Painting all the time

Posted on May 6, 2015

I’ve been working hard – got a nice gallery upstate, found my voice as a painter – daily. I am getting somewhere – and my single minded approach to getting back to painting landscapes, have kept me out of trouble.

I am of an avant-garde ideal  — though I paint very placid paintings of places (somewhat) untouched by man. I have no need to paint like Chuck Close or De Kooning, though I feel they are my brothers. I can’t explain why I keep on with painting these landscapes, but will try.

I paint the scenes I come into contact with. I do not make up my environs, nor do I try to place myself within the context of the painting. I am using the paint, to create an alternate version of this reality, based on vision, and love. I love the places I paint. I find them worthy of pushing my intellect, subtracting judgment and creating through action.



Catskill Stream – in progress

Posted on March 2, 2015

I started  this 18″/24″ oil on Masonite (triple gessoed, sanded). I began with a mix of umber and blue – in this case cobalt and a red raw umber. I block it in – not caring as much about color as line and direction, composition.

After this initial rough blocked in sketch / I start to add color and some sort of theory to the palette I’m using – which key is warmer and which is cooler.. I don’t care much about detail at this point..

I want this to have very subtle light within the snow so -I form my relationships based on this high key.’ My darkest  darks are under the ice and the trees – lighted mass is the sky and the water is dark all. It some reflections of the snow and sky which are ver light – but tinted with an umber or mars Orange.

Refining and blocking in color, redrawing and analyzing the gamut of color and value..


Posted on February 27, 2015

Hard to know when to stop – I don’t want to! I enjoy painting when I get into the flow – or find some joy in it when I push on. Sometimes I’ll overwork it, beat myself up as If I don’t know how to paint. I am clear on what I do but still have moments of doubt – I attribute it to not drinking enough to water, not eating, I try to keep up with my needs throughout the day – but day three on a painting can go terribly wrong if you get angry, or think the painting looked better in an earlier stage.
I saved this one but it was close to destruction. I still need to do some work around the mouth and temple area / but I think it’s coming along.

I don’t consider portraiture something to get right- or create a formula to impress. Sure I want good images, I want to put integrity into the work – but don’t find much reason to fret over a self portrait. I live to paint and find painting my portrait beneficial to crating decent landscapes.



Self portrait detail – in progress. I like to paint my own portrait, rather than ask others – as it appeals to the idea of change and letting go.

Posted on February 26, 2015


Nice blog on Realist painting with Oleogel

Posted on February 10, 2015

Back to painting Big

Posted on February 6, 2015

I have a hard time painting large – mainly due to the amount of time spent outdoors painting small studies. When I get back to my studio I feel I want to complete images fast – the hunt of what I’m painting next always excited me. Not so much the finish / the start, the drawing. I live the immediacy of composing something. I like the elasticity and quickness behind my behavior when in paint mode.

This one is 24/36. I like the pace on this and don’t see the need to replicate how I approached it – but the direct, non under painted method was used.


My Creative Process

Posted on February 3, 2015

Interview for the New School.

How does your drawing practice inform your thinking?

Creating art comes from thought – which is directed by the intention or desire to create. I try to be thoughtless when I execute a work of art. When I do think – I meditate on paradigms of value, mark making and direction (perspective) as well as composition through intense observation – to help inform the work. This filters into my day-to-day life, even when I am not painting or drawing. I feel the balance and organization of creating a drawing has become infused with my very existence. The search for beauty, excitement, or a certain recognition that all the elements relate in what we see – has become my life’s pursuit.

What do you see as the value of drawing in a larger sense?

Drawing and painting is an invaluable tool for navigating through the world. I feel I am privy to communication with everyone, at all levels of life, not just a few – through my art. My very being is rooted in the fundamental virtues of being an artist, which helps clarify my plight as a creative person. For me it is knowing that the unknown exists, debunking the myth of light and creation, which never ends!

What is the greatest struggle that you see your students work through in your drawing classes and how do you facilitate their learning to grapple with things that come up for them?

