Friday, December 31, 2010


Goodbye 2010...   Hello 2011!
Hope everyone has a great New Year!

Thank you to all who have given me support in 2010! None of us can do it without the help of others and I am fortunate to have so many people involved in my successes. 

Here's to an even bigger and brighter 2011!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Subdued Energy

"Tree Nocturne (19th St.)"
oil on panel, 2010
3.5" x 5" (8.89cm x 12.7cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

The nocturne... it's origin, mid 19th century French from Latin, nocturnus, meaning 'of the night'.

My Tree Nocturne Series. I've kept the series compositionally simple, focusing on the tree and usually an unseen light source. This small painting breaks from that slightly.

Here I show the foreground and middle ground source of the street lights with light emanating from the distant LA Harbor. All, the orange sodium lights. This also is a more zoomed back view than previous tree nocturne's, including more of the surrounding landscape. The color saturation is pushed a bit to give the scene more life, the subdued energy of the suburb and urban setting. In contrast to the previous post.95

Click on image for larger view

*Update - previous post original value thumbnail here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sleeping Giant

"Industrial Plant Nocturne"   SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
"3.5 x 5" (8.89cm x 12.7cm)

Gilded a bronze tone by the orange sodium lights from the harbor, light speckled, a cool night.
Although most industry goes 24 hrs a day, this looked to me like a sleeping giant when I saw it.
That impression was all that I needed for this painting. A simple grid composition, horizontal format for rest, very little color. Dark and still.94

Click on image for larger view

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Phantom Cloud

"Oil plant #5 (Phantom Cloud)"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
8" x 10" (20.32cm x 25.4cm)

I love this view from below the tangle of pipes. Seen late in the day the shadows stretch out and colors deepen.

As I was working on the sky nothing seemed to fit, I then laid in some quick gestural strokes and this phantom shape began to emerge. Recognizing the drama it added and the nice contrast of loosely applied paint to the straight, harder lines, a bit of refining was all that was needed.93

Click on image for larger view

Sunday, December 12, 2010

6" Squared Show Award Announcements

The recent 6" Squared Show at the Randy Higbee Gallery was a sight to see, as I mentioned previously. Click here to see that post.

A lot of hard work went into the show and competition by all involved, from the judges to the staff at both Randy Higbee Gallery and Art and Frame Co. I can't imagine preparing and framing over 300 works in such a short time.

The results were announced on the New Randy Higbee Gallery Blog. Link here... Gallery Awards

As you will see, there was/is (show runs till Dec 23rd) so many great paintings, I'm glad I did not have to decide because the quality was superb. Many of my favorites were chosen as award winners, and deservedly so.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Solar Eclipse

"House in Tree's (Eclipse)"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
4" x 5" (10.16cm x 17.78cm)

I like the way the house tucks back into the dark mass at this time of day. However, the actual lighting wasn't really going to do much else for the image so a conscious decision was made to alter it in some way without losing that shape of tree's and shadow wrapping around the house.

Other than rain, most other atmospheric conditions like haze, fog, clouds etc., meant using a middle or high key value scale, which I did not want, so I stayed with the deep tones.

The lighting now is very similar to the conditions of a solar eclipse... full sun veiled, giving the painting a slightly eerie cast and supporting the visual of the overshadowed house.92

Click on image for larger view

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


"Harbor Line #50 Crossing"   SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
5"x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)

The older #50 from my "Pacific Harbor Line " series. Shown here at a crossroads. Though outdated by technology and being replaced by the newer low emission models, it's still operating.

Placed in the center of the composition, a potentially boring design, but made to work by the dark tree at left and the line of power poles.
The other reason is to place it at the center of a subtle compositional X, formed by tracks, road and cloud shapes, marking it's eventual work stoppage, the sweeping lines of the wires leading the way.

Nostalgic maybe, but not sentimental. A reason I like industrial subjects. They represent hard work, without regret, then step aside for the next generation.91

Click on image for larger view

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Show of Color

"Oil Plant #6 (Two Stacks)"   SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)

This is the fourth of my paintings from the 6" Squared Show, December 4th-23rd, Randy Higbee Gallery.

