Monthly Archives: February 2016

Rest in peace

  Last month celebrated California plein air painter Ken Auster died of prostate cancer at age 66. That’s a great loss for students of California realism and plein air painting as a whole. Ken Auster, artist, was a creation of Ken Auster, mid-century California surfer dude. California’s surfing scene originated in Long Beach, California (although a breakwater […]


There have been times when the sting of having almost nothing tangible from my parents has hurt. Thousands of photos, my father’s desk, my great-grandmother’s rocker, my grandmother’s baptismal certificate—who knows on what breeze they’ve blown off and where they landed. They are decorations somewhere, divorced from their history. Nevertheless, some boxes with my name […]

Earth, Wind and Fire

The ancient concept of the four elements—earth, wind, water and fire—are, coincidentally, also the four elements of landscape painting. Fire appears in the form of the sun, earth and water show up pretty much as themselves, and  wind appears as the sky and its clouds. The only variation that is ever added is tangential: man […]

The one thing every painter should know

As I was potting around in my studio yesterday, I realized that I’d omitted an important post in my “how to” compilation on my website. Until recently, this was the most-read of all my posts. If I were asked to list the most important incidental skills for a plein air painter, they would include cleaning brushes, packing […]

As seen in…

One thing they never teach in art school is how to use social media to advertise your work. (Heck, when I was in art school, social media was limited to pen, paper and a stamp.) There are marketing classes and e-classes you can do online, but the ones I’ve taken dealt in generalities. When it […]

The Perils of Painting

Since it entered the public consciousness, Connecticut and the Hudson Valley have been Ground Zero for Lyme disease. Despite working in tick areas, I’ve been pretty negligent about insect control overall. My tests for it have always come up negative. Even though several of my painter friends have intractable forms of the disease, I coasted on my […]