Sunday, December 30, 2012

Another day, another painting

I just finished up on Tired of Waiting and send an updated photo to the gallery.  I quickly approached the point of where each brush stroke I applied to enhance the work was doing quite the opposite, which is usually my indication that it's time to stop.  It's so easy to over work paintings.  I'm glad that with age I've become more aware of when to leave a work alone, but sometimes I still manage to overwork things.

Tired of Waiting

I spent the Christmas Holiday working on Tired of Waiting, which is almost finished.  I should finish it later today.  I plan to start another painting today as well.  This piece is the result of being in the right place at the right time for taking the reference photo.  I'm pleased that I'm getting better at street photography. I don't expect to transition from painting to photography anytime soon though. I like the fact that within a painting I can omit or add details and control the mood with my color palette and brush strokes. I love the tactile sensation of paint, but I have learned to truly love wandering around a city with a camera taking photos and becoming completely immersed - living completely within that moment and the act of capturing it.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Aimless Wandering

I just finished up on Aimless this morning.  I named it such, because it really captures the feeling of my wandering around in the San Francisco night without any real direction.  I just allowed my self both trips to just be set a drift and wander the streets with no goal or purpose outside of taking photographs in mind.  My goal/resolution this upcoming year is just to do and think less.  To become more aimless.  Sometimes I feel like I'm so focused on the ideal of getting there that I drive right past where I was headed to begin with.  It's time to smell the bouquet of flowers that I'm already holding in my hand.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Balancing Act

Work has continued on the Chinese Market painting and I started another piece as well.  The challenge with both is going to be the same.  There is a lot of wonderful paint strokes denoting action within the underpainting that I need to carry into the next stages of the works.  It seems that part of me craves detail and part of me wants to be completely loose and expressionistic capturing just the impression of light and movement.  If I can pull off the mixture of elements juxtaposing them off of each other just right I will be content.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The little thoughts that...

I finished Little Thoughts (above) and Always Caught in the Undertow (below) last night.  I find it interesting how different the mood of these two works are. Little Thoughts is very lucid and present in comparison to Always Caught in the Undertow's water logged state of consciousness.
It seems even more odd to me; when I consider the fact that they were both created simultaneously.  It's said that paintings reflect the artist's mood at the time.  I have no idea what to make of it if that's the case considering that these two works despite similar palettes are so different.

Little Thoughts was titled based on the fact that the skater waiting to cross the street is either double checking that his wallet is still there or skipping to the next song on his iPod while waiting for the light.  I suspect that it's skipping to the next song.  I know that it is very common for me to skip songs while waiting at lights when I'm riding and the back pockets work the best - at least before I purchased an iPod Touch.  Life seems to be filled with an endless supply of little thoughts that can sometimes influence our lives more than we think.

After finishing work on the others I bounced back to the Chinese market piece.  I haven't thought of a good title for this painting yet.  I have noted that there is a great deal more underpainting required for the night works.  It's really coming together nicely.  I'm glad that I caught more vignettes of city life during my last trip to San Francisco.  My focus has usually been on buildings and the movement of people on the sidewalks, excluding the interactions at market stalls and restaurants.  Maybe that's the change within my work I've been craving.  Simply a change of focus to capture the energy of the city in a different way.  I'm convinced that I will never be satisfied with whatever the current body of work on my easel is and will always endlessly strive to produce the next "big thing" never knowing what that could actually entail.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Always Caught in the Undertow

Work is going pretty well on Caught in the Undertow above.  The title hit me while listening to the Modest Mouse's song "The World at Large" with the lyric "Why does it always feel like I'm caught in an undertow?"  That sentiment really hits home with me. I could easily extrapolate upon the subject, but I feel that it's really part of the universal experience of being human and dealing with life's endless array of curve balls.  Frankly, the struggles within my own life feel rather trivial in comparison to those of others.  When ever trails come my way I always take solace in the fact that I'm not the only special one and that I don't have it nearly as bad as the majority of the world.  In short, I simply purse my lips and give a whistle.

