Wednesday, February 29, 2012


 I have talked quite a bit about my California painting group, so I should devote some time to the North Carolina group of which I am now a signature member.   The "Western North Carolina Plein Air Painters" is composed of oil and pastel artists living in the proximity of Asheville NC.   At this time there is no regularly scheduled meeting or painting days.   We have a problem of members spread out over a fairly wide geographical area.   This spring (Hurry! Hurry!) I am hoping we will increase the frequency of our paintouts.   Below is a photo of a few of the group during a lunch break at a place called "Hickory farms".   The lady with the sun hat sitting to the left is Peggy Taylor, who is president, prime mover, chief cook and bottlewasher, the glue that holds the group together.  Without her, we would be lost.       Mike

Monday, February 27, 2012

Early morn, Morro Bay

                                             9"x12" Oil on linen panel

On the morning that I painted this scene, the fog that had blanketed the area every day for a week was not in evidence.   My friends and I fully expected it to come rolling in at any minute and deliberated whether or not to make the attempt.  We finally decided to start, but I put aside a larger canvas for the smaller one here and started sloshing on paint.  Turned out, as you can see, to be a beautiful sunny day.  It was a nice feeling to have the Weather God smile on us for a change.   The previous inland paint out was hampered by Santana winds, which are warm winds coming from the desert in a real hurry!   I wish I had a video of the umbrellas, canvases, and artists racing across the fields!   It was hilarious.  My work flopped face down near a farm wagon in dried horse droppings.  I picked it up, waited about a week, and just brushed it off.   No problem.  It had a certain air about it, but it eventually sold.   I'll show it soon, perhaps,         Mike

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Just talk

Back home, trying to catch up months of mail, bills and social activity.   Jet lag is gone after a day or so.   Will post photo tomorrow, if nothing else comes up.         Mike

Friday, February 24, 2012

Glass works

                                             11"x14"  Oil on linen panel

This is a much visited artistic glassworks in the little town of Harmony, California.   I have painted the town both from the main road and from behind the group of structures comprising the whole.  One of those paintings I posted in the early days of this blog.  Harmony is a favorite location for artists and my group has spent many Wednesdays there.  On the day I did this particular work, I was painting with my friend, David.  We both did the same view, his turned out better, as usual, but he is a really accomplished professional.   He is also the "slower than molasses in winter" friend I have mentioned before.   Think I'll show a picture of him.

As you can see, it was chilly that day.   As much as I love California, I will admit that some mornings, although beautiful, are chilly.                             Mike                        

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Finally, I am back in my home.  Flew into Asheville airport last night   Family health problems necessitated a two month stay in California, and it will take a few days to get organized again, here in NC.   One of my great neighbors picked me up at the airport after stopping by my home to turn on the heat.   Everyone should be that lucky!   In a short time, hopefully, I will be painting, again.                              Mike

Monday, February 20, 2012

Writer's Talk

I don't really have a lot to talk about today, but I'm hoping something will come up.   I'm reminded of the anecdote about the famous, heavy drinking humorist, Robert Benchley.   Someone had told him that whenever writer's block reared it's ugly head he should go to the typewriter, insert crisp, pristine sheets of paper, type "The", and words would start to flow.   Next morning, a hung over Benchley arose, staggered to his typewriter, put in crisp, pristine sheets of paper, typed "The", glared at his effort for a few minutes, then typed "hell with it!" and went back to bed.    Maybe I'll go back to bed.              Mike

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Walking the baby

                                                12"x16" Oil on linen panel

I was tempted to call this painting "Madonna with child", but decided it would not be accurate or nice, so I called it what it was, after a mother out walking with her child.  The old house behind her had a section removed and looked a little lopsided, but it was a beautiful morning and I was eager to paint.  She was a nice young lady who was not disturbed by my including her in the scene.  If I remember correctly, I was painting with my old friend, George Gibson, that morning.  Always pleasant.    Mike

