Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Holidays

I wanted to say thanks to those of you that took the time to visit my blog in 2012.

I hope you all have a great holiday season.

Cheers, Neil

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Next Commission & A Big Sale

Big Ketchup No. 2   |   18 x 24   |   Oil on panel

It's been nearly a month since my last blog post, yikes. I've spent most of those days working on Big Ketchup No.2, my third commission to come from the Tree's Place show last July on Cape Cod. I have to admit I took a few days off in November to celebrate the holiday. My brother Doug came in from New York, and the we all had a really great time. 

Panchito   |   40 x 40  |   Oil on canvas

I also received some good news from Lauren Ellis at C. K. Contemporary Gallery in San Francisco. She wrote a couple of weeks ago to let me know that Panchito had sold to a collector in Switzerland. Whenever I sell an airplane, I feel it gives me permission to paint another. I plan on delving into the photos I took at the Reno Air Races in September. Can't hardly wait, but . . . I'll have to because Lauren also said that the owner of the gallery would like a commissioned piece for himself. So, now I've got four more commissions to do before I can raid the Reno archive. Not a bad problem to have. 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Commission No.2 - Black Grapes

Black Grapes Commission  |  16 x 20  |  oil on canvas

The second commission to come from the summer show at Tree's Place Gallery is Black Grapes. I have to admit, I took a couple of days off during this piece to take advantage of Karin Jurick's offer for Karen and I to stay with her and Brett at their place on the beach at Hilton Head. She was to be teaching one of her wildly successful workshops there and had rented a wonderful house right on the water. We couldn't hardly pass up an opportunity like that, so we packed up, once again, and drove down to the beach. We had two terrific days there. Sandy had little effect on that region, in fact the weather was great. The water was very choppy, but the surfers loved it. 

Brett and Karen walking the dogs a.m. day two

Once we returned I got busy finishing up Black Grapes, and now I'm onto the third commission another large Ketchup with salt and pepper shakers. It should be completed sometime next week. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012


F I R E   |   24 x 36   |   oil on hardboard panel

It's been (once again) a very long time since my last post. I picked up a few commissions after my show at Tree's Place, and I've been working on those. FIRE is the first. I don't usually, in fact I've never, worked entirely from a collectors materials or ideas, but the client for this piece is really nice and has purchased a number of my paintings in the past, so I made an exception in this case. I didn't realize at the time I started this piece, that it would take so long to complete. Once I got going, I found it to be deceptively complex.

Now I'm on to the next commission, a large bunch of Black Grapes. I know this will be familiar, in fact the next few blog posts will all seem a bit nostalgic with grapes, ketchup bottles, silverware and possibly Coke bottles. I have to say I'm excited because these are some of my favorite subjects to paint. I hope it won't seem too redundant for you all. 

When these are completed I'm planning on delving into my photos from the Air Races in Reno for a large aircraft painting. I try and allow myself one of these per year, and hopefully I'll be able to squeeze this one in before 2012 expires. It's been quite a while since I've done a really large painting, and I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Reno - Miami and a couple of other places

Crew preparing "Precious Metal"

For those of you who follow my blog, it may have seemed like I'd dropped off the face of the earth. Well, Karen and I, a couple of non-travelers, have been on the road. We rarely leave our own neck of the woods, but 2012 has found us stretching our wings a little. 

the T-6's ready for a qualifying run

The travel bug infected us on our trip to New York. It went so smoothly, that we got to talking about the possibility of trying this traveling thing a little more often. I'll run the last couple of months in reverse chronological order. 

One of the T-6's coming around pylon number 7

Working backwards, I just got back from Reno Nevada, where I attended the National Air Race Championships. I haven't flown or worked on a plane since 1987, but it's still in my blood. In fact it was 1987 when I last attended the Air Races. One of the reasons I gave myself permission to go there again this year, was Lauren Ellis at C. K. Contemporary, my gallery in San Francisco said that they would be happy to accept aircraft and automobile subject matter in my paintings. So, I thought this would be a good opportunity to get some photography to draw on for paintings. I took about 900 photos, and hopefully some of them will be paintworthy. Mason Murer has also accepted and sold aircraft art from me in the past, so I felt the trip was justified. Plus . . . I really wanted to go!

