Checking in for what seems to have become a monthly update- 

Despite the lack of updates, I'm still working on paintings. For slightly more frequent posts, feel free to follow me on Instagram @ seanwarepainting

Proof of continued painting: a recent imagined landscape. Using perspective for these kinds of birds-eye-views has become a bit of a theme for me lately and gives me a fun challenge. It's definitely Google Maps inspired, but working from imagination lets me have much more freedom. 


Last minute show announcement here:

I'm excited to be exhibiting several of my Italian landscape paintings in a group show, Travel: Home and Abroad. These landscapes were done during the summer of 2013, while I was visiting the beautiful city of Ascoli Piceno. The show also features work by a number of great artists of the region, including a friend and mentor from graduate school, Grant Drumheller

The opening reception for "Travel Home and Abroad" will be held on October 29th from 5 to 7 pm, at Macpage LLC, 30 Long Creek Drive, South Portland, ME. For more information, see Macpage's website.


Even though I officially finished this painting in 2014, after sorting through photos, I enjoyed seeing the progression of my largest painting, Acony Bells, and thought I'd share. 

I started painting on this particular canvas in January 2013, but it started to move in a particular direction after I spent the summer painting in Italy and did a small gouache study of an invented pseudo-Italian mountainscape. This aerial view was really interesting to me, enough that I spent the next 5 months or so trying to translate it onto a much larger scale. During the earliest stages, I was focused on finding an overall composition that I liked, changing horizons and hillsides. The majority of the time after that point was spent on establishing a sense of atmosphere and distance. Some of the biggest changes, however, happened after being framed and with a week until it needed to be hanging in a gallery. Shown in the last 3 images, I glazed over large portions of the canvas, sanded and scraped down others, and added the birch trees and lower left houses that dominate the foreground. It was daunting to introduce so much change into a painting with so much already invested in it, but I'm happier with the result because of it. 


After a short hiatus from posts, here's the latest from my studio. I have a new landscape in-progress that's focusing on those end of the day moments, when the light starts to do some amazing things. It's felt pretty therapeutic to be able to concentrate on all the small patterns that happen up close with so much plant life, especially on a larger scale like this. I'm planning to accompany the large paintings with a series of smaller studies that focus on those patterns and shapes. Expect to see some of these soon!

in-progress, oil on canvas, 3'x3', 2015


For those in the New England/Seacoast area who haven't already checked it out, my work is part of Everything Illuminated at the incredible Drift Gallery in Portsmouth, NH. The show features 2 other painters, Timothy Wilson and Kate Doyle, whose work is well worth seeing. It's a show that looks at landscapes in 3 unique ways and, as the title suggests, takes a great interest in light.

In this show, my work is a personal experience of the landscape, drawing from past and present surroundings. Occasionally and often just in the back of my mind, I find myself in instances of great appreciation and content for the moments happening around me. As a response, I paint to recreate these moments and to find them in new ways. In a fight to reclaim this fast-fading inspiration, I often to turn to invention, relying on memories and whims to fill in the blanks left. I take something existing, in memory, in observation, or in both, and cast it in a new and personal light. 

Everything Illuminated opened to the public on June 13th and will be on display until July 26th. For more information, go to: www.drift-gallery.com/2015-exhibitions


Prints are still in the works, but it's not too often that I do much with figures, so I thought I'd share today's painting. Rain and cold put a end to any beach plans that I might have had, so instead I sketched with a friend in a local coffee shop. Having seen others use it in the past, I decided to try painting with coffee. Although fairly similar to most inks or watercolors, I found a few differences in working with it. The coffee had a tendency to pool at the edges, rather than dry into a more even tone like most inks would and seemed slower to dry. Also, where as inks and watercolors can layer on top of themselves to create a range of tones, the coffee I used was pretty limited in this regard, meaning that the sketch stayed fairly light. Although I'm not particularly concerned, coffee isn't particularly archival, so it probably won't have the permanence of inks. All things considered, I enjoyed the small differences and might give some more non-traditional media a shot in the future. 

sketch at Adele's, coffee on paper, 9.5"x7", 2015


Here's a general overview of the progression of one of my recent paintings.

It originally began as a quick oil sketch of my house from memory, as I sat inside ignoring the several feet of snow outside. I was more interested in making an interesting painting than accurately reproducing my street, so instead my house became this framework off of which I could build something original. Working almost entirely from memory and invention, I adapted a few different perspective techniques, gave myself some rules and found excuses to break them; anything to keep that initial spark of interest going. I wanted to keep all possibilities available and didn't tie myself to the truth. Without much direct reference, I felt more free to alter things and invent my own additions to the neighborhood. After a few stages of changes, here's the result. 


