Sabbath Rest Mural

Created to add color and space to a small guest room. I installed it today, inside the frame of a window that once offered a beautiful view (before it was sealed over) of fields, brook, treeline and open spaces.

A few additional friends will keep anyone company that has the luck to sleep there. The little fox is definitely my favorite! I think the soft light and brilliant colors will be refreshing to wake up to.

This project was the perfect follow-up to the Brockport Public Mural. A large public mural can be an intense experience, as rewarding as it is challenging. This small, simple, colorful, mural, (created for the two most welcoming clients you can imagine) is a welcome contrast. Putting this one up today was as refreshing as the cup of tea and conversation I enjoyed afterwards, in the kitchen downstairs that looks and feels like it’s full of sunshine! AND there were fresh, toasty-warm, homemade rolls right out of the oven with homemade strawberry jam. Wow.

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The Final Touches

I really enjoyed watching this tree swallow develop in the studio. I don’t often share progress photos, but this is a particularly good example of how a painting evolves.

The first stage of my painting process is drawing out the basic shape and then blocking in values. Although I love how the finished bird looks in the mural, this is still my favorite photo.

Stage two is building up form and detail by studying more carefully how each line flows and where smaller areas of dark and light fall. I make corrections in the original drawing continually.

In stage three I add the last and brightest layers, touches of near-black for the darkest shadows, and then the highlights. This is where a detailed object really starts to pop off the canvas.

The bird was cut out, glued to the mural, and then sealed in thoroughly before I added the shadow. The shadow separates the bird from the mural, creating a slight floating effect and a transition from viewer to painting.

Finishing a mural in October is setting yourself up for delays. Sometimes scheduling makes life challenging! But that’s alright, it all works out in the end. I planned to add the last elements days and days ago, but low temperatures and rain kept me from it. I’m very  grateful for the beautiful weather yesterday that allowed me to finish up. Now the Brockport DPW Mural is varnished and ready for winter!

Here’s the location if you haven’t had a chance to see the newest public art in Brockport!

 

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Brockport DPW Mural Unveiling

Lori Skoog has a wonderful collection of photos from the event yesterday on her journal. Head on over and check ‘em out!! The unveiling yesterday was the perfect way for a piece of public art to begins it’s life in the community. Music, beautiful poetry, local history and delicious seasonal snacks. A great big thank you to everyone that came by to see the new mural, and help us celebrate!

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Brockport DPW Public Mural Unveiling!

On October 19th at 2pm,

the Brockport DPW mural will be unveiled!  

Join us for the exciting moment, as the completed mural is revealed in it’s permanent location. Mayor Margay Blackman will introduce the project and it’s supporters, historian Bill Andrews will offer historical context for the mural, local musician Mark Ketchum will provide some music, and refreshments will be available (can anyone have too much cider, apples, and donuts this time of year?). I will be saying a few words about the painting too! Here’s a map to help you find us.

Meanwhile, we could use your help naming the team of mules in the painting.

Aren’t they great? Look at those muscular legs. Make suggestions in the comments here, or on my facebook page. Then cast your vote on facebook on Thursday and Friday. The winning names will be announced at the unveiling on Saturday!

This coming Wednesday, I’m bringing a mural panel out into the world, to share it’s story with the entire fourth grade at Brockport Hill School and the Art Club. Having the opportunity to talk about painting with them, hear their reactions and ideas, is something I’m really looking forward to! We’ll ask the students to help us name our team of mules too.

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Fundraiser for Orleans County Chamber of Commerce

Inspired by a similar fundraiser in the Finger Lakes, my hometown launched a fundraiser for the County Chamber of Commerce. 73 local artists donated their time and materials to paint wooden palettes which are now on display in businesses throughout the county. You are invited to vote on your favorite one, or make a bid to purchase it.

