Friday, December 31, 2010

Old Dance Hall

This dance hall is at Painesville Twp. Park, and has been in constant use for well over 70 years. There once was a pavilion that overlooked Lake Erie, but it fell in from the massive shore erosion over the years. The Erie shore was once dotted with small resort communities that featured amusement rides and dance halls.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chagrin River Park

I painted this in the late afternoon, looking west towards the pedestrian bridge spanning the Chagrin River.

Hogsback Ridge waterfall

This small waterfall is located on Mill Creek in the valley of the Hogsback Ridge Reserve in Madison. There is a large beaver dam a short hike upstream from here.

Lakeside cottage

I painted this last September at the OPAS annual plein air competition in Lakeside ,Ohio, a resort community that is well over a hundred years old.
I did not enter this one in the contest,having submitted another of a farm several miles away, but now I wish I had.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Helen Hazen Wyman Park

I had been to this park, the oldest in the system, several times this year in search of a scene to paint. I always went away empty handed, and now I think I know why. This park nearly always has a lot of people there, and I am reluctant to set up and paint where I'm distracted by well-meaning observers who break my concentration by asking questions.
I went there two days ago on a cloudy, bleak day, and I crossed the stream and looked back towards the road, realizing I had a good composition. Painting is 90% observation, 10% brushwork.

Concord Woods

This park, with a fishing pond and hiking trails, is located next to the Lakemetroparks offices on Spear Rd. in Concord twp. The land was formerly the farm of Julia Bystronowski, a good friend of my grandparents in the 1920s and 30s. I lived closeby, and when my friends and I were little, we had a hard time saying her last name, so we simply called her "Grandma Biscuit".

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter at Indian Point

I have painted this same scene along the cliff's edge at Indian Point in all seasons. It has, in my opinion, the best panoramic view of all the parks in the system.

New Old Barn

This barn was part of the Bushman Farm that is now park property and adjacent to Skok meadows at the Girdled Road Reservation. It was restored recently, something that is rarely done today as many of these old beauties have rotted beyond repair. I would much rather paint a delapidated barn, as one that is in perfect repair is rather boring to paint.

Eerie Ice

The Lakemetroparks recently aquired beachfront property at the end of Blackmoore Road in Perry, called Lake Erie Bluffs. It is an isolated part of the coast, with few man-made
structures to be seen.
I cautiously climbed down the steep, icy path to the beach, grabbing on to saplings to keep from sliding to my doom, as I tend to break instead of bounce at my age. I was treated to the sight of giant blocks of ice that formed on the shore after the recent snowstorm that unleashed high winds and waves upon the coast. I estimate the ice in the painting to be about 15 feet tall.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Icicle Alley

Last Sunday I hiked into the gorge at Penitentiary Glen in order to paint a set of falls, but when I saw the giant icicles lining the sandstone walls, I changed my mind. It was a strenuous trip up the gorge, climbing under and over logs, criss-crossing the stream several times, and breaking through the ice into water that was well over the tops of my boots. After painting for 1 1/2 hours, I decided to finish the painting in my studio, something I rarely do, as my feet were freezing. I carefully climbed the face of a sloping waterfall, and exited the southern end of the gorge, as I had no desire to backtrack the half-mile through the obstacle course I'd endured to get there.

Friday, December 10, 2010

No gas needed

Lake FarmPark was holding this plowing demonstration during their fall harvest festival recently. I'm only one generation removed from this type of farm work; my grandfather taught my father to plow with horses before he was old enough to start school. The farm was on Auburn Rd in Concord- the house is still there. A few years ago my brother Steve and I found a big horseshoe with a metal detector on the site where the horsebarn once stood.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Surprise visitors

I found a recently improved path down to the Grand River from the area that contains the mountain bike trails at Hogsback Ridge North. There is a great view of the river there, with a new bench to sit on and watch the current go by.
While painting this scene, a small herd of deer emerged from the woods to drink at the river. They spotted me immediately, but soon realized I was no threat to them and continued grazing.