My Oil Plant series. Here a close-up. The sense of scale in industrial images is not always evident. The two stacks are huge, prominently standing at least 7 or 8 feet tall. Years of service, then years of weather have left them multicolored, glazed in rusty orange and dark chocolate, iced in white, heat tempered in blue, in stark contrast to the more somber wooden structure.

I'm not sure if they were originally painted white or if it is oxidation, but either way all the process' metal goes through, producing bursts of color upon color, is spectacular. The roof too is alive... it's amazing the range of hues found on old metal.

It is usually mother nature who gets credit for such splendor... sometimes we forget to look elsewhere. Dormant while still putting on a show in color.90

Click on image for larger view

RE: 6" Squared Show and Sale

The 6" Squared show at the Randy Higbee Gallery was spectacular. There was so much great art to see, representing a wide, diverse range in styles.

There were artists from all over the country whose work I have long admired but never had the opportunity to see in person until this show. So that was quite exciting. Met several of them too.
There were plenty new discoveries as well.

The show will last until December 23rd, so if you get a chance, go see it. All the artworks are for sale so you might see something you like.

To preview some of the art included in the show go to the gallery's Facebook page. Link here

Friday, December 3, 2010

"Dark Rain"

"Dark Rain"   SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)

This is the sister painting from the previous post "Light Rain". Both are the same site and location, different views and included in the 6" Squared Show at the Randy Higbee Gallery in Costa Mesa California.

These buildings are on the same site as my Oil Plant series.

I like this area for it's hodgepodge of cement slabs laid over the years at various angles. By showing a lot of foreground the emphasis is less on the buildings and more on the weather as a subject for the painting.

The dark cloud allows for a more limited, almost monochromatic palette, and with the sun still breaking through, higher contrast values. The rain rolls in with an unrelenting fury, about to pound the landscape. A cold brooding day with only hints of color, the orange cone and yellow poles.89

Click on image for larger view

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Light Rain"

"Light Rain"   SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)

This painting will be in the 6" Squared show this weekend at the Randy Higbee Gallery. It is the sister painting of one titled "Dark Rain" which I will post soon.

These buildings are on the same site as my Oil Plant series.

I like this area for it's hodgepodge of cement slabs laid over the years at various angles. By showing a lot of foreground the emphasis is less on the buildings and more on the weather as a subject for painting.

A light rain kind of day where the clouds streak swiftly across the sky, scattering their rain. The sun breaks, bringing hard shadows, rain washed air and that great mineral smell.88

Click on image for larger view

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stately Presence

"Vincent Thomas Bridge #1"   SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)

Here is one of my paintings that will be included in the 6" Squared Show at the Randy Higbee Gallery Saturday on December 4th - 23rd. See previous post for show info.

This is a great view of the bridge, it's approach gracefully climbing from the right then plummeting sharply over the other side, dropping into fog.

A Sunday, very little traffic, bright sunlight hitting the towers, a neutral grey sky. A more restrained palette with the darkest tones in the bridge, giving it a formal, stately presence.87

Click on image for larger view

Friday, November 26, 2010

6" Squared Show

Click on image for larger view

Here is the announcement for the upcoming sale and exhibition, at the Randy Higbee Gallery Saturday December 4th.

Artists from all over the United States will have up to 4 works each, so there will be a diverse selection of art on display and for sale, including mine.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

House of Cards

"Catalina Pacific Concrete (View from North)"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)

I love this view from the north. It isolates the narrow side of the plant, showing it's skeletal staircase protruding from the front face. The building seems precarious, unstable against the low foreground walls. The leaning power pole and it's threadlike wires further accentuate that perception. It's a house of cards.86

Click on image for larger view

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Harbor Line #70 study

"Harbor Line #70 - study #1"
graphite on paper, 2010
8" x 10" (20.32cm x 25.4cm)

My Pacific Harbor Line series. The #70 shown here in the sunlight running parallel to a bridge, the same bridge in my painting "Rails, Bridge, Refinery" from the post 'Clarity'.85

Click on image for larger view

My Pacific Harbor Line series. I love these black locomotives with their striking graphics. The #70 shown here running parallel to a railway bridge. This gave me a top heavy composition, perfect for the weighty industrial subject. But to prevent it from becoming too crushing I surrounded the locomotive in a softer focused, airy cushion of light.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Nov and Dec shows-Small Works

The two previous posts were from the Small Works Show this past weekend. It was a busy two day event and all the staff at Art and Frame Company and Randy Higbee Gallery did a fantastic job presenting it.

