple -- they would have to be -- and I use recycled materials. Most of the frames are made with pieces of my former garden fence that was in our back yard. A tree fell a couple of summers ago and doomed the fence, forcing it into a career change.

I have nearly run out of fence pieces, so now I'm using flooring that used to be in the living room of our house. The former owners replaced the original floors in the living room and one of the bedrooms. Most of the original flooring wound up (for some reason) in our attic. These make really nice frames.

I do simple 45-degree miter cuts and attach each side with a pocket jig. Then I sand the frames just enough to smooth and get rid of the loose paint. I like that the frames are rough-looking.

Onces that's done, I white-wash them, let them dry and then attach the artwork to the back.

I think the 'Grain Elevator' painting looks quite nice with its frame. Very fitting.

You can see this painting -- and about 15 others -- at the downtown farmers market on Thursday, Nov. 29. I'll be there along with a handful of other artists and a bunch of people selling chilli and wreaths.

Come on down and take a look!

Thanks for visiting.


The presidential election is finally over. Regardless of who you wanted to win election, we all are now free from the 24/7 barrage of campaign ads on TV, radio and the Internet. Gone are the loud and mostly ignorant cable news talking heads. No more polls. Late-night talk shows have moved on to other subjects.
It's like the road construction project that employed a jack hammer everyday outside your window, has finally finished its work and moved on.

Or, it's like you're driving away from the constant noise and filth of a major metropolitan: The horns are growing softer; traffic is thinning; you can roll down your window and breathe.

Suddenly, nothing is around. Just you, the ground, the sky .... and a grain elevator.

I found a photo of an abandoned grain elevator and it seemed like the best place to be, given all of the noise and chaos going on at the time. In much the same way that a beach house can deliver much-needed relaxation and a battery recharge, this motionless and nearly forgotten building delivers a thorough calmness.

It does for me, anyway. Hope you enjoy. Please feel free to comment.

On a side note, I'm hoping to create a Facebook page dedicated to my artwork. The one I use right now is piggy-backed on my wife's Facebook account.

Thanks for looking.

This painting has sold.

Keeping Busy

Here are a few new paintings I have either recently finished or started. The one called 'Mountainside Barn' is large. It's 30"X 40". The blue sky might be the most vivid blue I've ever used. Right now, it's hanging in my livingroom.

The small boat painting is one I did while I was doing a painting demonstration at Just Be, during the First Friday. It's not often I can nearly finish a painting in one sitting, but since I was getting an opportunity to paint for three solid hours, I was able to get a lot done. This one is 12"X14".

I am nearly finished with another landscape of sorts. I'm painting a picture of a grain elevator. These  types of buildings -- barns, windmills, grain elevators and old farm houses -- have become my favorites. There's an escape quality to the image of a wide-open field and sky protecting these utilitarian buildings.

I hope you enjoy looking at them. Please feel free to comment.

A Beautiful Night and a Rainy Day

Jekyll and Hyde paid a visit to Greensboro this weekend. The weather couldn't have been more perfect for First Friday at Just Be in downtown Greensboro. I was the featured artist and was on hand doing an oil-painting demonstration from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. There was a steady stream of people visiting the store. More than 10 of my paintings were very nicely displayed. The owner and store manager have been wonderful to work with and did a great job with directing customers' attention toward me.
Many people commented on and asked questions about my paintings. I received a lot of positive feedback. And a big thank you goes out to Kimberly for her help; Tate for taking photos; and family, neighbors and a co-worker for stopping by to show their support.

As much fun as I had at First Friday, I was really looking forward to Art in the Arboretum on Sunday. The weather forecast was for rain -- mostly early -- and much cooler temperatures.

And that's what we got. I got up at 6 a.m. to begin loading the van. The rain was already coming down, though not too heavy. I decided to hold off on loading my paintings until the rain let up. Then we got something Greensboro doesn't see too often in October: a thunder storm. The rain became heavy. It was still very early, and the weather maps were showing the line of storms passing through quickly.

Before I started loading paintings, I called the Greensboro Beautiful weather line to make sure the event was still on. The recording said the event had been cancelled because of rain.

For about the next five hours, I wandered through the day with disappointment. Mostly because the event was cancelled. But also because, during that five hours, the rain stopped and the sun peeked out momentarily. In fact, as I sit here writing this, it hasn't rained since around 9 a.m. With the cool weather, maybe the arboretum officials were afraid the ground would become a big muddy mess and that would damage the park.

