Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bohemian Art Society

Tonight is the Bohemian Art Society monthly meeting and as I have stated in earlier entries in the blog this is a good thing. The whole purpose of the group is to get artists together on a regular basis to share ideas, work, opportunities, and to try create a sense of community. We have a very open meeting where each person can share their work. Through this single thing I and the others in the group have developed an appreciation for the effort that goes into the differing mediums that we all create with. It is a great "think tank" where ideas are born and some have even come to fruition. It is good when creative people gather and spend time together without trying to sell anything. I have nearly finished "Eastern Beef" , but probably won't have it on the site until early next week with photos of the wedding. So as my daughter comes home tonight for the wedding, I will be taking a few days off. Oh and my cold is receding!!!
On another note I secured the Forte Ballroom at In-Play in Peoria for the art party I'm calling Art - I - Gras on marti gras night Feb. 20th- Beads - Booze - Art

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cold Medicine Works

Last evening I did manage to get back in the swing of things, after a dose of Alka-Selser Plus. I managed to fix dinner and start "Eastern Beef", it is an 8" x 24" of some Italianate Buildings that were torn down to make room for a parking lot. I have been going through some of my older photographs of the city( I have been taking them for some twenty years ) and looking for subjects for my smaller paintings. Should be able to work again tonight, hopefully will put a big dent in this one. Also have a Bohemian Art Society meeting Thursday evening, can't wait to show them the new pieces.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Having a cold STINKS

The Woman and I both have nasty head colds, and with the size of my dome that's a big cold! As I contemplate going home and crashing on the loveseat with my bestfriend, or trying to force myself to paint. Painting may be next to impossible without really good drugs as I can't go two minutes without blowing my nose so loud that geese are landing outside the building. The good thing is that looking back on this last month I have finished eleven, that's right eleven, paintings. The other thing that is impressive is that these pieces are not of diminished quality, and some of they are now among my favorite pieces. Think I will go home and find some cold medicine and fix dinner and take care of the woman, maybe later I will start "Eastern Beef"

Monday, September 25, 2006

Works Done
Well this weekend wasn't the greatest for painting, but I got most of my work done. Saturday after moving my sister's possessions into the storage in the driving rain. I came home to find my studio light on, my TV was on, and my current canvas was placed on my couch. As I cautiously entered I found my youngest daughter, Chelsea, busy working on the canvas that I had stretched for her a few weeks previous. After this weekend The Woman and I were feeling slight colds coming on so we relaxed most of the rest of the weekend. Here is some photos of Chelsea and of course "Vegas Vic"

Friday, September 22, 2006

It is amazing how events can alter your usual routine. If you visit my or my daughters blogs you probably have figured out that there is going to be a wedding at the end of this month. Although my personal involvement( I got fitted for a tux) has been small, there are a flurry of activities around me .
My sisters marriage has a more immediate impact on my time. Last month she left on a mini vacation back to North Carolina ( she graduated from UNC ) there she married Tom Hanks( not the movie star) who goes by Pete. We think she planned this event for some time even though she did not tell her children. She returns to central Illinois and begins making plans to move to North Carolina. This means selling her house and car. So after going to take out a garage full of garbage last night( which included a Nordic Trac ski machine ), going this evening to pickup her vehicle at the dealer and then try to sell it, and Saturday moving the rest of her possessions to the storage barn ( at least it is the one close to my home- although I still have to contact the owner to get the key fixed or I can't get in tomorrow)
I will have "Vegas Vic" on the site soon, hopefully I can start " Eastern Beef" at some point this weekend.
The woman and I went to the Art in th Prairie Benifit at the Oncology Center for Saint Francis took up most of the evening, then we went to chimnea. Having a drink as I type, cheers.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Kaleb's Birthday
Today is Kaleb's birthday, he is 13, a teenager. I called the school and told them that he wasn't coming in, his mother was going to hide presents in the morning with a series of notes as to where he could find them( sort of like a treasure hunt ) and we were going to let him sleep in. But of course he got up at the crack of dawn ( seams to him it is like Christmas morning ) and most of our plans were thwarted.
I will take half the day off and go home to play video games under the woman's orders I am not to paint, just spend time with him. The next painting is nearly finished "Vegas Vic", although when I would refer to the name of it Kaleb thought it was the "Chillicothe Man" but he has never been to Vegas.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Weekend Class
This weekend was the workshop on acrylic painting at the Dogwood Center at Illinois Central College. The good part of the class is that I get paid to paint all day . I managed to finish two paintings, the first was a redo of the stained glass at Lincoln's Woman Club.( I decided to paint this as a one piece painting 16" x 24") I brought the diptych in as an object painting and had it drawn out on velum so the class could transfer it to their canvas then went over the process that I use of underpainting with base colors and building up glazes of colors to get to the finished piece. The class worked on this one until shortly after lunch and then we switched to the next one, the obligatory sunset.( I painted this painting in the new 8" x 24" size) For this one we used an object photo that I had taken one winter evening outside of my home. I just loved the way the sky looked that evening and had been wanting to paint it, and it worked well in the workshop as we could take what we were doing on the stained glass and use it on a different subject.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Chillicothe Man

