Saturday, December 31, 2011



Thank you to every one who helped in all the successes in the past year.
And Thank you to all of my followers and visitors to my blog. Thanks for all your support.

Without help, hard work and interest from others we would just sit in our studios and go nowhere.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Vincent Thomas Bridge #11-Containment 2

"Vincent Thomas Bridge #11 (Containment 2)"
oil on panel, 2011
8” x 6” (20.32cm x 15.24cm)

This painting overlaps two series
Bridge Series:
Bridges carry a certain civic pride much like state and country pride. Their primary function may be utilitarian but for locals they are a source of identity.
Containment Series:
A series on modern construction techniques. Today everything gets wrapped in heavy plastic or tarps to contain the work, a sort of cocoon, keeping dust from contaminating the surrounding environment.
Twenty or thirty years ago it was not done and open construction was more prevalent. Modern green thinking has changed our approach to not only recycling but how we do everything.

This view is of the outer perimeter of the containment area standing against the plastic sheet wall, looking at the bottom of the roadway.

My other painting,  "Vincent Thomas Bridge #8 (Containment 1)", is nearer the center so it shows the darker core of the containment area, with the light filtering in from both sides. This one, at the outer confines, is higher key in value , so it's brighter, and has more pops of color in the purple rope, touches of yellow and the warm toned concrete.

The red in both is the primer used before the iridescent green finish.
It is obvious from the red floor how much over spray would be lost into the environment if the work was not contained. I'm sure it serves the dual purpose of making the work easier and the work area more comfortable by defecting winds.161

See another similar view without containment here.

Thanks to a comment from a follower it occurred to me that this view mat not be obvious or understood. Having been there I did not even think about it. I can see the point. Here is a better explanation from my response comment: This painting shows the area inside the containment, think of it as a butterfly cocoon hanging off a tree branch, and is literally hanging off the bottom of the bridge, underneath the road way. Set up to paint the bridge as part of its maintenance.

Click on image for larger view

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Maniacal Snow Drift

"Snow Drift" sculpture
foam, plaster, wire, acrylic paint on mat board

"Jobin Study" painting
oil on panel,
2011, private collection

Sometimes you just have to break away and try something for the simple pleasure of creating. Something outside of the normal scope of work.
Here's a fun little project I did as a Christmas decoration.

My inspiration came after seeing the Tim Burton show at LACMA. I just had to do something grim and maniacal for a change. I love doing projects like these. It takes me away from the usual art I do and has a way of feeding my creativity when I go back to it. So I find it artistically healthy.

The recipient is a fan of this kind of art. I sent her two emails, prior to giving it her, as a teaser of what was to come and to arouse her curiosity. They were hints based on my ideas. The first an old (modified) philosophical question that was the basis for the piece. The second a short poem I wrote for it.

The first email:
If a tree screams in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise?

The second email:
Beware of Serene Scenes

Snow can be evil,

Snow can be grim,

It can rise up against you,

At its own whim.

The small cat portrait is of her (mad) cat,which isn't friendly to other cats, the mad catter you might say. Originally that was what I was going to give her. Upon finishing it I thought, how lame that would be to hand her that! But I still wanted to incorporate it into the sculpture though so I hung it as an ornament. It did not have to make perfect sense, this was all about the fun. No rules.160

Click on images for larger view

Monday, December 26, 2011

Marsh, Tanks, Power Plant

"Marsh, Tanks, Power Plant"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2011
6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)

Part of our modern urban landscapes, the mix of industry and adjacent natural areas. Not always good but hard to ignore. This view poses the dense, choked out man made structures against open natural areas. Encroaching sometimes, but always a fascinating juxtaposition.

This is similar in theme to my previous "HB Power Plant - Dusk". If we want to live in the scenic areas, like along the coast, we can't always choose what comes along with that, including the oil storage tanks since this is where the oil is found. At least until we figure out how to build lower profile supporting industry.

We can design and build homes to blend into the surrounding environment, we can restore natural habitats. So someday we'll build industry that is green(er), contained and less visible against these natural areas. It's all about a proper balance.159

Click on image for larger view

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

'S' Curve and 'I' beam

"Vincent Thomas Bridge #15"    SOLD
watercolor on paper, 2011
8" x 11" (20.32cm x 27.94cm)

When deciding on a painting I hardly ever settle on something randomly. Instead I thoughtfully consider each one beyond doing a mere depiction of the subject. Sometimes that is OK but I prefer to be challenged in some way. I would rather have to tackle some sort of problem, figure out what and how to say something, or choose a view that is unique to the subject. Now all the elements of image making can be used as tools to that end.

One of the best and most unique features of the Vincent Thomas Bridge is its signature 'S' curve (actually a reverse 'S') formed by the two approaches of the San Pedro and Long Beach sides.
This view from the Long Beach side of the channel looking west really exploits that 'S' curve from an unusual perspective.
The covered near tower, referred to by the bridge workers as the Long Beach tower, is seen through the supporting columns of its approach.

The sun behind one of the columns casts a dramatic shadow and adds a visual support to the top heavy composition.
I certainly could have chosen a different time of day and still had a good image, still shown off the 'S' but by selecting this late afternoon view I got a little bit more out of it. A composition that echos the construction of a bridge by creating an 'I' beam shape similar to its supporting beams without being too literal.
The shadows and light patterns also echo both the arch design of the bridge and sweeping curve of the approach above. I ended up with the image loosely constructed of the same elements that make a bridge.
That for me is the fun of creating.158

The overlay is a bit clumsy but still gets the point across.

