Thursday, January 31, 2008

1947 PontiacStreamliner Wagon

6" x 4" original watercolor

This is a watercolor!! I was feeling out of my
comfort zone this morning when I started this
painting. But by noon, I knew I had it! What a
blast to paint a subject I never tackled before.
I was lured by the curvaceous lines and the hood
ornament. I needed to master the "polished to
a shine" look plus get the silver chrome color by
working with the white paper. The red on the
front just makes it pop. Can you tell I enjoyed
myself today?!! Many thanks to the client who
provided the photos and the inspiration. I hope I
made you proud. I have a few more I plan to work on.

I painted from 8am to 3. Then took a break to pack 600 lbs
of food and carry it up a flight of stairs and then drive it into
Lancaster to Water Street Rescue Mission. I was back
home by 5:30 and back to my painting. I had a make up
class tonight but only had 2 students so I was able to finish
my car. I have more hours into this little mini painting than
I should but I
enjoyed myself. My student brought his 10 year
old son, Nathan, along tonight and he was a delight to have
in class. He has talent and was very well behaved.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ladderback #2

4" x 6" original watercolor

I am intrigued with parts of a whole.
I am sure there is some study about how our
mind fills in the parts we don't see. There are
three parts in this painting and I find it
interesting how your eye or your mind just finishes
what I painted. The rest of the window, the
other half of the ladderback chair and then there is
just a corner of the desk. You know all the rest
is there. You automatically fill in the missing parts.

Linda worked at Meals on Wheels this morning so I
just sat at my desk and painted quietly until noon. Then
I ran a few errands, grilled chicken for our family meal
and next thing I know its 7PM and time for my class.
Tonight finished 4 weeks of teaching, and it flew by. I have
one more make up class tomorrow night. If anyone is
interested another set of classes starts next week.

I had a comment the other day from Elizabeth P. wanting to
know about my paper. I always use Arches 300 lb cold press.
Over the years I have painted on just about everything and
found I most enjoy this paper. I personally never stretch or
soak my paper. This is the traditional way, it removes
the sizing
and opens the weave of the paper. I prefer to simply tape the
paper down to a board using masking tape. My style is
to work my paper with many layers of washes. I want control of
my paint. I hope this answers your question.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Latch on Door

6" x 4" original watercolor

I have always said that subjects to paint can
be found everywhere, we just need to look
around. I was in an antique shop and found
this cabinet. I was simply attracted to the
knob and the latch against the white door.
I painted just part of the "sold" tag for fun.

I taught a class this morning then spent the
afternoon getting prepared for my lecture.
The lecture was at the Lititz Library and my
subject was Painting A Day and blogs. I had
a great time and I hope I was able to inspire other
artists to set goals, even a painting a month!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Original Watercolor

(click image to enlarge)

I wanted to bring you up to date on my painting.
The paper size is 12"x 18". You can see how my
paper is taped to my board. I do not soak my paper
as some artist do. I took a full day on the composition
drawing. Remember on 1/7 I painted a part of this as
a study of the railing and one pot. On Friday I painted
the three geraniums to study the effects of light on the
pots. So I was prepped for the large drawing with a clear
idea in my head. The top photo is the first days
underpainting or washes. On the door is a mixture of
Cad Yellow and Yellow Ochre. I feel this underpainting
gives me the depth and richness I look for. Each layer is
thoroughly dried before adding another wash. The bottom
photo is today's work. The door is getting a darker green.
Notice the white paper is showing around the door panels.
These will get washed in next, I need to save this area
because it will be a lighter value. In an oil painting you
paint color over top of color. In watercolor you go from
dark to light by saving the lighter areas. Also notice the
iron railing is darker. You are looking at three full days
work. Not all watercolorists paint in this manner. I am
known to build my color through washes, but not using
lots and lots of water. I prefer to control my color.
Hope this helps you understand my work a little better.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Potted Geranium Study

6" x 4" original graphite and watercolor

This is a rough sketch with watercolor washes.
I am using this as my study piece for the large
painting I am starting. This is the same method
I used to paint the boat. I was working out the
composition of the light and the pots. It is a small
part of the whole painting. This is a sketch, although
the same size and paper as all my blog paintings.
I am offering the starting bid at $30.
I plan to show you the beginning of the large painting
sometime over the weekend. Depends on how much
I get done.