The last couple days of rain afforded me a rare treasure in Phoenix - humidity.  With the extended drying time I was really able to capture a etherial fuzzy deep in thought look.  I usually see the world this way after several days of working non-stop at work and in the studio, while getting little sleep while driving or riding down the road in the early morning.  It is almost like I'm mentally waterlogged and looking at the world from within a fish bowl during those times.  Well, that's what it's like for me at least.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Long Awaited Rain

It's raining tonight after what seems like months since the last time it's rained.  It may only be a month, but the air quality was really starting to suffer.  I finished Rainy Night (top) over the weekend and I've been working on Nightly Bargains since Sunday.  I just finished the underpainting layers, so now I can move on to re-inking some of the detail back and start putting in the color.  This is one of the luck of the draw shots I captured in San Francisco when walking through China Town.  I found myself amazed at the hustle, bustle, pushing and grabbing the shoppers took part in.  It was really frantic.  I guess I'm very much a suburban kid in that respect or at least the product of big box grocery store shopping.  I don't have people reaching across my person to snatch apples that I was about to put in my bag.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Daily Trivialities

Sometimes the small works actually set up quickly.  Granted this is not always the case I've had to pour hours and hours of work into small 9x12 inch paintings in the past.  It is nice though when the small works come together in a day or two.  I'm just about finished with As the Rush Comes above.  Daily Trivialities below has come together very quickly as well, so it may be finished in a couple days.  It's refreshing to have work coming together quickly; considering that I've been working on a large night painting for over a month and I'm not even sure if it's even half done.  These are the first of seven small paintings that I'm working on for the gallery.  Smaller works have been in high demand lately, so I'm knocking out several.  Five of them are night works, so it's a great opportunity to figure out how well my night palette is going to work as well as perfect it as I go.

Of course the video game Limbo that is pretty much at night or late dusk and completely black and white has me thinking that maybe my perceived prerequisite of adding more color into my palette in order to perform night works could be in error or at least not as necessary as I think.  I omit or mute color in my other works, so it seems silly to not do the same for the night paintings or at least some of them.  I admit though I love the colors of an urban environment at night.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Street Lights Blur

This is the first of a handful of small night paintings I'm working on.  The focus of this one is a central figure crossing wet streets.  It's hard to know in a painting like this how much detail to add or omit.  The left side came together spontaneously and became rather abstracted, so now adding details to the right  side has to be balanced with that loose feel and just the right amount of detail.

Friday night I watched Indie Game the movie.  It was really interesting to see how the game designers approached the games they were designing.  I know many may not view creating a video game as art, but I do and much more so after watching this film.  It's simply a different medium.  As silly and trite as it may sound - I really related to their struggles and felt glad to know that I'm not  the only one to have some of the feelings I have when it's crunch time to get work done for a exhibition or commission.  It's the same passion and different struggles, but more or less the same variables of time, money, and figuring out how to make the piece of art work.  I purchased one of the games that was featured within the film without having it's development and team directly spotlighted entitled Limbo.  The game itself is presented in film noir with very minimal lighting and a creepy mix of natural,urban, and industrial elements.  Yes, much like my work in some respects, so the appeal was instant when I saw the main character a silhouetted boy hoping over the letters of a broken hotel sign.

I haven't spent too much time playing the game, but I think that I'll restrain myself in order to make the experience last.  Besides I have the painting above and six more to finish up for a delivery to my gallery in a couple weeks.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Return to Night

Getting back into the swing of posting.  I've been just working and not posting lately.  I guess I just got out of the habit while preparing for the last show and... Just excuses.

I've just started getting back into night themed paintings.  Over half the photos I took while I was in San Francisco the last two visits have been night photos, but I've only used a couple.  This is partly due to the fact that night paintings seem to set up completely different than my other works.  They also have a lot more color and it's taken me a little bit of trial and error to find just the right palette or at least one I'm happy with.  It's odd, but I wish that I could use oils, because the pigments seem to blend more harmoniously when working on night paintings. I'm not sure why that is, but acrylic paint manufacturers seem to use different pigment formulations than oil paint manufacturers.  Now the plus to working in acrylics is the greater diversity of colors, but the crux of this is that sometimes some hues when blended have unhappy chemical reactions that produce unexpected color mixes.  So I'm still working to build just the right palette for myself.  I'm admittedly picky as well.

