As you can see from this image of the work on my easel, I am in the process of altering one area of it. I don’t really know why, other than it doesn’t look right. It doesn’t exactly look wrong but it isn’t right either. So, what was wrong about it? I don’t really know. I think it was because the leaves in that area appeared a little too dense and to fix it I’ve decided I need to start over in that area.

Does everyone else see it in the same way? I have wondered about this for some time now. I have my wife and one or both of my two daughters critique my work at various times during the process. My daughters usually agree with me but my wife is the wild card and as such often provides the most useful criticism.


Buying Art

Should you buy it?

Buy it because you love it. This is likely the most important reason to shell out money for art. The art could shock you or just make you think. The most shocking piece of art I’ve ever seen is a sculpture called the Veiled Nun by Giuseppe Croff. Marble is not transparent but I think I can see through the veil in this sculpture.

Do not overextend yourself to buy art, because art should enhance your life not make it more difficult. Don’t feel guilty about not buying art. Many artists are definitely struggling but that doesn’t mean that you should too. Take the opportunity of recommending an artist that you like to one of your affluent friends.


I don’t put frames on my paintings because I don’t know where they might be hung. Since I don’t think that a painting should match the room that it’s hung in; the frame acts as both a separator and a method of matching the painting to the room. I noticed a couple of frames the other day that were a little different, a simple black or dark brown frame combined with a relatively thick white inner frame. The picture was an average size (small for me), on a relatively deep rust yellow wall. This type of frame is likely quite common but I first noticed it with this photo.

I thought it looked great but I’m still not going to put any of my paintings in frame, but it’s nice to be able to give suggestions to a customer. The inner frame could be a colour that would match the painting or room but it’s a good idea to just leave it white so that it acts as a separator between the painting and the room, so then the painting could be hung in any room. The wide aspect of the frame offers more separation and should be more suitable to different room decor.



Art Forums

One of the recommendations for promoting art work that I have read many times is to participate in art forums. I have looked often at various forums asking questions that I might answer. It had to be something that I thought I could answer with a relevant comment and add to the conversation, this has been a discouraging search. It is clear to me that most people have no idea what an artist might be able to do for them, most questions are just requests for an artist to do work for a small or non-existent fee, that the person making the request could easily do themselves.

People generally don’t think they are capable of anything to do with art or drawing and are unwilling to make the attempt. I think that people have been told many times that they can’t draw but I’m still very curious as to how they ended up with the idea that it had no value. Years of experience have given me the impression that the only way to make most people value the finished product is to deny them those products. On several occasions I’ve finally said “so, you do it”, which they proceeded to do with good results. On some occasions I’ve cleaned up the result and made it look a little more professional, but the idea was theirs. I think that on these occasions they placed more value on the finished product than they would have if I had done it alone, but they were often unwilling to take any credit for it. This reinforces my idea that everyone is an artist.

Now it’s possible that the finished drawing, done by a customer, may be unsophisticated or childish in some ways, but that is just a question of experience. Children are outrageously creative but don’t have the experience to finish the drawing. Adults can be equally creative but are unwilling to appear unsophisticated or childish. I’ve had some long conversations with clients who had a very good understanding about what their customers wanted but had very little idea of how to interpret this in a visual way. This is the expertise that an artist brings to the table.

Capital Punishment

My initial intention was to send this to the Chagall Committee but I have been unable to find a mailing address for it. So, I have sent it to Fake or Fortune at the BBC.

I just watched the Fake or Fortune episode on Chagall. I’m disappointed that any government would give an organisation the right to destroy property, authentic or otherwise. The painting is property and was paid for by the buyer so the destruction is tantamount to theft. I’m against capital punishment and it seems to me that this decision to destroy the painting amounts to the same thing. I know it’s difficult to equate taking a life to the destruction of a piece of property but in this case, it feels appropriate.

Let’s say the Chagall is a forgery. It was sold by the forger and bought by the owner in good faith. If the present owner now wants to sell it then the organisation is welcome to say they don’t accept it and consider it a forgery. So, the artwork isn’t worth as much as it would be if it were deemed authentic. But if the organisation destroys it then whatever the owner paid for it should be reimbursed by the organisation; if they don’t pay then it’s theft.

If the organisation destroys the art then there is no chance to retest the art to ensure that a mistake has not been made. I believe that the destruction is simply a ruse by the organisation to ensure that a mistake never comes to light and the organisation is never found libel for the cost of the art. It’s a little insurance, and to say that they are doing it for the artist, art in general or art lovers is disingenuous. This is reprehensible behavior and far worse than any forgery.

As an artist I paint what I want in the way that I want. Should anyone decide to forge my work I would consider it flattering. Not necessarily by the forger but rather by the individual who might buy it. I might feel I had to do something about it if it were taking money out of my pocket, but in the case of the Chagall work he is long dead and would not receive any benefit or harm. I paint because I enjoy painting, I will never receive any benefit from future sales and I can’t see any reason why someone would consider destroying any work, fake or otherwise, that purported to be by me.

