Saturday, March 29, 2014

No Expectations.....Wind, Water, Waves and more Caribbean Seascapes





The crash of waves is just a symphony of sounds and images, I knew I wanted to paint something that reminds me of the experience and retells that serene moment. How I would approach the idea weeks later sitting in my studio in the middle of a Midwest winter was to rely heavily on my sketches from the beach and my visual memory. This work was the combination of watercolor sketches, drawings and imagination. So it became a blend of observation and interpretation. It is such a beautiful beach, I hope my memory does it justice. 





This sketch was painted on the beach in Cancun Mexico. This was a tough sketch to do on location because of the intense sunlight. I knew I would struggle with values, even when squinted down it was hard to separate values. Plus I think there was a bit of sensory overload. I just need to keep in mind that painting on location is much more about learning to see than it is about producing a finished image.





The goal is to take the information that nature presents in front of me and express my reactions and feelings about that subject. Which is something a camera cannot do and by staring at a monitor in a studio, you will never experience. When painting on location you have to, at some point trust the process rather than focus on the end result and just let go of expectations. It is also important for you to enjoy the process, in this environment I could have happily spent hours just mixing different shades of blue, learning new colors, discovering new paint mixes on my palette and having the time of my life doing it. There is no better way to hone ones skills.

Wind, Water, Wave, Oil on panel, 9 x 12 in. © Jim Serrett
Cancun Beach, oil on panel, 9 x 12 in. © Jim Serrett






"No Expectations"   Mick Jagger / Keith Richards

Take me to the station
And put me on a train
I've got no expectations
To pass through here again
Once I was a rich man
Now I am so poor
But never in my sweet short life
Have I felt like this before
Your heart is like a diamond
You throw your pearls at swine
And as I watch you leaving me
You pack my peace of mind
Our love was like the water
That splashes on a stone
Our love is like our music
Its here, and then its gone
So take me to the airport
And put me on a plane
I got no expectations
To pass through here again

The Rolling Stones
Mick Jagger — vocals
Ronnie Woods — slide guitar
Keith Richards — acoustic guitar
Bill Wyman — bass guitar
Charlie Watts — claves
Nicky Hopkins — piano





Explore - Question - Learn - - Enjoy, Jim




Sunday, March 9, 2014

Winter Landscapes



I like the small format for studies because they force you to paint with an economy and looseness to your brush strokes. Going for simple notes of atmosphere and light, pushing the abstract forms with descriptive marks and brushwork. What I hope to gain is an honest response to nature.

Snow is a beautiful and challenging subject, winter has a color all of its own, the soft grays and shadow colors are very subtle. I can understand why some artist have dedicated so much time to them as a subject, they are a genre all of their own.

All of the following studies are at auction. 





Levee Road, oil on panel, 5 x 7 inches (12.7 cm x 17.8 cm) – Click here to bid.





Lob-lolly Pines in Snow, oil on panel, 5 x 7 inches (12.7 cm x 17.8 cm) - Click here to bid.





Twisted Sisters, oil on panel, 5 x 7 inches (12.7 cm x 17.8 cm) - Click here to bid.






December on Cedar Lake, oil on panel, 5 x 7 inches (12.7 cm x 17.8 cm) – Click here to bid.



Explore - Question - Learn - - Enjoy, Jim





Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cancun Sketches


Cancun Souvenirs

Sketching on the beach in eighty degree sunshine, well; just pure heaven. Coming back to the states, one cold reality after another, one Arctic blast after another, Polar Vortex is the new word of the day. Lucky I have my Cancun memories and souvenirs to keep me warm.




It's easy to spend all day on the beach watching the waves. I spent much time just sketching and observing the dynamics of their action. There is a complexity to the energy in waves, add the play of light across them and they become one mesmerizing subject. Throw in a few cerveza, a nice lounger next to a palapa and stay all day…… Oh yea and sketch too…







Any meaningful work of art comes from observation and interpretation, which is ability to slow down and truly digest the beauty of nature around you and to express it visually in a personal way. Collecting memories, images and impressions with a sketchbook and watercolors can become inspiration and source material for later studio work. But if nothing else you end up with the best souvenirs.