Karen with her friend Christine at the Mountain Retreat

Moving back a little more in time, just prior to my leaving for Reno, Karen took a few days off and went up to Highlands North Carolina to attend a yoga retreat. It's a beautiful location held at a facility called Mountain Retreat and Learning Center and Karen had a great time there. This is her second visit to the retreat, and I wouldn't doubt that she'll be there again next year. 

A few steps from our hotel

Heading back a few more weeks we find ourselves in South Beach Miami Florida. When we were in Cape Cod we only had (literally) 30 minutes to spend at the beach, which was a huge tease. So, when we got home, Karen who was starved for some beach time, it had been a couple of years since we'd spent any significant time at the ocean, got busy planning a trip to the sea. Potential locations changed multiple times, then she asked my brother Doug, whose been everywhere where he'd go. He told her, "based on your wish list, I'd go to Miami". One of her main criteria was clear emerald water, and South Beach delivered. Karen also found an awesome hotel called the Savoy a block from 5th street on Ocean Drive. It was this great hotel built in the 30's. We had a suite with three terraces. Two overlooking the pool, and a third with an ocean view. The water, weather and accommodations were all perfect. We made a pact to stay at that same location when/if we return to Miami.

One last walk on the beach before we returned home

Now, returning to the present, we had one more short adventure this past weekend. Karen and I drove up to Asheville North Carolina to attend Karin Juricks show at 16 Patton Gallery. It was an easy drive up from Atlanta on Saturday, and we got there early enough to visit some of our favorite galleries and have a wonderful barbecued portabella mushroom sandwich at 12 Bones Smokehouse, before we had to get ready for Karin's show. The weather was beautiful and a steady stream of patrons passed through the gallery all evening. Karin sold two paintings, and when the gallery finally closed we returned to our amazing hotel. The "W" chain of hotels built a new hotel on Biltmore Avenue, right in the heart of the city called Aloft. It's only been open three weeks and it's reeeely nice. After Karin's show we went up on the roof deck next to the pool, sat around the fire pit and talked life and art for a long time before we finally gave out. 

Now we're home, and it's time to get back to work. I picked up three commissions from the Tree's Place show, and I'll be getting started on the first of those today. I'll hopefully have something new to show in a few days.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sunbeam Mixer

Sunbeam Mixer  |  24 x 24  |  Oil on panel

My friends Karin Jurick and Brett Trowbridge found this Sunbeam mixer at a flea market, and knowing of my fondness for vintage kitchen appliances, bought it for me. It had a great shape, and lots of chrome. I especially liked it viewed from the front. Wonderful reflections, and the Sunbeam "S" is terrific. I used a Gesso Board for this, which has a very smooth surface, and took some getting used to. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I may have to try it once more before I make a final judgement on this brand of panel. I'll be sending this to my new gallery in San Francisco, C. K. Contemporary, along with the Big Drill from Tree's Place Gallery and a couple more to be determined later. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Big Grapes No.2

Big Grapes No.2   |   24 x 24   |   oil on canvas

I've been working on Big Grapes No.2 for a couple of weeks now, and it's finally ready to be shipped. This will be sent to Rehs Galleries Inc. in New York, along with Milkshake Mixer on Monday. After I did the grapes painting for Tree's Place Gallery, I had the desire to push the size of this composition up a little, so I re-cropped the image to reveal more detail in the lower lefthand corner and changed the format to a square. Going larger really let me enhance the detail, which is what I love. I wonder sometimes, how big can you go with something like this. I know many of the hyper-realists paint subjects like this as large as 48 x 48, or even bigger. It's got me thinking.

My next order of business is to get work on new paintings for my gallery in San Francisco. C. K. Contemporary has been really patient while I worked on my show for Tree's Place. Thank you Lauren, I really appreciate it. When those are complete I'll be starting on a few commissions I picked up at that same show. Busy . . . which is good!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New York & Cape Cod

the Chrysler Building

Well, Karen and I have just returned from our trip to Cape Cod for my show at Tree's Place Gallery, with M. Collier and it was as close to perfect as I could have hoped. We hadn't visited my brother Doug, who lives in Brooklyn, in years, so we decided to spend a few days in New York before we headed up to the Cape for the show. It was a blast.

9 West 57th Street with Karen & Doug up ahead

We flew up early Wednesday morning and arrived around mid-day. Our first order of business was to meet up with Howard Rehs, the owner Rehs Galleries, Inc my new gallery in New York. Karen and I were warmly greeted by Howard, his wife and father. After we got acquainted, and spent some time viewing the other works in his gallery, Howard took us out for a great lunch, and we all had a nice time talking art. 

