"MY 'SECOND CHANCE' PORTFOLIO" (c) 2015...and most recent example landscape graphic art.


For more about the artist click here.

Online art and compositional exercisesMY (c) 2016  "NEW" POINTILLISM and why it is fun and satisfying to do this!  More of it in 2017!

Reviewing one's own work is a very interesting undertaking.  Especially those works that you considered not fit to exhibit previously... 

When you scan in your studies it is almost always necessary to crop them in order to fit.  Therefore, most everything on this page are "details."  However, this exercise actually creates a new work.  As an artist you are redesigning your original vision.  It helps to have decades worth of work to review - you really don't remember why you made a mistake with the composition.  It is for me not a case of just cropping out a "mistake" from the technical painting aspect (I've tossed those years ago).  Rather, it is for the most part because I work "flat" in watercolor and this can at times cause distortions in compositional terms (among others). 

So in the spirit of a "Second Chance Society" I have created this page to display reworked designs!  


T R A N S I T ,    T R A N S P O R T A T I O N    A N D    T R A F F I  C    I N C L U D I N G   MA P S    A N D    M O R E    U N F R A M E D     L A N D S C A P E

S T I L L - L I F E

F I G U R E S  A N D    G R A P H I C    P O R T R A I T S

B U I L T    E N V I R O N M E N T

P O L I T I C A L    A N D    O T H E R    C A R T O O N S   and link to 2016 Election Cycle cartoons HERE;

G R A P H I C    I N T E R P R E T A T I O N S    O F    O U R    O W N    W O R K S;    

A   N E W    P O I N T I L L I S M... 

T R A N S I T ,    T R A N S P O R T A T I O  N    M O D E ,    A N D    T R A F F I C    A N D    S E N S E    O F    P L A C E ;     B U I L T    E N V I R O N M E N T ,     A N D   . . . L A N D S C A P E


Weston CT is all about schools - and school buses.  I start with this study, which might have been an attempt to imitate John Sloan, but ended up looking more like John...Marin!  Next is an assignment to paint what you think the senses should look like.  In the watercolor assignment was a failed version of "sound" if memory serves - a detail of an AMTRACK locomotive.  LINK TO YUKON LINE.  The New Canaan Tea House of a dear friend was only reachable by Japanese bridge (not shown)...and my minds-eye map of the upper west side of Weston dates from the 1980's...and this Fall is time to walk all town roads - but not in these (r) boots!


Sound (waves breaking);  smell (summer in the city); sight (my mother had eyes in the back of her head);  taste (yummy) and touch (down) or on the links...








Sunlight varies and is never more dramatic than in landscape painting, whether in watercolor or doing a computer graphic of the snow you have to capture the alive and immediate character of color and shades of color.  All colors are included in light or white, so painting snow is...electric (see Alaska graphic examples above)!  We notes that the amount of "light" during winter in Alaska is...not too much, so it is always a thrill to see it. 

Traditional water colors:  Immediately above - "Blue Boat" series, in order of when these were done - first attempt (detail);  next, the second (detail) and at the right, also on our other art page, the essence of what I had learned from the others!


G R E E N W I C H    P O I N T    P A R K

One of the things I found out while working "en plain air" during a day painting with Hannah Ferenbach's afternoon group at Greenwich Point Park was this:  Besides now having to be afraid of Zika virous-bearing mosquitos...having to work quickly to not miss the moment and its light, on a sunny day at the beach, my #2 H (hard) pencil's lines were useless and invisible!  Just as well - using a pencil only slows me down!


C O L O R    A N D    L I N E    A S    W E L L    A S    B  L  A  C  K       A  N  D     W  H  I  T  E

Here we are in the 2016 still looking for a new technique to test the economic wind - definitely not the horse-and-buggy age!  With dry real estate to be at a premium at some time in the future if global warming follows the model, we offer these quick sketches of transportation  modes n'map.  We used Microsoft Paint varied palette... our version of creative thinking above:  Four examples of transportation-related subjects or objects, and how we make use of tools at hand!


