Thursday, September 01, 2016

Lessons in Classical Painting

I have other books by the same author about painting, and this is one of her best!  She explains everything quite clearly and provides numerous examples to go along with the descriptions. The book is broken down into separate lessons, and is written in an easy to understand way.  I especially enjoyed the lesson about using color effectively.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Oil Painting Essentials

A fantastic, informative book on all aspects of oil painting.  Easy to understand with many very clear examples and photographs of work to clarify the text.  I enjoyed the authors'  insights into what makes a successful oil painting and the many different techniques one can employ.

I received this book in exchange for this review.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Acrylic Painter

Even though I am an oil painter, I enjoyed reading this book to learn about acrylic painting.  The section about color theory was spot - on and hold true for whatever medium you choose.  This was a thoroughly enjoyable and informative book, which makes me really want to try my hand at acrylic painting. I highly recommend this wonderful book to anyone who has any interest at all in painting in acrylics.  I received this book for free in exchange for this review.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Callahan's Mural - Fort Lee, NJ

Completed mural.
Acrylic on Sheetrock
15' x 20'

The Power of Broke

Great , inspirational and motivating words from Daymond John, founder of FUBU and tv personality.  I enjoyed reading this book very much and have gained insight into how the mind of a true entrepreneur works.  I received this book in exchange for a review on my blog and on blogging for books.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Lobster Pot - Provincetown, MA

Completed painting

oil on linen

21" x 25"



Award-winning fine artist will exhibit and offer for sale oil paintings.

March 20, 2016 – May 31, 2016

Wyckoff YMCA – 691 Wyckoff Avenue, Wyckoff, NJ

Wyckoff, NJ  March 2016

The Wyckoff Family YMCA is hosting an art exhibit featuring the work of local artist Mark Oberndorf.  Oberndorf’s oil paintings are sought after by collectors and recently have been exhibited in multiple museum shows in NJ.

The Y’s Art Show and Sale provides the perfect setting to enjoy and experience these exceptional pieces.  Oberndorf will be offering a selection of works in a variety of sizes and genres.  These museum-quality works of art are destined to become treasured family heirlooms.

Although best known for his work capturing local landmarks around Bergen County, NJ, Oberndorf has also started accepting custom commissions from local homeowners.   Paintings of homes in and around Wyckoff will also be exhibited.

A Bergen County, NJ native, Oberndorf’s work is currently offered at galleries in the United States and Europe.  Locally, his works can be viewed at The Westwood Gallery, in Westwood, NJ and in the permanent collections of the Fritz Behnke Historical Museum in Paramus, Lambert Castle Museum in Paterson and the Middlesex County Museum in Piscataway, NJ or through his website, or blog

Mark Oberndorf Fine Art

Highview Drive House - Wyckoff, NJ

Completed painting

oil on linen

12" x 25"


Thursday, March 03, 2016


Completed painting.

Oil on linen

20" x 28"

2013 - 2016

Friday, February 05, 2016

Palace Diner - Biddeford, ME

Completed painting

12" x 20"

Oil on linen


Sunday, January 24, 2016

3rd Avenue House - Little Falls, NJ

Completed painting

Oil on linen

14" x 16"


Modern Printmaking

Tremendous resource for every type of art printing.  Book is very detailed about technique and illustrated with many examples of each kind of printmaking described.  The photographs are picture perfect as you would hope in a book about printing and reproductions.  Detailed examples and step by step guides are included so the reader can try their hand at printmaking.  One of the best books on this subject that I have ever read.

I received this book in return for this review.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tile Makes The Room - Book Review

A wonderful look into the world of Heath Ceramics.  The book starts off with a brief history of the companies old Sausalito factory with many interesting photographs of it, printed on large matte paper.
Following this is a small section about the authors' home and the new factory.

The bulk of the rest of the book is focused on various spaces including private homes, hotels and restaurants which all feature beautiful tile work.  Once again, the photos are what really make this section special.  The way the tile is integrated into the design of each space is truly a work of art in each case.

The next section is about the technical aspects of making tile.  Very informative and sheds light on a process that I was totally unaware of.  I would consider this process an art form on the level of pottery making.

I fully enjoyed this wonderful book and will never look at tile the same way again.

I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for this review.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

West Englewood Avenue House - Teaneck, NJ

Completed painting.

Oil on linen.

12' x 16"


Second image - "Steven's Mustang" - Wyckoff, NJ

Oil on linen

10" x 14"


Wednesday, December 09, 2015


Publisher Description.

Art Students' League Of New York On Painting by James L. McElhinney is a book that I have wanted to read since the day it was released, and after finishing it, now I know why.

I am a professional photorealist painter who studied at the League under Peter Homitzky in the late 1980's, so when I noticed his name as one of the instructors in this gem of a book, I was even more eager to immerse myself in the text and reproductions of various paintings therein.

Looking at the Table Of Contents, I also saw that one of my favorite realist artists named Frederick Brosen was also included.  I immediately read both of those chapters and enjoyed every word tremendously.

The book is divided into 3 sections:

Part 1 - Lessons and Demos
Part 2 - Advice and Philosophies
Part 3 - Interviews

Each section contains different writings from various League instructors with a little bit of biographical information and their history as artists as well as their ruminations about how, what and why they teach at the League.

I found the reproductions in the book of the instructors and their students paintings to be of the highest quality, which is very important to me in any book about art.

I enjoyed the first part of the book the best because at the end of each instructors section there was a part called "A Lesson In Print", which really shed light on how they go about teaching their students and what their creative process is regarding their own artwork.

Parts 2 and 3 were less instructional and more candidly written with a more personal vision into the instructors artistic journeys that ultimately brought them to the League.  I enjoyed reading the 3 interviews that closed out the book due to the fact that the questions posed were all open-ended which allowed for the personalities of these teachers to shine through.

In conclusion, I must say that some of the work presented by the instructors and students were not my taste, but I appreciated their vision and technical abilities nonetheless.

I have to mention a few instructors who are in this wonderful book besides Brosen and Homitzky who really struck a chord with me due to the sheer power of their work and mastery of their skill depicting  realism, to which I must admit I am quite biased.

1)  Ephram Rubenstein and all students who studied under him.  Very reminiscent of Edward Hopper.

2)  Thomas Torak and his students.  Very much like John Singer Sargent with powerfully expressive brushwork.

3)  Sharon Sprung and her students.  Her paintings have poetry and magic in them.

4)  Costa Vavagiakis and his students.  You can almost see into the soul of the subjects in his portraits.

I highly recommend this informative book to anyone who is interested in studying painting or to anyone in general who has a thirst for great art.

I look forward to re-reading this book in the future and hope to gain additional insights as I go back to it over time.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review"

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Stone House - Kingston, PA

Completed painting

Oil on linen

12" x 16"

If anyone wants giclee prints of any of my paintings in time for the Holidays, please email me at or call 201- 694-1379.  Thanks!

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Neelen Drive House - Wyckoff, NJ

Completed painting.

Oil on linen.

16" x 35"

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hickory Hill Road House (rear view) - Franklin Lakes, NJ

Completed painting

Oil on linen

8" x 12"

I will be participating in the 5th Annual Holiday Marketplace and Art Show at the Wyckoff YMCA on Saturday, November 14th from 10 AM until 4 PM.

 691 Wyckoff Avenue, Wyckoff, NJ.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Art in The Park 2015 - Paramus, NJ

I won the 1st place blue ribbon in the oil/acrylic category in the 51st annual Art in the Park show yesterday.  I will be showing work at the Bergen County Administration building in Hackensack, NJ for the month of November because of this award.  Thanks to Greg Lucente for everything!  It was a great day meeting other talented artists, judges and everyone who came out for the show.

