Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday the morning

Happy Labor Day, blessings to you.
It's another weekend...
I show at a one day beach show in NJ and that
leaves me the rest of the holiday off. We are leaving
shortly and staying overnight with friends near the
show. I show Saturday then on Sunday we are taking
Jason into Washington DC to see Abbey and Ben
and go to the zoo. Jason has 7 more days till he leaves
for school. For those that asked about the school, here is
the link.

I had a great painting week. It felt good and I enjoyed
what I worked on. I am also almost finished with a

very large painting that I have squeezed in for the past
2 weeks. I need to concentrate on my new open house
paintings and figure out what I will print this year.
No pressure!!

The Show: SEPT 1
Held on the Boro Hall Lawn ~ 6th & Central Ave.
Seaside Park, NJ 10AM-4PM (free admittance)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Blue Bottles

5" x 5" original watercolor

I could not get the color to photograph well on this
piece. There is an overall green tone to the background.
I keep telling Linda I need another camera!!

This is a study for a larger painting. I only painted
three bottles for the study. Each bottle had a
different shape and I wanted to work out the slight
transparency of the blue glass.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wilbur Chocolate Commission

I am now able to share my commission with you. It is a landmark
factory in my hometown of Lititz, The Wilbur Chocolate Co.
This is for your viewing pleasure only since it was given as a
retirement gift. (no prints and No, I cannot paint it again!)
I spent a great many hours on the under drawing. I am talking
three long days worth of drawing. This painting is a three quarter
view of a HUGE factory building. All the angles, lines, and perspective
had to be correct. It is a lot of brick, even the windows had been
bricked over. My artistic job was to give it warmth and character.
If you know me well you will get a good chuckle out of this little
side story... So, the painting was finished, framed, delivered
and paid. I was feeling pretty good about it. There is always
so much extra pressure when a painting is a commission. The next day
the very nice person who was in charge of the whole deal stops in
holding the painting. It seemed in my very right brained way I made
a huge error. I am breaking out into a sweat now! On the little sign
under the steps I misspelled Wilbur with an e...
Wilber... I spelled it
correctly in all the other places on the building. I knew it was a "u".
I was feeling pretty stupid, there was not any good excuse!
I had to take the whole thing apart and correct my spelling! All
ended well and I was told the new owner of the painting is happy!

Roof Top

6" x 4" original watercolor

Driving home on Monday from Virginia I noticed the
brilliant blue sky filled with white cotton like clouds.
I knew right away I had to use the sky in a painting.
That was my plan until the Eclipse side tracked me!
I am also intrigued with the perspective of rooftops.
We spend so much time looking down, so it is my job
as an observant artist to show you an overhead view.
Did you notice the peak of the roof naturally points
your gaze up towards the sky.
This is a nice bright crisp painting.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lunar Eclipse

6" x 4" original watercolor

Today's painting is simply an unplanned inspiration.
I had my next painting ready in my sketch book.
But at 5am this morning when I stepped outside for
my bike ride I was surprised and mesmerized to see
the Lunar Eclipse. What a blessing! I just stood there
and watched it change and glow. Its beauty was
indescribable. When I came back from my ride I decided
I had to paint what I witnessed. It may be a little off beat
for me but I captured what I saw. This photo does not do
it justice, you can't see the top glow of the moon but
it is in the painting.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Adirondack Chairs

6" x 4" original watercolor

I started with a very detailed sketch of the chairs.
They had to be correct before I could lay on color.

My next focus was the sun light across the chairs,
then surrounding the chairs in lush green. I added an
impression of flower beds to give you something to
focus on while you were sitting in my comfortable
chairs! My goal was to create a scene that evokes a
longing in you, a strong desire to sit in my chairs.

This is not a $100 painting! It is a very strong
watercolor so I hope there is some exciting bidding
going on.