Either way, my opportunities for art shows are few and far between. Having one cancelled hurts my plans for making a name for myself. At least First Friday went well. And there's always next year for Art in the Arboretum.

It's Showtime!

It's going to be a very busy time for me over the next week. If you want to see great local artwork, you're in for a treat.
Oct. 5, I'll be the featured artist at Just Be in downtown Greensboro for the October First Friday. I'll be there from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Here is their website:

Two days later, on Oct. 7, I'll be participating in the annual Art in the Arboretum, along with 50 other arts and crafts vendors. There will be food, music, dancing and something called 'Bark Art,' which I believe is for dogs. Art in the Arboretum was a wonderful time for me last year. I'm hoping the weather will be as nice as it was last year.

I'll have several new paintings (including the one above) -- some I haven't posted on this blog. I hope to see you at one or both of the events.

This painting has sold.

Setting Sail for October

After a brief lull in work, I'm feverishly painting (as well as one can with oils) to get ready for Art in the Arboretum, the annual outdoor arts and crafts festival put on by Greensboro Beautiful. The date for the event is Sunday, Oct. 7.

My plan is to have 25 to 30 works of art on hand. Some will be paintings you may have already seen, but I'm hoping most will be new and fresh to everyone. My space for work is so limited I've actually had to return to the basement, at least to store canvases that are drying.

Last year's Art in the Arboretum was my first. It was a resounding success, as I sold nearly 10 works of art and won Best of Show. I was elated. I can't wait for this year's event. I can only hope the weather will be nearly as nice as last year.

Also in the works, I have a painting that will be auctioned as part of a frundraiser and grand opening of the new Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship. It is also celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The owner of Just Be, the downtown store that has a few pieces of my artwork (see previous blog entry), has asked if I would be interested in being their featured artist for the October First Friday in downtown Greensboro. I would have to be on hand doing a painting demonstration and meeting and talking with customers. This will be on Oct. 5 -- the Friday before Art in the Arboretum.

Naturally, I'm jumping at the opportunity to be the featured artist. The owner of Just Be has been very good to work with and I have received nothing be positive feedback for my artwork.

Just Be ... and the Birds and a Boat

If you’ve ever been near the intersection of Elm and McGee streets in downtown Greensboro, and you’ve wondered where the bubbles are coming from, look no further than a store called Just Be. There you can find an inspiring collection of handmade jewelry, clothing and art. And now you can find my artwork there.
The owner of this unique store liked my work enough to add it to her inventory of local offerings. At the moment, I have only five pieces there, including three Literary Birds, a small bird painting and a Literary Boat (something new), but I plan to continue to provide more paintings, depending on how well they sell.
I’m thrilled with the opportunity to be at Just Be. The owner and manager say they’re planning to roll out a web page soon, with artist bio pages. The downtown location is ideal, and I’m certain my paintings will get lots of exposure, particularly with the monthly First Friday events.
So now, when you’re downtown, follow the bubbles and you’ll find some birds ... and a boat.

   Thanks for looking, and please feel free to comment.

Waterside Retreat

My latest painting is called "Waterside." I don't know if  the photo does it justice, but the brush strokes for the sky give a texture that suggests a light breeze over the water and up the hill. The small building is nestled on a grassy field. This would be a great place to spend a weekend, week or a summer.

Just bring some books and fishing poles. There's probably no WiFi.

Thank you for looking and please feel free to comment.

This painting has sold.

New Birds

Here is my latest completed painting. The background is kind of a creamy color, the birds are a yellow/green and the branches are a dark taupe. The woman who commissioned it is planning to hang it in her living room above her mantle. The painting looks outstanding in her new home, which is very minimalist and painted with light neutrals. I'm hoping to get a picture of the painting in its final spot, once she decides whether to hang it or leave it resting on the mantle.

The process for this was a little different than my other bird paintings I've done in that the woman who bought the painting wanted specific colors. I met with her and she showed me the colors for her walls, sofa and pillows. I was able to mix the colors (mostly) to what she wanted and got her approval to proceed with the painting.

Susan seems very pleased with her painting, and it looks amazing in her home. I like the way the painting turned out: very modern, peaceful and cool.

