Studio Gallery Sale

Announcing our first annual spring sale in the Studio Gallery

All prints and original oil paintings will be 20 % off for the entire month of May !


You can visit virtually by clicking the link below…


OR…please feel free to stop by in person.

I’m breaking in my brand new apprentice and she’s eager to show visitors around the place…so come check out the artwork and meet little Finnegan…


Yours in lilacs…


Progress Report

My new alarm clock is programmed for a 6am feeding…no matter what.  And with that change in my morning routine I am finding myself way ahead of the game…breakfast eaten, walk taken, gardening done in the coolest part of the day and most of all…puppy played out and ready for a nap …and all by 8am.

So here’s a few pics of the last week’s worth of progress. Lots of time spent tightening up areas that I thought were finished. I reworked the dock area…there are more layers of detail in this section alone than I have hairs on my head…(I know, I know…that’s why I always wear a hat but you get my meaning)


 Then I moved over to rework the upper left hand corner and added the suggestion of a boat behind the tackle shack, some clouds along the horizon, a few colorful kayak paddles, and a soaring gull to bring some life to the field of blue…




Then down to the bottom and the decisions about what to do with the foreground. As the tide changes this area migrates from lacily raked seaweed to a carpet of small pebbles to a foamy lipped saltwater bay…I wanted to bring the seaweed in to give a gesture of some motion and to keep the eye moving around the composition but I wasn’t sure I could do justice to the complexity of the colors and fibers.Then I found a liner brush that I’d never used before which was perfect for dragging out long sinewy lines…





And, in between training the “OFF” command and teaching my apprentice the proper use of a gardening glove …



I have completed the pile of drifted wood and ropes and chains…


and moved back over to some more work on the dock…


Which brings us up to today… the 29th of April… and in spite of the many, many more interruptions than I anticipated this painting can now, hopefully, kick into high gear…or make that a kick in the painter’s gear box… and I can have it finished and drying by the end of next week.

Off I go…


Old friends make new friends

A breakfast party !


With two of our favorite girlfriends… Amy and Sue. We go waaaaaaay back and finally found a slot in all of our busy schedules to reconnect….they brought the bagels and we brought the puppy kisses.


These women have the most powerfully positive and peaceful energy and Finnegan was instantly in tune and in love…


Amy even gave Finn her first lesson in the Art of Wi …


But all this excitement was tiring out the wee one…


and it was time for a flip flop nap for Finnegan…


Angels walking among us ….

thanks gals…

love ya, H

Meeting the Pack

Yesterday was the best.

Finnegan got to meet some of her pack members for the first time and she had a blast. Saren brought Margie, the lab who survived her breeding years to be rescued by the most conscientious dog owner I know and now she is living the life of Riley getting to see the best of the rest of the world…and Susan brought her loyal pal Tag who is, as we all are, missing his big sister Emma but he is now carrying the cloak of her gentle confident manner and was the perfect gentlemen.


Both were wondeful with the squirrelly little puppy and Finnegan was eager to greet everyone and kept right up with the big dogs.





All that excitement…AND her first puppy class…made for a very tired pup at the end of the day.

Today it’s all business and, with our morning rituals finished…like waiting to play with Jed at the fence…


and filling the bird feeders…


and taking up her post as sentry at the studio door…



My apprentice is giving me the freckly eyeball…so it’s time for some serious painting…


Next post will show some progress from the easel… I promise !


Two way mirror

Three things I have learned…

an orange Croc looks and tastes exactly like an orange dog toy…

when the twigs of a rosemary plant become a chew toy the chewer smells as good as an herb garden…

and the dulcet tones of Suede’s newest album can settle even the ornariest among us…

My apprentice was upset that she could not keep a closer eye on me with the big painting in the way…so I danced through the raindrops to get Drew’s mirror out of the garage…and voila…we’re both much happier…






Look who’s sleeping on the job !

The New Apprentice Arrives !!!

Time for a quick post between puppy naps and twins at play…

to document the arrival of Finnegan Loretta Neill…



She is a trooper and greeted every visitor and neighbor with confidence and a happily wagging tail.

The sounds of gentle puppy snoring have returned to the studio at last. Gully my love, you can rest easy now…ya done great.

More to come soon … but most of the painting done in the studio this week has been with sidewalk chalk !

Who am I kidding ?

Ok, so …

one thing I have come to know for sure is that every painting evolves in its own time.

There are some which have been incubating on the back burners of my mind for years, nay decades…and others that literally awaken out of a night’s slumber and push all other work aside and in a wild impatience are painted in a flash.

The oversized ambition of this current work is certainly in the first category and I’ve recognized the slow and steady pace of bringing each square inch up to its own level of detail as the perfect challenge for a time in my life when I am forced to slow down my usual chaotic over-drive mode. Nice slow sessions at the easel with frequent breaks to stretch out the otherwise atrophying post- surgery muscles.