Cancun Sunrise


Explore - Question - Learn - - Enjoy, Jim



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

On location with Edward Seago





Edward Seago (1910-1974)

There is an immediate recognizable freshness and spontaneity to Edward Seago’s work whether it is in his oil or watercolor paintings. His landscapes posses an astonishing sense of place, retaining an essential mood and atmosphere, certainly particular to that location. His directness with watercolor and oil painting make it look simple, distilling down elements to only that which is important to tell the story. His work can become very abstract and still convey a truthful sense of realism. Any painter who has tried to find this balance will tell you these works are inspirational in vision and skill. Strong draughtsmanship and expressive brush work are trademarks of Seago’s work.

Edward Seago, A Norfolk Beach Low Tide, Oil on board, 21 x 31 in

Edward Seago, View of Hungerford Bridge across the Thames, Oil board, 26 x 36 

Edward Seago, A Norfolk Lake after the Rain ,Oil on board, 20 x 30 in


Seago’s paintings present a masterful translation of scenes using color and light. Capturing the atmosphere rather than exact detail of a particular scene. Seago’s world is always on the verge, at some point of transformation, sunrise and sunset, dusk and dawn, rain and fog, snow and ice, mood and movement, an endless range of atmospheric effects. They make you want to walk into the picture and feel the moment.

Edward Seago, A Windy Day, Oil on board, 24 x 30 in

Edward Seago, The Mill at Alphen, Holland, Oil on canvas, 36 x 26 in

Edward Seago, Piazza Navona Rome, Oil on Board, 20 x 30 in

Seago lived very a interesting life, which just adds to my admiration of the work and the man. As a young boy, Edward Seago suffered from heart problems and spent much time in bed as a result. He later said he used this time for drawing and studying the sky, and that this was the start of his lifelong fascination with clouds. At fourteen, he won an award from the Royal Drawing Society, and from then on knew what he wanted to do in spite of his parents' initial disapproval.


Edward Seago, Clouds Over the Alps Oil on board, 26 x 24 in

Edward Seago, The Gleam, Oil on canvas, 26 x 36 in

Edward Seago, Marsh and Sky, Watercolor, 14 x 20 in


His poor health prevented a normal education and he was largely self-taught. However he did forge some lifelong relationships with some prominent artists of the time. He was an apprentice to the landscape artist Bertram Priestman and studied briefly with the artist Sir Alfred Munnings, one of England's finest painter of horses. Seago’s earliest pieces were equestrian paintings and he became very popular for these portraits of aristocrats on horseback. These social and upper class connections would lead to significant patrons and benefactors throughout his life. 




Edward Seago, Paris Morning Sunlight, Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 in

Edward Seago, On the Seine, Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 in

Edward Seago, Circus Encampment, Oil, 25 x30 in

At the age of eighteen, Seago joined Bevin's Travelling Show (yes, he joined the circus) and subsequently toured with circuses in Britain and throughout Europe. He wrote and illustrated three books about his experiences, "Circus Company" (1933), "Sons of Sawdust" (1934), and "Caravan"(1937). During his time with the circus Seago met Henry Mond, the second Lord Melchett, who would become an important patron. He provided Seago with the funds to travel Europe painting.


Edward Seago, The Little Palazzo Vience, Oil on board, 18 x 24 in

Edward Seago, Yachts on the River Ant, Oil on board, 12 x 16 in 

Edward Seago, Morocco a Street in Amizmiz, Oil, 26 x 36 in

Edward Seago, Fishing Boats on the Golden Horn, Oil on board, 16 x24 in

During the second World War, Mr Seago managed in spite of his heart condition to join the army and served as a camouflage officer in the Royal Engineers. He was invited by Field Marshal Alexander (a keen amateur artist) to paint scenes of the Italian campaign. Reproductions of his paintings were published in three books he authored "Peace in War" (1943) "High Endeavour" (1944) and "With the Allied Armies in Italy" (1945). Seago would go on to pen and illustrated six more books on his travels and painting on location.


Edward Seago, The Piazzetta, Venice, Oil on board, 20 x 30 in

Edward Seago, A Cargo junk, Hong Kong, Watercolor, 13 x 20 in

Edward Seago, South Bay Quay, Singapore, oil on canvas, 20 x 30 in


Seago enjoyed generous patronage from numerous members of The Royal Family. He was one of the official artists appointed to paint the Queen's Coronation and was invited by The Duke of Edinburgh on an expedition to Antarctica. The expedition on HM Yacht Britannia offered him the chance to observe a different light and the completely unfamiliar scenery of icebergs and whaling stations. After leaving New Zealand the ship traveled via Antarctica to islands in the South Atlantic and West Africa. Seago was captivated by the glacial scenery of Antarctica and worked hard during the voyage, painting at least sixty works. Prince Philip and Seago painted alongside each other on the deck of the Royal Yacht Britannia and became close friends.


