I began painting in the late 1990s and since then have mostly focused on figurative work. In 2016, I moved to Florence for a year and took a series of classes and workshops at the Florence Academy of Art. Since 2017, I have taken various classes and workshops at the Grand Central Atelier in New York.
Over the years I've been inspired by a range of artists in styles ranging from abstract to figurative. As a practitioner I am drawn to figurative art in part because I find the technical challenges compelling but more importantly because well crafted paintings inspire such an immediate human connection. There is tremendous emotion and feeling in a well-composed and executed figurative painting.
I paint from life as much as possible, most frequently in plein air landscapes and still lifes. On occasion I paint portraits using photographic references, but this is out of consideration for the sitter. I much prefer to work from life if possible.
Other paintings are shown under the "Italy" section of this site, which show work during my year in Florence.
I have become more interested in the overall tonal effect and atmosphere that is possible in a drawing; not just proportional accuracy which was my early goal. I constantly experiment with different media that might create a divergent effects. Different tones of paper, grades of pencil, charcoal, types of pens and different inks - I am always on the hunt for how different tools or the interplay of varying media might affect the final image. I generally work on toned paper, and most commonly I build a drawing in layers, starting a light underdrawing in pencil or charcoal and then adding darker layers in graphite or ink on top of that.
My drawing focus has sharpened relative to the early years (the work here is shown with more recent pieces towards the top). Whereas early work included animal sketches, patterns, and landscapes, my more recent work has been primarily oriented to portraits. This partially reflects my comfort with the technical skills needed to do a reasonable portrait. But I also find that a drawing is a highly compelling medium for a portrait - that pathos, feel, atmosphere, emotion are easier to achieve in a drawing of a person than in a painting (at least for me). With this in mind, I have invested a fair amount of time studying and copying old master portraits, trying to learn techniques of the masters that I can incorporate into my work. Rembrandt etchings have been a particularly valuable learning resource for me, since each of his portrait etchings are packed with emotion and the etched lines offer a precise recounting of how Rembrandt constructed his images. The most notable example of a crossover of the learnings from these copies to original work is the series that I did on African migrants, six of which are shown here.
I moved to Firenze, Italy in August 2016 for the purpose of taking a sabbatical year to study painting and drawing. I began the year at Il Bisonte, a print making studio in San Niccolo, learning acquaforte etching on zinc and copper plates. In October, I began a series of workshops at Florence Academy of Art that ran through July 2017.
It would be hard to overstate the importance of this year to my artistic development. I keenly recall my first week at FAA, being humbled and exhausted from standing for eight hours trying to render with charcoal and without the aid of a photograph. But the progress began almost immediately. My ability to render improved; I became quicker; my management of an oil paint palette became systematic. I also just began a daily practice of drawing and/or painting in the studio or just in a sketchbook. With the studio time and the off hours practice, I made notable artistic progress over the year. I am tremendously grateful to all my talented teachers at FAA. They literally opened doors of artistic opportunity for me and rekindled a dormant passion for drawing and painting.
The work here is displayed in reverse chronological order, showing more recent work first.
Very few things are as intrinsically beautiful as gold. Gold captures light in a way unlike any other material or surface I have ever seen. In low light it looks blue. In sunlight it dazzles. In cloudy daylight it overpowers its surroundings with a luminous glow.
I decided after seeing the Klimt painting "Adele Bloch Bauer" at the Neue Gallerie that I wanted to experiment with gilding. For a period, I started gilding everything that I could: canvases, Montauk beach stones; over-wintered vegetables (a gourd from our Montauk garden is shown here), swords, portraits, etc. As I learned more about the practice of working with gold leaf, I came to appreciate its attributes more. The subtle glow of gold approximates magic. Even rudimentary efforts have a glow of Byzantium or High Renaissance. Even pedestrian efforts look remarkable with gold.
I have worked with gilding in two categories: works on canvas and works on objects, mostly stone (apologies: there is a good deal of overlap between the "gold leaf" and "stonework" categories).
What is not easily represented by the photographs is the range of appearances that the leaf imbues depending on the light. Some of the most interesting effects from gold leaf are in low light or in strafing light from the side which can't really be conveyed in a photograph.
There is a beach just west of the Montauk lighthouse that has acres of 5-15 pound beach stones (i.e. unusually large). It is unlike any other beach I have encountered in terms of the sheer number of beautifully shaped stones. Some of them are symmetrical and others oblong, but virtually all have been smoothed and rounded by decades (millenia?) of pounding surf. I love hunting for beautiful stones on that beach and I decided to build sculptures with the stones that showcased their natural shape and beauty but also offered a chance for a visual double take. I want the viewer to pause even momentarily to wonder, "How is that possible?" when looking at one of these stacks.
