Paint Brush

Moon Over Anatevka - This is my first real attempt at putting paint on a canvas.  Previously I was just painting theatre flats.  But when I was painting the set for (and starring in) "Fiddler on the Roof," I surprised myself at this looming sky that hovered over the town of Anatevka.  I wanted a Chagal-like feel to it.  I went into almost a zen-like state because once I started, and 45 minutes later it was finished.  I wanted to capture that on canvas, but my scale was a bit off.  I should have used much smaller brushes for the canvas.  Still, the effect is okay.  One thing: I used the same paint on this than I did on the set.  It's not acrylics - it's actual flat wall paint.
The Hills Are Alive - This started as a theater set, too.  The original was on an 8x8 flat.  I liked it so much that I re-created it on canvas.  I also did a second copy of it for my unbiological daughter, who played Maria in our production of "The Sound of Music."
8D - This painting is rather small.  I had a small painting in my dining room of a mellophone against a piece of sheet music, and I thought that I could do something a little more personal.  The horn in the picture is my own horn - a Conn 8D with a Lawson ambronze brass bell.  The music behind it is the opening horn solo to Symphony No. 4 by David Maslanka, a solo that had brought me much joy and pain, depending on how well or poorly I played it!

This is currently the only painting of mine displayed in my house.
I Hope I Get It - This was a request for my friend, Lindsay.  She had just moved into a new apartment and asked for a piece of art.  I had just finished working on a musical revue with Lindsay, and one of the numbers was "I Hope I Get It" from "A Chorus Line."  I took a clip of her dancing and made it the focal part of the painting.  The spotlight rays were done with painter's tape and dry brushing -- rather easy!
S. S. American - "Anything Goes" is not one of my favorite shows, but when we did a production of it, the star was the set.  We had a two-story set that was beautiful.  I came up with a geometric, deco look that I captured here.  Also, I became a whiz at painting rivets!
Moth - This was my first painting to be inspired by a piece of music: in this case Moth by Viet Cuong.  The piece was composed for the Brooklyn Wind Symphony and it's stunning.
The dusty moth, though destined to live in shadow, has an insatiable craving for the brightness of day. Drab, but elegant, nervous, but swift, his taste for the glow of the flame or the filament is dire. Perhaps he dances in the light because it holds the promise that he might be as beautiful as his favored kin, the butterfly. For only there, in its ecstatic warmth, may he spend the last of his fleeting life, and believe himself to be.

I'm not happy with the scale of the flames on the moth's wings, but, if anything, this painting helped me find my personal style.
City Trees - I've gotten a lot of inspiration by the music of Michael Marksowski.  Aside for the fact that his music is extremely vivid, he's also a real nice guy!  City Trees is one of his most well-known pieces.  It's extremely haunting and moving.  Click the link for his program notes -- they're worth reading.

This was a landmark painting for me as well.  I really got to discover myself as a painter with this one.  The background is just a random city building.  I think it might be the Bowery.  The tree uses simple Bob Ross techniques, but the proportions worked in this case.  I also like my attention to lighting and the light source moving from right to left.
Remember the Molecules - Another Markowski piece, Remember the Molecules is a tougher interpretation.  It's not as literal as City Trees, even though its roots is in the book "A River Runs Through It."  I spoke to Michael directly about this piece and came away with yet more confusion.  What I got from it all was to focus on the important.  I wanted a busy painting as the piece itself is busy, and I wanted to refer to the fly fishing reference of the source material.  But the rest is, well, out there.  I came up with the water molecule idea and, as a rather amateur move, imprinted some of them with things that are important.  They include family, love, and music.  There's also a French Horn and the three note motif that makes up the piece.  Finally there is a Native American symbol for a river to symbolize the river of life.  I know, it's a bit much.
Brass Project - For Christmas my friends Ed and Dolores gave me a set of five square canvases that increased in size.  I wanted to do a series with them, so I came up with the idea of brass instruments up close.  I also wanted each to feature a single color.  And no, the largest one is not a Tuba, it's a Euphonium.

The fifth canvas, by the way, was used for the Optiplex 780 painting below.
Fragile Oasis - Peter Meechan's Fragile Oasis is a beautiful and challenging piece.  Granted, I didn't get it at first, but once I read the program notes and saw the video referenced, it all made sense.  The painting depcts the Aurora Australias as seen from the International Space Station.
The Frozen Cathedral - Inspired by John Mackey's piece, this painting shows Denali in Alaska.  I've superimposed a rose window on the mountain to give it the "cathedral" effect.  I don't think it worked.

But the music is heavenly!!
Hymn to a Blue Hour - Also inspired by a piece by John Mackey, this refers to the program note that the blue hour is "an oft-poeticized moment of the day - a lingering twilight that alos the sky after sundown but before complete darkness sets in."

This painting was a good exercise in fading colors.  With the exception of the setting sun, the rest of the painting is made up of shades of blue.

Oh What a Beautiful Morning - I had a production of Oklahoma! pending, and I wanted to both experiment with set painting techniques as well as design the flyer art.

