Sunday, December 28, 2008

Colour, Obsession, Joy and Torment (New book)

I'm proud to have a page in the beautiful new Daily Painters book colour, obsession, joy and torment. Priced at $39, the 165 page book is 8" x 10" and features over 500 images by 146 artists from around the world.

Follow this link to learn more about it at Dailypainters. You can also order direct from or

Friday, December 19, 2008

Max sketch

This is a sketch I did for a painting of Max that I hope to finish before's a gift for's charcoal on a piece of gessoed and sanded wood. I don't want to rush it so we'll see what happens. I'm going to start an under painting right over this drawing and then lay some color down when it dries.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Down East

I titled this painting, "Down East" because it reminds me of the Great state of Maine. More specifically, the wonderfully gritty and earthy, blue-collar, hard-working, sea-fairing Maine. The mud, the fog, the muddy-water stain on the side of the boat, the seaweed hanging from the rope, the tattered buoy and overall weathered's all in there..wonderfully-gritty Maine.

This is a larger painting for me these days, it's 18x24" and painted on canvas. My tribute to the Pine Tree state deserved a grander scale. If you read this blog, you'll note that this is a larger version of a small study I did in September called "Muddy Cove Dory".

This new version was part of my recent open studio art show at The Button Factory. Fun weekend with a nice fix of friends, family and art. I met a lot of people and I am extremely grateful for all of your nice comments and kind words.

I'll post some of the other paintings from the show this week. thank you for looking. All the best,

"Down East" Framed (18x24")

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Button Factory Open Studio 2008

I rent an art studio space at the Button Factory in Portsmouth, NH and they are having their annual "OPEN STUDIOS"..woo-hoo...the 22nd year. this will be the second time I will participate and if you are reading this you are invited. Please come if you can, it's a very cool thing to do on the first weekend in December. I've got a bunch of paintings I'll have on the walls and there are over 70 other artist to see in the building..tons of art..a very good time. Wine, cheese, art and laughs...a fellow couldn't ask for anything more.

I'm posting another miniature painting along with a copy of the Open studio invite. The Miniature doesn't even have a name yet...lets call it "Cow #3 until further notice. It's only (2.5 x 3.5") oil on wood panel. I framed it with a very cool little frame I bought on Ebay. If you would like to purchase this little painting for $100, I will sell it to the first person who emails me at

I will be having an online pre-sale next week for subscribers to my oil painting blog.
I will give subscribers a first look at the new works and an opportunity to purchase the paintings that will be in my Open Studio show in December. If you would like to be on my oil painting email list and be part of this pre-sale, please send me an email at with "subscribe" in the heading or body of the email somewhere.

thanks again for looking and I sincerely hope to see some of you at the Open house..please introduce yourself and have a glass of wine with me.

All the best,
Todd Bonita

Thursday, November 06, 2008


I finished this 8x10" oil painting I'm calling "Ready". It feels wonderful to post again..I feel like I've neglected an old friend by my absence. I've just been swamped with work and life and simply didn't find the time to post. I've got a bunch of things in progress that I would love to put up here and ponder..I just need to find some time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


"October" (2.5x3.5") Oil on wood

Thats right, just two-and-a-half by three-and-a-half inches. I started this as an experiment with paint..trying out technique and exploring the medium on the smaller scale. I can accomplish experimentation faster this way.

I'm calling this October for the obvious reason that the image is a baseball and October is what it all comes down to in the American past time. This worn out ball pretty much sums up the season by the time October rolls around..injuries, emotional roller coasters, wins and losses,'s all in there. If Red Sox fans look closely, you can see the scar from when the Sox traded Manny earlier in the season. it's right next to the series of scars left by Ortiz, Lowell, Beckett, Ellsbury and the severe beating handed down by the Rays. Not to mention the late games and the five and a half hour marathon game over the weekend that anti-climaxed in a late night (early morning) Sox loss.

Anyhoot, I've got my fingers crossed for a Red Sox come back of gargantuan proportions.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Through the Heart

I finished this small oil painting that I'm calling, "Through the Heart". It's another small wood panel painting, (4x6"). I've been in a poker frame of mind lately..My brother is a professional Poker player and was recently in The World Series of Poker tournament in Vegas this past July. He (O.K. a glimpse of the back of his head) was on ESPN Tuesday evening, he was playing poker at Ray Romano's table (from "Everybody Loves Raymond"). He's a phenomenal gamer and extremely competitive..perfectly wired to be great at Poker. I would lose my shirt...What am I saying...I chose to be an artist and lose my shirt at the easel instead. I don't think my brother or I would have it any other way.