Until I find out who this gentleman is or find a better name for the painting that's what we will call him. As I have stated earlier in the blog I was in Chillicothe one evening walking around taking photos of things of interest, when I ran into two artist buddies of mine who were also there for the opening. Linda Wilmot and Londie Benson were going to a local restaurant for a quick bit to eat, and as we talked Londie pointed out three elderly people sitting on a bench. She informed me that was the photo to take so I did. In the painting I focused on the man at the end of the bench as I found him more interesting visually. So here it is, it is definitely something that if I were painting a large piece I would not have done, but it does make an interesting study.( and I guess it shows some skeptics that I can paint people - I just choose not to )

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Nearly Finished
The small painting I'm currently on is nearly finished, hopefully will have image up tomorrow . This evening I need to stretch at least two more small canvases as I am teaching a workshop this weekend at ICC North - Dogwood Center, through the Illinois Art League. It is a one day workshop on acrylic painting, so I might have a couple more done this weekend. The piece that is nearly finished is looking pretty good , it is sort of a different kind of painting for me , but these small canvases allow me to experiment with subjects that I don't usually do. You should see it tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Another Rainy Day

Here in central Illinois it seems that the monsoon season is up us, cold fronts pushing through have cause grey skies and rain for what seems like forever. Last night I picked up my paintings from Robert Wayner at Black Walnut Gallery, the show did not do as well as he had hoped, people liked the quality of the images but did not buy. It is a sad fact of the art business that we need to sell our work to continue to create it. Receiving monetary reward for the work of our hands is nice(it helps to pay the bills), but it's more than that it gives us as artists a sense of credibility. Selling is bittersweet, you receive what you have determined fair compensation for your time and materials, but on the other hand a piece of yourself is gone. I tell people that paintings are like children, you don't want them constantly under foot, but you want to know where they are and that they are loved. More images soon.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

" TOWN "

On a recent trip to Chillicothe for Don Rossers and Tami Yosts opening at the Town Gallery, I took a few photos of the village before I left . This is a painting of the theater marquee. Definitely would not commit a large canvas on this one. But at least I'm finished and off to the next one, might take a couple of evenings so stay tuned. Last night was the Illinois Art League board meeting, so I had to forgo painting to be somewhat reprimanded by the board for securing the site for next years festival at the Riverfront Park. Oh well, next month should be interesting because I am presenting an itemized list of what it is going to cost so no one can say " we didn't vote on that" "that's the first time we have heard of that" "we're going to lose all our money on this show".

In the words of Ted Turner " lead, follow, or get out of the way"

Monday, September 11, 2006

The "Gargoyle"

Here is the gargoyle, I know Don Rosser will like this one, it is right up his alley. The Woman starts her job in a new school district today(she starts in Pekin at L E Stark Grade School - she used to go there in the 5th Grade - the year before we got married) so everyone is up and getting ready to go. We have a board meeting for the Illinois Art League ( since we are both on the board ) so I might not get to paint tonight but I am working on one that is totally not my style. I will get to pick up my paintings from Chicago tonight though. It's alright I have one more I finished this weekend for tomorrow.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I Love the new size!

