Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Olana - Two Views

Two more paintings from the visits to Olana.  The top image was created with a limited palette (white, yellow ochre, alizarin crimson and lamp black).  The bottom image shows the view across the Hudson River. (c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Town Park, Greenville

While in Greenville, we painted at the local town park on a sunny day.  For a change, I painted most of this painting with my right hand.  By doing so, I could not put much detail into the painting.  It was a good experience. (c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Diptych - Pond at Olana

While painting at Olana during the workshop with John MacDonald, I tried something different by taking two small panels and painting a diptych of the pond. (c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Greenville Arms (nocturne)

The kitchen at the Greenville Arms is a busy place - I decided to paint a nocturne showing the view through the kitchen window.  There is a stained glass dragonfly that complements the architecture of this charming structure from the Victorian Era. (c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

New Baltimore Conservancy

As part of the workshop in Greenville, New York, our group practiced plein air value studies using acrylic paint, with a single color.  For this painting of the field at the New Baltimore Conservancy, I started with a loose sketch using cerulean blue acrylic ink.  After the sketch dried, I painted using mixes of acrylic burnt umber and white.  It is an odd size panel (5.75 in. x 11 in.) from leftover medium density fiberboard. (c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Jersey Java

Here is a 12" x 16" plein air oil sketch of the coffee house Jersey Java in Haddonfield, New Jersey.  As one would expect for a beautiful Saturday morning, there were customers chatting outside... giving me the opportunity to add a few figures!  (c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Greenville Woods

Recently I painted at a plein air workshop in Greenville, New York.  The woods nearby provided ample material for experimenting with pattern and linear forms.  What drew me to this composition was the alternation of light and dark tree trunks.  Also, the diagonal lines from the branches and fallen trees caught my eye.  Cooler pigments dominated the palette on this overcast day. (c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A J Meerwald

This weekend I participated in the Plein Air Burlington 2014 painting event in Burlington, New Jersey.   Fortunately, the restored oyster dredging schooner A. J. Meerwald was docked near the Oneida Boat Club.  I painted the ship while the tide was in.  This painting was a two-day effort owing to the heat and humidity. (c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Mountain Lakes Preserve

In September 2013 I painted at a workshop with Russ Johnson.  The watercolor was painted at the Mountain Lakes Preserve in Princeton, New Jersey.  It was a calm day on September 20 when we gathered to paint.  I was able to find a good spot to put my easel in the shade and see the expanse of the lake, looking towards the dam. (c) 2013 Charles Snell.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Irvane's Garden

One of my favorite places to paint is at Irvane's garden.  Her wildlife habitat is always colorful and interesting.  This watercolor study was done in the company of the painters from the Rancocas Valley Plein Air Painters. (c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Plein Air Westfield 2014

A brief article about Plein Air Westfield 2014 was published online in the magazine Plein Air Collector.  Here is the  link.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Main Diner

In Westfield, the Main Diner is a very popular restaurant.  I set up across the street from the diner early on Friday morning during Plein Air Westfield.  Several people stopped to talk to me and see the progress on the painting.  This painting was awarded the JFM Enterprises Award for Excellence, sponsored by a distributor of ready-made and custom gallery style fine art frames.  (c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Greystone Nature Preserve

On Wednesday evening during the Plein Air Westfield event, many of the painters met for an evening of painting and a dinner at the Greystone Nature Preserve, in Brocton NY.  The preserve is a 72-acre site with a great view of Lake Erie.  Here I was drawn to the habitat for wildlife, especially for birds.  That's why I named the painting Greystone Habitat.  (c) Charles Snell 2014.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Plein Air Westfield 2014

From July 15 through July 20, I had the good fortune to participate in Plein Air Westfield 2014, hosted by Katherine Brown Galbraith in Westfield, New York.  At this event, fifteen artists from the eastern U.S.A. and Canada painted en plein air within a twenty mile radius of Westfield, culminating in an exhibit at The Station Art Gallery.  My first day of painting was on Wednesday July 16.  I chose to visit the Johnson Estate Winery and paint a scene showing a portion of the beautiful vineyard and a view of the Onondaga Escarpment in the distance.  I have several more paintings to post to the blog... more to follow. (c) 2014 Charles Snell.  All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


