Saturday, March 28, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

New Castle Cat #3 (16x20") oil on canvas

Finished this 16x20" oil canvas titled, "Newcastle Cat #3".   I havnt posted the first two versions but I may do that soon.  The first two versions are completely different compositionaly.  It took me years to fully understand why Winslow Homer did seventeen versions of  his"Gulf Stream" painting...I can see now that he was trying to figure it out...visually problem solving..trying it a slightly different way...sometimes I feel like I have to try something new until the feeling of unresolved issues stops haunting my dreams.  Stand by for versions 4 thru 20...heehee, maybe not.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ogunquit, Marginal Way Plein air painting


Plein air painting pal Donald Jurney and I took to a windy perch on Ogunquit's Marginal Way.  Facing a steady ocean breeze, it felt every bit of winter after a few hours of painting.

Donald Jurney and I painting Marginal Way, Ogunquit.

I ended up wiping away my start and retreating after a few hours but Donald got a really nice one. 
I equate it to fishing with a buddy....even if you don't catch one, you still had a good time..pretty sweet when you do catch one though.  Donald is amazingly consistent.  I am gearing up my chops for another season of outdoor painting in Ogunquit...I'll be teaching another season of Plein Air painting Tuesdays with the Ogunquit Summer School of Art starting in May.  If you wish to join us, if it's anything like last year, it's going to be a blast painting outdoors in this gorgeous place.  Here is a link to our new Website for the summer school:
(I put an image link to the school on the left side of this blog that will always be there for your future use)

or a direct link to Plein Air Tuesdays

Friday, March 20, 2015

Painting from my hot rod again...

Through sleet, snow and sub zero temperatures, the brave, plein air painter takes refuge inside his warm car with a cup of coffee and the tunes playing.  I had a quick 45 minutes between dropping off my son at Lacrosse practice and picking up my daughter from day care.  This snazzy little 5x7" pocket pochade box is perfect to bang out a quick one in the front seat.  The lid will hold a wet painting and if you use a minimal palette, you can be painting in minutes.  I'm using Cad Yellow medium, Alizeran Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna and Underpainting white....thats a little Liquin in that pallet cup too.  Easy-peazy.

(5x7") oil on linen study "Winter sky Portsmouth 2015"

Sunday, March 15, 2015

White Mountain painting trip

Look at those smiles...Those are the real deal!!  Just painted all weekend with my good friend and painting partner, Chris Volpe on a weekend painters get-a-way to the White Mountains in Bartlett, New Hampshire.   Long over due...good times. 

Champney pretty much nails it here, "..New Hampshires splendid scenery has been an enduring inspiration to countless landscape artist".  Well said my good man!!!

Breathtaking little nooks were everywhere.


Volpe scouting a spot...feeling the presence of art heroes who painted these same locations.



My set up.

We did a good share of painting, this is my small 6x8" oil on linen study, "White Mountain winter stream study 2015"

Check out this little gem by Volpe...Fresh, gritty pallet knife work.  We talked a lot about past masters but also chatted about contemporary painters who inspire and are doing exciting things with paint.  Particularly some of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts painters who seem to be chasing something...sometimes referred to as "Deconstruction"...a painterly, almost crude application of paint, sometimes using palette knife to create a sometimes battered textural surface... an attempt to avoid formulaic painting and composition.  These are some of the hot shots we were drooling over...Jon Redmond  , Alex Kanevsky,  Fred Cuming....

We scouted painting spots in Crawford Notch and Bretton Woods, where we stumbled upon the grandaddy of painting locations...the very Grand, Mount Washington Hotel.  

A perfect spot for a future White Mountain workshop, but that may have been the scotch and stogies talking...Here is Volpe inside by the grand foyer.

It really would be perfect for a workshop, aesthetically stunning location with world class painting motif options, parking, bathrooms, restaurants, shops, spa, swimming pools inside and out, fire pits, movie theatre and it's own post office.  The porch was enormous and served as perfect protection at snowfall.  
...I'm thinking, yeah...definitely a future workshop destination...get on my mailing list to be privy to the date should we decide to do it.  That would be really fun.
Volpe didn't want to leave...I think he did three paintings on that last afternoon.