Update: As for the past weekend, I wanted careful
what you wish for! On Saturday it was 100 degrees not counting
the heat index and the heat off the macadam. It was to hot for
people to think about buying anything but ice cream! Sunday was cooler.
A mere 95. And just as people started coming out, a huge storm blew in.
After about an hour of being hopeful that it would clear up, they closed
the show at 3PM. So for the second weekend in a row, I packed up a
very wet tent.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday the morning

We are off to Virginia this morning. The suitcase is going out the
minute I am finished writing. It was not a great week for me, I hate

all the rain. I am a sunshine guy! I could not ride my bike.
Yes, I know we needed it...but...!
All the tarps and tents were muddy and wet from the show at Mt Gretna;
I had to wait till Wed. to get them out of the van, Then set everything up

in the backyard to dry. The van smelled, so I had to clean that out. It
was a lot of extra work.

Tuesday we had artists friends from OK over for dinner and had a very
nice time with them. We will see them again this weekend in VA.
I will give him a plug...

We get Netflix and Linda got hooked on The Closer, we just
finished watching the 1st season. I recommend it.

I received a "Judges Choice Award" at Mount Gretna Art Show.
It means I am automatically accepted into the show next year, I don't
need to send in slides to jury. That is my second Judges award in

four weeks! Not bad.

This weeks show info:
Held at High Street Landing in Olde Towne Portsmouth, VA
Sat. 10-6 and Sun 10-5 rain or shine
My space is #6 (on the way to the student show)
more info:

OK, I need to hit the road... don't worry, I will be painting all weekend.
I heard it is to be 95 in Portsmouth...thats more like it!
But will I get Linda
to leave the motel's airconditioning?

Thursday, August 23, 2007


5" x 5" original watercolor

This is a watercolor study for two buckets.
There is a good contrast between the light cream
wall and the well worn buckets, giving this painting
good depth. I placed a vertical broom handle just
below the buckets to add another reference point.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


5" x 5" original watercolor

I have never painted marbles in a glass container.
I thought it would be a was.
The real question should be why I thought I needed
a challenge today! Anyway...
I used my blue cabinet as a background, thinking it would
balance all the colors of glass.
The photo does not do justice to the painting.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


6" x 4" original watercolor

There are several things happening in this painting.
There is a deck. There is an empty clay pot.
And a cat checking out what may be in the garden.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Field Dog

4" x 6" original watercolor

Don't view this as just a dog portrait,
because that is not what I had in mind.
Can you imagine what he is seeing?
This beautiful dog belongs to a student of mine.
His eyes were so bright and alert as he gazed out
over the country side. I knew this would be a
challenging watercolor and I enjoyed every minute.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Pathway #4

5" x 5" original watercolor

This painting features great shadows in the foreground and
a treeline in the background. It shows good depth and the
white fence helps create the illusion of distance.
If you were out at the Mt. Gretna show today, this is the
painting I was working the rain!

News: I received a "Judges Choice" award today at the
Mount Gretna Show. I have exhibited there many years
without receiving an award. I am automatically
accepted for next year.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday update...

Last weeks Lititz Craft Show turned out OK.
I met people who would not normally attend
an all art show. Picked up a few new students
for my watercolor classes and sold a decent amount.

The week got super busy. I spent most of my
time finishing my commission, which I am pleased
with. I will share a photo next week after it has been
presented. Jason, the 12 yr old who has been living
with us has only 23 days until leaving for The Hershey
School. We have been trying to do special things for him.
I put the tent up in the back yard and had sleepovers
2 nights. Which meant late nights and very early
mornings. Thursday night we squeezed in dinner with
close friends and met my niece's boyfriend whom we
really liked. But all this translated into late nights
where my blog was posted much later than I hope for.

The Show: Mount Gretna Art Show
Rt 117, Mount Gretna, PA
Space #B234 (same as past years)
Sat. 9am-6pm and Sun. 9am-5pm
nice quality

Classes: Check on my website for the next set of
watercolor classes starting in September.

That's it for the week, I am off to bed.
Hope to see you at Mount Gretna!