This continues the color fading that I used in Hymn for a Blue Hour.  It also incorporates some cloud techniques I was learning, and later transferred on a large scale to the show's set. 
A Child's Garden of Dreams - This is inspired by David Maslanka's landmark piece, which I was priviledged to perform in Carnegie Hall.  The piece itself is divided into five movements - four of which are depicted here.

You can find many essays on this piece everywhere.  As far as the painting, the four sections involve a woman sinking into the moon, being chased by angry creatures, a universe (and tree) growing in a drop of water, and angels and demons.  (I originally had the angels on top and the demons on the bottom. I went back months later and switched them.)

My wife doesn't like this painting.  It creeps her out.
Optiplex 780 - I work in the IT field.  I've repaired more Dell Optiplex 780's than I can count.  I wanted to paint something for my office, so what better than the inside of an Optiplex 780?

Believe it or not, I tried to use some of the same stylistic techniques I used on City Trees
As Midnight on a Moonless Night - Back to music by Michael Markowski.

Michael has a great sense of humor, and it occasionally works its way into his music.  In this case he's referencing Twin Peaks.
"If David Lynch ever choreographed a ballet in a small red room, I hope this would be the music accompanying it."
Again, I tried to capitalize on the style of Optiplex 780 and, subsequently, City Trees.  You'll have to trust me on this one.
Famishius Fantasticus - Yet another painting inspired by the work of Michael Markowski.  I sincerely hope he doesn't issue a restraining order on me.  But hey, I'm on a roll!  No reason to stop now!

You can probably guess the inspiration for this painting, though admittedly it doesn't quite follow the narrative of the music.

Look closely at this painting.  I tried to incorporate little comic details, like light shining through the cloud on to the ground, or the mocking antagonist off in the distance, or the failed invention burning out.
Dance of the Witches - This is more or less a request.  There was a call to artwork for a concert poster for the Grand Street Community Band for their upcoming concert "Things that Go Bump in the Night."  This is inspired by one of their selections, "The Dance of the Witches" by John Williams.
The Cave You Fear - No, my mind is not going into dark places (or is it?).  Yet again I visit the music of Mr. Markowski.
... let's take a chance, let's venture into the dark unknown, let's fight whatever monsters we find in there.  And although we might not always previal, at least we'll have a story to tell by the end.
So, is the person entering or exiting the cave?  That's up to you.  The idea itself for this came quickly, as did its execution.  It took only two sittings to paint this one.  It would have taken only one, but I wanted the black and grey to dry before I put in the white highlights.
Saturn Returns - This should be the last one based on music by Michael Markowski.  I think.
The planet Saturn takes approximately 29 years to orbit the Sun. When we grow up and enter our mid-to-late twenties, Saturn "returns" to the same position in the sky as it was when we were born. This is often a time of great reflection, filled with intense self-questioning about our careers, our relationships, and our very sanity. The significance here is that the completion of Saturn's first orbit often symbolizes maturity as a person enters the next phase of his or her life—a "coming-of-age" from childhood to adulthood.
The three faces came out better than I expected.  The rings gave me fits.  I must have painted them 4 times.  But surprisingly Michael liked it so much that it's now the cover art for the music!
IDF - IDF stands for Internal Data Frame.  It's the part of a computer network that connects all of the devices to the switches.  Every network has at least one.  They start all nice and organized, but eventually turn into a rat's nest of colored wires.

I wanted a couple more paintings for my office.  I already did one of the inside of a computer, representing the hardware side.  This represents the network side.  Coming soon is one that represents the application side.
PEBCAK - What does PEBCAK mean?  All good tech support people know.

This completes my computer "office" set: Network, Hardware, User.
Horn and Mellophone - This was a gift.  I was asked to do a painting as a gift for my sister, who really like the Brass Essay and wanted something similar.  I used my horn and Mellophone as the models for this.

This went through a number of revisions.  Every time I think I had it finished, by wife did not.  I think I started it over at least three times.
Christmas With Big G - It's true: I have a Godzilla terrorizing the city under my Christmas tree.  It began as something between a joke and a plea for recognition, and has become a beloved tradition in my house.

I wanted to do a Christmas card, and this was it.  The caption below it was "...and in twenty minutes their lives will never be the same again."  Inside it read "Have a Safe Holiday."  You have to admit, it's kind of funny.

The wall paint behind the tree is the actual wall paint.  I like keeping it somewhat real.
Coney Island - This was a request from a couple whose wedding I had the honor of officiating.  They wanted a painting of something that meant something to them of their courtship and requested something from Coney Island.

This painting took an unusually long time, mainly due to the small details.  I approached it in layers, from back to front.
Horn Section - I'm definitely between ideas.

This one took surprisingly little time to paint.  For some reason though, I really like it.
Trumpet Section - I really liked the Horn Section painting, so I've decided to expand it other sections.  Sort of like a series!  The style is quite deliberate on these, and will continue as such.

As with the Horn Section painting, I am trying to stick to the same color pallete.
Clarinet Section - The next in the series of musical sections.

