Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Plaza Theatre - finished painting by Jeff

Another one finished! This one's going to Stricoff in New York. They're putting in the L.A. art show in January.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Majestic - finished work by Jeff

Finished! Except of course for gluing it up. I need to let the paint cure for a few more days first.

This painting reminded me again how much I like painting neon tubes. This was especially fun because of the way the tubes duck in and out of the shadows, allowing me to explore the luminous quality of the neon in and out of sunlight.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Majestic Stage 2 - work in progress by Jeff

I'm using a richer, darker, more saturated palette than usual for this piece. It seems to be going pretty well.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Plaza Theatre stage 3 - work in progress by Jeff

I just keep glazing in richer, deeper color. It's getting better!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Majestic Stage 1 - work in progress by Jeff

I'm still working on the Plaza Theatre piece, but while the paint dries I'm getting started on a new one. This is a fabulous old diner in Atlanta that I used to go to a lot with Leslie before we were married, many years ago.

24" x 24"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Plaza Theatre stage 2 - work in progress by Jeff

Almost done with the first pass. I had intended to just block in the basic colors as an underpainting, but as you can see, I couldn't resist getting some detail in on the neon tubes.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Plaza Theatre - work in progress by Jeff

Here's the drawing for my next painting. This one is for a show in L.A. that Stricoff gallery is participating in.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Power Station - finished painting by Jeff

Finished! Still need to glue it up, once the paint dries.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Magic Picture stage 2 - work in progress by Jeff

She's coming right along! Nothing wacky yet. I'm thinking maybe... robots? Hmmm....


Friday, October 23, 2009

New Magic Picture - work in progress by Jeff

I haven't done one of these in a while, so I figured it was high time I got started on a new Magic Picture. That's what I call these paintings, but you could call them pop-surrealism if you like. Or big-eyed-girl paintings. Or whatever you want. As usual, this one features my awesome daughter Emily. I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but it will probably be something wacky.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

All Aboard - by Leslie

This painting of a small, silver goblet depicts the upper deck of the MS Holiday in its reflection. I cruised on the Holiday back in May. She is a small ship and is being sold to a Spanish cruise line this month. The sugar bowl is on the ship's railing and you can see a crew member in the distance who I had to stop from removing it before I could take the picture. He was very apologetic, but also very confused about why this crazy lady was taking picture of silver tableware sitting around the ship! I return again to a rule that I once read that states you should never paint anything in reflections that you can't see in the rest of the painting. I have never been a good rule-follower. The reflections offer an opportunity to see the world in a different way. How else can a painting of a goblet bring forth memories of a hot Caribbean day on deck? I am dedicating this series of paintings to the MS Holiday, and all the people who love her.

Bid on this painting on eBay...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sanctuary - by Leslie

This painting of a silver cream pitcher depicts a reflection of my bedroom. I love giving intimate peeks into my world through these reflections. Behind the bed you can see the huge, east-facing windows from which the early morning light wakes me each day. On some mornings it is glorious, on others I curse the bright yellow orb and its ever persistent return. You can also just make out, under the bed, my little robot minion - Beanie the Roomba, and in the background, my great-grandmother's dresser.

8" x 8" oil painting on canvas

Find out about purchasing this painting here...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lilies in Farmland - by Leslie

Years ago I found this milk bottle in a junk shop near our house. It's perfect for wildflowers and you can often find in somewhere in my home filled with my daughter's latest garden or forest finds. Here I have a couple of lilies, which were not found, but purchased. They were great fun to paint, especially with the lighting and shadows playing through the glass. I could talk about symbolism or allegory in this painting, but the fact is, flowers are just a pure joy to paint. I get lost in them and sometimes forget to eat when I am working on one of these paintings.

8" x 10" oil painting on canvas

Power Station stage 3 - work in progress by Jeff

Just got back from a 7 day cruise in the Western Caribbean, and I'm ready to get back into some serious painting. This one's coming along nicely!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sea Day - by Leslie

This may look like a painting of a small, silver sugar bowl and while that is true, it is also a painting of the lido deck of the MS Holiday. I cruised on the Holiday back in May. She is a small ship and is being sold to a Spanish cruise line in about a month. The sugar bowl is sitting on a chest which holds life jackets. In the reflection you can see the Gulf of Mexico and me, taking the picture. I once read that you should never paint anything in reflections that you can't see in the rest of the painting. This seems so silly to me. The reflections offer an opportunity to see the world in a different way. How else can a painting of a sugar bowl bring forth memories of warm Caribbean breezes and salt air.

8" x 8" oil painting on canvas

Find out about purchasing this painting here...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Power Station stage 2 - work in progress by Jeff

Since the real strength of this painting is going to be the bold and striking colors, I've decided to to paint it in several stages, creating a new palette for each color group. I've started with the blue sky in the background.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Power Station - work in progress by Jeff

Here's the initial sketch for my next painting. It's a section of a power facility in Atlanta. I left the drawing really loose so that the tiles won't match up very accurately, which I think will add some interest to the painting.