Pink Lotus Blossom

5" x 5" original watercolor

There are times when; as an artist, we push ourselves to
our limits. It seems our perception of our subject becomes
sharper... and we work as if the paint just comes off the
end of the brush. This painting is one of those. I had a
busy day packing and setting up at a show. It was 9pm
by the time I got home. I only had two hours to work
on my blog piece. So it was painted quickly without the
hesitation or second guessing I often go through.
Sometimes painting is like magic...

We have had several trips to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
in Washington DC over the years. It is where I find
fabulous inspirations for my waterlilies.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Berkshire Cupola

6" x 4" original watercolor

The tops of an object... a house or any building have
always surfaced as subjects in my work. I like using
the "part" to give substance to the "whole".
To guide you, the viewer to look at something you
would normally overlook.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Glass Study

4" x 6" original watercolor

To make things complicated and challenging
there are four pieces of glass in this painting.
Your eye starts with the large window pane,
with a hint of the outside. Then I added
three glass bottles, a clear one, a blue one,
and the top of an amber one.

There is a clear brightness in the blog originals
I just cannot get across in the photos. So trust
me when I tell you who ever wins them will be
more than pleased!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Evening #4

4" x 6" original watercolor

I have been experimenting with evening shadows...
the way night light changes color and texture.
I like that I can use the night light to create tension
and the illusion of something about to happen.

I am sorry I missed yesterdays blog painting. All my
energy is going into my commission and there is
just not enough time to work on two paintings. The
commission is looking great but I can't share it with
you until next weekend.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Pottery #4

4" x 6" original watercolor

I enjoy painting a still life. A single object in a room.
The antique jug was an off white almost grey color.
If you know your antiques you know what I mean.
It had no decorations on it.
It is placed in the center of all that wood, as a focal point.

If you leave near Lititz, PA, you are always welcome
to stop at the studio to see any of the blog paintings.
I am told the computer just does not do them justice.
So give me a call and if I am home, you may stop in!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Pastoral View #3

4" x 6" original watercolor

If you were out at the Lititz Craft Show today,
you were able to watch me work on this painting.

I talked earlier this week about the effects of
shades of green. Pastoral View #2 featured
rolling hills, this painting should give you the
impression of mowed fields.
Notice the great mountain view in the distance
with slight pink on the horizon. The fence, path,
and barn roof are the white of the paper with a light
wash of color to tone it down.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday update...

Usually I am off to Eagles Mere this week, however I decided not to attend this year. I felt they needed a year to miss me! The original plan was after several weeks of traveling to take a weekend off. But after looking over my financial budget... I signed up to do the huge Lititz craft show. I always felt my work didn't belong at this venue. Oh, how we end up eating crow!! I will let you know how it goes.

The life of an artist: This blog is about sharing. My idea is to give you a glimpse into my life, to keep you updated and give you a greater connection to me and my art. So I will share a weekend story... Linda and I got home late Monday night from the show in Vermont. You may have been thinking I have got it made, I am doing what I love everyday, and I am... but let me share... Thurs. we left at 7am and drove 7 hours. Set up our little camper at a camp site. Our poor little camper was placed aside a big motor home, making me feel that size does matter! I felt small and insignificant. Then we went over to the show and set up my booth. We finished around 7pm. As of now I am out about $800 in expenses (Show fee, gas, camp fee, groceries, and we are not even staying at a hotel.) We fell into bed tired and did I mention HOT! Fri. we were at the show from 7:30am to 6PM. Again HOT, Linda is wilting in the heat but I am in my element. I only sold a little so its back to the campsite for sandwiches and sleep. Sat. again 7:30am-6pm at the show. Decent sale day but I did not want to risk spending it on a restaurant so its a salad. There's not much to do when you camp, and we have been sitting outside in the heat all day. Linda was not seeing the thrill in sitting around a campfire! So off to bed, I had a book on tape and Linda was reading as we watched the flicker of a big screen TV in the big motor home aside us. Trying not to feel envy! Sun. back to the show from 7:30am to 5pm and sold absolutely nothing. Not just us, many artist made less than I did and this was a high quality show. But oh what that does to my artistic ego. All kinds of self doubt creeps in. Even after 28 years I question my talent, my choice of style and subject. The other artist are feeling the same thing, contemplating getting real jobs. Analyzing the state of our economy. How long can we all just barely cover expenses. Commiserating with others makes you feel almost hopeless. And we still need to pack up. We finished by 7pm. Got a pizza but I feel even worse because I can't treat Linda to a good hot meal. We go back to the campsite, where that monstrosity of a motor home becomes a symbol of success and my pop up tests my pride! It started raining during the night and now we have to pack up a wet camper and drive 7 hours back home. Once at home we unpack and start in on laundry and mail and phone/email messages, set the camper up in the yard so it can dry out. Falling into bed in a tired heap. Tues. we start with a business meeting. Trying to figure out if my style of painting is past. Is traditional over? Are all the young couples contemporary and the older clients finished buying? But I just can not make myself paint in a looser contemporary style. Its not who I am. I can't compromise on that. So I just go paint... I lose myself in what I know. And as it usually works out during the week I sell my good Goose painting and take 2 print orders. The blog has been selling and my commission is looking good, I am again optimistic. That's the key to this lifestyle, my cup is half full. I get down to work on my blog and hope for a better show this weekend. I look up and its Friday and time to pack and go set up again.

