What's new: exhibits, news, de facto blog
November 13, 2017
Here is a smaller version of a winter landscape I did a couple years ago (see my Dec. 3, 2015 post), done in a slightly less elongated format than the original, and with a somewhat different design.
Afternoon light, oil on panel, 18x24 inches
A couple nights ago I was trying to demonstrate to my mom what Google is and what search engines do, illustrating the process by putting my own name in the search field. I had to follow it with "artist" for anything pertaining to me to show up, and while scrolling through my paintings and other references to other tom hugheses in Google images, I saw on an auction house link a painting that I knew I had done, but that I didn't recognize and didn't remember doing - a self-portrait! Certain clues indicated to me that it was painted c. 2005 - chiefly the whitish painting in the background, a work that had been given to Charlene and me by an artist we met in France in 2004. It felt very strange to see an unknown picture of me - improbably youthful - painted by me, and not that long ago either: I remember plenty of other older s.p.'s. Whatever, it was done all in one go (evident by the scratched-in signature), so it didn't take up that much of my life. Here it is, lifted of the auctioneer's website, complete with details. Where it is now I don't know
Self-portrait, oil on panel, 16x12 inches
Here are the details, I don't know why I find this so engaging
They hit the "sharpen" button pretty hard on these
Here's the mirror image of the painting by François Estrada
scratched-in signature lol
October 8, 2017
This update is continued from yesterday
On to France
A couple paintings before the Trôo workshop, a couple during, and one after
Here's a look from the hillside of Trôo out over the Loir River toward St.-Jacques. Or it's a painting of a chimney.
View from Trôo, oil on canvas mounted on panel, 40x30 cm
Check it out: in 2004, I painted a watercolor from the same spot, same month, same time of day.
Across the Loir, watercolor on paper, 22x15 inches
Next day, no painting; I caught a ride from a friendly neighbor who was going to Tours, where was the closest place I could buy brushes: I'd forgotten to leave any brushes in France and had had to borrow a fistful of them from another local friend to paint the chimney pic. They worked out ok, but I need my own brushes.
Next day I went across the Rue Bas (actually Rue Auguste Arnault) at the base of Trôo, and looked out over the Loir toward the church of St.-Jacques-des-Guérets. Lots of changing light after the first hour, but I went with the initial bright overcast effect.
View of St-Jacques-des-Guérets, oil on canvas mounted on panel, 30x40 cm
Saturday is the end of independent activity for me: we pick up the rental van (at the grocery store!), move into the chateau, pick up students at the train station in Vendôme, install them in the chateau, prep the evening's wine and cheese soirée, then sleep our way to Sunday when the work of the workshop begins.
I did sneak in a couple small paintings though. Here is a small pic of a decorative urn at the Chateau de Courtanvaux in Bessé-sur-Braye.
Urn - Chateau de Courtanvaux, oil on canvasboard, 22x16 cm
Here's another done at the chateau where we all stay, lions at the main entryway
Lions - Chateau de la Voute, oil on canvas mounted on panel, 24x30 cm
Here's me with my latchless hat driving me crazy
Photo by Kate Kilbourne
Friday, the day of the afternoon vernissage, is free painting. Everyone's been hard at it for 5 days, time to do what you want for a few hours: I went down to a spot in a gully - often filled with water; a local wag warned me of "rising sea levels" - and rushed this one out in order to get back for lunch
Trôo view, oil on canvas mounted on panel, 24x30 cm
All done with workshop-related activities on Saturday afternoon/evening, looking forward to painting for the next couple days. Woke up to solid rain on Sunday, which was just as well considering how tired I was. The weather forecast said zero precipitation expected for Monday, but that was way off: drifting rain all day, but that's not really a problem with oil paint. I went to look at a pasture just outside of Trôo proper, and said might as well, I'm done walking
View from St.-Quentin-lés-Trôo, oil on canvas mounted on panel, 30x40 cm
October 7, 2017
I am back from an extended trip to New England, and then to France; the former where I had my exhibition outlined in the last post, taught a plein air workshop through the Ogunquit Summer School of Art , and did a little painting for myself, the latter where I taught through Plein Air France Holidays, and again, did a little painting for myself. Thanks very much to Todd and Dave at the Todd Bonita Art Gallery for arranging the great opening and for your invaluable help during the workshop, and to Kate at Pleinairfrance!
