In situ

I steal furniture. Fortunately, it’s virtual furniture so the theft gets carted away in bytes. I find rooms such as the lovely, quirky room above. Into such rooms I put my artwork so that people can get a sense of how a painting looks on a wall.

Because I love color, I particularly enjoy finding bold and cleverly colorful rooms. Finding a room as colorful as this one is a real delight. Strangely, it’s a fairly unusual occurence. It seems like most room decoration uses whites or neutral colors. Are people afraid of using bright color? I dunno. You can see how cheerful and welcoming this cozy room looks. I don’t know the identity of the designer.

The painting looks about the actual size relative to the couch. And here’s a view of the painting seen alone. Acrylic on canvas and available.

seashell collection

I’ve made a bunch of drawings and paintings of seashells, and soon I will make more.  I started collecting seashells a few years ago, and I have a group of shells now.  Each one is a little different from the others and in time I hope to have portrayed the individual differences.  For now I just portray the shells broadly.

I like putting them into different settings, among different colors, especially among different patterns.  I am always eager to discover what the surrounding colors do to change the mood of a picture.

When I have a sufficient number of seashells to cover an entire wall, I want to have them all framed and hung together as though they were one large work composed of the ensemble.  But that  project waits in the future.  First I have to paint them one by one.

What price art?

I might as well begin at the beginning.  Let this be the first of my “free advice” posts.  What is a fair price for art?  It’s something I wonder about in regard to my own painting, as far as what I charge others, and it’s definitely something I wonder about when I visit galleries or read about the art market.  The short answer is “whatever the market will bear.”  That is the short-sighted answer, I think, as well. 

Art buyers should be wary:  not buying art is no way to live!  After all, money is something you can’t take with you.  So, buy art.  The key to art buying happiness is to buy what you love and to think about it carefully enough to make reasonably sure that what you love today, you’ll love a few years down the road as well.  In that sense art is an investment, both spiritually and financially.

If you buy what you love, whether it appreciates financially or not, you’ll still have possession of the something you love.  That’s the first rule.  

The second rule is to learn.  The less you know about art, the more likely you are to pay too much.  And hence your first purchase of art — the transaction you make when you are most ignorant — should not be the one with the big price tag.

The first purchases you make, while you’re learning about art, are made most wisely close to home.  Even if you live in a small place, where you feel certain no Rembrandt is likely to be found, if you buy pictures from local artists, the prices are not likely to be very high and your risk is low.   And mother nature dispenses her gifts as she sees fit.  While you might not bump into Rembrandt in the sticks, plenty of creative, intelligent people are likely to be living in modest seclusion.  You can find beautiful, sensitively made works of art in the most humble locale.

The painting in this post was made by an elderly woman my aunt once knew.  It’s hung in my aunt’s stunningly decorated living room for twenty years, and it’s as beautiful as the day she bought it.  The artist may have copied it from one of those “how to paint” books.  It has the character of something repeated.  But you can tell when you see it face to face that it has something added too.  That added something is the sensibility of the artist.  This painting won’t end up in the Louvre, but it was a good investment for my aunt and a smart example of how to get started.


I’m just learning to use wordpress, so until I master it, my comments will be a little bit random.

I hope you find this welcome page.  I have been thinking a lot about the people who look at art, wondering what art means to the vast audience of people who look at pictures.  As someone who makes pictures, I think about pictures and painting somewhat technically.  I tend to forget sometimes my own deeper engagement with things.  I need to reacquaint myself with the memories of why I began to paint a particular thing — like this jar of flowers.  They were flowers growing in my parents’ backyard.  The jar is just an ordinary bell jar, like you’d use for canning.  The collection of flowers, to a knowledgeable person, probably hints that my parents’ house is in the warm south — North Carolina to be precise.  Gardeners know where things grow and when.  Artists don’t always know (I don’t!). 

So I needn’t tell you this is spring in North Carolina in a jar.  The azaleas were everywhere.  I put them into the plainest of jars, set them upon a white cloth and started to work.  I loved the way that glass darkens colors and sometimes distorts things.  All the edges of leaves crushed together in the water look beautiful to me.  I liked putting them into this small jar.  It’s a way of pointing out how ordinary beauty really is — that beauty is all around us.  The world is beautiful.  You don’t have to travel far to find it.  Often it’s right at your feet.  Even the plain white cloth, the way that it reflects different bits of the spectrum of white light, is beautiful.  It is not “just” white — but has mixed into it, bits of pale pink, pale yellow, pale blue, and endless shades of different pale pearl grays.  So I paint something small and ordinary and contained like this and for me it is a sign of the cosmos.  The cosmos in a jar, a microcosmos.