Sunday, December 11, 2011

It seemed to work for public radio....

GUILFORD GREEN (plien air) 8" x 10" Oil

Hello again everybody. This painting can be viewed at Cafe George in New Haven on 300 George St. And I also have a bit of good news. The show was originally scheduled to come down at the end of this month but it has been extended to the end of January. This means that the reception date will be moved to early next month. This actually works out better because it will give me more time to promote the exhibit. I'll be sending out notice about the new date and time shortly. In the meantime don't forget to spread the word.

And now on to other matters. All of us here at FERGUSON ART STUDIOS have been discussing ways to boost sales of my original oil paintings. And so, we've decided to do our first ( and possibly last) annual fund drive to get buyers for the paintings that are available.

We know the economy is bad but we're asking that you give something anything for the painting posted above. Whether it be a dollar a week or two dollars a week, to ensure that we ( me ) here at FERGUSON ART STUDIOS can keep providing for you, day after day, week after week, the art blogs and paintings that you depend on to get you through your day.

Rufus Jenkins of RUFUS JENKINS FRAMING, FINE ART, ANTIQUE APPRAISAL AND BBQ RIBS ( who coincidentally looks a lot like Eddie Murphy doing his famous Buckwheat routine on SNL back in the 1980's) has offered to match dollar for dollar ( up to 25 cents) your contribution to FERGUSON ART STUDIOS.

Now, we tried to NPR legends like Garrison Keillor, Terry Gross or The Car Guys to help with our fund drive but none of them returned our calls. So we found someone more famous than any of them. And now, here she is, from her office Mousie..

"Hello everyone, I'm Mousie CEO of FERGUSON ART STUDIOS"

"I know the economy is bad and things are tight for everyone, and well................."

"I really hate to sound like all of us here at FERGUSON ART STUDIOS are desperate but, if you don't come down to buy a painting.........................."

"I'm going to jump out of your computer screen and bite you!!!"

"Thanks again for supporting FERGUSON ART STUDIOS and now back to our host, Chris.."

Thank you Mousie and again if you would like to buy the painting posted at the top of the page just email us at We're coming down to the wire. If we don't make any sales to get the funds that we need by 1:00 pm this afternoon the Electric Co. said that they would come down to the art studio and shut off our po--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mork calling Orson, Mork calling Orson.........come in Orson

"Lake Wintergreen" (en plien air) 8"x 10" oil on board

Hello everybody, how are you? As you may have noticed, I've been absent from the blogging scene for a few weeks. No, I haven't fallen off of the face of the Earth as some may have thought (or possibly even hoped) and yes I've still been painting.......quite a bit actually. Part of my blogging delay was due to life and all that it involves. And what were some of the highlights of the past few weeks? Well, my daughter started Kindergarten ( at 35, my hair is now completely grey behind the stressful first couple of weeks my child has so far spent as a kindergartner, but, she's doing much better at her new school now.) And we had, for about 2 months a Miniature Doberman Pinscher ( The hair on my head that had gone completely grey from the stressful first couple of weeks my daughter had in her new school had completely fallen out behind the stress that cute little doggy had put us through.) Don't worry, the dog is doing just fine and will be enjoying a new home. We fostered him.

And now for the really big news. I have a Solo art show that will be running from now until the end of December at CAFE GEORGE BY PAULA on 300 George St. in New Haven. In case you where wondering where it is located allow me to give very detailed instructions.

In the vast expanse of the known universe there are millions of galaxy clusters.

Amidst one of those galaxy clusters.................. will find the Milky Way Galaxy. Don't get too excited the Milky way Galaxy isn't nearly as tasty as it sounds. (It's not made up of milk chocolate , creamy caramel and vanilla ice cream as the name seems to imply. Rather it is made up of about 200 to 400 billion stars and has vast clouds of gases and dust called nebulae as well as something called interstellar medium. Yes, I was disappointed discover that fact too)............

........on the outer rim of the Milky Way Galaxy you'll find our solar system................

.....head to the the third planet from the sun................

