Hysteria, an Oil Sketch by Jay Trefethen

I’ve been experimenting lately with using unstretched canvas to do sketches that are much larger than what I’m use to. This is my second one. It is a nice change to work large like this. Up until now, my work rarely got larger than 18” X 24,” and is usually more like 11” X 14,” so this is interesting. So far, I think this new technique is working.

Oil Sketch, 20” X 30,” © 2020 Jay Trefethen

Anticipation, oil on Canvas

Anticipation wordpress blog

Anticipation, oil on unstretched canvas, 20” X 32,” © 2020 Jay Trefethen

This was a fun piece that I did last weekend. I’ve always had a thing for cosplay, and French Maids, so this was a no brainer. In fact, I’m wondering now why I’ve never done a French Maid before. Cosplay is something I’ve been a fan of before it was even called ‘cosplay.’ Yes, I’m old enough to remember when it was just called costumes. I discovered cosplay at my first science fiction convention that I attended, back in the eighties. I was in my early teens, and had no idea this was a thing until I walked into the hotel lobby, and I seemed to be the only one there not dressed up. The Uptight Eighties had a lot of hang ups, but skin was not one of them. Flaunt it if you got it was the rule of thumb, and boy oh boy was there some young ladies flaunting it. That made quite an impression on my adolescent brain. Is ‘adolescent brain’ an oxymoron?

Anyway, this was painted on unstretched canvas, for easy shipping, since I’m selling it online. The piece is quite large for a simple figure study. The colors are something new; I decided to try Gamblin’s new Reclaimed Earth Limited Edition Collection. I was very impressed. I’ve always liked earth tones. And these are made from the waste water of coal mine runoff. Very cool. They are just different enough from standard earth tones to make them interesting to use. I will definitely be making these colors a pallet staple.

I’m selling this on eBay. Here is a link to my listings:


Anticipation, by Jay Trefethen
Anticipation, oil on canvas by Jay Trefethen


Oil on canvas, 16 X 20, © 2020 Jay Trefethen, All rights reserved.

This was a fun piece to do. It is done almost entirely with Payne’s Grey, a beautiful neutral blue. I had a lot of fun with this piece, and am glad it came out well. I posted it on eBay, and it’s already sold. But please don’t forget, you can always commission a painting directly from me at jaytref@gmail.com

Invaders, oil on canvas, © 2020 Jay Trefethen. All rights reserved.

The Familiar

The Familiar, pyrography on birch panel, 11″ X 17,” the first of a new series of fantasy art pieces done with pyrography, my favorite medium. I had a lot of fun with this piece, even though those wings took forever! I’m very happy with how it came out. I hope you like it too. This beauty is available for purchase. If you are interested, please feel free to contact me. Thanks for looking.

Pyrography art by Jay Trefethen.
11″ X 17,” pyrography on panel, © 2020 Jay Trefethen. All Rights Reserved.
pyrography art by Jay Trefethen.
Pyrography on plywood 11 X 17, WIP

Cutting Boards for Chapman’s Store, new pyrography art by Jay Trefethen

I’ve recently completed two Maple cutting boards done for Chapman’s Store in Fairlee, Vermont. These were completely hand made by yours truly. Maple is a very hard wood, perfect for withstanding knife blades. It was finished with 4 coats ofPure Tung Oil thinned with Citrus Solvent. Then polished with one coat of Soapstone Sealer. All three products are food contact safe finishes from The Real Milk Paint Co. I’m asking $60 for each one, which is a very reasonable price for such beautiful pieces of original art. If you’re interested, please head on over to Chapman’s and have a look. These photos don’t do this art justice. They really look amazing when seen in person. Thanks for reading my blog. Please subscribe!

Blue Jay, Maple cutting board by Jay Trefethen
Owls in Love, Maple cutting board by Jay Trefethen

Anticipation, pencil and ink, nude study by Jay Trefethen

Hey everyone. I haven’t posted in a while, so I figured I’d start with a quick sketch I had done recently, just for the fun of it. I hope you like her.


Since my last post, I’ve been busy doing commissions. These are all Christmas presents, so I won’t be able to post photos till after Christmas; I try not to post photos of presents before the recipient receives them. I was a little behind for awhile because for much of October, I was still pretty upset about being rejected by the Newport Library Arts Center. So I didn’t get much done. But I’m all caught up now. For the moment anyway.

I sold Midnight Dreaming recently, and that is in the mail to Canada right now. I always get excited when one of my personal pieces sell.

What’s Happening Now

Right now I’m working on some woodburned cutting boards Chapman’s Store in Fairlee, Vermont. I’m making them from scratch out of Maple, and they are looking great so far. Photos of the finished pieces will be posted as soon as possible. Until then, thanks for checking out my art blog!

Anticipation, pencil and ink on watercolor paper, 7” X 10,” by Jay Trefethen

Triceratops, oil on canvas by Jay Trefethen

This is my latest painting, the fourth in my eBay Oils series. Ten oil paintings I’m selling on ebay for whatever I can get for them. So far the first two have sold. You can check out the unsold ones on my at www.ebay.com/usr/nightairstudios/.

