StudioJournal

My wife Jen Greta Cart has started an online greeting card shop with her very popular paintings at JenGretaCart.com.  Her work is beautiful, a combination of real and fantasy, magic and quietly normal all adding up to a lovely charm. She has been painting for many years and has quite a following of patrons.  And now her cards can be found in many brick and mortar card shops around Maine as well.

It has begun!  I am designing and will be painting a new mural for my home town of Hallowell, Maine.  This is going to be 38 x 30 feet on an exterior wall at the north entrance to town.  Chris Vallee has donated the north wall of his real estate building on Water St. The mural will tell the history of Hallowell, from the founding in the mid 1700's onward.  Our town built ships, cut timber, carved granite from our hills for great buildings and monuments of the young nation and had a thriving mill industry, making everything from sandpaper to

Feet, feet and more feet.  Drawing this lower extremity is fun.  Feet can be very expressive.  We are used to hand gestures in paintings but feet can be story tellers too. I am working on a new dance painting where both, feet and hands, are very important.  When you are eager to start a new painting it is so tempting to just jump in as the idea rushes you—like a vacation romance. While this can yield some clever brushwork—well, and some true disasters as well—more often it is better to rehearse the parts, to dig in and find better and better ways

Street Art Show, 7.5 x 13 inches, pencil on watercolor paper This morning I was digging through my flat files to find an older watercolor I did (Autumn Cemetery)---couldn't remember if I had sold it or still had it tucked away somewhere.  Anyway, while digging I stumbled over this drawing I had done at a street art show years ago.  

Some evenings it is good just to sit and sketch or doodle.  I like to just noodle around with a pencil and without trying to plan a new painting.  If we get too locked tight, always producing, producing, producing, it is easy to forget to relax and just play. Drawing is just plain fun so drawing without a plan is a good way to relax.   It loosens the hand and mind.  Sometimes I find things I want to pursue further, but mostly this is just a way to relax.

While I am not a strict anatomist—I am perfectly happy to distort the human form if it fits my painting idea—I do, however, love the study of the human form.  Changing the human form to fit my paintings is important.  Nevertheless, it is very useful to go back and draw some muscles and bones.  I like the review; I like the peaceful study of the body; and it is helpful in my paintings, even those paintings where I freely twist and shape. I study on my own.  There weren't really anatomy classes in either of the art colleges I attended, back

If you are looking for some interesting podcast interviews with artists from around the world you should check out John Dalton's podcasts called Gently Does It. Kudos to John Dalton for all he does. His focus in on talented figurative painters.  There are now over 100 interviews mostly with artists and some curators, the likes of Nick Alm, Vincent Desiderio, Zoey Frank, a discussion with Dr Elaine Melodi Schmidt, the curator of the Venus Visions | Vision of Venus exhibit at Zhou B Art Center in Chicago, April 2018.  (I have a piece accepted in this show, btw) It is interesting to compare

Art needs a strange alchemy of several factors.   Imagination, skill, content, vision and perhaps, as some today are saying, empathy.  None of these elements by itself is enough to become Art in CAPS. Imagination won't suffice alone.  Without skill riding shotgun, even the most imaginative idea runs the risk of poor execution, and perhaps wasting that good idea. A loud imagination with no skill is often a naive tantrum. Skill is not enough either.  Mastering paint skills, while important, by itself can merely seem like looking for approbation or proving one's self by some sort of school day gold stars standards. Content, while important, both

Just added my new carpet to my studio--to my wall. I have a nine foot square wall built in my studio that I use for painting, as a permanent easel.  I use it for large mural projects, well, small paintings too, and just pinning up reference drawings and the like..  My studio has slanted ceilings and windows on the end walls, not much in the way of regular bare walls, so this 'easel' wall is partition built in. I've used the wall for a couple years now, just the plywood, but just added the carpet as a great improvement.  I was

Composition is one of those aspects of paint learning that will never be complete.  You can never sign off and say, "Well, I learned that now on to painting".  Composition possibilities are endless and fascinating. An art friend and I were talking composition a bit ago, specifically joking about JPI--jolts per inch.  In truth not a laughing matter.  In many schools of composition the punch of your composition or design takes precidence over everything else in the painting. Any of your favorite illustrations and movie stills have that NOTAN/JPI punch and drama.  The rest of the story is subordinate to that initial