Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cuba: Plaza de Armas

I made this quick sketch painting while sitting in the Plaza de Armas in Habana Vieja. The Plaza is home to a book market, which sells used and antique books. 

I sat in the shade of the plaza’s generous trees and made this painting. While I was sitting, a nearby book seller, who was also a painter stuck up a conversation with me. He told me that the statue in the plaza is of Carlos Manuel de C├ęspedes del Castillo, who fought for freedom from Cuba’s Spanish colonizers and also for freedom for slaves. 
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cuba: Balcony View

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Cuba to conduct professional research. I’ll be working with my colleague and travel companion to document our travel and research in the coming months. it was an extremely interesting trip to a country which presents a myriad of contradictions and complexities. I made a few watercolor paintings while I was there. Most of them were quick sketch paintings made quickly, without much time to linger on days with full agendas. 

This painting was made while sitting on the balcony of the casa particular where we stayed in the Vedado neighborhood. The balcony was an extraordinarily pleasant place to sit in the hottest part of the afternoon, or to enjoy breakfast. From the balcony we could see to the ocean and also glimpse the private lives of the nearby residences. I made this postcard painting of a apartment building that just down the street, with aquamarine painted accents.

I took this photo of the painting while in Cuba before mailing this postcard because I had heard that mail from Cuba can take a month or more and sometimes doesn’t make it at all. It has been three weeks since my return and the postcard has not yet made an arrival to it’s U.S. destination.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lake Harriet Save the Date

I recently had the pleasure of creating a save the date for a couple soon to marry in Minneapolis. For the save the date, I created a painting the Minneapolis skyline as viewed from Lake Harriet. It is a particular pleasure to create commissioned paintings of places that I have visited and loved. I made two visits to Minneapolis last year and stayed very near to Lake Harriet, which is one of the many picturesque lakes, which dot the city.  The bride knew that she wanted the painting to have an open sky with trees. We created this design in the depths of winter, the green leaves in the painting were a gentle reminder that spring and summer will return.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Martha take Flight

I am delighted by the barter and “sharing” culture, which has developed with the assistance of the internet. I think Air B&B, Uber, and other services that allow for sharing of resources are fantastic. As an artist, I place particular value on the artistic work of others and want to be certain to recognize their time and effort. So, this painting was made as a barter with friends, who shared their fantastic musical abilities at a Rural Studio fundraiser in August. I’ve also made paintings in barter for financial planning advice and knife skills class. If you’d like to barter, let me know!
The painting was inspired by the song “The Cuckoo” and Martha, the dog of my friends. The words of the song, "Oh the cuckoo, she's a pretty bird, she warbles as she flies…” remind them of Martha. So they asked me to make a whimsical painting of Martha flying through the air with her front paws extended superman style. 
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

From the Archives: Summer Day at Oak Street Beach

I made this painting in the summer of 2013, while sitting on Oak Street Beach in Chicago. I was surprised when I moved to Chicago that our city has beaches. Of course, I knew that Chicago has a lakefront, what I didn’t imagine was that the lakefront is dotted with beaches, with sand, and in the summer, sunbathers, beach umbrellas, paleta carts, beach bars, teenagers hanging out, and all that one would expect to find at a “beach.” Though I’m frequent visitor to the lake for bike rides, walks and picnics, I rarely “go to the beach.” I did spend afternoon there last summer with some friends. I made this painting on that occasion. It was a challenge to try to capture the crowds of people, in constant motion around us and the dynamic nature of the scene. As you may guess from the painting I made, I was particularly taken with the vibrant blue umbrellas. 
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Reid Park, Tucson

On our last day in Tucson, after a relaxed brunch we spent an afternoon at Reid Park. Reid Park is a large public park. which is home to a small zoo, Rose garden, a reflecting pond, with a waterfall. I made this painting sitting on a rock under a tree next to the waterfall overlooking the reflecting pond. It was a pleasant place to sit and paint, even on a Monday the park was bustling with activity, including a group of men piloting their remote controlled sail boats on the reflecting pond. I’m always looking for opportunity to paint the water and the reflecting pond was particularly pleasing to paint, with its serene surface providing interesting reflections and colors.
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Desert Diamond Cup, Tucson

Part of our visit to Tucson was spent at the Desert Diamond Cup, a pre-season MLS (Major League Soccer) Tournament. In addition, to taking in the soccer, I enjoyed sitting in the warm sun and making paintings. As a painter, I believe firmly in pushing the boundaries of your abilities. In the spirit of the Eleanor Roosevelt adage, “Do one thing every day that scares you,” as a painter I find myself wanting to make paintings of unfamiliar subject matter, sometimes “failing,” but often expanding my perception of what I can do. I made these paintings in this spirit. I had never made soccer paintings before, but it was a pleasant setting and interesting to consider compositions at this venue, over the course of two days.
View of stands from picnic bench at end of field.
Sketch of tree made while talking to my friend Brendan on the phone.
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