I had a lot of fun painting this one. I really like working monochrome with earth tones. And I haven’t drawn a dinosaur since I was a kid. Yes, I was one of those little boys obsessed with dinosaurs. Is that still a thing? Do little kids still go gaga over all things dinosaur, or has that died out? I have no idea what modern children are into. Anyway, I was really into them. And doing this painting reminded me of that aspect of my childhood. I’m getting to that age where I’m getting all wistful over my own past. Revisiting memories and whatnot. Too bad my memory sucks. Everything’s all jumbled up in there. I do have a lot of regrets though. Sometimes I think my life is a long series of missed opportunities and wrong turns. Other times I know it is. Well, hasn’t this turned into a cheerful post. At least I never stopped drawing and painting (gotta count them blessings.) And even though it’s taking forever, I think I’m finally getting somewhere with my finished art. When I started off a zillion years ago, I was a halfway decent sketch artist, who wanted to be a professional artist. I figured my sketching skills would give me a head start down that path; I’d just have to adapt my sketching abilities to a painting medium and away my carrier would go. Ya. How did that work out for me? Turns out the learning curve was a lot steeper than I anticipated. Add in the fact that most of the advice I got from teachers and other artists was utter crap. Note to self: no artist ever got rich and famous painting the way he or she was told to paint. Anyway, I’ve rambled on enough. I hope you like my new oil painting. More to follow. Stay posted.

Triceratops, oil on canbvas, 9″ X 12,” © 2019 Jay Trefethen

One Year Ago….At The Helm

It was a year ago this month that I created the pyrography piece At The Helm. It was done on a birch cradled panel that I made myself. It is notable for being the first piece of serious personal work I had done in woodburning. All woodburnings before this were commissioned. After getting dozens of commissions, mostly from work, I finally thought to myself “hey, I’m pretty good at this; I should try this at home.’ It’s embarrassing to think how long it took me to realize that, but at least I got there eventually. This is a piece of art that I am quite proud off. I think it is one of my best pieces, in any medium.

My father ended up buying it, and it now lives on his boat in Alaska. My father is a huge boating enthusiast; he has written several books on boating, including The Cruising Life. And you have to be serious about boating to live on one in Alaska. So I am very glad it ended up with him.

At The Helm, pyrography by Jay Trefethen

September Art Recap

September was a busy month for me. I completed four pieces of art, two oil paintings and two wood burnings. I’m still focusing on relatively small pieces, as they can be done in a reasonable amount of time. I’m really missing the larger pieces though, so I’m going to have to go back to those sometime soon.

One big change this month was my abandoning my Yahoo web site, and starting a whole new web site here on wordpress.com. The Yahoo Small Business site was just too glitchy, constantly crashing and locking me out of the dashboard. I was getting really tired of talking to tech support who knew almost nothing about web hosting. So far the wordpress site is working well, though it is frustrating to have to start over from scratch again. Right now I have my old Yahoo domain, jaytref.com, redirected to this site. The term of my domain subscription ends in December, so I’ll have untill then to decide if I want to transfer the domain to this site (costs money,) continue to forward the traffic here (slightly less money) or just cancel my domain name and use the free domain from wordpress.com. We’ll see how it goes, and how broke I am in December.

Chapman’s Country Store in Fairlee, Vermont, has started carrying my pyrography art. They accepted four of my small basswood pieces. The owner of the store also gave some good advice about making art for sale. She pointed out that functional art sells a lot better than wall art. She explained it quite bluntly. People feel they need an excuse to buy art, they can’t just buy a work of art because it’s beautiful and makes them happy. They have to feel that it serves some practical purpose, ’cause happiness isn’t a valid purpose, apparently. So if the art served a purpose, they can rationalize buying it. Even if the piece’s function is minimal, it still works. She suggested cutting boards, candle holders, gourd vases, junk like that. I’ll give it a try, and we’ll see what happens. I would prefer it if people would buy my wall art, but I need a local outlet for my work, soooo….

As for online sales, I’ve posted both new oil paintings up for eBay auction. You can check them out at ebay.com/usr/nightairstudios. The first is a really pretty butterfly painting, and the second is a cute nude study. I had a lot of fun with both.

In the bummer department, the Newport Library Arts Center rejected my submissions for their Gallery of Gifts show. This is the second time in a row they rejected my pyrography art. I’ve never had a problem getting into their shows with my paintings. It’s only my pyrography that they stick their nose up at, which is really frustrating. I’ve heard online about pyrography artists having a hard time getting into juries shows, despite the quality of their work, but this is the first time I’ve experienced this sort of mindless bias against pyrography firsthand. Now I have to decide if I’m going to continue showing my paintings there, or tell them to f**k off. They deserve the later, but I do need a place to show my larger paintings still. I also need to find a place to show my larger pyrography work too, which is why I was entering it into the Library Arts Center in the first place.

Anyway, it looks like October will be more small, fun paintings for eBay, some (sigh) functional art for Chapman’s store, and more searching for places to display my more serious work. Stay posted….

pyrography on basswood by Jay Trefethen
Winged Beauty, pyrography on basswood, © 2019 Jay Trefethen
pyrography on basswood round by Jay Trefethen
Ghost Koi, pyrography on basswood, © 2019 Jay Trefethen
oil painting by Jay Trefethen
Delicate Fire, oil on canvas, © 2019 Jay Trefethen
oil painting by Jay Trefethen
Midnight Dreaming, oil on canvas, © 2019 Jay Trefethen

PS: Yes, I know I’ve been really bad about taking good photos of my work. I’ve been using my phone way too much lately. I will have to start taking real photos of my work again.

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started