Sunday, December 30, 2012

Art Class: Painting From The Masters III.

The Bad Blonde after Robert McGuire (Oil on canvas, 9x12").

This is the last piece I painted this past term.  I'm a big fan of Robert McGuire's work and thought it would be fun to copy this piece which is also the cover of his fantastic book, Dames, Dolls, and Gun Molls: The Art of Robert A. McGuire.

I turned out five master studies this term which is more than I had anticipated.  I leaned an incredible amount from these master studies and have already seen these efforts infilitrate my current work.  Many thanks to my instructor, Lucas Graciano, for his help.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Charcoal Sketch of Lucia.

Lucia (Conte 1710B charcoal on newsprint, 14x18").

This past weekend I had a photo shoot with an amazing model named, Lucia.  The photos are beautiful, and I'm very excited to start translating them into artwork.  Here is my first drawing of her.  After I've shot the photo reference, I usually begin with some charcoal and pencil studies so that I can get a feel for the model's personality and features before engaging in larger pieces.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sketchbook: December Sketches.

Portrait Based on Sephora Ad (Watercolor in Moleskine sketchbook, 4x7").

Owl Skull (Ball-point pen in Moleskine sketchbook, 4x4.5").

Colobus Monkey (Charcoal and chalk, 8x10").

Polar Bear (Charcoal and white chalk, 6x5.5"). Based on photo in Zoonooz magazine.

Pocket Mouse (Charcoal, 6x6").  Based on photo in Zoonooz magazine.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Art Class: Painting From The Masters II.

Here are a few more master studies from this term's "Painting From the Masters" class.  Many thanks to my instructor, Lucas Graciano, for his help.

Princess after Richard Schmid (Oil on gessoed Crescent illustration board, 12x17").

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May after J.W. Waterhouse (Oil on canvas board, 12x16").

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Charcoal Study of Angela.

Charcoal Study of Angela (Conte 1710B charcoal on newsprint, 12x16").

Before commencing on larger paintings, I like to do studies of the reference to get a feel for it.  I did a photoshoot of Angela a while ago and thought this particular pose would make for a good painting.  I don't have any particular recipe guiding which medium I'll use for a study.  It's simply based on whimsy, and for this, I decided to do a charcoal study.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Art: Julie In Wrap.

Julie in Wrap (Oil on gessoed illustration board, 15x20").

I had a photoshoot with Julie to collect the reference.  I then added two layers of gesso to 100.3 cold-press Crescent illustration board.  I enjoy using illustration board.  It provides a smooth surface without getting overly slick like Masonite.  However, it can absorb paint at a medium pace that leaves the previous day's paint a little tacky as opposed to completely dry or wet.  It can be difficult to work with tacky paint.  To overcome this, I added Liquin to my mixtures to give them some fluidity.

I freehanded the drawing on the board in pencil.

I'm taking a class called "Painting the Masters" (see an earlier post) where I paint copies of existing works.  The three master studies I've done thus far have influenced me greatly on this painting.  I freely put in the background and had it overlap parts of the foreground knowing that I could work back into it to create some effects.  I also put the hair in loosely similar to Schmid's Sapphire painting.   For flesh-tone contrast, I thought of Chase's Spanish Girl, where the lightest flesh tones are composed of a ton of white with just a hint of color.

Normally I bounce around a painting, but this time I started from the face and worked largely downward.

This is the background I started with, and while I loved parts of it, I don't know if it was as effective as it could have been.  I added too much Naples yellow in the mix for some parts, which created rather listless and dull patches.  I also worried about the contrast.  I wanted her to feel more enveloped in the painting, so I painted the more swirling background above.  I do like the turbulence of the background below.  I'm sure I'll still change it again.  Backgrounds are always a struggle for me.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sketchbook: Bellydancers.

Belly Dancer I (Pencil in Moleskine sketchbook, 4x6.5")

Belly Dancer II (Watercolor, ink, and pen in Moleskine sketchbook, 5x8").

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Starting Point: Pencil Drawing Of Julie.

Julie With Tilted Shoulders (Pencil on Bristol board, 5x11").

I made this sketch yesterday, and on a chilly Sunday morning, I'm trying to figure out how to finish it.  Watercolor? Rendered pencil? Ink?  Hmmm.

[UPDATE 11/14] Decided to add watercolors.  Still debating on what to do for the background.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Art School: Painting From The Masters.

When I was in junior high, I was told that the reason the Russians didn't have a space shuttle program similar to ours was because they couldn't figure out how to manufacture the heat shield tiles.  They had samples and knew what they were made of.  Identified the components.  Understood the composition.  But they couldn't figure out how to actually make them. How do you take all of these parts and put them together in a manner that mimics the original?

This term I'm taking a "Painting From the Masters" class, and I sympathize with the Russian's plight.  I stare at the paintings I'm copying, and I understand the shapes, and can match the colors, but I still can't make it look exactly like the original.  I have to remind myself that my hand is not their hand.  It's been an interesting process in which I've learned a lot.  I've done two paintings thus far, and have tried to select pieces that are outside my normal style, but contain elements I want to adopt into my own repertoire.

I chose William Merritt Chase's, The Spanish Girl, because I like the deep contrast between dark background, hair and clothing, and the fair skin tones.  I picked Richard Schmid's, Sapphire, because the composition is brilliant, and I love Schmid's balance between amazing draftsmanship and looseness.