This is the last of the first four 8" x 24" canvases, as I said earlier in the blog this is of a painting that I had done before but I really like the doorway. Hope you like it too.
I am on FIRE !!!!
As I said earlier today my plan was to finish the doorway painting, and I did. Then Kaleb and I went to my mothers to assemble a cart she had bought. When I returned I started on of the canvases that I had sketched out. The first one that I wanted to do was a"Gargoyle" that is located on top of the Peoria Waterworks. I finished it and went on to the next one, it is a marquee of a theater in Chillicothe called "Town". Although I didn't finish it, it will easily be finished tomorrow, even going to Kaleb's football game. I am loving these small paintings, hopefully I can get some images to upload also.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Stretched Six More
Managed to stretch six more canvases , I will finish the doorway painting today. I have sort of settled on the price issue of these small paintings in the process. My 24" x 48" paintings are 1400.00 and since I can get six out of that size panel I just divided and came up with 233.00. I don't like odd numbers so I will lower the price to 200.00. Hopefully I can continue to ride this creative wave and have enough paintings for upcoming shows.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Art Partners Art Party

Yesterday evening was the end of year business meeting for Art Partners (, it was sort ironic that the "party" was two days after the city council voted to decrease the budget. It still was a good time, I can't tell you how important it is to be around other creative people. The Woman has a new best friend , Morgan Elser, who now wants to sculpt her image. ( can you blame her ) I did not get to paint last night, but I have a good start on the last of the 8" x 24" canvases. The next painting is of an old doorway on Elm Street in Peoria, the building used to be a grocery wholesaler around the turn of the last century. I have painted it before and wanted to revisit it with the smaller canvas. Tonight is chimnea(for those who do not know-for the past six years at least "the chimnea group" has gathered on Friday nights to eat, laugh, have some adult beverage, and just generally unwind after our hectic weeks), and hopefully I will be able to get a start on about a dozen more of these small canvases.
I am painting every day

Not a painting a day , but painting every day, that is what I 'm focusing on. When I see other artists the first thing I ask is are you painting . I am finding that is the most important thing that we as artist can learn from this painting a day phenomenon , not necessarily to paint a complete painting a day but to every day explore and exercise our craft. On the next two canvases I decided ( that is thanks to The Womans input) to paint a diptych of the stained glass I had photographed at the Lincolns Womans Club while I was having lunch at the art show the previous weekend. Again I apologize for the quality of the photos but trust me the paintings are cool .

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Recently In Chicago

Last month I was selected to display my work with six other Peoria artists at the Black Walnut Gallery on Division Street in Chicago. It was an extreme honor to be in the show as there were a lot of talented competition. The "Made in Peoria" show had an artist's opening on the first Saturday and The Woman and I went up for the day. We spent most of the day walking along Division and Milwaukee , taking photos, looking at the shops, and just enjoying the buzz of the big city. ( Like the two guys on Milwaukee Avenue who were draped in rugs and yelling through orange traffic cones like megaphones ) We had a wonderful day. When I started the 8" x 24" canvases I had just received my photos back from the trip and the first painting of this new project is one of those images. "Tavern" is just a sign on Division above a bar, I've always been a sucker for signs and now with the smaller canvas I will paint more of them. The photo is a little blurry ( I had the camera set at the wrong settings) just be assured that the painting looks a great deal better than this photo.
Still on a Roll

The ease of finishing these two paintings was amazing. I had been painting in earnest for the past four years, trying to paint every day, but because of the size of my pieces I would only finish on average one a month. I priced them somewhat on the high side so I could build up inventory for the constant need for paintings in galleries, offices, and shows. With these smaller paintings I found something that really kept my interest up, being able to finish quickly I couldn't wait to get at the next one. I stretched another small canvas started it and went to the show in Lincoln,IL. After the show and while I was pondering this " painting a day " I finished this painting " Fire Escape" it is 8" x 33" and is of a building in Des Moines, I think someone I know might like this one.

The other 10" x 30" Canvas

"Parking Meter" is the other small canvas that I stretched that day, this painting was done in a day. Now it was a Saturday, so I had more studio time than on a weekday. But we still had people over in the evening for swimming. ( We have an inground pool and summers are sometimes hectic ) I was truly happy with the painting and it doesn't appear rushed or hurried.

