Monday, October 28, 2013


It's coming up on Halloween - a time when I feel compelled to paint black cats.  I've seen one skulking around the hill all summer. It's a real beauty, and anywhere near night time, those eyes shine against a very black coat like a seriously scary Stephen King description. It's spooky but very cool.

I looked up the reason why there's such an arresting shine in cats eyes at night. It's called "eyeshine."

1. A membrane on a cat's eye, called the tapetum lucidum, is designed to reflect light within the eye itself which allows more light to reach the retina. That flash of a cat’s eyes in the dark that you see once in a while called “eyeshine,” is light reflecting off of the cat’s tapetum.

Further reading revealed why cats see so well at night.

1.  Cats have elliptical pupils that are oriented vertically. This elliptical pupil allows it to open much larger than a human’s round pupil. This larger pupil lets in more light and enhances a cat’s vision in low light.

2. The cat’s retina is also designed for vision in low light conditions because it's made up of many more rods than cones. Rods are more effective than cones at absorbing light. Cones are responsible for absorbing color and yielding color vision (which is more limited in cats than humans). Much like dogs, cats see blues and violets better than reds.

So, the large pupil and reflective tapetum maximize the light that reaches the retina, which is saturated with rods that are very effective at absorbing light.  All of this works together to send a signal along the retinal nerve to produce an image in the cat’s brain, even in the dark of night.

Eyeshine • 8" x 8" watercolor and gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $200 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Wolfs Neck

I got really lost out around Wolfs Neck this past summer.  It's interesting to come to a crossroad and decide to go straight, right or left with nothing but the sun and your gut instinct for a guide.  And we're supposed to do this all the time - trust our gut instinct?  There were a few signs I followed to Wolf's Neck Farm, but after that I had absolutely no idea where I was.  I assume I was navigating the neck, hence the name of this painting.

I decided to head south, toward the sun, on what turned out to be a very curvy road.  I did pass some beautiful fields devoid of critters until I came to a hairpin turn and little bridge.  As I crossed the bridge, I glanced to the left at the bay, and then to the right where this pretty little marshy area caught my eye.  I parked, got out to stretch my legs, snapped a few pics and continued on my way.

Wolfs Neck • 8" x 8" gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fall in the Mountains

I first noticed this view a few years back. It's right off Route 27 heading north before you get in to Kingfield. I've taken a few liberties, but it will be recognizable to those who know it. Fall is just getting underway at this point.

I take the same route to Kingfield every weekend - have been for a very long time. There are a few exceptions, like the day I decided to try a rural route through Lisbon Falls - but that's another story and another painting.

To pass the time, I sing like Janis Joplin, play the License Plate Alphabet game, and put the car on cruise control to see how long I can go before touching the pedal. I also think about projects I'm doing, ponder life and look for new colors in the landscape like this one.

Fall in the Mountains • 8" x 8" gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Monday, October 7, 2013

Indian Summer

I painted this a while ago. It's another one of those "blues and greens of summer" scenes. The trees have since begun to turn, and have even appeared to have peaked up in the mountains. It's beautiful for sure, but I'm not ready to let summer go yet.

Tom built a hoop house over half our garden, so after we got through the first bunch of frosts - one being a hard one - we were thrown into some very mild daytime temps for several weeks. I guess you could call it an Indian summer. The last week of September got up into the high 70s and felt just like summer all over again. It was hot, but cooled right down into the 30-40s at night. The basil is huge and still growing and tomatoes are still ripening. The hoop house is saving us.

Indian Summer • 8" x 8" gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $200