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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    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 […]

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    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 […]

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    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 – […]

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    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 […]

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    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 […]

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    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 […]

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    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 […]

  • The underpainting phase

    Underpainting Can Improve The Final Result

    Approaching the Underpainting Last night I completed the underpainting for this week’s project. Different artists have different goals for using underpaintings, and use a variety of approaches.  It’s usually an opportunity to work out the composition and the values without worrying about color or detail.  Basically its’ a very simplified first pass in black and […]

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    Starting This New Project

    Today I’m starting my year-long project to make one new larger painting each week. I have several items still in my studio from the large commission painting I finished a few days ago, and I like the way they look together, so I’m using them for the basis of this week’s painting. I’ve done a […]

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    Mostly Complete

    Happy New Year! I finished this painting last night – mostly finished, that is.  There are a few small issues I want to correct, so I’ll let this dry for about a week and then spend an afternoon addressing them.  But, I wanted to get this to the point of being essentially done by the […]

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    Mt. Parnassus and the Greek Key

    One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about the last few commissions I’ve done has been collaborating with the collectors to make highly personal paintings.  We’ve done this by carefully selecting objects that tell their stories. This painting has a few such elements, and to me the most interesting is that small circular box.  The […]

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    Turning Point

    Up until last night I had my doubts about this project – I wasn’t entirely sure I would produce something I was proud of.  It’s not that I have any lack of self-confidence in front of the easel, but the size and the tight schedule meant that I wasn’t 100% sure of the result. Now […]

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    Glazing the Background

    Today I applied the glaze to darken the background, and in this video I talk about that process and show the results.

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    First Pass Completed

    Last night I completed the first pass.  The objective of that is to get paint everywhere so I can start to work out the exact relationships between colors – especially values and temperatures. Once paint is everywhere, I find that problems sometimes become obvious that weren’t so clear before.  There are a couple of issues […]

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    First Pass

    Continuing work on the first pass. I don’t approach all of my paintings in exactly the same way.  Some are done start-to-finish in just one sitting, and some have a black-and-white underpainting followed by successive color layers. This painting will be a series of “passes” – rough approximations to get some basic information down, followed […]

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    The Two Hardest Parts

    It’s starting to feel like a painting. As I prepared myself for this project, the two parts that concerned me most from a technical standpoint were the background and the folded cloth.  I began with them, since there will be multiple steps with drying time in between. I want to give the background a deep […]

  • Jeffrey Hayes: Still Life Painting: Oil Painting

    Drawing in the composition

    I’ve transferred the composition to the panel, drawing it in with a thin wash of Burnt Umber.  This video shows the details of where the project stands at the moment:

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    Final composition, toning the canvas, and a drapery challenge

    Yesterday as I was preparing the final composition, I realized that the painting would be better served with a lower point of  view.  The sketches I’d originally sent to the collectors were from about a 45 degree angle, and the more I worked with it, the more I realized that a lower vantage point would […]

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    One Ends, One Begins

    This picture is the end point of one commission, and the beginning point of another. The frame in back is for my most recently-completed piece.  I’m delivering it tonight, and am very excited to see it up on the collectors’ wall.  Hopefully they will allow me to share some pictures of it in it’s final […]

What Collectors Are Saying

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

    L.K., New York
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    "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
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    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
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    "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

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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.