First stage of underpainting complete on the rear view of the Hickory Hill Road house in Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Hickory Hill Road House (front view) - Franklin Lakes, NJ

Completed painting.

Oil on linen.

8" x 12"

Sunday, October 04, 2015

M K M Machine Company - Little Ferry, NJ

Completed painting.

Oil on linen.

11" x 19"

I will be participating in the 51st annual Art in the Park show this Sunday, October 11.  Hope to see some of you there.  I'm also showing paintings at Englewood Medical Center for the Art of Healing show once again later this month, and I will be having one-person shows at Bergen PAC in Englewood and at the Wyckoff YMCA in the next few months.  I will post specific dates soon.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Russell Avenue House - Wyckoff, NJ

Completed painting.

Oil on linen.

15" x 35"


I entered a contest this summer through Michael's Art Stores, and just found out that I was chosen as a semi-finalist winner. I will receive a small cash prize of $200, which will feed my current book buying habit nicely.

I also just found out that I will be participating in the Art Of Healing show again at Englewood Medical Center here in NJ. Opens on October 25, 2015 and will run until July 31, 2016. I really like the idea of this show, which gives some joy to patients and staff during their stressful days. When the paintings for this show are chosen, I will post them here.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Russell Avenue House - Wyckoff, NJ

First stage of underpainting complete.

Here is the article in today's Wyckoff Suburban News.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Burnside Place House - Wayne, NJ

Completed painting

Oil on panel

5" x 7"

There will be an amazing art installation projected on the Empire State Building tomorrow night from 9pm until midnight, that I will be seeing while riding the bicycle in the city.  Should be incredible.

My article in the Suburban News was pushed back until August 6th.  I will post it whenever it gets published.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Burnside Place House - Wayne, NJ

First stage of underpainting complete.

The Wyckoff Suburban News article will be published in the July 29th edition, and I'm told may be picked up by close to 40 other NJ newspapers.

I'm thinking of writing a book on my life as an artist.  Here is a bit of what I have written so far.  Excuse any typos or errors, I type fast.


I began my artistic journey as a boy with a gift for drawing and a passion for light and color.  I remember vividly at a very young age that I could look at objects in my Grandmother’s home, which were quite ornate and beautiful and draw them very realistically with colored pencils and crayons on paper.  I would stare into Christmas ornaments hanging from the tree with my nose pressed up against them, marveling and completely transfixed by the way the surrounding room appeared as a curved,  differently colored and distorted reflection in each one.  It was fascinating to me and has stayed with me ever since.  I remember fondly the feeling of pride, accomplishment and satisfaction whenever I would finish a drawing or painting in elementary school at my little desk, with all of my classmates gathered around me amazed at what I was creating. 

I continued drawing and painting in college, taking many courses that were offered as electives, that confirmed  my natural abilities in the field of visual arts.  I never once for a moment thought of these classes as a burden or simply as schoolwork, just pure joy and fun.  Upon graduation, I moved to  California and was mesmerized and inspired by the brilliant light  and  beauty of the Pacific coast.  It was here in Los Angeles, that I embarked on a serious attempt at a career in the fine arts.  I loved the pop-culture iconography of the funky architecture found on the streets of LA, and started painting after work and on weekends in earnest.  The West Coast had a tremendously profound effect upon me and it was at this time that I realized that painting was my true calling.  I returned to New York a few years later to enroll in the prestigious Art Students’ League on 57th Street in Manhattan to take classes and study with some of the finest artists and teachers working in their respective mediums.  It was not only the interaction between student and Master which guided and influenced my path at this point, but the interplay and exchanges of ideas and intelligence between my fellow students and I.  There is no feeling in the world like being bound together with like-minded  people, having  a common cause and goal of furthering ones education.  I remember the feeling of ecstasy and elation every time I would walk into that storied and hallowed building and get the initial aroma of oil paint and turpentine first thing in the morning.  There was nothing more powerful to get the creative juices flowing than that experience. 