.....there you will find planet earth......................

.........go directly to the continent if North America and head toward the northeastern corner of the United States................

....and there you will find the state of Connecticut......go to the central coastline of the state.........

......and you will land in New Haven..............................

....try to land on the New Haven Green if you can, it's easier to get your bearings from here......

........once you've landed, walk down College St. until you get George St...............

.......Keep going.........Do you see that building right there?..............

........that's 300 George st. When you step you inside those doors you'll see signs that will point you to........

........CAFE GEORGE BY PAULA......

Spread the word around if you can I can use all the help I can get. Tell your moms, tell your dads, tell your kids, tell your grandparents, tell your co-workers, tell your pets, tell everybody.

CAFE GEORGE BY PAULA is located at 300 George St. New Haven, CT.
the cafe is open 7:00 am to 3:00 pm Mon. thru Fri. it's not open on weekends.

There will also be an artist reception in a few weeks I'll keep you posted as to when that will be. I'll see in my next entry.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gonna take to the bridge

Grand Avenue Bridge 8"x 10" Oil on board plien air

Hello again everyone. Once again there has been a brief gap in my blogging recently thanks in part to a new dog in our family (more about him another time). This summer I've been trying to focus on painting en plien air (out of doors) which is not easy. This piece was the third one I've done this summer. This scene is a special place for me. It's the Grand Avenue Bridge in New Haven. When I was a kid we lived just a couple of blocks away from this bridge. My dad would take me for long walk when I was about 4 or 5 sometimes we were able to go up to the house on top of the bridge to meet with the bridge operator. One time we were able to be inside the house when it opened to let boats through. Painting this scene from life was definitely a wonderful time to think about my childhood memories. Now that I've talked about the painting let me tell what happened whilst working on this painting. You are not gonna believe this one. So, I dropped off my daughter with my sister who lives nearby while I went to paint. As I left her at my sisters my daughter asked "Daddy are you going off to have an adventure?" She must of seen all my painting equipment in the trunk of the car. I replied "sort of," but boy did I have an adventure that day. First I found a nice quiet spot in the park along the Quinnipiac River to capture the bridge on canvas. Everything started off very nicely. Then I heard a man approaching from the distance who is obviously intoxicated. So I keep painting hoping he would keep it movin' and pass me by. That didn't happen. "HEY arrreeeeyouuuuuuuan ARTisssttt!????!!?" he asked. "Yes" I replied quietly. "WOOOOWWWW!!!!! that is realllrlrllrrlry nice" "You got the BBBRBbbrbriiigde in there and every thing." "Thank you " I replied. He just stood and kept rambling on but I continued working politely acknowledging him. Then his friend came along who was also drunk but not as drunk. "LLLOOOOOOKKKK at thisguy he a PRofffffffeessional!!!" the first man said to his friend. I didn't hear what the other guy said in reply I just wanted them both to go away. I kept painting. The first man continued to ramble on about how he could of been somebody and how he could of been a contender. (or something like that) Finally the not so drunk man said to his friend "Why don't you bothering the guy? Can't you see he's busy!!???" The first man then proceed to compliment even louder. I kept painting. Next a large family comes my way and the first man start yelling " HHEEEEYYYY! YYOUUUUUUSEEEEEEEE THIZZZZGUUYYYYY?????" The family stops and looks and then goes about their business. But one member of the family, a boy about 9 or 10 years old stays and watches while I work. The first drunk man seems to be getting louder and finally the boy starts telling the man be quiet. I continue painting quietly. Then the boy starts asking me questions about painting and other things and he begins to tell me about himself. He plays baseball, he likes drawing etc. He was a very nice kid and I enjoyed talking to him. Meanwhile the two Drunk men are now arguing with each other right behind me and the boy has to interrupt his conversation with me to try to reason with them. The comes back and watches me paint meanwhile the second man say under his breath "I'm tired of this". Next I know he's on his cell phone with the police. The police are there in minutes. I hear them getting out of there cars and I hear one the officers say, "DROP IT!!!" This is going in on just several feet from behind me and I'm still painting non stop. I'm either very focused, very patient or very stupid. Minutes later an ambulance is there taking the first man away and the other man is in the back of the squad car. The boy then told me that the first man pulled out a knife and waved it in front of the second man. Now, had I known all this was going on behind me I would have gotten out of there faster than James Brown getting away from a taping of the Lawrence Welk Show. As the police and ambulance drove away the boy asked if I could paint a picture of what had just happened but he didn't understand that I couldn't paint that fast. Now, mind this park is very big and yet nobody was there before I showed up and then before I knew it all of this activity gravitated toward the one spot that I was in. It was as if I were the Sun in a solar system drunken planets. For the record this park is very nice, scenic and peaceful but this was just one of those days. I'm sure your now wondering if I'm satisfied with this painting. The answer to that question is NOOO!!! I'm thinking of using this board as fuel for the campfire on our families next camping trip. Having said that, I will keep it because whenever you do a painting directly from life you learn to become a better painter. Will I go back to that park to paint again? Absolutely. But for those of you who want to know when exactly I'll be out there again.....well............I'm afraid that I'll have to plead the Fifth Dimensions on specific question. I'll post some more Plein Air paintings in my coming entries. See you soon

