Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I received an unhappy e-mail yesterday from someone who was upset with my flying blog.  I think a photo might have worked it's way on to Daily Paintworks gallery before I was able to mark it "hide" on my tracking page.  Don't know for sure, when I checked, it wasn't there.   Anyway, if it did and anyone else was upset, I apologize.  As I have stated many times, I will not be posting a painting a day, or even a blog a day.   Don't even know how long I'll even keep the blog going.   Only as long as it's fun.             Mike 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Horse farm

                                            9"x12"  Oil on linen panel

Another CA. painting done with my Wednesday Plein air group.  The arrangement of structures, trailers,etc, was really interesting, and off in the distance a tall, thin old man was leading a young horse to another corral.  I moved him to the path in front for my picture and he didn't complain.  Neither did the horse.         Mike                         

Monday, August 29, 2011

Flying fun

                                                      Preflighting the aircraft

I'm an old aviator, and a week or so ago, I took some of my friends (and neighbors) flying.  Since I can't sustain a painting a day pace, I thought I'd fill in for today with some photos of the afternoon.  We flew out of a small field in Hendersonville NC.  That's me in the above shot, checking out the Piper Cherokee.  The next shot is of Hendersonville downtown from the air, right after takeoff.

We flew for about an hour, over the beautiful mountainous terrain, Shown below.

                                             Oops!  That area is flat.  Still beautiful.

Then, there's a shot of me (Left seat) bringing us in for a landing.

                                               Not a very big airfield.

Made a nice landing, which was good, considering the critics with me.

Finally, a shot of the worst critic, my neighbor and friend, Dennis, right after the landing.  See why I'm not too upset if my paintings are critiqued?             Mike

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thunder road

                                            16"x20" Oil on linen

A painting of a memory.   A group of CA. artists, including your's truly,  assembled at this old farmhouse to paint it and publicize it in an effort to raise money to save it from a developer.  Just like in the movies!  Well, we painted and some artists did some very nice stuff and we each contributed a little cash.  Things looked good for a while, but alas, eventually the effort failed and the property was lost.  Life goes on.     Mike

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Carolina Stream

                                              8"x10" Oil on linen panel
A quick little painting I did late last fall when most of the leaves were gone.  Spring and fall are my plein air seasons now that I'm here in the east.   I do paint in summer if it's not too hot and humid, but this summer was a killer.  I'm  looking  forward to mid September and October/November.  I really admire the fortitude of the Canadian and New England artists, but as I have stated several times on this blog, I am a weather wimp!    Mike

Friday, August 26, 2011

Unknown harbor

                                             20"x30" Oil on linen
This is sort of a composite work done from several photos and sketches of different locations.  I wanted to do something a little larger and looser than my usual work, and it was enjoyable.   I usually like to paint on location, but it's not always possible, due to weather, time constraints, or other factors, so I do try to take photographs if I can.   This painting is now owned by another fine artist, who has become a good friend, Jane Kirkpatrick, of South Carolina.  I intend to nag her to go plein air painting with me a lot.      Mike     

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Top Cat

                                          14"x18" Oil on linen

I haven't posted a boat painting in a while, so I thought I'd show one today.   This is my favorite harbor, again, Morro Bay CA.   The two boats were both visitors, and they made a nice composition and contrast, since I usually paint commercial fishing boats when I'm there.   If I remember correctly, I was with my artist friend, Anita Hampton, that day.   She is fun to paint with; she is a wonderful artist and laughs at everything I say.   Most of the time that's good!    I tried to post this yesterday and it would not work. No text.  Crazy!  Mike    

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Today I tried to post a Boat and Harbor Painting, and for reasons only known to the Deity (and probably Google) only the photo shows in my preview---------No text.  I'll try again tomorrow.        Mike

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Black Mountain station

                                          12" x 16"  Oil on linen panel

Some of my Carolina friends and I were on a paint out in the little town of Black Mountain when I came upon this interesting scene.  The station is now a museum and the boxcar is fixed in position.  I finished this piece in the morning and the group met for lunch.  Then in the afternoon I did another from across the street and it was not good.  I scraped it off and had a nice salvaged panel to paint another day on.  That's art!  Mike

Monday, August 22, 2011

Long day ahead

Today I am forced to deal with computer work and will not get to pick up a brush.  I have been using a very old and inexpensive photo editing application for years, and I finally acquired Photoshop Elements.   I am going to watch a "how to" CD, read a "how to" book, and generally try to be able to handle it.   From a cursory glance it seems idiot proof and a marvelous program.  Having dealt with computers for a while, I feel sure I will find a way to screw it up.  You all have a nice day!           Mike     

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Snow in Vermont

                                                         8"x10" Oil on linen panel
                                                      Click here to bid on this painting

Talking about snow a day or so ago made me think.  I haven't done a snow painting in a while, so here's a  quick little sketch done from a photo taken a couple of years ago in Vermont.  As I mentioned in earlier blogs, any snow paintings I do now,  will be done from photos.       Mike

Friday, August 19, 2011


                                                     5"x7" Watercolor and pastel on paper

Occasionally, I do something a little different and get away from my normal land and seascapes.    Perhaps my blog will be more  interesting if it reflects that.  This is a small watercolor and pastel work I did while looking at what I think was a peach tree in bloom.  It was a lot of fun, and looking at it now, I feel the urge to try more of this kind of thing.  After so much working in representational oil, it can feel like a day off to just play around in another medium.                    Mike