Thank you to everyone who came and showed support to us four artists in the exhibition.

There will be another show there the first weekend in December. Lots of great art and artists, the format is 6" x 6". Stop by if your'e free. This show will feature multiple artists. Link for show,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


"Power Plant Interior #1"   SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm )

This painting recently sold at the Small Works Show at the Randy Higbee Gallery.

One of the most fascinating buildings... several stories high... the interior nearly wide open... a matrix of pipes, valves, steel... deep and cavernous.

The light and colors seen here are faithful to the actual site... the walls and pipes painted in these ochres and creams, the floors a mixture of reds and greens, worn and distressed... deep earthy orange reflected light, then the translucent glass filters the outside light... a cool pale yellow.84

See the more recent #2 here and a drawing study here.

Click on image for larger view

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Yin and Yang

"Oil Plant #4 (Sunlit Grass)"   SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)

This painting was included in the Small Works Show at the Randy Higbee Gallery this weekend.

If it is true that you never feel more alive than when you have had a brush with death, then like death lingering nearby, the dark wooden structure serves to accentuate the burst of light and the live plume of red fountain grass.

Even the old used pipes and valves seem to have new life, seem to be invigorated.

This painting, half dark and half light, is Yin and Yang in it's most basic definition... shade and sun... earth, dark and cold... heaven, heat and light.83

Click on image for larger view

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

End of the Line?

"Warehouse (w/ Lone Train Car)"
oil on panel, 2010
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)

A warehouse near the LA Harbor. A warm bright day. The old train car sits at the end of the tracks, huddling against the side of the cool toned warehouse, it's skylights like giant ice cubes.

The tracks in the lower right curve away in a different direction, seemingly avoiding the outdated rail relic. Has the train car been forgotten? Is this the end of the line for it?82

Click on image for larger view

Horizon Fine Art Gallery

Two of my watercolors in Jackson Hole Wyoming. Contact Barbara Nowak at Horizon Fine Art Gallery for purchase:, email: HORIZONFINEART@WYOMING.COM

Click on images for larger view
Click titles to see original posts

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


"Power Plant Interior-Study #1"

"Figure #3"
pencil on paper, 2010
10" x 8" (25.4cm x 20.32cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

"Power Plant Interior-Study #1"
graphite on paper, 2010
8" x 10 " (20.32cm x 25.4cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

Here are two of my drawings, a quick sketch and a graphite drawing.8o, 81

Click on images for larger view

A study from my Power Plant Interior series. Studies like this don't always end up as paintings directly but instead help me get familiar with the subject through drawing.
This one's strength is its diagonal composition, especially the opposing 'u' shaped pipe or duct.
The interior is densely packed & layered, a labyrinth of pipes, ducts, valves, catwalks, mesh, railings, stairs... steel in a concrete cave, deep and cavernous... heavy industry.

See the power plant interior paintings #1here and #2here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Show Announcement

Here's the announcement for a group show at the Randy Higbee Gallery, a two evening event.
My work will be included with the three artists above and I'm looking forward to seeing more of their work, each unique and different. There is nothing quite like seeing art framed and in person.
In addition to paintings, the show will also feature drawings.

Click on image for larger view

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chain Links

"Tanks, Wires, Well"  SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
6" x 8" (15.24cm x 20.32cm)

The main feature here is not so much the tanks themselves; it's the new, the now, it is industry at work, oil being siphoned from the ground, stored, then transferred to refineries. Without it we are stagnant.

So a livelier composition, one that does not allow the eyes to rest, but instead bounce around. Crowded with tanks and trees, wires slicing diagonally, a tonally busy sky, animated shapes.
The wires represent the path of crude oil, from the well, to holding and eventually into our lives. Links in a chain.79
Click on image for larger view

Monday, October 25, 2010

Color Blocks

"BNSF #7236 (In Port)"  SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
3.5" x 5" (8.89cm x 12.7cm)

Two BNSF locomotives at rest in the port, (notice the two different BNSF logos), the busy port as shown by the background densely packed with shipping containers, cranes, light poles, the curve of the bridge barely visible in the upper left.