After weeks of that rehabilitating pace I am almost completely recovered … and almost completely behind schedule. Yes, the twins arrive tomorrow. Yes, the puppy arrives on Saturday. Yes, as you will see, I still have almost half of the canvas to render. And yes, I decided to add two, or three, or more new boats into the harbor…just to up the ante. But ya just can’t rush this level of detail.

Here’s a look at the progression this week…








And here we start this morning…which, after paying the taxes and sorting through emails and …blogging…is dwindling away and rapidly becoming noon.  The toughest part of this last week was making decisions about the dock area in the foreground. I have so many different references with an amazing array of ropes and chains and motor parts and bouys and traps and anchors and did I mention ropes ???? And in each scenario there are gems that I want to try and incorporate in the final image. But that empy blob to the right of the big shack turns out to be a floating dock. (Took me days of analyzing the photos to figure that out…land lubber that I am. ) So matching the positions of all the items to the correct line up of the tidally influenced dock…well I do love a jigsaw puzzle now and then.

And the other such area of indecsion is the dock area on the right. I can’t count the number of boats that called that home in the last 5 years worth of photos I took. Here again I want to pick and choose remembering always and forever my High School art teacher Jim Gainor’s advice…paint the air and not the chair. Especially in this large of a composition, the negative space plays a key role. The viewer needs a place for the eye to pause and rest before moving on to the next wave of detail. It has to work first and foremost at the 16 foot just walking into the gallery distance.

So, I’ll ease up on my self imposed deadline of ….tomorrow…for completion and go with the flow…which for the next week will have more to do with animal crackers, coloring books, bedtime stories and …..PUPPY KISSES !!!!

Stay tuned…


Horizon Continues

7 April 09

Buckle down time …

In a little over a week our little family of 2 will triple… and then some. The Follansbee Family will be arriving for the better part of a week so Papa can give his lectures at Winterthur Museum Furniture Forum and so that we can have our much needed fix of hugs and giggles from Mama, Rose and Daniel.

And …at the tail end (pun intended) of their visit…we bring home our new pup Finnegan !

My goal was to get this mammoth painting finished by then … sooooo brushes up !

Here’s where we stand as of 8am this morning…


After days and days of rendering those tiny little shacks I have enough detail on them to move over and get some paint on the right side of the panel. It’s amazing to me how much harder it is to get a building to appear convincingly ( jury’s still out on that ) real when it is an inch tall vs. 6 inches tall.


The line of buildings in the distance will be partially obscured by boats and pylons and loads of nautical detritus in the middle and foreground …you can see a piece of the sketch taped to the easel which I will have to re-trace on top of the foundation work I’ve done…so I’m holding off of the final details until I see what will be revealed.

But I needed to see some real progress… so last night I blew in some vegetation and roughed in a few more of the houses on the hill. I have one good reference for the late afternoon October sun that I am striving to portray…Menemsha is a popular place for islanders to come and watch the sunset and pick up their fish or lobsters for supper at Larsen’s and the quality of the air and light makes the autumn sunsets particularly magical…but when I took those photos in 2004 I was concentrating on the fishing shack and I did not pan over to get shots of the houses on the hill or the buildings in the distance. And almost all of the several hundred other shots I took in the ensuing 5 years are in vastly different lighting conditions. So I am using that age old artistic license to render a continuity of light…and throwing in some clouds to suggest that one could be blowing over at any moment and throw a house or two in shadow.


One part of sharing the process of painting something step by step that I don’t like is that you don’t get to watch the viewer as they see a painting for the first time and are drawn closer, from the back of a gallery, to discover a whole new world of details and whimsy at the surface level and beyond. Feels like I’m a bit of a spoiler.

One such conceit that I am consciously preparing for them is this tiny little version of the Quitsa Strider…


For last year’s Granary Gallery  show I painted an 8 foot homage to this wonderful old swordfishing boat…so it seemed fitting to include her here…even if she’s only 2 inches long. Diminished in size but certainly not stature.

Forgive me if I take this opportunity to mention that I do still have some of the limited edition prints we made of that painting available…


Click on the boat for more information and to purchase a print.

A portion of the proceeds of the sale of each print is donated to help support the Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society … and this year I will be extending that support to include a dontation to the newly formed MV/Dukes County Fisherman’s Association .

Your support now filters down to become a multi – layered stimulus package.

Thank You !

NOW… enough shameless commerce…!!!!

Back to the easel…

Birthday Flowers

5 April 09

A spectacular spring morning …

It’s my birthday and I thought I’d show you the bouquet that the gardens have offered up…

And there’s also a look at the newest addition to the studio garden…

Last week we took great advantage of the gift of Jon’s visit and used his muscles and brawn and creative stonework to help extend the very first bed we planted here. He and my nurse forbade me from lifting …anything…so all you can see of me in these shots is my shadow.

We’re going to take a picnic up to the lake in a bit …and the local ice cream shack opens today…and then some mussels, asparagus and a pinot grigiot to top off the day…

may your day be as bright and full of spring flowers… HN