There's a certain section of road that I drive by on almost a daily basis. Because of my routine, I typically end up passing by at the end of the day, when the sun is just beginning to think about setting. With the pines silhouetted against it, the light creates a wall of negative shapes; this collection of windows that stream past my car. The effect reminds me of a church's giant stained-glass windows. It's really just a few seconds, glancing by and then gone until the next drive, but the image has stuck in my mind enough that it led to this painting. 

Falling Off the Shade, Oil on Canvas, 24x30", 2015


With the blue sky monotypes from March still floating around in my head, I felt the need to try something similar on a larger scale. The way that the paper reacts with the paint in the prints gives the color an interesting saturation and I've tried to match something similar. Having more control over the process at this scale and medium, I think the painting has more atmosphere than the works that came before it. Moving from the original several inches of the prints to 2'x4' definitely gave things a different feel, and although I've tried to hold onto those things that I originally enjoyed about the prints, I find myself missing some of the spontaneity and looseness that happens more freely on a smaller scale. All in all, I'm still happy and plan to see what else I can learn from this back and forth of scale. 

Softly in Agreement, Oil on Panel, 48"x24", 2015


After staring at a big blank 44"x56" canvas for too long, I finally managed to get a new landscape rolling. I always push myself to find fresh and interesting ways to compose the landscape and I consider this latest painting a good example of that. Some of the detail is lost condensing it into this photo, but I've really enjoyed focusing on a much closer view of the landscape. Since most landscapes that I've painted in the past simplify fields of grass into broad planes of color, treating that huge mass of plant life more intricately and closely has been a refreshing exercise. As I move forward, I definitely plan on exploring this micro/macro view more. 

Along the Road Outside Berwick. Or Berea. Oil on Canvas, 44"x56", 2015


After a recent hike, I decided to take advantage of the last remaining snow before it finally melted and started this new landscape. Trying to capture a specific instance of light and time of day is always an enjoyable challenge, especially with snow in the forest. Because of lighting, snow almost never ends up being pure white, so the painting becomes about looking past the local color and finding the right relationships of warm and cool. 

Cathedral, 48"x24", Oil on Panel, 2015


My painting Acony Bells was recently featured in a wedding at the Drift Gallery in Portsmouth, NH. Although the landscape was previously sold, Acony Bells' owner was kind enough to lend it out to be the backdrop for this ceremony. Drift Gallery is a beautiful space and made for a great wedding location.  I'm glad to have been a small part of the couple's day and wish them the best. 

 photo credit: Ali Goodwin


I've begun to realize from recent paintings that remembering and picturing places from memory seems more natural to me when done from an aerial perspective. I'm able to recall the larger gesture of past events, but it's the smaller stories and thoughts that escape me. 

This new observation has begun a train of thought in my painting. Humor me:

 Time removes memories from the original event in a similar way that distance and space removes an observer from a scene. There is a loss of control and focus. Memories often seem to average each other out, combing multiple perspectives into one overview. With these paintings, I would like to reflect that removal, providing a fuller context, but at the loss of intimacy and detail. 

A Sudden Recollection of Time Spent in Morenci, MI., Oil on Panel, 2'x2', 2015


Overhead from All Directions, Monotype, 6"x12", 2013

More clouds this week. I went back and looked at some past prints of mine, one of which I ended up using to paint from. I originally made my monotype, "Overhead from All Directions," back in 2013 and had always planned on following it up with a painting, but never got around to it until now. There were definitely some changes that happened during the process, but the overall concept is still there and I'm happy with both. 


I've taken some time away from painting lately to build some frames for an upcoming show, but I've still been able to start this snowscape. With several feet of snow outside, I suppose it was only inevitable that I got around to painting it. Like several of my previous posts, this is still in-progress. I'll eventually stop jumping around from one work to another and finish one, but I'm enjoying it for now.


I only have time for a few quick progress photos of the painting mentioned in my last post. More to follow soon!


I've continued working on the landscape that I posted about last week for a few more sessions and ended up finishing it. A few more details were added, but most of the work was spent on adjusting the overall color and creating more atmosphere. I've also started a second similar painting that should end up pairing nicely with this first landscape. Hopefully after a little more work, I'll have pictures to post of this newest painting. 

Passing Horizon, Oil on panel, 2'x2', 2015

Passing Horizon, Oil on panel, 2'x2', 2015


After a few years of thick and opaque painting, I've started returning to glazes and much thinner surfaces, something I've found pretty refreshing. Here's a quick progression of an in-progress oil landscape that I've started as part of a larger series. This progression will be updated as I work back into the painting, showing the changes and steps from start to finish. 


After spending entirely too much time crammed into airplanes, I decided to play around with a circular window format for some aerial landscapes. I've always loved the window seat on planes, so I started the watercolors using what I could remember from past flights and invented the rest. It helps when creating a landscape from scratch that watercolors have some mind of their own, which presents lots of challenges to work against, but makes for a more interesting painting in the end. As chaotic as it can be, I find that watercolors bring something organic to a work, something that I'd find hard to recreate otherwise.