Palettes will be on display until October 6th, but you’ll still have a chance to vote and bid at the Artist’s Reception on October 13th. The reception will be held at Hickory Ridge in Holley, NY where all of the palettes will be on display. Proceeds will be split between a scholarship for an area student pursuing art (yay!) and the Chamber.

An article on Orleanshub.com came out when the project began. You can read a more detilaed account in a second article from the Batavia Daily.

As soon as I heard about the project, I called up the bookstore in Albion to see if they would like to team up. What better subject to paint then something inspired by literature? (Plus, Bindings Bookstore is a great shop. Pretty much every birthday gift I’ve purchased in the last four or five years has come from Bindings!) I did not anticipate being overwhelmed by the infinite number of possible concepts.

Eventually I decided to paint a young girl completely immersed in a story (pretty much sums up my childhood). The several small scenes on the palette were inspired by the Hobbit (that is the friendliest version of Smog ever seen), Macbeth, The Odyssey, and King Arthur. I didn’t obsess over details (that is in fact a Viking ship), but you get the idea. It was a lot of fun to paint!

The second palette I completed was for Zambistro of Medina. Zambistro my favorite place to eat in Orleans County and I was enjoying a delicious lunch there back in May when they asked if I would paint a palette for them. Food is another one of my favorite subjects, right up there with books, so I didn’t hesitate to say yes.  I thought one of their signature dishes would be a good subject, so here we have “Vanilla bean ice cream stuffed cream puffs topped with chocolate sauce and sliced almonds”.  I love the blue background!

If you fall in love with either of these, just stop by Bindings or Zambistro to place a bid or cast your vote!

 

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By the end of this year, the Department of Public Works building in Brockport, NY will have a brand new mural!

We’re in the very early stages right now. Here is the first sketch!

The Erie Canal was expanded around 1918 to make way for new technology – barges were pushed by steam and diesel tugs instead of pulled by horses or mules. The mural will commemorate the significance of the expansion, and the part played by the DPW.

A total of three sketches will be submitted to the committee. One of the three might be chosen as the final design, or perhaps different ideas from each will be combined. I’ll keep you in the loop!

I’m thrilled to be creating a painting for the community of Brockport. It’s a great canal town, with plenty of enthusiastic, passionate people. Last week an art auction was held by a one such group, The Art & Aesthetics Committee of Walk! Bike! Brockport!. They gathered 69 donations from local artists for the auction. The proceeds will be used to finance the DPW mural and other public art projects. Seeing the amount of work that community groups put into fundraising for a mural project is always a humbling experience! I love working with people that are so dedicated to bringing public art to their community.

Here’s an online audio walking tour of other public art in Brockport. To learn more about the group Walk! Bike! Brockport!, check out their site here.

 

 

 

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African Safari

Here’s an in-progress pic of the current mural.  I love the colors! Zebras and elephants are grazing to the right, with a cheetah and a few giraffes on the other wall, and a tree full of African savanna birds around the window – soon to come.

My four year old nephew stopped in the other day and the first thing he said was “The lion king!”.  I was completely delighted, since I hadn’t mentioned anything about the mural, or asked him if he’d seen the movie. Disney’s “Lion King” was my client’s inspiration for the room. :)

 

 

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Hooray for Good Painting Days!

I had planned to pack the next seven days with focused painting sessions; a last push to get the current mural done for Fitzgibbons Silver Dollar so I could get started on their next scene by the first of March. But yesterday it occurred to me that it might not take nearly as long as I thought to finish up, and today I was delighted to discover that … I’m done! How did this happen? Six days early, no less!

Adding to my delight is this little tree swallow (the one on the bottom). He makes me unreasonably happy whenever I look at him. I may be fooling myself, but I think I managed to somehow capture the effortless speed and grace that these adorable fighter jets of the bird world posses. It’s probably the contrast of cute and fierce that I like so much. I recommend clicking the picture to get a better look.

Sometimes at this stage of a painting I lose objectivity. I’ll think everything is perfectly fine, then time will pass, be it an hour, week, or month, and I inevitably see errors that I was blind to before. But I have a feeling that this little bird will always be delightful, even after I discover his flaws.

