Vacationland (detail)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

And The Living is Easy?

Yes, it is summertime and in some ways the living is easy.  No snow to shovel, no oil bills to pay, no morning scrambles to get the boys off to school.  But there's a lot going on for the Baker family this summer and while much of it is good, I'm finding it hard to get in much painting.

We are undergoing a major home renovation.  My studio is becoming the kitchen and the kitchen is becoming my studio.  The light was wrong for these two spaces: the studio got lots of southern light and was often too bright, while the kitchen had the steady - but darker seeming - northern light.  The project is stretching out over at least five months.  While the work is being done I am working out of a third floor bedroom that's tiny with less-than-ideal lighting; it also gets wicked hot on summer days.  In the long run, I will get an amazing studio out of this renovation so I'm not grumbling too much.  But my productivity has waned a bit.

It's likely that your summer is relaxing, but busy, but should you find yourself with time to visit a gallery or two, there are several spots where I have work this summer.  I just dropped this painting off last week at Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland, Maine.
February, Oil on linen mounted on panel, 25 1/4 x 38 inches, 2015
I also have work at Artemis Gallery in Northeast Harbor, Maine.  This is a great spot with a collection of numerous Maine-based artists.  It's tucked just off the main street of beautiful bustling Northeast Harbor with a shaded courtyard that offers respite on a summer's day. And if you are lucky enough to be on Nantucket this summer, Quidley & Company has two of my paintings in their summer show.

Friday, June 19, 2015

About Those Tire Tracks

In the last post I ended with a tease about an upcoming post.  I hinted at images of a Ferris wheel and tire tracks.  And while I may be slow to post, I am at least a man of my word.  Here are two recent paintings.

Our World's Fair, oil on linen on panel, 22 x 45 inches, 2015
It's not unusual to see yards in Maine with old boats and cars as part of the landscape.  It is unusual to see an old Ferris wheel in someone's yard.  Along Route 1 between Sullivan and Steuben there is a house with such a lawn ornament.  It is awesome and odd and always catches my eye. "Our World's Fair" uses this scene with favorite model Lauren and younger son Corin in the foreground.

Town Hall, oil on linen on panel, 22 x 45 inches, 2015
Thanks to miles of isolated pavement and the need to find creative outlets, one can find some intriguing tire mark patterns throughout the state.  Several years ago a documentary was made about this art form.  "Town Hall" feature's a parking lot in the town of Sullivan and a local model named Victoria wearing a yard sale prom dress and my wife's winter hat.  The painting was just delivered to Quidley & Company's Nantucket gallery.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Digging Out

While it's April on the calendar, winter hangs on in Maine with few signs that spring is actually coming around this year.  It's snowed twice this week and this part of Maine has set records for annual snow accumulation and sustained cold temperatures.  It was a good winter to lay low.  And if wintery weather wasn't enough of a reason to take it easy, a torn ACL in a soccer game led to surgery in December and several months of limited activity and rehab.  I'm not back to playing soccer yet but I've returned to full days of painting and am excited about several of the projects that I've recently completed, along with those currently on the easel.

Three portrait commissions filled my studio time just after the new year.  Other completed works include Mid-September and a painting of my older son in his natural habitat titled Reader, Morning Light.  I'll post some "work in progress" photos in upcoming blog entries.  There may be tire tracks and a ferris wheel for you to see.  Until then, check out the aforementioned completed paintings AND my redesigned website.  

Mid-SeptemberOil on linen mounted on panel, 16″ x 20″

Reader, Morning Light, Oil on linen mounted on aluminum panel, 14” x 14”

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pictures at an Exhibition

A solo show of my work is up at Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland, Maine through July 26, 2014.  The opening on July 5th was a terrific event.  I was able to see old friends and longtime collectors and meet some wonderful new folks.  Noticing Jamie Wyeth look at my paintings was a quiet thrill for me.  As always, the gallery space looked beautiful, the paintings were hung and lit expertly, and the food and drinks offered at the opening were delicious.  While I can't offer you a bacon-wrapped scallop here on the blog, I can offer you some shots of my work in the gallery.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Independence Day

Fireworks and lobster are the usual hallmarks of a 4th of July weekend in Maine.  This summer I'm adding a gallery opening to the mix.  And if you're in Maine, I encourage you to do the same.  My solo show at Dowling Walsh in Rockland, Maine opens this week and lasts for the month of July.  The opening reception is on Saturday, July 5 from 5 to 7 p.m..  The gallery is easy to find on Main Street, as it's just across from the gift shop entrance of the Farnsworth Art Museum.  More than a dozen of my new paintings will be on display.  You'll recognize some of my usual models, including my wife Sarah and boys Finn and Corin.  I even sneak into one of the paintings as a model.  Anna B. McCoy, granddaughter of N.C. Wyeth, is having a show at Dowling Walsh Gallery at the same time so if you make it to the gallery, you'll be able to lose yourself in the lines and colors of contemporary realist painting at its finest.  

Projector, oil on linen, 43" x 64"

Succession, oil on linen, 36" x 64"

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Winter is still clinging on here in Maine. Yesterday's snow and today's frosty morning are evidence of its tenacious grasp. Nonetheless, the sun is out and the days are lengthening--both are good things for a painter.

I'm still hard at work as I prepare for my exhibition this summer.  As you can see, paintings are accumulating in my studio. As always,  I wish I had more storage space for the finished pieces.  I'm constantly warning the boys to be careful as they wander in after school. Thankfully, there have been no accidents so far. Perhaps it's time to get frames started so that I can deliver a few paintings to Dowling Walsh?  Though I'm on schedule (and by some miracle maybe even a little ahead), I've got a few more pieces to go before I can begin to relax.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Painter's Assistant

I've just finished a large painting for this summer's show at Dowling Walsh Gallery. The 76” x 58” piece is an aerial view of a model and my younger son daydreaming as they lie on their backs on the blacktop of a local schoolyard. They're surrounded by bits of lazy summer life: discarded shoes, a bicycle, a cootie catcher (remember those?). And they're inscribed with chalk drawings that make the scene more fanciful. As I was working on the final details for the piece, I sought inspiration for the chalk drawings. I asked Corin to doodle on the lower portion of the canvas with some sidewalk chalk. I wiped out many of his drawings, but kept a couple of them and copied them over in paint before erasing his originals. Should the piece sell, I have a feeling I will owe him a few ice cream cones as compensation.