The show: The HUGE Lititz Rotary Craft Show
Saturday from 8am-5pm. It covers all of Lititz!
My space is in the park, near the center parking lot.
#M52 FYI: Mount Gretna is next weekend.


6" x 4" original watercolor

My inspiration was the peaches we have sitting
in the kitchen. I have been eating them all week.
So when I decided to paint a still life I artistically
placed them in a large tin bowl, added a crock
and set them on a wall shelf.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Pastoral View #2

5" x 5" original watercolor

I have been observing shades of green. How grass
and trees have such a range in shades of green.
How sun and shade changes the hues. Notice how a
subtle darker shade gives the impression of rolling
hills. Even darker lets you see deep shade under the
tree. Green is not just green! Next time you are
outside spend a moment and really look.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


6" x 4" original watercolor

On the way out of Lititz there is a huge field
of sunflowers. I could not resist all those
yellow heads reaching for the sun. They were
all facing the same direction. I learned from
Linda the flowers always face east, no matter
how you plant them...interesting. Today is so
hot and steamy I was inspired to paint bright
yellow against a blue sky.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Red Bench

4" x 6" original watercolor

This painting actually belongs in the "Warm Spot"
Series. A hot sunny day, a little shade behind a
brick building. Add an inviting red bench.
It is a simple scene and I painted it for the pure
pleasure of painting something I am good at,
bricks and light. It actually photographed a bit
darker than it actually is.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Friday update...on Wednesday night!

It is late and I just finished today's blog. I am
again packed and ready to get on the road.
We are trying the pop-up a second time! We
are leaving early tomorrow morning for a show
in Vermont. So anyone winning a painting will
need to wait until my return on Tuesday. But I

thank you for your bidding!

Family: Just your average week in the Smith
household. The plumber was here today... it
feels like only last week we updated all our toilets
to great power flush ones. I found out they are

7-10 years old and they are not holding up. Lets
just say 4 need replaced. The German in Linda
seemed to think they should have lasted our lifetime!

Painting: I won a "Judges Choice" award at the
Lititz Art Show! That always looks good on the resume'.
I had fun this week, I went bolder on the building,

added another figure which I love, and then went back to an
interior. I have a commission to paint over the weekend.

It is a surprise gift so I can't tell you more until later.

Show: August. 3 - 5
The 29th Annual Southern Vermont Art & Craft Festival
Held at Hildene Meadows in Manchester, VT
10AM to 5PM rain or shine great quality
more info:


4" x 6" original watercolor

My constant source of interior subjects is the
Shaker Villages. I painted a similar bed last month.
This is from a different room and a different
style bed but it is the light laying across it that
interests me most.
I am so grateful for modern mattresses!