This painting is a study in patches or blocks of color in my deeper, less earthy palette. All the dark values lie in the upper half of the composition but the orange locomotives still separate from the blocks of shipping containers. Separation by color instead of value.

The hints of detail in the locomotives , the near rim lighting, and the indicated logos on the containers were all needed to overcome what could have been a too simplistic value composition, split across the middle of the picture plane.78
Click on image for larger view

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Figure Study-Back

"Figure Study- Back, Seated"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
7" x 5" (17.78cm x 12.7cm)

Another quick study, the figure leans into the shadow. Here my intent was to get the overall shape of the form, although there is a suggestion of texture, there is no detail or nuance of surface.

Simple composition... arrangement of light & dark, concerned with mass.77
Click on image for larger view

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Figure Study-Egg

"Figure Study-Scrunched (Egg)"   SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)

A quick figure study. I like the figure when it is tightly contained, wrapped up or here like an egg. It seems to be both at rest and in a state of action. Perhaps action temporarily at rest. Not a reclining pose nor a sitting pose, not quite moving, but not fully relaxed, instead paused.76
Click on image for larger view

Monday, October 4, 2010

Low Growling Murmur

*with compositional overlay

"Harbor Line #72 (47 Bridge)"
oil on panel, 2010
6" x 8" (15.24cm x 20.32cm)

In a low growling murmur, the #72 slowly crawls through the harbor on an almost imperceptible uphill grade, pulling a string of rail cars loaded with cargo containers, the 47 bridge as it's backdrop. Late in the afternoon, the sun from the left puts the sides in shadow... jet black. One of those days where the atmosphere is heavy and hazy but bright.

This location is wide open, a staging area for huge piles of dirt, asphalt and concrete used throughout the harbor for all the various construction and renovation projects.

The slight upward tilt as well as the heavy section of bridge bearing down convey the weight of the long train being pulled, even if unseen. Well fit to this task, the sturdy black locomotive dominates the horizontal composition.

Anatomy of a painting... structurally the image is made up of horizontal bands (rectangles), triangles and the forward leaning angles of the stripes. All serve the subject. As indicated in the *overlay above, the triangles point in the direction of the action, moving the train forward and through the composition from left to right. The stripes too seem to push the train forward, a thought the designers must have had in mind.

The horizontal bands of the foreground left simple but punctuated with tufts of grass and dashes of paint to set up implied lines also moving left to right. The blunt shape of the locomotive echoed by the same shapes of the trucks, it's smaller commerce cousins, in the background approaching the bridge.75
Click on images for larger view

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lazy Seascape

"Lazy Seascape (w/ 3 Rocks)"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
6" x 8" (15.24cm x 20.32cm)

A summer seascape, the velvety water washing over the rocks just enough to keep them wet. The ocean almost flat until it nears the shore where the waves seem to muster up only enough energy to fold onto the rocky beach. This is nature at rest, much like ourselves in the summer, sitting back relaxing, cooling off from the heat of the day.74
Click on image for larger view

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Left Behind

"Oil Plant #3"   SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
6" x 8" (15.24cm x 20.32cm)

From my Oil Plant Series. While the plant is fascinating enough to simply present as is, I still find myself searching for a bit more... wanting the image to have meaning beyond the surface. This painting is about the idea of what's left behind, what was. So goodbye blue sky.

The plant sits in the sun. Two contrails, traces of jets passed, sweep overhead. The facility, a vestige of it's former self. Both are about to be lost to the marine layer which reaches up from behind to engulf the aging structure. The salt air urging rust once more. It also replays the theme of man vs nature, no matter what we do nature is always stronger.73
Click on image for larger view

Saturday, September 18, 2010

5 Paintings in Jackson Hole

Horizon Fine Art Gallery- I have 5 more paintings at the gallery in Jackson Hole Wyoming. One watercolor and 4 small oils.
Click titles below to see original posts, click 'here' to see all paintings at the gallery, or click 'Horizon Fine Art Gallery' in LABELS column at right.