I was told early on that if you want to be an artist, be prepared to have the life and blood sucked clean out of your heart and soul. ("Oh my God, relax dude, I just want to paint some cool pictures")...As dramatic as it is, there is probably some truth in this statement for anything that you put your heart and soul into. I swear my brother has a few more gray hairs in his head upon returning from the World Series of Poker.
Some days you get the Bear..and some days the bear gets you.

This painting is about the days when the bear gets you. I got an email from someone asking if there were visual religious references here..(A spike through the heart...stains that maybe suggest the shroud or Turin or dripping blood) hmmm, no, I don't think I'm that deep..honestly. I really do just want to paint some cool pictures. I liked the aged surface of the wood and the worn playing card. Weathered and tattered textures appeal to my interest in objects that suggest ambiguous narratives. Great fun to paint.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Highlights Hi-Five "Riddle Me" Illustration

I just finished another small assignment for Highlights Hi-Five magazine. This one will be in February 2009 issue I think. It will accompany some text that will challenge children to come up with riddles for things they find in my illustration.

I love working for this company, very professional and great fun.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Robert J. Foti (1959-Sept 11,2001)

This is a drawing from my sketchbook of Robert J. Foti. It's my way of taking some time to draw and reflect on the faces of the people who lost there lives on 9/11. Robert Foti was a firefighter with Ladder 7 and responded to the World Trade center on September 11, 2001. He perished in the collapse of the south tower, his remains have never been found. I didn't know him but have been reading some heart felt words about him from people who loved him dearly. I read that when Robert was 12 years old he saved a boy from drowning on Lake Hopatcong. It seems he was destined to devote his life to serving and helping others. He served so bravely and gave the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11. Robert J. Foti is in my thoughts today.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Muddy Cove Dory

"Muddy Cove Dory" (4x6") Oil on Wood.
I finished this small oil painting I'm calling "Muddy Cove Dory". I took a short drive along part of the Maine coast about two weeks ago, looking for something to paint and I almost got whip lash when I drove by this dory sitting in the mud in an Ogunquit, Maine cove. This is just the kind of imagery that excites me lately. The filth, the mud, the fog...sweet love.
I pulled the car over and glopped through the very wet and sticky mud out to this dory and immediately thought of a story that's haunted me for almost eight years. I watched a TV show that reenacted the real life tragedy of a young girl who died when her feet got stuck in some mud flats. She drowned when the water eventually returned to the cove where she was stuck. How horrifying. She was a newlywed. She and her husband were going across these mud flats in an ATV when it's rear wheels became trapped. They got out and tried to lift the wheels out, that's when she burrowed her own feet deep into the mud. The more she tried to loosen the grasp, the more it swallowed her. Her husband went for help as the water began to come into the cove ..emergency personnel arrived and tried all day to free her. They became more desperate as the water slowly rose. The emergency team almost became stuck themselves, it was a real nightmare. When the water rose to her chin they gave her a tube to put in her mouth and attempted to raise it out of the water like a snorkel. Her head eventually disappeared under water. This was Alaska. Even though it was summer, the water is frigid. The tube eventually popped up and eerily floated away. My God..The horror.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

"Blue & Red Oars" (6x4") Oil on Wood.
Just finished this small oil painting that I'm calling "Blue and Red Oars". The more I look at Andrew Wyeth's work, the more I discover and appreciate his affection for filthy surfaces. He tells the truth in his paintings, nothing saccharine sweet or hokey...instead, lots of filth and reality. Like it or not. Rembrandt did that too. Reality and truth were important to him and it shows in his work. In his early self-portrait etchings he knew he was ugly and portrayed himself with an almost humorous, self-deprecating acknowledgement. How can you not get on board with this kind of honest approach. I write this because I've discovered something about myself as an artist and art appreciator. The pictures that have always turned my head or paused my breath have been the ones that portray this honesty to some degree. I think it's why my subjects in my recent paintings are getting filthier surfaces. I didn't realize it until I scrolled through my blog. There is something really beautiful in filth.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bosc Pear

"Bosc Pear" (6x4") Oil on wood panel.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Vrooom" (Tin Blue Car)

""Vrooom" (4x6") Oil on Masonite.

