(Private Collection) This is a view from a big field where I spent a lot of time drawing and painting this past September and October, until hunting season started and it was no longer safe to be out there.
This was originally a painting that I did in early 2006, immediately after moving to Maine. At the time, it was the best I could do, but I was never really happy with it, so I recently painted over the entire thing, keeping the subject and composition the same. If you scroll down to the early work, you can see the older version.
People often ask about my process. My paintings always begin as very loose monochromatic underpaintings where I work out the composition, large masses and value structure. In this case, I used Burnt Sienna oil paint thinned with mineral spirits in conjunction with an oil stick. When this dries, the color is laid on top of it (see finished painting below). It is not uncommon fr the underpainting to show through in some places.
(Private Collection) Actually, this hay is for cows. My neighbor cut the hay behind my house for the cows on his dairy farm. I made this painting right after they finished baling the hay – they came and took the bales away the next morning. I was forced to work quickly as I could only paint while my son took his nap, which was about an hour and a half.
Hay bales in a field of Ingraham Road looking to the north east as the sun was setting. The painting "Filed At Sunset" was done from the same field, looking the other way about a month earlier. I did a pastel on location and created this painting in the studio.
This field and trees are a mile and a half directly behind my house and I have painted this view many times, especially in the winter (see "Winter Trees" above and "Three Trees" below). Thanks to my good friend Robert Pierce for the title.
(Private Collection) I saw a retrospective of Edward Hopper's work at the MFA in Boston the week after I finished this painting and it made me realize how much of an influence he had on me. This is an empty house right on the border of Canada. It looks as though it might have been some kind of border patrol station at one time, but the road is currently blocked off right where the road crosses the border. One of the Border Patrol agents came out to see what I was up to one evening while I was doing a drawing here. I showed him my sketch pad and waved and he waved back and drove away. A friend later told me that he overheard the agents talking on his police scanner about me and said they referred to me as a "hippy" artist. Yikes!
I was out doing a pastel from my car one afternoon on the Station Road here in Littleton which is essentially the end of civilization up here, being the eastern border of the great wilderness between here and Quebec. I did an unsatisfactory pastel of a small house and decided to call it a day as it was getting dark. As I turned to my right to make sure there were no cars approaching I saw this little shell of a house with the sun going down behind it. It is a curious and incomplete structure, being what appears to be a single room with a door and it having no siding yet, but wrapped in Tyvek paper. I did a quick pastel sketch which became the impetus for this large painting.
I went out for a run one morning in January and it was so cold (30 below zero with the wind chill) that the fluid in my eyes (the only part of my body that was exposed) froze before I got half a mile from my house. This was unbelievably painful. I had to walk back with my hands over my eyes. So, I capitulated and went out drawing instead and did a colored pencil drawing which became the impetus for this painting.
(Private Collection) Late in the afternoon after a long period of rain in the Spring 2006, the skies started to clear and I saw these fantastic clouds moving quickly across the sky. I grabbed my pastel supplies and rushed to out find a view to draw from before the phenomenon was over. I ended up on Front Ridge Road in Littleton, ME, the most elevated ridge in the area from which you can see great distances on a clear day. I got out of the car and did a quick pastel, which later yielded another pastel, several drawings and finally this painting. In this particular work, more than any other, I can see my love of John Constable's painting.
(Private Collection) I was out running one day on Ross Ridge Road near my house when I saw a unique barn that had two opened doors at right angles to each other so that one could see right through the corner of the barn to a corn field beyond, which was ablaze in the early September sun (see above). I returned the following day to make a pastel of the barn and corn field. I parked across the street and I was unloading my gear from the back of the car I looked to my right and saw this solitary tree, with New Brunswick off in the distance. Needless to say, I drew the tree instead and went back another day to draw the barn and corn field.
This is the Elliot's old potato house on the Station Road in Monticello. When he was a boy, friend Kevin used to come up here with his dad from Massachusetts to pick up potatoes. This was done in early September 2006. I was standing much further to the right planning to do an image of the entire building. A large cloud mass was blocking the sun and as I waited for it to pass I walked around considering other views to work from. When I got to this spot, the sky cleared and lit up the west face of this building, which is corrugated metal, like it was on fire. I moved my easel and did this pastel, which I developed into an oil painting during the winter. Sometimes the best way to show how large an object is is to only show a portion of it.
