Thursday, December 30, 2010

Degas: Drawings and Sketchbooks at The Morgan Library & Museum

   I haven't been keeping up with my posting and painting these last few months since I've been on the mend, after shoulder surgery.
   However, I did see an interesting show at The Morgan Library and Museum last week. "Degas: Drawings and Sketchbooks". It is on display at through January 23, 2011. It only houses twenty drawing/oil sketches, pastel, and some pages from his sketch books. One sketch book was only about 3 x 5 inches and he used it beautifully, calculating his composition designs.
   There are some of his great drawings there. Even though this show is lite in the number of pieces, most of the work is fantastic and intimately displayed. I combed through it a number of times.

Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas (1834–1917), Emilie Bécat at the Café des Ambassadeurs, 1877–85, pastel over lithograph. Thaw Collection, 1997.88.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Recent Paintings Done in Cranford (2010)

 "Theatre at Night" Sold

 "Cranford Hotel Sunlit"


 "Perrotti's Meats"
watercolor  Sold

 "Eastman Ave Morning"

Another Recent Painting From Cranford (2010)

  I find Cranford to b
e a really inspirational town to paint in. I guess there is some sentiment there but also the historical charm that is mostly still intact. Many of the building were built around the turn of the century (19 -20th).

Awnings On North Avenue (watercolor)
12" x 16"

  The barber shop is unchanged from it's original state and seems to be run by some of the old school Italians. My grandfather was a barber and I believe he worked in a shop with a similar look. As kids, my brother and I used to try hide when he'd come over. He loved to cut hair and always seemed to cut it shorter than we wanted. After all we really liked the Beatles' look, but that was definitely out of the question. "Just a trim", he'd say.

Jean Gates Award

was pleased to get the good news that my oil painting of Maria won a Jean Gates Award from the Art Students League of New York. I painted this painting of her in May and actually forgot that I entered it in the competition which was judged last month.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Some Of My Watercolors From Wildwood (2010)

  On a recent trip to Wildwood, NJ I was able to paint on location. The weather was ideal except for one day the beach was filled with all sorts flies, which made painting impossible on that day. The boardwalk is always an interesting place to hang out and paint. A lot of characters - borders on the dangerous, mysterious, etc. Especially in the semi-deserted evenings.
 "Oxygen Tattoo on the Boardwalk"
watercolor "9 1/2" x 16"

"Side of the Pier"
watercolor "11 1/2 x 16"

"Hazy Beach"
watercolor 6" x 81/2"

"Distant Water Tower"
watercolor 9" x 14 1/2"

This one is done from Sea Girt
"Sea Girt"
watercolor 9" x 14 1/2"

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"North Ave and Eastman" Oil, 12" x 16" 6/2010

    I worked this painting outdoors for five days in downtown Cranford. This is the piece that I was working on when interviewed for the Cranford Patch article. I found the light especially interesting as well as the various shapes of the buildings and storefronts.

"North Ave and Eastman"  oil. 12" x 16"    Sold

    I wanted to keep the scene somewhat simple and quiet. There was a lot of interest in the painting by area store owners and passerbyes after my first day of painting. The first day I worked it as an underpainting which may be the reason.

    I wanted to approach this painting not as a usual alla-prima plein-air painting but rather a carefully thought a piece much like my figure paintings done in the studio. It allowed me time to get the colors and values correct. I'd like to do more of these in addition to the quick plein-air paintings.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cranford Patch Interview

This is from a recent interview in Cranford Patch a local online newssite. I've been doing a painting there lately. This was my first day doing mostly an underpainting.

This is an except:

Artist Finds Inspiration in Cranford
   Arist and Cranford resident Stephen D'Amato, 50,  finds beauty in the everyday scenes around him – namely the streets and old buildings that populate downtown.
"I walk around a lot around here – it's good for me because there's so much I find interesting in this town," he said." I really like the architecture and the fact that they've been here since the 1900s, and some earlier than that. They have more character to them than modern buildings. "

   Yesterday D'Amato stood painting at an easel on North Avenue East, detailing a mixture of light and shadows that show up on the corner of Union Avenue and Alden Street. He was doing what oil artists call an 'underpainting' – brushing in the light-and-dark tones of the scene first before adding the color. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

At the "Paint the Town" in Cranford, NJ

  I was happy to have sold my Quick Draw (2 hour painting). Sorry that I didn't get a photo of it, but I painted a portion of the Cranford Hotel. It was an intense two hours.

  JCAS did a great job in making this event a big success. There were thirty of us artists who were juried in to the five day competition and showing.

  Here are some photos.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Plein Air Painting in Cranford, NJ

  I'll be painting at the Paint the Town Cranford Plein Air Event. This event takes place from June 9-13th.

   This June, Jersey Central Art Studios together with the Chamber of Commerce and the Cranford Downtown Management Corporation will be bringing artists' to Cranford's sidewalks, parks, private gardens and meandering river. For five days, June 9th through the 13th, over thirty juried professional artists from New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Kansas, and even Germany will be using Cranford's historic architecture and natural beauty as their inspiration. This event will allow the public to watch over the shoulders of nationally known painters as they bring outdoor scenes to life on their canvasses.