When I posted my oil painting of the red toy car "Vintage" last month, my friend Nina sent a comment that said, "Vrooom". I said to myself, "That would have been a much cooler name for the painting". Thanks to Nina's comment it became easy to title this one.

The rusty paint-chipped patina is what originally attracted me to this subject. To me, it suggest the stories and history that lie deep in the venerable spirit of this object.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

First day of the rest of your life

I finished this oil painting last week and I am just getting around to posting it. it was a commission for a fellow who turned 40 on July 20, 2008. I put his birth date on the boat where the boat ID number would normally go. He is from Massachusetts and the boat tags in Mass always start with "MS" and then the number. In this case, "M" and "S" happen to be the initials of this man and his wife (the one who commissioned the painting) Perfect! Just for fun, I added the initials of his two sons in Morse code somewhere in the painting ("N" and "T") can you find them? The most important thing to me is the finished piece, it trumps the intentional placement of added elements like dates, Morse code and initials. In this case it just happened to work out.

This boat is from Chatham, Mass (on Cape Cod) and is resting on shore in the early morning hours, about 6am. The sun is beginning to rise from the east and casts a reflective shine as this boat begins a new morning. This element helped to give this painting it's title and the appropriate message to any man turning 40.

Overall, I am really pleased with the minimal pallet and the warm and understated feel of this painting. There are a lot of dabs of paint on this that I feel helps to add interest to the surface and unify the piece.
If you would like to commission a painting, feel free to shoot me an email at Click the image for a larger view.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Vintage (Cast Iron car) finish


I finished this small painting of a Vintage Cast iron toy car. I love the chipped paint and over all worn look of this little antique and was excited to paint it. My idea was to add drama to it by the use of the faded dark background contrasting the almost-spotlight effect on the car itself. My way of elevating this ordinary object to iconic status. This also simplifies the design and focuses on the car and chipped's character. These small compositions (in this case 4x6") force me to become more intimate because of it's scale. A totally different experience than painting a larger canvas where I'm standing and stepping back. These small ones require me to almost hunch into this little micro world...I love them.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

YouTube Video Slide Show of my Paintings

I put this together through my Daily painters gallery for YouTube.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Key #6 (finish)

I finished this small commission of "Key #6" in the series.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Three Cherries (under painting)

I completed this small oil under painting of three cherries.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Toy Car

I bought a bunch of old antique toys on Ebay with the intention of doing some oil studies. I was looking for aged surfaces and worn patinas. I found this wonderfully paint-chipped, tin car for $3.95...I love Ebay.

Anyhoot, this is the first of the small oil studies of toys. This is the monochromatic under painting (what's that?)....The monochromatic under painting is the first stage of my painting process. It's where I use only one color, in this case, Burnt Umber to establish my values (lights and darks) and to get a feel for the overall composition before I add a full range of colors. I used this stage to also explore some varied brush work (note the soft lost edge on the top of the car as apposed to the harder line at the bottom of the car) It's a compartmentalized way of doing things that divides the process into thoughtful little steps. I didn't make it up, this process is more than 500 years old. I'm looking forward to slapping some color on this when it dries.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The New Day (under painting)

This is a monochromatic under painting of a boat I'm currently calling, "The New Day"...unless I change my mind and call it something else. I'm thinking of painting this almost entirely in earth warm colors like Andrew Wyeths pallet. It's almost there but if you look at Wyeths work, you'll notice there are plenty of cools and blues beneath the surface to give it a balance...whatever works really but I'm feeling a strong pull towards a minimal pallet statement here. The piece is sort of dictating that as it evolves, we'll see where it goes.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Key #6 (under painting in progress)

This is a commission of a Key painting, number 6 in the series...this time, I'm pushing that chipped paint look in the back ground. So far, I have transferred the drawing, did the monochromatic under painting and just started to lay down some blue in the back ground..that's it so far and it is already beginning to take shape. I like this stage but sometimes come to a screeching halt not knowing how it will evolve...this is a good time to put it away and start something new before I finish it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Young Trapper

This is one of the paintings I did for the Diamond Newman Gallery in Boston. It's an 11x14" oil on wood panel painting I'm calling "The Young Trapper". Another painting in a series of lobster men and fisherman in their small crafts.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Botnay Bay poster illustration