M A P    S E C T I O N


If you are a planner you have to have a map, as one former boss of mine put it. 

So begins another sub-section of this "Second Chance Portfolio!"  We note that these "maps" altho' not exactly done with straight edge, are to scale, approximately.  In addition, please note also that the transport-related topics lending themselves to mapping are not exactly intimate scenes - like still-life!

 S T I L L    L I F E



Celebrating special objects or imagining them works in graphic form! 

Still-life isn't all fruits and vegetables and is very tough to compose.  Try picking objects at random sometime!  All white or all transparent set up - or perhaps with mirrors - these, too, are still- life!

Painting still life is easier than painting people.  Try doing a still life with objects that are white and grey - so many different shades!  Is very instructive.  And that goes for still-life in general!  Alto' it may be "easier" in some respects, it is a challenge.  Since the fruits, vegetables and objects don't take "breaks" you have a bit more time to use and can get intellectual about the subject if you want to!

However, a person can use close observation of objects including texture, drapery (very tough to do) and characteristics of other materials as a test.  Many times you might just like part of a still life, and so you might just attempt part of it - and that's OK!   Still life gives you the opportunity to make the ordinary not so ordinary.  Setting up your own still life is difficult!!!  It helps to use your favorite and/or significant objects.  Which is, in my opinion, the secret to creative still life execution!  Reflections are tough to do, too. 

One of the nice things about studying with a gifted teacher is being forced to stretch your compositional thoughts.  Setting up a still life required lots of thought, excellent specialty lighting and perhaps most important, as was done at the Art Student's League as well as Silvermine School of Art, distributing excellent fruit and vegetable "models" after class was completed!


It is like the old joke: "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Ans.  Practice.  If memory serves, Carnegie Hall is very close to the Art Students League, but I digress...

Still life can be really satisfying to paint if you care about the objects or if they evoke an emotion.  For example, a yummy still life that got consumed, is one way to select objects.  "Bring your own objects" for small set up for yourself is another exercise.  This type of project clearly brought out my secret trompe l'oeil persona.  When you work in watercolor it is often best to start more than one painting at a time, or as necessary, in the case of the "oops" moment when you've made a mistake that can't be easily "corrected" - in any event, I was taught to always do several paintings of the same subject whenever possible.

Sometimes your "first take" is the freshest and best, and other times you learn that you tried too hard, or included more information from the still life than you needed. 

Always be an editor - every piece of information in a composition is not equally important to what you want to end up with in the final work - which is why sometimes the second or third painting of the "same" subject comes out expressing what you wanted to say about the set up!  When in doubt about what to do next or where you want to end up, do another version.  Come back to the first version later - and more times than not you'll find that after the paint dried on your first try, it either looked fine except for needing a line here or there, or a bit of staining color mixed to be very dark for emphasis.  Sometimes you just can't do an object justice - as in the case of this Emerson Patriot Catalin radio designed by Norman Bel Geddes in 1939.  Which was not in "mint" condition (Catalin plastic-like material fades).



I went through a phase where I just painted how I liked - bold and not waiting to think too much.  Line became very important.

Sounds like good watercolor technique!  If you are not using multiple washes and the blow dry technique described below, you'll probably like "rough" paper in a watercolor block (don't forget to develop the proper technique for removing the finished painting so as not to rip the paper).  I use my Grandmother's cake knife.


F I G U R E S   I N C L U D I N G    P A R T S   O F    P A I N T I N G S    N O T    R E A D Y    F O R    P R I M E    T I M E    A N D    G R A P H I C    P O R T R A I T S 



Most times things that you enjoyed painting are not worth framing.  That is, if you are interested in selling.  When you get a chance doing the figure, try the pose from different perspectives...don't be lazy, move your painting set up if there is a spot that gives you a different take on the pose!

