Monday, December 31, 2012


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

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

Hello...                         2013?

Thank you to all who helped in 2012 Avid Art successes and to all of you who checked into my blog to view my art and have conversations via comments.
I always enjoy our little art talks throughout the year and enjoy visiting your blogs as well!

Hopefully we won't end up at the bottom of the fiscal cliff and can jump for joy in 2013!203,204

Saturday, December 29, 2012

iPad Landscape Study

"Landscape Shape Study"
Digital, Brushes App

I am still working on various pieces so without much (traditional medium) work ready to post I figured I had better get something up on the blog.

This is practice, exercising my design muscles, done on my iPad with the Brushes App. Drawn relatively quick focusing on the design of the big shapes and simple composition as well as the distribution of soft edges.

I also managed to get some quality of light into it by adding some texture of the vegetation.
I like it when simple drawings 'spill out' easily. Enough said.202

Monday, December 10, 2012

6x6 Machinery

"Machinery 2"
oil on panel, 2012
6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)

Here are two of my seven paintings I submitted to the recent 6x6 show that weren't accepted. I had four in the show.

I bring this up because I did all seven as a group with an overall theme of light. Not a new idea, artists have been doing it for centuries, but in each of the seven I really made a point to capture different qualities of light. I worked on the group simultaneously, working up each without really finishing any one until I was about 75% done.  Other than these two, the seven (actually ten) were not officially a series together so the simarlarities end there. No attempt was made to using the same palette, design etc. So they do not look like a series other than a common theme of light.

I like machinery and sometimes its function preempts design. Its look or design born out of its function instead of a design based on aesthetics.
In this one, a really bright day, the sun bouncing off the ground or any light surface is blinding, without sun glasses you end up squinting all day. The colors are true to the site, industry subjects like this often lack color beyond silvers, rusty and metal grays, the small blue color note of sky serves as reminder of that.

I loved the composition of this the moment I saw it... the variety of shapes and their arrangement. It's that variety I see in industrial subjects, their size and texture differences, the scale of them that I respond to initially, that's what first gets my attention... here there are the ellipse', cylinders, flat and angled planes, linear pipes and wire conduit... all neatly arranged within the picture plane. After that I look for what it says to me, what is present beyond the artistic and design observations. That is part of seeing. Seeing really is observing and asking yourself questions and it's not always obvious.

I saw industrial might or brawn, this is industry flexing its muscle but on a small scale, a microcosm of industry. All the rust and dust seemed to add to its tough physique instead of conveying degradation. It is a weight lifter sweating in a gym or a cowboy roping doggies on a ranch.

I love the work of precisionist artists, like Charles Sheeler, and while that influence crept into the treatment of this painting I still remained faithful to my own artistic vision. I don't want my work to look like it belongs to a particular school of painting. Instead I am constantly striving to allow these influences without simply rehashing them.

"Machinery 1"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2012
6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)

This painting is in direct opposition to Machinery 2 as far as its anthropomorphic character. The configuration of these two is not as muscular. That was my impression so as an artist it is my job to communicate that idea. In Machinery 1 I chose a broader view while in Machinery 2 a zoomed-in one. Those compositional choices helped support each impression.

It is also part of the old retired Sunkist packing plant in Orange County California, so it is no longer operational.
It is rich winter light when the sun is low, closer to the horizon, in the afternoon, softer light diffused by the glass, a rich cool shadow with warmer edges. It is not the showy light of Machinery 2. It is the end of an era. It is the final flicker of a candles flame.200,201

See previous four posts for the other 6x6's

6x6 Show Opening Night

It was another great showing at the 6x6 Show Randy Higbee Gallery this past weekend.

I was quite happy my painting "11th St. Rain" sold on the opening night.
The turnout was huge, a lot of people showed up and it was a very festive atmosphere.

I always enjoy meeting new people and especially seeing all my artist friends.
We usually end up going to a restaurant afterwards and have a good time talking art and getting caught up on what we all have been doing.
Among the group this year were artist Susan Hogan Girard and artist Wendy Wirth, both of whom had their work hanging in the show.

If I can get any pics from the show I'll post them here.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Night Rain at 6x6 Show

"18th St. Rain Nocturne"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2012
6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)

My fourth painting accepted into the 6 Inch Squared Show at the Randy Higbee Gallery in Costa Mesa California.
Another rain painting in the show here.