Branching out ..... hopefully

I'm taking a swing at entering a juried art show at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center. I'm submitting two paintings to be judged for participation. The theme for the show is "Town and Country." I should know the results of the judging by the end of the month.
If the paintings are selected, they will be in a show July 13. First, second and third place cash prizes will be awarded, and all works of art will be available for purchase. The artwork will remain on display at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center until mid-September.

These are the two paintings I'm submitting for judging.

Wish me luck.

Merci Beaucoup!

The Parisian Promenade was tremendously fun. I met so many people and made many acquaintances. My booth location was great, despite the slope. A creek ran behind me, so I was able to watch ducks, ducklings, chipmunks and children run over rocks and through the water.
I received nothing but very, very positive comments and feedback about my paintings. It really makes me feel good to hear people stop and say, "Oh. Wow. Look at these." I felt even better when I would hear people say things like, "This is what I need. This kind of simplicity and serenity," when they look at my paintings of barns and windmills. Over and over I heard, "I love this simplicity. It's wide open and uncluttered."

THAT's what I want. That's what I get from my paintings.

A very special 'Thank you' goes to my paitent and supportive wife for being with me the whole day, and running around (going home to get the things I forgot) and helping set up. I struggled with Art in the Arboretum when I had to do the set up by myself. This time was much easier and enjoyable.

I gave out all of my business cards. I have a nice list of emails to create an email 'blast.' And I made a contact with the owner of a restaurant about putting up my paintings at his location.

I made one sale, which, while not as many as I would have liked, was very rewarding. This woman was impressed with the colors, brush strokes and simplicity of the subjects. She purchased "Eight Boats," which is pictured in the blog entry below.

There were lots of children that visited me. Several stopped in to watch as I painted. They asked smart questions. One asked for my autograph. One girl told me her favorite type of art was painting with dots. I told her about Georges Seurat and how if you look closely at his paintings you will see the dots.

I have no other events scheduled until the Fall. I hope to get in on a "First Friday" in downtown Greensboro. Also, I'll be working on a commissioned paintings over the next couple of weeks.

Anchor's aweigh!

This painting is one of six I've done in the past month and a half. Two were for an auction and a raffle. The other four, including this one I call "Eight Boats," are for upcoming events. The first is a Backyard Art Party, at a neighbor's house. The second is a larger event called the "Parisian Promenade," which takes place in June.

I have 11 paintings ready for the Backyard Art Party. Depending on how that goes, I may be pressed to have as many works ready for the Parisian Promenade. Either way, I've been enjoying placing more emphasis on painting. And I'm looking forward to seeing how things go at these events.
I have purchased a "Square," which is a credit card reader that can plug into a phone or iPad, and works with a free app. Also, if things go well, I may consider moving out of my dining room and into a small -- hopefully cheap -- studio.
I like to paint at home, but I do make a mess. And take up a lot of room.

This painting has sold.

Imitation is the Greatest Compliment

There is no shortage of artists whose styles I wish I could emulate. Great works by some of the most well-known painters -- Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh -- stimulate my mind and are jaw-dropping-ly beautiful.
However, the works by two lesser-known artists 'speak' to me and leave me longing to be in the subject of their painting. The first is Edward Hopper, who is best known for his painting, "Nighthawks," and is one of my favorite painters for his works that emphasize architecture and sunlight, as evidenced by his pieces that include beach houses at Cape Cod.
The second is Jean Jack, who lived in New Mexico and later moved to Maine, and continues to do large paintings of farm houses, barns and utilitarian out-buildings. Like Hopper, Jack uses few subjects in her paintings, though the cast of characters are likely to include an enormous sky, land, a building or buildings and the sunlight. Her colors are often bright and flat.
People who see paintings by Hopper and Jack often describe them as lonely, secluded and even stark. I see them, particularly Jack's landscapes, as tranquil and comforting -- as if that giant blue sky is blanketing the farmhouse or barn.
I am now doing a large painting that is heavily influenced by Edward Hopper and, particularly, Jean Jack. The painting above is one called "Riverfarm," by Jack. When I have finished mine, I'll post that one and we can compare.

Update: I have now added my own landscape painting. It's the one on top. It's 4 ft. wide and 2 ft. tall. It's called 'Farmhouse.'

