Thursday, December 20, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Max (finish)

I finally finished this small portrait of my son Max. This was too fun and i hope to paint him every year. I put it in a small antique frame that I bought on Ebay and I'm giving this to my wife as a gift. I'm posting a picture here of said cool frame.

This is oil on wood and is about 3 inches in diameter..very small.

Button Factory Open Studios

This weekend (December 1 &2) is the Button Factory annual open studios in Portsmouth, I'm in studio #224, come on by Saturday or Sunday between 11am - 5pm if you'de like. I have a few bottles of red wine and maybe you'll get to meet Max. I only have a few paintings on the wall but it will be great fun to meet people, drink some wine and talk shop. There are over 70 artist represented and tons of great art to see. It's really a great time, I hope to see you there.

(click the link below for more info and directions):

The Button Factory


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ball Player sculpture (in progress)

Last night as I climbed into bed, I was going through my sketch book and came across my "Ol time ball player" drawings and thought, "I should really do a sculpture of these guys". I grabbed a gob of sculpey clay and started smashing it felt great. My wife fell asleep so I kept sculpting in bed, making a mess, until I finished this a few hours later.

I don't know what it is..I feel I have to make stuff lately. My productivity for 2007 has been very low and I swear my insides are responding by screaming for me to create more stuff. (Note to my insides: "Max will be in day care soon, so relax until then and stop keeping me up at night making crazy sculptures until all hours"...)

It was too fun though..maybe I'll consider sleeping more after I'm dead. For now, here are a few photos of the sculp in progress. I'm going to smooth out the surface and eventually paint him.

I'm going to post the original sketch I used as reference too.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Computer company poster illustration (finish)

I scanned my sketch and banged it out in Photoshop pretty quickly (for me!). I think the speed was necessary to give it energy and keep the color and lines fresh looking..great fun!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Computer company poster illustration (sketch)

I just got a quick turn-around assignment from The Botnay Bay computer company in Portsmouth, to do an illustration for there Christmas poster. it will be large (54x42") and hang in there window. It has to be a simple composition to be able to be seen from the street. I submitted this sketch and got the go-ahead to color it for the finish.

I'm busy as hell but it feels great to take an assignment again...I'm doing this for pure fun and to get some kinks out..a cupla holiday bucks is good for the soul too.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Max (underpainting)

Here is an under painting of my boy, Max. He's awesome! This is painted from a reference photo that I took when he was about six months old (artist note: there is no chance of him sitting still and posing). He's 9 months and some change now, growing fast and tall, already had five stitches, he stands and even sais a few words..(Papa, Mama, Hi) he keeps his mom and dad very busy.

This is a small, round painting, slightly less than three inches. I cut this circular piece of luanne wood by hand to fit an antique frame I bought on Ebay. This is a gift for Alison's birthday tomorrow (it wont be finished in time but that's ok) I want to do a bang up job on it and take my time. As you can tell by my infrequent post that my time is limited these days.

I hope you are all well.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Scotty's Cove dinghy (under painting)

I've been very busy raising my little guy and being a stay-at-home dad. As a result, I failed to notice that this under painting didn't, shazam! it is. This is "Scotty's Cove dinghy". This piece represents my effort to paint some larger works, it measures 16x20".

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Passageway (finish)

"The Passageway" (14x11") oil on canvas.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Passageway (underpainting)

I've been tinkering with this oil under painting of a room interior that I'm calling "The Passageway". This piece is for a project for an upcoming show at The Woodsum Gallery in Warner, New Hampshire called, "Elegant interiors and exteriors". The gallery asked about 20 artist to do interior and/or exterior paintings of some of the historic houses in Warner, NH. The finished works will be on display at the Woodsum gallery on September 28 through November 08.

A few weeks ago I was introduced to and welcomed into the home of Anne McNamara, the fairly new owner of a historic house on Waterloo street in Warner. I took a ton of reference photos and settled on this composition for that dramatic light and the simple design of the architecture. It has a story telling quality to it..I swear I can almost see the ghosts of the generations of people who passed through this corridor, coming and going, scuffing up that floor. Those same four panels of light coming through the windows have been spotlighting that floor every morning for centuries.