Saturday, February 18, 2012

More "just talk"

Will not deplete my dwindling cache of photos on this Saturday.  Getting ready to tour garage sales.   I really enjoy perusing books, art supplies, collectibles, etc.  Weather is suprisingly nice this winter, with very little snowfall, hope it continues this way until spring, when I can hit the plein air trail again.  Have a great weekend!                Mike 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Early snow scene

                                                12"x16" Oil  on linen
                                    Gift to family

This is one of my early snow paintings.  I can see so many things I would change, but the relative, who received it as a gift, likes it as is,so-----.   I am trying to get something for the OPA, but other responsibilities continue to interfere.   Still wondering what I'll do when my blog runs past my supply of paintings.  Perhaps I'll just try for humor.   I used to think I was indecisive, but now, I'm not sure.        Mike

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More "just talk"

Today is going to be a busy day, so no painting photo.  I have multiple chores facing me, some to do with art---some not.  One of them is getting a painting to submit to the upcoming  National OPA Show.   As usual, I screwed around until the last minute, intending to try for "Great!" and now settling for "Oh Well" again.   As I have affirmed many times before, though, I do have fun.      Mike 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Old favorite

                                             16X20" Oil on linen
You've seen this building in previous paintings I've posted.   It is a favorite subject for local painters of the California coastal scene.  It was an old yellow when I first saw it ( I went a little crazy with the yellow in my painting), then .over the years, it aged to a warm ivory, then gray.   Although it has now been abandoned, it has been repainted a light blue gray, and hopefully will remain a Morro bay landmark for many years.   Next time I'm there I am going to try it again in it's new makeup.   OK! OK!    I went more than a little crazy with the yellow in this painting!                             Mike

Monday, February 13, 2012

Flatrock trees

                                            9"x12" Oil on linen panel
                                             Traded with another artist

When I first moved to NC, I leased a house that was surrounded by acres of land.   There were creeks, forests, and horse and cow populated fields.   When I got to know some local artists, I invited them to join me in painting on the property.  Later on, I was juried into and made a signature member of their Western NC Plein air Painters group. The little work above was done on one of our outings.  It was a crisp autumn day, and the jumble of trees attracted my interest.   I no longer live there , but it was sure nice to have a large, isolated piece of property to walk around and paint on.   Never end a sentence with a preposition!
Later I'll show a photo of some of us out on location.                     Mike

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tom's House

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

Met a gentleman named Tom at a local art show, talked art for a while, he said he thought his old house would make a good subject for an artist, and I took him at his word.   Did this small oil painting a few days later.  Weather in NC has been really nice.   Not like last years seemingly endless snows,which tend to keep me studio bound, as I noted several times in this blog.  I'm still looking forward to spring.  I don't know if it's the cold dry air or the constant hand washing, but in winter I always seem to get painful cracks at the ends of  my fingers alongside the nails.  They vanish in warmer weather, thank heaven.  Yea!   Warmer weather!   Mike

Thursday, February 9, 2012

More talk

Small things seem to pop up every day just enough to keep me away from my easel.  Much of it is pleasurable, of course, like interaction with friends.  Much of it is the vicissitudes  (I'm going to risk not stopping to grab the dictionary on that one) of daily living.  Once I actually pick up the brush, I don't want to stop, so I usually don't pick it up unless I know I will have time to paint.  For those of you who do paint every day, I extend my congratulations----and envy.   Today I had to run to the post office, then the library.   For me that meant the whole day.  I have a couple of friends who could do that, accomplish a dozen other chores, get home and paint one or more fine paintings before dinner.   They're starting to get on my nerves.    Mike