"Lone Mojave Home"
"Power Pole #3 (Twin Transformers)"  &  "Power Pole #5 (2 Buttons)"
"Power Pole #2 (Deep Blue)"  &  "Power Pole #7 (Rain)"

Contact Barbara Nowak at Horizon Fine Art Gallery for purchase:, email: HORIZONFINEART@WYOMING.COM

Friday, September 10, 2010

Broken Glass

top       "Broken Windows #1 (Cream)"
middle "Broken Windows #2 (Pale Blue)"
bottom "Broken Windows #3 (Avid Art)
each oil on panel, 2010
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)

I like the patterns of broken glass, they can take on virtually any shape and are a lot of fun to design. The jagged edges made up of straights and curves, the breaks rigid yet fluid.

These all have the same basic design, allowing me to play with the shapes of the missing glass against the reflections. I chose a flatter, more graphic approach than most of my paintings to really showcase the abstract shapes, with the surrounding steel serving much like a picture frame.

To give them an animated quality I varied the black voids enough in their size, shape, and orientation as well as using brighter complimentary colors, blue and orange, for the reflections.70,71,72
Click on images for larger view

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Night Eyes

"Tree Nocturne (Rooftops)"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
5" x 4" (12.7cm x 10.16cm)

This painting is loosely based on the view from my balcony. So it is painted from memory, the cousin of imagination.

Having seen the view many times I resisted the temptation to run back and forth while painting. I allowed myself to take liberties in the interest of composition etc., and that freed me up to work on the image without the restraints of the actual view.

I shaped the tree mass to lean left, framing it within the power lines and the collective curve of the rooftops climbing the hill. A lower light than many of my other nocturnes so the lights from the windows show brighter and appear as eyes peaking over the rooftops.69
Click on image for larger view 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Crushed By The Sun

"Warehouse Rooftop (w/ Palm)"
oil on panel, 2010
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)

A sky so bright it hurts your eyes. A blazing hot day, a hazy horizon. Looking towards the sun, the vertical planes are nearly all silhouette. Only the horizontal planes show.

Even the industrial, the subject itself, as hardy as it is... may very well be subordinate sometimes. Our associations with dark tones may represent strength, power, weight, but here they're crushed by the sun, the warehouse pressed below the horizon, into the earth by the heat of the summer, that unforgiving heat.
It's the bright, nearly white sky that dominates, despite the anchored darks.68
Click on image for larger view

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Gallery

NEW GALLERY-I have two paintings at Horizon Fine Art Gallery in Jackson Hole Wyoming.

"Retired Power Plant" and "Storage Yard Nocturne" Click on titles to see original posts.

For purchase contact Barbara Nowak at , email : HORIZONFINEART@WYOMING.COM

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Liquid Shadow

"Tree Nocturne (Leaning Wall)"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
5" x 4" (12.7cm x 10.16cm)

This nocturne is based on several locations, so composed from memory. I always enjoy working this way for it's own unique challenges.

First, I was struck by something, some quality, when I initially saw it (or them, when more than one location). And that serves as my primary inspiration.

Second, I must decide what to include and what to leave out from each.

Third, I have to decide a view point since I may have seen the original location(s) from a completely different one.

There are other considerations like value scale, color palette, edge control etc., but without the first three, I can't begin.

In this painting my primary inspiration was the overhanging, overbearing tree and it's shadow pouring down the wall and into the street like a high viscosity ink. I went back to re-view that location later and the tree had been cut down, but that image was still etched in my brain.

Although there was a wall at that location this one was taken more or less from another for it's pilasters. The rest, a compilation of memories... the narrow single slab sidewalk from an older neighborhood, before easements... the street sign, newer but oddly placed... the leaning, rough textured, poured concrete wall.
The challenge from memory isn't as much what to leave out (like photo reference), it's what to include. I like sparse, but as I have said before, that can be a shaky line to walk. With view point worked out the 'make or break' now lies with the other considerations; value, color, edges etc.

With the shadow being the main feature, I scrubbed the lighter values in around it, which also provides texture and softer edges for a deep core, the blue giving life to the darks.
The 'No Parking' sign, although central to the composition, really is second reading. You see first the shadow, then follow the diagonals to the sign, where the lightest values lie.67

Click on image for larger view

*Update - previous post original value thumbnail here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


"Harbor Line #50 (Catalina Pacific Concrete)"  SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
3½" x 5" (8.89cm x 12.7cm)

Two posts ago I featured one of the newer locomotives that works the LA Harbor. Here I painted one of the older ones, being replaced as it has become outdated, but currently still running the tracks.