Me feeling very Italian with my old world lid and humongous shnozzola in profile. 
A great weekend and I'm saying here and now...Painters weekends are good for the soul and are here to stay as an annual event.   









Thursday, March 12, 2015

Don Stone R.I.P. (1929 - 1915)

Don Stone surrounded by our 2014 Monhegan Island workshop group in Don's Monhegan studio.
Don Stone is an internationally recognized artist, National Academecian and a local New England artist legend.  He passed away this morning and will always be remembered fondly as a hilarious, smart, generous, gifted, hard-working and influential artist.
He lived in Exeter, NH and had a summer studio on Monhegan Island in Maine.  I had the good fortune to have met Don and visit his studio a number of times and he was always funny, warm and very generous with his time and knowledge.  A couple of things I remember from my brief time with Don:
1) Visiting his Exeter studio and meeting him for the first time...I was still an illustrator and thinking of becoming an easel painter.  Don generously spent a lot of time telling me of his story transitioning from being an illustrator to fine artist and encouraged me to stick with it...he pointed to a book shelf filled with hundreds of panels of stacked paintings.  He pointed to them and said, "Thats my El-Stinko period"...they were plein air studies and they taught him how to really see like an artist..."We would get up in the mawnin and paint three by five o clock.  After a week, thats twenty-one paintings.    ..did that for years".
2) I would sometimes visit him in his Monhegan Island studio when I was teaching workshops there sometimes...I had heard when Don was younger, he met American painter, Aldro Hibbard   (Thats like a baseball player meeting someone like Ted Willaims or Joe Dimaggio)...Hibbard was a legendary artist hero to many New Engalnders.  Don recounted the meeting and said that Hibbard asked him what he thought the most important thing about painting was....Don replied, "Values"...Hibard paused, looked at him and said, "Value relationships"....so cool.
3) I would sometimes see Don on drop-off days at the Rockport Art Association, he always had a crowd around him..he was funny and there was often hilarious stories.  One of my favorites was Don walking into the prestigious Vose Gallery on newbury street in Boston...One of Americas oldest galleries, highly regarded and only exhibiting deceased masters at the time....Don fell to the ground, faked a heart attack and layer there as if he was dead...He opened one eye, looked up at the gallery manager and said, "Will you let me in now?"

I hope they do Don, you were certainly one of the good ones.  Rest in Peace.

Don's Obituary in the Boston Globe





Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Oops we didi it again!" Plein air winter painting at Battis Farm, Amesbury, Mass

(8x10") oil on linen "Battis Farm winter study, 2015"
Like last week, it started with a friendly note and promises of friendship and fun...soon, like last week, I was knee deep in snow, freezing and painting again.
Beware of friendly looking notes, lest ye has the stomach for sub zero snow painting.
This is a shot of Beaman Cole and his giant easel.  He was painting a beauty when I arrived.  Apparently there were as many as fifteen artist there.  It was great fun and again, I wish I took more photos of some of the characters that came to paint...the snow was deep and hard to walk in so I simply set up and got it done...looks like this will be a semi-regular thing so stand by for posting of future outings...maybe you can join us some time.  
Donald Jurney, Elaine Miller and me.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Winter Plein Air Maudslay State Park, Newburyport, Mass


(8x10") Plein Air study "Maudslay State Park, winter 2015"
In the midst of record breaking snowfall this winter, my plein air painter friends are itching to get outdoors, it was a matter of time before someone cracked.  Donald Jurney sent a note alerting us to the dangers of cabin fever and the need to get outside.  A small group...maybe 8...met at Maudslay State park in Newburyport, Mass for some wintery painting on Wednesday.

This was my set up...I wish I had taken more shots of the others, I meant to but it gets chilly standing for two hours and I felt the need to set up, bang it out and get to a warm cup of coffee asap.  The snow was very deep so our plans to trek into the park were kaiboshed...we ended up painting in the parking lot.  Short, sweet, great fun and really nice to chit chat with the others.  Misery loves company after all...heheee...it really was fun.  We may even do it again next week.