A simple enough idea, more challenging to paint than I thought.
Warm light on a cold night. Yellow green from the house, orange from the sodium street lights meant the two had to be interspersed in some places.
In reality the light is actually blueish white but made for a cold uninviting image. This is when artistic decisions must be made.
I initially had more yellow from the house light but the painting lacked depth so I added green as the light spread out from its source, even further under the shine of rainy conditions. I finished it off by adding some color accents of blue in the sky and red of the taillights.199

Another "18th St. Rain" here, a view slightly up the same street.
Click rain 'RAIN' LABEL to see others.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pacific Harbor Line at 6x6 Show

"PHL 64"
oil on panel, 2012
6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)

My third painting featured in the up-coming 6 Inch Squared show at the Randy Higbee Gallery. See two previous posts below for more.
You can also see and purchase them online here before the show opens on December 8th 2012.

Although many train artists might shy away from overlapping the train with objects I don't see it as a painting of a locomotive with stuff thrown around it as a second thought, but instead a painting in all its totality first, then one of a locomotive.

A sunny day with the marine layer hugging the ground and thin wispy clouds yielding soft undefined shadows.
I pushed the limits of this kind of light from the front to the back of the locomotive, highlighting the front then severely dropping the back into (soft) shadow.

That gave it some extra depth and enabled me to nearly bump the front of the locomotive up against the edge of the picture plane and break the compositional rule of 'avoiding tangents'. Using the bright sun and atmospheric effect for value control also puts the emphasis on the back end of the engine.

One final touch was throwing a reflected light on the far side of the back of the engine.198

Click on image to larger view

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Industrial Landscape at 6x6 Show

"Industrial Landscape"
oil on panel, 2012
6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm) SOLD

The second of my four paintings accepted into the 6 Inch Squared show at Randy Higbee Gallery

Since most landscapes are composed of strong horizontals, square formats are a challenge.

So this is loaded with the verticals of poles and the angles of steam, tree line and road, to compositionally offset the horizontal band across the middle and make for a stronger stacked composition within the square format.

This is one of those views typical of industrial vista's in and around the harbor. I compressed the refinery into the middle ground, but allowed the foreground and background to breath.

The drifting steam coming from the refinery, the softer shadows, and perhaps the light too, all help to relieve the densely packed industrial forest of the middle ground.197

Click on image for larger view

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rain at 6x6 Show

"11th St. Rain"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2012
6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)
Randy Higbee Gallery

Here is one of my four paintings accepted into the 6 Inch Squared show at Randy Higbee Gallery.

If you are like me you never tire of rain and weather images. I love shiny glistening streets under these conditions. The landscape under a canopy of clouds with the golden sun breaking through.
I've always thought of rainy days as slow days. Here I've painted the late afternoon with a lone figure returning home from work in no particular hurry.196

Click 'Rain' or 'Weather' LABELS to see others.

Note: I updated the image here with one that is more color correct.
Click on image for larger view

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

6 Inch Squared

I am happy to announce 4 of my 7 paintings entered into the 6 Inch Squared show at the Randy Higbee Gallery were accepted.

I'll start posting them soon.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Past Work 6

untitled portrait
watercolor and colored pencil on illus. board
13.5" x 12.25" (34.29cm x 31.115cm)

Here is another blast from the past... the same experimental stuff on slick illustration board.
This was when I began to get the hang of it, however it is still a tough surface to work on.
Often the surface takes over, dictating too much for me, how it looks. I prefer controlling it. I want decisions to be conscious ones.
That's not to say I don't like happy accidents but you can't start with too many uphill battles.
This is one reason I generally don't work on canvas in oils. You can't escape its texture, especially when photographing the art.

I was still having some problems controlling the spottiness in the shadows but overall I was happy with the results... the design of the shapes, the palette, etc.
I was experimenting with mixing-in the colored pencil with watercolor. Not knowing how well it would work and not wanting to risk ruining the head ,which I was feeling good about, I reserved it for the shirt. I liked the way it gave a velvety depth and texture to what would otherwise be a flat graphic shape. It is hard to see the subtlety of its application in this photo but there is green pencil underlying the blue watercolor.195

Click on image for larger view

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Past Work 5

watercolor/gouache on illus. board
13.5" x 12" (34.29cm x 30.48cm)

My niece at around 5 or 6 six years old...
The color palette here is atrocious, at least to me, but is reflective of colors my niece loved back then, which was one of my intentions.
Remember, experimental work means leaving your comfort zone in part so here I wanted the palette to be tied into her instead of relying on the usual familiar palette (from then) without much thought.
That mauve in the background and lavender in the shirt makes me shudder. However, even now when I look at this I don't just see Megan at that time, instead I'm taken back to memories of who she was too, it radiates with her personality beyond just a likeness. So with that, I'm happy.

