Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lunar Solstice
acrylic on canvas
And so on the night of the lunar eclipse and the solstice that was occurring, I ducked outside to observe and document on my sketch pad as much as I could before my hand froze. Contented that I soaked in as much pertinent visual information as I could, I headed back inside to the warmth of the house. Once there, I could digest the sketches and translate them into this painting.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

December in the Village
11 x 14
acrylic on canvas
Somewhere in Vermont, maybe East Arlington. The two figures in the painting are returning from the general store, having just bought flour and butter to make a pie.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Russ Potak Visit my feature if you already haven't. I'm in the running for Artist of the Month, on Artist of the Day. Visit here to boost me to stardom (or at least, my Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame.)- Click on this link--> Expressionist Painting by Russ Potak | Art of Day

Monday, November 15, 2010

This is my small works painting that is going off to Moss Norway for the David Sandum art charity. The benefit has captured the attention of artists worldwide and the media as well. I send my congratulations and best wishes to David for a successful endeavor.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Path to Robert Frost's House
acrylic on canvas
___________________As I was heading home from a visit to nice gallery in Vermont, I stopped along the way to visit the grounds and homestead of Robert Frost, the beloved American poet. I walked in his woods, and took with me, a few sketches of the surroundings. This is my painting of that visitation.
I've been honored with appearing on this great site as a featured artist. Take a look and see what its all about! ->

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hills of Home
16 x 20
acrylic on canvas

Often I take sketches and notes from just outside our home. A lot of seasonal changes occur right under my nose, and I find that they occur so often, I could paint them forever and not run out of subjects. This particular scene, is the result of a moody weather front that moved in from the mountains, and contrasted nicely with the autumn maples and aspens. I love when that happens. Moody weather has a personality all of its own, and I try to catch it upon the canvas.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's been a very busy summer, and now its fall. The time has flown by, and I never seem to be able to keep up with it all, .. like don't forget to keep in touch with everyone, in not only my blog, but my tweets on Twitter, and my facebook pages. Hopefully, I can and I will.
I have been painting, a lot, and there is a lot to be said about what I am doing. I'm overdue on posting my new works, and hope to catch up.
That said, I'm now heading back to the easel to work on a painting from a sketch that I did recently outside in the invigorating autumn air.
More on this later. I will attempt to make a more regular visit to my site with my newer works and thoughts. Until later. I will be back.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Among the Colored Earth
16 x 20
acrylic on canvas
------------------------------This painting is one of the first in the return of my western art theme. During my life in the west, I executed a large body of works devoted to the landscapes and history or the west and southwest.
Having lived in Colorado, both in the plains, and mountains, I became very familiar with the western landscape and it history and peoples, including the Native Americans. I sketched and painted from the wealth of the Rocky Mountains and the expansive prairies that surrounded me. I became fascinated with the history of Colorado's settlement during the 1800's and the American Indians that called it home. The Ute, the Cheyenne, the Arapahoe, and the Pawnee.
I attended many historical recreations, including the mountain man rendezvous, and the Indian Pow Wows where I sold and traded my art and artifact reproductions. I also had many one person exhibitions and my paintings were carried in local and regional galleries and fine retail outlets in Colorado Springs, Denver, Manitou Springs, Cripple Creek, and Woodland Park, Colorado to name a few.
These works that I am doing now, are a tribute to my western life that I lived there during that period in the 80's.~ I hope you like them.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Somewhere in the Keys
Acrylic on paper
My mind wanders to warm waters and a soothing breeze more often than not. That is all I need to paint a scene like this. Because I am familiar with this type of surroundings, growing up with a family that spent a lot of time is warm waters, I know the layout of the scene. Its just a matter of purging it in paint.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mountain Lake in the North Woods
16 x 20
acrylic on canvas
Growing up my family did a lot of camping. Sometimes we would spend weeks out in the great outdoors, canoeing, sailing, fishing, and hiking.
One of my favorite memories is the places we would camp in the northern Adirondack mountains. The smell of pine and the sound of the loon, is still fresh in my mind. This painting, is a tribute to that memory. I think the boat is waiting for me to get back in and do it all again.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hillside Hamlet
16 x 20
acrylic on canvas

