Wednesday, November 28, 2012



A review from Art Collectors Magazing:
Artist Focus: Ned Martin / Between Two Worlds
Self-taught artist Ned Martin has been painting since early childhood. He is inspired by the feeling of falling and the ethos of “letting go.” His technique consists of making thousands of small marks of oil paint, then breaking them up by scratching the surface only to add more marks. Although Martin credits contemporary artists Chuck Close and Lucian Freud as major influences, he also keenly recalls the impact his fourth grade teacher had on his path to art.
Martin describes that experience in his blog about why painters paint: I had made a small sculpture from clay and she paused at my desk and just for that one brief moment her voice changed. She spoke as soft and sweet and light as angel and her words warmed me and gave me goose bumps all at the same time. She praised me for something I had done. From that moment on, I craved approval for my art… When everything you touch results in complete disaster, one learns to adapt, one learns to focus. One learns to be a better dancer, to sing like no other or to strive to be the best damn painter possible.”
A Baltimore native now living in Hell’s Kitchen, Martin has shown work in galleries in Baltimore, New York, Toronto, Barcelona and Florence. It is his environment; however, that plays a real influence on the work.
“I live and paint in Midtown Manhattan during the week and live and paint in rural central Pennsylvania during the weekends.” he explains. “I am blissfully stuck in my two worlds: simply cannot live in one without the other. My paintings are a reflection of the dichotomy: very photo-real and calming when viewed from afar, contemporary, abstract, maniacal when examined closely.”

Friday, November 16, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Lost in my 2 worlds: Urban PA and  Rural NYC
CNTRL PA: We enjoyed the warm weather as we sat gathered around the picnic table there under the overhanging branches behind the log cabin. With my back to the woods, I sipped my wine and listened to the polite conversation when Rod abruptly interrupted. "There's a bear," he grunted in his deadpan way.

Susie screamed, jumped up and ran into the house. I turned to look into the woods and marveled at a black bear sitting on his haunches in the small clearing some 30 feet away. He stared back at me then slowly stood and walked amongst the large pine trees and out of site. Rod had been feeding the deer and the 5-gallon feed bucket came bouncing out into the clearing as if the bear was saying ""You forgot to fill this!" We waited. We listened. Nothing more. We did a little searching but the large bear had magically disappeared.

NYC: Two days later we sat with friends at one of our favorite restaurants on 9th Ave. and 43rd street.  Especially nice is their wall of windows that fold out of site so that it feels like a sidewalk cafe. I sat with my back to the windows and enjoyed the jazz pianist. When she finished her song a round of polite applause followed then our gay friend suddenly shrieked, "There's Joan Rivers!" he screamed.

I wanted to jump up and run away! Joan had paused at the window to listen to the live music.
I turned to look but she had ducked out of site

Monday, August 20, 2012

Just finished a new large landscape (36 x 30"). It is always such a satisfying feeling especially cuz I struggled with the direction and mood of this one. Didn't really start working until I put away the photograph and trusted the vision. Pick up a glass. Cheers mate!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I hope I don’t get arrested by the blog police. I mean I know (or pretend to understand) blogs are for “I got a hangnail today” or… whatev. But...

My finest piece of art, my Magnum opus  (or in this case opuses) is/are my two sons, Ned and Scott. As an artist and a confessed egocentric driven perfectionist I can still look outside my own crap and there is nothing more important, nothing I am more proud. And now, with Renee, I have the opportunity to influence my step-sons, Brandon and Brady and love them and guide them and support them no matter what. Ok where’s the grand kids?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


What makes dancers dance, singers sing, painters paint?

