Still Life with a Tale to Tell 

At the heart of each of my paintings lies a story. Some are overt, and some are subtle.  Some have clear plots and visual puns, others simply evoke a  literary feeling or poetic mood.  Above all else, the goal is to wrap the story in a shimmering and beautifully crafted painting.  I invite you to spend some time with each one and see what tale it has to tell you.”

Recent Blog Posts

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    Warming Up

    The Story All the paintings so far for this year-long project have featured purely black backgrounds. I love the drama and simplicity of paintings set against such a backdrop.  At the same time, I felt like having a lighter painting this week.  So, I decided to work against a beige background (introducing some dramatic spotlighting […]

  • 101333

    Race to the Top

    The Story The story for this week’s painting unfolded as I worked on it.  In fact, it grew out of a change I made to the design midway; see the technical discussion below. One of the pleasures of the creative process is that sometimes good ideas lurk just below the level of conscious awareness.  This […]

  • 101332


    The Story This week’s painting has two meanings – one semi-political and one very personal. I don’t think I’m being particularly controversial when I say I’ve had enough of the rancor in American public life – from both sides.  I know it’s not going away anytime soon.  I also know we’ve been through much worse […]

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    A Quick and Dirty Perspective Trick

    Many artists – even established professionals – have an uneasy relationship with perspective.  That’s understandable, given how involved it can be to figure out, say, the proper perspective of a complicated geometric shape with multiple vanishing points. It’s good, and I think necessary, to know how to do this.  But, in the real world, I […]

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    The Grisaille Underpainting

    There are multiple approaches to making an underpainting.  A Grisaille is the simplest form, done with just black and white.  Other forms include Verdaccio (done with shades of green), Brunaille (shades of brown), Dead Color (dulled, muted forms of the final colors) and so forth.  An artist working with underpaintings will choose an approach based […]

  • FramedCommission

    Framed and Ready for Delivery

    This commissioned painting is framed and ready for delivery. I gave the collectors several options for the frame, and was excited that they chose this one.  It was my choice as well.  It’s a gold leaf frame, about 2.5 inches wide, with some simple Arts and Crafts – inspired detailing at the corners.  I think […]

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    Reorganizing My Studio for Better Workflow

    I’m off to a scary late start to this week’s painting.  Instead of getting to work on it Monday, which is the normal rhythm, I didn’t start it until Wednesday.  And I still need to finish it by Sunday evening. Meanwhile, I’ve spent the last two days reorganizing my studio to improve the workflow, and […]

  • 101330

    Your Cup of Tea

    The Story This week’s painting is one of those that doesn’t have a specific story behind it.  Instead, I was aiming for a dramatic mood, along with the solid reassurance that a good cup of tea can bring at just the right moment. Even when there’s not a specific plot, I still think of the […]

  • detail

    Painting Metal

    How did you do that? From time to time I’ll get a nice compliment about how I paint metal.  This is often followed up with questions about how I do it. Unfortunately, there’s not a simple secret that I can reveal.  I approach metal the same way I approach any other type of object: Observe […]

  • IMG_0100

    Cultivating the Habit of Beauty

    Keeping it Beautiful at Every Step Sometimes a minor shortcoming can illustrate a larger point. The image above is the completed underpainting for this week’s project.  One thing you might notice is that the tones get cooler and bluer towards the bottom.  As I got to the end of the working day, I ran out […]

  • Jeffrey Hayes: Still Life Paintings: Oil Painting: Safe Haven

    Safe Haven

      The Story This week’s painting is entitled “Safe Haven”.  As is sometimes the case, I didn’t begin it with a story in mind.  Rather, I just set to work making the composition that I wanted, and let the story unfold in the background of my imagination.   If I get out of the way and […]

  • IMG_0046a

    A Grisaille omits most – but not all – details

    The second step (after the drawing) for this week’s painting is complete.  It’s a straightforward grisaille (gray painting) – probably the most common form of underpainting – using only Mars Black and Lead White.  These are quick drying paints – an important consideration since I’m on a tight schedule with these weekly paintings.  Ideally it […]

  • IMG_0037

    Using the Grid Transfer Method to Copy the Image onto the Panel

    Most of my recent paintings have been in either a square or horizontal (landscape) format.  This week I’m working with a composition that’s strongly vertical, and will be painting on a 14×11 inch panel.  The video above shows the model I’m working from and discusses transferring the image to the panel. Once I’ve made a […]

  • 101328

    At the Still Point of the Turning World

    This week’s painting is entitled “At the Still Point of the Turning World”, which is a line from the T.S. Eliot poem “Burnt Norton”, the first of his Four Quartets.  I was not looking for ways to directly reference any parts of the poem in this painting.  Instead, I started to see that in this […]