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's art! Not brain science...I mean rocket surgery....I mean...

"Beach Scene #2" Oil 20"x 16"

Hello again all you New Haven artist readers. Please pardon my absence these past few weeks. I've been very busy with painting commissions But enough about me, let's talk about this new painting, shall we? This painting represents a return to a subject matter that I absolutely love in painting. The human figure. Particularly woman and children. Capturing them on canvas doing simple everyday things. For me these are subjects that are most interesting. Children tend to be very animated and spontaneous. There is never any false pretense with children, just honesty filled with life and innocence. I also enjoy painting images of woman doing the everyday things that you might see; waiting for the bus, window shopping, conversing with friends (don't you hate it when people say "conversating". The word is CONVERSING!!!) To me women have much more interesting postures when doing these everyday activities. There is also more variety with each individual; hairstyles are very different, etc. I sort of departed from these favored subject for a while to create smaller, faster and less complicated images to broaden my ability to paint a variety of subject matter. I feel that I have accomplished that purpose,........for now. It is now time for me to get back to the subjects that I enjoy most. You'll see more of these kinds of painting in future blog updates with occasional paintings of other subjects I've worked on but never had the chance to post on line. Now moving to other things, you'll notice by the title of this entry that I've been pondering what makes a person a great artist. Does it take a genius to be a great artist? The answer to that is no. There are many people whom I do consider to be true genius's. For instance in the world of science there's Albert Einstein, George Washington Carver, Dr. Emmett Brown (inventor of the DeLorean Time Machine), and the late Jimmy Neutron. In the world of music there is Beethoven, Stevie Wonder, James Brown. Also Bob Dorough, George Newall and Lynn Ahrens the primary song writers for the School House Rock cartoon series. Also there are James Brown( yes I mentioned him twice). Other people on my list of brilliant minds are Jim Henson and Walt Disney. But there are also people in the world of visual art who were genius's, Sir Thomas Lawrence, James Whistler, Leonardo Da Vinci to name a few. But to truly be a great artist you don't need a brilliant mind. All you need to do is to be able to pick up a pencil or paint brush and create something. That's something even a small child can do. My 5 year old daughter is creating what I consider to be true masterpieces. No they won't hang in a fancy museum or art gallery and no they won't be selling for thousands of dollars ( like that kid in Great Britain, boy, compared to him I actually have to pay people to take my paintings) But to me my daughter's works are priceless. No you certainly don't have to be a genius to create good works of art. Take me for instance, I recently took an I.Q. test and found out that I have the I.Q. of a German Shepherd. No, not a person who herds sheep in Munich but a doggy German Shepherd. At first I was disturbed by this news but than I found out that German Shepherds are the most intelligent breeds of dog in the world. I felt much better. ( no offense to you sheep herders residing in Germany) Well I've rambled enough for today. I'll see you in my next entry.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Movin' on up!