Mrs. Cole was a big woman: she wore tight bright dresses to accentuate her enormous frame. We could hear her as she approached -- even from a great distance, her heavy footsteps echoed louder and louder in the hallway as she came toward us. Before she departed, she had warned us to be quiet. Not a sole dared utter a sound. When she returned she took her place in front of our class, folded her hands and looked us over. She drew in a heavy breath and spoke with a dark deep voice, one that only comes from years of heavy smoking.
                I don’t remember her words. Not exactly. I do recall however, in vivid detail, her eyes swelled heavy with tears as she explained that our President Kennedy had been shot and he was dead.
                Most people can remember a lot about their experiences in the fourth grade. I can not. I have only one more indelible memory about Mrs. Cole.  I had made a small sculpture from clay and as she moved about the room to inspect our work she paused at my desk. She seemed to grow smaller before my eyes. She pointed a dainty finger and stroked the clay form. Just for that one brief moment her voice changed. She spoke as soft and sweet and light as an angel and her words warmed me and gave me goose bumps all at the same time. She praised me for something I had done.  From that instant on I craved approval for my art.
                By the time I was in high school, I was painting sets for class plays, scrawling groovy flowers on fellow classmate’s book covers and painting dragons on a friend’s van. When everything else you touch results in complete disaster, one learns to adapt: one learns to focus. One learns to be a better dancer, to sing like no other and to strive to be the best damn painter possible.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ned Martin - insights on oil painting: Ned Martin How to / Landscape Painting in Oils- St...

Ned Martin - insights on oil painting: Ned Martin How to / Landscape Painting in Oils- St...: ned martin step1 Ned Martin Landscape Painting in Oils Step 1: This my first pass- the under painting .Every painting calls for a custom...

latest on painting in oils from ned martin

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ned Martin's Two Worlds: NYC + Rural PA

From an Artist/Painter's point of view, New York City and Rural PA offer an endless source of inspiration, intrigue, and things that make me go hhhmmmmm!

NY You can tell if someone is a real NewYorker by the way they wait for the light to change (when walking). Tourist wait on the sidewalk, NewYorkers wait in the street about 10 feet into the first lane.This is not recommended for the casual walking tourist. A bus will take you out in a NY minute and never slow down! Not kidding around.

Rural PA I went to my first tractor pull! Most of the tractors were not tractors but pickup trucks with large stove pipes coming out of the beds of their trucks with great plumes of black smoke shooting out. They pulled a big sled with lots of weight until they inevitably bogged down and could go no further. I have 2 suggestions: The sport should be renamed "trucks getting stuck in the mud" AND it would be more interesting if they allowed them to get out and punch each other like in Hockey.

NY Most tourist surround themselves with tourist while in NYC cuz they go to "tourist" destinations. See the real NY! Find a small deli on an off street, go in and order salami and provolone on a hero. BEST DAMN SANDWICH EVER! Street meat is also the tops! Best calamari in NYC? Took me forever to find it... MARSEILLE's / 630 9TH AVENUE on 44th and 9th!

Rural PA Best burger in Central PA: "Bear Burger" (not really bear meat- it's a big hunk of beef) @ Crippled Bear Inn (on the old rt.15) 2967 Lycoming Creek Road in Williamsport. Have it with a large order of fresh cut fries and a draft Yuenling.


Rural PA: THE CROW AND THE ARTIST
The corn fields lay flat on frozen ground this time of year although a few scattered, truncated stalks turn skyward stubbornly refusing to cooperate. The ablility to see across a vast expanse for a mile or so is not something New Yorkers take for granted. Just standing there and listening to nothing awashed in the cold breeze gives me a sense of calm and energetic enthusiasm all at the same time. "I must paint this," I mutter. "The distant hills rolling in great ribbons of burnt sienna and sap green and paynes gray..." The crows squawk  and rush past me close enough (I swear) I could hear their wings beating against the cold air. Yes, the crows. Gotta paint the crows into this scene. So I leave this place but it stays in mind's eye and I relive it over and over during the next couple of days. I will paint it soon. 

This morning my first cup of coffee and I were greeted with more crows. First a single voice barking loudly then a duet followed by a raucous chorus. I leave the warmth of the log cabin and stand on the deck staring into the woods.