I've also been working on another bird painting.  I was walking around China Town in San Francisco early in the morning in between when the markets receive their shipments of food and when they open up for business and saw the pigeons eating the remains of someone's discarded breakfast.  Moments after I took this source photo for this piece another 25 birds joined this pair.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Catching My Breath

I'm just catching my breath from a very busy two months.  A lot has happened since the last post.  I finally addressed my umbilical hernia from childhood and had it fixed.  The recovery was uneventful, but kept me from working on the canvas consistently for several weeks.  I am simply amazed at how physical painting really is.  It's something that I've never really thought about.  Although, when the sutures in my abdomen would start hurting after an hour or so of painting - this realization came very quickly.  I'm happy to report that I'm pretty much back to normal. I'm also really happy to have the hernia out of my way.

Above are the last two paintings I completed for the show - 35 Days and Unwritten Rules.  

35 Days is about lovers surrounded by a dark world and all that life throws at us to overcome.  In short it's about how love triumphs over adversity. I'm a bit of a romantic.  It's also in the light of my surgery.  It was a scary time for my wife and I, frankly I had it easy.  They knocked me out cold and in the meantime she had to wait in the waiting room pacing the floor with worry until it was over.  Afterwards, she had to take care of me and perform the lion's share of house choirs.  This is what being in love is about though.  Two people meet and choose to become a family and depend on each other and weather all the storms life has to offer them- together.  It's beautiful.

Unwritten Rules is about the movement of people within the urban environment. It's a strangely choreographed dance that can be completely reduced to chaos within a moment.  Often chaos is the rule, but as soon as a calamity takes place the motion and movement of people continues as if nothing happened. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Steps and Ladders

Here's a working photo of The Deal that's currently on the easel.  It's a continuation of my stairs theme.  It's coming together very quickly.  I really love working with the theme of stairs and fire escapes.  It's a common thread that weaves it's way in and out of my work.  I haven't spent any time on the couch in the office of a psychologist to figure it out and I'll leave the speculation of my visual focus for others to decipher.  I have my theories.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

If I Only Could

I completed If I Only Could and started two other works this weekend. Below is the piece that is the furthest along. I am working on a title. Right now the working title is Another Island. The puddle unfortunately isn't working out. I think the shape feels unnatural and the reflection doesn't feel believable to me yet. I might put the painting to the side if this issue doesn't have a clean resolution. I don't want to break my pace and would rather put this painting to the side and come back to the challenge of getting the puddle just right. It would be great if the summer storms could get going and give me some puddles in alleys to look at for reference. 

That's really the fun of inventing worlds within my sketchbook.  There is the challenge of figuring out how the elements in your head will actually look and how they'll interact with each other. Working from photo references answers most of those questions up front. There are challenges there as well. It's more challenging to evoke mood and sometimes the visual reality feels artificial, so I find myself redrawing things to make them feel right to the mind's eye. This happens a lot when working with foreshortened figures.  The reality of what you seeing before you feels off and by bending the truth by lengthening arms and legs or exaggerating the size of body parts in relation to each other feels more real.

I am becoming more drawn to comic book perspectives. Yes, they are exaggerated, but they seem to match my perceptions of reality. For instance, I can remember times spent in the offices with school principles or bosses in trouble or in other stressful situations sitting across the desk from them and it seems as if I'm looking through a fisheye lens at them. They are in complete focus while the background is almost given a Gaussian blur and the perspective is elongated and curved. It's as if their faces are abnormally larger than their bodies and pushed out towards me and yet the distance between us seems vast. A football game could be played on top of their desk. This altered perception is due partly due to blood pressure, emotions, and the endorphins that naturally flow through our blood stream when ever we're in a stressful situations?  Yes, it's an visual illusion, but is this personal experience of that moment not reality?  This is how I recall those moments when recounting them to peers and loved ones and have relived them within my dreams. Reality seems very subjective. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Weight of the World

I finished The Weight of the World last night not long after my last post. It was one of those moments where I was working and I simply looked up and realized it was finished after I shored up the linens up above the figure.  I proceeded to start work in earnest on If I Only Could below.