Before you ask, these are not people I know.

This one took me a little longer to do than others because when the layers kept coming forward, I realized that it needed more.  Originally It ended with just the 3, but I added 2 more to fill it out.
Trombone Section

Again the anonymous musiciains and again the same deliberate color pallete.

Eventually I'll have them facing the other direction.
Bassoon Section

I don't know how I feel about the 45 degree angle thing, but I like the perspective of the instruments.
Euphonium Section

When I finished this one I stepped back and noticed it came out a little lighter than the others.  What the heck?  Then again, the instruments are covering all of the players' concert clothing, so that element is gone.
Saxophone Section

I have to admit I'm a little disappointed in this one.  The player to the left wound up being more prominent than he should have.
Percussion Section

I want the instruments, not the players, to be the focal point of these paintings.  This one (and the Trumpet Section) makes the players more visible.
Oboe Section

It took me a long time to find an image I can start with for this painting.  Now that it's done, I will take a break from the "Section" paintings.  In truth, there are only a couple left to do ...
Two Guitars

These (they are two separate paintings) are for my brother.  They represent two of his favorite guitars.

I deliberately went more Impressionistic with these.  They were a test for a slightly different style.  I plan on going further with it.
Flute Section

I'm not done yet!  I've struggled with the Flute Section painting for some time as I haven't been able to find an inspiration image I liked.  Then I saw this and I liked how it was a little different but still featured the instrument over the players.
Uniphere in 4 Parts

As I reach the end of my "Sections" series, I'm now moving toward a series showing parts of Queens, NY.

The main intent here was to utilize some smaller canvases I had lying around that I wasn't using.
Tuba Section

I return to the "sections" for one of the last two.  As always I try to feature the instrument and, to contrast the others, to present it in a different angle.  Also, as always, I stick with the same color pallete.
M Train

The 2nd in my series around Queens, NY.  The M Train is the chariot that has taken me to work every day for the past 20-something years.  Here it is as I see it daily, pulling into the station.
Ridgewood Houses

The 3rd in my series around Queens, NY.  This is a block of the houses in Ridgewood.  They are unique and quite beautiful.
Eddie's Sweet Shop

Still in Queens.  This time I'm in Forest Hills and Eddie's Sweet Shop.  Anyone who knows the area knows about Eddie's and the amazing landmark that it is.
The Lemon Ice King of Corona

The Lemon Ice King of Corona is a true Queens landmark.  It's not fancy, it's not flashy, but everyone knows it and the ices are fantastic.

Houdini's Grave

Glendale, Queens is known for its cemeteries.  If you know exactly where to look, you can spot the grave of Harry Houdini, which, on Halloween, used to get a LOT of visitors.

This is Bonnie.  She was our first dog.  She was a foster dog -- she'd been passed from home to home and we couldn't figure out why.

She was older -- the vets figured around 9.  She also had health issues, but we never knew to what extent.

She was with us for only 4 months before she passed.  We will never recover.

Here she is in her travel bag with her pink bow and maroon towel that she liked to lay on.
The Sunnyside Arch

Just off Queens Blvd. in Sunnyside, Queens, there is the Sunnyside Arch.  It's a well-known local landmark.

This painting took far more time than I would have liked it to, mainly because I needed a white so opaque that it would stand out on top of everything.  After many failed attempts, I wound up using house paint that was being used on the trim work in my kitchen.

I'll take what I can get!
The TWA Terminal at JFK

I learned about this building back in the 70's and thought it was the coolest building I'd ever seen.  To this day it's still my favorite building in all of Queens.

We liked the idea of making a Christmas card so much last year that we repeated it this year.  This time it's a painting of the front of our house.
Briz 1

I sold off my Conn 8D to buy a Briz 1000, although this painting is of the Briz 2000.

But the real genesis of this painting is that I'm between projects, my time was limited and I had some smaller canvases to fill up.  So why not?

INFJ: Alone in the Crowd

I am an introvert.  This was my first attempt at trying something a little different - to try to paint a feeling.

I'm sure I don't have to explain the black-and-white person in the middle of all of the brightly colored ones, or the fact that his heart is glowing (it's supposed to be yellow, but it looks green).

It's not very subtle.

Hey, it's a phone!

No, really, this is for a theater set.  I wanted a picture of a phone to hide a panel where an actual phone is - in this case, the exact phone that is the subject of the painting.  Just a little gag. 

But the painting came out rather well!

My foray into the abstract.  I'm a fan of texture, as you can tell.

The heart in the middle was actually a fortunate accident.  It wasn't my intent, but now that it's there, it's the centerpiece of the painting!
Above Fantasyland

I love Disney World.  I wanted a view of all of the castles and towers that rise above Fantasyland, which is why the scale, proportions and geography of this painting is all wrong!

Bass Clarinet Section

Finally!  The twelfth and final section of the Wind Ensemble!  The models were the section from the Brooklyn Wind Symphony.
Solo Trumpets

Continuing with musicians and band, I'm now focusing more on "action" scenes with larger groups.
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