Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy 2014!

Last Chance to see the Animated Holiday Windows in Washington DC!
Soon it will be time to disassemble the holiday displays I build each year!
Coldwell Bankers Real Estate offices, 6th and Pennsylvania Ave SE
...until January 9th
Here's a video of the Christmas Village and Train Window

and one more of the North Pole Christmas village as elves load the sleigh

"Capitol Hill" window features a holiday village version of the neighborhood surrounding the Capitol Dome in Washington DC
The window displays have become a holiday tradition in the Capitol Hill neighborhood

 New Year, New Paintings

"Nightfall at Suburb Station" 2013.   Casein on muslin covered panel 16 x 12,
In this piece, the last evening light above the darkening station contrasts with the amber glow of artificial light surrounding the tracks and parking lot.

"Edge of the Old Grove", 24 x 12
This painting also features an impressionistic study of contrast in light; here the warmth of the sun on a meadow in early autumn, and the rich shade under the canopy of nearby trees.
"Religion and Commerce" 12 x 9
The title of this smaller piece pretty much tells the story of why I found the scene interesting. The view is from the walkway of the Ben Franklin Bridge , where you get a good view of the steeple of St. Augustine Church, along with  more pedestrian structures.

Thanks to all who visited
the Turtle Artisan's Holiday Pop-up!

Hope your mama got her shoppin' done!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Visit me at the Turtle Artisans Holiday Pop-up Store!
Opening reception: Friday Dec.13, 7-9 pm
Saturday Dec.14 & Sunday Dec.15: 12-4pm
view the facebook page link here:
I will be showing new small paintings in custom frames that make super-special holiday gifts. Even better, a portion of each sale will support the Elkins Park Park Train Station renovation. If you haven't seen what's happening in this great new community gathering place, this is the perfect opportunity to visit!
For more information about the train station renovation project:


New Paintings 

"Stormy Sunday on the Delaware" 24 x 16,
My painting focus has become more regional lately. Subject matter inspiration has come from downtown Philadelphia and up through the Delaware Valley. There are beautiful canal trails, great for hiking, on both sides of the river in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. On a Sunday in September, despite threatening weather, I found a great loop route from Frenchtown to Milford on the Jersey side, then circling back through PA from Upper Black Eddy (love that name). The scene above looks from the bridge at Frenchtown towards Upper Bucks on a moody overcast afternoon.

"Oak, Contry Lane" 12x9
This small but richly colored piece depicts a back road in Delaware where I love to go biking. The rural scene is complimented by an oversized frame made from weathered salvaged gate pickets I found near Shwenksville PA.
Framed Painting, 20x17
If you find yourself in Washington DC this holiday season, visit the annual ANIMATED HOLIDAY WINDOW DISPLAY that I began creating more than 12 years ago! On Pennsylvania Avenue, just a few blocks from the Capitol Dome, these displays are commissioned for the storefront windows of Coldwell Bankers by the best Real Estate Agent on Capitol Hill, Phyllis Jane Young! This year the scenes will include a Victorian town with working train, cable cars, and skating pond, a Capitol Hill Neighborhood, complete with local business, A North Pole scene with elves busy loading the sleigh, and an ever-snowing Christmas tree!

605 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Washington DC 20003 
A couple of young gazers checking out last year's display


Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I have been working on some smaller pieces that were first shown at the recent Jenkintown Art Festival:
"Bridge at East Oak Lane"
16 x 12, Casein on muslin covered board
This scene is along the West Trenton SEPTA commuter rail line, just inside the Philadelphia City limits. I was drawn to the daylight fading over the tracks, casting magenta light onto the clouds over the adjacent buildings, as warm yellow light glows from apartments within the structure.

"Walk in the Park, Spring Day"
12 x 9, Casein on muslin covered board
With autumn bringing its crisp harvest palette, it's interesting to see the contrast with the pastel tones of spring. This small but lush piece depicts a woman with two children enjoying a walk on a warm afternoon in late April, as trees burst into blossom.