The peonies in the back yard were in bloom this weekend.  I chose a pink flower to focus on.  They don't last long in the heat!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Painting Accepted

I am happy to announce that my painting Morven Garden has been accepted for the 42nd Annual Robert Ransley Open Juried Art Show.  The exhibit runs from June 1 through June 30 at the Dr. David Flinker Pavillion Gallery at Virtua Memorial Hospital of Burlington County.  For details, see the flyer provided by the Burlington County Art Guild.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Morven Garden

On Sunday, May 4, I participated in the Arts Council of Princeton Paint Out at Morven.  The Morven Museum & Garden is a historic 18th-century house in Princeton, New Jersey.  There was a good turnout of painters for this event - with plenty of opportunities to talk about painting with artists and visitors.  I reused the palette from Saturday, without having to open any tubes! (c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Morris Path

On Saturday, May 3, I participated in the Whitemarsh Art Center Plein Air/Paint Out.  It was a beautiful day for painting.  Corinne, the manager of the art center, let me borrow a day pass to the Morris Arboretum, where I painted the scene shown.  I was drawn to the area with blooming cherry trees.  For my reference, I took a photo of my palette when I was done.  The colors on my palette were as follows: white (mix of titanium and flake), ultramarine blue, cerulean, Payne's gray, Gamblin Portland gray deep, premixed gray at Munsell value 9, premixed ultramarine blue/white at Munsell value 8, viridian, permanent alizarin crimson, raw sienna, cadmium lemon yellow, yellow ochre pale, cadmium red light, manganese violet, plus a few other accent colors (cobalt violet deep, alizarin carmine and indanthrene violet).  I sketched the scene with cerulean blue acrylic ink.  The palette is 11" x 14" tempered glass, painted gray on the back.  The palette photo is shown below.
(c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Chestertown "Paint the Town" 2014

The fifth annual "Paint the Town" plein air event in Chestertown, Maryland concluded this weekend.  I was one of 45 artists participating in this event, which began on Thursday.  The photo shows my entries in the exhibit, all of which were painted en plein air.  At upper left is a 12" x 16" oil painting, "Inn at Huntingfield Creek."  To the right is another 12" x 16" oil painting, "Culp House Garden."  At the bottom is an 18" x 14" oil painting, "Huntingfield Barn."  During the exhibit, "Culp House Garden" sold.  The event was sponsored by Chestertown RiverArts.  Paintings (c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cherry Grove Farm

This oil sketch was painted in 2013 at Cherry Grove Farm, Lawrenceville NJ.
(c) 2013 Charles Snell.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Hammonton Plein Air Competition

Today I completed in the 7th annual Plein Air Competition in Hammonton, sponsored by the Noyes Museum of Art.  There were over twenty artists participating.  The weather was fair but a little bit windy.  I kept enough ballast on the easel and did not have a problem with the easel falling over!

I submitted two paintings.  The first one was done at the intersection of South 2nd Street and Grape Street.  I found some sunlight hitting the front of a house and started painting at about 9 a.m.  I used some acrylic ink for sketch, followed by addition of values using the largest brush possible.  I wanted to grab the shape of the light quickly.  Here is the reference photo:

The following photos are some shots of the work in progress.  The ink used in sketching (red) drips down but gets painted over later.  After looking at these photos I see there is need for some adjustments - one of the windows is tilted and I managed to separate the sky into two pieces with the chimney... In addition to the issue of making the whole structure too narrow!

