Sunday, December 23, 2012


Drawing from today's open studio.  About 2 1/2 hours of work, give or take.  Haven't worked from a male model in ages, except for when I get a half hour here or there to draw in class.  It was nice to sit and work at my own pace.  If we get him back anytime soon I want to finish this up a bit from life, but I took some photos to continue working from.  My gestures and 5 minutes turned out fairly nice too, but Robert's poses are more or less all the same and I know I've posted some of those gestures on here in the past.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Y'know... stuff.

Except for one thesis paper, I'm done with semester two of grad school.  This is what I did on my first no-homework day.

That handsome fellow up there is me.  Started this one a month and change ago as a demo for my young teens who were doing self portraits.  I've blocked everything in for the most part and proportions are there, just have to fix that weird eye on the right.  I'll be finishing this one tomorrow or friday.

This is a drawing started Monday night at my last life drawing class.  It ended with a good sized group and we all ate pizza, drank coke, and ate banana bread courtesy of Becky (Thank You!)  Our model was Tina, who is fabulous and allows us to take pictures.  So after I put the brush down last night I worked on this a bit from some reference.

That manly man up there is a terra cotta statue from the Bernini exhibit at the Met.  It's by a contemporary of Bernini's named Antonio Raggi and is based on one of Bernini's drawings of the "sea Deity with Dolphin. " Started it today and will probably head over again next week to finish it up.  There are so many amazing sketches and models by the man himself that it is overwhelming.  Beautiful stuff over there.

While waiting for a friend to arrive for dinner I sketched the same dude from my imagination to see how much I remember.  This is actually something I used to do often after drawing from life or making master copies, it works out your artistic muscle memory :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Manly Manliness... Poinsettia!

This is my high key painting assignment for class.  For the purposes of the assignment specs, this is done but I'm going to touch it up a bit more tomorrow because I'm quite fond of this set up.  The paint is too tacky to get any good detail work on the petals and some ripples and folds need to be accentuated a bit more.  The base of the flower where it touches the soil needs more contrast as well.  Once all that is accomplished I'll post a finished, sexier version.

This was painted on Arches Oil Paper, which has turned out to be a DELIGHTFUL surface to work on.  I suggest it to anyone interested in playing with different paint surfaces.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gouache Pish Posh

This semester I was subjected to the fear and terror of learning a very foreign, unforgiving, and completely counter-intuitive new medium: gouache.  I had only ever used gouache once before, and it was before I even understood that paint can in fact enhance a drawing.  So for this color theory class our medium of choice was gouache... and man was it difficult.  My early assignments look like an undergrad freshman made em, but I'm rather proud of my recent string of paintings.  The majority of what we produced were color charts and studies to understand light and temperature, but when we actually painted things, results were not so bad.  Here are some of my favorite ones:

The color isn't good in some of these as we have to mail the pages in for mid-term and finals.  The landscape assignment allowed for a freer, more painterly application which worked better for me.  Having tremors doesn't really make painting in tiny geometric shapes and patterns, like for the portraits, very comfortable and I'd find myself with wicked wrist cramps after three hours.  But yes, here is some of my progress.  I'm working on my final now which is a mandala.  I'll post that next week or so.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Limes are fun to paint

Because my blog has basically been ignored and unloved like an unwanted bastard child of Winterfell, I'm making it up by posting another painting from class.  This was project 2 and also one of the most fun still life paintings I've ever worked on.  As my post title suggests, that lime was very fun to work on.  Initially it went bad and turned an acidy yellow brown on me whilst I slaved away at those damned ellipses, but once I bought and sliced a new one it was delightful to paint :)

On the easel and on the wall...

After fighting off the ravenous hordes of undead flesh eating vermin; journeying across various planes of existence to stop my unknown arch nemesis who only wishes to thwart my daily plans; looking in the face of a disheartened young woman who has experienced inexplicable horrors that she keeps to herself; and finally ending on a high note as I felt the cool wind in my hair as I flew up into the air as the first person to fly with non-ass burning rocket propulsion (think about the real-world consequences of wearing a jet-pack)... I woke up from a really wicked nap to start writing this blog entry before I had to teach my last class in Rahway.

First painting is Project 4 for my still-life class.  It's blocked in and ready to be tackled head-on with gusto and bravura.

Check out my sweet palette!

Second is a small drawing I did of a model I had the pleasure of working with about a month and change ago, Jessica.

Lastly is a painting I have on the wall of the same model.  It's being painted on Claessen's C13 linen, or as I like to think of it "the preferred painting surface of God, Buddha, Thor, Zoroaster, and Wizard Mickey Mouse."