Nassau Storefront - work in progress by Jeff

This one's almost finished, and I didn't get any photos of it in it's earlier stages. Sometimes a boy just gots to paint! All that's left to do is brighten up some highlights and darken some shadows.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dry Dock completed painting- by Jeff

Finally finished! It still has to dry before I can mount the tiles, but the painting phase is complete.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dry Dock stage 2 - painting in progress by Jeff

I've been working sort of haphazardly on this; bouncing around from one area to another. It's coming along, though!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dry Dock - painting in progress by Jeff

Here's the ink drawing for my next painting. It's a tanker ship in dry dock as seen from the deck of a cruise ship leaving Mobile Bay.

Monday, July 20, 2009

For Sale in Key West stage 4 - finished painting by Jeff

I was going to call this painting "For Sale in Key West", but I think I'm going to change it to "Some Light Rust Damage". I think it turned out well!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

For Sale in Key West stage 2 - work in progress by Jeff

If you saw my previous post you'll remember that I said something about working in some tonal values with white. I decided that was too boring, and I just dove right in and started painting with a full palette. That's how I work - just because I plan a particular approach for a painting doesn't mean I have to stick with it. That would be like a real job or something! Or to put it another way: I still don't really know what I'm doing. I'm still making it up as I go along, and I have a feeling I always will be.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

For Sale in Key West - work in progress by Jeff

I've started another painting from my cruise photos! This scene was something I saw while walking around some back streets in Key West. Lots of great contrasting textures - and colors too, which you'll see as the painting progresses.

Once again I stared with a brush pen and india ink. I'm not going to tone the ink lighter this time, as I did with the lifeboat painting. I think the next step will be to get in there with some white paint and start building tonal values.

25" x 50"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lifeboat, completed painting - by Jeff

It's finished! Well, the painting stage is finished. I still have to let it dry, then glue the tiles onto a wooden box. Most of my paintings in the last few years have been coated with encaustic medium as the finishing stage, but this one is going to be coated with Galkyd as a varnish.

As you can see, I opted to use a little creative license with the text on the life boat. The reference photo depicted the name of the ship, but I used my monkey icon and the word "umizaru" in Japanese. It means "sea monkey." It's kind of unusual to see umizaru spelled out in the phonetic hiragana alphabet; you would normally see it as two kanji characters. I like the aesthetics of hiragana. It feels a little more unexpected in context.

The name of the painting is actually "Umizaru 2".

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lifeboat, stage 4 - work in progress by Jeff

Getting into the colorful details now, as well as continuing to layer in more subtle, white tones. Forget what I said before about being almost done. Maybe. Honestly, I never know how long these things are going to take. I'll be painting along, feeling like I'm nowhere near the end, and then I say "Hey! I guess it's finished!" A few more days at least, though.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Lifeboat, stage 3 - work in progress by Jeff

Getting close to the end! Well, kind of. You can see that I use a pretty haphazard approach to how I treat each tile as I paint. It takes me a while to get into the rhythm of the painting, and decide where to concentrate my initial efforts. It became clear pretty early on that I needed to focus on the whites, and all the subtle tones that are represented by that.

I also put a lot into the water, which was very satisfying. That crazy, deep blue may seem unrealistic to you, unless you've seen it in real life! When I was a kid I always wondered why water was represented by blue in illustrations. Now I know! If you haven't been out to the deep blue sea in a boat and seen that water for yourself, you really ought to go find yourself a boat.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lifeboat, stage 2 - work in progress by Jeff

Here's the lifeboat with the glaze, ready for some real painting. As you can see, I've started blocking in some blue for the sky. That blue is going to have to get WAY more subtle. Too much thalo! Aaaagh! My eyes!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Lifeboat - work in progress by Jeff

If you read Neil Hollingsworth's blog (and who doesn't?) then you probably know that Leslie and I recently went with Neil and Karen on a cruise to Key West. Though Neil made it clear in his blog post that he and Karen were there to NOT work, I just couldn't help but scope out some possibilities for paintings. The structure of the ship fit right in with my industrial aesthetic, and I found myself particularly drawn to the lifeboat assemblies, just full of cool lines and cranes and pulleys. This image represents my initial sketch, done in black ink with a Japanese brush pen. I added white highlights with a watercolor pencil. My next step will be to add a partially transparent light toned glaze of oil paint and Galkyd.