Searching for snacks

This small wetlands area is on park property across the road from the upper parking lot at Indian Point. The Blue Heron took off when it saw me, emitting a squawk that must be similar to what an ancient pteradactyl must have sounded like.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pine Ridge Golf Course

I finally got down to the western side of Lake County to paint on the Pine Ridge Golf Course as part of my project of painting in the parks. This view is close to the first hole , looking back at the country club building. I placed my easel on the leeward side of a large tree, to stay out of the line of fire of errant golf balls. I had no idea there was so much open property left in Wickliffe, where I lived over 35 years ago. After seeing the giant old trees on the course, I wish I'd been there to paint when the leaves were in color.

Penitentiary Glen Visitor's Center

This building used to be a barn on the former Halle Estate in Kirtland, Ohio. It was converted to the visitor's center and offices for the Lakemetroparks at Penitentiary Glen about 25 years ago. I am doing a one man show here on March 19th, 2011, featuring a year-long project of painting on site throughout the park system. I will be showing about 75 works.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Strong Cabin

The Strong Cabin is a rental cabin located at the Hogsback Ridge Reservation of Lake Metroparks. It has a great view of the Grand River Valley, and of a pond just down the slope. This setting is about as good as it gets around here, since the topography is rather flat being so close to lake Erie. I think I'll rent this place myself!

Steelhead season

The fisherman in the painting caught two nice steelhead in the two hours I spent at Chagrin River Park. The steel pedestrian bridge over the river is a landmark in the western part of Lake County. More people visit here than in any other Metropark. Most people I've spoken with here have never seen the other great parks of the system. The city folks are missing out!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunrise at Arcola Creek

I stepped onto a trail through the marsh and saw the backlit cattails glowing in the morning sun and knew I'd found a scene to paint.
When I was a kid we used to soak these in kerosine and burn them as torches at night.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Early morning in Fairport

This view was painted at the Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park, looking up toward the bluffs. It was 36 degrees, and no one was there, preferring their chair in a warm house to a chilly park bench with a great view.
I played at this park in the early 50s when my father was fishing at the nearby pier. Theplace was dirty and sleazy then, but Lake Metroparks now manages it and it is a jewel on the coast of Lake Erie.

Lonely Pine-Riverview Park

This majestic tree resides at the bottom of the hill on the old road leading down to the river at Riverview Park. The sky looked like a blender with the yellows, violets and blues boiling in the morning sun.

Late afternoon-Lakeshore Reserve

Lake Erie was about 100 yards behind me when I painted this at the Lakeshore Reservation of LakeMetroparks. Lots of dogs walk their humans here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Doyle Road bridge

While painting this bridge during the Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival last month, about a thousand motorcycles came rumbling down the road and through the bridge.

River Road Winery

This winery was once a church in southern Ohio,where it was dismantled and reassembled in Geneva Twp. by Amish craftsmen.

My father's school revisited

The first time I painted this historic schoolhouse which is now the Lake Metroparks nature learning center, I used an 8" x 10" panel, which I did alla prima in about 2 1/2 hours. This version is 16" x 20", and I went there three days in a row at the same time to get the same light, which took me about eight hours.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Skok Park

The newest park is named after Fred Skok, who was a longtime Lake County judge and former prosecutor. It has trails that pass through the pastures and past the ponds of the former Bushman farm.

Chapin Forest Ledges

These sandstone outcroppings made a nice subject for my ongoing "Paint the Park" project last Sunday. All the parking areas at Chapin Forest were at full capacity, as lots of hikers were enjoying the trails on a beautiful morning.

Cornshuck time

I painted these cornshucks this morning with the supervision of a dozen cows watching me work. They are gentle, curious animals, and I enjoyed their company.

Sunday afternoon in Amish counry

As I was painting this scene, 40 or so Amish walked or rode buggies past me and seemed to enjoy my painting effort. Lots of them stopped to talk, and I enjoyed their conversation tremendously. They seem to respect someone conducting their craft with centuries-old techniques.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Harvest Festival

The Lake Farmpark had a harvest festival recently, and part of the event was a display of restored farm tractors.
The white one was a Cub Cadet salesman demonstrator model, while the rest were painted cherry red.

Night Sentry

I did a nocturne painting of a local Civil War soldier's memorial just down the road in Madison Village. I picked the night before the full moon to do it. Most of these statues were produced in Italy in the two decades following the war, as they were the world leaders in sculpture at that time.