"Water Nymphs and Bronze Goddess"
12 x 9, Casein on muslin covered board
This small painting features a bronze sculpture from the 1924 Swann Memorial Fountain in downtown Philly's Logan Square, designed by Alexander Calder and dedicated to philanthropist Wilson Swann. Though an iconic local landmark, few people examine the sculpture closely enough to realize the sculptor's pun--his grandly traditional nude "river goddess" is grasping a geyser-spewing swan, thus acknowledging the fountain's namesake.

Painting for MRAC Collaboration with
Laurel Hill Cemetery
During the Halloween season in October 2013, the Manayunk Roxborough Art Center will host a series of events celebrating Philadelphia's historic Victorian cemetery, Laurel Hill. For more information, visit this link:
I've contributed this painting to the "impressions of Laurel Hill" art show opening Sunday, Oct 13:
"Location, location, location" by Bruce Starr
2013, 36 x 24, Casein on muslin covered panel
Although I created a stylized fantasy piece, I still wanted to convey the amazing setting, as the cemetery rises on the bluffs overlooking the Schulkill River. Drippingly ornate Victorian mausoleums and crypts are tucked precariously on terraces above Kelly Drive, along with granite blocks and obelisks standing like dominoes in undulating rows along the cliff sides. Exploring the cemetery, I could not shake the feeling that I had wandered onto a Tim Burton movie set, so I decided to paint accordingly!

Collaboration with Mordechai Rosenstein

I recently had the honor of collaborating with renowned artist Mordechai Rosenstein. A calligraphy artist most famous for his graphic interpretations of passages from the Torah, Mordechai's work is valued and displayed by not only private collectors, but by synagogues throughout the United States and around the world.

Mordechai and I designed this tablet for an exhibit coming to Philadelphia in November, "Beyond the Railcar", documenting a project by school kids to better understand the holocaust. They collected 6 million paper clips to help them comprehend the number of people killed by the Nazis.
The main panel depicts the back of a boxcar like the ones used to transport Jews to concentration camps. The center plaque is a Liberty Bell silhouette, acknowledging the Philadelphia exhibit location, filled with brass paper clips! Mordechai then painted a quotation from Leviticus that is inscribed on the Liberty Bell itself, "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof"

Monday, September 2, 2013


Visit my booth at the
Jenkintown Art Festival,
Sunday Sept.22, 12:30 to 6:30pm 
more info:
An open-air art festival is a great way to celebrate the arrival of autumn!
I'm working on a variety of new smaller paintings that will be ready in time for the festival. These will be custom framed and ready to hang or give as a gift. Here are a few samples:
"Oak, Country Lane" 2013 12x9
Casein on muslin covered panel
"Night Service" 2013 12x16
Casein on muslin covered panel

"Populated Landscapes" featured in QUAIL BELL MAGAZINE

This online and print magazine is described as "a social and artistic experiment in the imaginary, the nostalgic & the otherworldly". Link to their feature on my paintings here:

Featured in Quail Bell magazine,
"The Violinist, First Friday" 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Yucatan "Populated Landscape"

click pictures to enlarge
"Fishing from Quay at Progresso, Yucatan" 2013
32 x 18 Casein on muslin covered panel
This painting is another from my trip to Yucatan last year. The sun-drenched beach at Progresso faces the Gulf of Mexico from the very center of the peninsula. The area is modern and developed, attracting many tourists, but this scene captures a local family fishing trip on the quay. I wanted to depict the intensity of the sun suffusing the afternoon with vivid colors of turquoise, pink and yellow

Cape Cod Light
This is the first painting from my recent trip to Cape Cod. The exceptional quality of the light at sunset inspired this study of a side street in Provincetown's west end. With most of streetscape dark with purple shadows, the fa├žade of one house picked up the amber and salmon colors of the clouds, while the open bay beyond remained in reflected daylight.
"Last Light Over the Bay" 2013
 14 x 14 Casein on muslin covered panel
(Unfortunately, the photograph loses some of the subtlety of the rich colors)

Winner of Plein Air Competition
"Paint Our Town" event sponsored by Medford Art Center
On June 1, I participated in a Plein Air (outdoor) painting contest in Medford NJ, and annual event of the Medford Art Center. I was very excited that my painting won the first place prize! My painting and others from the contest are on display at the Medford Arts Center, in conjunction with the "Metro 29 Show" from August 31 thru October 4th.