Click on image for larger view
Click 'Vincent Thomas Bridge' Label below to see more from this series.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

BNSF Slogging

"BNSF Flooded Road"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2011
6” x 8” (15.24cm x 20.32cm)

Two of my favorite subjects, trains and rain.

A BNSF locomotive slogging through the rain near the top of the Cajon pass headed to the high desert in Southern California. Rounding the bend in a heavy rainstorm as shown by the flooded road in the foreground. An autumn scene with just a hint of orange trees showing through the fog.

The train, somewhat inconsequential within the composition and placed high in the picture plane, gives it a feeling of isolation and puts more emphasis on the landscape. But while that is true the lines of the landscape still all lead to the train.
With two thirds of the composition being foreground/middle ground this demanded the road have a strong design. The foreground and middle ground get divided by the rain water washing over the road. Each share similar angular shapes but vary enough in shape and size to keep them from becoming boring. It's really about avoiding design 'twins' and breaking up the larger mass into smaller supporting ones. That also allows for the recession of space, leading the eye through the weather to the locomotive.

For the engineer, this must be the most solitary part of their job, which is what this painting is about.
The design and the weather itself both serve as vehicles to that idea, instead of the primary subject. The smallness of the train against the larger landscape and the isolating nature of stormy weather.157

Click on images for larger view

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winter Tree & Alien Landscape

"Winter Tree"

"Winter Tree"
Pelikan brilliant brown ink on paper, 2011
6" x 8" (15.24cm x 20.32cm)
private collection

"Burnscape #7 (Hills, Path)"
Pelikan brilliant brown ink, Pelikan blk india ink on paper
Monte Blanc blk ink (looks green), 2011
6" x 8" (15.24cm x 20.32cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

A single tree in winter. Sometimes a simple object can be seen for its design and that is enough. I love the branches of the tree reaching up for the sky, the purest form of the tree seen only when leafless.
Setting the trunk against a dark background emphasized its graceful, delicate spiral.

This ink drawing/painting is from my Burnscape series. Living in Southern California and seeing so many wildfires it would be easy to focus on the destruction. My attraction for the burned landscape isn’t for its destruction... but instead how it modifies the landscape, turning it into a charcoal terrain... it is rebirth, the stripping away of old layers for a fresh start, the way Mother Nature intended.
It is how She manages her jurisdiction, by controlling dense undergrowth. We usually get in the way.
Man has traditionally prevented fires, the growth becoming so thick that when fire does occur it is devastating. Another topic on the Man vs Nature theme.

This was a result of walking thru a burned area. When areas that are dense with dry brush and chaparral finally burn, the landscape is stripped bare. Its former identity completely lost. Taking on the quality of an alien landscape.
The formally vegetation softened hills become a jagged harsh environment.155,156

Click on images for larger view

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Industrial Drapery

"CHOC Drapery #1"
oil on panel, 2011
7” x 5” (17.78cm x 12.7cm)

My Containment series on modern construction techniques. These days everything gets wrapped in heavy plastic or tarps to contain the work, a sort of cocoon, keeping dust and materials from contaminating the surrounding environment.
Twenty or thirty years ago it was not done and open construction was more prevalent. Modern green thinking has changed our approach to not only recycling but how we do everything.

This painting of the new Children's Hospital Orange County also gave me an excuse to tie together my industrial subject paintings and the long tradition of classic drapery in art history.154

Click on image for larger view

Followers Gadget

For some reason Google's followers gadget is still broken, at least from my view.
Apparently they are fixing it but it has been on the fritz for a while.

At first followers would fall off or not always show, now (the last 3 followers) almost never appear any more. It's annoying. It supposedly has something to do with when they combined the Followers gadget with Google Friend Connect. Maybe one day they will figure it out, if not there's always WordPress.

*Update: Here's a link that may help...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Portrait of an Oil Plant

“Oil Plant # 9 (Broken Pipe)"
oil on panel, 2011
6” x 6” (15.24cm x 15.24cm)

This is the third of my paintings in the  6" Squared Exhibition and Sale at the Randy Higbee Gallery , Saturday December 3rd through Thursday December 22nd.
The opening was packed as usual with lots of little painted gems. The real joy of a show like this is the wide variety styles and artistic approaches among the 500 or so artworks, including some fabulous watercolors and pastels. Impossible to pick a favorite. In addition to the art, meeting the collectors and other artists is always a highlight of the evening.

When I have a visceral reaction to something I sometimes have to pause, really look and figure out what it is I’m seeing. It is not always obvious. I initially responded to this view of the storage tanks for its clean, neat and tidy nature. Not too cluttered, no scattered remnants of the broken plant other than the broken pipe, which was my own invention.
What I eventually saw in this view was an industrial version of an old face, wrinkles and all... a portrait of the oil plant ... solemn, dignified. It reminded me of a man with most of his years behind him, who had a well lived life, worked hard, but is still vital, still fastidious and loaded with silent stories.153

Click on image for larger view

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Industrial Purgatory

“Old Dredge”
oil on panel, 2011
6” x 6” (15.24cm x 15.24cm)

Here is second of my 3 paintings in the  6" Squared Exhibition and Sale at the Randy Higbee Gallery tonight, Saturday December 3rd, and hangs through December 22nd.

An old relic, left in the cold shallow waters, listing to the right, about to face another winter storm, half heartedly covered by the yellow tarp.

Hung up by the dock and unable to sail it’s stuck between two worlds in a state of purgatory. It’s no longer needed but not pulled ashore. It can’t sink anymore but is contained by jetties in the protected harbor so no storm will be able to put it out of its misery by dragging it to the bottom where at least marine life would have it as a home, an artificial reef.

Too outdated for work but neither is it salvaged to be put back into service in some new form. It is forgotten in plain sight.152

Click on image for larger view