Sunday, January 31, 2016

Song #9

I was going to try an abstract song yesterday but I got a bunch of flowers that called out to be painted so I could not resist their call.
I worked on them three times.  The first pretty much the way I would approach any painting.  The second paying more attention to each stroke of the stylus and the third drawing with white first to see how that would go.
SONG # 9

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Song #8

Yesterday I made two versions of the original Barnes Foundation which I glimpsed through the gate on my walk.  As you can see I have gotten away from trying to create colors in time...but not for long.  In the second piece I tried to make each stroke interesting as I might in the abstract colors in time.  This is harder to do when you have a preconceived image in mind.  Today I will go back to looking for a pattern in time in color alone.
Song #8

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Song #7

Today's "song" is just plain corny.  When I got up yesterday morning and looked out the window the whole sky was lit up as the sun came into view and the reflections on the snow were spectacular.  You've seen this kind of scene portrayed ad nauseum but I decided to do it anyway.  You don't hear people talking about stuff that is "corny" much anymore but here is the definition and derivation in case you are interested.
  I find that simply starting out with nothing in mind and working away at trying to create something is much more fun than having something in mind and going for it.  There is the joy of figuring out how to do what you have in mind but not the same kind of excitement or spontaneity as reacting on a moment to moment basis to what is happening.  This one was planned...but not too well as I didn't use layers as well as I could have. I may do it again with better planning.
Here it is SONG #7.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Here is Song #6 in my attempt to make a song a day in Procreate as I find out all the things I can do.  Here I tried the water color brush.

Song #6

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Blizzard Fun

"Oh, the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow"

Since I have no children at home to build a snowman I decided to go back to my own childhood when I would spend hours making pictures of kids having fun with my trusty box of Crayolas.
I used the crayon brush in Procreate which is a little heavy handed but still had lots of fun with this one. I will try again tomorrow. Music is by Kevin MacLeod.

Blizzard 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Song # 5

Time for a little Gershwin, I got Rhythm!  I am finding that by repeating actions I can create visual rhythm that connects with the music even though the actions are created completely separate from the music and the music is added after the fact. what do you think?

Song #5

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Song #4

Today's song is a pattern of sorts.  I thought I would find some indian drumming to go along with it but was unable to come up with any free drumming.   I did find this piece that definitely got the feeling for me.  Hope you like it.

Song #4

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


1. Song #3
2. Direct translation of music to color

Yesterday I neglected to say that the second piece, (Direct translations of music to color) because it is really formed by music, has a distinct rhythm and color scheme.  The first piece is more like dance. It moves in time to the music vaguely but does not have a rhymic structure of its own.
I have for many years been attempting to find a way to have colors move in time and move the emotions in the way music does.  So for me these distinctions are very important.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

song #3

Continuing my song a day, here is yesterday's stab at some sort or colors ordered in time.  There are lots of problems with this idea.  First it is impossible to control the timing of anything.  Spaces are not recorded, so if you put down a mark it is recorded and it doesn't matter how long it takes you to make the mark is still rushes on willy nilly.  Second everything is cumulative so there is a lot on top of other stuff.  These are just problems that can be solved probably.  Is it worth it?  We'll see.  Here are two versions of the same piece of music.  Dilebes' Flower Duet from Lacme.  The first is the Procreate version and the second is my translation of music to color animated in Flash.  If my Flash program were still working I would go back to using that.  When I got a new computer it went kaput.  That is also a problem that can be solved probably.  It's one on my list.

1. Song #3
2. Direct translation of music to color

For more color music translations type in my name in youtube and you will get my channel.   Lots more to see there if you are interested.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Song #2

In the spirit of a painting a day I'm going to post my Procreate paintings in time each day. They are stabs in the dark as I cannot control the timing at all and barely know how to use the brushes but it should get better as time goes on.
Here is song #2.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Song #1

I just got a new app for my iPad.  I thought I might like to try to create a still life for today.  While playing with lots of the options I found that it automatically recorded what I was doing and I could play it back.  Now this opens up a whole other realm of possibilities.  Here is one of my first attempts to create something that is unique to this new media option.  (Actually I have no idea what anyone else is doing with this app but it is certainly new for me)  I'll check into that and let you know.  I added the music by going through my iTunes library and looking for something sprightly that was about the length of the piece.  I don't think this is a way to make unique still lifes but it may be a way to create some color in time that is fun to watch.
Here is a link to song #1:

Friday, January 8, 2016

January Newsletter

Is there still life in still life?

The show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art does not set out to ask that question but, if we are to believe what we see there, the answer I’m afraid would be no.  