You can see the primary difference between the two generations... this one has solid red ends which don't identify front from rear like the dramatic angled stripes of it's successor. It's also longer, the new being shorter, stouter and probably more powerful even as a low emission model. I'm sure a matter of technological efficiency.

However, it's length gives it the grace of a limousine, elongated without looking gangly. But still powerful looking with it's boxy square front end. Always the workhorse, just a different breed.

It's seen here against part of the old shut down Catalina Pacific Concrete plant from my post 'The Dying Day', a hint of melancholy as it moves away from the sun and into the plants shadow for eventual retirement.

It is well used. No longer shiny, missing vents at the rear, scratches like well earned scars from years of service. But surprisingly, it did not look run down, it seemed to have a lot of life left in it, if not outmoded for greener technology.66
Click on image for larger view

Friday, August 13, 2010

Harbor Colors

"Sunken Dock, Cranes (w/Bird)"   SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
6" x 8" (15.24cm x 20.32cm)

I was lamenting awhile back that mother nature was holding back spring in favor of an extended winter. Now she still has spring or at least spring like weather on the table. Our 4th of July was only warm, not hot, with a rather cool evening. We have not seen any real hot, blistering summer days and nights yet. So, with that, here is another spring painting.

The harbor, looking east, a bank of rain clouds. This is a common site in Los Angeles this time of year (early spring). The weather will move off shore and along the mountains, leaving the LA basin to the sun, a sort of hole with no weather, much like the eye of a hurricane. This does lead to some dramatic backdrops and here it provided a deep cool gray for the brightly lit red cranes.

These are the colors of the harbor. The equipment... whites, reds, blues, greens, yellows, oranges, some bright, some pale. Docks and piers... earthy siennas, oxidized gray browns, dark wet chocolate browns. The organic... green waters, ochre dirt, various shades of gray and tan in jetties and rocks.

This is another palette I like. Saturated color, but deep, still weighty, with bright accents. A good mix of artificial and natural earthy color. Man made and nature together.

Bright days don't necessarily have to be depicted in high key (lighter) values. If done right, middle and even low key values will represent a bright day.

The only light values here lie in a thin horizontal strip at the base of the cranes... sunlit whites, blues and yellow. The color saturation too, aids in depicting a sunny day and distant atmospheric conditions... wet air.65
Click on image for larger view

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Beast of Burden

"Harbor Line #61 (Dusk w/ Engineer)"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
6" x 8" (15.24cm x 20.32cm)

Back to a favorite subject, the locomotive. This one part of the Pacific Harbor Line, the workhorses of the LA Harbor. They give the Union Pacific, BNSF and others a rest as they move and stage the trains throughout the harbor, receiving and preparing them for departure. I'm sure they perform all kinds of other tasks as well.

Here is a newer one, part of the low emission line of locomotives for the move towards a greener port. Black and shiny as tar with striking graphics, they don't blend in, they stand out. Not graceful looking, they look like they mean business. The back end diagonals point down, the front point up to distinguish front from rear when seen head on. It's side panel graphics angling forward. So a nod of beautiful work to the designers of these burly beasts of burden.

I caught the #61 heading into the port at dusk, one of the engineer's pausing to reflect their day perhaps... or maybe just beginning their night shift, who knows.
Contrast. It's the dark bluish blacks against the yellow twilight sky that so perfectly spoke of the subject and it's 24 hr calling. As the day ends the locomotive is still going strong, never tired, a reflected light illuminating it's shadow side. The marine layer creeping in to settle over the port.

Finally, I eliminated all the extraneous foreground and background clutter in favor of a rather banal setting, putting further emphasis on the 'horse' itself.64
Click on image for larger view

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ghostly Structure

"Oil Plant Backside (w/ Storage Tanks)"   SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)

Featured in Crussell Fine Art 2011 International Survey Periodical

Here again the oil plant, (previous images under post headings 'Aging Relic' and 'Bleached White Sky' ).
A fabulous view from the back with it's white storage tanks being gradually overrun by rust, taking on a patina of colors ranging from burnt sienna to deep copper to a rich chocolate, the whitewashed wood cladding showing itself in grays, blues and greens. A palette I love.