A place nearby that has been sketched a number of times and rehashed in this composition for this particular painting. I often walk along the lakes in this area, and derive a lot of subject matter in my excursions. This painting depicts a culmination of some of these walks in my minds eye.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

You Frame, I Frame, We all Frame

You go to an outdoor art fair. You spend days if not weeks, preparing your work for the show. Many hours of deliberation is spent on deciding whether you should bring this piece of work or that. Should I frame this, or not. Should I use wood or metal. Gold or silver. The list goes on.
So recently, after many shows and feedback from customers, I finally decided to give up the framing of my paintings. And this is why.
Depending on the location of the show, and what I'm going to bring, it would be almost impossible to have at my disposal quality frames for what ever pieces I decide to bring. I have volumes of work, and they take up more than their share of space where I live, never mind them having to be shelved with frames. First of all, I couldn't afford to frame everything I do, secondly, if I did, the frames would be non salable in a very short time after a few shows, with the rough handling that occurs. Rain, nicks, bumps, chocolate cupcake stained edges from curious youths, dust from wind, etc. People who want frames, want good frames. At the most, I could only afford to use a lower quality frame for so many works.
To get to the point, if I frame my work, there are many things that present a problem, and make my framing mute.

1. The person may like the work, and not the frame.
2. The person may like the work, but want another color or type of frame that matches their decor.
3. The frame may not be what the person envisions for this work.
4. The frame has been nicked or soiled being in so many shows it turns them away from the art.
5. The conversation turns more to frames than it does your work.

There are more, but the final reason, is this... with my type of expressionist work, most people see the frame as in the way. An obstruction. Maybe thats because the painting deserves the attention that only a frame shop can give it, to match it too the ultimate frame to compliment its look. This I can not accommodate.
When I did have frames at one time, many buyers of my art, asked if I could remove the painting from the frame, as the frame was less than what they envisioned for it. Other people would need the work to be easily transportable to get it back to their home, via plane, car, train or whatever.
I would hear statements like this. " I love the painting, but I hate the frame" or "do you have this in a mauve frame, or with no gloss?" or .. "I really would like to frame it myself, .. framing is such a personal thing,,, you understand?"

So I have finally given up on my vain attempts to make my paintings more salable using frames. At the most, I'll use a wooden strip lattice, just so they can have the edges protected, and they pop right off, if the buyer doesn't like them, or for transport reasons.

So, to frame, or not to frame. I know a lot of you consider that this is the crowning touch to your work, but I seriously think this privilege belongs to the buyer, and professional framer, which I confess that I'm not. I'm an artist, not a framer. Let the frame shops frame, and let the painters paint.
So, now when I finish a painting, I make sure the painting has the sides painted, so its already hang ready, and I make sure there is a hanger wire on the back. They are appealing, and with my kind of paintings, it looks appropriate. Not presumptuous or in your face. Just a painting, to look like a painting, and ready for whatever you want it to be dressed in.
So, for me, frames belong in homes and museums, not in my studio. Interior decoration is best left up to professionals as to how the painting will live out its life on the walls.
So anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Race
16 x 20
acrylic on canvas
Inspired by the mere act of painting. This work was begun with various washes and under paintings that eventually developed into some suggestive shapes and images. I stayed with these impressions and finished off the painting staying true to the paintings vision.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The painting Break of Day, was a drawn from a momentary minute of inspiration. The sun was just cresting over the hill as I viewed it from the studio window. Not even having had my coffee yet, I was still rather in a mental fog, but I knew I had to record the essence of what I witnessed.
So, I grabbed a pencil and a scrap of paper and recorded the moment. I knew that if the sketch held true, then the painting would too.
Break of Day
acrylic on canvas