I am packing up my paint box and we are going over
to our friends for the evening. I will paint at their house.
I was able to scan the newspaper article for you to read...

I think you can click over it to make it larger and easier
to read. If you are close to Lititz, I would be honored for
you to join me. You could give your personal opinion on
my blog, but only if you are a regular viewer with glowing

More people have been offering "comments" The comment
button is below. I think you have to register the first time,
that's to keep out spammers not my groupies! You can click
it to see what other people have said. So go ahead and
give it a try. Stroke my artistic ego!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Window Study #8

4" x 6" original watercolor

I needed to get away from snow! So I moved
indoors to a warm sunny window. Not even
any snow out the window! It's all about the
sunshine today.

Errands today. The car needed inspected, I had a dentist
check up and we volunteered two hours at the food pantry.
I looked up and it was 5:00. I have a nice blurb in our local
newspaper advertising my lecture at the Lititz Library next
Tuesday night. I will attempt to scan it tomorrow.
It's time to go practice our rumba steps...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Snow Scene #7

4" x 6" original watercolor

Another view from the same wonderful
property. More woods and snow. More
great shadow play. What you need to know
is that on all three of the snow scenes all
the white is the paper. This is the accepted
method in watercolor, and difficult to accomplish.
So look over these three again with a new eye.

It was my turn to take Mom to the hairdresser today, which
took all of my morning. Then I went to a client to go over
the terms of a commission, and then to get groceries for a
new pasta dish Linda was trying. Well worth the stop, I had
two helpings! Our carpenter stopped in to check on some
work we need done and somewhere in there I squeezed in
my blog painting. If I had known I was going to be that
distracted today I would have picked an easier subject.
I had an uplifting comment from a client today, he said yesterdays
painting reminded him of a Robert Frost Poem...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Snow Scene #6

6" x 4" original watercolor

A snowy day in the woods. Just a pleasant
snow scene. Pine trees in the background
offer the depth and the only real color.
Bare trees in the center area give another
layer to the depth. Hopefully it looks like you
could walk off into the woods. The foreground
has drifts of snow and it is still snowing.

If you know me at all you know I hate snow. So my
plan is to meet it head on. Face my demons while
you reap the benefits of some very good snow paintings!
Today is Tuesday and its my teaching day. A class in the
morning and another in the evening. I just finished. Linda's
morning was spent taking my Mom to the eye doctor for
her regular check. Then she made a tasty vegetable soup for
dinner. We squeezed in a good amount of Rumba practice
which we needed and was great for some laughs. It's only
9:30 so I might work on my large gate painting for an hour
or two. I can't goof off to much I need fresh paintings to start
the show season which is coming up pretty quick.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Snow Scene #5

5" x 5" original watercolor $300.00

This snow scene is from our friends property
in Hill, NH. It was last years snow fall. Fresh
snow with a blue sky and plenty of shadows.

We were with friends over the weekend so I only painted
a little bit. We had a great time and it felt like a mini vacation.
Today is Martin Luther King Day and I feel I owe much to
the past. If the price had not been paid I would not be painting
for a living nor could I be married to Linda and have a daughter.
My own mother clearly remembers the days when she had to
sit on the back of the bus and gave birth to me in a "blacks only"
hospital. My parents made it clear I had to be at my very best.
I have visited where Dr. King was born and where he died.
I feel truly privileged.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Finished! I started at 8am and just finished. I did not
work on a blog today, just my boat. If you go back
two days you can see how this painting started with
a sketch (the sketch is for sale) then the drawing and
the beginning washes yesterday. It has changed
dramatically from yesterday with the addition of many
layers of color. I have created depth and mood by laying
fog in the background. Study it and you should feel the
damp air. Click over it to make it larger. Notice the second
boat in the mist, the birds, and the rope tying the large boat.
This painting will be framed and priced next week. This is
not to be sold on ebay. It will go on my show stand. You
may view it again on my website under Originals. I am
happy to answer any questions about the process or purchase!