It's always difficult to get in as much painting as I'd like; between this and that circumstance, it was even more so this time around. Still, there are a few new things to look at, all done alla prima.
A few Maine watercolors
Kresge Point, watercolor on paper, 15x22 inches
I was joined by my friend Todd Bonita that afternoon - he made a little video:
Here's Todd, doing oils
After the first workshop I went to Monhegan for an overnight, and to do a few more watercolors. I went straight to the back shore and did two Gull Rock paintings, why not?
View of Gull Rock, watercolor on paper, 22x30
View of Gull Rock 2, watercolor on paper, 22x30 inches
I was perched a little bit uncomfortably, suffering what my brother and I refer to as "downfoot," dig the photo by my friend Joe Welsh
One more, this from the Lobster Cove/Christmas Cove area
Lobster Cove, watercolor on paper, 30x22 inches
Jealous of myself, looking at these photos
photo by Joe Welsh
One more Monhegan pic, unfinished because I misjudged the creeping tide
Swim Beach, watercolor on paper, 22x30 inches
August 16, 2017
I have a solo exhibition coming up at the Todd Bonita Gallery in Portsmouth, NH. The opening is Friday, September 1; I hope to see you there! The show is comprised of mostly modestly sized plein air oils and a few larger works.
The picture on the invitation is an 11x14 oil. I was painting at a farm in New Hampshire, had already done a small landscape (see below), and thought, I can't leave without trying the horses. Well I did try the horses: I set up just by their paddock without much thought toward a composition, if you know what I mean, just start with a horse and do what you can. Haha, they gave me about 45 seconds before leaving for greener pastures, except for the poor guy stuck looking out the window. I dabbed on the surrounding elements, interpolating the horses whenever one or two ambled back my way and I could get a halfway plausible angle on a neck or haunch or whatever. What fun!
Pre-horse pic, oil on panel, 9x12:
May 12, 2017
A quick note before I leave for the May 2017 Trôo workshop - I have added a Maine painting workshop to the schedule, taking place in June; see my WORKSHOPS page.
One of the spots where we'll paint:
Lighthouse Cove, oil on panel, 9x12 inches
February 28, 2017
Experimenting a little with the SELECTED AVAILABLE WORKS pages, I created a couple new subject categories - European paintings and urban paintings - and put both oils and watercolors in them. I've also added some new works, and some just newly seen. Thanks for looking.
I went to paint the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands last Friday and did two, one morning, one afternoon.
Golden Gate, morning oil on panel, 9x12 inches
Golden Gate, afternoon oil on panel, 11x14 inches
A few other recent plein air pics are these Oakland paintings, the first a spot on the frontage road that I drive past every day on my way to the studio. Note puddles; the highway department tarred over these potholes the day after I painted this, not that I'll run out of holes in the road to paint anytime soon.
Frontage Road oil on panel, 9x12 inches
This one I did this past Sunday morning.
Sunday morning oil on panel, 9x12 inches
And then here is an afternoon painting, done a block or so from the above
Jingletown oil on panel, 11x14 inches
November 26, 2016
I've been to and back from a couple places since Colorado last August; Sonoma Plein Air in September, and then New Hampshire and Maine in October. The Sonoma event went nicely; I saw some old friends and met new ones, painting in a place I was pretty familiar with.
This one was the only studio picture of mine at the event, although it was started outside; a good 4 hours perched on the rocks, the light flickering like a strobe.