I finished this digital painting/design for a local computer company poster. It was great fun to temporarily switch gears from paint brush to digital paint brush.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Key #5

I just finished this small commissioned oil painting I'm calling "Key #5". It's (4x6") on gessoed board (My official favorite surface). I'm attracted to old wood with graphics or lettering on it as a background element in my paintings. I went on Ebay to find some old wood boxes with advertising on them and they are not cheap...I'm not the only one who likes them evidently. I may have to get lucky at flea markets or yard sales.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Makin' for the Bay

This is one of the pieces that I did for the show at the Diamond Newman Gallery in Boston. "Makin for the Bay" is an oil on canvas, 10x20". I like the odd size of this work. I also learned that I prefer working on wood panels rather than canvas. Actually, I know I should give some tighter weave canvases another try before I make this declaration.

The painting is a lobsterman rowing toward the bay. A theme I've painted before and will continue to do until the images stop haunting me. I came up with the title from rewording a line from the Steven Stills (Crosby, Stills, Nash) song, Southern Cross; "She was making for the trades on the outside and the downhill run to papeete"...I love the nautical imagery in that song and thought part of that line would be cool if I simply reworded it to fit the fella in my oil painting who was "Makin' for the Bay". The love is in that gritty slang "Makin". It's exactly how this lobsterman would phrase it.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Diamond-Newman Gallery Boston, Massachusetts.

I'm very excited to have begun a relationship with The Diamond_Newman Gallery
in Boston, Massachusetts. They were on my long term radar and coincidentally, they contacted me about a month or so ago and asked if I would put some work together for the "First Friday show" this June. I have been a fan of many of the artist in this gallery for a while and I am thrilled to hang my work on the same wall. Below is the notice for the show, which opens tomorrow evening in the SOWA art district in Boston at the 450 Harrison avenue studios. I will be there with Alison and then maybe have some dinner in the North End, I'm really looking forward to it. Come by if you can and say hello. There are so many talented artist in this building, it should be an inspiring evening.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Study for "Still" (8x10") oil on wood panel
"Still" (16x20") oil on wood, framed

I was reading about an artist on Cape Cod who does a small and large version of each painting at the same time. She uses the smaller study to experiment and help to keep the larger one loose. it makes sense to me...I already have the paint mixed and the composition worked out, so why not?

This post represents my first attempt at this idea and I must say that I can definitely see the benefits. the top image is the smaller (8x10") version and the second painting (shown framed) is the larger (16x20"). They are both on wood panel. I did indeed approach the larger painting with a looser
temperament and more confidence than I think I normally would have. I think this confidence reveals itself in the brush work and overall feel of the piece. What a eureka moment.

Another bonus was I think I was looser on the smaller piece as well, a complete attitude switch has taken place. I want to recommend this approach to any artist reading this...give it a try on at least one painting and I'll bet you a two pound wedge of cheese that you'll notice an attitude difference that comes accross in the work..and that aint' the booze talkin.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Highlights magazine finish

I finished this illustration of Pumpkins for "Highlights Hi-Five" magazine for children for the October issue. Great fun, as always to work with this company.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Here is another 6x8" oil painting I'm calling "Patience". This is currently on the wall of The Art House Gallery
on Cape Cod.

It was painted fairly quickly for me..there was a point where I was standing before it with my brush, looking for the next spot to paint and I realized it was done. It's always been hard for me to decide when a painting is complete, I've ruined many by over working them. The great painter William Merritt Chase once said, "It takes two to paint. One to paint, the other to stand by with an axe to kill him before he spoils it."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Heading Home (Top 'O the Mornin)

I finished this small (6x8") oil painting of a Cod fisherman returning to shore at sunrise. I sent this off to one of the galleries down the Cape with the title "Top 'O the Mornin". If you are familiar with this blog, you know I don't like naming paintings, I'm just not good at it and it always seems like I'm trying too hard. Anyhoot, the gallery owner changed it to "Heading Home"..thankfully. Much better and simple.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

First Light

I did this small oil painting for a series of works that I sent to The Art House Gallery on the Cape.