A few facts... If you are new to my blog I wanted to point out that
you can catch up on old posts by scrolling down until you see
Blog Archive on the right. Click on a month and you can view old
paintings and my musings. Also under the painting it says
"Click here for purchase information" Go ahead and click! It takes
you to Ebay and you can see the current bids. There is no obligation
to look. Signing up to bid is easy and if you win you have the option
to pay on line, send a check or call me with a charge card. What a
perfect way to build an Andy Smith Collection!! If you need help,
call or email me.

I have nothing exciting to tell you about today. I painted. That's it.
It was pretty quiet here. We are going away for the weekend with
another couple to visit friends who are now living in Frederick, MD.
Good company and good food. No painting! Have a great weekend
and I'll be back with a new blog on Monday.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fruit on table

4" x 6" original watercolor

Today I returned to what I love; a still life
with heavy emphasis on light and composition.
It is in the style I am most known for.

I was trying to work on my blog and my boat. So it is now
after 10pm and I just finished the blog. It was a busy day.
I started the morning with an interview from our local Sunday
News. It will be printed the end of February and I will share it
with you when its published. I was able to continue working on the
boat through the interview. Then we did some grocery shopping
and banking for my Mom, and from 3-5 we volunteered at the
food bank. So I needed a little more time tonight to get the blog
finished. As for the boat, you should be able to see progress.
Compare it to yesterdays blog.
I worked on the piers and put in the water. You can also see the
second boat in the back. It is no where near finished. I plan to
work on it most of tomorrow.
I am often asked how long it takes
to paint a large painting. There is no real answer to this. I simply
work on it until I know it is finished.
My guess for the boat is that I need all day tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Boat Sketch

6" x 4" original graphite and watercolor

I changed things for today. I wanted to use my day to
work on a large painting. Usually my blog pieces take
4-7 hours and I needed to use my day differently.
Normally when I start a large painting I do a detailed
pencil sketch in my sketch book. This is just for me.
I work out the composition, practice the drawing and
play with watercolor washes. A wash is a thin coating
of paint. Just enough to get some color.
I decided to save myself some time by doing my sketch
as my blog painting. It is on the same good paper I always
use. Click over the painting and it should get larger. You
will be able to distinctly see the pencil lines.
I am offering this sketch at a starting bid of $30.

Below is the 19"x 13" painting I started. It will be 24"x18"
when framed. Notice my paper is taped to a hard surface
so I can move it around and paint on it. Because I did a
the above sketch, I had a map in my mind of how I wanted
it to look. After taping down my paper I draw my composition.
A plan for where the paint will go.

Now I am ready to paint. I started with the background.
There is a treeline which gives depth to the painting.
There are some rocks on the shoreline. I usually start in
the back and paint forward. My technique is to paint in
a series of washes, drying in between. So the piers and
the boat have the under painting or first sets of wash.
I worked on the sketch, the drawing and first set of
washes since 9am this morning. I stopped for meals and
to get my blog on and am going back to the painting. I
plan to paint till about 11pm tonight. I will show you more
tomorrow. Back to work.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bed #4

6" x 4" original watercolor

I felt compelled to paint an interior today.
There is a softness to this bedroom. It should
be obvious that its from a historical site. No one
lives like this anymore. Although its plain it
looks well kept. The bed is neatly made. I enjoy
painting the folds in the covers. My trademark
light is shining on the floor.