This painting has a ways to go, but it's about halfway done now.  There's a couple other painting ideas I'll be working on after this semester is over.  Until then, I leave you with a blue chicken

Sunday, October 14, 2012

homework paintings

Here are my first two paintings of pride for Still Life class.  Something is happening in my technique, and I'm liking it.

The vanitas one isn't the best quality photo, so I'll have to reshoot it eventually, but it has some areas of yumminess that need to be viewed in person.  I'll try shooting some close-ups that do it justice, especially on the skull itself.  The painting began on the pomegranate and worked its way counter clockwise almost.  I basically worked around so I could finish on the skull because, well come on now... its a freakin' skull!  In hindsight I regret using plastic fruits, and I guess in the grand scheme of learning I know now to just buy the real things and paint them.

The next one is more of an alla prima approach, which is what the weekly assignments pretty much demand.  My handling is getting better and I'm beginning to hit color notes quicker and with more economy.

This week's assignment is centered around painting glass.  When I finish that bad larry I'll post it on here as it is turning out quite nice.  Now time to finish my philosophy homework :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Recently finished portrait delivered yesterday.  18 x 24 oil on linen.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Two figures

First drawing was drawn from life at Dorian's open studio a couple Saturdays ago.  The model was the lovely Vassilea who I drew at GCA back in Nov/Dec.  I've started toning my paper, Fabriano hot press, with watercolor beforehand and quite like the outcome.  There are a number of other drawings in the works with this treatment.

This second drawing was done from reference, see here, on toned Fabriano paper.  I really liked the greenish gray tone that I put down and wanted to see how painting the fabric in oils would look.  The result turned out quite nice and I'm rather pleased.

Monday, August 13, 2012

small update

I've been keeping rather busy with the art making, going to Dorian's on saturdays pretty consistently.  It feels really nice.  Here is some updating for some of the stuff I've been working on.  There's a couple bigger things being painted, but I'll post those when I'm done.  In the mean time...

First two drawings are from my Chiaroscuro class.  The portrait of the old lady, who's name I do not know, and the still-life were done in pan-pastel, 8B Staedtler pencil, Wolff Carbon pencils, and white chalk.

The next 8 drawings were from the last two weeks of Dorian's open studio sessions.  They're a mix of 5 minutes through 20 minutes.  I'll list them in order.  

5 minute, blue pencil and white colored pencil

20 minute, pen and white colored pencil

20 minute, pen and white colored pencil

5 minutes, Prismacolor pencils

10 minute, Prismacolors

10 minute Prismacolors

20 minute Prismacolors

20 minute Prismacolors

I had quite a bit of fun developing the drawings strictly with color.  My ultimate goal was never to get a straight likeness, but just to break out of my comfort zone and make good drawings.  I think I'm slowly getting better at stylizing the expressions and the gestures, forcing myself to think about the outcome and less about making a portrait.  These are all drawings of the same model, Fatima, and while they are not 100% faithful (far from it in fact) I think I successfully imbued a bit of Fatima into each drawing.  The long pose one is still being finish.  I just need to draw her feet and punch up some of the values.  I'm going to be daring and put a little bit of transparent oils over the finished drawing to spruce up some color accents and see what happens.  The outcome may be disastrous, but oh well.

These next two consist of a small experiment I'm currently working on and an almost finished small portrait of a good friend of mine, Marian.

This one is based on a 2 minute gesture I did at Dorian's.  I wanted to transfer the pose into somewhat of a finished piece because I really just loved it too much to leave it as a quick sketch.  I was able to take some reference photos, but I managed to just use my 2 minute sketch to draw this out only relying on my photo reference for the anatomy and striped pattern.  This is about 4 hours of painting (while watching FireFly)

This one is an unfinished portrait of my friend.  I was dabbling with a bit of tight rendering and a bit of loose handling.  Interesting result, but still have a ways to go.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Open Studio at Dorian's

 Went to Dorian's for some open studio accion yesterday.  First time most of the drawings turned out great.  It was nice to draw outside of a classroom setting :)

2 minutes

5 minutes

10 minutes

20 minutes

long pose ( 3 1/2 hours maybe)

Monday, May 28, 2012


So this is the last still-life I painted, finished about a month and a half ago.  This painting was particularly fun because for the first time in a long while I focused not so much on the alla prima style I've been honing for some time, but a detailed drawing followed by layers of opaque paint and glazes.  Some areas have more painterly application since I can't escape it, but it was really great playing with glazes again as it has been quite a few years since I've dabbled with the technique.  A lot of the warm and cool relationships were achieved by multiple layers of subtle glazes.  Anywho, this is a "Vanitas" painting, a popular style amongst the Dutch painters who liked to explore the brevity and fragility of life.  Skulls, books, shells, flowers, bubbles, and other things were common objects represented by the vanitas painters.  The philosophy of is not at all in line with what I like to paint but it was a great excuse to paint a skull :)