Sonoma Creek in Spring oil on panel 18x18 inches SOLD
Then here are a few alla prima pics from the event:
Behind the Square oil on panel 12x16 inches
Road through the vineyards oil on panel 8x12 inches
Looking NW oil on panel 8x11 inches
and one more tree pic
Afternoon Shadows oil on panel 8x11 inches
Most of October was spent in New England. I taught a painting workshop in southern NH/ME - thanks again Todd Bonita and the Ogunquit Summer School of Art! - and then went to do family business in midcoast Maine. A few days painting there, most of the things I'm still working on, but here's one: an alla prima 14x11 done at Back Cove in New Harbor. Met the owner of the pickup - and the hindmost boat - as he came in from a day of fishing and showed him the painting: "You never painted that, you took a picture! I just put $750 dollars into that truck - ball joints!"
Back Cove oil on panel 14x11 inches
August 13, 2016
Here are three more paintings I did over the past two days. The first, a 16x20 inch panel, is a sort of front-lit view up rt. 44A (I did the little truck painting from the last post about 100 yards away on the same road); at least it started front-lit and graduated to a pretty flat lighting. I stood there 5 hours, start to finish, and it's surprising that things didn't change more than they did. The looming mountain is a local landmark, named Elk Mountain but more colorfully known as The Sleeping Giant. The same mountain is to be seen as the bluish hump in the background of the Elk River 2 painting in the Aug 11 post.
The last two were done at the Fetcher Ranch in Clark, some few miles up the road from Steamboat. The whole PAPA group was there painting, along with area painters who had signed up to either paint or observe the visiting pros, asking questions, taking notes, etc. I managed to do two small paintings, rushing them over to the Steamboat Art Museum to frame and hang just before the exhibition opening at 5 pm. I'm leaving this morning, just as I got rolling, but I've got the Sonoma Plein Air festival in a couple weeks, so I should to be in practice for that.
Sleeping Giant oil on panel 16x20 inches
Fetcher Ranch oil on panel 9x12 inches
Across the Fields oil on panel 8x12 inches
August 11, 2016
I was invited by the Plein Air Painters of America to be their guest artist at their Steamboat Springs, CO event this year, which is where I am now. A couple dozen PAPA members, plus me and two other guest artists, are in the area painting for four or five days, after which there is an opening at the Steamboat Art Museum - the theme of the exhibition is the National Parks in celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the National Park Service, though there will be some of our local plein air work as well. Here are a few of the pictures I've done since I arrived here; more to come soon I hope.
Elk River oil/panel 14x11 inches SOLD
Trucks oil/panel 8x11
Elk River 2 oil on canvas panel 12x16
April 26, 2016
Great news! I have new gallery representation in Portsmouth, NH - The Todd Bonita Art Gallery. Todd, a very accomplished artist himself, has had a successful gallery in Ogunquit, ME for some years and has branched out with a new location in Portsmouth. Additionally, I'll be teaching a plein air workshop in Ogunquit and Portsmouth, October 11 - 14 of this year, through the Ogunquit Summer School of Art, details here. There is no better time than mid-October to be in New England, enough said.
I painted like a maniac, especially in watercolor, for years - both for the joy of it and in order to get better at it. When I was growing up in Norfolk, MA, my very favorite place to visit was the Bristol Blake State Reservation and the Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary adjacent to it. It is typical New England territory - marsh, pond, beeches, maples, white pines. Also stone walls. I'd go back there to paint when visiting my mom, and will again next time I visit. One of the things I learned early on is that paintings are everywhere you look, or overlook. Here is a watercolor I did on the cowpath at Stony Brook 20-some years ago, it's on the left side of the path a little ways before you enter the woods.
Stone Wall and Bittersweet watercolor on paper 22x30 inches
March 30, 2016
A few images of demos I painted during my SF east bay workshop last week
East Bay Spring oil on panel 9x12 inches
One of my students asked me how to paint trees - "Good question," I thought. It's fun doing these impromptus, easier than carrying through a whole painting, and the results are often very appealing - too appealing, I sometimes think, recalling how exponentially much more work doing the full picture is, even a very breezy alla prima.