Tuesday is my teaching day and with two classes it keeps
me busy. I enjoy sharing my gifts with students, I actually
love teaching. I get a thrill in watching them improve.
I hope they are equally happy with the artistic camaraderie
and what they accomplish.
It is my mother-in-laws birthday today. Linda made a
birthday meal and a chocolate cake. I know she reads the
blog so I'll say a huge Happy Birthday. Linda is working
with our web guy to redesign my website. I thought it was
fine but evidently it needs refreshed. So she needs new photos
of me and wanted them right this minute, of course. I changed
my clothes, although I thought I looked ok. Then she looked
at me closely and thought I needed a shave. We're talking a
quick photo shoot. I thought the 5:00 shadow was thought of as
sexy right now. Mac Dreamy gets away with it! So as I am
walking off to shave I hear this...never mind you need a haircut too.
So the photo shoot is on hold! We did take time out from working
to practice our Rumba steps for a half hour. It is a nice way to
reconnect. I get to hold her hand, listen to music and she has
to follow my lead! Well, we're working on the follow part.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Evening #7

6" x 4" original watercolor

I am off Washington for a while, I needed a change.
I went with a night time piece. Light glowing from
the buildings. A gradually darkening sky. The
telephone wires creates the perspective. Just
a pleasant little piece.

I had a good weekend. I did not take the whole time off, I
roughed out the large gate painting I plan to start.
I need to
squeeze that in between the blog. So I did work a little. I
got out for a bike ride which felt great. Also went to the movies
and dinner with friends. We saw Atonement, a rather heavy
but good movie. We have Netflix so at home we watched Premonition
which took a little while to get into it but I liked it, and
which I also liked.

Today I painted and had someone stop in to watch. Linda was at
her desk all day trying to do her end of year stuff. Tonight we had
a Ballroom dance lesson at the Rec Center. Loved it. We took
lessons several years ago and had to stop due to family obligations so
it was nice to start again. We need some practice!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Washington, DC #10

4" x 6" original watercolor

I had to paint this. Mostly because I embarrassed
both Linda and Abbey by taking photos inside this
very classy cafe. It is "Café du Parc" in The Willard
InterContinental Washington. A French bistro where
I sprang for coffee and pastries for my girls. It was
all I could afford here! Its 9am and our french waiter
was in a suit, the place was so upscale! So I painted
this just to be contrary and to please myself...
and maybe one other client out there!!

I am still painting the Washington pieces. I thought I
was getting tired of them and was thinking about some
interiors but I still have such good subjects so I may
just continue. We ran errands today, its Friday so that
means groceries for my mom, also the bank and the Library.
I found this CD at the Library that I played all afternoon while
finishing my painting. My Jelly Lord - Standard Time Vol 6
Wynton Marsalis. Nothing like cranking up some old roots
style jazz/blues, a little loud, while painting a french cafe...
I was totally inspired. I plan to ride bike with the bike club
in the morning and then go with friends to see the movie
Atonement. It seems like we are going out a lot lately but
once the shows start we are not able to spend time with friends.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Washington, DC #9

5" x 5" original watercolor

This is a view out of a 5th floor window
in downtown Washington. You are looking down,
almost an aerial view. But at the same time
there is distance, the street leads out. I was able
to experiment with an impressionistic style. A
nice change from my usual tight work. All the
white in this painting is paper. I painted the positive
space around the negative space for those that
understand painting!

No fooling round today, I had to have my painting finished by
4PM because we are out tonight. I gave a talk to the Lititz
Lioness Club tonight. Early in my career I decided that I
would put myself out there. Its not easy for most artists but I do
speaking engagements, talk and demonstrate in schools, career
days, and retirements homes. Mostly I do this for free, tonight
included a free meal! I share my art and myself and attempt to be
a good African American male role model to anyone that is looking.
You never know where such things lead. The kids are my future
collectors, the ladies from the Lioness will help spread my good
name and the retirement homes remind me life is short. So
a few hours out of my day is well served.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Washington, DC #8

4" x 6" original watercolor

You are either going to be totally intrigued by
this painting or it will be to busy for you. I was
intrigued and wanted to see if I could pull it off.
There was a large tree behind me with bright sun
casting these deep dark shadows. I painted the whole
painting with all the detail and then went back over
it placing the shadows. Notice the shadows in the
transom. This is from Georgetown.

My classes started today. The morning class is easy to teach
and I was able to start my blog painting as a demonstration
piece. Tonight's class is totally different. I had 8 students all
working on different levels on different paintings. They kept
me jumping but it is so much fun. It is inspiring to be around
other artists, even beginners. We had great conversation.
I wanted to start my large painting but there was just no time.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Washington, DC #7

4" x 6" original watercolor

I get a little kick out of painting scenes that could
be from anywhere. It is from Georgetown so it
fits under my Washington series. This is another
study in perspective. You need to really look at it.
There is an iron gate in the foreground. Mentally walk
through it, and you step up to the door of house
number 1219. In DC it appears to be warm enough to
still have geraniums outside. You already know
from my previous DC blogs that I had a nice sunny day
to give me good shadows. I am using this as a study
piece for a larger painting, which I will show you the
steps as I work on it.

We had a busy but good weekend. Abbey made it home on
Friday night which made Linda happy. They were chatting at
the table and at midnight I went to bed, it was 2am when Linda
climbed in. Saturday morning my girls went to see PS I Love You
and both came home with red eyes from crying, best I can tell, they
liked the movie but cried through the whole thing. Glad I opted to let
them go together! We then ran Abbey over to Ben's house for the
rest of her weekend. In the evening, we went to visit with old faithful
clients, they are not old, they have just been clients for years.
We had a nice evening. Sunday, Jason was back by 10am. Linda
got him packed while we went for a bike ride to burn off some of
his energy. We took him back to school and then met friends at
the movies. Saw "The Debaters". I highly recommend this movie.
It's a must see. The weekend went by fast and its Monday already
and back to the paints.
My watercolor classes start tomorrow.
Evening class is full but there is still a little room in the morning.
Just show up at 9:30am if your interested! One of my favorite students
husband is in the hospital and my thoughts and prayers go out to them.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Washington, DC #6

6" x 4" original watercolor

This may not seem like it belongs in my
Washington series however it does. As
we were walking past the gorgeous homes in
Georgetown this is a window that I found.
When you study it, there is the outside view.
A window with part of the shutter and good
shadows. Then there is also the inside still life.
A stuffed bear with a left over holiday ribbon
and the hint of a houseplant.

I bought a few new brushes today and used them for
today's painting. I knew my old reliable ones had worn
points but was surprised at how the new ones preformed.
I get my little thrills where I can! I am not an artist that
needs expensive brushes, in fact my students often have
better brushes than I do. I am also not very careful with
them, often leaving them set in water, so great brushes
are not meant for me. I am particular about my paper tho.
I spent the morning repairing a neighbor kids bike; he is a
college student and wanted to take it back with him so I
needed to get it done. It was after two by the time I started
painting and I just finished. Abbey is on her way home to
spend time with Ben's family for a belated holiday gathering.
She is spending the night here so you can guess where Linda
can be found...yes, the kitchen! She is whipping up a Moravian
sugar cake as I write. Already made the requested chex mix,

using a special worcestershire sauce that does not have anchovies.
Personally I never knew they were in there but my kid is a
strict vegetarian. Learn something new everyday, go ahead,
check your bottle! There is also a homemade tomato soup.
Now I am not complaining...but Abbey should come home a
little more often!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Washington, DC #5

This was a study in white against white and in
perspective. Starting with the white fence in the
foreground, I want you to be looking over the
fence. Peeking into someones yard... pretty much
what I did! This is another view of Georgetown
but it could be from any town.

I am tired today. I had to force myself to paint. It took
forever to get this painting finished. I liked my subject
choice its just that I am dragging. I even took a break to
do three hours of volunteer work. But I need to get outside
and get some exercise. But its cold outside and I don't handle
cold well, it was to cold to go out on my bike. I hear the
weekend is to be nice. My fingers are crossed! Not much
else happening here. I think I am heading to the sofa and

watch a little TV.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Washington, DC #4

4" x 6" original watercolor

This is a view of Georgetown in December.
It is in keeping with my cityscape study series.
Good perspective, it should give you the
impression of walking down the street on
a crisp sunny day.

