Tag Archives: impressionist landscape

Portugal Roundabouts

In Portugal, there are some unique things you take notice.  How the homes sparkle with hand-painted tiles, the abundance of lemon and orange trees, and the popularity of pastelerias, or bakeries in English.

But if you’re living in a small town such as Sao Joao Da Madeira, what is quite noticeable are the roundabouts.  Yes, the little circles that makes the cars go round and round.  There are more roundabouts in this town than any others in Portugal.  Because of the abundance of these man-made wonders, there are maybe one or two stoplights in the entire town.

My studio window faces one, and believe me it’s always action-packed.  There’s a poetry in motion of watching cars going around these circles.  Many cars don’t slow down.  They can’t go too fast though because of the pedestrian crosswalks.  Not by law, but by honor the drivers must stop whenever someone crosses the street.  It’s one of those things that just makes you go “I don’t ever see that in the USA”.

Which brings me to painting two different “Roundabouts” paintings.  Two different perspectives.  The centerpiece is the oval-size water fountain in the middle of the circle.  But I wanted to try different things with both works.  The sunlight on the streets, the shadows, the depths of the trees.  “12pm” was done a few days before “6pm”.  Rather than usually explaining, I would like for you to observe and see the difference and make your own conclusions with both paintings.  The only intentional plan I had in mind was to keep the brushstrokes simple in a complex composition.  I also saved the cars for last, as I wanted to add a little life to the roads.  If you ever get to Portugal, you’ll see what I mean.  What do you think?


Portugal Roundabout 6pm

Portugal Roundabout 12pm


Fort of Solitude


Fort of Solitude oil on canvas board 9.5×13″ 2015

Solitude is not a bad word, unless you’re an extroverted person who shudders of the thought. I personally think the word “solitude” gets a bad rap. It tends to let others know that you’re not as sociable or fun as someone who is the life of the party. But I never wanted to live my life pleasing others that way either. I happen to like my peace and quiet much of the time, reading or painting, or walking around, maybe a little bike-ride. And other times, I like to attend an art opening, maybe some event in the local area with art, music or food. So does that make me an introvert or extrovert? I think a little of both, and I think the labeling is part of the stigma that’s gotten way out of hand. The introverted/extroverted debate will always go on.

But you know what? I don’t care what people think of me. I want them to know I’m a good man, with a good heart, and enjoyable to be around, and also a real person who speaks his mind. I’m conservative with a free spirit too. Whoa, try to put a label on that! My point is that labels do not matter so much. They seem to only matter when people want to pigeon-hole you into something that comforts them. Crazy, free-sprited artists? You mean lawyers or doctors can’t be the same way? Perception is an illusion based on others’ views they get from the media and other people. I’m not trying to escape reality, just challenge the perception of what really matters in this life. If you want to change the world, start working on yourself. I’ve been doing that for years, but getting better at it as I get older. That’s one of the perks about becoming older, understanding and accepting who you are. And it never stops, either.

Solitude is all about perception. I made a painting based on that moment in time. And I let everyone else say what they want and think what they want. Because it’s ok. Free will for humans is accessible for everyone.

Solitude is a big part of my life. But not the only part.  What are your thoughts on solitude?

Valentine Roses at the Pond


You know when you get up in the morning, you can never tell that you’re going to paint a great painting.  It really never enters my mind as much as “I want to paint something beautiful that moves me”.  Well, that’s just what happened.  And I finally brought out my little pochade box to the Yang San Lang Art Musuem.

Just a three-minute walk from my house where that street is known for its arts community.  Truth be told, I haven’t found any artists in that community yet.  It would be nice!  So I went to sit in the museum grounds at a little white table and put my pochade box down.  One of the staff saw me come and sit down and she started calling to me, walking to me and I was thinking “I hope I’m allowed to paint, oh man!”.  She told me that the museum closes in an hour, so I was relieved and told her I would paint something really nice here.  I’ve visited the museum before, but never painted at the pond there, where it’s quite lovely and reminds me of something I would see back in Lambertville, NJ.

I already had a blue ground painted before, as sometimes I paint over previous paintings.  Nothing intentional, just something abstract and thought that this could be a great pond painting, something similar to Monet.

my little set-up before painting the scene

my little set-up before painting the scene

I just had two brushes and a few colors to mix. The composition was a bit complex and it’s good to simplify things. I wanted the white wall in the background, it was a great contrast to the colors of the roses and plants. There’s also just a hit of the pond in the foreground. I was painting rocks but its seemed to get lost in the dark underpainting, so I put some more foliage to cover them. I wanted to leave some of the pond, as the right part with its lush pink light, I wanted to keep that. But if I used the whole white wall in the piece, then you wouldn’t see the pond anymore. That would be sad. So now it becomes a but surreal as the white wall gives way to the pond. I like to make things interesting too. And the leaves in the pond were like a little Monet tribute, I’m glad I didn’t cover the pond.

how it looked an hour later...

how it looked an hour later…

When I got home, I added a few final touches to the roses, which were the hardest part. But I also wanted it to be the most colorful and thickest part. You need to have a point of interest and the roses were the stars of the show. And the final version is what you see in the first picture. A nice first day with my amazing pochade box!