Category Archives: Uncategorized

Camera Obscura PageTo Be Updated Soon

Camera Obscura Page

There has been a glitch with the Camera Obscura page. The link to several photos will  be re-established soon. Thank you to those who made me aware of this problem.

c107 Top cover and glass plate in place

Senior Class Completes Two New Paintings

Eileen 4Eileen K. C. did an excellent job on this painting. 16 X  20 (untitled)  2013.

Joanne Step iJoanne K. completed another fine painting this week, 16 X 20, 2013, (untitled).

Thirty Seven Ears Painting Lesson 1 of 3

Paint Process: Thirty Seven Ears                     Ground: Masonite panel               

Lesson 1 of three

I enjoy painting multi-colored ears of Indian corn. The variety of colors they come in is amazing. I thought for some time how I might use these in a large format painting.  I had a photo of white washed beams in an old barn at a local winery, and had worked out a way to incorporate these and the corn into a painting. The 6 X 8 inch pencil and water color sketch below was used as a starting point.

37 Ears 1 sketch

I followed this up with a full-size drawing laying out four groups of corn and husks tied to the post. I had an 18 X 32 inch gold frame on hand.  I cut a sheet of 1/8th inch Masonite to an 18 X 32 inch panel. Using a three inch short-nap roller, I applied three coats of gesso to the face of the panel, letting each coat dry overnight. I sandpapered each coat lightly before applying the next coat. This produced a texture with thousands of tiny peaks and depressions that I prefer to paint on. I applied two coats of gesso to the back of the panel to reduce warping.

37 Ears 2 full size drawing

I placed tracing paper over the drawing and traced the major components. I make my own carbon paper by covering a small piece of tracing paper (about 6 X 8 inches) completely using a #2 pencil. Don’t use regular carbon paper. This will bleed through the acrylic washes of paint. Tape the tracing paper on the blank white panel. Slip the “carbon paper” under this. Draw the major components with a stylus such as a worn out ball point pen to transfer the sketch to the panel. Apply only enough pressure to transfer a light line to the panel.  Check your progress often.

Make a color map.

I like to keep a record of the colors I use during the development of a painting. As I apply each new color, I place a small daub of paint onto a piece of gessoed matt board. I then drag some of this wet paint out into a thin wash. This serves several purposes:

  • It is a reminder of how I developed the colors to get to the finish work.
  • I use it as a teaching aid in my art classes.
  • I occasionally post these painting processes on this web site for others to enjoy.
  • I use these for painting demonstrations and art shows.
  • I also provide the person purchasing my art all of the sketches, color maps and progress photographs when they pick up the finished painting.

37 Ears 555color record


  • Use a three-inch short-nap roller to apply three coats of gesso to the face of the Masonite panel and let each coat dry overnight.
  • Sandpapered each coat lightly before applying the next coat.
  • Applied two coats of gesso to the back of the panel to reduce warping.
  • Make your own carbon paper by covering a small piece of tracing paper (about 6 X 8 inches) completely using a #2 pencil.
  • Placed “carbon paper” under the tracing paper drawing.
  • Draw the major components with a stylus such as a worn out ball point pen, applying only enough pressure to transfer a light line to the panel.
  • Checked your progress often.
  • Kept a record of the colors you uses during the development of the painting. A small daub of paint pulled into a wash works well.
  • Note the name of each color.

In the second lesson, I’ll show how I start the under painting with a series of complementary colors and build up the painted surface and textures using several methods to apply the paint. Look for this the week of April 28th.

Coming Soon: Building a Camera Obscura

The Camera Obscura

The reconstruction of a seventh-century camera obscura that Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer (1632 – 1675) may have used for paintings produced from 1657 – 1675

Here is a teaser for the two camera obscura I built over the summer. This view is from a dark closet looking into my bedroom.  The placement of the chest on the left and chair on the right shows how the proper perspective can be achieved using a camera obscura. The image went through the lens, reflected on a 45 degree mirror, through a glass plate and onto tracing paper.

I like the soft focus projected onto the tracing paper. Brighter lighting or more transparent tracing paper would produce a sharper image. More photos and construction details will follow soon. Stay tuned!

C.O.1  projected on tracing paer

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 9,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Hello world!

Welcome to my new web site. I work in acrylic paint and enjoy painting a wide variety of subjects. I began painting in 1979, starting with private lessons with a local artist. I soon went off on my own and began developing and improving my art through trial and error. My early work in acrylic was primarily still life from objects at hand and from my imagination. I was one of the original members of the Greater Salem Artists Association and continue to enjoy membership with the group. I began entering local art shows in 1982 and did well in those shows. I took a five year break from painting from 1990 to 1995.

My recent works are from photographs of wildlife taken while kayaking, and I continue to enjoy still life work. Recently retired, I volunteered to conduct a painting class at Ingram Senior Center in Salem, New Hampshire every Tuesday morning. The class is limited to eight folks (now full) and is a mixture of new and experienced artists who want to learn how to work with this versatile medium.

Please return to this web site as I continue to improve and expand the gallery. Soon there will be a section which will show some of the processes and methods I use to prepare the canvas or masonite grounds for paint, lay out the subject, and develop the textures and effects shown in the gallery.

I am also a model shipwright and will expand the gallery of ship models shown here on this site. And, last but not least, there will be a gallery of Paper Mache’ sculptures I produced during the 1980s.

Enjoy the paintings, and tell a friend about the site.

Sincerely, Don