With the speed in which this latest batch of paintings are flying off my easel I feel like I should take three months off from painting more often. It's  been like kinking up a hose for a few seconds and then letting go. I should finish If I Only Could this afternoon and I'll go ahead and start the next painting. I'm really in the zone right now, so I'm simply going to keep it going. I have three more works figured out, so I'll need to break this weekend and get going in the sketchbook and continue designing "The Unknown Lovers" series. The working title has shifted. I may not give the series a formal name. The works are related, but their supposed to function as stand alone paintings.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Work continues.  Right now I'm applying lots of semi-transparent and transparent layers into inked and re-inked detailed portions of the buildings.  I have pretty much finished the figure.  I may have to go in and add some highlights depending on how the buildings evolve.  The challenge has been to capture the same level of contrast that A Bad Day to Hang Laundry has without over doing it.  Although, part of that is due to the fact this painting has some of the same elements, but simply functions differently visually due to the perspective and the fact the mouth of the sky runs in a more horizontal fashion.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Only the Lonely

I started the second painting of the boy and girl series.  I'll have to come up with a better title than that prior to the exhibit, but for now it will have to suffice. This painting has a little more detail, but I still want to keep the loose look, so I'll probably ink in details and paint them back out until I get just the right mix.

I'm keeping the color scheme muted and primarily monochromatic with the addition of earth tones and Paynes grey. I'm also keeping the strong perspective.  I'm planning two more canvases that will have our characters walking up and down stairs.  These works will be a little more photo based.  For the most part I'm using a mixture of photo sources from San Francisco, CA and Bisbee, AZ. Of course my goal is to create an universal urban environment, so it can be New York, Mexico City or any other city for that matter.

Later in the series I would like to incorporate the loneliness and dehumanization that is seen within Edward Hopper's paintings.  His work has always been an inspiration.  This loneliness or state of being an island is what these particular characters within this series long to escape.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Bad Day to Hang Laundry

I just finished A Bad Day to Hang Laundry.  I feel the painting really fits the mood of what the next body of work will be.  It's a small painting 12x24 inches, but it packs a punch.  I'm planning on performing a lot of small works for my upcoming show in September at the Lanning Gallery in Sedona, AZ.

This painting is the beginning of a large series of connected works that work together as well as individually.  I like to think of a body of work like a musical album.  The songs can be sold as singles, but together tell a story or establish a  definite mood.  The working title of the next show is Escape Plan.  I'm going to focus in on gritty portraits of individuals in different urban environments that are either attempting or desire to escape their environs, predicaments, other people or themselves.  

Above is the original sketch for A Bad Day to Hang Laundry and it's companion piece that I haven't named yet.  I guess it would be BDHL 2, but I'm not sure if I want to go 1,2,3, etc with this series.  The theme for this series is a tale of a boy and a girl who walk down the same streets, go to the same bookstores, restaurants, parks, and other places; yet they never meet.  I guess star crossed lovers that are perfect for each other if only they could meet.  I can hear Morrissey crooning now, if it were made into a short film. I guess a little bit of the inspiration for the series is the fact that my wife and I went to the same high school, but didn't meet each other until the second semester of our freshman year in college.

I'm not sure how the series will play out.  I'm just going to sketch, paint and repeat until I feel the series is done.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Back in the Saddle

I'm back.  I've been on hiatus of sorts.  After a few months of hitting my head against the wall I decided to step away from the canvas and shift my focus for a little while.  Of course I spent a lot of time thinking about what direction I wanted to take the next body of work.  Sometimes low creative tides are good for that. I also wanted to reflect on why I wasn't feeling it.  I have reached a few conclusions.  That I will share as this next body of work continues.

Above is a working shot of A Bad Day to Hang Laundry.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

We'll Give You a Number

Numbers is finally starting to go somewhere. It's been a bit of a troublesome piece. I've come to the conclusion that I've been in the midst of a growth period for the last several months. Not really one I've wanted, but then again I guess it's really not up to my conscious mind to begin with. 

The reason I feel it's not what I wanted, is due in part to the fact that it happened to come at an inconvenient time. It has come at a time when I really wanted to knock paintings out right and left and use my short time of living solely by my brush to it's full advantage. Instead, I've poured countless hours into paintings and have had half a dozen works after spending 40 to 60 hours on them, that I've just had discard -repainting over them or throwing them up in my painting rack for a future date. 