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A sketch can be a discarded napkin with some scribbles on it, or a piece of note paper or part of the grocery list. What the artist puts on it, at the time is significant, and is often used for further studies, or references for a work. Recently, I have been thinking about how I have been using the sketch as a step off point for a finished painting. Now, I am thinking, that sometimes, my sketch says it all. It doesn't need any further embellishment or adjustment. In, fact, the translation, can often be a step down in the original work, or sketch, and would be better off if left alone and appreciated for what it was. A spontaneous work, done in an inspired moment, and complete as it is. Why not, then, use the sketch, as the work, .. not as a point of departure.
I think, I am going to pursue this concept, to see what develops. ~
More on this later.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

16 X 20

It wasn't on the first attempt that this painting came together. I work it and then decided it was not going where I wanted it to go. After the first initial painting, I sat back on it, and then decided it needed to be reworked entirely. I rubbed out the entire painting, and then proceeded to work on it again, yet this time with the knowledge of where I didn't want to painting to go.
It seemed to take form and shape with a lot more ease this time, and when I stood back, I realized that I got what I wanted. It just took two attempts to arrive there.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

16 X 20
I am becoming fascinated with other tools than just the brush. The palette knife, combined with the brush produces a rich texture and vibrant colors, as no hue is diminished by the addition of a thinning agent. Its just the paint, alla prima. I think I will stay with this approach for a while and see where it takes me.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sea Harbor
acrylic on canvas

Done primarily with a palette knife tool. Colors are allowed to meld into each other, and texture surfaces where the paint is thick. I find exciting qualities in this kind of paint application.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

You ever wonder what Van Gogh did when he wasn't painting. I mean, everybody has an image of artists always in their studios or out in fields, painting away. But, think about it. There is a lot of time in between to think, meander, get ideas, socialize, hang out, have a beer, tend to the garden, or just look for some place to grab a cheap meal. I mean, artists are people. But people with a passion for getting something created with a burning desire, and in the process, that creates a colorful lifestyle at times. Because, REAL artists, live the life in order to create. Everything is put aside for their work. Unlike a hobby or a recreation,.. it is not a fill in occupation to close the dead space up, while they are on to do something else. Usually the artists life, is built around his need to do his work, and not much will he allow to get in the way. I guess, that is why, an artist would choose to live on the edge of starvation, before giving up his work. How many other things can you think of where that drive is so strong? I'm sure it exists with some other passions as well, but artists have, I think, a corner on that determination.
So, when you see an artist doing something else, besides painting, ... it is always best to assume he is filling his spare time with whatever... not the other way around.
Van Gogh and the rest.. built their life around art. It was never a hobby. A real artist, usually can't afford a hobby.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

acrylic on canvas

I am beginning to really love the use of palette knife, as it lends itself to the effect of texture. I find that texture and impasto, create so much more than just the image. When the paint is revealed in the work, and is used as an energetic force, then the work becomes infused with this combination of image and medium. Not dissimilar to how a sculpture is viewed. The viewer takes in both the image, and the medium. Its a dual experience.
I am confident that I will continue to search out any other means to I can, to achieve the effects that help in the completion of my painting. However, or whatever I need to make the painting work, then that is the most important thing.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The day was superb! Soft warm air and the scent of earth. Just last week it was miserable and looked like we were never to see the sun again. Now, its just a memory. Spring has shown it full beauty today. This is what we wait for, and why seasons help us to remember that.
I wouldn't even attempt to paint it. It's too... perfect.
Harbor Along the Coast
acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas

The small coffee stained sketch is still at my desk, and I wonder how a scribbled pen and ink drawing, which I can barely recognize, becomes a painting. But, at the time, the sketch was fresh and alive, and I knew exactly what I wanted to say. That is why, if I feel it necessary to add notes and info. bites onto the drawing, just in case I can't get to it right away.
Fortunately this one surpassed my expectations.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Warm Water Sailing
acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas

