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Another watercolor portrait of granddaughter Vivienne; FLOWER BABY. Where do these things come from? I know, they come from my website! Glad I figured that out, this social media stuff is making me anti-social. Exacerbating my natural social hostility actually. Even more watercolors, portraits, cartoons and art miscellanea at


Despite my earlier bleatings about tramping through local hills and dale to collect nature samples for my CURIOUS PAINTINGS series, I stumbled across BIG RED, BIG LEAF, above, after having completed a bank transaction in downtown Ipswich. No getting lost in the forest or running my boat aground in the river, I managed to simultaneously complete 2 tasks at once, itself a HUGE rarity, by conducting bank business AND finding something new to paint. If I’d gotten a parking ticket, it would’ve been 3 things simultaneously but they don’t issue tickets in downtown Ipswich.      

At the very least, BIG RED, BIG LEAF provided me the chance to throw a lot of red paint around the studio; you’d be surprised at how little red is used in nature, excepting Autumn. More paint, red and otherwise, at


Lame word-associations aside, I found this large, old mussel washed up mid-way down Crane Beach in April of ’09. Must’ve been a fair-sized storm, or full moon high tide at least, to have dredged this monster up.  Similar to an earlier piece of seaweed, it’s so ugly it ‘s got to be considered beautiful. Respected, at least, for its age and its scars.

I just hope it didn’t follow me home. Where more CURIOUS PAINTINGS live.


Summer has made a few feints into New England already this Spring, enabling me to get out onto local Crane Beach to see what’s up. Along with the usual beach remodeling rendered by the winter weather – resulting in my totally and humiliatingly beaching my boat on a sand bar that hadn’t been there the previous season – I was surprised by a bright Blue Shell on Brown Beach. Seeming more tropical than we, and the absolutely frigid local waters, deserved, I saw this as my first invitation to the local party referred to as Summer. 

For more festival remnants, visit my collection of CURIOUS PAINTINGS. You’ll find Laughing ClamshellsRibbon Candy and, of course, Broken Bottles.


I’m happy to note that the ice on the Ipswich River broke some weeks back and things appear to have returned to some liquidity. Hard experience has taught me to expect at least 1 more sneaky winter storm, which will return everything back into a state of icy, mid-January perpetual blackness, but I can hope. I can’t trust New England weather but I can hope.

Amongst all the other warm weather items to be anticipated – Red Sox, lawns with more weeds than grass and old house-painting amongst them – I look forward to adding to my collection of broken bottles, seaweed, laughing clamshells, crabs and beach peanuts.

Visit my collection of watercolor Curious Paintings to view even more stuff.

My name is Brian. I draw and paint. And construct. Curious Paintings.

This is not scientific, but I suspect myself to be somewhat different from people’s typical  image of an artist: paint-splashing, cigarette-smoking, late-to-awake and poor-eating, martini-swilling, goatee-bearing, beret-wearing, Studebaker-driving, democrat-voting free-spirit.

Nope. I construct.

I construct images. Being somewhat results oriented, I hope to construct a painting out of each image, so, as a good contractor, once I have assembled what I think to be a good image in my head, I begin to assemble my resources and production processes.

Most of my art is reality-based, meaning part of my construction process involves taking photos as reference for the upcoming painting. Laying the foundation, to continue the growing-ever-weaker construction analogy.

If it’s going to be part of my Curious Florals series, I’m off to the florist for ideas. Even though I’ve already constructed the image, my eventual composition is still subject to the whims of the season as well as the local florist and FedEx deliveries. If it’s my Curious Seashores collection, it’s – duh – off to the beach. Crane Beach.

Kurious Kats is another story. Not much photo reference required but maybe go commando the day a new Kat is started.

Construction continues with tissues, alot of tissues. Vellum, or tracing paper, is another term for tissues and is where I begin to frame (I’m almost through with the bad building analogies, promise) the image. Here I work out the particulars of the layout – for instance, the relationship between a bottlecap and a flower – and how the image presents itself within its image area. In English, I suspect that means the size of the painting.

Once I’ve worked out the tissues, I transfer the image to watercolor paper. I’ve been using Arches hotpress watercolor paper since the beginning of forever, lately the 300 lb. bright white, as the heavier paper is reluctant to warp under the heaviest, most repeated watercolor washes (plus, the heavier weight makes my paintings feel more important.)

And then watercoloring begins. I find watercoloring akin to herding cats, you never know what you’re going to end up with. At least I don’t.  The only commonality I experience in moving from one watercolor to the next is my typical reaction to each: WHERE THE HELL DID THAT COME FROM?

So . . . I start with a careful construction and risk all that with my free-associative lack-of-true-watercoloring-skills d’enouement. In a Bambi-Meets-Godzilla type of way, it’s Anal-Retentive-Meets-Alice Cooper.

Yet watercolor is watercolor, it’s translucent, it’s two-dimensional light, it can float above the surface, you think you can see through it into the next room. Fun.

I finish roofing (sorry, last one) the image by highlighting and detailing my painting with colored pencil. The hardest, thin lead pencils, as I’m not happy unless I’ve articulated my image to a fare-thee-well. I began my career as an illustrator, a discipline that dictates viewers understand what they’re looking at no matter how contrived, and I like to bring that same craft’s clarity to my artwork.

Art by construction. With a grenade thrown in by my watercoloring. Curious Paintings.


– I vote liberal as well.  Democrat. So you were right on one point.

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