Saturday, November 30, 2013

Series - Locomotive, PHL 72 Limelight

"PHL 72 Limelight"
oil on panel, 2013
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)

This painting will be featured at Segil Fine Art Gallery in Monrovia California for the Eleventh Annual Holiday Small Works Show.

Opening night is Saturday, December 7th, 2013, from 5-7:00 PM

It is another from my latest locomotive series.

I'm not only using this series to experiment and put down paint in different ways but also looking to make each painting unique in some way, never losing sight of capturing the Southern California light I see everyday all year long.

This was one of those glory moments. I was down in the LA Harbor area and spotted this PHL locomotive towing its prize.

I chased it down, caught it just as it switched tracks, raced back around the corner to get a better position and was just in time to catch it backing up as it passed the lime colored fence. The low-angle afternoon light illuminated the lime green fence, literally and figuratively like a limelight, and since (shiny) black is so reflective... well, you can see.

To further enhance that moment and more importantly my impression of it, I painted the light of a thinly veiled marine layer into the painting for a beautiful atmospheric effect. Gentle, soft, low-slung bright light making long shadows.

I rarely paint a locomotive without having a point of view. No, no, no.
I always see first, the painting in all its totality, then one of a locomotive in its environment. It would be short-sited and do no justice to these mules of the harbor to do a mere depiction of it.

They are the true stars of the harbor. Not the huge bloated 'fat cat' cargo ships waiting to be unloaded, not the pretty white cruise ships with all their 'lace and doilies'.
So their moment in the limelight is well deserved.253

Monday, November 25, 2013

Leibster Award

click image to read

I'm a bit delinquent in getting this post out as I've been busy.

I, along with four others, was recently selected for a Leibster Award by Ricardo Azkargota,  a great watercolorist. The goal of the award is to recognize and promote blogs.
In the spirit of the award we are to choose 3-5 of our own and award them. Each must have fewer than 200 followers.
I must say it was not easy. There are several others I could have chosen and there were others that had over 300 followers already.

I could only come up with 3 that met the requirements and agreed to accept it.
It is very much like those old chain letters, however it is in the spirit of promoting each other that I went forward with it.
In no particular order my 5, 3 choices are:

1. Amanda Fish - I love her light feathery touch of the brush and her sensitive handling of her subjects.

2. Ski Holm - We share a love of the atypical, the subjects not often painted. The industrial and gritty cityscapes.

3. Frank Eber - Great atmospheric watercolors. I enjoy reading his thoughts and insights on painting, something often missed on artists blogs.

4. ---------

5. ---------

Tuesday, November 19, 2013



It's starting to look like I'm going to need another blog.

Something to appeal to my sardonic side.

Stay tuned.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dusk, Dawn, Light and Dark

I have done series and themed works then written about them here on my blog. Most of these ideas have been expressed through the vehicle of the industrial motif, a subject largely ignored since it is most often not pretty.
That is a mistake. It is the idea entrenched within the picture and not the picture itself that is (or should be) important.
I know the risk of doing this means a narrower audience and yet I push on. I can't give it up because it is part of me.
I try to show others what I see and hope they too will see it but only some can, or slow down enough to  pay attention.

I have used the end of the day as a metaphor for ideas.
Aging Relic: "L. B. Plant (Arco Oil Plant)"
The Dying Day: "Catalina Pacific Concrete"
Ponto Storage: "Ponto Storage #1"
Urban River 4: "Santa Ana River #4"
Absorbed by History?: "Linden and Broadway"

I have used light and dark for the same.
Yin and Yang: "Oil Plant #4 (Sunlit Grass)"
"Dark Rain"
"Light Rain"
Melancholy: "Harbor Line #50 (Catalina Pacific Concrete)"
Curtain of Rain: "BNSF (Cajon Puddle)"
Spot-Lighted: "PHL Sulfur Pile"
No House of Cards: "Catalina Pacific Concrete (Storm)"
Crushed By The Sun: "Warehouse Rooftop (w/ Palm)"
Beast of Burden: "Harbor Line #61 (Dusk w/ Engineer)"

And I have used the dead of night too.
Terminated: "Oil Plant Nocturne"
Subdued Energy: "Tree Nocturne (19th St.)"
'Of the Night' 2: "Nocturne - Night Owl"

Lately I have been exploring the beginning of the day and the potential themes of it.
Tied Up Dog: "Relic Sunrise"

Like night and day the dusk and dawn are opposites but also complimentary. They are moving in opposite directions but they share the same moments of light, the day or night ending or beginning.

