Ellida at the Sea

Ellida at the Sea
Also visit www.sandbergstudio.com

Friday, October 21, 2016

New Painting

This painting is a watercolor on paper (7" x 4 ½"). Though the setting is imaginary, the colors are based on studies done in Central Park at night (3 of which are posted below). 
          I think this painting is a fair demonstration of one of the pay-offs of color studies (a definition of which can be found in my post of May 15), which, in addition to being a crucial means of technical exercise, are also a fertile means of thinking on paper. The very act of laying colors down onto a surface initiates a chain of thought, which is accompanied and directed by words, but enacted by images, the goal, in this case at least, being the formation of a composition.  

Summer Color Studies

With fall coming on, I am posting the last of the outdoor color studies which were a personal assignment for the summer. The first five are watercolors on paper and were done in New York City parks.
The last two are oils on canvas and represent views of my neighborhood in Queens.

Friday, September 9, 2016

New Ink Painting

(India ink on panel, 8 ½" x 11")

This painting depicts a real staircase located in midtown Manhattan and is a study for a future oil painting. The impressive aspect of the design of this staircase is the stylized use of the hand railings to stress upward motion, which from any viewing angle leads to the climax of the skyscrapers above. What the architect achieved in structural terms, I can use (in the oil painting) for a somewhat different purpose and use the lines of the handrails as a kind of "lightning strike" visual cue, guiding the eye to a human figure at the top of the stairs. With that figure staring off into the sky at the buildings, and the buildings disappearing into the blinding light of the sun, I can create a nested chain of visual cues, leading inescapably from foreground to background.

I submitted this painting to the Shades of Gray drawing competition, a yearly contest for drawings done in black and white media.

Also, here is an edited version of an earlier painting called Night Light. I altered a confusing shadow on the figure's face and softened the lines of her hair. I think she is much prettier now.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Color Studies

 This summer I have been focusing on making color studies from nature. These are few oil sketches I made recently, plus 2 imaginary sunsets I made last summer. The degree of realism varies from sketch to sketch, but focusing only on the illusion of light, I think one can see the difference between working directly from nature and working from imagination.

Central Park grotto 

Midnight sky,  Florida

 Brighton Beach, New York

New York Harbor

Imaginary Sunset 2015

Imaginary Sunset 2015

Please see below for an earlier post on the subject of color studies, plus a link to an excellent short essay on the nature and purpose of color studies written by the sculptor Sandra Shaw. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016


This is my new painting. It is titled Pilgrim 

                                                                                                             (oil on canvas, 20" x 28")

The limitations of photography make it difficult to reproduce the appearance of a painting satisfactorily. An artwork must be seen in person in order to be fully grasped in the manner that the artist intended.  This painting is intended to be viewed both from afar and close up, and in both daylight and artificial light. I present here a variety of photographs focusing on different sections of the painting in different scales and in different lighting. I hope this will give the viewer some sense of the real experience. 


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Color Studies

These are a few studies done in oil. They are not works of impressionism but are rather "color studies," a type of exercise which painters use both to plan compositions and, such as in this case, to exercise their capacity to capture the tonal key of a light setting by rendering the relative values of color in that setting. 

Sandra Shaw, an artist whom I respect, states the purpose of color studies as such: "A brief sketch quickly executed heightens the artist's awareness of what he is looking at, and motivates him to commit to canvas the essential elements of the subject. By executing many color studies from nature, the artist learns to grasp the essentials of a subject and establish them as the foundation of his work."
(Link to Sandra Shaw's website)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Parallax Still Life II

This is my second serious attempt at the depiction of what may be called the "parallax" effect of our two eyes, that is, the observable doubled image of entities not directly focused on. I post it here in order to document the progression of the idea, but with some degree of reticence since, in certain respects, this painting fails where the first succeeded. 
            My primary concern in these paintings is to depict the integrative action of the eyes as they focus on an entity. I must stress that my purpose is in no way to project a distorted or arbitrarily manipulated representation of vision. It is focus that I am concerned with, not distortion. 
            As such, a crucial aspect of the representation is that the objects depicted in focus must have some self-assertive quality. They must stand out from the doubled objects as meriting special attention. This is where my first attempt succeeded. The object of primary focus is the piece of paper on which is the drawing of a tree, which stands out in that it is a drawing and that it bears the signature.  In this second attempt the objects of primary focus, the mirror frame and the branch, are mundane relative to the other objects depicted, and as such do not assert themselves as demanding the viewer's attention.  The lesson here is that if one is to present an object specifically as in focus it must be something worth focusing on. 
             The second aspect in which Parallax I was successful is that the object of primary focus resides directly behind an object in parallax—the edge of the cabinet. By directly superposing the one in front of the other, the action of looking past the cabinet towards the drawing is made clearly intelligible. In Parallax II I attempted to repeat this effect via the position of the candle in front of the mirror frame. However, their intersection is so limited that the effect is all but lost. 
             The success of my second attempt lies in the depiction of doubling itself. I am becoming more confident in selecting what features to isolate in the doubled objects without effacing their 3-dimensional reality.
             I have not chosen my next subject, but I will use the following guidelines in its selection: a more limited array of objects, an emphasis on the superposition of object in front of object, and the correspondence of relative focus to relative value-importance of the object.  I also think that a more selective use of lighting could be valuable.