I'm calling this "First Light". It's an image of a fisherman rowing to his larger craft as the first light of morning emerges. I like adding figures to my paintings and hope to include more in future canvases. This is oil on wood panel (6x8")

Monday, April 21, 2008

Key #5 (under painting)

I just did this oil under painting of a Key for a commission. I like the look of the Jack Daniels wood advertising in the background of this Key. Definitely an area I will explore in future paintings.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Max's Ride (Plein Air)

First of all, I'd like to apologize to mother nature for all of the terrible things I've said about her since sincerest apologize madame. Today was a about as perfect a day as you could ask for.

Max took a nap in the afternoon so I set up my paint box and did a little plein air painting of "Max's ride" in the back yard. Just me and my paints, the sound of spring birds singing and the baby monitor cranking.

One of the challenges of plein air painting is the moving can see how much it shifted the shadows from when I began (in the first photo) to only an hour and a half later (the second photo).

One of the challenges of a stay-at-home dad plein air painter is a waking child. This one was cut short in less than two hours.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Magazine pumpkin sketches

How goes the great struggle? Alls well here thanks! I recently got an illustration assignment from my favorite children's illustration client, "Highlights for Children" magazine. They have a magazine for younger children called Highlights Hi-Five that I've done work before. Fun assignments, great deadlines and professional/trustworthy art direction...Thank you again Highlights, I love you.

this is for the October 2008 issue and they've asked me to do a bunch of Jack-o-Lantern paintings. I did some pencil sketches, scanned them in to Photoshop and added some value..viola!

They gave me the go ahead to add color, so I'll get cracking on that asap.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Venerable Spirit

I finished this small (6x8") oil painting of a dinghy I'm calling "The Venerable Spirit". OK maybe this is just the current working title because it doesn't sit well with me after re-reading it here. I think it's the "venerable" part. Maybe this boat deserves a simpler title. The word venerable seems like I'm trying too hard to have a sophisticated title or something...

Just thinking out loud here.
Anyhoot, let me sleep on it.

(Click on image for a larger view)

Sunday, March 30, 2008


I finished this small oil painting study of a Cherry on a plate. It's 4x6" and is oil on masonite panel.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Secret Key

I finished this Key painting a while ago too but I wasn't sure if I was going to add something else to it. My better judgement was to finally leave it as is. Sometimes a painting will let you know when it is done..and sometimes they take a while to get that idea across.

"The secret key" got it's name by finally letting me know it was done. The secret is out. This is oil on wood panel and is 4x6"

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Key #4

Finished this small oil painting last week and forgot to post it on this blog. "Key #4" is an oil on wood panel and is (7x5"). This takes on a different meaning after reading the critique from my last post.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Art and Critique spotlight #2 (Keys to Desire)

Elija from did another critique of my oil paintings, this time it's the series of Key paintings I did and you've got to see the slant he put on them...on me. It turns out I'm a horn-dog..go check it out for yourself, you can read Elijas latest critique of my painting here:

Thanks again Elija. Alison read the critique and thought he may be on to something.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Art and Critique spotlight

I recently received an email from and they are currently posting an extensive critique of my boat paintings. I would like to thank Elija and include a link to his very cool web sight. You can check out his critique of my work here:

I have to be honest and tell you I'm flattered and my ego is stroked, Elija has an amazing insight and quite a way with words.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Key #4 (Under painting)

I'm trying something new for me..I'm transferring about 20 drawings to 20 panels and will try to work simultaneously on all of them rather than just hammering one out at a time. A few of my art friends have suggested this for several reasons: 1) it will keep the work fresh and you'll be less likely to "worship" the current piece and loosen up 2) If you get stuck on an area simply move to another painting and return later with a fresh eye...and 3) Productivity increase. This is important I think, productivity means you are releasing all those ideas that are bunched up in your head. So, we'll see how it goes.

Today I am posting an under painting of another key, this will be "Key #4". It is an oil raw umber wash with some under painting white in some areas to make the lights pop.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Heifer (Finish)

"The Heifer" (14x11") Oil on Masonite
I finished "The Heifer" painting last night and put it in this wood frame (see below for detail and framed painting image). I was working on a companion piece to this simultaneously but ended up cursing the counterpart...perhaps later this year I'll revisit the companion. We'll see, lots to do and the limited time seems to fly.

I hope you are all well, the weather is looking better and I'm looking forward to dusting off the pochade to do some outdoor plein air painting soon.

Detail of "The Heifer" (click on image for larger view)

"The Heifer" Framed. email me for purchase inquire: