Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Plein Air Painter of Pensacola in the CBS News on Pensacola Beach

Well, I guess I now have my two minutes of fame. While painting on Pensacola Beach, Saturday 5 June, a CBS Affiliate interview me regarding my painting my views regarding the oil spill. It turns out that Charlie Crist and Jimmy Buffet agree with my point of view.

We in Pensacola have overcome!

Search: Pensacola
Select video "Oil covered Birds Wash Up On Pensacola Beach"

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Winter and Sping in Pensacola 2010

Spring has come to East Hill
The day was filled bright colors of spring. The fragrance of Wisteria was in the air. This cottage in East Hill is adjacent the 17th Ave, Graffiti bridge. Working on a 16 x 20 canvas, in acrylics, I started this work around 12 noon and finished about 6 pm. People driving up from 17th Ave Graffiti Bridge were pulling over the side of the road and watching me paint. I had two young families stop and let their children out to watch the show. Lots of questions; which I was happy to answer. They always ask how much I charge to for my painting. When I tell them, I do not sell my work, (at least right now), they are confused, and wonder why do it in the first place. I try to explain that I find joy in the process. To observe the landscape, the colors, smells and details of this time and space, is a wonderful experience. I am always lifted up when I get in the “zone” where my work is at the place where the last stroke is finally made. This is a wonder place which the creative process gives freely.

A Sunday Morning Cold Front Breaking on Gulf
Normally Sunday is a very busy day for me. I teach an Adult Bible Study, (please see my other blog at and then attend a morning Worship service. When we are back at home, I take a nap in the afternoon. Finally we attend our Evening Service. Being Pentecostal is a wonderful life and we are so happy attending the First Pentecostal Church of Pensacola, you can see our church web site at

So, when I tell you that this painting was painted on a stormy Sunday morning, those who know me could wonder if I was skipping church. But I was not. On March 21, we had a Special Service that started at 2pm. Since the morning was free, I packed my paints (acrylics again) and out to Pensacola Beach. That morning there was a storm front that was moving west to east. Observing the beach, I put down a foundation of a dark blue color of sea and sky. I knew at any moment the clouds would break open, and they did! On the far horizon, the storm was pouring out in the gulf. But in the west, the bright light blue sky broke out for and wonderful display of light and dark. It seems like only the sea gulls and I, saw the mighty works of God that morning, as I attended the church service in the sky.

17th Ave Bridge in Spring

During the winter, I was under the weather both in environment and body. It was very cold, overcast and stormy in Pensacola. During the Christmas Holidays, I was fighting the flu. However I was not been neglecting my painting.

While sick at home, I found the web site of a British artist, Jon Hall at this site address: His work so impressed me that, that I bought a bunch of acrylics and large canvases (20x16) and studied his method of Plein Air Painting. Watching his web video, his style is large, free and open. He even has visitors who come by to look at his work to join in and add their touch to his work.

During the Holidays, I went out and painted three times, but due to the size of the canvas, I never really finished the picture. Also I went out doors too early, so I got sick again.

Then came the spring! I was able to finish my painting of the 17th Ave Graffiti Bridge. This is a famous landmark in Pensacola is where Graffiti is welcomed. For years kids have spray painted their names, lovers and political statements on a low train bridge in East Hill. What I saw as was a landscape with a distant horizon of Gulf Breeze, the middle ground of the Welcome Center, and the foreground with the Graffiti Bridge and a live oak tree reaching over the whole view.

I really enjoyed working in acrylics. The good and bad thing about working in acrylics is that they dry so fast outdoors. The good thing is that I can put down a color, and then place a new color on top of it. The bad thing is the paint dries so fast on my palatte that I have to re-mix my colors. But, this is a good thing, because it forces me not to over mix my paints. Thanks Jon for the new outlook in Plein Air Painting.

Storm Warnings on Pensacola Beach

Here are two oils (8x10) painted on a stormy day. I always like a beach with the wind and the waves as my subject. Notice the Red, no swimming flag off the fishing pier. I paint in the lee of the Hot Dog Shop. This building is another Pensacola landmark. This is the only standing building after hurricane Ivan. One day I’ll paint a picture of the Hot Dog Shop, maybe from the pier.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Sky and the Sea

I have been under a lot of pressure at work the last few months. The result of this negative energy is a reaction of positive energy in my art work. Painting has given me an outlet for emotions that I have never felt before. Plein Air is a style of painting where all the work is done outdoors, and not touched in the studio. Working in this method creates a snapshot of one’s emotional and mental well being on canvas. Each picture is a onetime record of what I see and feel. So where is my head at? Well, according to my work, it has been in the clouds. This following picture was painted in September notice the cloud study.

The picture is called: Morning on the Bayou

The next picture was painted the Friday morning, after all the pressure at work was done. I had an explosion of paint on the picture. It looks like it all ended up in the sky. The original is big canvas 16” x 20” (from a Plein Air point of view). The colors and paint movement just flowed out of me. Whatever the zone is, I was in it, that morning.

The picture is called: The Gatherings of the Storm  

Living on the Gulf Coast of Florida, I like spending time on the beach after the summer is over and it cools off. During the last week of October, Liza and I were able to rent a Condo in Gulf Shores Alabama. We had a wonderful time of just relaxing and enjoying the beach. Of course I brought my paints. The following set of pictures was painted on location.

Gulf Shores Sunset 1:

Gulf Shores Sunset 2:

Gulf Shores Sunset 3:

This last painting was a featured on PLEIN AIR ARTISTS with nice comments from fellow painters. :)

Finally here is a photo of the Old Man by the Sea:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Impressionist or a Tonalist ?

I have been actively painting Plein Air since 2008. Being outdoors is natural for me. I have always enjoyed a beautiful sunset or watching storm clouds forming. The challenge of landscape work is that there is so much to paint, at so many levels.

I love the work of the French Impressionists. I have studied their paintings and methods. Back in 1989, I made a number of studies of Monet's work. Here is a study of a Monet’s “Le Bassin d’Argenteail” , that I copied back in 1989. There is a great benefit in copying the masters, but you are only working from the finished work. The process that Monet went through to create this work, took years of trial and error to develop his talents to a masterpiece level. I must go through the same process of learning by just doing.

Back in 1990 I stopped painting due to family commitments and other priorities. But now I am back working in landscapes. In the Plien Air method of painting, I enjoy the freedom of the moment, but I feel like the "draftsman in me", is overtaking the "impressionist". Normally I work from background to foreground. Here is a current painting where I painted in this style.

In my studies, I understand the concept of about tonal development and to focus on darks to lights. Recently, I tried to break away from background to foreground method of painting, and I focused on a tonal approach. By the time I was finished, I was painting my lights in mud.

When I get to a place where I have too much paint built up, I have to stop, and plan to work another day. Sometimes I will start a work on Friday morning and finish it on Saturday, but always outdoors.
I have found that I can complete a 10” x 8” paint board in a 2-3 hour session, where as working on a 10”x 14” canvas takes two sessions. Time flies when I am painting.

I think I am going to keep working in a impressionist style. I am painting tomorrow and I will see how it all works out.

Monday, July 27, 2009

To Condo or not to Condo ?

I really enjoy the beauty of Perdido Key. Back in 1500's the Spanish Explorers call it the Lost Key. The reason why it was lost, was because of the shifting sands made it hard for Spanish sailors to explore. I wish Perdido Key would remain “lost”, but like everything along the Florida coastline, developers have built Condominiums on it. It seems like Perdido would fall into the same building frenzy like other Florida Beaches except for one small native called the Perdido Key Beach Mouse.

The Perdido Key Beach Mouse was listed as an endangered species in 1985. Loss of habitat due to development is considered to be the main factor which led to the decline of the species. Since the mouse was listed, it’s number has been growing back, but it will probably never make it off the endangered species list because of continual habitat loss. So Perdido Key has been saved from over development by this small but mighty mouse.

What we have now in Perdido Key is mixture of natural beach parks, such as Johnson’s Beach, and a selected group of Condos along the beach highway. But unlike South Florida, our builders have gotten the message and have found a way to build structures that can help save the beach as well as to allow us to enjoy its beauty.

When I first started painting Plein Air, I was impressed on the pastel colors of the Perdido Condos along the Intercostal Waterway. Here is a picture that I painted in 2008, looking South, towards the beach. Notice the Condos in the distant left.

A year later, in July 2009, was back again, looking at the wonderful seascape of our Lost Key. This time I was looking South West, watching the Intercostal Waterway work its way back into Orange Beach, which is in Alabama. Now the question?, do I paint what I see, or paint what I would like to see. I guess they call this “Artistic Freedom”. At a sub-conscience level, I really want Perdido Key to be the way it was back, a few decades ago. So, out with the condos and in with the Pine Trees and Scrub Oaks. Here is my impression of my beloved Perdido Key:

I have much more pictures to paint at Perdido. Pensacola is such a beautful place to live!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Painting in the Mornings

I have been able to paint in mornings. Folks in our house like to sleep late on Saturday morning, but I like to get up early. I enjoy the peace and quiet of the day. This is a picture of a lake in North Pensacola, with water lilies and a wonderful reflection.

This picture was made in Destin, FL at a resort called “Watercolors” painted in a water-based oils...

