Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Art: Life Drawing.

DeLynn (Pencil and watercolor. 7x5"). 20 minute watercolor painted from live model in Moleskine sketchbook.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Art School: Fall Term Portraits (And A Little Math).

Here are a few pieces I've done at Watts during this Fall term. All paintings measure 9x12" and are oil on canvas board. They were painted from a live model over 2 hours under the guidance of my very talented instructor, and new blogger, Meadow Gist.

One would think that in practicing a trade that there’s a linear progression. You practice and get a little better… practice and get a little better. In math, there’s a data progression known as a step function. Things stay level for a while and then they spontaneously jump to a new level where they stay level for a while. Then it jumps again. It’s not a smooth line, but a stair step. I feel that this resembles what happens to me in art.

I’ll finish a piece of art and compare it to recent works, hoping that I just created something transcendent. With the exception of subtle nuances, it looks technically similar, and I worry about having plateaued. I wonder when the next jump will occur and what will trigger it. But then I work at it, keep an open mind, become engaged, remain inquisitive, observe, and analyze. Eventually something happens that allows me to jump.

Often, the catalyst to making a new jump is simple and silly. Over the last four months, I feel like I’ve made two big progressions.

I was constantly told to paint thick. I knew to paint thick. I dipped my brush deep into each dollop of color and mixed it with others on my glass palette. Yet, for some reason, this effort still didn’t translate into thick paint on my canvas. One day an instructor recommended that I use a palette knife to mix instead of a brush, and voila, thick paint on the canvas. It revolutionized my painting. Applying thick paint makes so many aspects of painting easier and better.

I get into my head too much. I become tentative. I over-think. While painting the portrait of David, I kept scrubbing out massive areas that weren’t working. I applied and removed regions of paint at least three times. I looked at the clock and saw that I had only ten minutes remaining in class. I had the head outline drawn and the eyes and nose complete. Yet the rest was a decimated earth color. I was determined to get the canvas covered. I analyzed and reacted quickly. I worked loosely and made bold marks. I covered eighty percent of the canvas in those waning moments. And most importantly, I liked the result. It’s good to get out of my head and know that I can work instinctively and decisively. It’s helped me relax with later paintings, and reach a new plateau.


Felicia. The dark cast shadow I made under her eye may be my favorite brushstroke of all time.



Saturday, September 25, 2010

Two Original Oil Paintings Available At Maisonnette.

I have two original oil paintings for sale in-store or online at Maisonnette in Oceanside (523 N. Freeman Street, Oceanside, CA 92054). Both paintings are oil on canvas board and measure 12x9".


Watermelon Slices

To find them on Maisonnette's website:

  • Click "Enter Maisonnette" on the left.
  • Click "Books, Patterns, Art and Jewelry" on the bottom.
  • Click "Art" and voila.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Art: Miki

Miki (Oil on canvas board, 9x12"). Painted from live model over two sessions (~4.5 hours).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Small Oil Studies.

A few small oil studies....

Scotty (Oil on canvas board, 7x6").

Victoria (Oil on canvas board, 7x8").

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Art School: Portrait Painting.

Brianna (Oil on canvas board, 9x12"). Around two hours of painting from a live model. It's one of those paintings where I wish I had just a little more time.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Art School, Fall Term - Two Paintings.

A couple of pieces I've done this term...

Rob (oil on masonite, 12x18"). Roughly two hours of painting from a live model.

Tamara (oil on canvas panel, 11x14"). Roughly two hours of painting from a live model.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Block Prints Now Available For Purchase Online.

You can now purchase my limited edition block prints online through Maisonnette!

To find me on their website... click "ENTER MAISONNETTE"... then click "Books, Patterns, Art, and Jewelry" on the bottom.... and then click "Art." At this time, I have nine different block prints available.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Winter Portraits.

All portraits are conte pencil on newsprint and were drawn from a live model in a little under two hours.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Life Benefits of Deconstructing a Lemon.

When I graduated college and moved to California, I faced the challenge of furnishing my new apartment. Growing up, we had the television in our living room. I never inquired about its origins. Never analyzed it. I never thought about the qualities of a TV because I never had to. It was just there, purchased with money that wasn’t mine.

I had to buy a television for my new apartment. I walked into the big chain store and was confronted by a wall of twenty indistinguishable twenty-five inch televisions all playing the same benign show. I had to differentiate one from another even though they all seemed remarkably the same. I was forced to think of televisions as qualitative objects with pros and cons because I was now invested in the outcome. I deconstructed them. Pulled them apart. Dissected their specs. Prioritized features. Compared and contrasted. Asked myself questions. Acknowledged nuance and subtlety.

The scene repeated itself when I wandered over to an endless field of identical looking vacuums.

One of the things I love about painting? It forces me to view and understand everyday objects in new ways.

In my still-life class, I stared at the lemon. When you were a child learning colors, the teacher held up flash cards. Yellow was represented by a lemon. Orange was represented by, well… an orange. Now, when I was painting a lemon, I had to ask myself, “I know that it’s yellow, but what kind of yellow?” I used yellow for the base but found myself adding transparent maroon and ultramarine blue (Blue? Yes, blue).