One bite, and all your dreams will come true

Up to this point I have only painted green and yellow/green apples. I'm a big fan of Granny Smith apples, so I tended to want to paint them. However, as I was packing lunch for my kids, I took a long, close look at the Gala apple I was putting in my son's bag.
Unlike the green Granny Smith apples, which are dominated by green and slight variations of yellow, the Gala had reds, oranges, pinks, yellows and flecks of green. I couldn't detect any kind of pattern to why some parts of the apple are yellow and other parts are deep orange or red. I picked one I thought was nicely shaped and warmly colored.
This is the result.

This painting has sold.

Works in Progress

I had hoped this posting would be celebrating being chosen to participate in Artsplosure, the two-day arts festival in Raleigh. However, Thursday I received a rejection email from the Arsplosure board of judges. Saturday, as if to pour salt on the wound, I received the formal letter of rejection from Raleigh.
But this is OK. I am disappointed, but not deterred. I don't expect everyone will like what and how I paint. There are many more festivals and opportunities out there. The success I have had so far has been amazing -- almost unreal.
So, I will keep working. Above, I have a painting I've named "Red Birds at Tea." I plan to make a series of these, and will tweak this version. I like it a lot, though.
In the photo of my work area you can see another painting of several red birds on a line. This is such a simple painting, but there is some story left untold with the four little birds. One is looking down and away -- perhaps at a cat? Who knows.
Continuing my fondness for painting fruit, I have taken a swing at another apple. It's not finished, but I plan to call it, "Red Apple."
One of these paintings, or a similar one, will be auctioned off at a fund raiser for a church playground. Also, I'm donating a painting to be raffled at The Business Journal's Women in Business event. Both events take place on the same day and should bring lots of positive exposure. I am looking forward to each of them.

Seven Boats

When I began "Seven Boats," my plan was to give the boats a color that would make them 'pop' against the soft, nearly monochromatic background. In the end, however, I preferred to paint the boats a blue/grey that continued the color theme of the rest of the painting.
Once again, the big, big sky is what I'm focused on here.

Healing Arts

The photo above is from the grand opening of the Moses Cone Cancer Center for which I was asked to contribute a painting. The triptych, "Always Watching Over," was placed on the main level, next to an elevator that is used to take patients to the basement or second level for treatments.
I was told by several staff members that the area picked for my painting is one of the most visible areas, and that every patient and employee will see it.
I was also told that my painting is already a favorite of many people on staff at the cancer center, and that seeing it brightens their day.
I was on hand at the event for nearly four hours, talking with visitors. It was a proud moment and I appreciate the visit from Kimberly, Josh, Tate, Grant and Brenda. And from my boss, Doug.
I was able to talk with several other artists and saw some really impressive work, particularly the butterfly sculpture on the roof of the facility. Amazing work.

The Winter of My Content

Here is a new painting I'm calling "Red Birds on White." I guess I could call it "Red Birds in Winter," so maybe this painting will have two names. As much as I like the colors I usually use, I can appreciate how the use of white emphasizes negative space. It has a very modern look to it -- like something you might see in a high-end contemporary apartment.

I've been somewhat busy lately, trying to pull together an inventory of work. I sent an application to be considered for Artsplosure, an annual two-day arts event in downtown Raleigh in late May. I won't know whether I'm accepted until late February. But I have very little time to waste. Since it's a two-day event I want to make certain I have plenty of artwork on hand (including "Red Birds on White/in Winter"), just in case I do really well.

Thanks for stopping by. Please feel free to comment.

This painting has sold.

Late Bloomer

A co-worker of mine approached me in August about doing a painting for her. "Flowers!" she said. "Bold, colorful flowers."
I thought flowers wouldn't be difficult: I've done boats, birds, a port, apples and pears. How hard could it be to paint flowers? I was so naive.
While I did have an art show and a project or two for fundraisers sprinkled in, it took me almost five months to finish this flower painting. I brought it to my co-worker and she loves it. In fact, everyone who saw it said it said I did a great job and that the flowers (I chose hydrangeas) were realistic and all of the colors were vivid and bold.
In the end, I really like it. I'm proud of how it turned out. I battled this painting and stopped working on it several times to keep myself from tossing the canvas onto the street. In the end, a simple suggestion from Kimberly saved this painting: add a vase.
I painted the vase, or pot, and eliminated a few of the low-hanging blooms. Suddenly the painting had an anchor and an object to redirect the eye from the overpowering mound of blooms.
I added texture, highlights and shadows to the vase to give it a rounded look. I was proud to put my name on it.