Liza and I went on a cruise in July and I was able to paint while on the cruise. Since the ship will not let me bring on flammable liquids like paint thinner, I needed to find a water based solution. I have used watercolors and acrylics, but there is something special about working in oils. Windsor & Newton has a set of colors, which are made with linseed oil. It is like working in watercolors but the paint goes on the canvas as oil. It was so strange cleaning my pallet and brushes with water. Oil and water are not supposed to mix, so using water based oils sound like a oxymoron, but I was very pleased with the results.

While on the Freedom of the Seas, our first port was in Labadee, Haiti. This picture was painted in about 2 hours on an 8x10 board. The beach was called Sunset Beach.

For the trip, I fabricated my fold-up easel, so that it could hold a small pallet. I also tried to reduce my painting supplies to just the things I needed. Here is a picture that Liza took of me working:

The next picture was in Cozumel Mexico. The beach was called Chankannab and was located in the Cozumel State Park. Everything was so beautiful. I had trouble getting the different shades of blue sea colors right. The sea was so turquoise blue, that I could not get my pallet to mix to the right shades of blue. I did not have Viridian Green in the set of colors, so I felt like my blue greens were not coming out like I wanted. Anyway, I was happy how the clouds came out in the horizon. Somehow I got some Alizarin Crimson in the right foreground. I think it catches the eye to follow the rock ledges, then out to the sea. I am always surprised on how a painting takes on its own nature. Sometime things work out when you least expected them.

Here is another picture of me working in paradise.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Going Back

Sometimes I find myself going back to the same site. Here is a picture of Seville Square, downtown Pensacola. This view is looking South West. This is one of my first set of Plein Air paintings in 2008.

The next Picture was made a year later, same place but looking North East along the Square.

One morning our group painted at a site in Gulf Breeze. This oil painting was made is Gulf Breeze off of the Three Mile Bridge.

I first worked in pastels, and painted this seascape. Same site different materials, different points of interest. I hope you enjoy both of them.

Friday, May 29, 2009

My Current 2009 work

Friends and Family... I post these paintings just to share with you what I have been doing with my free time. I generally have every other Friday off due to my work schedule where I work 9 hours each day for two weeks, then I can have one day off. It is a real blessing.

I have been working outdoors as my studio... here is an example of how I work.

This painting was done during the spring on the west side of Pensacola during the week when all the Azaleas and Wisteria came out.

Here is an interesting spot to make a painting. This is a historic Kiln, circa 1940, that was originally set up in Jay, Florida. Now it has been moved to the Gulf Coast Kiln Walk Society in Navarre, Florida. My Plein Air Painting group was invited to see the first firing of the kiln, in Navarre. This is a snapshot of the day when all the pottery came out.

Here is an example of my work back in 1989. I was painting quite often and my style was being formed by a fine artist, Jo Bailey. Back around 1990, day to day issues took a toll on me and I stopped painting due to other very important things going on in my life.

Here is a picture I made of a photo from Monet's garden in Giverny. I love the French Impressionists. Their style is expressive, clean and open.

Here is what I am now doing with Plein Air - which means "open air" . I really got out in the "air" the day after hurricane IKE, stormed by Pensacola. Working outdoors can be a challange just trying to keep everything from blowing way... Here are two works that I made that day. I hope you can see the difference in my style now.

I have been trying to make more postings of 2009 work, but whenever I do, I find myself all caught up with the narrative, I become unhappy with my comments and I never get my pictures out. So.... I will just keep on showing you my current work, and let the pictures speak for themselves. I have more work that I have done this season, I hope to get them posted soon.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I have been working in Pastels over the last two years. I have worked in both Oil and Soft Pastels. Here are a few pictures.

These pictures are off of Gulf Breeze.

These are some of my first Plein Air works.

Liza and I went on two cruises this year. I wanted to paint, but I did not want to carry all my oils, so I brought my oil and soft pastels. To me the process is more important than the product. I enjoy the journey more than just getting to the destination. I am glad that I took the time to paint. Now I have these pictures to remind me of the wonderful time we had.

Our first cruise was with Royal Caribbean. This is Pool Area of the Mariner of the Seas.

Here is a view off of Megan's Bay in St. Thomas. The blue in the water is really that blue!

I enjoyed to seating on the deck and just painting the clouds.

Our next cruise was a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas.
This the lighthouse in Nassau Harbor.

Here is another view from the deck, looking out to sea from Nassau.

Disney has their own Island, Castaway Cay. This is a view looking out to the end of the island.

Here is a view from the Adult only Beach. I never finished this,
I think I got hungry and got up. It was a beautiful day...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Work during the 2008 season

A Pond in Seminole, AL

A Pond off of Eight and a Half Road

Fred working at Big Lagoon

Looking out on Perdido Bay

Sailboats in the Morning Mist

A Pond off Navy Point

Looking Down Sidewalk at Seville Square

The South Side of the Island with No Name

The West Side of the Island with No Name

The day After Ike on Pensacola Beach