Wednesday, September 30, 2015

En Plein Air: One Tree Too Many (Oil, 8 x 11)

I meant to go to my friends Dennis and Rocky's farm to paint this morning. However, on my way there, I noticed a cut down pine tree lying in grass and the whole scene was kind of attractive, so I pulled over and parked my car on road shoulder.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Alla Prima Figure Painting: Gabriel (Oil, 18 x 13)

I didn't go out to paint this morning because of the news about Michael Spegiel. In the afternoon, I decided to go to Winkler Court Nursing Home due to my craving for painting figure. I haven't been there for more than a year I think. Kirsten and I were happy to see each other again.  She recommended a couple of their residents. I finally chose Gabriel, who was really a good model. It was a good thing that I had to rush myself and almost had no time to think. I believe I got his likeness.


My Memory of Michael Spegiel

I was too shocked to believe my eyes and ears when I heard his name mentioned at yesterday's evening news and saw his face on the screen because of the double murder of his ex-wife and her fiance and his jumping to death right before today's sentencing.

About three years ago when I went to my friend Woody's boatyard to paint, I noticed a small old modest boat docked there. It was not in very good condition with a funny name the Rogue Dog. It was the kind of old boat for multiple uses. However, I found the whole scene is worth painting so I stopped and painted it. When Woody saw the painting, he said maybe Michael would buy it from you when he came back. That was the first time I heard his name.


A few months later, I went to Woody's place again to paint. Michael happened to be on deck so we greeted each other. Michael was very friendly. He must have heard about me from Woody and invited me on beard the boat. There was on board a lady and a puppy, too. We chatted a little and I found him every knowledgeable and down to earth, spending almost all his life on seas. He held a PhD from University of Florida in physics but seemed to be involved in a wide variety of businesses and researches, even inventions. Before I left, he asked me to bring my painting of the boat next time saying he was interested in buying it.

The time I took my painting to his boat, he happened to be back from grocery shopping. He invited me on board again. It was lunch time so he said, "Why don't have lunch with us?" I accepted. He asked the lady to prepare a lunch for me, too. I didn't and don't know his relationship with the woman. Her role on board seemed to be between a maid and an assistant. He asked for the price of the painting. I think I offered a reasonable price for the size, considering the market in Florida, but he still haggled a bit and I accepted his counteroffer. Over the lunch, we talked a lot of things. He talked about cruising around the Caribbean area. I asked him if he traveled to Cuba because I was always fascinated by the country, he said of course. He laughed and told me that people there were desperate to sell their cigars and he smuggled quite a bit and made some money. He also told me he was writing a novel about navigation. Ever since then I often stopped by his boat whenever I was around the dock.

One day I offered to paint his portrait and promised it would not cost him extra time and he might do whatever he wanted so long as he was comparatively stable. He agreed saying how about in his cabin when he was writing his novel. Therefore, I set up in his crowded cabin and painted his portrait. He was delighted when I gave him a quality color photocopy. He insisted I autograph it.


Later I knew he was writing the novel  Cool Runnin. The book seemed to be a success. The recorded reviewer  give him five stars. You may check it out at the following link:


The following is how Amazon introduces the author:


Michael Spiegel is native to South Florida with a lifetime’s experience on the local waters and extensive cruises throughout the Bahamas and Caribbean. He has a doctorate in physics with both experimental and theoretical interests. He is the holder of multiple patents and is Vice President and chief scientist with a medical device company currently developing a unique new electrical therapy. He has had numerous magazine articles published covering his eclectic interests, which range from the sciences, yacht design, wind surfing, and boating stories. He is the author of Reality in Transition, a non-fiction book that examines global problems and offers analytic solutions. Years of encouragement to “tell his stories” resulted in this novel, Cool Runnin. It is drawn from his relationships and personal knowledge of that time and place.

You may follow the murder case or Michael's suicide at the news link:


I don't care much about the case. I feel sorry for the loss of human lives: both the murder victims' and Michael's. It is a tragedy. Of course, anyone who is involved in murder is not in the right state of mind. We will never know what he was thinking before, during, or after the killing. To me I feel sad because a meaningful life whom I knew and spent some happy time together ended like that.

Friday, September 25, 2015

En Plein Air: Brewing Storm (Oil, 12 x 9)

I went to Pine Island this morning with Lee Plein Air Group. It was my first time to be there.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Alla Prima Portrait: David (Oil, 20 x 16)

David is a new member of our Portrait Studio Group, a soft-spoken gentleman, originally from Iowa. It happened that this morning our scheduled model didn't show up. After Trudy called him, we were told that the model had an emergency and was hospitalized. David was very nice and volunteered to sit for us all. It was an interesting piece of serendipity. The first time I saw him, I told myself that it would be nice if I could paint David, So overall, I enjoyed today's painting very much. I wish we had not asked him to pose without his glasses. Quite a few members thought it would be easier to handle if he didn't wear glasses and insisted this way. However, you could tell his eyes looked different.