  • IMG_0013a

    The Ébauche is an underpainting with dulled colors

    “Ébauche” is a french word meaning draft or first pass, and it refers to a specific type of underpainting.  Rather than using black and white, as is the case with a grisaille underpainting, an ébauche uses color.  However, it’s not the full, saturated color of the final painting.  Instead, it tends to be desaturated – […]

  • IMG_9995

    A Thumbnail Sketch Simplifies the Start

    As I get this week’s painting underway, I thought I’d mention the humble thumbnail sketch.  After setting up the model, it’s usually the very first piece of active work on the path to the final painting. The thumbnail is just a small, rough drawing that I use to establish the composition.  It’s only purpose is […]

  • Jeffrey Hayes: Still Life Paintings: Oil Paintings: The Court of the Pomegranate King

    The Court of the Pomegranate King

    Here is this week’s completed painting – the first in my year-long series of 52 larger pieces.  This one is done with oil on mounted linen, and measures 8×10 inches.  Parts of this have dried to a matte finish.  This is not desirable because it shifts the apparent color lighter than it actually is.  A […]

  • Untitled6

    My Current Easel Arrangement, and Painting from Memory

     My Current Easel Arrangement Up until about 6 months ago, most of my work incorporated photography as at least part of the reference material.  The current setup of my easel reflects that practice.  Immediately to the right of it, I have a computer monitor where I’d display photographs I was working from.  To the […]

  • IMG_9979

    Nearly Complete, but with Uneven Drying

    At this point the painting is basically complete.  A few details need to be tightened up and several colors need to be strengthened.  In particular I want to pay more attention to the reflections in the silver creamer.  I’ll also restate some of the colors in the lemon – it should have a greater saturation […]

  • IMG_9918

    Glazes on top of the underpainting

    With a fully worked out underpainting in place, the color layer usually goes quite smoothly.  Often it’s simply a matter of glazing (very thin layers of transparent paint) with the local color and then adjusting details.  This was the case with the pomegranate, where I glazed the shadows with a dark transparent crimson. I then […]

What Collectors Are Saying

  • 100813

    "I feel privileged to own such a beautiful work of art.  It brings grace to my home, as well as feelings of warmth and peace."

    S.K., Michigan
  • 101057

    "Museum quality, perfect work.  Beautiful, sophisticated, and poised."

    L.K., New York
  • 100930

    "The variety of his paintings over the years has made multiple purchases greatly satisfying.  Each work is unique and awe-inspiring because his ability is transcendent."

    G.T., Massachusetts
  • 101055

    I’ve known Jeff and collected his work for several years now. I always look forward with great anticipation when he shows his new work at local galleries and at art shows around the Boston area.  The realism he achieves is astonishing. He brings a remarkable precision and clarity to his Still Lifes, and his compositions are always thoughtful and interesting. I always stop, look, and marvel at the paintings of his that I have hanging on my walls. I am both proud and honored to have him as part of my collection.

    L.A., Massachusetts
  • 101226

    "We have several of Jeff's paintings. While they are usually paintings of very everyday things, what he does with them is extraordinary. Reflections and light through glass are masterfully shown, and are particular examples of the 'inherent' light we see in all the things he paints, and that we love seeing in our house."

    B.C., Massachusetts

About Me

  • Pictures February 2012 A 210
  • Jan2013Download 339
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My Story

Ten years ago I took a deep breath and stepped away from a successful career as a computer programmer to paint full time. Since that big move, I’ve made over 1000 paintings, and when possible I paint every single day with a zeal and passion to produce the very finest work for my collectors.

My focus is on the common, everyday objects we have all around us, transforming them into art that celebrates mood, drama, and sometimes simple humor.

I’ve shown pieces in numerous galleries throughout the US, been featured in several international art publications, and placed paintings in about 500 collections worldwide, but my biggest satisfaction remains the look on an art lover’s face when they deeply connect with one of my pieces and truly “get it”.

I spend my days looking around me to find inspiration for new work that will move and delight those who love my paintings. I hope you enjoy them as well – let me know if you did!

Finding my work

This website is the primary venue for seeing my work, and, if you are a collector, acquiring a painting from me. On my collectors’ page, I have a number of resources that describe the process of adding one of my works to your collection. I have made it as simple as possible to purchase art from me online, and if you have any questions about it, I would love to talk to you!

Annual Exhibits

Twice a year, in the spring and the fall, I participate in a major 3-day arts festival just West of Boston. I typically display about 50 paintings and am visited by collectors from around New England and beyond. The next show is scheduled for November 17-19, 2017. As this date approaches I will share more specifics.