Tree demo oil on canvas board 8x10 inches
Speaking of breezy alla primas, I did this one - racing the lowering sun - a little while after the students left, from the parking lot of the second day's location. None of my usual building up the paint, getting it wrong ten times before I get it right, moving all the objects in the painting a quarter inch over, and so on. Pleasant.
Blossoms oil on panel 8x10 inches
March 23, 2016
Northern farm oil on panel 18x24 inches
March 19, 2016
I just put this 8x10 oil on ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/-/252325695974? Starting bid is $99, wicked reasonable price.
Bluffs oil on linen mounted on board 8x10 inches
February 23, 2016
I just put one of my urban plein air pictures up for auction on ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/-/252297777622? Price is right!
Peralta and Center, West Oakland oil on canvas mounted on panel 9x12 inches
Here is an off-the-cuff painting I did of my friend Victoria Mimiaga working in her studio some months ago:
Victoria oil on canvas 20x20 inches
I used the old Zorn palette again, plus cobalt blue - she was working on a big blue painting!
February 10, 2016
Finished this Venice pic last week - it's a view north along the Rio Dei Greci in Castello.
Rio dei Greci, Venice oil on panel 14x11 private collection
January 18, 2016
I was on my way to the studio one day last week, keeping an eye out for something to paint since the weather had cleared up a little and I had the full painting kit in my car. I stopped in a familiar spot - just next to the EBMUD on the frontage road parallel to I880 in Oakland. There was a dramatic gray and white sky with foreground stuff frontlit by afternoon sun. I got to work and had the quintessential anywhere-but-California painting experience of quick weather change: rain, mist, no light, a little light. I chased it until dusk:
Rush hour 12x16 oil on panel
I did the same spot a couple years ago, when the building across the freeway was bright yellow.
Across 880 8x12 oil on panel private collection
In other news, the portrait of Devon Schaller (see my Sept. 29 post below) is on display at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, along with other portraits in the Beyond the Diagnosis expo.
December 6, 2015
Not wanting to rush into things, I signed up to be a member of the California Plein Air Painters after having lived here for 16 years. I submitted some work to be considered for "Signature" membership and the jury accepted me, pretty cool!
Here's an on-the-spot painting that I don't think I've posted before, done on the fringes of the Port of Oakland - if you turned to the left you'd see the cranes and stacks of containers.
Overpass 11x14 oil on panel
December 3, 2015
Studio pic just finished
Winter landscape 26x40 oil on panel
September 29, 2015
I just added lots of paintings of different vintages to the alla prima and watercolor galleries on the PAINTINGS FOR SALE page.
Here are a couple recent portraits:
Lighthouse Hill oil on panel 25x49
Portrait of Devon Schaller oil on panel 40x24
The first picture: beautiful kids, tough painting!
The second was done for Beyond the Diagnosis Art Exhibit, an awareness-raising event created by the Rare Disease United Foundation, scheduled to show at Harvard Medical School in November 2015 and then the National Institutes of Health in January and February of 2016.
September 28, 2015
Long update here.
A few recent local alla primas:
Did this one in August, parked on the side of Sir Francis Drake Blvd in or near Woodacre, CA. For fun, I used no ochre in an all-ochre landscape.
Summer, Marin hills oil on panel 14x18
The following two were done back to back as demos one day during my Marin workshop earlier this month.
Rodeo Beach bluffs 1 oil on canvas panel 11x14
Rodeo Beach bluffs 2 oil on panel 9x12
France Pics Present and Past
A couple pictures that belong in my last post (May 17). The first is a quickie painted in a darling location across the Loir River from Trôo - well, not across the river, but rather on islands in the river: Les Îles, home of Les Îles Guinguette-Restaurant.
photo taken from http://www.vendome-tourisme.fr/preparez-votre-sejour/ou-manger/623677-les-iles-guinguette-restaurant
A guinguette is an outdoor drinking/eating/entertainment venue, very typically French. Think of Renoir, updated a little.