This one, like the other recently posted portraits, I simply reached a point and stopped. Although I saw some problems with drawing, form transitions and even design issues I did not want to lose or destroy that spontaneity associated with experimenting and lose the liveliness of her character... remembering that experimental for me means it is more about learning and discovering than about making a finished piece of art.

I can also see where I struggled with the medium leaving some areas unresolved.
The hair is a little too coarse and abrupt since I did not refine and soften it for its bright sunny light. Some areas like the shadow in her arm and shirt are too busy but again I did not want to refine at the expense of freshness.194

Portrait of Megan as an adult here.

Click on image for larger view

Monday, October 29, 2012

Past Work 4

watercolor on hot pressed illus. board
9.25" x 8.75" (23.495cm x 22.225cm)

A slight break from the previous celebrity portrait/caricature posts, this watercolor was done during the same period.

This was when I was experimenting heavily with watercolor on different substrates, exploring their various surface characteristics.
I tried watercolor boards, cold and hot press illustration board, kid finish (paper) fixed to board and some others, eventually arriving at a really slick surface, one that requires great patience in the early stages of building up the surface but gives the work the same kind of depth and richness of oil painting.

Although this painting has a traditional watercolor finish or look to it the surface and working methods used was not. This was after buying Burt Silverman's book "Breaking the Rules of Watercolor" which was both an epiphany and has had a lasting impact on my own work, especially in my less traditional watercolor technique like these here, here and here.

It is a way that invites working the medium back and forth, breaking down the surface then building it back up, a method that generally goes against the more traditional approach of additive (only) painting, applying washes from light to dark, building up the painting in a straight forward manner.
It is a more physical approach, scrubbing and wiping areas out then repainting, really taking advantage of the solubility of watercolor.
Lights and even whites can be brought back from dark passages, unlike traditional watercolor paper, which allows greater freedom to aggressively push paint around, never having to worry about holding back and preserving the white of the paper or the hassle of masking fluids.

While an art student I had instructors who taught the same kind of mentality, one that suits my temperament better. I no longer had to work in that kind of 'point A to point B' manner which is far too easy to screw up when you suddenly realize, half way through, you have gotten too dark, have the wrong color or temperature or want to completely remove some defeating element.

I can go forward, backward, sideways... it does not matter, there is no fear so it is a much more liberating way to work and it is certainly much more fun.

Incidentally, it also helps when I do paint using traditional methods and surfaces which I still enjoy as well, like this one here and here and "Union Pacific 8381".193

Click on image for larger view

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Past Work 3

"Billy Idol"
mixed media on illus. board
13" x 11.5" (33.02cm x 29.21cm)

Number 3 in these past work posts, another experimental piece.

There is a lot I don't like here besides its unfinished state. The whole right side never got resolved. That's OK though. Sometimes it serves as a record of some exploratory technique and quitting on it early is better than killing it with overworking. And maybe that rawness is what I want to remember ...other times it is one area of the work I want to preserve, something new I learned, if I got that out of it that is enough.

That having been said I may decide to 'finish' the right side, if I can do so without spoiling the rest.
The harsh cast and core shadows were intentional (experimental) and lend themselves well to his persona if you know anything about him. Normally a more refined shadow transition would be better but then again this is a stylized portrait.192

Click on image for larger view

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Past Work 2

"Murphy's Law"
mixed media on illus. board
9.5" x 9.5" (24.13cm x 24.13cm)

Here is another past experimental piece done at the same time as the previous post.
This one is gouache, ink and acrylic paint.