48" x 36"

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Reflection of the Studio - by Leslie

At first glance this appears to be a painting of a silver cream pitcher, and that it is. But it is also a painting of my studio. I love the way the room is reflected and distorted in the with the curves in the pitcher and the way the warm wood floor and furniture looks reflected in the silver. If you look closely you can see both Jeff and me working in there. I once read that you should never paint stuff in your reflections that can't be seen elsewhere in the painting. Call me a rebel, but I think that the distorted forms in those reflections is what makes these types of paintings fascinating to paint and to look at. And this one in particular gives a little peek into the way that we work and live (and how cluttered our little studio really is!)

9" x 12" oil on canvas

Koitsuto? - by Jeff

This is my second painting of eggshells on manga (Japanese comics). The title of this painting comes from the Japanese writing in the manga that makes up the background. Koitsuto means "with this guy?" At least that's what my son tells me. I know a little Japanese, but he's actually been to Japan, so I always go to him for translation.

My basic idea here was to use some elements that would seem perfectly mundane to someone in Japan, but to most in the west would come across as exotic and unexpected. I probably rendered some of the Japanese characters incorrectly, and they may actually say something completely different from my reference material. But I noticed as I was painting it that the word "enfatry" was in the manga; obviously meaning "infantry". See what I'm getting at? The same impulse to depict something from another culture was the inspiration for the manga itself - with the same disregard for the meaning of the original! It's kind of like a game of telephone: with each step getting further from the original meaning. All you're left with is the abstract aesthetic.

60" x 48" oil and encaustic on panel

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tulips in the Light - by Leslie

This is a painting of a couple of tulips. I saw them with the light coming from behind and I knew that I had to paint them. Tulips are some of my favorite flowers. I love the simplicity of their structure. Nothing garish, just the bare minimum to do the job.

10" x 10" oil on canvas

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Reach For It - by Jeff

Here's another painting for my New York show. I replaced the stuff on the actual billboard with my monkey and an inspirational message: "YES! Reach for it!" Isn't that inspiring? Don't you want to buy whatever it is that the monkey is selling? I certainly do.

42" x 42" oil and encaustic on panel

Terry Rafferty recently asked about my technique for painting on all my little squares. I started doing it a few years ago as an experiment, and I liked the feeling of the process and the finished work so much that I never stopped.

I start with one of my own photos, and I separate it into a grid. Then I view only that part of the photo that corresponds with the tile I am painting. Lately I have been starting with a sketch in black ink, using a Kuretake brush pen. The squares are cut from 1/4" thick MDF, and coated with two layers of grey gesso. I sand the gesso lightly to create a nice, smooth surface for the brush pen.

After the initial sketch is done, it's just a matter of painting what I see: square by square. I'll usually visit each square about four times, depending on the complexity of the image depicted on that square. I let the form and the color values vary from square to square, which creates an interesting effect. I always try to treat each little panel like a painting unto itself. When I put them all together I get the strangest sense of seeing something new, even though I painted each little piece!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Brother Eddie's - by Jeff

Last August my family went on a cruise to the Bahamas to celebrate my parents' 50th anniversary. I saw this funky, abandoned restaurant while walking through Nassau, and I knew I had to paint it. There are a lot of closed businesses there, and a lot of new ones springing up. You get the feeling that people are very resilient in the Caribbean! But it makes you wonder: what killed Brother Eddie's? Was the food terrible? Was it the global economy? I bet it had something to do with the fact that meals are included on cruise ships. Eddie's probably doing a brisk business in T-shirts at the straw market now. I'm sure he'll be fine.

Brother Eddie's - 42" x 60" oil and encaustic on panel

Monday, March 30, 2009

Third Gardenia - by Leslie

This is the third in a series of paintings I have done of gardenias sitting on the counter at my mother-in-law's house at the beach. I can hardly wait for my own gardenia bush - started from a cutting of hers - to bloom this summer so I can get more reference material. There is something about the delicate petals of these flowers, contrasted with their thick, shiny leaves that compels me to paint them. I love the way the light penetrates the petals and the green from the leaves reflects back onto the flowers. This painting was a pure joy to paint, and I had a difficult time deciding that it was finished and moving on to other things.

Third Gardenia - 9" x 12" oil on canvas

Salt Water - by Jeff

Here's a painting that I recently finished of a salt shaker and a glass of water. I like painting simple still life subjects with my Fragments technique (that's what I call the deal with all the little squares.) There's a lot of variety of colors to explore with this kind of composition of relatively neutral tones.

24" x 48" oil and encaustic on panel

Sunday, March 29, 2009

TabletDraw - by Jeff

Coffee Pot drawn in TabletDraw

If you have a Mac and a tablet, you really should try TabletDraw. I say this not just because it was created by my son Spencer, but because it really is the best program for drawing on the Mac! Did I mention that it was created by my son?

See, when Spencer was about eight years old, Leslie and I gave him our old Macintosh SE30. It was one of those old, black and white, all-in-one computers, and we had just upgraded to a bigger, faster machine. I told Leslie at the time that my plan was to encourage Spencer to experiment and explore computing at an early age, and then when he was older he could write software for ME! Here's the crazy thing: It actually worked!