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Another mistake

                                                      9"x12" Oil on linen
Many years back I visited Europe, painted a little, took lots of pictures.   This small painting was from one of them.   I was much taken with this view of the old bridge over the Neckar river at Heidleberg, Germany ( hope the spell checker is working!).   In fact, I was much taken, as I guess most are, with Heidleberg.  What a beautiful city!   Back to the painting.  I painted essentially what I thought I saw of the scene, but was bothered by the conflict between the central subject matter and the ruins of the castle up on the hill.  My eye kept jumping back and forth.  I played with, softened, and actually considered omitting the ruins.  But then, it wouldn't have been Heidleberg.   Finally,I gave up, cropped it to make a small vertical, which I now hate, and wonder why I wasn't smart enough to realize in advance my design was bad.  One more avoidable mistake!                                            Mike

The old McCall Place

                                              16"x20" Oil on linen panel
I previously showed a smaller version of this scene.   It's one of my favorite subjects.  The Cambria group likes to paint there for many reasons, it's picturesque, the owners are very nice people who welcome artists,  there are shady spots to have our lunch/critique, and occasionally we can get free persimmons.  This particular work was purchased by a local restaurant owner who also owns a painting of her eye catching cliff top establishment I did years before.    Looking back on my art life is mostly fun.    Mike

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Just thinking

In this blog, I have mentioned several times that I didn't always take photos of my work in years past.   I have posted over a hundred photos so far, and my remaining supply is getting low.  When past photos are finally exhausted, I will have to decide whether to paint more (work!!!) to sustain this blog as an art site, make it more talk than art (easier-but what makes my talk worth typing?) or just hang it up and quit. I see other blogs where the blogger provides demos, painting tips, news of workshops they give or attend, and other really interesting material.  I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate their efforts, but I don't see me emulating them.  I'll just wait until later to decide.               Mike   

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another Gull Cottage view

                                                   9"x12" Oil on linen

This is,as the title indicates, another view of a subject I have featured twice in my blog.  It was originally an old farm house with a water tank, overlooking the Pacific ocean in Cayucos, Ca.  It then became a gift shop for many years and a favorite of mine, which I usually painted from across the cove from where it is located.  Recently it was sold, closed, and repainted a blue green color.  I don't know what is going to happen to it,now, but I hope it will somehow remain.  Erosion is eating away at the cliff holding it though,and I have doubts.   Mike

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super bowl Sunday

I will probably watch the super bowl today.  I don't usually paint much on Sunday anyway, so no big deal.  I used to be a loyal LA Ram's fan for many years, but now I have lost much of my love for the game.  I'm an old grouch, I know, but I don't like the celebrations (showboating we used to call it) and the overall "everybody look at me" slant of today's game.  And I remember the time when there actually was sportsmanship.  I remember when home team coaches and players actually motioned for their fans to quiet down so the opponents could hear the quarterback's cadence.  No more!   Occasionally my spirit is renewed.  I loved the softball incident not too long ago where the young lady hit a home run, hurt her ankle and couldn't circle the bases, then was carried around them by the opposing team players.  Oh well, enough talk.    Have a nice day.        Mike

Friday, February 3, 2012

Asilomar afternoon

                                                    12"x16" Oil on linen
This is a park area near Pacific Grove, Ca.  It is a beautiful meeting place with condos, assembly rooms,ete, so it is also a nice place for art workshops.  Deer will frequently walk along side without fear, raccoons pop up near you, and the ocean is there with all it's attractions.  Quite a place to visit.  The shack in the distance was not very interesting, but I liked the shadow area in the foreground.  Enjoyed my visit a lot.       Mike

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Just talk

I'm visiting with an old friend today.  Not an artist, for a change.  Well, not a painter,at least.  This friend is a  mathematician -of all things and if it weren't for "The Big Bang" sitcom, I'd say a one of a kind individual.  He is a challenge to converse with, I always feel a little as if his every question puts my intellect on the line ( and I'm sure I fail most of the time).  Fortunately he is kind, funny, and stimulating to be around.  He is interested in about every thing and has a knack of seeing everything a little aslant from we ordinary minds.  I won't give his name and embarrass him.  Just picture a nice Sheldon.           Mike