The difference in this one from the previous is the acrylic paint. Part of the experimentation was beginning with the gouache and ink then finishing with another medium, just seeing what I could do.
My experimental work is often left in an unfinished state or is not refined so as to not lose the freshness of the process, allowing me to easily see the steps, and is more akin to drawing than painting.
Having fun, no pressure.191

Click on image for larger view

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Past Work 1

"Pee Wee Herman"
mixed media on illus. board
9.5" x 9.5" (24.13cm x 24.13cm)

Since I am continuing on a new body of work I thought I would show some past art over the next couple of posts.
Here's an experimental piece I did a few years ago, a caricature of Pee Wee Herman. Done in gouache, ink and colored pencil. It's not a perfect likeness but I was more concerned with seeing what I could do with the medium instead of getting hung up on the portrayal.
I often don't sign and date experimental work since it is not meant for sale or publishing but something I will probably do in the future since I can't remember the exact year I did this one.

The fun part of doing experimental work is to let go of any methods, palettes, styles etc. that I usually use and just see what I can do. This always has the extra benefit of feeding my (usual) work, even if in small incremental ways.190

Click on image for larger view

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fire Pit

"Fire Pit #1"
oil on panel, 2012
3.5" x 5" (8.89cm x 12.7cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

Fire is always mezmerizing. It is organic. You can see it but not touch it. It is alive.
I like the idea of it being contained within an unseen pit, the clean edge of the ellipse. Flaming against the blackness but controlled.

This painting needed a lot of inventing of the fire itself, designing the flames to read like fire as we think of it from so many illustrations and graphics. The classic flame design more than a photographic depiction.
This made it fun to play the soft organic lines and shapes of fire against the harder edges of pit and burning wood.189

Click on image for larger view

Sunday, September 30, 2012

NWS Award

SOLD  National Watercolor Society

I am pleased to announce that my painting "PHL Sulfur Pile" won an award, "Kanuga Watermedia Workshops Award", this past weekend during the opening at the National Watercolor Society 92nd Annual Exhibition here in San Pedro California.

The painting will also be part of the traveling show, touring the country for 12 months following the exhibition.
I was also accepted for NWS Signature status after submitting 3 additional paintings for review.
The show will hang September 29th - December 2 2012. Check previous post (below) for gallery hours and map.

Previous post on this painting here.
Previous posts on this show here and here.

NWS website link
NWS facebook link

Click on image for larger view

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Endeavours Final Flight

I rarely break from showing anything other than my art or related pics on my blog. Exceptions include New Years pics and studio shots.

But yesterdays event, Friday, September 21st 2012, I had to share. The Space Shuttle Endeavour making its final piggy-back flight atop a Boing 747,  doing a fly-over tour of Los Angeles and surrounding areas at only 1500 feet, which is only the height of a 15 story building. So close you could almost touch it.
Perfectly apropos since it was largely built here in Southern California.

I went to the Queen Mary in Long Beach to see it fly over.
Fortunately it flew directly over us at the Queen Mary.
Unfortunately it flew DIRECTLY over us at the Queen Mary.
I was hoping to get a shot of the Endeavor with the Queen Mary in it, oh well.

That made it tough to see the Shuttle itself from below.
But it was still really exciting and everyone was extremely proud.

It happened really quick so I was only able to get these six shots, I don't have a good enough video camera. Other areas were treated to multiple passes but here we got just one, lasting less than 10 seconds.

Later it will make a 12-mile journey on city streets from LAX to the California Science Center at Exposition Park where it will be on permanent display at the museum.

Its 12-mile journey will be a feat itself since it will require the removal of trees and the logistics of maneuvering through city streets around power poles and stoplight signals.

This move is similar to the huge rock that was moved through 3 counties and the streets of LA from Riverside this past spring to its final levitated resting place at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). Picture slideshow here.
I guess we like moving REALLY BIG THINGS through our neighborhoods!
I suppose its good rocks can't fly!

Click on images for larger view

Monday, September 10, 2012

Otherworldly Mountain

"Nocturne Sulfur Pile Detail"
oil on panel, 2012
2⅜" x 2" (6.01cm x 5.08cm)

Yeah, it's small but I really enjoyed painting it, It was tough to photograph it accurately so the original looks far better with a subtle depth and richness I could not get with the photo.

I have been doing a lot of experimental work along with a new body of work lately and this was one of those little excursions I decided to do on a whim. Small and quick is satisfying sometimes.