Painting the figure can vary from a Matisse-like approach where the background is just as important as any other sector, to line drawing;  and how about 5-minute poses?  You learn the importance of line as an element every bit as important as...color?  So I just enjoy my time painting two-legged and four-legged creatures (see below), and use it as a test of close observation and trying to not use any extra brush strokes!  These at the top right were one-minutes poses...the row below contains parts of paintings (that fit on the scanner) that each had something about them I learned from, left to right:  1)don't add what you can't see  2)great cloth!  3)an example of when to "do another" and remember to look a little closer next time and   4)now I got it right - guitar and guy are one!  And then, for the nudes,   5)bingo - I got the pose, which was tough - but again, added too much information that may or may not have been there.
SOME ADVICE:  The drawback to watercolor is its costliness when it comes to mounting an exhibit. In order to not damage the art, you need to use "acid free" matting (more costly - but otherwise glue used in regular matting will stain the paper). And I've tried to keep all matting in uniform white (there are many "shades" of white - I prefer cold or blue as opposed to "warmer" tint when exhibiting plus I use simple silver frames - and then there is or was glass - I've been using unbreakable UV-non-glare acrylic material over the past decade) in shows.  Of course, the works on this page never have been framed or exhibited!






Who has four legs and doesn't sit still?  Man's best friend, for one.  The trick?   Find a good looking animal named "Champion Charlie the Golden Retriever" and you can't miss - BUT please take your own picture and scan it in in black and white as well as color!  This is one way to avoid that dead look you get working from another's images.  Not to mention that using another person's photography is illegal - although you probably won't get caught unless you get noticed and  people pay money for your work, it isn't a good idea anyway, because the photograph and its composition isn't in your mind's eye - you might have taken a different picture of that same scene or person! 

Perhaps if you have a connection to the animal, another's photo is going to be satisfactory, as in these "portraits" of magnificent leader Quito, sister Chica, Felix, Willie, Clyde (twice), Beemer, Schmoe, Scout, Olivia and her Mom, ChaCha.
 Coming into their own are boys Woody, Kodiak and Commando.

ChaCha's daughter Olivia, mother of Chena is very proud as Chena was in lead in her first race, the 50 mile "Solstice" competition, Chena shows her long legs to advantage stride for stride - here emerging from the darkest day of the year prior to her race.  Wearing her Mother Olivia's favorite layered look!  And some determination, too.  And for her next challenge, she was in lead all the way through the Two Rivers Dog Mushers' 200 miler, moving up from 27th place to 9th place, finishing with a 50 mile sprint to the finish!!!  OMG!!!  Chena in lead with Lester again - this time on the Yukon Quest 300!!!  And thanks to the SP Kennel mushers, Chena given a chance to run the Iditarod XLIV with...Quito, who most generously shared her knowledge and experience!!!  Thanks so much, Quito!!! 

Next line down is the crop of 2015 puppies:  On the left, Olivia's (Coffee Litter) and on the right, Quito's "Golden Harness Litter" are coming up later in 2016 for their first birthday!



Not from life, graphics from many photos over the years stored in our mind's eye of political animals;  CHARLIE (second from the right) AND LAST ... SEATTLE SALMON - ALASKA SALMON story;

Right smack in the middle..it's a bird, it's a plane...it's a drone?  And I couldn't pass up kitchen scene "in the kitchen..." (even if I didn't have any of my art materials - I used a pen) of my Mommy and her best friend, orange pussycat Charlie, who came to visit and decided to stay and protect her, above.


What was wrong with these early watercolors?  Plenty. And a very, very early experiment from my own photo of the bust of Alice Delamar in Weston Library;  being taught a new golf grip (which didn't work for me, as it happens);  and, well, it was quite a large sheet containing the full figure, and when I looked at it (20 years or so after I'd painted it in the first place) it was very busy - more than it needed to be.  And I did do more than one, IIRC, getting the pose more accurately drawn in the second version.  I always liked this next one of a ballet pose.