I've been re-inspired by an Andrew Wyeth book I recently bought so to me, it was no surprise that this particular image stopped my eye. I love the mood of it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kathleen Nicosia (Remembering 9/11)

Kathleen Nicosia
was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11 on September 11, 2001. I didn't know Kathleen but thought I would take the time to sketch her and remember that day. I read that she lived in Winthrop, Massachusetts for 32 years. I lived there for over twenty years myself and I wondered if we ever crossed paths in that small town. God bless her, her family and all the victims of 9/11.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ball Player #4 (sketchbook)

click image to see larger
This is one of my favorite months because of the weather, the anticipation of fall and the thrill of the Baseball season heating up before October. I've been sketching this ball player while watching the sox games in bed this week. I'm still reeling from the no-hitter earlier in the week by Clay Buchholz..most exciting game I've ever watched, no kidding. I don't even know this kid but I'm so happy for him.

Anyhoot, "Ball Player #4" looks like he's got one of those cool, old time nicknames like, Willie "Hit 'em Where They Ain't" Keeler.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Pacific Yachting Magazine feature

click image above for larger view

Toot-Toot! I'm tooting my horn today because I just received this months issue of Pacific Yachting magazine in the mail and there is a feature on "Boat stories and Art" (The enduring quality of boats and there inspiration to artist). The article includes the art work and short essay by this painter from Greenland, New Hampshire named Todd Bonita...wait, thats me, how cool!

Back in March I responded to Robert Genns Twice weekly letter, a websight forum for fellow artist. the topic was about artist and there love of painting boats. Jeffrey Briggs, the editor of Pacific Yachting magazine happen to read the letter and made a magazine feature out of it that includes fourteen artist from around the world who paint boats.

The feature has a nice color reproduction of one of my paintings and includes my post as it appears on Robert Genns sight. I'm jazzed! Many thanks to Robert Genn and Jeffrey Briggs.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ol Red

I finished this small dinghy painting last night that I'm calling' "Ol Red". He looks like he's been around the block a few times and his sides have been banging against the dock for a few dozen seasons. He could tell you tales, sing shanties and match you shot for shot at the Sea Snatch Inn whiskey bar by the docks. He's a hard worker. He's the goods.
but I digress...(The author would like to take a moment to recover from his own babbling tomfoolery). Thank you.
I experimented with a thicker under painting with this piece, using under painting white and Burnt Umber Alkyd (both are quick drying and allow for a thicker and more stable surface and an opportunity to establish texture early on). I also used Galkyd light medium (also quick drying) which allowed for many layers of glazing in a short period of time. I did this piece relatively quick (for me) and will continue to explore this process.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to the Sea snatch Inn for a whiskey.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Marlon Palladino (8 Year old artist)

My friend Tommy has an 8 year old son named Marlon who has been doing some extraordinary paintings with his mom Arika and has recently shared them with me and WCCO channel 8 in Minnesota. I think he's on his way to not only making some great art work but also becoming a superstar, no kidding. This is a recent letter from Tom and a link to Marlons web sight and WCCO feature:

"I have been holding out on spreading the word about the paintings that Marlon
and Arika have been doing this year, so I am sending out the good word
to you now. Marlon has been doing paintings with Arika for a long time,
but in the last year they have gotten more serious about their work.
They have done over 100 paintings, most of which were on display at an
art show in June that attracted about 200 people (mostly friends and
family) and at which they sold almost 60 paintings!

They have a website at
  • that I welcome you to check
    out. Please send Arika and Marlon a message from the site when you
    visit. Marlon loves the feedback. Forward the link to whomever you
  • WCCO Marlon Palladino feature
  • Friday, August 03, 2007

    Cape Cod Art Association

    I was juried into the Cape Cod Art Association as an "Artist Member" today..a nice birthday gift to myself, (I'm 39 today).

    I drove down to Barnstabe, Mass on the Cape (About a three hour drive with Friday traffic) in my 1999 Toyota Corolla with the broken air conditioner..did I mention it was like 378 degrees today. No, seriously, it was about a hundred, no kidding. Barnstable is where the Art association is and I had to pick up my paintings from the jurors. One of them whispered to me.."I'm not supposed to say anything, but you got in..they'll send you a letter in a week..congratulations". I was thrilled but I also was suffering from heat exhaustion and had to cut my Cape Cod trip short and drive home. Still not kidding.

    Tuesday, July 31, 2007

    Wind Talker

    I just finished this oil painting of a sail boat I'm calling "Wind Talker". This is loosely based on a photo I took of a very cool crafted sail boat in Provincetown last year. This piece represents my new effort to add more color into my work. I used liberal amounts of audacity when painting the sand that screaming orange color. It was fun to let go of the desire to match the color to nature exactly.
    "Wind Talker" (6x8") Oil on gessoed wood panel.

    (click on image for larger view)

    Monday, July 16, 2007

    To the Mother Ship

    I finished this small oil painting I'm calling, "To the mother ship". This lobster man is rowing his small boat from the shallows to his larger vessel, presumably moored in deeper waters not too far away.

    This is loosely based on a photo I took of a fisherman about a year ago in a harbor in Rockport. I made this guy a lobster man in my painting and added the orange jump suite to compliment the blue of the water. I was perched above him on a rock jetty and watched him work that single oar like a champ, he was cookin but made it look casual. What a cool way to commute to work.

    "To the Mother Ship" (6x8") Oil on wood panel
    (Click image for larger view)

    Monday, July 09, 2007

    Featured Artist @ The Art House Gallery

    Joan Orr of
  • THE ART HOUSE GALLERY(Brewster, Mass)

  • has featured me as her artist of the month. She also reports that I'm on pg27 of "Along 6A", the Cape Cod magazine that features galleries and artist. Nice!

    Monday, July 02, 2007

    The Humble Trapper (Finish)

    I finally finished this oil painting I'm calling "The Humble Trapper". It's oil on gessoed wood panel. (6x8")

    Thursday, June 21, 2007

    The Humble Trapper (Under painting)

    Naming paintings has never come natural to me, it always seems laborious but I feel satisfied about "The Humble Trapper". This image is based on a photo I took in Chatham harbor down the cape of a Cod fisherman returning from a bad day at sea. I was taking pictures of the harbor at sunrise and I heard the tired paddle of this defeated oarsman. It wasn't even 7am and this poor old salt already had a bad day.

    I snapped a few photos of him hoping he wouldn't notice and without looking at me he said, "I would have said yes if you asked me". I immediately felt small like a cheap paparazzi. That's when my mouth opened and I replied, "I'm gonna make you a star"...I hated myself even more, what a tool, I think I was trying to be funny and diffuse the tension,...nice one Todd! I was nails on a chalkboard ruining the serenity of a placid Chatham sunrise. He did warm up and tell me how horrible his fishing was.

    In my painting I made him a lobster man and added an old trap in the back of the boat. His reflection in the water will be key to the success of the finish I think. He's slowly rowing back to shore with an empty trap, looking back to the sea reflecting on the absence of his catch and maybe thinking about tommorow. This under paintng is raw umber on a gessoed wood panel that I glazed with a warm acrylic wash.

    Friday, June 08, 2007

    Green Apple

    I just finished tickling this small Green Apple painting. I think I'm becoming more comfortable with this working method of using glazes on top of my wet-in-wet paintings. I finally found a surface I'm happy with too, which is gessoed wood panel. I like this texture I'm getting by putting the gesso on with a roller (three layers, lightly sanding between each). it gives it a little tooth and textural look and makes blending smoother. Nice.

    "Green Apple" (6x4") Oil on gessoed wood panel.

    Thursday, May 31, 2007

    Baseball #2 (finish)
  • Click here to bid

  • I finished this painting last night while listening to the Red Sox game, very inspiring. They lost to Cleveland but are on a tear right now and are the hottest team in the majors.

    On this painting I've altered my working process to fit with my current lifestyle, which is part-time-stay-at-home dad. As a result, it makes more sense for me to work a painting in stages, stealing moments when Max is napping. I did a wet-in-wet painting of the ball over the monochrome underpainting. When that dried, I used glazes of oil color mixed with Liquin to noodle this Baseball to a finish. Liquin is a gel medium that thins the paint and is perfect for making glazes with oils.