Monday, September 21, 2015

En Plein Air: Do You Remember Me? (Oli, 8 x 12)

I was driving down Tuckhoe Road slowly this morning to search for something to paint when around a hundred yard away at the end of a farm trail a horse standing behind the fence, staring at the road. I knew the owner but hesitated to paint him. My experiences told me he might not stay too long there. Finally I convinced myself: "So what? You can always scrape the canvas and start all over again if he leaves." So, I turned into the farm trail and hurried to set up. As a habit, I always paint mobile objects first. In spite of moving around, he didn't leave the spot before I almost got his image.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

En Plein air: The Newmans' Kingdom (Oil, 9.5 x 15.5)

This is the Newmans' heavily wooded farm, good for practicing how to manipulate values in painting.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

En Plein Air: Centennial Park Give-Away Event (Oil, 11 x 10)

I meant to paint Fort Myers Downtown Farmers Market this morning. When I got there, I realized I got the wrong day. They were there only on Thursdays instead of Fridays. However, there happened to be a give-away event going on under the big pavilion. Therefore, I set up on the lawn by the parking lot and made a sketch of it.


Friday, September 18, 2015

En Plein Air: Harns Marsh (Oil, 12 x 15)

It was a cloudy this morning and for a time even sprinkled a little this morning. Fortunately, it didn't last long and stopped. This place was very quiet. What you could hear was birds' chirping and fishing occasional jumping out of water. Over the two hours, I saw only two people. A photographer was shooting birds there. The other guy was a horse-back rider.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

En Plein Air: Bill's backyard (Oil, 9 x 12)

Bill has a quiet home at the end circle of Shady River Rd. which is nestled in thick woods by the Orange River. His backyard is so deeply shaded from a dome-like canopy that it is pretty cool and dark there. The sun pierced only through some cracks in the foliage of the trees and makes a sporadic pattern which constantly changes on the ground. You hear nothing but insects' singing or cows mooing.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

En Plein Air: Time for Maintenance (Oil, 15 x 12)

I went to Owl Creek Boat Works this morning and saw the Naples Princess held in the air by a dock crane. She was a luxurious commercial yacht with a streamlined outlook. It seemed the boatyard had good business. I had never seen so many boats docked there waiting to be repaired.


Monday, September 14, 2015

En Plein Air: Lane's Beat-up Truck (Oil, 10 x 12)

I didn't go out till after lunch today and I didn't want to go too far. I drove to my friend Lane's horse farm. There was nobody home. As usual, I helped myself and opened the horse gate and closed it behind me lest any loose horses should get out of the fence. When I walked behind his house, I noticed a beat-up truck which I didn't see before. Since his horses went too far away to paint, I decided to paint the truck.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

En Plein Air: Woody's Drive (Oil, 13 x 10)

This is my friend Woody's drive, which leads to his boatyard. the entrance is on US Highway 80 (Palm Beach Blvd).




Saturday, September 12, 2015

En Plein Air: Sweet madeline's Honey Farm (Oil, 9 x 12)

I have been there a couple of times. It was the first plein air painting out since I was back from NY, a kind of warm up. I didn't go very far.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Alla Prima Portrait: James (Oil, 20 x 16)

This was what I did at VAC Portrait Studio Session and it was the first time since I was back from New York. The model was an 18-year-old young man named James, who was our group leader Trudy's nephew and came from Long Island, NY. James has sharp facial features which was good for portrait painting.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

En Plein Air: Bright Sunny Morning on Queens Blvd. (Oil, 12 x 9)

It was almost at the same spot as I did yesterday. I set up in front of Biu Bella Caffe on Queens Blvd before they opened to business for the day. I did the painting fast, around an hour and a half. By the time the waitress opened its door, I was wrapping up the sketch. My wife happened to stop on her way back home from the Tai Chi class. She took from behind the picture of me painting in the street .

An interesting anecdote occurred this morning. A father and his daughter passed by my easel. The father who was an art gallery owner stopped to talk to me. Neither of us noticed that his young daughter took out her coin purse till she claimed that she wanted to tip me. That made me almost double down with laughter. Maybe I did look like a starving artist.



This is my last painting before I go back to Florida. So Bye to my friends in NY and Hi to those in Florida. Hope the weather is mild down there and we can go out to paint together. I was pretty stingy with paint this morning because I needed to clean my pochade box and put it away for my next visit to NY.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

En Plein Air: Hazy Morning on Queens Blvd. (Oil, 9 x 12)

If you are familiar with Queens blvd., you should know that on both sides of the broad thoroughfare there are courseways on which vehicles are allowed to be parked along its long narrow dividers. From early morning to late in the night, you will find cars parked bumper to bumper on this road.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

En Plein Air: Bridle Path (Oil, 9 x 12)

It is a bridle path in the Forest Park. Trail riders are often seen clopping along the winding path between sun dappled trees, usually in a group of several ones sauntering through the woods.