They are divisions that mark the day and carry their own meanings and associations and can be different to us all. The beginning, the end, but of what?
Neither the beginning nor the end is really tied to any one meaning, it is a matter of personal experiences and perception and most importantly observation. It can be but is not always cheery.

It is not necessarily one of hope, that idea is too common and obvious, just think of all those motivational posters, slogans, images etc., too much and it becomes trite. The new day can also represent despair, for some, as each new day IS another beginning of something. That idea I tackled in the above Tied up Dog: "Relic Sunrise"

It does not always have to be that extreme either, sometimes it's the small melancholy incidentals that are just part of life... the things we encounter daily but ignore, those small incremental changes in the landscape, things we notice briefly then forget, an abandoned object or building.

We are already conditioned to see beauty in nature, the figure etc but you have to look for it in the unpretty.......You need to stop and take notice or you'll miss it. It's there if you look hard enough.
It is the job of the artist to point it out.

I should say I am not a depressive person, never have been, I am happy and like it that way, but many of these things I examine are just part of life and I think examining them is worth doing. Not all artists want to do nothing but happy snappy works so although I don't live mired in it I can still put down my observations on it. That point of view is just as valid.

I am not even being needlessly negative, or needlessly happy for that matter, instead I am recording what I see and doing so consciously.

I might even say that to know one side you must look at its opposite to really understand, so being the content person I am means it is perfectly logical to stare at the 'unpleasant' to fully realize and appreciate who I am and what I have.

You can't really know the darkness until you have stood in the sunshine otherwise you get along thinking 'this is how it is' and 'it' is normal. That would be abnormal or at least naive.

How can you know joy unless you have tasted sorrow, we must experience both.

I simply must do this, have some target, something to drive me in my work otherwise I am merely painting pretty pictures and will get bored to death. To me, that would be depressing. There must be something in it or I end up feeling a bit hollow as I work.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Night Rain in Digital

"18th St. Rain Nocturne"
Digital, 2013

I've had my share of struggles with the digital medium. I know I only have the most basic tool (iPad) and app (Brushes) for this but one way to help figure it out is to redo one of my own oil paintings.

I look at tutorials and other digital paintings but redoing one of your own slows down the learning curve.

Now I am only reinterpreting it through a different medium. I was involved in the original decision making so I am not also trying to figure that out. It is a more simplified version with not as much of the orange throughout, the colors are not woven together as well, but I do have more mileage under my belt in oils and it was still a valuable learning excercise.252

The oil painting version here.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Image Quality Upload Problems and Google+

My image upload woes may be coming to an end.
I finally found the information in Google Product Forums on how to fix the problem I have been having. See recent posts and you'll see what I am talking about.

It seems the culprit is Google+ and its photo "Auto-Enhance" feature which is "On" by default.
Apparently you do not have to have a Google+ Account to be affected by the problem.
You only have to have ANY Google account to be affected (read infected).

For those out there who have experienced the same exasperation! Click this link or copy the URL below.!topic/blogger/s-zNWU-LnnY

The ONLY way to remedy the problem is to switch over to a Google+ account, which I did not plan on, otherwise you can't not turn off the auto enhance feature.
So that now means I will be known online through Google+ (first) and not through my blog.
Too bad, I preferred my link to go directly to my blog and not through Google+.

I will be going back and updating/reloading the original photos on the infected posts, the photos I adjusted and decided on, not some dumb auto enhance feature, sometime over the next few days.

Thanks Google

**All posts have been updated.