The Duke of Edinburgh, painting at his easel on board the Royal Yacht Britannia
 by Edward Seago

Edward Seago, Entering the Lemaire Channel Antartica, Oil on canvas 20 x30 in 


“Seago responded to Antarctica with an attempt to capture the rapid changes of light, producing over 30 paintings showing the icebergs and other physical phenomena, bases and men at work, and the whalers who were active at that time.”
                                                                               -Edward Seago: The Antarctic paintings



Edward Seago, RRS john Biscoe in Pack Ice, Jan. 1957 oil painting

Edward Seago, Camp at base W, Andersen Island, Jan 1957, Oil Painting

It was a great discovery when I realized that this painting was the one Seago was working on in the black and white photograph of him in Antarctica, you see everywhere online. This made all of my research worthwhile.




Edward Seago, Antarctic Dusk, Oil on canvas, 20 x 30 in

Edward Seago circumnavigated the globe painting and sketching in some of the most formidable and beautiful places in the world, and yet a major part of his work and some of his most admired canvases were painted along the shore of Suffolk and his Norfolk England home. Seago had a very successful career, he was a favorite painter of the Royal family, especially Queen Elizabeth. He traveled widely, often in his own boat, the Capricorn, and painted throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and of course Antarctica, the location of his most famous paintings. His landscapes were hugely popular and his exhibitions in London regularly sold out within minutes. He was extremely prolific and he painted at lightning speed, producing an enormous body of work. In his will he requested that one third of his paintings from his estate were to be destroyed. Even so it is calculated that over 19,000 paintings are still in existence today, many in the Royal Collection.

Edward Brian ["Ted"] Seago died in 1974 at the age of 63.

Edward Seago, Boatsheds at Felixstowe Ferry, Oil on board,20 x 30 in


Edward Seago, September Afternoon Palling Beach, Oil on board, 12 x 20 in


Edward Seago, Beach Study I, Watercolor, 5 x 7 in 


Explore - Question - Learn - - Enjoy, Jim



To Best View Work, Click on image to enlarge. Scroll through all images with light box.


Links :

Artist Stapleton Kearns has some interesting article on Seago and his technique.













Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thanks For Listening 2013



As the year closes, let me take a moment to express my gratitude and appreciation to all of you that have made this such a great year.

For those of you that took the time to comment and share your thoughts on art, I cannot express how important your input has been. If I did not reply directly to your comment I assure you that my lack of response was either circumstances or procrastination. Whichever case, I value each and every comment.  Again my sincerest gratitude.

Have a happy and prosperous New Year,  Jim

For my loving wife, no words can express my appreciation for you, the source of my greatest happiness. How lucky a man I am. I am extremely lucky, and extremely thankful… for you.

All my love, Happy Anniversary



Explore - Question - Learn - - Enjoy, Jim




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This work by Jim Serrett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.pochadeboxpaintings.blogspot.com.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Twisted Sisters




I like to go back to the same scenes and locations when sketching. Sometime it's to add another layer of refinement to a piece in progress or to gather more information on a new canvas. The purpose of a field sketch is to capture the essentials of a scene, and add to my inventory of knowledge. I want to paint from my experiences onsite, plus working from life is learning to see nature, which will only enhance my studio work. 




The Loblolly Pines caught my interest because of the twists and turns of the branches. I wanted to capture the simple rhythm and forms within the complex tangle of limbs and describe some of the changing aspects of light. On my second visit at this location we had a nice snow fall, which really changed my center of interest and I painted this simple sketch of the pines in snow.




The two sketches will be nice reference material in the studio. My studio paintings are derived from my Pochade box paintings, a collections of sketches, color notes and memory.  Many of the Pochade’s never make it to the “Big Stage” - that being a larger studio version, but all of them add to my understanding of painting the landscape.


Twisted Sisters 5 x 7 inches Oil on panel © Jim Serrett 
Loblolly Pines in Snow 5 x 7inches Oil on panel © Jim Serrett








Explore - Question - Learn - - Enjoy, Jim



Friday, November 29, 2013

Studying One's Craft




A cold November day, just pushing paint. I know there's not much to see on the panel, it's just a start, and I am not sure how it will turn out. But just the act of being outside gets the creative juices flowing and mind working. Pushing some pigment around, judging color notes, looking for dark and light abstract forms, getting your hands dirty...painting is an action word.







Explore - Question - Learn - - Enjoy, Jim