Study of The Spanish Girl after William Merritt Chase (Oil on canvas, 9x12").

Study of Sapphire after Richard Schmid (Oil on canvas 14x18").

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Flamingo Skull On Published Newsprint.

Flamingo Skull on Published Newsprint (Watercolor and ballpoint pen on printed newsprint, 10x8).

Saturday, November 03, 2012

I'm Officially An Artist (Pomegranate).

Pomegranate (Oil on canvas board, 10x8").

In a previous post, I mentioned that you're not officially an illustrator until you've drawn an octopus, and you're not officially an artist until you've painted a pomegranate.  Introducing... my first pomegranate.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Grants Gazelle Skull On Published Newsprint.

Grants Gazelle Skull On Printed Newsprint (Watercolor and ballpoint pen on printed newsprint, 5x6").

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Owl Skull On Published Newsprint.

Owl Skull On Published Newsprint (Watercolor and pen on newsprint, 10x8").

The yearly "Best Of" issue of San Diego CityBeat came out and my neighborhood of North Park was voted Best Neighborhood in the city.  Nice.  Did a watercolor this morning.  The paper began tearing in spots so that was my sign to put down the brush.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Sketchbook: Juliana Sleeping On Small Couch.

Juliana Sleeping On Small Couch (Marker in Moleskine sketchbook, 7.5x5").

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Art: Charcoal Portrait On Newsprint.

Portrait (Conte 1710B charcoal pencil and charcoal powder on newsprint, 18x12").


Saturday, September 22, 2012


The first day of Autumn was spent at a pig roast along the beach.  It was a beautiful day in San Diego.

A few recent sketches where I'm working on rendering more....

Morgan In Regency Costume II (Pencil in Moleskine sketchbook, 5x5").

Wolf Skull (Pencil in Moleskine sketchbook, 5x4").

And a few older sketches that I haven't shown before...

Female and Hand (Pencil in Moleskine sketchbook, 4x6").

Grapes (Watercolor in Moleskine sketchbook, 5x7").

Friday, September 21, 2012

Raven Skull On Published Newsprint.

Raven Skull On Published Newsprint (Watercolor and ball-point pen on published newsprint, 10x6").

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Walrus Skull On Published Newsprint.

Walrus Skull On Published Newsprint (Watercolor and ball-point pen on published newsprint, 8x12").

I really love painting on this surface.  There's something very liberating about the process.  I painted it before I went to work this morning on the pages of the weekly San Diego CityBeat.

The newsprint absorbs water and darkens so quickly that it's difficult to judge values and color, so it's a surprise to see how it turned out once it dries.  I liked the layout of this page and wanted a vertical composition to fit, so I went with the walrus skull.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cabrillo's Ship: The San Salvador.

The explorer, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, first entered San Diego Bay in 1542 aboard his ship, the San SalvadorA month ago my wife and I discovered that they were building an exact full-size replica of Cabrillo's ship here in San Diego, across from the airport.  On Sunday, we checked it out.

Model of the San Salvador.

There's a piece of wood that you're allowed to stamp.  It will be placed on the ship once it's built.

The exhibit has several items that reflect Cabrillo's time period.


And then there's the progress of the ship itself:

It's hard to believe they had over 100 people on that ship when it sailed.  I can't even begin to imagine what life was like.

It's on schedule to be completed by the middle of 2013, where it will be placed in the water via crane, and make a brief trip up the California coast to recreate Cabrillo's last voyage.  It will then be permanently docked at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.  I definitely recommend checking it out if you're in San Diego.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Art: Julie Standing.

Julie Standing (Pencil on Bristol board, 4x7.5").

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Sketchbook: Koala And Elephant.

Koala (Pencil in Moleskine sketchbook, 5x4").

Elephant (Pencil in Moleskine sketchbook, 9.5x8").

As a member of the San Diego Zoo, I receive the bi-monthly Zoonooz magazine. It has some beautiful photos that are fun to draw.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

My Blog Is A Fifth Grader.

Last month, my blog turned ten years old.  Where oh where does the time go?  It's been an interesting ten years.  This blog has chronicled artistic progression, travels to three continents, and life changes.  It's recorded relationships that have begun and ended, a wedding, two lay-offs, the adoption of a cat, and my never-ending battle with aphids.

My first lay-off from work provided the blog's genesis.  Instead of returning immediately to work, I decided to take my severence check and enjoy a self-imposed, extended sabbatical.  People kept asking what I was doing with my time, so I decided to start the blog to document my experiences.  My blog gained momentum when I took a month-long solo backpack trip across Europe.  My mom was incredibly worried about my traveling alone.  To help alleviate her fears, I found daily refuge in internet cafes and wrote about my journey on the road so she could follow me virtually from Colorado.  I fell in love with the process of recording life in binary.  Electrons now hold the last ten years of my life.

I never know where this path will lead.  That's what makes it interesting.  Thanks for taking the trip with me.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sketchbook: Sketches On A Shaky Sunday Afternoon.

Ram Skull (Ball-point pen and marker in Moleskine sketchbook, 8x4").

Tamara and Small Andrew Loomis Study (Pencil and marker in Moleskine sketchbook, 4.5x8").

Fortunately I finished my pen work before we got hit by a few 5+ earthquakes.