If people could see properly, and see whole, they would all be painters. — Pierre Bonnard Since childhood, I have longed to see the way the Tonalists saw; the way the Impressionists saw; the way the Ashcan and London and Pop painters saw. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I...

Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. — Franklin D. Roosevelt On Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of painting en plein air outside the studio of N.C. Wyeth in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, under the guidance of my realism teacher, Randall Graham. The afternoon was warm,...

  The soul grows by subtraction, not addition. — Thoreau The rare exception, I painted Beer Bottle alla prima from a photo yesterday. (I usually paint from observation.) I'm away from my studio, staying, Thoreau-like, in a cabin in Maine, and can't set up my subject easily. While still wet,...

The question is not what you look at, but what you see. — Henry David Thoreau This week I had to print my Artist Statement for an exhibition and wondered whether it was up to date. I'd put a lot of work into it last year (as did...

With the aid of my trusty spatula, I am attempting to paint only in planes. I'm taking my lead from Cape Cod School founder Charles Hawthorne, whose wisdom is captured in Dover's diminutive Hawthorne on Painting. Hawthorne asked painters to "forget drawing" and "see color planes." By encouraging painters...

Attention is the beginning of devotion. — Mary Oliver Oil paint was made for depicting flesh. — Willem DeKooning Compared to, say, watching a fireworks display, painting is a decidedly jumbled way of perceiving. Watching fireworks is just that—watching. Eyeballing a show, a spectacle, a rebus (from the Latin non...

It is better to be fervent in spirit, even if one accordingly makes more mistakes, than narrow-minded and overly cautious. — Vincent Van Gogh It's juvenile to think so, but a fortune cookie has provided my new mantra. I paint for the most part alla prima in oil,...

A painter should not paint what he sees, but what will be seen. — Paul Valéry Every painter—even realists—spends years training to "abstract" scenes; to cease to see only objects and begin to see only lines, shapes, contours, and shadows. Ceasing to see only objects is not an...

Do not just pick up the brushes you used yesterday because they are there. Put those back and then choose your weapon, like a certain type of gun or sword. You are going into battle and you want the best weapon for the job. — Richard...

  We all lean toward prolixity. — Samuel Butler I'm putting into conscious practice Harold Speed's advice to "leave out the details" and go for a "large and simple statement." (Speed's is identical to John Singer Sargent's advice to "omit all but the most essential elements.") And so serendipity...