(Private Collection) The intersection of Leland Hill and Pierce Roads in Sutton, MA has been very fruitful for me. The painting "Pierce Road" (see below) is view looking at this location from the opposite side (note the triangular Yield sign in both paintings. The red barn from the painting of the same name (see further below) is just to left, outside this picture frame (note same stone wall in both pictures).
(Private Collection) I went out early one Friday morning in June, just after sunrise, and despite it being the height of black fly season, I managed to get a couple of nice pastels done (see "Early Hours" below). I returned home around 9:00 feeling quite happy with the morning's work. When I showed my wife my proud accomplishments, her only response was "When are you going to draw that red maple tree in back of the house?" Feeling especially confident, I went back outside to face the black flies once more and did this pastel, on black Stonehenge paper. My wife was under the mistaken impression that I had done it for her and is still mad at me for selling it.....
This was done on the Lake Road in Monticello, ME just after sunrise on a Friday morning in early June 2006, whilst I was eaten alive by the vicious Maine black flies. Despite, being covered in insect repellent, I had to keep jumping back into the car every couple of minutes to wait for the flies to dissipate as they would swarm around my head to the point that I couldn't even see to draw.
I like watercolor, but it doesn't come easy to me and I have to force myself to work in it. One day I forced myself to do a watercolor and I did this, based on a drawing I had done in Sutton, MA a year earlier. I like the exaggerated perspective and the cinematic composition. This image later became an oil painting. The limited color scheme is inspired by Winslow Homer, who did many paintings using only two colors, mixing them in varying degrees to create a multitude of different color tones.
(Private Collection) I was driving out on the Framingham Road on my way to another location to do some studies for a painting that I was working on when I looked up and saw the sky filled with these unusual zeppelin-shaped clouds. I stopped the car and got out on the hood and drew this using Polychromos hard pastels on a cream colored laid paper. I have since done two paintings from this composition.
I was out running one day in March 2006 and I looked to the west over a frozen potato field and saw this sunset. I sketched out the composition in the sand on the road with a stick to help me remember it and then I rushed home and did a small pastel from memory, which eventually became this painting.
(Private Collection) This is a view from the end of the Foxcroft Road. Just around the bend to the right, the road ends at the border of New Brunswick, Canada. Northern Maine is known for having very cold winters and massive amounts of snow. Snow mobiling is big business up here. The winter of 2006 was unusual in that after a big storm the day after Christmas 2005, we hardly had any snow at all and the landscape, mostly potato fields, looked essentially like this. It was still cold, though. This was done from a pastel that I drew on location.
(Private Collection) This pastel was done in early February 2006 near the end of the Campbell Road looking up a hill across a snow covered potato field as a large dark cloud bank moved in just before sunset. Sorry about the glare on the photo. This piece uses a technique where I sketch in the basic forms and them paint over the pastel with an acrylic medium which gives the pastel a painterly look and provides a nice textured surface for subsequent layers of pastel to cling to.
Another view of the Henderson farm, just after a snow storm. Done while sitting on the hood of my car in the freezing cold. I remember having to pause to get back into the car every 5 minutes or so to thaw my fingers out over the defroster. I had been using Rembrandt pastels on Rives BFK paper quite a lot but I had just gotten a big box of 60 Windsor and Newton pastels at 60% off as the set was being discontinued. This was my first time using them and I also tried Stonehenge paper for the first time. I prefer the BFK, but I work in pastel several times a week and the W&N pastels have become a favorite for quick sketching, although Schmincke pastels remain my preferred pastel.
I am a full time artist, originally from Massachusetts, currently living in northern Maine. I work primarily in oils and pastel, and occasionally watercolor. I offer instruction in drawing and painting at my studio, which is in an old renovated potato barn. Please feel free to view samples of my work (You can see a larger version of each picture if you click on it.) and leave a comment if you are so inclined. Be sure to click the "Older Posts" button at the bottom to see more work. I don't always have time to respond to comments, but if you wish to correspond with me, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org