Here's a link for more information on the event.
This is jcas main site.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Dan, by Stephen D'Amato, Oil on Linen, 14" x 14" 2010

Paris Trip

 These are a few of the pictures from our trip to Paris a couple of weeks ago. The weather was cool and a bit rainy. The sites were incredible and the art was amazing as expected. I didn't really paint much but I sketched a bit at some cafes.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Maria" by Stephen D'Amato, oil on linen, 5/2010

   I finished this painting of Maria last week. I really liked the color of her sweatshirt and I wanted to create the painting in a harmonious manner. I also decided to use some shapes around her in a non-descriptive or vague way to keep the emphasis on her face and her Serene expression.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Frick Collection: "European Painting Exhibition for 2010"

  The Frick Museum is showing European paintings from Dulwich Picture Gallery in London. One of the major collections of Old Master pictures in the world, particularly of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This is definitely on my list on shows I want to see this month.
  The featured works are; Rembrandt van Rijn’s Girl at a Window, 1645; Sir Anthony Van Dyck’s Samson and Delilah, c. 1619–20; Thomas Gainsborough’s Linley Sisters, 1771–1772; Sir Peter Lely’s Nymphs by a Fountain, c. 1650; Canaletto’s Old Walton Bridge, 1754; Gerrit Dou’s Woman Playing a Clavichord, c. 1665; Antoine Watteau’s Les Plaisirs du bal, c. 1717; Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s Flower Girl, c. 1665; and Nicolas Poussin’s Nurture of Jupiter, c. 1636–37. 

 Masterpieces of European Painting from Dulwich Picture Gallery
March 9 through May 30, 2010


Monday, February 15, 2010

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island 9" x 12" Watercolor 2009

  I've painted this scene a number times. There is a section at Liberty State Park where both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are visible. My Grandparents came through Ellis Island back in 1912 I think?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Stormy snow weather photographs 2-10-10



  Went for a walk in the snow today and took some pictures. We really got a blizzard this time.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Interesting Lecture at the Art Students League Feb. 2, 2010

Jennifer Pena's "Return of the Raptor"

  Jennifer Pena gave a really interesting lecture with her birds of prey. A great opportunity for sketching and taking photographs.

(Photo by Rebecca Blackwell ©2003

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Eastman Plaza Building", Watercolor, 2009, 12" x 16"

   I painted this one Sunday morning. The town was a little more quiet and the coffee shop was opening up for the day. There is something about an early Sunday morning in a town when the pace is a little slower and more relaxed than usual. A memory of growing up in Pompton Plains, my Dad used to go to the bakery and pickup jelly donuts and crumb buns for our breakfast. This painting has some of that memory instilled in it.

   My watercolor and oil paintings done outdoors are refered to as "plein air"*  paintings and are painted a more loose manner than my paintings done in the studio. These "plein air" paintings are usually done in one session. There is a lot to consider in doing this type of work. The biggest challege for me is the changing of the light. I prefer working in the early morning hours or late afternoon, when the light and shadows are more dramatic.
*En plein air (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃ plɛ ˈnɛr]) is a French expression which means "in the open air", and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

My sketchbook from the summer of 2009

  These are some of my preliminary drawings for my larger paintings that were taken from my sketchbook last summer. I worked on location in Cranford, New Jersey and Jersey City, New Jersey. With some or the sketches I added a little watercolor or just watercolor. The sketchbook for me is a way of organizing my ideas, reference for time of day and the light to be recorded. Sometime I'll do numerous studies before deciding on a final painting. The sketchbook is also personal, like a diary, with a sense of intimacy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

At the opening of The Ridgewood Art Institutes' exhibition

  Standing beside my painting "Jersey City Docks" during the opening reception last Sunday. A very good turnout and  a lot of good work to be seen.

Photo courtesy of Jim DelGiudice

Friday, January 15, 2010

Opening at the Ridgewood Art Institute's juried exhibition

   My watercolor painting "Jersey City Docks" has been accepted in the Ridgewood Art Institutes 30th Annual Regional Juried Show. The Opening Reception is on Sunday, January 24, 2 - 4pm.


The show is up from Sunday January 24, through Sunday, February 12. Gallery Hours are Monday - Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

  Address: 12 East Glen Avenue, Ridgewood, NJ  07450  Phone:  (201) 652-9615
  The Ridgewood Art Institute's Website is

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Inspriration: This is John Singer Sargent's El Jaleo 1882

One of my favorite paintings by Sargent. Check out the Virtual Online gallery in my "interesting sites" section. An amazing collection. This painting is at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It is on my must list to see. His watercolor paintings are some of the best if not the best. From time to time I like sharing some artists work that I find inspiring.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Opening at the Small Works Show

   Posing beside my watercolor painting, "Wildwood Pier", at the opening of The Small Works Exhibition on Tuesday December 1st. The Show has been extended until January 24th, 2010.
   Manhattan Borough President’s Office Gallery1 Centre St. NY, NY