I understand that the art market is monetarily huge but none of that money goes to the artist or their families. These organisations that decide on the validity of art and fabricate the right to destroy that art, are themselves thieves. I don’t begrudge their decision to act as experts but I take great umbrage at their deciding that they have a right to destroy any work that they consider fake. What if they are wrong?

What gives anyone the right to believe they can destroy the art of others? Just because the work is believed to be, or even proven to be fake, it is still valued and by destroying the work they insult and devalue every other artist’s work. It takes talent and expertise to create great works of art but it also takes great talent and expertise to copy that work. I would like to think it is the talent and expertise that is valued.

Art Marketing

There is no pricing on my Website because I am not in a position at the moment where I can sell paintings, nevertheless I have settled on a pricing method that should work. I add together the vertical and horizontal dimensions of a painting and multiply it by a number that will produce a price. I got this from another artist’s website some years ago. You could also multiply the vertical and horizontal measurements then multiply by a price. This method ties the price to the size of the painting because I believe most buyers think that the larger a painting is, the more it should cost. This isn’t really valid, but if the people with the money believe it, then who am I to argue.

Many of my paintings are reasonably large but I am limited by the size of my studio. Some of these paintings have taken a very long time to finish, and some have completed very quickly, so I can’t say that a fair price has anything to do with how long the work takes to complete. I am somewhat mystified by how much, or how little, people think is a fair price but the system I have adopted at least gives my pricing some consistency which is important because some buyers expect it. Always try to give the customer what they want.

I have started a Blog; this Blog. I was recommended doing this because it would increase the traffic to my Website, although I can’t say that I have noticed. As a graphic designer I’ve designed a few Websites and I’m interested in coding, although I didn’t want to start blogging. Turns out that I have a lot of opinions and actually enjoy writing about them. I try to write my opinions in a way that helps other artists but I make no promises. Blogging is simple, costs nothing and provides me with a soapbox; I make it a habit to read art marketing blogs and articles that I can agree or disagree with then write about it in my blog, so there is no shortage of topics. As a result, I recommend blogging to other artists. If you are just not a writer and you would rather be painting; then paint and forget about blogging.

Thank you for reading this Blog. If you have any interest in my Website then drop in at

Reality Illusion

So again with the Reality Illusion. I’m presently working on Rear Window. The Reality Illusion has come and gone a couple of times at this point and I was starting to be concerned that it had gone for good. But I was working on the window frames (just cleaning them up a little) and I darkened the windows themselves.  The Reality Illusion showed up suddenly all over the painting, not just on the windows. When I say ‘suddenly’ I mean the next day at the beginning of the next painting session. I don’t understand how this works but I can twist my regular theory to explain it somewhat. The truth is ‘I don’t understand it’ but I like to tell people that I do because I like it and believe that people think an artist should know.

I am a Realist Painter

This is something I’ve been trying to avoid but it is clear as I continue painting that my style is Realism. I want people to imagine that they are looking at reality when they view my paintings; I call this the Reality Illusion. I’m looking at the paintings of Peder Mørk Mønsted and his work is similar to the way I paint, although he was definitely the better artist. Initially I wanted to paint in more of an impressionist style and tried to, but I always revert to a more realistic style although I’m still trying to make my style more impressionistic. I’m presently working on the brick wall of a building and I have to stop myself from adding in ridiculous amounts of detail. I try to make the painting appear real hence the reality illusion but I would also like the painting to have a more impressionistic appearance. I greatly admire artists who paint with an impressionistic style yet still impart an illusion of reality to the scene.


I was reading a Blog about brushes a few days ago and one of the headlines was ‘Don’t stop at one’. I laughed a little and looked over at my collection. The photo in the article that I was reading showed a collection of very used almost decrepit brushes; looking at my collection I realised that most of them are in better shape. At first, I was a little proud of this but after some thought I realised that some of my brushes are 40 years old and maybe more. So perhaps I’m just not using them as much as I should, but it doesn’t seem to stop me from buying more.

I’ve talked about my brushes before. I doubt that I have as many as some artists. In my own defense I learned to paint when I was young and became a graphic artist when I was older and had children. So, I have brushes from when I was young and I’ve been collecting them slowly ever since. I have to agree with the advice of not stopping at one. Sometimes I will search through my whole collection searching for the one perfect brush. I consider this a good reason to head to the store to find another of those ‘perfect’ brushes.

Just Enough Detail

I’m painting a brick wall; the back wall of an old building in New York, and I want to know just how much detail to show. I know how a brick wall is built and I know why it’s built in the way that it is. I don’t think I have to show extensive detail about the way it’s built but I need to show the detail that some people expect. I’d like it to be detailed enough that a bricklayer will accept the imperfections that I know must be there, so It needs to be representational, not photographic.

This is the only YouTube video I could find that shows why some of the bricks appear smaller than others, it’s stronger to lay some of the bricks at 90° to the others thus keeping sections together. This is an old video from the 40s or 50s, I suspect that this method is no longer used much and now metal banding is used. The building, or rather the rear wall, is an old building in New York so the techniques are relevant.

OK so a bricklayer looked at it and her only comment was “messy job”. She was talking about the brick laying job not the painting. At least that is my story.

So, the bricks aren’t perfect but they look a little like bricks and should enhance the reality illusion.