Friday, December 27, 2013

The last few days here have been producing beautiful snowfalls. This is all it took to inspire me to get to work on my impressions of the seasonal wonder. Using the images I witnessed as well as the feeling and impressions, I painted this 11x14" acrylic. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Russ Potak 

The New England Winter is making its appearance in its usual November manner. 
Bouts of cold and some snow squalls have left just enough of the white stuff
to inspire me to start painting my winter venue. 
I do love the season for painting, as it offers subject matter
often hidden by the foliage of summer. 
There is a more pronounced mood and the colors can be diverse.
I did this painting from a sketch inspired from one of our 
recent snow events just a few days ago. 
The painting is 16 x 20" and on 200 lb cotton rag paper
I plan to continue to explore more of the winter landscape in my 
paintings as the season progresses. 
There is a distinct feel to winter, and I have a strong desire
to translate this into paint. 
Please check back soon,  and discover what else I have been passionately moved to paint. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Time to change the profile pic I suppose. I think it should suffice for now.  Who likes taking their own picture anyway. Like looking in a mirror and saying, .. this person could use a coffee. A nice strong cup of joe. Well, its gotta stay. I'm too tired to go for the "everything is just right picture." Maybe next time... maybe.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cove Island
8x10" acrylic on heavy weight paper
available through
Yes, I've been working. I am constantly in some mode of painting, from either inspired sketches that just occur, or pushing some paint around on a surface. I used to wrack my brain as to what to paint, but now I realize that is, and shouldn't even be a question with me. For I have found out, that the thing, is just to paint. No matter how, or what you do, or what you paint. After all, its painting, so as the verb says.. paint! Most often after I put a few lines down, something usually starts to congeal. So, I don't worry about it. And, if nothing does come of it, .. then so what? I just work on in the abstract, letting things take their own shape and form. The bottom line is, its the painting I like, not the figuring out what I supposed to say. The way I look at it is, maybe someday while I'm painting, I'll discover some deep meaning to my work and move in that direction, (not holding my breath), but, I don't have time to waste, waiting to find that, and for some golden moment to occur. My easel awaits me now.  

Seacoast Village
acrylic on heavy weight paper
available through

Spring in the Berkshires
acrylic on canvas
available through

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Me, going video? Well, maybe just for a change of pace for a while. After working on several paintings, and posting them on here as well as Facebook, and Twitter I have encountered many inquires as to the process of working on my paintings. I usually answer the best that I can, but then realized, ... wouldn't it be better to show you than to try to explain? So in response to this, my mini video demos were created. Very simply I might add. I am not one to have a lot of technology at my disposal, and most of these were made using an old outdated digital camera with a 4-5 min shoot capacity time. No lenses, zooms, or anything of that quality. Just a straight on and off button. But, nevertheless I shot my series of mini visual tutorials. This work is produced in over a five segment shoot.  I hope you enjoy them. Please feel free to ask any questions and post comments. The original work that was produced in this video, is now posted on my Etsy gallery, at For a better visual representation of it, you may go there to see it. Enjoy the  videos!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mocha Java
5 x 7" in an 8x10" frame
©2013 russ potak
For my own purposes of storing work I normally do not frame, but because I am prepping for some of the outdoor fairs and whatnot, I usually pick a few selected works and frame them just to give the viewer a sense of how they might look in a "presentation ready" format, ready to hang. As far as the rest of my works, they are usually "ala carte" .. al fresco, no dressing, no frames. I let the collector decide for themselves as to that. I always maintain that I am a good artist, but I generally leave framing to the experts. My time is to be spent behind the easel as much as I can. Framing and all that it entails would end up not only robbing my time, but my creative juices as well. I do try to hold the framing process to a minimum and focus my attention on my painting. This particular piece was done on canvas, which I affixed to mat board and framed. Because it is acrylic paint, I do not glass it, as I like the painting to be seen as I painted it. Not with glass covering it. I would hope a person, if they feel inclined, to touch the painting. Glass separates the viewer from that experience. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

This is the second  painting on my vertical format pieces. I just started out with this by drawing a few simple suggestive lines that might depict some mountainous terrain, and I worked it a little bit, it became   more suggestive of something I saw in a travel show about Switzerland. I then went with this theme until I had what I thought looked like something alpine and Swiss like. The rest was simply the painting  and completion of that sketched image. Not a lot of mystery to it, as compared to some of the abstracts I do. This one is completely associational. What it is, is what it is. Sometimes its good to come back to this type of art, but invariably, when I do, it doesn't take long before I do 180 degrees, and head back to abstracts. Kind of like food. How often can you eat the same thing over and over. Its nice to explore the variety. Wether in art, music, or food.