These were very interesting (left two - precursors of graphic technique!) - only in watercolor can what I obviously considered a "failed" painting look so good! 

Doing the model's hands is always a challenge - if you don't get it right immediately (their initial placement) it will be tough later on...because it seems that while models spot where they must place their, for example, elbows, on a chair, it isn't so easy for them to be sure about each digit after a few hours posing! 

Two-model poses are even harder in some ways...until you learn to work on the whole painting/set up all at once!!! 



Above, three examples of how I doodle.  Sometimes you just have to draw and paint - even when you forgot your brushes...which is what happened here - or not, it was a long time ago!


And these three are examples of failed paintings that were still fun to do! 

D I P T Y C H    F O R    U N I T E D    S T A T E S    S E N A T E

D I P T Y C H   F O R    C A N D I D A T E S    I N    C O N N E C T I C U T ' S    4 T H    D I S T R I C T   2 0 1 6

T R I P T Y C H    O F   S O R T S    O F    " C T    T H R E E    B R A N C H E S    O F    G O V E R N M E N T"   A N D   E D U C A T I O N    L A W    S U I T S . . .


Previous Session and Legislature (2015-16) - C.C.J.E.F. - which is being considered again by the court of appeals/Supreme Court in CT


Now that we are almost to the point where  a)Hartford the city is out of $$ and  b)the State of Connecticut is as well, got any bright ideas?


When is a cartoon actually a portrait?  And when is a government sponsored work of art taken down?  In Norwalk, when government is willing to spend funds to do so.

Triptych "Coming Up  In the Short Session 2016" features:
Executive Branch in the central panel, C.C.J.E.F. case's State's attorney in right panel, flanked by the Speaker of the House (Legislative Branch) on the left!

Triptych "Going Into Extra Innings, Long Session 2017" features:
Executive Branch in the Central Panel, Sheff cases's State's attorney in the right panel, flanked by the current Speaker of the House (Legislative Branch) on the left!

B U I L T    E N V I R O N M E N T




How about the Information Superhighway and power and communication tools?  Interiors and reflections are challenging:  How does the view looking out, or the light coming in - shadow and color - work for you?  Make you run around in "circles" in confusion?  And then there is texture and detail...by the way, my favorite "model" is the Town of Weston - its land and town meeting form of government.


Did I mention that I like to paint architecture, both exteriors and interiors?  And also that government spaces can be good subjects for interior views; I have included sketches of the Board of Selectmen from an earlier period (prior to this website development - prior to websites, period)!  This particular grouping includes previous beloved assistant.  Regarding this and the previous Boards of Selectmen, so much was done to secure the passive beauty we enjoy today!  In the past, the Selectmen have done so much to keep my favorite model, the Town of Weston, looking as "rural" and as ideal as it does;  will the new "Strategic Planning Committee" destroy this?  Stay tuned!

And of course, back to the art itself, observe how the significance of the particular room or piece of furniture assists in catching the mood!  And light matters, and is the "star" of most all watercolor painting.  Windows are all different and it is fascinating to observe them closely to be able to simplify their part of a painting about a building or a place...remember, these are paintings never shown - some for good reason!  

 I haven't been able to conquer this "illustration" art style, melding the figure into a milieu of a room or landscape, yet.  Perhaps because I'm not really interested in doing so?  Well, as it turns out, this art form is very similar to watercolor in the respect that it was out of control until I worked with it seriously for a year or so...as they say, that's how you get to Carnegie Hall (which is just down 59th street from the Art Students' League)!  After a year or two, I feel that I have created a new medium for myself!





You may have noticed that landscapes do not appear in abundance here in my "Second Chance Portfolio (c) 2015."  Why?  Works that I frame and show are...almost all landscape...and architecture.
But some are here.  Why?  Because they are flawed painting,  for one.  And I'm just now exploring the technique of graphic landscape art.  What does Pavlov Volcano in Alaska have in common with fireworks or other events?  Memories stored of Seattle and awesome natural features jump off the screen.  Another caveat on framing work other than landscape is that you don't want to offend people with politically charged work that is either too strong a comment or perhaps not clearly focused enough if you are intending to sell it!  So, especially in watercolor, why take the time and effort to frame it!