Once I had finished my studies in New York, I returned to my home state of New Jersey to dedicate my life to capturing  the quickly disappearing local landmarks that I grew up with in Bergen County.  To some people these buildings and structures are relics destined for demolition to forge a path for urban gentrification, but to me they are important cultural icons that should be preserved at all costs.  I remember an incident that set me on my current path of the documentation of these charming old places.  I was sitting in my car at a red light, not really thinking of anything in particular, when I happened to glance to my left and saw the Rochelle Park barbershop.  I had never seen this place before or even knew it existed, but I felt an immediate connection to it.  It looked to me like a time capsule that time had forgotten.  It had not changed much since it opened 50 years prior, and I knew instinctively at that very moment that I must document it before it was gone and forgotten forever. 

Over the last 25 years, my work has been included in multiple group and one-person exhibitions and has been purchased by many private collectors.  I have had my work hung at Kerygma Gallery in Ridgewood, New Jersey, Mason-Murer Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, Plus One Gallery in London, England, Elliot Fouts Gallery in Sacramento, California, Sola Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts, Lois Richards Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut and Westwood Gallery, in Westwood, New Jersey.  My work has been featured in several media outlets including The New York Times, The Bergen Record, Ridgewood NJ  News, Provincetown Arts magazine, (201) magazine, Art in America magazine, The E Jean Carrroll television show and on News 12 NJ television.  I have also has one of my paintings, The Bendix Diner, featured on a billboard in my home state of New Jersey.


As I drive around in the car, whether it is doing mundane chores, dropping the kids off or picking them up from school or going to a travel hockey game. I am always on the look out for the next perfect subject to transform into a painting.  I ride my bicycle around New Jersey and New York City quite frequently with the same goal in mind.  I have a keen eye for observation and compositional structure in nature, and spend countless hours searching for the next historic landmark that may be in danger of disappearing, that I feel I must preserve on canvas.  I imagine in my head what the best time of day or night would be for each subject to reach my ultimate goal of producing a treasured memory in paint for decades to come.  I feel as though I have an obligation to document and record these places for future generations so they may have some idea of how things used to be and how fleeting many things are in our neighborhoods.   Once I find a special subject during my travels, I am ready to begin the process of creating a painting.

I photograph the intended subject from multiple angles and during different times of day when possible, to maximize the effects of light and shadow and to arrive at the best possible composition.  I also sketch the subject on site with either pencils or oil paint to gather more information that will serve me when I return to the studio to begin the final rendition.  I speak with the home owners or business owners and employees when possible as well to get a more personal feeling about their establishments and to make a human connection to the site.  I enjoy having an emotional connection to my physical subjects as well as an understanding of the feelings of pride and passion that these folks have towards their homes and places of work.  I eat at the diners, I get my hair cut at the barbershops and really try to immerse myself in these places that eventually will become painted heirlooms for a lifetime.  All of these support materials are then brought back with me to my studio to begin creating the work of art. 

The next step in the creative process is to decide on the proper dimensions for the painting, whether it is in landscape or portrait format.  I stretch the primed linen canvas over wooden stretcher bars much like one would reupholster a piece of furniture.  I then draw a basic rough sketch of the subject onto the stretched canvas with pencil or charcoal.  I don’t feel that it is necessary to draw much detail in at this early stage, which in turn allows me the freedom to add or delete details with paint and brush during subsequent stages, keeping the painting fresh and spontaneous.  It is also at this juncture of  my creative endeavor that I will spend some time envisioning what the final product will look like. I will meditate over the canvas, going over in my head all aspects of it regarding color temperature, value placement, elegance of line drawing, brush strokes, paint texture, composition and visual poetry.   It is very similar to what an athlete goes through in his or her mind in preparation for competition.  By the time I am ready to touch brush to canvas, I have a fully formed picture in my head of the finished painting.  It is just a matter of execution, work ethic and passion at this point to arrive at my intended final vision for each piece. 