A sick friend

While roaming a local camp for something to paint, I encountered this old Chevy truck rusting in a field, windows smashed, the interior shot.
I last saw this truck when it served as a fire truck at a local chemical company where I once worked , and it was in perfect condition. I used to sit on the tailboard and talk to the fire dept. employees when I had days when I had little to do as a technician there. It was a shock to see it, and a bigger shock to realize that 36 years had gone by.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Caesar's Creek Pioneer Village

There is a large collection of original log structures at Caesar's Creek State Park near Waynesville, Ohio. I've stayed in these cabins in the dead of winter, giving you a taste of how tough our ancestors were. The coyotes howl all night long here.

Southern Ohio dawn

This beautiful old barn is near Maineville, Ohio.

Ottawa County morning

I painted this scene while attending the Ohio Plein Air Society annual competition held on Marblehead Peninsula in Ohio. I painted by the side ,of a busy rural highway, not daring to step back to look at my work as the traffic was blowing by at 60-70 mph.

Indian Point cliff trail

I've painted this scene in all four seasons. It is part of the LakeMetroparks, and the site of an ancient Indian fortress.

Early morning in Claridon

I came around a curve in the road and saw the morning sun illuminating this farm, so I had to paint it.

Chinquapin Riding School

As I was painting this scene, the horse in the pasture backed his rear up to a fence post and shoved until he loosened a rail, escaping back to the barn to his bucket of oats.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thompson United Methodist Church

This 19th Century church adorns the village green in Thompson , Ohio

Monday, August 23, 2010

Paine Falls in late summer

I painted most of this earlier this month, but the water going over the falls was reduced to a trickle because of the lack of rain here. I listened to the downpour we had Saturday night, and knew that the falls would be running decently, so headed out there early Sunday morning
to fill in the water in the painting. I may paint there again once the leaves change.

11th hole at Erie Shores

I painted at the Erie Shores golf course the other day as part of my ongoing "paint the MetroParks" project. I had never been on a real golf course before, and it was quite an education. The golfers and management were great to me.

Sunset over Mosquito Lake.

Mosquito Lake State Park is located just north of Youngstown, Ohio. I was painting there with my friend Nancy and we encountered this marina close to sundown.

An Ohio New England Village

Hudson, Ohio is near Cleveland, Ohio, and is a picture-perfect example of New England architecture. This area, called "The Western Reserve", was land set aside for payment of Revolutionary War soldiers in the Connecticut Line companies for their service in lue of money, which the young nation had none to spare. They brought their building methods and styles with them, and Hudson is living proof of it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

47' Desoto

I went back to paint this iron monster again- no plastic in this baby!

55' GMC

I left in search of something to paint this morning and I found this 55' GMC on display at a local town festival. I had fun painting it, and best of all, the owner bought it right off my easel.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's taken me 40 years,but....

I'm putting these paintings and more in an exhibit on war-time art in Philadelphia, where over 18,000 works from Army collections have never been on display before. I worked from photos I took, from memory, and from several howitzers from local memorials that served as models. I have several more, and will post them later.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fitzgerald's Irish Bed and Breakfast.

This historic home in Painesville is rated as one of the top- ten best B&Bs in America. Tom and Debra Fitzgerald, the owners, commissioned me to build their sign about 12 years ago. I have to say that I think it was my best work in over 30 years of signmaking.
I painted this yesterday during the annual "Party in the Park", featuring some of the unique architectural features of the building. I enjoyed talking to the many onlookers that passed by on the sidewalk.

Busy weekend

I gave up tent camping this weekend due to an injury and painted instead.
This 57' Chevy is property of the police chief of Chagrin Falls. I always wanted one of these as a teen, but I'll have to settle for a painting of one. These cars ruled the streets in the 60's- an era that todays kids will never experience.
The city scape is of my home town, Painesville, Ohio. A movie was shot here in 1962 , "One Potato,Two Potato", about an interracial couple falling in love and marrying. Extremely controversial stuff then. This was about the time Obama was born. The movie shows these buildings and also included the ones that were destroyed when the Feds offered urban renewal funds to revitalize the city. Nice going!