More info about hours and location at the Art Center Website:

"Silo" 2013

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer Shows

Recent Paintings on Display at
Frame House Gallery
7900 High School Road, Elkins Park PA, 19027

Casein paintings by Bruce Starr
on display through August

for hours and info visit:

"Evening Ritual" 16x12, 2013
This painting is a great reminder of summer evenings at the shore; in this piece, watching the sun set from Herring Cove Beach on Cape Cod

Pieces Chosen for MRAC Annual Juried Art Show
Two of my paintings have been selected for exhibit in the Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center's 5th juried event running through July. For more information about the show, visit the MRAC website:
The paintings chosen are shown below:
"Storm Clouds over Manayunk Viaduct" 2013: 26 x 24, Casein on muslin covered panel
"Three Lanes to Jersey" 2011: 16 x 12

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mural Up!

Elkins Park Train Station Renovation Project, Mural Panels
Panels completed in the station "studio"  ready for installation

I've been working on this vividly colored mural, designed to raise curiosity and awareness about the plan to preserve the historic Elkins Park Train Station, and turn it into a community center. I painted plywood panels on a loooooong easel set up inside the station itself.
Last Saturday a group of volunteers helped install the panels on the outbound shelter structure, where it can be seen from the commuter parking lot and the business district around Creekside Co-op.
For more information visit renovation project website at:
New Paintings
"Distant Campfire" 12 x 12, Casein on muslin covered panel. Weathered chestnut frame, overall size 21 x 21

This new work is on display at the Frame House gallery, 7900 High School Road in Elkins Park PA. I was really pleased with how the moody scene became more interesting with the integration of the painting into the frame, the blue tones enriched by an intense periwinkle floater and the beauty of the heavy weathered chestnut outer rail. I built this frame from wood I found in a salvage yard, and was told by the owner that it was originally the back rail of a church pew. It works beautifully for its new purpose! 

"Market East" 28 x 21, Casein on muslin covered panel
Septa riders may recognize the multi-colored, angled strokes in the right section of this painting as an interpretation of the glazed tile wall of the Market East station platform area. Light pours in from the glass shaftway above, reflecting and refracting from the glossy wall surface onto the platform and patrons. Yet the underground darkness of the tunnels still pervades the space. My palette became more high-contrast and intense than usual to capture this atmosphere. I was also interested in capturing the feeling of people interacting in this public space--or rather not interacting, with many characters' attention focused downwards to their hand-held devices. The scene made me think of an earlier impressionistic painting, also of people taking public transportation, "Boston Common at Twilight" by Childe Hassan. (shown below)  A very different mood of a different time, but somehow connected.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Open studio for the Turtle Artisan's Tour

Thanks to everyone who visited me in the

Ready at the station!
Beautiful tour weather!

Special thanks to
Amy Ragsdale and Denise Shardlow
for all their hard work organizing the tour!

"Tour-ists" browse my paintings
Great to get feedback on my new series

for more information about the Turtle Artisan's Tour, visit:
 New painting series:

"Nightfall Over Turnpike Crossovers" 36 x 24, Casein
"Sunrise Overpass" 36 x 24, Casein
"High Clouds Crossing to Jersey" 36 x 24, Casein

"Storm Clouds Over Manayunk Viaduct" 36 x 24, Casein


To help raise funds to create a community arts space in the station's beautiful original waiting room I will be painting a mural for the outbound side of the station facing the High School Road business district.
Working sketch for the station mural
Lisa Stockebrand, Cynthia Blackwood, Bruce Starr at Elkins Park Station