Ironically, I will probably look back on the last six months and feel everything was as it should have been, if I haven't just started to feel that way today. It's also very plausible that this growth period could not have occurred while I was busy working 40 hours a week at a day job. It's only with the extra time that I've had to spend painting that I have been able to reestablish what my work is about by picking up elements that were left behind with the greater exploration of realism over the last few years. These elements being that of collaged text and found materials. When those elements didn't fit; I simply chose to discard them. I saw it as a matter of listening to the canvas and that particular canvas was telling me that it didn't need it. I still stand by those decisions. 

Only later did I find myself standing in the middle of a gallery surrounded by my work with the odd feeling that something was missing this last September.

In other news:

I started my new part-time graphic design position Today that will allow me plenty of time to paint unlike my previous jobs, while stabilizing my finances a bit. It's a nice change of pace as well, because I'm only designing and I'm not handling other kinds of business.

It takes the pressure of expanding my representation out of state off my shoulders a little bit. I can simply focus on entering my work into themed exhibits and let things happen as they may.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Guilty Glance

I finished up Guilty Glance yesterday, just in time to submit it for it's intended exhibit. I was keeping it completely black, white and grey for a possible submittal for that show, but the painting really needed color to come together.  Not much, but enough to give it a greater sense of depth. I do have to admit that I feel I've fallen into a pattern of being some what obsessive with each painting I paint. It seems as if my perfectionist streak has just been running wild. It's not really a terrible thing, but it unsettles me to be less prolific in a time when I desire to produce twice as much work than I am.

It might just be a phase and it will simply pass. So much of who I am as an artist goes on beneath the surface of my conscious mind. I may just be climbing up the steep slope of a new artistic plateau and once I get to the top my prolific nature and snap decisions will return. For this moment, I'm caught in the struggle of reinventing the wheel with each canvas I paint.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Graphic Guilt

I have been painting like crazy for the last few days on a new work called The Guilty Glance. It's going to be my submission to a juried exhibition named "Consequences". Oddly, enough I could almost use any one of my paintings, considering that my work in general is about the passage of time and the effects of internal and external forces on my subjects. Nonetheless, I thought it would be best to relate the work directly to the show's theme without telling too much of the story. The figure in the foreground is in a half run looking over his shoulder clutching the straps to his backpack. It's unclear if he's just exited the building, just sneaking out for the evening, has just burgled a condo inside, perhaps there's something contraband inside his backpack, or he's just the nervous type. The painting isn't going to tell the viewer, it's up to the viewer to interpret and write the story as she or he feels fit. In general I paint all my works in this manner on purpose. I feel that all too often when I watch a film everything is spelled out to me as if I were three years old. Leave some mystery and I will happily fill in the blanks.

My normal technique of inking followed with painting has been employed here. What I have been finding more and more is that I really like the graphic quality created by going back and re-inking the work again afterwards. I'm not sure where this will lead.  I guess time will tell. I do like how the technique can push a figure completely into the foreground of a painting. I also like the strong chiaroscuro quality it creates as well. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Nazareth Hotel

I delivered Nazareth Hotel up to the Lanning Gallery in Sedona, AZ yesterday along with some other works. It's one of my favorite paintings. The old hotel just has such a haunted feel to it. It almost makes me wonder what kind of ghosts may inhabit the rooms of the hotel. I almost have the impression though that it's actually hotel rooms that have been turned into apartments or at least are used for extended stays. I can see a character from a noir film staying there, while hiding out from the authorities or from his or her past.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Redefining Nazareth

Today I had to strike out some of the work I'd done in the last couple days to redefine the center of the building and the store fronts. I can tell already that it will make for a better piece in the long run. Even back in art school I was blessed with a healthy philosophy, that there could be no sacred cow areas of a canvas. Yes, there are times when there is just a beautifully rendered portion of the canvas, but it just doesn't work with the whole. I have caught myself spending hours trying not to paint over it only to strike it out for the benefit of the canvas as a whole. All in all, I'm glad that the delivery up to the gallery was put off until Sunday. It has allowed me to not rush and make the right decisions for the painting. I'm still shooting to finish it by tomorrow afternoon. 

I have to admit that I have a tendency to set tight deadlines for myself from time to time. I guess after years of being a graphic designer I like to have a due dates to work towards. Right now I have lined up three more juried shows that I'm going to perform work for, along with doing more work for the gallery and putting a body of work together in order to make a show proposal to some University Galleries. Truthfully, all are self imposed to a certain extent. Without the deadlines I find that I get work done, but not as much work done as I would like to. I don't know why it's taken me so long to realize that working long hours to meet deadlines makes me happy. I've cursed deadlines for so long - only to realize they're a blessing in disguise.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Nazareth Hotel has been going well. I was shooting to finish the painting last night in order to deliver it along with others to the gallery today, but that didn't happen. I'm going to put the delivery to the gallery off for later this week, so I can include this painting.

This work is just the beginning of a series of similarly themed paintings. I'm planning to focus in on the architectural and street scene stuff for a while. Something about Escape Plan, November and now Nazareth Hotel is...  I don't know how to say it. It just seems to be the work I need to be doing at the moment. I find myself becoming completely lost within the intricate details and spaces of these paintings. It's wonderful to feel like you have physically inhabited the space within a work. I have been able to smell the rain in the air and the dampness on my cheeks while painting the Nazareth Hotel. It's been a painting that I have truly lived in. When I left for the Gothic Opening in Santa Ana on Friday leaving Nazareth Hotel in an unfinished state was very difficult to break away.   

Thursday, February 2, 2012


It's a double post Thursday. This evening's painting session was very productive and I was able to finish up the sky, tone down the Hotel's sign and solidify more of the building. I've included some detail shots of the sky. I need to get better about providing detail photos of my work. There are a lot of complex textures that overall photos of the paintings simply don't capture. My work has always been better in person than in photographs, but photographs are how most people will see the work initially.

Nazareth along with my recent paintings Escape Plan and November really show a clear return to heavy collage, my subdued dark palette and steak and potatoes subject matter - I feel people know me for. I'm actually planning to go with the flow for the next few months and create a large body of work maybe 30 to 40 canvases over the next few months. I have a number of reasons for this move, but the one reason that really drives my need to keep it simple and go with the flow is that I've been looking at the world outside of my studio, along with reading the news and driving around a town that has become a sea of empty store fronts - it has given me the blues. There's only one way to loose these feelings and that's to paint. With any luck my viewers can feel the release too.   

Old Hotel

I've taken a short break from the figurative works to paint some more architectural works. This is Nazareth the first of several building paintings. Actually, old hotels I have photographed over the last few years. This hotel was photographed during my last trip to San Francisco. Not soon after taking this photograph I realized I was in the wrong part of town with the sun setting. I kept having people walk circles around me after giving me a greeting and we're not talking one or two folks. It bummed me out a little, because I opted to put the camera away for safety since I was alone. As a result I missed out on photographing a lot of cool buildings. Next time I will have to take someone with me. 

I find I wonder into bad parts of town often when photographing old buildings. Sometimes the coolest distressed buildings just happen to be in the not so good part of town. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Fifth Figure

I'm not sure when I started this painting, but I've had it on the back burner. It just wasn't feeling right and I simply did my usual bad habit of finding something else to work on. 

Well, while working on After the Rain I discovered the solution add a fifth figure. The composition is now fixed and I know where I'm going with the piece again. It's silly and so elementary when I think about it. Four figures was an even number which doesn't create a successful composition. Things are supposed to go 1,3,5,7,9 and so on. Okay, it's not a hard and fast rule, but if you study old master works and perform a physical count of the number of figures you'll find that only within a few rare works will their be an even number of figures and when that does occur it is to match the biblical story the work depicts. In those instances though another large compositional element is introduced to balance the piece.

My birthday was last week and one of the gifts my wife gave me was John Singer Sargent's Italy. The book is just a wonderful book to look through. I love his subtle use of color within his Italian works. It's interesting to contrast these works against his more famous portrait works he's better known for. I'd say the paintings in Italy were who he really was.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Waiting for the Rain

Work has continued on After the Rain. I'm almost finished with it.  Now comes the tricky part rendering the shoes of the main two figures. I have painted the wet concrete shadows just the way I want them, but I can screw everything up if I don't render the shoes just so.

