Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I was in New York last week and saw the Giorgio Morandi show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Anyone with an interest in painting should see this show. It really might be a once in a lifetime opportunity. When I first moved to NY in 1992 I remember seeing a couple Morandi paintings in a couple of places, I can't remember where exactly but I recall thinking that New York was great because you could see Morandi paintings all the time. Well that thought got proven wrong quickly. A couple of summers ago I was in Paris and saw a show of mid-century Italian art. Wading through a lot of so-so painting there was a room of about 10 Morandis. It was nice to get reacquainted with his work. I've always loved the color palette that he uses and the way he nestles the forms against each other. It was a wonderful day.
I came to the show full of anticipation to finally see a large group of his work. I've seen a few and looked several times at the limited number of books there are, read the biography from a few years ago by Janet Abramowicz. There is something to seeing the actual paintings as opposed to the reproductions. Yes this is always true, but more true in Morandis' case. The one thing that is missing is his touch. The way his touch make a rhythm around the painting. I really noticed it first in the flower paintings about half way through the show. It was the way he marked the vase and then the flowers, the delicate balance of the whole. Several paintings on, there is a lull of a wall of landscapes which I don't particularly care for, I thought it was great to see this many paintings, to be able to see what makes one good and one great and another even better. As I looked at a couple of paintings which didn't look as good as some others, I started to really see them. The ever so slight way that the space between two of the objects became more important than the space to the left of the object and the inflection of the line describing the edge of another object started to play off the space to its right. I couldn't see these things in a reproduction. The paintings are these amazing poems of rhythm and form. They are everything that I want to see in a painting and everything I could hope to put into my own.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Darkness Reigns

Besides working on the greens (below) I've actually been putting more work into a group of blacks and browns. Many customers, and I mean alot, have asked about darker and darker colors. Finally I would give up and say, "You mean different shades of black?" Yes! Yes! Yes! So here is what has come so far. On the interesting side I have figured out how to make a black using only black, no chalk, no nothing that isn't black. It's kind of like drawing with a hole.
 I was taking this black today and adding some blue to it. A customer was asking about a real navy blue. Well hopefully I'm getting close. It looked great on my hands. I'll see when it dries.

Monday, April 21, 2008


So this is where I've started with the greens. Not much but I am happy with the yellow such as it is. Although I'm a sucker for a good yellow. Actually from the picture the actual yellow is a bit brighter. The second set of greens is leading me back to the greens I saw out in the desert southwest last spring. They were a sort of earthy mint green. More of these to come as I continue the search.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring is in the Air

I always get some great inspiration for colors when I'm driving. Last week I made the drive (yet again) from Tampa to New York and back. Actually going by way of Miami so I spent the night in Georgia. The next days drive up through theCarolinas and Virginia was incredible. The new green of spring was starting to come out, the dogwoods were blooming...... But it was the green more than anything, it gave me some ideas of mixing some new pastels. It is that earthy brightness which was so nice, it is not an electric yellow green but still quite bright. I do realize that some of that brightness is do to the contrast with the duller yellow ochres of the dead winter grasses. So I've just gotten some transparent yellow iron oxide pigment to use for these- it also makes a wonderful watercolor. I'll post some pictures when I get some samples together.
In the same vein I saw the Courbet show at the Met in New York. I have to say that I am not a big fan of his "smoother" paintings. But when he gets out the palette knife, especially for those sunny landscapes, they are great to look at. The ranges of scumbling and overlay that he gets away with is great painting indeed.