Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sketchbook: Brown Bear Skull.

Brown Bear Skull (Acrylic ink and watercolor in Moleskine sketchbook, 8x5").

I was surprised and excited to have received an airbrush kit over Christmas as I'd been eyeing them for the last couple of months.  I have a tendency to neglect backgrounds and thought an airbrush would help create an interesting atmosphere.  I had this brown bear skull pencil drawing sitting in my Moleskine sketchbook, and decided to take the airbrush to it.  I loaded the airbrush with a diluted blue acrylic ink mixture and covered the background and lightly filled in mid-tone parts of the foreground.  I proceeded to finish the rest in watercolor.  I had a great time using the airbrush and am curious to see where I take it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sketchbook: Samantha Pregnant On Grey Toned Paper.

Samantha Pregnant on Grey Toned Paper (Watercolor on grey toned Strathmore sketchbook paper, 4.5x8").

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Art: Portrait Of Samantha In Cool.

Portrait of Samantha In Cool (Oil on canvas board, 9x12").

I haven't oil painted in a while.  It felt good to push the paint around.  I wanted to experiment with a subdued, cool palette.  I primarily used alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, radiant blue (Gamblin), and cad red light.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sketchbook: Rudolph.

Rudolph (Ballpoint pen and watercolor in a Moleskine sketchbook, 8x7").

Monday, November 04, 2013

Sketchbook: Day Of The Dead.

Day of the Dead (Pencil in sketchbook, 3.5x5").

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Little Parts Here And There.

I recently moved and as such, the last four months of my life have been comprised of boxes, paperwork, and paint cans, leaving little time to draw.  But the new studio is coming together and I'm excited to create in the new space.  Until then, I've been trying to create little parts here and there.  Here are a few sketches....

Friday, August 09, 2013

Sketchbook: Naegele's Giant Jaguar Skull

Naegele's Giant Jaguar (Ballpoint pen in Moleskine sketchbook, 4x3").

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Sketchbook: She Holds The World In A Paper Cup.

She Holds the World in a Paper Cup (Pencil in Moleskine sketchbook, 4x7"). Study for larger painting.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Sketchbook: Julie In Walnut Ink Wash.

Julie in Walnut Ink Wash (Walnut ink in Moleskine sketchbook, 5x7").

My wife and I traveled to Los Angeles to visit the Page Museum at the La Brea Tarpits and two art museums: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Getty.

Visiting the Getty may have been one of the most amazing art experiences of my life.  I became infatuated with the grounds and the buildings -- wonderfully architect-ed and perched on the hilltop overlooking the city.  The gardens below provided a nice interlude between art-filled pavilions.

Their collection was astounding and I felt like a school kid on Christmas morning running from one spectacular painting to another.  Many paintings resonated with me and filled me with creative excitement.  I walked into a room and was confronted and the master technique of William-Adolphe Bouguereau and his handling of soft edges while still maintaining structured form.  I marveled at the details Lawrence Alma-Tadema was able to achieve in his painting, Spring, full of dozens of recognizable figures with heads smaller than quarters.  The background was rich but never competed with the foreground.  I found myself once again jealous of Sargent's economy, where he could suggest intricate lace with two brushstrokes.  And of course, there was the wall of instantly recognizable Rembrandt paintings.

There were several new discoveries as well.  I became enamored with a  Degas painting where he used an atypically subdued palette and subject matter. I encountered great and whimsical paintings by Hendrick Ter Brugghen and Joseph Ducreux.

I engaged with many other paintings of wildly varying time frames.  I had a fantastic time.

We entered a special exhibit titled "The Poetry of Paper."  It focused on drawings and ink work where the white space of the paper contributed heavily to the composition and ambiance of the piece.  The first work I saw was Giovanni Battista Tiepolo's, Flight Into Egypt:

This work, among many others in the exhibit, was created using chalk and brown ink.  I had drawn the picture of Julie (above) in pencil a while ago, but hadn't decided what medium to use for rendering.  Feeling inspired by the exhibit, I came home and painted it using brown (Walnut) ink washes.  I love ink.

While LACMA's collection is extensive, for some reason I don't connect to the paintings.

The Page Museum was fantastic as well.  I went to the University of Colorado where the mascot is a buffalo -- so I'm heavily biased -- but thought the antique bison skeleton was one of the coolest animals there.  The saber-toothed tigers were fantastic and I was in awe of the size of the mammoth.  There is only one word to describe the way the dire wolves were presented: awesome.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sketchbook: Jen - Seven Months Pregnant IV.

Jen, Seven Months Pregnant IV (Watercolor in Moleskine sketchbook, 5x7").

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sketchbook: Cheerleader II.

Cheerleader II (Ballpoint pen, watercolor, and acrylic ink in Moleskine sketchbook, 5x8").

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sketchbook: Cheerleader.

Cheerleader (Packing tape, ink, and watercolor in Moleskine sketchbook, 5x7").

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Sketchbook: Sheena In Shirt.

Sheena In Shirt (Watercolor and pencil in Moleskine sketchbook, 4x7").

Friday, July 05, 2013

Sketchbook: Caribou.

Caribou (Watercolor and spraypaint in Moleskine sketchbook, 10x8").

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sketchbook: Contour Drawing Of Jen.

Contour Sketch of Jen (Pencil in Moleskine sketchbook, 5x8").

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Sketchbook: Sheena In Blue Dress.

Sheena in Blue Dress (Casein, watercolor, gesso, and acrylic ink in Moleskine sketchbook, 5x8").