"They've found something dead to eat and are fighting over it," Renee informs me. "It's the only time they do that." I smile. I listen. They are close. Maybe a half mile, maybe even... The loud boom of a gun shot, then another makes my body jerk. 
"Who in the hell would be shooting a gun so early on a Sunday morning?" I growl.


I shuffle back inside. "I like crows- admire them for their intelligence and beauty," I say to myself. "I have often wished I could have one for a pet like in the movie A Wonderful Life." I go to feed the horses and as I walk out the front door I see a dead crow laying on the gravel driveway. It managed to fly here before falling out of the sky. I realize then I kinda got my wish- in a twisted dark way.

We are alone- the crow and the artist. I examine the corpse closely and I think... my job as an artist is to record in paint things that make others stop and look and to see and to ponder and to feel... This is my responsibility. I will keep the crow and study the thing, paint it and show others what they are missing. 


My gun is a brush.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ned Martin How to / Landscape Painting in Oils- Step by step

ned martin step1
Ned Martin Landscape Painting in Oils Step 1: This my first pass- the under painting.Every painting calls for a customized approach. In this instance, I am drawing in the basic shapes with thin paint and establishing relative values (laying down the darks first). No hard edges. Easy Peasy.

ned martin step2
Ned Martin Landscape Painting in Oils Step 2: Beginning to Lay in textures and relative color.


ned martin step3















Ned Martin Landscape Painting in Oils Step 3: Blocked in leaves in foreground.


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Ned Martin Landscape Painting in Oils Step 4: Up to this point, I have been following a traditional / classic method of oil painting. In the first 3 steps the intent was to: 1.)  draw the objects, 2.) establish relative lights and darks and 3.) establish relative color. --Pretty straight forward stuff.
In this newest step 4 however, I begin to reveal my neurosis when painting in the new layer of the background. My technique quickly veers far from traditional methods. I find myself laying down paint only to break it apart into worm-like shapes and tiny fractals by scratching and scrapping the wet strokes. These kinds of nonsensical marks drove my instructors crazy when I was in school. Despite their grumblings I never managed to change my ways. I don’t know why I scrape and scratch. In part, it’s something about deploring “paint strokes” I’ve learned to embrace insanity long ago. Hey it’s fun to be crazy.
Next, I’ll show you a close up of a small section of the background so you’ll see (from right over my shoulder) the work of a madman.


Ned Martin Landscape Painting in Oils This is a detail shot of part of the background. These weird paint marks will eventually cover the entire surface



















Ned Martin Landscape Painting in Oils Step 5: There is a certain point in a painting where I am convinced that I can "pull this off". I'm at this stage now with this painting and simultaneously... the painting begins to "take over". In other words, up to this point, I have been more concerned about technical aspects. Now, I begin sensing and seeing possibilities of where the painting is really heading (in terms of mood for instance). It takes on a life of its own. This is where the magic happens- if you let it.

There is an old argument amongst painters: should you paint what you see or what you know. I say neither. YOU SHOULD PAINT WHAT YOU FEEL. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ned Martin answers: Why grind your own oil paints?

OK, walk into your nearest art supply store and buy 1 tube of the cheapest oil paint you can find. Pick the hue COBALT BLUE. When you squeeze the paint from the tube you will find gobs of gooey stuff amongst the pigment. That my friend is a lot of (low quality) binder. Low-end paints are packed with the stuff because the raw pigment (especially a hue like COBALT) is the most expensive ingredient.

So... WHY GRIND YOUR OWN OIL PAINTS? Because you can control the quantity and quality of the binder and the paint pigment itself. You will be able to achieve richer, deeper, more saturated... effects. GRIND YOUR OWN OIL PAINTS! You're worth it.

I'll cover: how to grind oil paints and choosing binders in my next blogs.
Paint on.
Ned Martin