"Party of Eight" 23" x 17" Oil on canvas Singing: Well, we're movin' on up (movin' on up) - To the east side (movin' on up) - To a deluxe apartment in the sky - Movin' on up ( movin' on up) - To the east side - We finally got a piece of the pie............. Okay, so once again I've made a reference to a classic T.V. theme song to set up the subject of my recent blog entry. The last classic T.V. theme that I sang in my blog was Three's Company so that people would " come and knock on my door" and check out my very first open studio event. In the past 3 weeks I haven't got much painting done, but this was for a very good reason........We've moved. We are still in New Haven of course {*see title above } but we've moved to a place with a better studio space. I'll have some new paintings to show and I hope to be much more productive in the new space. No we haven't moved to a deluxe apartment in the sky, but it is a lovely place. In the meantime I'll leave you with this to ponder; Fish do indeed fry in the kitchen, you just have to make sure that there is plenty of ventilation. Also beans certainly will burn on the grill if left unattended. Before I go here is my new art studio. TAAAA DAAAAAAA.
And now I will finish today's blog entry by singing the closing theme to The Jefferson's starting with that brilliant piano solo. (Da De Da Dum Dum Dum De Dum -Da da da dum da da da dum dum dum - de dum de dum de dum de dum de dum - Mmm- Mmm- Mmm-Mmm mm mm, Mmm mm Mmm mmm mmmm mmm - MMmm MMmmm MMmm MM mmmmm mm MMmmm mmm Mmmm mmm mmm mmMMmm Well, we're movin' on UUUUP.....................................................................)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"I have only one gear,........SLOW!!!"

"Mother and daughter" Oil on canvas 18" x 24"

For me a wild and crazy evening is watching old episodes of Bowling for Dollars on YouTube. I get sleepy at 8:30 p.m. I'm a 35 year old with the mindset of someone 25 years older. For instance how many people in my age range do you know who: 1. Has Bread's greatest hits on cassette tape and has been meaning to buy the CD format of the album for the past ten years. 2. Tells everyone in the car to shush whenever Roger Whitaker's song, The last farewell plays on the oldies radio station and then blast's the volume. 3. Hear's an old song by Nat King Cole and say's, "Boy that song brings back memories" only to hear someone else reply, "What are you talking about, you weren't even thought of when that song came out!" 4. Use the term "whippersnapper" for kids under the age of ten years old. 5. Use slang expressions from the 1930's like "Gee fellas, that sounds swell." It's seem's like I've always been an old man. This would explain why it took me a year in a half to finish this painting. What took so long wasn't so much going back to it again and again until it was perfect. It had more to with the fact that it was a very challenging painting and I was scared to finish it. So, I put in the corner of my studio space and pretended it wasn't there for a while. Deep down I knew I had to finish this painting but the problem was that I didn't know how. Finally, I got the courage to finish it and it turn out O.K. I had to step out of my comfort zone with this painting but, I discovered that by doing that, I learned a lot more. This reminds me that I must always push myself further in order for my paintings to improve. In the meantime, there are things that I'll never get used to, like text messaging. It takes me forever to write a simple message. Honestly, I don't know how these young whippersnappers do it. That's the other thing that bothers me, how does one drive whilst one is sending and responding to text messages. I don't get how people are even able to do both things at once. I always have to make sure that I'm sitting down somewhere whenever I decide to chew a piece of bubblegum. Well, I've rambled on long enough in today's entry. Stay tuned for my next painting; another beach scene.