I used Chinese watercolors for the background.  The flesh and hair were painted with Casein.  For the dress, I applied a thick layer of gesso as a base.  I washed over the gesso with blue acrylic ink and then carved back into the ink using an Exacto knife.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Sheena Casein Update.

Made some progress on my Sheena casein sketch...

Sheena (Casein and pencil in Moleskine sketchbook, 4 x 6.5").

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Playing Around With Casein.

The last few weeks I've been focusing on black and white studies -- mostly using Casein.  I'm really falling in love with this medium.  It's always tough judging values with gouache and Casein because they dry to a different value than when wet so you have to calibrate this shift when painting.  But the nice thing about Casein is that if you've judged a value wrong, you can go right back over it with an adjusted value.  It dries opaquely and very quickly.  With gouache, you're constantly lifting off the previous layer or its being absorbed into the recently applied one so it's a constant that doesn't get resolved.  Here are a few recent studies I've done with Casein.

Jen Sitting (Casein and pencil on illustration board, 4x8"). I started this study on a left-over illustration board side-panel I had cut off from a main piece.  I hadn't expected to take the study as far as I did so that explains the odd composition.  While the figure was painted with pure black and white, I created the background by mixing Shiva Green and Rose Red.  It translated into a rich dark color that I really liked.

Sheena (Casein and pencil in Moleskine sketchbook, 4x6.5").

Here's a close-up.  Her head is slightly larger than a quarter.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Art: Charcoal Sketch Of Sheena II.

Charcoal Sketch of Sheena II (Conte 1710B charcoal pencil on smooth newsprint, 10x14).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Art: Julie In Black And White.

Julie In Black and White (Watercolor and casein on illustration board, 4x6").

After reading James Gurney's blog entry on his use of casein, I decided to give them a try since they seemed to solve many of the shortfalls suffered by gouache and watercolor.  I love them.  The paints apply to the paper well and have a great texture.  They can be used in opaque and wash applications.  It will take  practice to handle edges since they dry quickly and are not reworkable (like gouache), but I'll figure it out.

For the above painting I started with a red watercolor wash and then used casein for the black and white.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Sketchbook: Jen, Seven Months Pregnant With Red Wrap.

Jen, Seven Months Pregnant With Red Wrap (Ink and watercolor in Moleskine sketchbook, 5x8").

Monday, May 06, 2013

Sketchbook: Beaver Skull.

Beaver Skull (Ballpoint pen and ink wash in Moleskine sketchbook, 8x7").

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Sketch: Sheena Portrait.

Portrait of Sheena (1710B Conte pencil and powdered charcoal on newsprint, 10x10").

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Art: Charcoal Sketch Of Sheena.

Portrait of Sheena (Conte 1710B Conte on newsprint, 10x12").

Friday, April 12, 2013

Art: Giraffe Skull On Published Newsprint.

Giraffe Skull on Published Newsprint (Watercolor and ballpoint pen on newsprint, 8x7.5").

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Art: Hyacinthine Macaw Skull On Published Newsprint.

Hyacinthine Macaw Skull on Published Newsprint (Watercolor and ballpoint pen on newsprint, 6x5").

Thursday, April 04, 2013


Sheena I (Oil on canvas board, 9x12"). In progress.

Sheena II (Markers on Bristol board, 5x5").

I had a great photoshoot recently with a wonderful model named Sheena.  I'm really excited to start producing artwork based on the photos.  I usually begin experimenting with various mediums to get a feel for the model's features and form.  Above are two of my first renderings.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Art: Skunk Skull On Published Newsprint.

Skunk Skull on Published Newsprint (Watercolor and ballpoint pen on newsprint, 3.5 x2.5").

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Art: Julie With Vertical Lines.

Julie With Vertical Lines (Ink on Borden & Riley #234 paper, 3 x 7.5").

I applied the Speedball Super Black India ink using a Hunt #102 pen nib.  I've been playing around with different methods of rendering, and wanted to try using only vertical lines to see how it worked.  Generally, I'm pleased.  It's a proof of concept piece.  There were some lessons learned from this experiment.... The lines must be clean, straight, and spaced well.  It's easy to get value change by varying the density, but be careful to not get so dense that it becomes an ink blob.  This blob creates a distraction. The design is better if dark shapes can be grouped together using a continuous line drawn through both shapes, but avoid very long, continuous lines as they tend to flatten the edges.  I also should have added a little kink to her left arm.  While I like that the straightness of the arm creates contrast with the curves, the vertical ink lines emphasize the straightness of the arm too much.  Bending her elbow slightly would have created an interesting and welcome angle.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Decade Of Coloring This Concrete Wall.

An outdoor café sits along the Pacific Beach boardwalk and its concrete sea wall.  I’ve been visiting this café for over a decade, each time armed with a sketchbook and pen.  I love to sit on the patio and watch the people pass by while drinking my coffee.  I open my sketchbook, uncap my pen, and crap… realize there’s nothing to draw.  It’s just sand and ocean.  And a concrete seawall.
Pacific Beach Seawall 2002 (Watercolor on paper).
Pacific Beach Seawall 2013 (Watercolor in Moleskine sketchbook, 8x5").

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Art: Turtle Skull On Published Newsprint.

Turtle Skull on Published Newsprint (Watercolor and ball-point pen on newsprint, 10x7").

This was drawn on the pages of a San Diego CityBeat newspaper.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sketchbook: Lucia In Blue Leotard.

Lucia in Blue Leotard (Pencil in Moleskine sketchbook, 4x7").

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sketchbook: Purple Tiger.

Purple Tiger (Watercolor and acrylic in Moleskine sketchbook, 5x8").