I am truly getting a kick out of this series of
paintings. My usual style is to paint obscure small
windows of life. But right now I am concentrating
on a larger scale. A larger scene. But if you know
my work you can still see me in this. Parts of several
buildings, with an impression of much more going on.
I hope "me" is still coming through.

I want to get back to my explanation of show applications.
It is part of my educational series I started on 12/31.
So, we have an application in hand, Linda decides to go to the
show, but its not that simple. The show now needs to decide
if they want me. You would think they would be thrilled to
have me! But that's not always the case, and Linda takes a
rejection harder than I do. She gets a teeny bit insulted, kind of
fun to witness...from a distance! The app needs filled out.
Many ask for a list of past shows, any awards. They
want an artist statement, 3-6 slides of your current work and
one of your booth. SASE to return your slides. And of course
they want money. They require 2 checks. First a jury fee,
most shows now charge $15-$45 to cover the cost of looking
at my slides and deciding if I am worthy of their show.
This is nonrefundable and a good way for shows to earn lots
of revenue. Do a little math, $40 times 1000 hungry artist applying...
The second check covers the booth fee. This is usually for a
10'x10' space. There is also the decision of taking one or two
spaces. It is nice to spread out but I must cover the costs and
the cost ranges from $60 to $1500 depending on the caliber of the
show. This buys you nothing but a tiny plot of land, and the land
may be hilly or behind a huge tree! Anyway, all of these items are
stuffed in an envelope that now costs me $1.20 to mail compared to
69cents last year. Now I wait, and wait, until the judges meet and
view hundreds of slides. Meanwhile I need the money to cover
all the outstanding fees on the gamble I am accepted and the booth
fee is cashed. Linda is filling out apps now for shows through to
Sometimes you double book a weekend gambling which
show accepts you. Education to be continued...
Meanwhile, enjoy my cityscape's!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Washington, DC #3

6" x 4" original watercolor

It was an overcast day when I was walking the
downtown Washington streets. The tip of the
Monument is in the background, I am not sure
which building this is since we were just strolling
the streets. But what makes it a true city-scape
is the top of the bus in the foreground. The point
of my blog painting is to be able to experiment
with subjects that I know I would probably not
paint in a major size. But I get the thrill from testing
in a small format.

This is first blog painting in my second year
of blogging. In the first few months of last year, I was absorbed

in the fears of not being able to keep up with the pressures of
painting a blog daily. Now it is just second nature, I fit it in around
my other painting and my family life. I changed the early format of
writing a Friday update to a daily journal style which I like. I am always
open to your suggestions, my goal is to give you an insight into my day,
to educate you on the way I paint, materials, and what it takes to keep
going. The bonus I have received from this blog experiment is the
boost to my skill level. I thought I was at the top of my personal game.
I did not think I could get better, but I was surprised. I sometimes feel
like the paint just flows while I just hold the brush. Another bonus is
sale of the blog paintings. My goal is to try to cut back one of the shows
I attend a month. To have the blog sales increase to cover what I would
earn at a show. So I want to take the time to say THANK YOU to
everyone who has supported this effort through encouraging words and

The holiday season is hectic for us. Other than the obvious holiday,
Christmas day is Linda's and my anniversary. Linda never likes to do
things in a conventional way. We were married at home, in our
apartment living room with a record playing (yes, I said a record!)
by a pastor who is a family friend, surrounded with family and a
few friends. We celebrated 29 years! Then the next day,
the 26th, is Abbeys birthday. Oh...I know what your thinking...but
she was born 5 years later! Abbey turned 24 this year. Next comes
New Years Eve which we spent with friends we've know forever and
had a very nice evening. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
And then today is the really big birthday. For the math
challenged, I turned 55 today. I spent the day eating this special carrot
cake that Linda made me, I painted most of the day and I got in a bike
ride. A good day.