The following images show my two framed paintings on display in the Hammonton Arts Center.  The works submitted for the plein air competition will be on display there until April 26, 2014.  Use the link provided above to get the phone number for HAC.  The second painting was completed in the afternoon in about two hours.  I set up my easel on Bellevue Avenue for the second painting.  All images (c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Oil painting on board "201 Grape", 16 in x 20 in

Oil painting on board "Loco", 11 in x 14 in

Saturday, March 29, 2014


This still life painting was submitted to the 2013 Perkins Center for the Arts Members/Faculty Exhibit, for which a merit award was presented.  The scene was composed in Phil Carroll's class. (c) 2013 Charles Snell.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Saturday was warm with some gusty winds.  I went to the park in Moorestown near Swedes Run to paint a study of winter trees.  I tried to keep the palette simple by using a few neutral grays, phthalo blue, mars orange, yellow ochre and buff titanium.  The sky is a mix of ultramarine blue and titanium white.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Painting Accepted

I am happy to announce that my painting Lambertville Station has been accepted for the Artists of Yardley 3rd Annual Juried Show.  The opening reception is on Friday, April 4, 2014.  For details, see the Artists of Yardley website at

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Winner Farm, Moorestown

Recently I painted at the Burlington County Agricultural Center, which is a preserved, working farm in Moorestown.  It was previously a dairy farm owned by the Winner family. The farmhouse and its surrounding trees formed an interesting subject.  On certain weekends, the site has a farmers' market.  There are also community gardens there. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Rancocas Creek

Last Sunday I went to Boundary Creek Park in Moorestown.  The park provides a good view of the Rancocas Creek.  It was a cold day (in the 20's) with a gray sky in the distance.  The creek bank was still covered with a thick blanket of snow.  It was a quiet setting for painting.  There were just a few visitors to the park - cross country skiers and bird watchers. (c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Cherry is a wonderful two-year-old Pomeranian.  She was a guest at our house last month.  She is so beautiful, I had to do a portrait! (c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Strawbridge Lake

Photo & poem (c) 2014 David Marcmann

Today was cold (~29 F) but not too windy for painting.  I chose to paint at Strawbridge Lake, a favorite spot for artists.  The snow, ice and cloud cover were to my advantage.  While I was painting, a photographer took my photo.  He composed an ekphrastic poem, and sent it to me by e-mail so that I could include it in this post.  It is nice to discuss art, while making art!  Also a doctor and his wife stopped by to discuss painting and sculpture.  I spent a couple of hours outdoors working on the painting and then finished it in the evening.

Painting (c) 2014 Charles Snell

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ellarslie Mansion

On Sunday, December 15, 2013, the destination for the Jerry's Artarama group was the grounds of the Ellarslie Mansion in Trenton.  Snow had fallen recently and there was ice on the pavement.  It was a sunny day and very cold, but after painting we attended a talk led by the curators of the Trenton City Museum in the mansion. (c) 2013 Charles Snell.

Monday, February 3, 2014

West Amwell

Sunday was warm enough to be outside to paint and still feel comfortable.  This painting shows the towpath and snow cover near the Holcombe-Jimison farmstead.  I feel like there is still some work to do on this painting, because a little too much of the drawing is still showing through.  I used fast-drying acrylic ink on a gessoed MDF panel to make the sketch. (c) 2014 Charles Snell.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Hope

This painting was my entry in the 'Quick Draw' competition at the 2013 Local Color Weekend in New Hope, Pennsylvania.  Each artist had two hours to complete a painting on the grounds of the Parry Mansion.  It was a hot August afternoon!  The event was sponsored by the Bucks County Gallery of Fine Art. Copyright 2013 Charles Snell.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Red Mill at Clinton

The Red Mill in Clinton, New Jersey is a historic landmark situated on the south branch of the Raritan River.  Clinton is a nice place to visit in Hunterdon County with beautiful scenery, museums and shops.  Copyright 2012 Charles Snell.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bottle and Mini-pumpkin

Here is a small still life painting with a clear glass bottle that has a ceramic swing top, along side a mini-pumpkin.  Copyright 2014 Charles Snell.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Snowy Woods

In Phil Carroll's class at the Perkins Center for the Arts, we sometimes work from reference photos that Phil provides.  From early 2013, this painting was created in his class on an odd-size panel of medium-density fiberboard (MDF).  Four pigments predominate in this palette : van Dyck brown, white (mix of titanium and flake), ultramarine blue and a little cadmium yellow medium.  Copyright 2013 Charles Snell.