"Auguste Renoir - Luncheon of the Boating Party 1880-1881" by Auguste Renoir; photo: user: Nemethd - Phillips Collections, Washington. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Auguste_Renoir_-_Luncheon_of_the_Boating_Party_1880-1881.jpg#/media/File:Auguste_Renoir_-_Luncheon_of_the_Boating_Party_1880-1881.jpg
It was a real surprise to find one just a walk down the road. Charlene and I ate here one evening - good food, beautiful atmosphere, only place open Monday night - the bright-eyed proprietor Philippe Hogu took to Charlene immediately: he unpacked what English he had, translating the French term of endearment mon petit lapin to "my little rabbit," and called her that for the rest of the evening.
Anyway, this oil was done from one of the little islands.
Les Îles oil on panel 12x16
One of the acquaintances we made during our 2004 stay in Trôo was of Wil Smedts: painter, filmmaker, gardener, woodworker, ace conversationalist. This trip, Charlene and I went one evening to dine with Wil and his partner Isabelle at their place in Les Roches L'Éveque, where I casually threw out that it would be fun to paint Wil's portrait. He pursed his lips and shook his head and I thought no more of it, until I showed up to paint in their garden a day later, and there was Wil, slathering acrylic gesso (who knows, it may have been latex house paint - Wil is a real bricoleur) on a very thin canvas with a sandpaper texture, mounted to his home-made stretchers; it was to be for his portrait if I was still up for it.
The acrylic priming needed time to dry, so I set up to do a little garden pic, never finished, then we had a bit of lunch (in the garden). Time to see what I could do about a likeness. Wil looks very paintable, has a Keith Richards vibe. I thought he'd look good in a rakish sort of pose, sitting back with his little cigar, but he absolutely preferred to sit with his elbows on the little lunch table, looking down. I needed a bigger easel than the pochade box I was travelling with, so we fetched a studio easel out of the house (Isabelle is also a painter); I also prefer a hand-held palette for portraits, so we found a tiny oval one, crusted with old paint. It was all very impromptu, unprepared, uncomfortable, over-lit, ill-equipped: perfect. I thought I'd better hurry, not really trusting to Wil's - or to anybody's - readiness to sit for any length of time, and I had a comparatively immense canvas to cover; really only 34x29, but I'd been doing nothing but little pea-shooters since I'd got to France. Anyway, it worked out pretty well, all in about an hour, no kidding. I just blurped paint all over it and for once it worked nicely. I note the time elapsed both to impress and as a mitigating factor to the sketch's weaknesses.
The Wil oil on canvas 34x29
Wil is not a believer in painting from life or really any of the sort of thing I do as a serious kind of art, but this did tickle him. I trotted it out a few times to show Trôo locals: to a man they all said, "Wil!"
Next is one of the gateways to upper Trôo, called the Porte de Sougé. The church, the Collégiale Saint-Martin (founded in 1049, rebuilt in the 12th, 14th and 16th centuries), looms in this picture, as it does in many others I've done there.
Haha, this picture reminds me: having become a drought-conditioned Californian, I'd forgotten that mixtures of blue and yellow don't always cut it for foliage, and had only packed a half-tube of viridian. One day out there and I cried to Kate (Plein Air France holiday director) that we had to find an art supplier for more green and yellow tout de suite. Closest was the E.LeClerc Hypermarché in Vendôme - what they call a hypermarket, actually a big department store, but with excellent produce because it's France. Excellent produce and small expensive tubes of phthalo green.
Porte de Sougé oil on panel 9x12
Now we slip back to 2004, when Charlene and I visited Trôo for the first time, watercolor the medium. I painted quite a few of them while we were there and then left them all in the hands of an art dealer who thought he might find buyers. I'm sure I have a handwritten inventory of the paintings, somewhere. Via local machinations, the pictures made it into a solo exhibition (2006); there were a few sales, the remainder ended up in the attic of the local rich bigwig, a machinator extraordinaire not best loved by the regular people. - Insert Long Story - Eleven years later, I got some of the pictures back. I inferred that there were a few sales in the 2006 show because I saw 3 or 4 of my watercolors in local houses and caves.