A second wash of a watercolor, quite literally, below, illustrated what I learned from what is my favorite painting, "After Kensett," (2003), above.

P O L I T I C A L    A N D    O TH E R   C A R T O O N S   ( C L I C K    T O    E N L A R G E  )




No examples extant of our early cartoons, but if memory serves, we did a wicked Khrushchev!  We moved on to journalism.  Cartoons can also make sharp social comment without being "political cartoons."   Without words.

T R O U T    B R O O K    V A L L E Y   2 0 0 9
NOW AVAILABLE as a signed and numbered print - "Is That Vermont I See?" second wash - it does not exist as a watercolor because it was replaced with a third wash as well as brushwork.

I N    T H I S    D A Y    O F    G R A P H I C    A R T    V I A    C O M P U T E R . . .

T W E N T Y -  F I R S T    C E N T U R Y    L I T H O G R A P H Y    -     C L I C K   T O    E N L A R G E  

A N D    A   N E W    P O I N T I L L I S M  

Chena's marvelous adventure!  From her first big race (TR 200) to... Iditarod #44!!!  WOOF


Black and white as well as halftone and grey scale make bold statements - suitable for almost any bold topic.  Or two or three...

Weston Town Hall and the "Greensward" has been a favorite subject for watercolor for me over the years.  Now graphic art in play!

LACHAT - barns and more barns, fields and depicting it over the years and in different seasons as the personification of Weston!

Ode to Maillot.  Grand landscape (or streetscape, for that matter) first enthralled me via studying the works of others, and then I found my vision!

 When all is said and done, after a good friend, it is still-life that is the true test of the creative mind.  At right, "After Peto" - this Trompe-Loeil is arguably a still-life, too!   "Thanks ALT - Belknap 38"

Experimentation with the medium is advancing.  It began as computer lithography.  

It is now morphing into its next phase.  Interestingly (to me, at least), my innate preference for pure color is evolving into a test of  creativity, with each work having a "limited" palette.  This is because editing out elements of one's own photographs is not supposed to be a "crutch" as my favorite teacher once said.  I am now beyond the initial phase of use of this new medium.

Painting what I see and not what I think I see always made my watercolor work verging on the inscrutable.   The graphic technique stresses the importance of each and every "marking." 

More "tricks of the trade"
As a new "graphic artist" I call my works "new" Pointillism.  Maybe I was always bound to end up doing this work, in any event, it all began as political cartoons in 5th grade, "portraits" during the summers and now on the fly, as the C.G.A. rolls along.





P A I N T I N G    L I K E    A   P O S T - I M P R E S S I O N I S T    O N    T H E    C O M P U T E R

What does all art have in common?

Editing nature.  Editing oneself.  It is easier as we accept the fact that what might have been a weakness in watercolor previously is now our strength.

Into the new year of 2018, I am learning the artistic variety for "mark making" available in my new medium.   Art is where you find it.

Previously...more than two years ago...

What do you do when you get to a point, no pun intended, where you have reached the end of creative activity in a medium?  Try something new!!!  In my case, it is combining my own photographs of places and times with computer art.

Is the result similar to any other medium with which I have become familiar?  All of them - except watercolor!  Watercolor is most unforgiving, while oil or pastel are not.  And this form of computer art is even more flexible.

But to get to the "point" where painterly Post-Impressionism became scientific color analysis, as it was in Pointillism, it took a while, at least for me.  Was this "art?"  Well, I think so.  And I am only using my own photographs to start from.

P A I N T I N G    L I K E    A   P O S T - I M P R E S S I O N I S T    I N    T H E    L A N D S C A P E   V E R N A C U L A R . . . C H E C K   T H E     " B R U S H W O R K "   O R    " M A R K S "


Whidbey Island