All my previous paintings of sulfur piles are generally of the whole pile, in the background as another element.
Zoomed in for a detail like this and the pile looked otherworldly, more like a mountain from another planet.188

Click on image for larger view

Saturday, August 18, 2012

NWS 92nd Annual Exhibition

Here is the formal announcement for the National Watercolor Society 2012 Annual Exhibition.
I am thrilled to have been among those accepted since entries usually range over a thousand.
There are some really great artists in the show including some whose work I have followed for years.

Here is my painting "PHL Sulfur Pile" that will be part of the exhibition, and a previous post about this  NWS Show.

I am also happy to announce this same painting will be included in the traveling show which will tour the USA over the next 12 months following the exhibition.

And for more good news, I was accepted for NWS Signature status after submitting 3 additional paintings for review.

Link to NWS website and NWS facebook.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Huntington Beach Spring

"H.B. 24"
oil on panel, 2012
3.5" x 5" (8.89cm x 12.7cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

Named for the Huntington Beach lifeguard station this small painting really is a study in a palette similar to these two in that I dirty up the pinks and purples, which I rarely use. It's a palette I don't use very often but occasionally the time of day and atmospheric conditions dictate it.

Early spring... as the sun arcs higher new colors are in the light and beginning to show their eventual saturation... less deep like winter but not yet the bright hues of full spring.187

Click on image to enlarge

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Value Thumbnails 4

"Seaside Rocks" value thumbnails
pencil on paper, 2012
page 11" x 8.5" (27.94cm x 21.59cm)

In addition to a study of values, the purpose of quick thumbnail drawings like these is to record the directional planes. The benefit is not having to reinterpret forms when further developing the thumbnails into mid-sized black and white or color comps then into a painting.

Any kind of visual shorthand is useful when recording information.... other notations like handwritten  notes can be added, indicating colors etc., working out potential problems before beginning a painting.186

Click on image for larger view

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Recent Value Comps

"Roadside-Barn" value comps
pencil on paper, 2012
page 11" x 8.5" (27.94cm x 21.59cm)

Since I am currently busy on a new body of work I don't have a lot of new work to post.

Here are some recent value studies.
Doing value studies is about working out the arrangement of lights and darks so the subject itself does not have to be exciting or glorious or even beautiful. It's the shapes, how they relate and interlock.

Roadside is one of these. I simply liked the dark shape of the rising bushes against the interlocking wedges of drainage pipes and the roadside.

The barn was originally in daylight but I did not like the light and dark shapes so I morphed it into a nocturne, leaving it with an unseen bright light source.185

Click on image for larger view

Saturday, June 30, 2012


"PHL Sulfur Pile"    SOLD
watercolor on illus board, 2012
18" x 27" (45.72cm 68.58x cm)
National Watercolor Society

Here is my painting recently juried into the National Watercolor Society's 2012 Annual Exhibition here in San Pedro.

This painting was a challenge for many reasons... I had an idea of what I wanted but the design of all the elements meant I was faced with all sorts of decisions.

Since it is about the role of the Pacific Harbor Line in the Los Angeles Harbor all these decisions would be guided by this idea, especially how the little black locomotives usually operate alone.

Also, this technique of watercolor is more about achieving the same visual look or depth and richness of an oil painting as opposed to the more traditional approach of transparent (only) watercolor. But at this size larger areas were particularly tough. There were a lot of shapes, values and colors to manage and I did not want it to get too busy and spotty, which is a by-product of this technique on this surface. Although smaller, two others in this technique on illustration board, are here and here.

I used reference for the technical information but the design, palette or color scheme, value pattern etc are my own invention.
One of my design decisions was throwing spot lights down to exaggerate the effects of a cloudy stormy day with sunlight breaking through. This allowed me control the values and specifically, the shapes of the values, molding the design to suit my goals and to edit out what was not needed from a panoramic view.

That also gave it a dark, moody, unearthly look and a psychological impact but with a quality of light and pops of color that keep it from being too oppressive, a characteristic present in much of the mid century California Watercolor Style and the work of...  Art Riley, Hardie Gramatky, Millard SheetsEmil Kosa Jr.Jack Laycox,Frederic Whitaker, Watson Cross Jr., Crandall Norton, Mary Blair,  Joseph De Mers among others, which I have been looking at recently.
Realism does not always have to be naturalistic...sometimes another quality better supports an idea than a more naturalistic depiction does.