After we said our goodbyes, Karen and I knuckled around the 57th street area where Rehs is located and checked out a number of other galleries. This part of town is rich with art galleries, and we each got to visit a couple of our favorites. I specifically wanted to visit the Bernarducci Meisel Gallery, and Karen was keen to see Forum Gallery. Fortunately both were open, and the work was terrific. 

We linked up with Doug about six at the Guggenheim Museum of Art where he works, then took the subway out to Brooklyn to see his new apartment. He lives in the Bedford Stuyvesant area in a wonderful building. The view out of his front windows was like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting. Little girls jumping rope across the street, while boys rode their bicycles up and down the sidewalk, and neighbors communed in the  diminutive courtyards of their brownstones. It was a very peaceful place. We didn't want to leave.

In time we headed back to town, and eventually wound up at Grand Central Terminal. After gawking over it at some length, we went downstairs to have dinner at the Oyster Bar. I'm a little embarrassed to admit I put my vegetarian status on hold for the evening, and had some oysters and scallops. Forgive me. After dinner Doug took the train home, and we walked back to our hotel, which was only a few blocks away. I've got to say the Seton Hotel is a great place to stay if you're looking for a budget hotel in the Murray Hill area. Great location, beautifully remodeled rooms, and very friendly staff. I highly recommend it!

Karen at the Guggenheim

One of the best times we had on our trip was our private viewing of the Guggenheim Museum of Art. The museum is closed on Thursdays, but Doug got us in, and we had the entire place to ourselves. I have to admit it was also a little sad, because there were so many people outside waiting to get in, not knowing that it was closed. Doug said the staff refer to it as, "heartbreak Thurdsay". Once inside we forgot about "the others", and took our time wandering those spiral walkways at our leisure. It was fantastic!

Doug and I at the entrance to Central Park

The entrance to Central Park is just across the street so, Karen, Doug and I headed in. The weather was really perfect, albeit a little warm, so it was a good day to walk in the park. Our first stop was the South Gate House on the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, where Der Weisse Engle met his end in Marathon Man.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

From there we meandered throughout the park, stopping at Cleopatras Needle, the Belvedere Castle, and the Bethesda Fountain. By the time we reached the Boat Pond we were feeling rather parched, and stopped for a drink, and a rest in one of the shaded benches facing the pond. 

the Boat Pond

This was a beautiful spot, and we lingered there quite a while before we continued our walk down the Mall, and out the exit at 59th street. Doug had to return to work, and Karen and I returned to Fresh&Co., the restaurant we had eaten at with Howard Rehs the day before. The food there is really good. Before we split up, we made plans to meet up with Doug again that evening around 7:00, to take the Circle Line Cruise around Manhattan. 

the Manhattan Bridge

We all met up again at the pier around 6:30, and boarded the boat for the twilight tour of Manhattan on the Circle Line. The weather was great, and the breeze off the Hudson was welcome relief from the heat in the city. The tour starts at dusk, runs down the Hudson river, around lower Manhattan, then up the East river to Roosevelt Island, then returns after sundown. 

the Brooklyn Bridge

The boat goes under a number of bridges, and I couldn't resist putting up two bridge photos taken on the way out. You gotta have at least one shot of the Brooklyn Bridge. The cruise was a wonderful way to use up the last of the daylight. We just relaxed and soaked in all the sites as the sun went down.

Manhattan skyline at night

A good portion of the cruise is experienced after dark, and the Manhattan skyline at night is pretty spectacular. If you find your self in New York, and want to spend a great two hours on the water touring the city, I advise you to take a Circle Line Cruise. 

42nd Street heading towards Times Square

After we disembarked, we walked over to 42nd street and headed towards Times Square. We wanted to experience a little of that crazy night life, so we just walked. It was really great in a strange way. About 10:00 we were getting pretty hungry, so we found a little Chinese place and had dinner. Once we were done it was time to head, "home". Doug picked up the subway at the Port Authority, and we splurged on a cab back to the hotel.

Our last day began with breakfast at Mon Petit Café, a couple of blocks from the Society of Illustrators. One of the definite planned stops on our trip. We really lucked out here, because they were closed for the day, because of a special student event, but they allowed us in as long as we stayed on the 2nd and 3rd floors. I don't know what we missed on the other floors, but what we saw was amazing. We will definitely go back of we ever return to New York.