The greatest struggle is with being human. The inherent distrust that they have in being the age they are, being away from home, peers, drugs, diet, attitude, etc. I try to inform the students how important it is to purge yourself of these base desires before coming to the easel, to master your thoughts and come prepared –as a fighter or a chef would. I encourage everyone to keep a journal and write out all thoughts before creating, so as not to put your self in the way of being a clear channel.

More technically, tonality (value) and composition are the first two things that rear its ugly head. I tell the students to adopt a prolific master painter, and keep a scrapbook on them. My approach is to pull from what they are doing already, and enhance that through either cropping the image, approaching the marks/graphics differently and/or seeing value mass and relating it to another easier to read value mass. They also have to keep a sketchbook and to use it daily for sketching.

My students have no problem with expression, most can pull an exciting array of line and mark from their brains, once directed to do so. I demonstrate the gamut of creative approaches in demonstration, so as to reveal a multi prong attack on executing something unique and original. I also bring up the aspect of intention and love/passion in my teaching. To have the intention to create something out of inspired energy is tantamount to creative expression and masterful outcome.

It is important for students to be reminded of this, that creativity and life is rooted in love and inspiration.

How does the teaching aspect of your practice affect your professional practice and your own projects?

Teaching for me builds compassion. I am eternally grateful to my students for giving me this lesson. I find the creative means of describing situations or goals/outcomes are far easier when compassion is applied. Teaching is about building inspiration, trust and hope. These are all virtues I try to put back into my work, and in dealings with my business people and partners.

For me painting and drawing are intrinsically connected to my Self and center of being. Through this journey of seeing things by breaking down tone, mass, weight, line, composition, perspective, color, value and expression – I in turn live my life this way – with passion.

I see how detachment from outcome (of art) is most important. To see that the creation has its own life, that we just guide and make it better – is key. I enjoy acknowledging this and giving it meaning through teaching. It is rooted in the journey being the most important aspect to the trip, the outcome will reveal itself in time – we just have to be prepared on our way.

-Gavin Spielman April 25, 2012

Richard T Scott Video

Posted on February 3, 2015

I like this video. It hit home. Philosophy and Art is my life.

And this:

Amazing talk.

Draw More…

Posted on February 2, 2015

DRAW MORE. Drawing is the most important aspect in painting. As I draw more, I see reason to paint. To just PAINT is to ignore the foundation in which rests the weight of any color. The test is to draw anything, any effect. It does not have to be important, or a message, or a composed scene with trees. Drawing is the net that stops me from plummeting each time I paint. All the hours spent noodling added up to something – not just a label ‘ Painter’. Sometimes I tell people I am a painter, and I want to mean I paint houses, trim, siding. It seems more noble than self absorption. Philosophy is my mainstay, and I know I started to paint/draw based on theologies regarding finding truth without organized religion. I do believe it is a way.


Painting snow…

Posted on January 31, 2015

I woke up this morning surrounded by snow. While I have painted several hundred snow scenes, I feel I  never quite cracked the color dilemma snow plays on my psyche. Maybe my eyes are going from so many years squinting and observing color? I tend to dive into my knowledge base while painting, but I am not convinced. When I look out the window – I see grey with pockets of whiter than white,  white. How to achieve this whiter than white? White is dull and bluish – so add some Cad Orange or high yellow to brighten it up!

I see a lot of violet. A high key of ruby red and cerulean blue mixed with a warm white. Lots of clean strokes and soft transitions. Edges.


How light effects the subject outdoors

  • Objects diminish as they recede,
  • Objects start to group together in mass, losing individual identifications.
  • Light becomes less intense, more grey

The effects of atmosphere on color

  • Color starts to cool as they go back in space
  • Yellows drop out first, leaving red as the warm activating value
  • Blue is the predominate value in spacial color relations as it recedes.
  • White gets Warmer as it recedes.

On reading about snow – I find it also gets yellower in the distance, and purple in the mid ground, downright bluish in the foreground. The opposite of the ground when it has no snow. Reflected light can take a century to master – especially if you might be color blind!