Christmas is over, my birthday, too, and New Year's Eve is here. Most of my traveling is done, although a short trip to Florida and a long one to Paris is looming, I am really looking forward to getting back in the Studio. Have a Happy New Year!!
December 26, 2007
This is one of the paintings that I couldn't post until after Christmas. My friends celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary two years ago with a spectacular party at what was then the Boston Ritz Carlton. To commerate the occasion, they opened a case of 25-year old Château d'Yquem sauterne -- quite a treat for those of us lucky enough to be invited. I managed to squirrel away mementos from the party in the pocket of my tuxedo. They came in handy when the wife asked me to paint something as a Christmas gift for her husband this year.
December 24, 2007
This is the painting that was in the juried show, "Small Wonders," at the Maryland Federation of Arts Circle Gallery in Annapolis, Maryland. I like this painting and am glad to have it back in the studio. There is a song called "Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?" I do, and this painting reminds me why.
December 22, 2007
Here is a little painting that I couldn't post before. I must admit that painting a portrait on a gesso-primed crab shell was a new experience for me but hey, I'm from Baltimore, so what could be more appropriate? The glitter was my wife's idea and seemed to add a je ne sais quoi.
December 21, 2007
December 12, 2007
Perhaps you can teach an old dog, new tricks. By that I mean this old dog. The daily painting exercises have given me fresh eyes. This piece was commissioned posthumously to commemorate the life of Peggy, the yellow lab. You can see by her muzzle that she has some years on her. This was yesterdays painting and I was given the green light to post it. ...R.I.P. Peggy.
December 10, 2007
Just when you got used to seeing new work on a daily basis I go and spoil it. Sadly, I must withhold the next two or three paintings as they are secret Christmas gifts. Rest assured that I will post them after the holidays. If that wasn't bad enough, I am off to New Orleans for a bit. Fear not, the muse has settled in to her new digs and the fire is still lit. Stay tuned!
Posted by Mark Adams at 9:57 PM
December 9, 2007
In Oscar Wilde’s play, "The Importance of Being Earnest," Lady Bracknell asks Jack if he smokes. He replies, “Well, yes, I must admit I smoke.” “I am glad to hear it,” she says, “a man should always have an occupation of some kind.” I too, must admit I smoke [cigars] when I paint. Not always as nice a cigar as this Ashton. Painting in the smoke was an act of faith as I pulled the soft brush through the gradient background. I only had one shot and I had never really tried to do what I was attempting. It worked! A simple yet satisfying little painting.
December 6, 2007
My first wine painting, "Cépage Laguiole Corkscrew" was a commission and thus not available to those who have expressed interest. I have played with those same elements in a more simplified, almost abstract composition. From across the studio it reads like the mark of Zorro! The aged cork against the white table cloth is quite trompe l'oeil.
December 5, 2007
I went to Ryleigh’s Oyster Bar in Baltimore this summer for their First Annual Oyster Festival. There were quite a few varieties of oysters being offered that day and I don’t recall from whence these guys came. We ate al fresco and the sun raked across the pretty mother of pearl shells and danced on the ice. I like the bits of blue. I toyed with the idea of hinting at the “Sunkist” logo on the lemon for a small splash of green but thought the better of it. If you look hard you can see two chrome sauce cups reflected in the ice at the top.
December 4, 2007
December 3, 2007
Posted by Mark Adams at 5:17 PM
December 2, 2007
Being a slave to the daily paintings is not what this is all about so I may take a respite from posting on the weekends. Keep checking in and please post comments -- an artist needs feedback on his creations. Just click on "comments," not the envelope. Thanks!