The initial underpainting stage is begun with a thin turpentine wash of oil color to block in all areas of light and dark to set the parameters of the composition.  I keep the brushwork very loose and free at this juncture, knowing that in the following application of paint layers the painting will become increasingly more detailed and focused.  I try to eliminate all the white of the canvas at this stage to more accurately get a sense of color harmony and value structure as the painting moves forward.  This is the same technique that many of the Old Masters used to construct their work.  It is also at this early stage that I start thinking about color relationships regarding warm versus cool color temperature and complementary contrasts.  I utilize opposite colors on the color spectrum wheel while blocking in paint to enhance the feeling of vibration and to optimize the feeling of light and atmosphere.  I paint in all natural elements of the scene with  complementary color schemes and try to use them to my best advantage in the following application of paint layers.  For example, I will underpaint sky and water areas with an orange color which will have the opposite color blue applied over them in the next painting session,  which causes an optical vibration in the viewers’ eye.  Trees, grass and bushes are handled similarly with a red underlayer followed by green overlayers.  Using broken brushwork throughout the painting, I can maximize this vibrating optical effect.  When some of the opposite colors in the underpainting are able to show through the overpainting  in various spots on the canvas, a real feeling of light and space is achieved.  This is how the Impressionists constructed their paintings and is a scientifically proven way to make a flat canvas surface look as though if has depth and distance when the scene is completely painted in. 

As I paint this initial part of the scenery, I am also keenly aware of  the various objects that shall be included in the paintings’ surface texture.  I am mindful  that bricks, stones, mortar, stucco, asphalt, concrete and pavement have to be handled much differently than glass, water, neon or any reflective surfaces.  It is this handling of the paint texture throughout the painting process that makes these works of art look larger than life and not just like a flat architectural rendering with no soul or feeling whatsoever.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lafayette Avenue House - Wyckoff, NJ

Completed painting.

Oil on linen.

10" x 16"

I was interviewed at my studio yesterday by a very nice reporter from The Wyckoff Suburban News for a feature article about my work.  Thanks Rebecca!

The piece will run in the Oakland, Wyckoff, Franklin Lakes, Midland Park, Mahwah, Ramsey and Waldwick versions of the paper as well as online.  When published in the next week or two, I shall post it here.

One last footnote; my run of being mentioned in The New York Times came to an end after 11 weeks in a row.  It was pretty nice opening it for so many weeks and seeing my name in print in that legendary newspaper.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Lafayette Avenue House - Wyckoff, NJ

First stage of underpainting complete.  Very creative mural done by artist Ray Bartkus.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Stonewall Court House (rear view) - Franklin Lakes, NJ

Completed painting.

Oil on linen.

8" x 12"

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Stonewall Court House (front view) - Franklin Lakes, NJ

Completed painting.

Oil on linen.

8" x 12"

Here is the link for my Kickstarter campaign to do paintings of 15 buildings in Wyckoff that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Thanks.


Sunday, July 05, 2015

GOFUNDME campaign

I am trying to raise funds to do a painting of the Vanderbeck house, located in Fair Lawn, NJ via GoFundMe.

This historic home will most likely be demolished by the developer who now owns the property.  The painting will be 8" x 14", and when completed I shall donate it to the Fair Lawn Historical Society.

I will be doing a much larger project via Kickstarter of all 15 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places that are located in Wyckoff, NJ., very soon.  Those 15 paintings will all be donated to the Township of Wyckoff.

Thanks for taking the time to look and possibly help fund these projects.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Stonewall Court House - Franklin Lakes, NJ

First stage of underpainting complete on front and back views.

I am waiting to hear if I have been chosen to paint a mural in Hackensack, NJ.  If chosen, I will be painting a very large version of the White Manna hamburger stand and it should look incredible if all goes to plan.


I have been commissioned to do a large painting of one of Wyckoff's grandest homes.  I can't wait to get started on this one.  Here is an aerial view of the home taken by drone.


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