In my life, I’d eaten watermelon a hundred times. I knew the inside was red, but I had to ask myself, “What kind of red?” I didn’t have a tube of paint labeled watermelon. I had to carefully observe, and then deduce and concoct the color from the fifteen orphaned gobs of paint scattered across my palette.

Watermelon Slices (Oil on canvas board, 12 x 9").

On my next trip to the farmers’ market, it will be difficult for me to encounter a pile of lemons and not analyze what I see. I will examine the subtle change in chroma as the lemon’s form rolls from light into shade.

I like this.

It’s easy to dismiss art. Say that it’s irrelevant. A waste of time. Boring. I understand that people feel this way (although I think they’re wrong). In my life, I tend to take things at face value. I don’t extrapolate. But I’ll say this: Art changed the way I see things. I appreciate subtleties I would have otherwise missed. It makes my life richer. It's a new way of seeing.

It’s the difference between riding on a train through the French countryside with your eyes looking out the window, or tilted down towards your feet.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Study: Moray Eel.

Study of Moray Eel (Ink, 9 x 7.5").

Ink study for a possible oil painting. For reference, I used pictures I took of a Moray eel at the nearby Chula Vista Nature Center.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Oil Study: Victoria.

Study of Victoria (Oil on masonite, 6x9").

This is an oil study I worked on over the weekend. I feel like I did a good job capturing the mood and posture of the model. Values are decent. I need to work on the color -- it's much too warm.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

I Felt The Earth Move.

There are certainly better places to be during a 7.2 earthquake than the soda aisle of a grocery store. Most often, earthquakes pass unnoticed beneath your feet. Not this time, as the burdened shelves swayed dramatically. An interesting experience.

A day later showing aftershocks....

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Rock Poster: Throwing Toast (April 24).

I designed a rock poster for my brother's band, Throwing Toast. It can become an overly ambitious goal, but I try to embed some semblance of a narrative into each poster design. All of the images were created with brush and ink. The text was added later with Photoshop.

Toaster (Brush and ink, 14x8").

Toast (Brush and ink, 14x5.5").

Outlet (Brush and ink 14x5.5").

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tall Skinny Trees and Klimt.

I worship Gustav Klimt. He’s one of my top three favorite artists. While I love his entire oeuvre, particularly his portraits, I find myself strangely infatuated with his rare paintings of poplar trees. I love how he represents the form of the tree with an imposing and towering column composed of a melange of colors. It looks like the tree is created from a swarm of tightly packed, multi-colored bees. It feels alive.

I took the train from Prague to Vienna and found myself smiling when I passed poplars standing proudly in the Austrian countryside. I thought of Klimt. Upon arriving in Vienna, I felt fortunate to see one of his poplar paintings in person. I was struck by the size of the painting -- it was smaller than I had anticipated -- which made Klimt’s ability to make the tree seem so ominous even more impressive.

Gustav Klimt. The Large Poplar II (1904)

In Temecula, I encountered Italian cypress trees planted along a winery’s winding driveway.

The sight of the trees made me happy. I found them visually compelling -- my view most likely influenced by how Klimt treated similar tall skinny trees in his paintings. And now I had discovered a local version.

For fun, I did a sketch of an Italian cypress using ball point pen.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I have my block prints for sale at the wonderful Maisonnette, located in Oceanside (523 N. Freeman Street, Oceanside, CA 92054). My wife, Juliana, also has her beautiful jewelry on display. It's a fantastic shop -- saunter over when you're in North County.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Filter Coffeehouse art show.

I have two oil paintings and seven block prints on display and for sale at Filter Coffeehouse (4096 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104). The show runs from March 15, 2010 until April 14, 2010. Stop by, have a great cup of coffee, and check out the artwork.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Queen Bees Gallery opening night.

I had a painting in the Queen Bees Gallery exhibit: Caution: Wet Paint. My painting was Triceratops (oil on canvas board, 14x11"). Here are a few pictures from opening night....

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Caution: Wet Paint exhibit.

I'll have a painting in a group show titled, Caution: Wet Paint! The opening is on March 13th. Stop by if you're in San Diego. The theme of the group show is to showcase each artist's newest painting that has never been seen before.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Art: Adam.

Adam (Conte pencil on newsprint, 18x18"). Drawing from live model.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sketchbook: Goldfish.

Goldfish (Pen, watercolor, and gouache in Moleskine sketchbook. 7x4.5"). This is a study for a larger painting.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Art: Glasses.

Close-up of glasses from a two hour portrait drawing with a live model. Conte charcoal on newsprint.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Sketchbook: Coffee Shop Work.

Here are some sketches I drew while sitting in my favorite Ocean Beach coffee shop.
Statue in Las Vegas Paris Hotel fountain (pencil).Great Buddha of Kamakura (pencil).Ink and watercolor.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Sketchbook: Red Angel Wings.

At San Diego's Comic-Con, the people and outfits are often more interesting than the exhibits. It's a great place to people watch. These are drawings done in a Moleskine sketchbook based on photos I took five or six years ago at Comic-Con of two women dressed with red angel wings, representing a booth. There is something about people with wings that make it fun subject matter to draw. All drawings are various combinations of pencil, watercolor, and gouache.