Sunday, April 29, 2007


When it comes to level of difficulty in art, painting a live female model has to be at the top of the list. After not having done it in a couple of years, I gave it a shot this past week, with the result being Anne (oil on canvas board, 14x18").

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Devil Just Put On His Winter Coat and Mittens.

Something went frighteningly awry today. I purchased a book titled, National Audubon Society: Field Guide to Birds.

Hell must have frozen over. I hate birds. Absolutely loathe them.

I'm not sure what happened. I can't explain it. It's possible I was drunk.

It's like I don't even know who I am anymore. A stranger unto myself. I mean... I bought a book... on birds.

Maybe a pigeon slipped something into my drink. They hate me, you know.

And I, them.

(Especially the rock pigeon -- columba livia -- whose ancestral nests used to be made on high cliff ledges. It's average length is 13 1/2"... oh my god... what the hell is happening to me?)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Frozen Pen.

When it comes to achieving creative goals, there are helpful hints but no secrets. If you want to become a writer, write. If you want to become a painter, paint. It's that simple.


For various reasons, I have a tendency to make the artistic process complex.

I sit down and know I want to create some art. But what medium? What subject matter? How should I render it?

Accompanying these questions is my desire for everything I produce to be perfect. It's a hard way to begin -- knowing that you can't make a mistake or fail.

All of these phenomena feed together to form a maelstrom and it causes me to feel overwhelmed and when I feel overwhelmed I simply shut down. Nothing gets done.

To combat this, I try to remove decisions and judgments from the equation.

It started eleven years ago when I moved to Sacramento after graduating from college. Every evening at 10pm I would turn the radio on and listen to Loveline with Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew. Routines are effective.

My goal each night was simple. I had to either complete a drawing in my sketchbook or write 500 words that formed some semblance of a scene or short-short story. The story didn't have to make sense. I didn't ever have to look at the drawing again. When the goal is straightforward -- to simply have something by the end of two hours and to do it every evening -- it made things less precious. It was about completing the task. Personal criticism was eliminated. I actually got things done.

Recently, I have found my creative output to be random and haphazard. My intent is earnest. But as soon as I sit down at the drafting table I find myself feeling overwhelmed. I shut down. The blank paper remains blank.

I want to be artistically prolific. I want to create beautiful things.

I had to get locked back into that evening routine that proved successful in the past. Once again, I found my savior on the radio. The local station, 94.9 FM, has a program that airs every night from 10pm to 2am. It's called Big Sonic Chill. It's pitch perfect as it provides a laid-back, eclectic mix of songs that establish an ideal mood and ambience. You can check out a recent playlist by clicking on this link. Not only has it provided a great atmosphere and established a disciplined routine, but it also lets me discover new music (for example -- I'm infatuated with Sia's song, Breathe Me).

Every evening my pen has been moving and it feels good.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pass the Ketchup.

I've been watching the Discovery Channel's beautiful and engaging series, Planet Earth. The cinematography is stunning. However, despite the enraptured and layered enchantment of the series, I quickly realized that an animal's life consisted solely of eating, not being eaten, and humping.

Watching the series, I became preoccupied with two thoughts.

The first thought.... You can tell me that an animal has an extra thick layer of fur. An extra layer of fat. Oil in their skin. Or air pockets between their feathers. But regardless of this information, I can't believe that these winter animals aren't freezing. I can't wrap my head around the science that says animals sitting in a pile of snow or amid a freezing stream are warm. And if you watched this series with me you'd understand this because every two minutes I'm saying, "That animal must be freezing its ass off."

The second thought.... Last night I watched a leopard eat a monkey and a lemur eat a moth. In both cases, I said out loud, "That must taste horrible." And I'm saying this as a person who is not a picky eater and will eat anything. But still. If someone told me that monkey tasted like chicken I would think him a liar. Do animals have particular palates? Do they have preferences or is meat simply meat? Does taste factor in? A predator has neither condiments nor spices. I've eaten deer, pheasant, rabbit, squirrel, elk and even an elk's heart -- all can be tasty. If given my druthers, I'd use my extra leopard energy to pursue a quick deer even if it made me tired. But you could put a three legged monkey with arthritis next to me and I'm not budging. Has there ever been a leopard that's spotted a lazy monkey sitting on the ground and said, "I'm starving, but monkey tastes like ass. I'll pass."

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Recent figure drawings.

Stephanie Sitting (Pen on paper. 4x5". 3/07)

Zara Laying Down (Graphite on paper. 8.5 x 3". 4/07).

Jill Sitting (Pen and colored pencil on paper. 5 x 5". 3/07).

Jill Standing (Pen and colored pencil on paper. 3.5 x 5". 02/07.)