Audubon is the first painter represented, an ironic choice, as his paintings are not what one would usually consider to be still life, but paintings of animals and birds pictured in action.  They were  painted while stuffed so were actually quite dead.  I guess that’s where the “still” comes in.  They are beautiful works so who can complain.  The rest of the next several rooms of the exhibit are filled with ravishingly beautiful paintings of fruit, vegetables and flowers with the occasional human holding them.   There is an especially luscious painting of a woman slicing an onion amidst an array of vegetables whose eye is just about to spill a beautifully painted tear.  Ah the detail, the loving caress of paintbrush here and delicate application of light there.  These are paintings to die for.  If you owned one you would never tire of taking it in.

I loved the delicacy of the lighting and the way the compositions were carefully put together.  These are not real fruit, or flowers, they are an ideal feeling of fruit and flowers caught in their most perfect form forever.  Here are some clips from the Museum’s web site.

Slowly at first things change as one moves forward in time to the next rooms.  Flowers and fruit change into violins, guns, and once again dead animals.  This time they are not posed as live as in Audubon but really dead and in 3D.   Trump 'oil takes over…and the the flowers that remain are getting flatter and flatter.  Subtle light disappears and is exchanged for a certain sameness of tone.  What happened to the mysterious darks I wonder and crisp highlights?

Suddenly we are confronted with a room full of paintings whose relationship to the ripeness and sensuousness of the older paintings is gone.  Although in the past I would have said I enjoyed Georgia Okeefe’s Lillies I found them rather disappointing after so much careful attention to sensuous detail and light.  In this room only the painting of Grant Wood’s mother and the water color of Demuth held up for me.  The rest were worth a glance and out the door. Warhol’s Brillo boxes?  No life there folks, just a chuckle.

But it did not have to be that way.  I see the intent of the curators.  Art does change and taste for art changes but what is considered “art” by the art critics and taste makers may not be what is actually happening in the world of “seeing” and art making.  There are exciting still life paintings from the 20th century.  They were not however represented in this show.  Here are a few possible inclusions that would have rounded things out nicely for me.  This is a very small sample assembled in an afternoon.  Imagine what else is out there.

Iris and Fruit
N.C. Wyeth

      John Hammell

Caroline Bays

Wayne Tiebald

(this lovely painting by Philadelphia native Elizabeth Osborne is actually in the museum collection but not in this show)

Bill Sharp

Sydney Bella Sparrow

David Hockney

From the 21st century several times a week I get lovely small works in my email from people who are still concentrating on an arrangement of items and examining them carefully to create a lasting image in paint. These works are notable as beautiful art, because they are for the most part sold on line not through galleries.  Is this the wave of the future?   Their small size also makes them affordable for the average person!!! 
Imagine that.
The first from the founder of the movement “a painting a day”, 

Duane Keiser

Barbara Kaciacek

Daniel Jackson

and last but by no means least our local talent Abbey Ryan whose work could be from the last century with its careful observation of texture, color and light.

Abbey Ryan

This show really got me thinking about what I am doing and reawakened my respect and delight in seeing what is really there.  Take your eyes to the Museum, leave the head phones on the rack and see what you think before it is too late.  I recommend taking your reading glasses and getting up close.  You only have 2 days to go!

Thanks for reading.  Let me know if you have any fabulous finds in still life to add to this so incomplete list.

Sunday, January 3, 2016


It has been a very strange December.  No cold weather to speak of and no snow.  This has left me feeling a bit confused. I don't like cold weather but without it things just seem wrong.  The leaves are gone and the days are short but by the end of December there were plum trees in bloom and lily leaves starting to come up.  What next?

At the same time I have been experimenting with new types of painting support.  I am using a very hard flat surface called gesso panel.  Unlike canvas which absorbs some paint and has a semi rough texture this support is flat and hard.  I wanted to see if I could build the paint up a bit, creating texture with the brush as it left ridges while using a lot of paint.  In order to create areas that were defined I simplified the drawing so that each shape was discrete.

I wanted the color to say something without too much reference to the "scene".  So far the results have been mixed.  My latest painting somehow turned out quite different from what I planned and I am beginning to loose interest in this approach.

I am including my reference photo - the one I planned very carefully on the computer- and the finished work to show how things went wrong.  I'm not sure how I got so far away from the colors I had  planned as the combination of color is what I was interested in.  The feeling of the colors in the plan is quite different from the feeling of the colors in the final painting.  I wonder what happened.  It is the feeling of the colors in the plan that I was after.  That is how I feel about this December.   I am going to print it out on soft archival paper with archival ink.   I suspect my natural cheery nature took over and I simply needed to paint some bright color.

December 2015 plan

December 2015
9" x 12"
oil on gesso panel