Posted by Mark Adams at 12:11 PM
November 30, 2007
Throughout art history painters have used the technology of the day to create art. Vermeer had the camera obscura, Rockwell used hundreds of photographs to compose a single painting, etc. The photo-realists took this to a new level in the 70's. As I mentioned in the "Pacific Cod" blog, I find the use of a laptop near my easel invaluable. This is how I utilize it in my work:
First I coat the panel with umber and pull up the forms with a rag:
November 29, 2007
I grew up in Baltimore in the 50's watching Stu Kerr play Bozo the clown, so I had a tough time not thinking, “Give me a "B,” give me an “O,” give me a “Z,” give me another “O” when we ate at Bozo’s Seafood Restaurant in Metairie, Louisiana, a Cajun/Creole version of the Westview Lounge in Baltimore, but the oysters were first rate. I like the play of greens and pinks in this piece.
I am currently in a juried show called “Small Wonders” at the Maryland Federation of Art’s Circle Gallery in Annapolis. My painting is called “Gulf Oysters” and was painted before I started the daily paintings. Nonetheless, had I had all these small, immediate paintings to choose from to submit, I still would have chosen an oyster piece as they are one of my favorite things, both to paint and to eat!
November 28, 2007
Once upon a time there was a magical place called New Orleans. In this enchanted city you could indulge your wildest fantasies, be they musical, artistic, culinary…whatever. The pace was slow and easy. Indeed, the "Big Easy" was its name. Then one day an ill wind named Katrina blew into town and much that once was, was lost. No longer could you hear the sound of the street cars on St. Charles Avenue. No longer could you go to Mike Anderson’s on Bourbon St and get 25 cent oysters in the afternoon. Alas, those glorious chilled pewter plates of delicious, glistening mollusks are a fading memory. No longer do the neon lights bounce off the copper-topped bar and onto the sweet flesh of the freshly shucked local oysters. Oh sure, the Acme is still there, but sadly it has become somewhat of a tourist destination. This lone oyster is tangible evidence of bygone days. Enjoy and remember.
November 27, 2007
They say “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” This painting is proof. The reflections of egg shells, coffee filters, rotting green tomatoes and onion skins off this battered compost bin caught my eye and appealed to my odd sensibilities. I always feel better returning a bit of organic matter back to mother earth. These lowly subjects now have served a greater purpose than mere food for worms.
November 26, 2007
November 25, 2007
November 24, 2007
This painting is the opposite of yesterday’s piece. Where fish are cold and slimy, cats are warm and fuzzy. This cat, JJ is particularly warm and fuzzy. He spends a lot of time on his back and if I didn’t know better would think he was half rabbit. He came into our lives about a year ago and is the perfect studio cat, a good mouser too. I suspect you will be seeing lots of him as he is a good model, spending much of his time sleeping in the studio.
November 23, 2007
Just like falling off a bike, you have to dust yourself off and get back in the saddle. I thought I should paint something that had a lot of textural possibilities and that I could have fun with. This fish fit the bill.
November 21, 2007
Every man of my generation knows the song “Wipeout” by the Safaris. Back in the day we beat out the rhythm to that song on any make-shift percussion surface we could find, be it desk, table, whatever. Tonight I did a wipeout of my daily painting. Even a good artist can have a bad day and trying to salvage a painting that is not working is futile and ultimately frustrating. I set myself up for this piece to crash. Against my better instincts I broke out the blending brushes and pretended that I was Johannes Vermeer. I can’t lose sight of the purpose of the daily paintings. I will break for Thanksgiving and get back to the easel on Friday.
Posted by Mark Adams at 10:55 PM
November 20, 2007
One thing artists and chefs have in common is the love of creating new things. Their palette is used to stimulate our palates. Who hasn’t been impressed with the care and artistry of a beautifully plated dish? One such artist was the chef at the now dark “Abacrombie.” Restaurants often have small windows to pass dishes through that create a sort of diorama. I always enjoy the chance to peek inside to the workings of the kitchen. Here is a painting of Chef Sonny working on one of his ephemeral masterpieces.
