In the Studio

The Commission Process - "Cranwell Winter"

I was recently asked to complete a painting of a resort in western MA, and thought it may be helpful to share my process of working on a commission. The painting, which I titled "Cranwell Winter," was completed for a client to give as a wedding gift.  She wanted a painting of the location of the wedding ceremony- the Cranwell Spa & Golf Resort in Lenox, MA.  She had taken photos of the structure and sent them to me.  I used them as well as my own google searches as reference material for the painting.  Along with sending me some images for the subject matter of the painting, we also discussed budget, schedule, size and materials for the commission.  Once we were able to finalize those details, I made some compositional sketches. Below are the client's images and my google research of Cranwell.

After researching and gathering reference I started with some thumb nail sketches 1.75"x 2.25" in size to work out the composition for the painting. I did nine different layouts.  When they were finished I emailed the client and asked her to pick three designs she liked and I developed those further. The client picked sketches number 3, 4, and 8.


I took the three sketches she picked and did variations on the layouts.  I did them a bit larger than the thumb nails, 3.5"x 4.5", to allow for more detail.  When these were finished I sent them again to the client to choose what the final painting will potentially look like.  They chose number 4.

In between working on the sketches I began priming and toning the canvas. Once the design was decided on I drafted a  template of sketch number 4 at the same size as the canvas (14"x 18") to help speed up the drawing process on the canvas.

CranwellWinter_30 CranwellWinter_31

The  images below show the blocking in and development of the painting to it's final finish.

This is the finished painting. The entire process, start to finish, took approximately 3 months. The client and the gift recipient were very happy with the final painting. To learn more about commissioning a project please follow this link: Order Commission


"Cranwell Winter", oil on canvas, 14"x 18", Jan 2016


Pieces of Eight - From Start to Finish

Here is a slide show of the making of  the 8"x 8" oil painting created for the Marblehead Arts Association exhibit, "Hooper's Treasures Pieces of Eight - Fundraiser Exhibit." The Opening Reception is on Sunday, November 22, 2 - 4pm and the show will be up until January 3, 2016. If you'd like to come, the Marblehead Arts Association is located at:

8 Hooper Street Marblehead, MA 01945

This slide show demonstrates the progress of the painting. I have outlined the steps I took below:

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Slide 1: The new canvas still wrapped

Slides 2-4: I began by adding a layer of acrylic gesso. After it dried I sanded off the tooth (the rough surface)

Slide 5: I based the painting on a crayon study I had previously done (seen at left). I used this as a reference as I began drawing my plan on the canvas (seen at right).

Slide 6: I added a layer of yellow ochre paint to tone the canvas.

Slides 7-17: This shows the progression of the painting over the course of 4 days using paint, brushes, palette knife and rags to get a textured effect.

Slide 19: The finished painting. It is for sale for $150.

To learn more about the Marblehead Arts Association and this upcoming show please click the link.

"In the Ever After", Completed

This week I was able to complete and install the painting. Here are some images of the finished piece hanging in it's final location at the client's residence. painting_images_015 painting_images_016 painting_images_017 painting_images_018

It was gratifying to see the finished product after the months of work I had put into it. I am pleased with how it came out, and am happy that the clients gave me the opportunity to envision and create a unique work for their space.

To learn more about the process of creating this work, please see the previous blog entries on this topic.  They are located under Categories as In the Ever After.


In the Studio - "In the Ever After"

The painting is due at the end of this month. I have been working on bringing more life to the painting, and I continue to build layers of paint and refine the details. The process of working on this painting in a small space has proved challenging, though it has been fun to problem solve and make it work. Here are some shots of me clarifying and refining the compostition over the past weeks.



This painting is entitled "In the Ever After." Please see the previous blog entries for this project to learn more about it's progression:

In the Studio: New Project In the Studio: New Project Update

New Project Install Test

Paintings in Progress

Here's a quick snap shot of four oil paintings I am currently working on in my studio. They are oil on canvas board and are 9"x 12". They're all in different areas of completion, and I like the way they're coming along, take a look: 4paintprogress

I hope to have all four completed within the month, and I'll keep you all updated on any plans to show them.

In the Studio: New Project Update

Welcome to the second installment of "In the Studio," my blog posts that provide a glimpse into my painting process and work at my home studio. I have been busy working on the large, commissioned triptych painting that I introduced earlier in my blog. For those of you who are new to the blog, or would like a quick reminder of this project, please check out my previous entry about the painting - In the Studio: New Project. Most of my work on the painting up to this point has involved planning and preparing what will be on the canvases, including drafting sketches of possible compositions and color-schemes. This prep work has helped make the actual painting process more efficient now that I have begun applying paint.

Currently all three canvases are covered with paint and include the bigger elements of the composition. My next step is fine tuning - intensifying the color, building textures and variations in brushwork and getting it to breathe and glow from within.

Here are a few action shots of me painting in the studio: instudio3WEB




As you can see, it is difficult to fit the canvases in the small space, but I have worked out a system. Stay tuned for more updates on this project, which is set to be installed on August 10th.

In the Studio: New Project

Studio "In the Studio" will be a continuing segment over the course of this blog about work and projects that are being done in this space.  With these segments, I hope to share with the reader what I am working on and possibly even how this small space changes and adapts to each project, in order to give insight into my work process. As you can see in the photo, it is a small space where big things happen.

I am currently beginning a new commissioned project that I am very excited about. The project is for a site specific location in a private residence, and poses many interesting challenges. Specifically, the space in which the finished work will hang is large and will be viewed from many angles. Therefore, the orientation of the work must fit the space and be appealing from all viewpoints. Also, fitting the large canvases in my studio in order to view them as I work has proved difficult. However, along with these challenges, I have had much freedom and involvement in the decision making process, and am confident that the piece will be enjoyed by the patrons and compliment the house that it will be placed in.

The location where the painting will be hung is at the top of a large, open staircase by the entryway of the house. Images of this can be seen below.

Site Specific

Site Specific

Site Specific

The patrons and I discussed how to best orient a large painting to fit the area, and decided upon a triptych (three canvases to create one piece of work) set-up to avoid obstruction from the hand rails. The center canvas will replace the mirror seen in the images above, and the two smaller canvases will be placed on each side, above the sight lines of the hand rails.

I have purchased supplies as well as the canvases for the project and have re-primed them in order to make a more substantial surface to paint on. The dimensions of each canvas are 24"x 36", 72"x 48", and 24"x 36". Below are images of the canvas layout as well as the process of priming.

Three Canvas

3 Canvas

Now that the canvases are ready, I am in the process of making composition studies for the final painting. With the help of the patrons, I have decided on specific colors and themes, and now hope to finalize the composition and begin painting. Check back for updates on this project as I continue working.