Anway, here are a few of those that I got back.
Porte de Sougé again, full sheet done in the morning from the other side of the street.
Porte de Sougé watercolor on paper 22x30
A half-sheet view of rain clouds, authentic rain drops included.
Storm over Sougé watercolor on paper 15x22
A view from the hill across the Loir
Du coteau watercolor on paper 22x15
A different street view into the upper village; vertical full sheet stretches the arms!
Trôo, afternoon watercolor on paper 30x22
Last one. There are more, but you'll have to visit France to see them.
Toits de Trôo watercolor on paper 22x30
Did this oil a year or two later
Toits de Trôo oil on canvas 20x24
May 17, 2015
Two days into my Trôo, France painting workshop (www.pleinairfrance.com). A singular place, Trôo is located in the Loire Valley region, a village built on on top of and in a kind of escalating series of terraces leading up the face of a hill faced by the Loir River (not the Loire with an "e"). The hill, or coteau, is honeycombed by caves first occupied and excavated by prehistoric occupants and currently inhabited by and fleshed out with degrees of modern convenience by contemporary residents. Here I am, tired and muddled from travel, painting the first of several little paintings I did before the arrival of my students, from the terrace of the house (and cave) where I'm staying, also using a new pochade box for the first time.
A breezy day, you can tell by the angle of the leaves on the tree in the left foreground.
I did a couple clunkers the first day, almost always to be expected after arrival in a new place, then the next day did a couple more 9x12 oils, a little better.
From La Porte de Sougé, Troo 9x12 oil on panel
In a new variation on the old Departing Boat theme (see one of my earliest What's New posts from 2008), I set up to paint with the intention of including a cozy little flock of sheep milling about at the top of slope just to the left of the hedge to the right, but they marched off as one as soon as I began to squeeze out paint. Ok, nothing else seemed ready to move, except for the changeable sky.
I went back up to the terrace and painted this picture of the yucca plants, a mediterranean plant unusual in this part of France, and a couple of the irises that abound here at this time of year, that grow around the edge of the terrace and along the stairway that goes down to the regional museum of historic Troglodyte living, called Cave Yuccas, that comprises the ground floor of my residence during this workshop. And for fun, a picture of me painting same.
Yucca and Iris oil on panel 9x12
I can't really paint during the workshop, will post more as I do them after the 23rd.
March 22, 2015
Alla prima painted in my brother's yard, done shortly before the big plant under the hanging pot shoots up its great violet flowers. Q and A with Glenn:
"What's that plant called?"
"What's the name of that plant again, agacanthus?"
"It's the one that makes the purple flowers, right? What's it called again?"
Agapanthus w/sawhorses oil on canvasboard 20x16
February 13, 2015
New workshop announced: Marin County locations, Monday through Thursday, March 16 - 19. Details in the WORKSHOPS link.
January 16, 2015
The cover story of the February issue of Fine Art Connoisseur is called "Great Collectors of Today's Realist Art." One of the titular collectors, Remak Ramsay, chose one of my paintings to represent the works in his collection - a collection that is comprised of 200 living artists as well as works by Sargent, Hassam, Chase, Bellows and more.
I am really thrilled and grateful that Remak picked my work.
November 28, 2014
I have a show called "Oil and Water" coming up in Mill Valley, CA at Thompson|Dorfman Partners, LLC, located at 39 Forrest St. The opening reception is 6 - 9 Tuesday evening, December 2. There are about 25 paintings - oils and watercolors, mostly plein air landscapes. The show is part of Mill Valley's Art Walk, so there are plenty of other venues for picture-gazing if you venture over.
November 28, 2014
Fresh new What's New page, what should I paint, I mean write? The last year's worth of news, and the years previous to that, are linked in the menu bar to the left.
Happy Thanksgiving, btw.
Punchy/paunchy self-portrait, studio at night, 10/29/14. White, ochre, cadmium red, ivory black, plus inevident cobalt blue.
s.p. oil on panel 20x16