Donalds note...it looks so inviting in print.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Friday, December 12, 2014

Oil Painting for Beginners workshop January 08, 2015 (North Hampton, NH @ Brush and Palette)

Original Oil by Todd Bonita
Oil Painting for Beginners
(January 08 - February 26, 2015). (8 Weeks)
Thursdays 9:00am – 12:00pm  ($240)
Brush and Palette, North Hampton, NH
(Limit 14)
Call Mary Vermeersch to register: (603) 778-0685
CLICK HERE for all of the particulars on my web site, including supply list and syllabus.
This class is geared towards true beginners...those who have been too shy to take a painting class because they feel they would not be up to par with the other students or you were afraid to try...In this class you will be amongst like minded spirits sharing the experience in a positive and supportive environment.  There are already several signed up and we would love for you to join us.
Call Mary Vermeersch to register (603) 778-0685

Monday, December 08, 2014

Open Studios at the Button Factory 2014 in the books!

Max at Button Factory Artist Open Studios
The Button Factory annual artist open studio event in Portsmouth, NH was this past weekend and was by far, the most fun open studio Ive attended in the seven years I've had a space there.  Largely because of that smiling character pictured above...thats my talented seven year old Max holding his marker on canvas paintings.  He was a huge hit and made many patrons very pleased with their purchase.  He completely sold out of his art work and I couldn't be prouder having observed his sincerity and graciousness with his collectors.  "Daddy, I can't wait to see someone walking away with one of my paintings", he said to me before the event.  Incredible day!!!  So happy for my whipper-snapper!  Way-to-go pups!    



Friend Tim Connors standing next to my newest painting, "Ripples" (38x48") at my Open studio this weekend.
Thanks for the photo Tim.  I heard that this years open studio welcomed upwards to 4,000 people...if thats true, thats pretty amazing!  It was a packed all weekend and very spirited.  I met so many nice people, saw some extraordinary work in other studios, had some chuckles and some fine, single malt scotches too...OK, I'm saying it rite here and now...best Open Studio yet.  Boom!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Plein Air Tuesdays Ogunquit, Maine (Beach Plum Farm land Trust)

Patty (me mum) and childhood friend Jack Calabrese.  Jack joined us today to see what the Plein air painting craze is all about.  Jack grew up in Winthrop, Mass around the corner from me, I've known him since I was seven...he now lives in Dover, New Hampshire, a stone-and-a-half throw from my greenland, NH home.  So cool to see him.  Happy to report he will be coming to our Monhegan Island painting trip next month. 

Jacks got a great eye as a photographer, a real gift for sensitivity and knowledge of composing...no doubt he will bring those skills to plein air painting.  He took this photo of my mom and Nancy at critique time in the barn at Beach Plum.


Demo and lecture on color...as things go further in space they tend to get cooler, lighter, softer edges and more atmospheric...


Demo painting...thanks for the photos Jack!

Jack took this very artsy photo of me palette box and paints.  Hes got the magic eye.  Well done Jack!

Irene finds her nook.





Sunday, May 25, 2014

A warm home welcomes a new painting

A texted photo of a recent patron purchase.
I love when people send photos of the paintings in their homes...makes me feel all fuzzy.  If I'm being honest, all the love recently has inflated my ego and head to swelling proportions.  Thanks so much for all the photos and email well wishes.  I am so lucky to have so much genuine support, thanks for making me feel so good.  I'm going to go fold some laundry and clean up after the kids to bring my head down a few notches.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

First sunrise of the rest of your life...


Sunrise over Perkins Cove from our deck at the Riverside Motel..on the far right at the foot of the bridge is my little gallery.  It was so nice to wake up to this quiet and beautiful moment after last night.  feeling really good.
With Bones and Tommy.  Tom flew in from Minneapolis..we were in Kindergarten together.  Amazingly supportive, thank you my brothers.

A text photo of my good friend Pat holding his gorgeous new wee-one Anne in front of his new Bonita painting.  thanks for your support Pat.  Pat is the model in several of my new paintings, some I'll be posting shortly.