Posted by Mark Adams at 8:08 PM
November 19, 2007
I am certain that those who know me well are wondering where all these still life paintings are coming from. Where is the guy who painted all those dancers and mimes and models? It's true, I have been holding off on painting the figure until I was comfortable with the small format and quick nature of the daily paintings. I think this first little nude worked out well.
Posted by Mark Adams at 2:22 PM
November 17, 2007
November 16, 2007
November 15, 2007
November 14, 2007
November 13, 2007
November 12, 2007
It is truly amazing how fast this year has flown by. Fall is here and with it a bounty of new subject matter. Take for instance the chestnut. Each is as unique as a snowflake and the warm colors and soft reflections off the shell make them fun to paint, either singly or in a bunch. Here is today’s painting.
November 11, 2007
November 10, 2007
November 8, 2007
While plein air painting has much to recommend it, the practical aspects often get in the way. With this painting, I suppose I could have stood in front of the fish counter and dutifully captured every glistening scale on these beauties, but I doubt that the fish monger would have approved. Thank goodness we live in the age of digital image capture. A twin-aged blade to be sure - the ability to grab subjects and compositions on the fly is truly remarkable. I have had a darkroom since I was 14 and have only just “e-bayed” my enlarger this very year – sniff, sniff. The thought of me doing “wet” photography for reference would be akin to cranking up the old eight track player. I still carry a small sketch pad with me, more for taking notes, but my little Canon Elph does most of the heavy work. Is it possible to utilize modern technology without falling into the trap of having it do the all the work for you? As old school artists, we are keenly aware of those guys at the outdoor art faire who pass off their shrink wrapped computer manipulated photos as paintings. Are they “art”? If based on their own photography (which is an art-form) they are, but putting them through the “watercolor” filter in Adobe Photoshop and printing them out on cold-pressed watercolor paper is deception. The answer came to me as my eyesight started to go. I set up a laptop near my easel to close in on detail for a portrait I was working on – I’d grown tired of wearing the opti-viewer, a device like a jewelers loupe. Everything in my studio is on wheels, rather like being on the set of “Starlight Express.” I pushed the laptop away from me a bit and “voila” I had the feeling of painting from life. Yes, it is two dimensional, but isn’t that what we do when we close one eye to get a better feel while sketching in a painting anyway? I am only one week into this “daily painting” thing and I wanted more than the “daily pear” or the “daily apple.” Now the world is my oyster! Pun intended.
November 7, 2007
November 6, 2007
Is it possible for food, in this case, oysters, to be a vice? I started painting oysters last year quite by accident. Every Wednesday morning I join a group of retired art professors from a local college who meet over breakfast to brainstorm about their work and discuss the latest exhibitions. It’s our version of Picasso and his friends at Els Quatre Gats. Last year one of the guys arranged for us to have a group show—aptly called “The Breakfast Club”—at a gallery in Berkeley Springs, WV. There was just one caveat: no nudes. I was working primarily with the figure so this posed (no pun intended) a problem. As it turns out this restriction proved fortuitous and I rediscovered my long dormant love of the still life. Who knew? I produced a dozen lovely, tight paintings of that lowly bivalve…the oyster. It seemed only right. Oysters have been portrayed throughout art history and they have a soft, wet sensuality that I thought would be my little joke on the gallery. The daily paintings have made me realize that I am more Manet then DeHeem. Wielding a charged brush is more exciting to me than meticulously painting dew and bugs on a perfectly painted leaf. That genre has its place, but not in my studio. To make a long story short…oops, too late, I give you the “Hon Bar Oysters!”
November 5, 2007
November 2, 2007
November 1, 2007
Perhaps I should have called this site the "Daily vice paintings." I am having fun with the light play off the colored liquid and glass.
Yes, I did drink the scotch yesterday to celebrate my return to the easel. If this keeps up I may have the credentials as fairly decent bartender.
Tomorrow: Creme de menthe?...I don't think so.
"You have much to learn grasshopper."