Other than that I'm just waiting for the rain literally and figuratively speaking. Rain was in the forecast for latter this week, but that didn't happen. I love painting on rainy days. The moist air does wonders for acrylics and extends the drying time, so that I can blend the skin tones and folds in clothing better. Whenever, I happen to leave Phoenix the prerequisite for my new home will be that it has more weather.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Escape Plan has been selected to be part of Gothic an exhibit at the Orange County Center of Contemporary Art in Santa Ana, California. Here's the link The Opening Reception will be Saturday February 4th,2010 - 6pm to 10pm.

I've also been working on After the Rain above. I took a little time from the easel last week to update my artist statement and resume. It wasn't the most enjoyable way to spend the week, but it's one of the necessary parts of being an artist. I have always found working on my artist statement to be difficult. I feel a big part of this difficulty is partly due to the fact I'm trying to formally put words to what I do visually. In my blog I keep things pretty casual, which is easier. My mentor Dave Sklar mused this morning over breakfast that "the reason the artist statement is so hard to write is that in essence, it's an artist's epitaph of who they are and what they're about, if a bolt of lightning was to strike them down latter today." That might be a bit melodramatic, but in essence, yes I would want my current artist statement read at my wake when I depart. Hopefully, that's a very long time from now when I've painted thousands of paintings.

Well back to After the Rain. It's been a fun little painting. It's odd, but I felt it should be a small work based on the sketch. Now that I'm into the painting I almost feel as if it should be bigger. I may have to paint a larger version latter. I actually want to do a series of smaller works to work out some color schemes.  I have four distinct bodies of work in my head at the moment and I want to use unique color palettes for each of them. There will be some subjective differences as well, but I want to challenge myself a little more.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year

Just finished up November this afternoon. The painting really does capture the feeling of that day I was walking around in Bisbee, AZ in the rain. There is definitely a bit of a foreboding/haunted feeling in this painting. It's nice to have the first painting of the new year completed. I've been working on this painting all week along with sending out portfolios. I've also have submitted this piece and two others into a juried exhibition. My fingers are crossed that my work will fit into the show. These last two works have been a lot of fun to paint. In both I've played with the idea of allowing the background to recede into the mist allowing the foreground elements to be darker and more detailed.

I'm going to lighten the palette up a little and give this effect a try in some other works this upcoming week. Tomorrow I plan start a new work entitled After the Rain based on a sketch I started earlier this week. It will be a smaller piece. I also plan to get busy in the sketchbook to draft a series of works after it and continue on with the Crowds series.

Last night's First Friday Reception was really nice. I ran into a lot of old friends I hadn't seen in a while. I also had some great questions on the drawings. The most frequent question was regarding the lack of a background, which took me by surprise. Admittedly, when I started creating the series I went with my gut and didn't even consciously think about the fact I was omitting the background. I think I started drawing a background into the first drawing and erased it out, because it seemed to distract my eye from what was important - the figures. It really did mess with some folk's concept of what a finished drawing should look like. I also noticed many were taken by surprise that they were drawings and not a prints or photographs.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Working on the first painting of the new year. I'm going to push to finish it tomorrow for the exhibition submission.  It's going well, so it shouldn't be hard to finish it off later tonight. My working title is Stairs, but that might change. The sky is a lot darker than I intended, but the pinkish grey mixture works somehow.  I just don't know if there is enough subject field depth when I squint my eyes for my liking.

This work is based on a photo I took about ten years ago in Bisbee, AZ. It was a rainy wet day when we were walking around and the old buildings had such a haunting aura about them. At the time I was taking a photography class and learning to use my camera better. Admittedly, the point of taking the class was really to just be able to take better photos of my paintings once I knew how to manually adjust my 35mm camera. I was indeed a better photographer afterwords, but I developed a passion for hitting the road to take photos as a result. I dragged my wife all over the state taking photos of old ghost towns, stark desert scenes (joshua trees and the mountains on the way to Las Vegas from Phoenix), old towns like Bisbee and downtown scenes. Once I discovered the joys of digital photography this unexpectedly became a tool for my painting - part of the process.

Back to that day in Bisbee. I fell in love with that haunted feeling of that day. The sense that the past was ever present within the present and would linger well into the future whether it was the old spirits of the town still wandering around or just the stain of their lives upon ground they once stood it's hard to say. Nonetheless, the buildings, streets, staircases, and cobble stone paths are forever haunted and there is something truly romantic about that.