I have been tremendously inspired by the art of Andy Goldsworthy and these stone stacks grow directly out of Goldsworthy's work. His quest to find profound beauty out of the most prosaic natural landscape is infectious; Anyone who has seen his film "Rivers and Tides" will not stand on a rocky beach the same way afterwards. I certainly don't.
The stonework here involves playing with Montauk beach stones in different ways. In some cases I use gold leaf, in others I carve the stones, and still others I add Swarovski crystals.
Beach stones are some my favorite objects for attempts with gold. With leaf, the stones appear as oversized gold nuggets or gargantuan treasure (particularly apt in the Hamptons). The "ice cream cone" stone is half white quartz and half gold leaf. The scree field on a foggy day with gold stones scattered about is Ditch Plains beach denuded of sand after a storm.
I also like to carve the stones and then sometimes gild them. I carve with carbide or diamond tipped grinding tools and stone sanders. The five petal flowers were first carved with a grinder and then I lined gold leaf in the recesses. The "figure 8" stone was an elongated stone to start but became a more sensuous set of curves after a few hours of a grinder. Similar for the "ear". While I love shaping the stone, granite is very difficult to work with. It is insanely hard and granite dust is toxic. I have so much respect for the massive granite sphinx in the lobby of the Metropolitan Museum in New York (I have put a picture in here for reference). That was obviously carved by hand, most likely with soft metal or rock carving tools. It must have taken forever.
I also try to think of patterns with crystals that would look intriguing on the stone. I find Swarovski crystals beautiful and the contrast between these "gemstones" and the rougher beach stones is to me compelling. The pink squid was one idea; so too was covering with pink crystals the gash in a stone shattered in a drilling process. The pink crystal skull was my first attempt at carving a beach stone. As a rookie, I attacked it with a hammer and chisel rather than an electric grinder. Six hours later, I had barely dented a 1/8" skull divot. That was my last hand powered assault on granite.
There is so much more that could be done here and I look forward to experimenting. Montauk beach stones are a beautiful and special resource.
I make music (originally under the "Rooster Bogle" name; hence the "Bogle Records" logo) using a variety of software programs (Reason in the early 2000s, Garageband 2006-2012, and Logic Pro since 2013). Some songs were created entirely using a computer and midi inputs, others incorporate vocals, harmonies, and real instruments. Since 2011 I have focused more on bluegrass and acoustic music and for these I play guitar, mandolin and occasionally the banjo. I sing on many of the tracks. I have been very fortunate to work with some exceptional musicians on a number of songs, including Jane Perrino, Tim Schmidt, Jay Keuper, Courteney Cuomo, Pete Miser, Chris Domig, Patrick Metzger and Chris Arndt. Tim Schmidt, Jay Keuper, Jane Perrino, Courtney Cuomo, and Jasie Britton and I have played music together since 2014 as the Tammany String Band.
On this site I have posted a few of the 80 or so songs that I've posted on Soundcloud. I did not want to overwhelm this site with a blizzard of links; anyone interested in the full roster can find them at Soundcloud here:
Below are links to the four "albums" I have made, two of which ("The Flying Sheep" and "The Enchanted Horse") were collaborations with Max Ryan and Pete Miser and a number of other talented friends. Those are available for free download here:
I have also made one album with the Tammany String Band called "Sing Songs of Love", with Tim Schmidt on guitar and vocals, Jay Keuper on bass, Jane Perrino on vocals, and myself on mandolin and vocals. It is available below:
A number of other Tammany String Band performances are in the video section.
My first "album" was called "Edgy Romance" from 2003. It featured a number of songs I made using Reason software, including "Piece of Pie" for which we also made a video (the link is on the video section).
I made another album in 2004 called "In the Key of Terminal C". This had a greater focus on electronica/house music elements.
Music has been on of my main creative interests in the last few years and I am very grateful for the collaborations with the people listed above. Thanks for listening.
I have made a number of videos over the years and below are links to a few that are hosted on YouTube.
The Tammany String Band recorded a number of videos, a few of which are below.
"I Know You Rider" from June 2016:
"You Ain't Going Nowhere" from June 2016:
Tammany String Band concert at Rockwood Music Hall, June 29, 2016:
"Waitin' on a Train" is a video to accompany an original song written with Chris Domig as a submission to NPR's 2016 Tiny Desk Concert Contest.
"Piece of Pie" - is an video to accompany an original song I made in 2003. The resolution is poor because it was shot on an early digital camera. The video was inspired by Michel Gondry's amazing video for the White Stripes "Hardest Button to Button".
"Migration" - An homage to Montauk from 2006:
"The Bad One" - This was a comic opera with original songs produced and recorded with Eric Oliver in 2004.