    Tuesday, May 22, 2007

    baseball #2 (underpainting)

    I did this under painting of a "Baseball" in a small box using only raw umber and ultramarine blue oil paint. The light is the white of the gessoed wood panel. I simply thinned the paint with gamsol (odorless mineral spirits) and laid it on almost like I would a watercolor, preserving the lights.
    This is another study of items I've been placing in a small box for the purpose of capturing dramatic light. The objects seem to emerge from the darkness within the box if I light them correctly. I hope I can keep this spirit when I add color.

    Monday, May 14, 2007

    Cerulean Blue

    Whats shakin?! I finally found some time to sneak down the studio and slap some paint on this little canvas of a tube of "Cerulean Blue" paint. I'm hoping to get outdoors and do some plein air painting soon.

    Wednesday, May 02, 2007

    The Mooring Ball

    Max is napping so I have a few minutes to post this oil painting I finished last night. I just started being a stay-at-home dad three and a half days a week so painting and drawing time will be a little more limited. Not complaining, I'm having the time of my life with my little man.

    I'm calling this painting "The Mooring Ball". In this quiet boat sitting by the dock, the mooring ball seems like an after thought. (8x10) Oil on Linen canvas mounted on wood panel. This one is off to the the Art house gallery in Brewster.

    I hope you are all well. best, Todd

    Friday, April 27, 2007

    Boat painting in progress...

    I started this boat painting on a linen canvas mounted on panel. I also skipped the under painting step and I'm just jumping right in (it's more fun this way). I'm working from the focal point outward and finishing as I go along. Before I laid down any oil paint, I covered the canvas with a liberal wash of Burnt Sienna acrylic paint, let it dry and then did an ink line drawing of the boat and dock using a number 5 Pigma pen (with archival ink).

    I hope to lay in the water and dock and finish this soon.

    Monday, April 23, 2007

    Green Pear #2

    I painted this small study of a pear pretty quickly (quick for me anyway). I'm feeling more comfortable with my process but aware that I should always leave room for flexibility. This is "Green Pear #2" it's (6x4") oil on wood panel. It looks a lot different in style and technique from the green pear that I painted last year (See archives for April 09, 2006)

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    Bow (finish)

    Finally finished this last night. It was simply a matter of finding the time and I'm glad I did, I think I learned a few things from this painting. For one, I like to apply the paint to the surface with a pallet knife and then go into it with a brush. By doing so, I discovered an appeal in the variety of brush work and pallet knife strokes. When it came time to paint the snow on the dock, I realized the snow worked better left as is, with the pallet knife strokes. Variety and contrast in shape, color and value are all important to add interest to a painting, it only makes sense that variety in brushwork can also contribute to the beauty of a finished work.

    "Bow" is oil on gessoed medium density fiberboard. (11x14")

    (Click on image for a larger view)

    Monday, April 16, 2007

    Ball Player #3 (sketchbook)

    He lives! Hi all, I haven't posted in a week, I've been busy being sleep deprived by Max. Actually, I've been putting a few hours in daily on my "Bow" painting and will likely post that progress tomorrow. Today I am posting a drawing I did today from my sketchbook, this is "Ball player #3". I love these nostalgic looking characters, there uniforms and there gestures that scream that turn-of-the-century genre. He looks like he should have one of those classic baseball names like "Spittin Bill" O'Sullivan or "Eddie "The Crab" Cochrane...

    Feels good to put pencil to paper too.

    Monday, April 09, 2007


    I'm working on a bunch of paintings to drop off to the Art House gallery by the end of the month. This is the underpainting of an 11x14" piece I'm working on in oils. I'm calling it "Bow". I was thinking maybe "Morning Bow" too. Clearly it's the bow of a boat but the mood of this piece is quiet and reverend, it could be a respectful nod or bow to the warmth of the light coming from the rising, early morning sun. Surely, the new day will melt that snow on the dock.