A couple of years ago Spencer (he's 22 now) was looking for a simple drawing program that accurately rendered his pen strokes, and he really didn't find anything. He set out to write his own program, and asked me for suggestions about features I would like to see. What followed was a great collaboration: I would say "how hard would it be to..." and Spencer would say, "I could probably do that." At first he would come back in a couple of hours with a working prototype of whatever suggestion I had made, and then hone and perfect it over time. Since then my suggestions have become more elaborate, and the program has gotten much more complex, so it takes a little more time to make major changes. It's unbelievable how well the thing works, and Spencer has far outpaced even my wildest expectations.

He currently sells the software for $35, but you can download a free version that has limited undos and layers. Apple made TabletDraw a Staff Pick on their download site, and they even made it the Featured Download when it debuted. It has continued to receive strong critical acclaim, and it just gets better and better as he works on it.

You can check out and download the application here:

mooSoftware: TabletDraw

Reflection of Autumn - by Leslie

This is a painting of a silver sugar bowl sitting on my front porch. My house faces west, and early last fall I took advantage of the early afternoon light to capture the view of the changing colors in the reflection in the silver as a single oak leaf had blown up on the porch. The backdrop is a vintage metal Coca Cola cooler that sits on the porch to hold my potting supplies (I try to keep a few flowers going through the summer with varying levels of success!) I love the combination of the bright red of the cooler and the earthy tones of the wood and leaves. This porch is my favorite room in my house, especially for those few weeks each fall and spring when the Georgia weather is mild enough to enjoy morning coffee in my rocking chair.

12" x 12" oil on canvas

Friday, March 27, 2009

Stargazer in Light - by Leslie

This is a painting of a stargazer lily sitting on the ledge by the stairs leading up to my bedroom. There is a south-facing window at the top of the stairs where light streams in. I love the way strong sunlight penetrates the petals of a flower, making them glow. I find painting flowers to be an act of pure joy when I have this kind of light to work with. The lily sits in a bottle that I picked up somewhere for a quarter and the bubbles in the water play perfectly in the light. There isn't much to say about this painting other than these little scenes make me happy... happy when I see them, and happy as I paint them.

Stargazer in Light - 8" x 10" oil on canvas

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Waiting for Burritos - by Leslie

Most every summer we spend a week or so at Jeff's mom's beach house in Carolina Beach. In nearby Wilmington there is a fantastic Tex-mex restaurant called Flaming Amy's and up until a couple years ago they had a satellite location at the beach. This little scene is from that restaurant. As we sat waiting for our order, Jeff took a picture of the salt and pepper shakers on the table with the light streaming in from the window. If you look carefully, you can just make out the reflection of Jeff holding the camera. As I painted this, I could almost taste those Amy's burritos (the best I have eaten north or south of the border!) If you find yourself in Wilmington make sure to check them out, and you will recognize the thick glass salt and pepper shakers.

Waiting for Burritos - 10" x 10" oil on canvas

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thicket - by Jeff

I just finished this scene of a water tower in Midtown Atlanta. I wanted to give it a name that said something about the tangle of power lines in the foreground, and the relationship with the jumble of buildings and trees, I called it "Thicket." It's going to Alan Avery Gallery for his April 17 show.

Thicket - 48" x 48" oil and encaustic on panel

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy Boy Tower - by Jeff

Another water tower painting! What can I say? People like them and I like painting them. This tower is in Salt lake city, but it didn't say "Happy Boy" or have that wacky logo. I made those up. It's actually the same tower that's depicted in "400 W." which is at Julie Nester Gallery in Park City, Utah. I'm starting to look at these towers as sort of a canvas-within-a-canvas, where I can depict all kinds of different ideas and concepts.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

RI - by Jeff

This is a painting I recently finished that I cleverly named "RI." See what I did there? It's a sign in front of a bowling alley in Salt Lake City. I painted it from a photo I took last summer when Leslie and I were there for my show at Julie Nester Gallery in Park City. The west is full of these great old signs. They're a novelty for me because you just don't see as many things like this in the Atlanta area. I think it's partly because we have so much more wet weather that the old signs break down, but also because the philosophy around here is al about tearing down anything old and full of character and replacing with something new (and usually character-free!) Oh well.

"RI" 30" x 42" oil and encaustic on panel

I guess I'm blogging again? - by Jeff

You know how if you've ever done any blogging, and then you stop for a while, you find yourself missing it? Yeah. I guess I'm at it again. Maybe this time I'll be more consistent with it. Ha!

Here's a painting I recently finished. It's called "Red Star." Can you guess why?

"Red Star" 30" x 24" oil and encaustic on panel