Monday, February 14, 2011

If I were to star in a roller disco movie, it would be titled "XANA-Don't"

"Beach scene #1" 8"x 10" oil This is a small and quick painting that I did last year. It was based on a photo that I took whilst visiting ROCKY NECK STATE PARK. We visited the park 2 years ago and I just got around to working on paintings of scenes from that trip last year. I have more beach scenes from that trip in the works right now, stay tuned. The day we had taken this trip my family had also received an invitation to a rollerskating party with some friends of ours. We decided on taking the trip to the state park for a number of reasons. Among them, our daughter was still too young at the time to do any roller skating. Also, I couldn't find as much inspiration for painting in a dark skating rink. Third; I couldn't roller skate to save my life. I know that I would really enjoy rollerskating if I could actually do it. But this is how things would probably have played out had we gone rollerskating. The very moment that I get out on to the rink, I would fall and crack my head open. When the E.M.T.'s would arrive moments later to examine the extent of my injuries they would be baffled as they discover the substance coming from the hole in my head is actually egg yolk. "How is this even possible" they wonder to themselves. The write up in the Register a few days later would read: "Local starving artist loved by many proved to be a real egghead..............literally." And so to avoid all of that needless publicity we decided that the beach would be safer and more inspiring. Stay tuned for a few more beach paintings.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A free painting demonstration.

Commissioned Portrait Oil on canvas 20"x 16" Singer/ Saxophone player Louis Jordan said it best in his song from the 1940's Look out sister, look out. I'll quote him by saying, "I'm giving you knowledge straight from the shelf- This is some jive I've used myself - I've found it to be successful to a marked degree and I'm giving to you for free" And so this will begin the first of what I hope will be many more painting demonstrations in my art blog. This piece was commissioned by a relative as a wedding anniversary gift.

Step 1.
I first prime the canvas with white gesso and then I sand it down. I'll usually apply a minimum of two coats of gesso and sandpaper each coat after it dries. This make the surface of the canvas smoother and allows me to blend the colors with greater ease during the painting process. Then I begin the pencil drawing using the photo reference.

Step 2.
The finished drawing. You'll notice a brownish stain on the lower half of the canvas. No, that wasn't coffee that I threw at the canvas in a fit of frustration................not this time anyway. That was an earlier version of the painting that I started but then I rubbed it out because of composition issues in the least I think that's what the problem was, I can't remember but, because oil paint is a very forgiving medium, you can make endless corrections any time you want.

Step 3.
Laying the darkest values in the face.

Step 4
Establishing the overall color and value of the face.
You'll notice that when your in the blocking in phase of a human portrait it can start to look kind of weird at first but it comes together in the end. Your basically building the likeness of the subject. A house, for instance, will look odd when it is still under construction, like wise with a portrait.

Step 4
Note to self : Make sure your camera is in focus before you upload the image to your blog page.

Step 5
Blocking in the hair

This is the way I lay out the colors on my palette. I learned to arrange the colors on the palette from when I was at PAIER college. I still arrange my palette in the same order.

Step 6
Blending the values of the face and hair.
Step 7
Blocking in the back using the same process in creating the face.
Note to self : Keep that camera in focus, your no Steven Spielberg.
Step 8
Blocking the flowers.

Step 9
Establishing the general color and value of the flowers. Step 10
Back to the face. I lay in more values to define the facial features.This is Jamie our cat seconds before I sprayed the daylights out of her with a water filled squirt bottle for nearly knocking over my paint thinner. " How many times does I have to tells ya' to stay away from my painting area ya' pesty varmint!!!!!!!!!!!??????"

Step 11
Working in the background. Starting with a dark, warm and muddy color in the lower half of the background and a cool blue color in the upper half of the background, I'll go back to these areas in phases, adding layers of colors and values until I have an idea of which direction I'd like to go as far what the background will look like. I had an idea of what would be in the background when I started but I chose to focus on the composition aspect of the background and then worry about the details later in the painting. Working further on the background.
Detail of the flowers getting closer to the finished painting.
Detail of the dress nearing the finish of the painting

Detail of the face after blending the colors and values to get the likeness. This painting took altogether a week to complete but I don't work on just one painting at a time. Usually I'll have a number of paintings going on at the same time and I'll go back and forth working on different ones at various stages of completion. I have the attention span of a gnat when I'm working on a painting so when I need to take a break from one painting I can go to another and then when I get tired of that one I'll go back to the prior one with a fresh eye.

The finished painting.