I liked the idea of the locomotive in the background with the middle ground having the visually larger double-stack intermodal rail cars. The locomotive is visually prominent by placing it against the bright yellow sulfur pile for stark contrast, no need to have a spotlight on it. And even though small with-in the composition it is still the star and easily recognizable showing only hints of its characteristic diagonal white stripes without further modeling of form.

So I spot-lighted the rail cars and silhouetted the black locomotive against bright yellow for high contrast in color and value. Drawing attention to both but making the locomotive a little bit more significant. It speaks of the role and dominion of the Pacific Harbor Line in the harbor.

Below is a value comp I did beforehand (top) and thought I had it worked out but halfway through the painting I realized some of the values were not working. So I stopped and did 2 more smaller ones based on the first to work it out. These midstream snags sometimes happen when the painting is large scale. Going from thumbnails to full size without an intermediate sized value and maybe a color comp doesn't always go as planned and would have been a good idea.

The problem was primarily with the middle ground, the area just beyond the string of containers and below the sulfur. The middle range values were not working, making for a confusing array in an unimportant area.
I first tried a lighter value setting up an elliptical shape of light and although I liked the idea it still was not right. I did not like the light bringing too much attention to the lower left corner.
The final thumb (lower right) resolved these problems. Dropping everything down in value, including the upper right light-valued refinery tanks, and eliminating unimportant areas.
This simplified the value distribution and strengthened the design.

The immediate foreground is where I fought most of my battles, even having done the thumbnails. It was more an issue of paint handling, edges and degree of finish rather than value. I finally decided it should be treated more like the other corners and remain loose and organic.

Previously it garnered too much attention, competed too much with the rest of the painting and incidentally was defeating the spot lighting idea, which I somehow missed until it's change. Happily the compositional zig-zag line remained.184

Click on images to enlarge
Click 'WATERCOLOR' label below to see other watercolors

Update: I fixed the above links which go to (since they have a new site) showing the mid-century artists who have inspired me lately.

Monday, June 25, 2012

National Watercolor Society Show Announcement

I happy to announce that my watercolor "PHL Sulfur Pile" was juried into the National Watercolor Society's 2012 Annual Exhibition here in San Pedro.
This one was done in one of my two watercolor techniques I work in.
I will post the painting here soon.

The opening is Saturday September 29th and the show hangs until Sunday December 2.
Link to NWS website and NWS facebook for information and hours.

National Watercolor Society headquarters
915 South Pacific Avenue
San Pedro
Ca, 90731

Thursday, June 14, 2012

iPad Thumbnails 1

Here is a page of value thumbnails done on my iPad with the Brushes app.

I really had to resist the temptation to get into too much detail since the point was the big shapes of composition.

I put in just enough to make it interesting and give me some textural differences.
The moment I began to get too picky I stopped.

Although it won't replace the traditional mediums I use I like the idea of having another medium to work in.
One advantage is it's easy to pick up and go right to work.183

Click on image for larger view

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Value Thumbnails 3

Top: Sharpie, pencil, 2012
page 11" x 8.5" (27.94cm x 21.59cm)

Bottom: Black ink, 2012
page 8.5" x 11" (21.59cm x 27.94cm)

Here's a couple more pages of thumbnails.
The top page I used a Sharpie to lay in the darks, can't get too fussy this way, and used pencil for the mid tones. Again, as I said in previous post, using a direct and permanent medium like an ink pen forces me into being more thoughtful and decisive when laying down darks.
Doing this allows me to see the design immediately and do different versions.

The bottom is black ink brushed, no pens.
They can get a bit clumsy at times but are quick and literally show 'the big picture', another advantage of ink.182

Click on images for larger view

Monday, May 28, 2012

Value Thumbnails 2

Top: pencil, 2012
page 11" x 8.5" (27.94cm x 21.59cm)

Bottom: Black ink, 2012
page 11" x 8.5" (27.94cm x 21.59cm)

Here are a couple pages of thumbnails.
The benefit of thumbnails is you can immediately see the stronger designs, throwing out or improving upon the weaker ones.

The idea is to use only 3 values and focus on the design or arrangement of lights and darks as a whole.
A dark, a mid tone and the white of the paper usually, although sometimes I will use a fourth value by indicating the next value from white.

