Friday, February 26, 2016

Italian Market in Winter (Two Paintings)

"Fire and Ice", 5 x 7, oil

"Under the Awnings", 5 x 7", oil 

I love to buy produce at the Italian Market in South Philly for winter vegetable soup.  In between inspecting long tables of cold cabbages, zucchinis and herbs, a fortifying stop at Anthony’s Coffee and Chocolate House is always in order. (Yes, I know, I have to paint it!) Then it’s back out to the cold of 9th Street, as snow begins to fall and vendors feed ever more wood into the shooting flames of their fire cans to keep warm.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Clinton Street, Brooklyn

Clinton Street, Brooklyn
oil, 5 x 7"

The afternoon sun casts long shadows on mountains of snow the day after a January blizzard dropped 30” of snow on Clinton Street in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.  My daughter lives on this street and snapped this photo for me.  The blizzard was on a Saturday.  Happily, by Monday she was able to trek to her classes at nearby Pratt Institute and to her job at the Trilok School!  

Marrero's Hot Dog Cart

Marrero's Hot Dog Cart
5 x 7", oil

Marrero's always smells sooo good!

This painting began with two of my favorite underpainting colors: iron oxide red under the greens and raw sienna under everything else.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


"South", oil, 5x 7"

Before revisions

One night per week I pick up Husband after he teaches his trial advocacy class at Temple or Penn.  He says me picking him up is lot more fun than his former hour long commute on I-95 back to Bucks County.  Ya think?  After his first Spring Term class I fetched both him and Daughter (she’s a 2L at Temple Law, shameless mama brag) and we headed to South, a restaurant and jazz bar on Broad Street.  Lucky for us the restaurant section was packed, even on a Thursday night after 9 PM, so we were offered free seats in the ticketed jazz area just as the second set was beginning.   What a fabulous night we had!  Cool Saxophone, melt in your mouth Southern cooking and a glass of wine – can you think of a finer combination?  We can't! 

I use PhotoShop to proportion my photos.  For this painting I used a few reference photos. I made sure to place the sax player in just the right spot.In order to capture the soft interior lighting, I used opposite hues to gray the local colors. I also wanted to capture the soft glow of the candle on the table but not have it compete with the stage, which I hope I did. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

River Rink (Maura and Pat)

River Rink (Maura and Pat)
oil, 5 x 7"

This painting began as an iPhone snapshot of Husband and Daughter enjoying a happy night of ice skating under the lights of the Ben Franklin Bridge. 

To begin this painting I cropped my the photo to the same proportion as my canvas, in this case 5 x 7”.   I use a grid feature to make sure my composition more or less comports with the Rule of Thirds.

I began with an under painting of raw sienna to give a nice glow to the ice.  I filled in some of the background figures with a darker value of raw sienna and wiped out along the ice.  I added the darks, burnt umber, French ultramarine and black, to the night sky and the foreground figures.  As I stood back, I noticed the pretty glow the under painting of raw sienna gives the skater figures on the right.  They almost have the feel of a watercolor.  Should I worry them with detail? No!  Do they convey all of the information the viewer needs as they are?  Yes!  

It sometimes takes a heck of a lot of self-restraint not to go in for the kill and worry every last element with detail.  

Thanks for looking!