Alpine Landscape
12 x 55"
acrylic on 100% cotton rag heavy weight paper
©2013 russ potak

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lately I've been noticing I've been painting on basically the same size format for some time. I never gave it much thought, but when I started to realize that I've been here done that, kind of thing, again, and again, .. I thought, maybe I should mix it up a bit, and break the confines of a regular rectangular or square format. I thought maybe I should try to work in a composition into a narrow format just for a challenge. Well, I did, and am working on my second one now. I will continue to do this, until it too becomes the norm, and then I will venture out again to try yet something else. This is the way of my art at the present, and I will just see it through until I play it out. Whatever it takes to keep motivated. And if I'm not, .. I'll just paint anyway. Those works I fall into a series I will call, my Un-motivated work. And chances are, it will motivate me to do something else.
I call this piece, ..

"Wilderness Canyon"
12 x55"
acrylic on 100% cotton rag heavyweight paper
©2013 russ potak

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's been quite a while I know. Lost in my own little sea of things. Since the last time I added anything here was before Dec. or so, and since then I have been painting feverishly. Landscapes, abstracts, still life, seascapes, and more. My last and most recent is this one posted below. I find that when I do a sea related theme, I get so many wonderful compliments that I wonder what I did that was any different than when I paint a landscape. I have come to the conclusion, that people just relate to the sea. Period. Yes, they enjoy looking at a landscape too, but the fervor is not as high with those. That said, ... I do love to paint sea related themes and subject. The irony is, .. I don't live by the sea. I'm about 175 miles inland, in a mountainous hilly area with woods, lakes, streams, and farm fields. Its also, laced with old mills and factories from days past. I have painted those over and over, but the appeal to the public is shallow on those. People have an affinity for ocean, sea, coastal scenes. Romantic I guess. When I get to visit the shoreline, I make a point to get a lot of sketches and photos so that I may work them into paintings when I return to the "wilderness" here. I am no stranger to the ocean and ocean related things.  
As a kid my family spent a lot of time in Florida, and I grew up with a mask and snorkel on my face. I even had my minor in oceanography in college, with my major being in art. 
So anyway, you'll probably see a lot more of these sea coast paintings for a while, as I deplete my sketchbook of seascapes. Maybe a barn or two just for the locals though. 
14 x14 
acrylic on 140 lb paper
Impressions along the coast

Monday, January 7, 2013

My cup of joe
Cheapo instant coffee wash on typing paper, I think, or was it the back of my excise tax. 

The Old Mill in Winter
Folgers not in my cup wash
8x10" on an archival piece of high grade drawing paper, 
or was it used copy paper, .. whatever. 
The Snowman
Pen, ink, plus coffee washes
8x10" on plain old crummy paper
Coffee. Its not just for drinking anymore. This blog is directed to all those inquisitive minds who need to know the behind the art curtain secrets of how to make a coffee based painting.
  First and foremost, ... make a pot of coffee. Drink some.
Now your ready to go to work as a coffee artist. But, just for your information, the kind you drink, is probably not the kind your going to use to paint with. I came upon the coffee art medium when I was at college. We'd sit it the student union of campus and doodle on napkins while having our java. Mind you we were art students. Not your ordinary variety of chemistry majors. or nuclear physicists. Bona fide living on the edge, bohemian art students, playing with our napkins and food at the campus center while other people tried to look serious with their books ajar. (yeah, sure)
  Well anyway, we'd pencil or pen in an image, and then using our fingers, take some coffee from our cups and wash the tone in. Just like Neanderthals having an artfest in a cave. I must admit, we did some pretty cool work on these napkins. Talouse Lautrec would have been proud.
  Napkins took the wash pretty good, and what helped was the lousy thicker than mud coffee we were drinking.
 But that was then, and this is now. I've evolved a few notches up from the primitive coffee methods we were using and have refined it somewhat. I have found that you don't have to boil a pot of mud coffee, in order to get a good wash. The secret?? (drum roll... ta ta ta ta da dum de dum rat tat tat! )
.. The cheapest crummy instant coffee you can find.  Drop 3 or 4 teaspoons into a quarter cup of hot water and you've got a good sienna wash. If you want a more umber type of color, use Columbian or burn it a bit like the campus center coffee I was telling you about.
 This is not something new by the way. Early man was using this same kind of dye 10, 000 yrs ago in the form of plants, bark,  nut shells and berries. Its no different. Its coffee dye.
 Its a win win. You can have your cup of Joe, and paint with it too.
Just make sure you drink what you want before you go and start dipping your brush into it.
Got Joe?? Get some. Make art.