Finally I have some images

This whole thing started with two paintings that I did about two weeks ago. I just happened to have some scrap material and on a lark stretched two smaller canvases ( each is 10"x 30") on the first I painted " Wedding Flowers for the Bride" . I happened upon an old flower shop that was being demolished, and they had removed the aluminum siding for recycling and it revealed the upstairs windows that had covered for decades. Crisscrossed by nailing strips and covered by a fresh dusting of snow the gold leaf letters are visible again. This painting did take several evenings of studio work but I liked the result

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Good Call
The city council did cut the budget for my friend Suzette Boulais at Art Partners. It would not have mattered if I was there or at home so, since I stayed home and finished the diptych "Stained Glass" I think I made the best use of my time. That brings the total paintings since last Friday to three canvases, not bad if I do say so myself. I must also say that I am enjoying the small canvases immensely, I have been able to try things that I would never do on large time consuming canvases. I have been wrestling with the price issue as my large pieces are somewhat on the high side, it would be nice to have these as low as possible at upcoming shows. I will have to stop by and have my photos processed at lunch since my sweet daughter in Des Moines has my camera cord and I can't upload any images unless I have a hard copy to scan. That's OK it will give me an excuse to purchase a new camera with lots more meg( like that really cool Canon Rebel EOS 8 Megapixel)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Wow What a Weekend
I love holidays, get to spend more time at home. Between sports, friends, friends from out of state, the Red Cross constantly calling me in for platelets, how do I get any painting done. Well I still managed to get some studio time and finished one of the canvases " Tavern" and started a dyptych " Stained Glass" which is well on it way. Hope to get some time in the studio tonight but I may have to go to City Council meeting they are deciding the budget for my good friends at Art Partners,( you may visit this site at , the city in it's infinite wisdom wants to cut the budget 39,000.00 dollars.

The problem for myself is that I tend to get involved, and at times to the detriment of things that I am trying to accomplish. When I first started attending shows one of them was hosted by the Illinois Art League, so I felt obligated to join. Then you can't join without finding out what the purpose of the group is, so after attending a few meetings, I end up on the Board of Directors. Then I end up as the chairman of the very show I started exhibiting at just three short years ago. Same thing happened with the Bohemian Art Society ( artist started getting together once a month, sharing ideas,
getting to know and appreciate each others work outside of a show or gallery setting, have some adult beverages, and general be "bohemian". Well, after the founder, friend, and fellow artist, Jack Barger fell ill . I found myself as the president of this fledgling non-profit, we are growing and gaining members.

The city council has my letter, and I have e-mailed specific council members, but the writings on the wall. They are going to cut the budget. I think I will just stay home and paint.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Saturday Sept. 2

The sun was finally out today, my youngest son Kaleb had two football games. Not much time for painting , I did manage to sketch out the four canvases I had stretched Thursday. The chimnea group is going to the Riverfront Blues Festival this evening. Will try to get some studio time this afternoon. Looks like I won't finish a painting today.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Are They Nuts

How is it possible to live life and still be under some type of ridged painting schedule. I find it hard to find time in the day to type these messages, much less force out a painting. Somehow last night I managed to stretch four canvases for myself and one for my daughter Chelsea( She wants explore her artist side- so I stretched a 14' x 24" for her) . It was all I could do to get these five done in the evening. I do stretch all my own canvases, this gives me greater flexibility with size and I have sort of perfected my process in recent years. I start with 1/4" paneling cut to the size of the piece, then I miter and attach 1 x 2 sides flush with the edges with an air nailer. After a light sanding the boards are gessoed and covered with wet cotton interlining ( I love this fabric - when it is done it give me the texture of a good watercolor paper ) Then the fabric is stretched and stapled to the back of the edge pieces giving me smooth paintable sides ( so my paintings wrap around and appear to come out of the wall- and the don't need frames) Trim excess fabric off back and rub front of canvas with trimmings to push fabric securely into gesso. Finish with another good coat of gesso on front and sides of canvas, and let dry.

There , so how am I supposed to go through all that for a painting and put some thought and effort into what goes on top of it.

The painting above is " No Parking " 36" x 60" currently at the Black Walnut Gallery in Chicago

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