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Old Pig Farm

                                                         14"x18" Oil on linen panel

A subject I have painted many times.  Another Cal.Wednesday Group get together on a warm clear day.    Every time I show one of my west coast works it evokes memories of good times past   This winter I will happily leave the snow environs and fly back to Cambria for about a month or so, probably in January or February.  That way I can avoid all the shoveling and NC neighbor friends will endure.   I think my NC neighbors hate me!                Mike   

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Banjo Mike


A few people have asked about my banjo playing.  I have always loved the sound of a four string banjo, and I was lucky enough to acquire a good one some years ago.  I play mostly show tunes (Hello Dolly, etc.) and dixieland stuff ( Saints, Bill Bailey, etc.)   The banjo is great, a 1932 Vega, unfortunately, I am not, and at my age I won't get to be a lot better.   It is a difficult instrument to play well and I'm thinking of perhaps selling it.  I suggested to three of my closest friends that we should get a bagpipe, an accordion, and a musical saw, and form a rock group, but for some reason,  they don't think we could be a hit!  Anyway, here's a shot of a good banjo going to waste.     Mike

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Gull Cottage

                                                    20"x24" Oil on stretched linen

Almost everyone seeing this painting thinks the subject is a lighthouse.  Actually, it was an old farmhouse with an elevated  water tank above it, located in Cayucas, Cal.   It is now a well known gift shop called " Gull Cottage", and is a favorite painting spot.  I believe the ruins at the foot of the cliff are what remain of an early  experimental wave or tidal action power station.  At least, someone told me that, a while back.   Erosion is an enemy here, the owner showed me where she had lost some or her back yard.      Mike  

Friday, August 12, 2011

Old House in Fletcher,NC

                                                           9"x12"  Oil on linen panel

This is the second of three pieces I did for the local show I mentioned.   It was completed en plein air in one session before the heat wave hit.  I don't know for sure if it's true, but I have been told it is the oldest house in Fletcher NC.  I was alone at the time, but I really prefer painting with another artist or artists around.  It's no problem for me to talk and paint at the same time, and I think I'm more likely to admit I did a clunker (and scrape it off)  if another artist is there.  Lord knows, I've done lots of scraping off.                    Mike     

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Purple Orchid

                                                         8"x10" Oil on linen panel
                                                      Click here to buy this painting

This is a small sketch I made of an old Victorian house near Burnsville NC.   There was a paint out with quite a few good artists participating for prizes and I did this little one quickly and then painted a large version for the competition.   It was a very hot day and there were two dogs barking---  that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it..  My entry was terrible, didn't win, and didn't deserve to.  There were a lot of nice people there and it was a fun day, anyway.   Burnsville is a pretty little town if you ever get around the mountainous part of NC.        Mike      

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Store at Horseshoe Gap

                                      11"x14"  Oil on linen panel
One of the more eye catching subjects in my immediate area.   I just finished this painting, along with two others, for a local show..   It was painted en plein air on two separate mornings because we have have had unusually hot and humid weather for the last month and as I mentioned earlier, I do not like humidity.  I managed to hang on for about two hours each morning to get the job done.   Today is a day for  air conditioned contemplation.               Mike

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

One more day of painting

Today I am going to photograph and frame a trio of paintings I just finished for local art shows.  Tomorrow I will post a photo of one of them.  I have been doing so much plein air landscape painting, I am getting a little bored with it (temporary feeling,only).  I think I may do a figure, or self portrait, or abstract, or something different to rock my boat
I have received many very nice emails from artists since I started this blog, but none from a member of the general public.  I guess it takes a long time for a blog to get around.  Perhaps I should start wearing long blonde wigs, tattoos, and meat shirts or something to catch the public eye.   I do play dixieland banjo, but I sing like a frog with a man in it's throat.  Ah Well!   I will admit I am having a lot of fun.       Mike   

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Art on the Rocks

                                                         9"x12" Oil on linen on panel

I painted this with my Ca. group on the coast near the lighthouse I highlighted in an earlier blog.  The water colorist sitting on the rocks is my old friend, Art.  We paint in the morning, then have lunch and an informal critique while eating.  I plan to get out there this winter for about a month, before it starts snowing.   I am no longer a great lover of snow and ice.  Many years ago, my job took me to the city of Niagara Falls for a couple of years, and it was my first experience with living in a snowy environment.   The people in that area are some of the nicest, warmest, food and fun loving I have ever met.  Great friends.  But, holy mackerel, the winters!!!  Mike

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hot day

Well, I find that the hot humid days of this summer are just about killing my plein air enthusiasm.   I've always been one of those individuals who is extremely sensitive to humidity.   When I was just a kid in New Orleans we didn't know what air conditioning was.  How in the world did I survive?   I do realize that all over this planet people live in worse conditions than I ever did, and I should just shut up--- so I will.      Mike 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Here Kitty!

                                                    9"x12"  Oil on linen panel

I was setting up to paint the interesting apartment house when an older gentleman appeared with a bowl of food for his feline friend.   I thought the two of them made a nice center of interest for a painting, so I took a fast photo of them, then continued with my plein air study of the structures, driveway and tree.   Later, back in my studio, I looked at the photo and put them in the painting.  I like the title best.     Mike