Gold Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol c.1962

The main stop on this trip, for me, was to be the Museum of Modern Art. We missed it on our last trip to New York, and I definitely wanted to get in this time. Fantastic! Wonderful! Terrific! Finally got to see some of my favorite art pieces in the flesh. Can't wait to go back. 

After that we took the subway down to Soho to check out more art galleries and see another side of the city. We stopped in to see my old New York gallery Stricoff Fine Art. We were welcomed by Michel the director, and it was fun to see Jeff Cohen's work there. The best in the gallery we thought. We also went over to Gallery Henoch, and then on to Karen's favorite Arcadia Fine Arts. When we finished up there we were pretty bushed, so we allowed ourselves a cab ride back to the hotel.

We met up with Doug one more time that evening for dinner at El Rio Grande. Really good mexican food. Sat outside, took our time, and savored our last few hours with Doug and New York. After dinner we said our goodbyes, so we could get back, pack and hit the sack early since we had an early train to Boston the next morning.

We pulled out of Penn Station at 7:00 am, and had a relaxing ride, arriving in Boston around 11:00. We took a cab to Logan to pick up a rental car, then drove out to the Cape. We got to the gallery around 3:00 and it looked great. Donna, the owner, Julie the director, and Kelsey the assistant director had done a wonderful job of hanging the show. After we visited for a little while Karen and I ran out to the beach. We only had enough time to spend about thirty minutes there, but it was good to see the ocean again. After that we got some food, checked into the motel, got cleaned up and drove back to the gallery for the opening reception.

Checking out Big Grapes

The show went great. Art patrons strolled in and out for the duration of the show, and in the end I sold five paintings. Not too bad. I was very happy. When the doors were closed, and everyone had gone home, Julie and Kelsey took Karen and I out for a wonderful dinner at a restaurant called Abba. We finished up around 11:00, said our farewells, and drove back to the motel. 

It was great seeing everyone at Tree's Place again, but I have to say it was kind of a drag having to come back so soon. I think we should have added just one more day to hang out on Cape Cod. Next time, we'll add that extra day for sure.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Milkshake Mixer

Milkshake Mixer  |  16 x 20  |  Oil on canvas

I finished all the paintings going to Tree's Place Gallery for my two person show with artist M. Collier. The first batch made it there in one piece, and the last group of paintings should arrive there today. Hopefully, they'll make it there intact as well. Like I said before, I can't truly relax until all the boxes have been opened, and the paintings have made it there undamaged. 

Now it's time to get to work, and show a little love to my other galleries. I was really in the mood for something reflective, so I dug out my old Hamilton Beach milkshake mixer. I've done one large version of this in the past, and a couple of small versions as well. The previous large painting had the metal cup incorporated into the composition, but this time I wanted to show the mixing blades. Fun . . . this one was fun to paint. Next up, another Big Grapes painting. Only bigger this time. Karen said to go bigger, so I'm going large. I've got a 24 x 24 toned, and ready to go. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Karen's New Website

I've redesigned, and rebuilt Karen's website. It has also been redirected to a new hosting service in advance of the impending loss of MobileMe. If you've bookmarked her website, and the address begins with "web.mac", you'll need to re-bookmark her site using the URL:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Post in Lines & Colors

Charley Parker, the author of the art blog Lines & Colors dropped me a line to let me know that he had created a new post about my current batch of paintings, most of which are soon to be shipped to Tree's Place Gallery for a two person show July 14th. I'll be paired up with M. Collier, a terrific artist from northern California, and I think it's going to be a really good show.

Lines and Colors is one, if not the, most comprehensive, and entertaining art blogs out there. It covers nearly all aspects of the art world from paleo art to contemporary drawings and paintings. Here's his own list of the areas he covers on his blog: "Lines and Colors is a blog about drawing, sketching, painting, comics, cartoons, webcomics, illustration, digital art, concept art, gallery art, artist tools and techniques, motion graphics, animation, sci-fi and fantasy illustration, paleo art, storyboards, matte painting, 3d graphics and anything else I find visually interesting. If it has lines and/or colors, it's fair game". 

This is my third post on his blog, and I'm always honored to be included on Charley's site. Thank you Charley, I really appreciate it! If you'd like to read the post click here.