    Wednesday, April 04, 2007


    I spent the morning in the studio and did a small oil painting of a key hanging off of a nail. I didn't post the under painting because I went right to finish with this one.

    I'm using a new surface, linen canvas mounted on wood panel. I'm not sure I'm in love with them yet. Perhaps it's the awkwardness of switching from wood panels to this surface, I don't know yet, I'm going to do a few more paintings with them and figure it out.

    One of the most significant differences is the visible weave of the linen on the finished surface. Compare it to Mondays post of the Mandarin orange which was painted on wood panel. It's a personal preference I guess, I'm just not sure which I prefer.

    "Key" (6x4") Oil on linen canvas mounted on wood panel

    (Click on image for a larger view)

    Sunday, April 01, 2007

    Mandarin Orange

    I placed this Mandarin in a small wooden box and adjusted the light to create some dramatic lights and darks.
    "Mandarin Orange" Oil on wood panel (6x4").

    Tuesday, March 27, 2007

    Icon Button illustrations

    I just got this quick turn-over, spot illustration assignment to do these button icon pieces for a small publisher. Real fun for me, I can bat them out pretty quickly too, so they are easy to do and quick cash. Nice!

    (Click on image to see them larger)

    Monday, March 26, 2007

    Bunny Sketches for 2008

    I no longer work fulltime for the Foreside company but on occasion I do some freelance illustration/design for them. Todays post is a few sketches of Bunnies for the 2008 Easter line.
    Tommorow I will be in the studio under the stairs doing a small oil still life painting I have already set up. I'm thrilled to lash some paint on canvas again.

    Thursday, March 22, 2007

    The Art House Gallery, Brewster, Mass

    I'm happy to announce my new representation relationship with the
  • The Art House Gallery
  • in Brewster, Massachusetts. I took a short trip to Cape Cod earlier this week and dropped off six paintings that will be hanging on the walls for the opening of the Spring 2007 season on the Cape.

    I'm posting the six paintings that are in the gallery (I'll be sending four more by June). If you are interested in the purchase of any of these paintings, feel free to contact the gallery (info above).

    Monday, March 19, 2007

    Dairy Cow

    Here is a small oil painting I did of a dairy cow from the Great Bay Farm, just down the road from my house here in Greenland. It's 4x6" oil on gessoed wood panel.

    (Click on image for a larger view.)

    Thursday, March 15, 2007

    Family Tree

    Just finished this color illustration for Houghton Mifflin book publishers. This is for a book that will have a spread with a family tree, the designers will add photos to this painting to complete the image.

    This was a scanned sketch, drawn very loosely and tightened in Photoshop and then completely painted in Photoshop using a wacom drawing tablet.
    (Click on image for a larger view)

    Sunday, March 11, 2007

    Soon (Finish)

    I finished this small oil painting of a boat that I'm calling "Soon". I actually finished it on Friday but have been waiting for it to dry before I scanned and posted it. It's oil on gessoed wood panel(6x8").

    (Click on image for a larger view)

    Thursday, March 08, 2007

    "Soon" (underpainting)

    I did a quick oil under painting on a gessoed wood panel of this little boat study. I'm calling it "Soon" because this boat looks like she's patiently waiting for something or someone. There is a boat to her left but an empty spot to the right, maybe she's next.

    Tuesday, March 06, 2007

    That's Silly illustration (Finish)

    Finally finished painting the "That's Silly" illustration for the Highlights spread. (Click on image for a larger view).

    Friday, March 02, 2007

    The Veteran

    I finally finished this painting after a gruelling week of sleep deprivation, illustration deadlines and battling dried paint...uugh! I think I'm beginning to better understand the subtle abstract designs in moving water.
    "The Veteran" is oil on Masonite. (10x8)

    click on image for a larger view

    Monday, February 26, 2007

    The Veteran (In progress...)

    I'm laying in paint on this little study whenever I can sneak down into the studio. I'm working from the inside-out on this painting because it's really a simple composition and I have a good under painting to follow the values with. It also helps avoid smudging. I'm hoping to complete "The Veteran" sometime this week, I've got a few illustration deadlines to sidetrack me.