A couple of the pencils have 4 values which is ok provided you don't lose sight of the original purpose of doing them. In this case it was to identify where the brightest lights would be, the sunlit sides of the white tanks in the third row down and bottom left last row. In this way I am refining the lights a bit more and can be sure the shapes within the lights work against the compositional whole.

The bottom nocturnes, painted with a brush in ink, force you to work very thoughtfully and direct since ink goes down dark and permanently. I like doing these for that reason, it exercises a different set of (mental) muscles. The challenge is to not over think them and lose the freshness.

Using a brush means I can lay down wide swaths of blacks quickly and not get too fussy. Perfect for doing nocturnes.181

Click on images for larger view.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Junk Yard Dog

"Truck at Rest"
watercolor on paper, 2012
8" x 11" (20.32cm x 27.94cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

Here is another recent watercolor, very different from the last.
When I saw this old rust-spotted, well used dump truck it begged to be painted and in a manner that gave it some reverence for years of service, although it is not yet done.

So I painted it almost matter of fact, almost.
Instead I represented it in its natural environment, gave it plenty of air or space around it and a nice big dramatic cloud overhead. It deserves this bow of appreciation.

It reminds me of a loyal junk yard dog, not pretty but always anxious and ready to go.180

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Update-Available Art

In case anyone has wondered why available art in the pages section top of right hand column is a little sparse I still have to update it

The idea is to show a pic of any framed art work along with those specs too.
I simply need to make the time to photograph and make a document in Apple Pages.
This will take some time. In the meantime that information is listed directly under each image.

July 27 2013
I am updating my update here:
All available art is now on DAILY PAINTWORKS.
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

No House of Cards

"Catalina Pacific Concrete (Storm)"
watercolor on paper, 2012
8" x 11" (20.32cm x 27.94cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

Here again is the old shut down concrete plant, with its gangly proportions, facing an incoming storm.
I sometimes find that a subject can have different faces, a persona about them that can shift as I see it from different views and/or in various lighting or weather conditions.
I then have to decide how to present that perception through design of composition, value and other art elements.

As I said in my post of this similar view, the building seems precarious when seen from its narrow side.
The difference here is I've bracketed it between the railroad signal and power pole which support it and hold it upright, the verticals providing a stability to the shaky structure. And shown it in a 3/4 view so the side adds some solidity, giving it more of a sound brick feel. Shifting the perception from a house of cards to one that can withstand anything.179

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Ponto Storage

"Ponto Storage #1"
oil on panel, 2012
5" x 3.5" (12.7cm x 8.89cm)
For Sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

This building looks like it once was the original Ponto Storage office. Although the business moved next door into a newer building this one stands out because it sits on an otherwise empty lot.
I do a lot of these types of images shown late in the day, a metaphor for its end.
It appeared to have been shut down for some time yet curiously, its green light still glowed.178

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

iPad Painting

"The Lookout" (in progress 1)

"The Lookout" (in progress 2)

"The Lookout" (in progress 3)

In addition to the oils, several watercolors and a commissioned piece, I have been working on a large watercolor recently. It's bigger than I typically work in watercolor so I am presented with a different set of challenges to overcome. Although it hasn't won every skirmish we are at a stand off right now, a stare down, the art version of OK Corral. When I am victorious and the dust settles I'll post it.
For now...

I recently got an iPad and picked up the Brushes app which is basic enough I won't be overwhelmed learning the digital medium. So here is one of the first few experimental digital paintings. Of course I need to keep it pretty simple in the beginning.

I will use it primarily to experiment, have fun, do quick location studies when I'm out and about and stuck waiting. Maybe I will use it for compositional studies too... who knows. First I have to learn how to use the thing, it is both fun and frustrating.
Working in other mediums is good though. It has a way of feeding and strengthening my work. Especially when struggles ensue. At times of struggle it is a way of stepping back from the fray and relaxing without losing any momentum.

One advantage of digital is not having to photograph it. In fact what is up on the screen is more faithful to the actual work. I am usually disappointed in some way in the photos of my non-digital art work.

There is always something that isn't right. Color, more often than not, is the culprit. Other times it is the texture of an oil painting catching those pesky little highlights which read like little white specks... drives me crazy since it is time consuming eliminating them all.

Another advantage is saving progress shots. I don't have to grab the camera and mess with lighting to take a progress shot, just save it.

I'll post a final shot of this digital when it is complete. Not much more to do. Just some little tweaks here and there.177

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