Seen in the late afternoon, the sun reveals the ghostly structure, the top wisped in shadow. It's age apparent by the holes, missing and leaning sections, rust, stained wood and foreground growth. All contrasted against the newer power pole, it's wires, bypassing the older oil plant.

Painted with precision while allowing hints of a 'shaky hand' here and there to remind of it's delicate state. Presented from a distance but tightly cropped. A subject still robust but unsentimental. It's purpose having been served.63
Click on image for larger view

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Update-Previous Post

*I've posted a photo of the framed art "Study for 'Villa Riviera Wrapped for Restoration' " under the post heading ' Inky Black ' in the May archives.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


"Pipe Bundles, Two Tanks"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2010
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78)

Heavy sky, weighty foreground... mass and solidity. It's the middle ground that gets the attention here. The pipe bundles shoot in from the left giving rise to the two tanks, sharp and glossy against the softly focused pale apartment building.

Standing in solidarity, rearing up against the horizontal elements. Pyramid composition, echoed by the triangular dormer. Bracketed by the white bundle ties and painted steel girders.

I've talked before of what I see in industrial subjects and of changes I make to further strengthen my view... what to include, what to leave out.

In this painting I darkened the bundles and softened the edges of the building. I scrubbed in a leaden sky in favor of the clear blue one and changed the bundle ties to white, all to give more importance to the tanks. I also deepened and textured the shiny tanks and edged the color towards orange.

The last two (changes) both, unite tanks and sky in appearance but separate them in complimentary color.

I often come across some scene that strikes me in some way and want to capture it... but realize what is before me is a little short of that, so I edit and fine tune the image until I achieve that end.62
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Peach Tree Mural

"Peach Tree" and drawings
acrylic on wall

Here's a mural I did in a home. It's located in their kitchen, which is decorated in a mixture of country and italian tuscany.

I worked directly with the homeowner on this one and they had a pretty good idea of what they wanted before we met so it was relatively straightforward.
I only needed to do some drawings of tree and container variations before beginning the finish.

The bottom two drawings were for the client. Showing the different fruit trees and containers. This way they can choose any given container and any given tree, mix and match, to come up with a final image. This helps me streamline the process and avoid doing endless variations of tree/container drawings.

The top drawing (showing the ghost images of the page underneath) was done for the purpose of working out specifics of leaves, branches, peaches and the bee, once it was decided to go with a peach tree.58,59,60,61
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Framed in Mass

"House w/ Eucalyptus"
Watercolor on paper, 2007
15" x 11" (23.80cm x 17.145cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

I was generally happy with the way this watercolor turned out, going for the mass surrounding the house. The only problems I had with it was too much green, or at least not enough variance in the tones and colors of green. It would have benefitted from a mixture of warms and cools.

The foreground too could be a bit more interesting, even in it's simplicity.

Watercolor, at least painted in more traditional methods, is tough sometimes. You can not completely remove darker passages, making lightening or changing color temperature difficult.

Even with planning ahead, I still occasionally find the need to make changes to an image.
That said, I still consider this a successful painting.57
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Orangey Rust Sky

oil on panel, 2009
3.5" x 5" (8.89cm x 12.7cm)
private collection

Like my last post this is one done for fun, more of a sci-fi image. This allows me to stray from from my usual palette and use brighter colors. It also gives me an excuse to paint the sky an orangey rusty color without having to paint a typical sunset.

Mounted in a simple black frame to show how much better my art looks when framed.
I will try to post more art this way when I can. The challenge is photographing it when it is behind glass, usually the more delicate mediums like drawings and watercolors. It is difficult to get a decent shot without the glare.56
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010


"Puffer Fish"
mixed media, 2006
9 ³ ⁄₈" x 6 ¾" (23.80cm x 17.145cm)
private collection

Only Mother Nature could come up with creatures that look so silly but are cool. This puffer looks at the viewer with an attitude of "What are you lookin' at?"

Most artists will break from their usual work from time to time to do something fun, something that has been in the back of their mind or sometimes totally random.
I had a lot fun with this one.55
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