Done from a 2x3" thumbnail sketch on notebook paper, while having my coffee. The overtones are meant to be pastel hues with candy flavored skies, since I think of the tropics as a sweet warm place. The green in the ocean, comes from the sand and coral shallows that reflect light from the sandy bottom.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

11 X 14 acrylic on canvas

I really like the non-complexity in this work.
I said what I needed to say, and let it be. For me, it is a very singular event, with minimal definition needed. I like the passage of time, as noted by the sails, going by, and almost out of the scene. Like a flock of birds or a herd of deer, they are just passing by to who knows where.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Just a short entry here. Just finished a painting that was derived from a rather simple sketch. Really basic compositional elements, and color palette. The painting was already done in my head before the first brushstroke went on the canvas. I love those kind of pieces. The image must have been so ingrained in my senses, that painting it was almost like exhaling. It just fell onto the canvas. So simple, yet so complex as it is arranged by the mind, into a sketch. ... and then, into the painting.
Sometimes, that happens. Not always. But this time it did. When I get a pix, I'll put it up for you to see.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Seaside Conversation
11 x 14
acrylic on canvas

My pen knows what it wants to draw,
As I sat in a coffee shop, pen in hand... a rough version of this evolved. When I returned to the studio, I made a painting from it. I don't really plan a drawing,, it just happens. I am glad that I don't gruel over the perfect drawing, because each one has something to say on its own. The pen knows.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Been working on a few paintings this week. Mostly 11x14 size. Getting a little more liberal with the colors and application of paint. I hope to get them posted as soon as I can.
Wow, I just can't seem to get enough painting in. ... So much to paint, so many subjects. Most of which are actually sketches from places in my head, that came from places I've seen or been to and had remembered experiences. It's kind of like a big pot of stew, and there's a lot that goes into the making of an image. First and foremost, it's got to come from the inner self. Not superficial outside sources. Art for me, is a passion, not simply a motion of techniques and formulas. It's got to breath and live, and move.

Monday, March 1, 2010

11 x 14
acrylic on canvas
wrap around canvas, sides painted white, hanger wire attached, ready to hang.

expressionist brushstrokes
light gloss finish

note: it must be laundry day

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Beach
11 x 14

acrylic on panel

ready to hang w/unique hanger on back that lets work float off the wall
Just listed for sale on

Monday, February 8, 2010

11 x 14
acrylic on stretched canvas
$89 - available at

I particularly like this piece, because it was totally a spontaneous work,
formulated from a visual image in my mind, from one of the many visits to our New England coastline.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Some days I just feel like pushing paint around. I don't really care that it ends up as something, or not, but the process is just simply rewarding. Its kind of like when your at the beach and just wiggle your toes in the sand. There is a therapeutic quality to it all. Subjectivity is not all its cracked up to be. Sometimes a painting is just a painting.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Acrylic on Canvas
16 x 20
$124 --Go to Etsy for purchase info.

When I painted this, I wanted the lilacs all get together in this table arrangement. Like they were a family.
The bowl of fruit adds a bit of change to keep the composition lively.
I love the amber and rust tones throughout the painting.
This one of of many, of my Flower series paintings that I worked on with a passion.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I painted this from a sketch I did at Mass MoCa in North Adams, Ma.
As I was having my coffee in their bistro, I saw this compositional arrangement to be captured by the pencil. I think I did it justice once I got into my studio and translated it to acrylic. Notice part of the museum can be seen from within the museum itself.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The process of art can become comfortable and formatted if allowed to be. The artist must be open to allow the process to flow. The process must not be lead by the artist. The artist must allow the work to evolve without pre conditioned restraints. The art must be allowed to be what it was meant to evolve into aside from the controlling hand that can either guide it, or stifle it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Took this during the "Reindog Parade" in Williamstown, Ma
It was a wonderful festive seasonal event. It snowed, as it should, just like it was a movie set for filming.