Deciding what to post here when I finish a painting and the installation is still to come is always a tough decision. I mean, a mural isn’t really finished until it’s in the place it was designed to be, with the edges trimmed and the little bits touched up here and there. It’s like that feeling of satisfaction you get when you put the last of one thousand puzzle pieces in it’s place. I would be cheating you of the full experience! So… you’ll just have to wait a little bit longer to see the entire thing, after it’s installed near the end of March. (If you’re interested, there is a photo on my facebook page of the left half of the painting in progress.)

Meanwhile, here is another snapshot of the painting, a little square of swooshes and splashes that was a lot of fun to paint, even though it took several layers to get it right. Water can be a real challenge!

The next Silver Dollar project involves time travel and lots of architecture. The setting for the current mural is the Erie Canal basin in Medina, NY where Oak Orchard river flows  under the canal. Mural number two will capture a scene from the mid nineteenth century, right in downtown Medina. It will be completely different then this organic mass of green and blue. Stay tuned!

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Swans for Albion, a Stained Glass Window Design

A while back I was approached about an unusual project. Designing a stained glass window for the brand new library in my hometown! Collaborating with a stained glass artisan is new to me, so it has been an interesting process.

Today I finished up the drawing and color sketch and handed them off to the stained glass artisan. Over the next three months he’ll painstakingly cut hundreds of pieces of colored glass and solder them together into a three foot by five foot window. (Click for larger images.) After seeing a demonstration by local artist Tony Barry last week, all I can say is that I love my paint even more!

The only requirements from my client were swans, waterlilies, and some landscape, so I had plenty of freedom. If you noticed that the color sketch is lacking cattails, that was a later addition. The window will follow the design of the drawing, while the painting is more of a color reference.

The new library will have a new name, so everyone is happy that the old Swan  Library will be commemorated in this window.

Having the opportunity to make a contribution to the library is something I’m very grateful for. I’ve spent many hours wandering the small cramped aisles of the old library over the past thirty odd years. I love the historical building that was donated so long by Mr. Swan, with it’s beautiful architectural details and intriguing antique furniture, but this giant, airy new structure will serve our community so much better.

It’s a lot of fun being involved in it’s creation, in this little way. I’ll love driving by at night, seeing the glowing, brilliant, colors of stained glass lit up from the inside, knowing that I had a part in it. I hope everyone in Albion is as excited about the design as I am! And I can’t wait to see the transformation of paper and paint into luminescent glass.  The library will be opening in the spring – I’ll keep you posted on dates for the grand opening, so you can stop by and see the finished product!

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Jungle Mural

Snakes! Parrots! Bugs! Monkeys! It’s not everyday that I get to paint so many exotic, colorful creatures. Stepping out of the flora and fauna of Western New York and into the jungles of South America was a fun trip for sure.

This painting was a Christmas present for my nephew. Would you be surprised to hear that it doubles as a growth chart? It is an unusual example, since there aren’t any measurements on it. It’s painted on a panel so they can take it with them wherever they go. If it’s cared for properly, it will be around to track the growth of several generations, and I think the painting is colorful and fun enough that it will be worth keeping around. ________________________________________________________________ Click on the images to see them in a larger format.

 

Even though you can’t see them in the photos, there are subtle lines that blend into the tree, marking every six inches. As the years pass, my sister will write his height and age along the vine and up the tree. Having a ruler type measure on a growth chart really isn’t important at all, as anyone that’s marked their height on a doorframe can tell you.

Connor is just three years old now. I love the idea that this painting will be with him through the years, marking his journey upward and providing some perspective. He’ll remember when that big blue bug was as big as he was, when the monkeys and birds were so high up in the tree, and it seemed like he would never be tall enough to look them in the eye. Then one day he’ll be as tall as the viper and his blue bug days will seem so far away.

 

 

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