Fun story:  I started the painting before I went to Paris in early April.  The flower was alive and well before I left and already painted.  When I returned a week later the flower had shriveled and petals fallen as I knew it would, hence why it was the first thing I painted.  But it looked so much more interesting that I repainted everything to include it's current state

Sunday, May 27, 2012

100th post: mini self-portrait

Look at that, 100 posts. Sweet! Anyway, I banged this bad Larry out in a couple hours for Art House Coop's "Self-Portrait Project" the day before I mailed it out, which just so happened to be the day before it was due :) Thankfully the painting gods showed me their kindness and allowed the paint to dry completely. It was fun working at such a small scale, 4" x 4", and great fun to not be painstakingly meticulous. It isn't one of my most well-rendered self-portraits, but it definitely captures my personality a bit more than the others. Tomorrow I'll post some sketches I've been playing around with and also a finished still-life that I happen to fancy as quite an accomplishment.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Still-Life # 4

I think I might name it "random arrangement" or make a series entitled that, as right now the set ups I'm creating have no narrative and are just exercises in color combinations and lighting. This is the painting from the last post that couldn't scan well. Enjoy!

Still-life painting continues

While I can't say right now that the images I'm about to post are all too exiting compositionally or content-wise, I'm really happy with how they turned out from a technical standpoint. Especially the lone skull. There is a third painting that I absolutely adore in every way, compositionally, paint handling, colors, and technique that unfortunately isn't scanning well. I'll have to photograph it instead. These three were done last week. The still-life with the earthen jug was started initially around the same week that I did the one-evening studies from the previous post and then I spent the better part of the following week painting it. Turned out nice, but I'm not crazy about it. To celebrate finally finishing it I painted the skull. That bad boy turned out better than I expected in just under two hours. Something about it resonated with me, in particular with the smooth rendering and thicker, impasto strokes playing nicely off each other. The third painting presented me with an A-HA moment once it was completed and I can't wait to share it on the web. With all of these I am continuing to pre-mix my palette using only the colors I see and deem necessary. Once Everything is nicely blocked-in, however, I have begun dabbling with adding a bit of an accent color that isn't as chromatic as it actually exists. That is more evident in the skull and the unscanned painting. Enjoy, and feel free to leave any feedback.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Still-life month

So I have decided to take a break from attempting big figurative paintings and getting frustrated. I know I can do them but the battle to correct my stupid mistakes is really silly. So for this month I am only going to work on small still-life paintings from life. The idea is that a) I never worked from life enough for it to really influence my knowledge of light, color nuances, form, etc b) I have a few bad habits that I need to break out of NOW if I want to be serious about making art a career, and c) discipline. I'm reading James Gurney's Color and Light book and using it as a guide on this journey (ha). The three individual objects are done alla prima in one evening and before I get to work I sit in front of the object and pre-mix four strings of colors with my handy palette knife. Lots of artists do this and it helps simplify the madness that is color, but it also helps maintain a sense of freshness without mixing color piles of useless paint. Pre-mixing is not my preferred method as I really enjoy the happy accidents of mixing with a brush, but this always leads to me mixing bad colors since I don't quite get it just yet. I've noticed that my color tends to look dull and life-less because I struggle mixing the right value and temperature of a certain hue. I will produce at least three smallish paintings a week and one mid-size one. For these four paintings I set up the light coming from the left either from above at an angle or lower down so that it looks like it's hitting it straight on. I was looking for interesting ways to play with the shadow. The light in these works is a yellowish "natural light" bulb or something like that so the lit area is usually really warm. This week I want to switch the bulb with a florescent one to cast a pale bluish light on some of the same objects, and will probably be working like this for all the paintings I do.
This was the first one I did last tuesday evening. It was drawn from life beforehand as a drawing demo for a private student, then photocopied and mounted onto the masonite panel as a demo of the Donato mounting for my oil painting students. I've had this t-rex skull for 3 1/2 years and it has never been used for anything but a handy decorative dust gatherer in my studio.
This is a plastic prop squash we have at the museum that I borrowed on Thursday evening to paint. I've always loved the color and so voila! I painted it.
Here we have a horseshoe crab shell I found at the beach over the summer with a group of friends. This one was particularly tough considering how low key and muted the colors were. It was tricky making the light side seem illuminated but I finally got it after knocking back the chroma of the surrounding area with some neutrals.
Last night I arranged these objects, all museum borrowed, and there are some dried up flower thingies in the front that aren't painted in yet. I drew it last night and did a wash of values before I went to bed and this morning I did a first pass color block-in. Tonight or tomorrow I'll finish it off. I welcome all critiques and helpful tips on anything you see or notice. Thank you all!