Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kat Kan Mouse

I earlier posted a small acrylic of a can of cat food. The next "logical" progression was to put my cat's (Penobscot-a prince of a cat!) play toy in an empty can. This was painted from life, but there was no special lighting or backdrop, so what I had to do is invent a certain amount of color both in the background, the mouse, and can.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Stacy Baxter

This is a water color portrait I just finished today. Stacy was an art rep. for me here in the Sacramento area until she took on a more lucrative job selling for a major medical drug company. Before she left, She graciously posed for me so I could use the photos as reference material for my water color portrait workshops. I teach both black and white to get my students started after which they graduate to a full color workshop. This was painted on 140 lb. Fabriano Artistico cold press water color paper approximately 12"X17". The good news is that it takes me about an hour to complete a portrait this size. The bad news is that water color paintings cannot be corrected very well, so if you blow it, you have to toss it and start all over again. This is the challenge of working in water color!

Tweak, Tweak

I've said it before, what I like about the medium of acrylic is that I can make many, many changes without waiting days and days for paint to dry (as one must suffer through in oil). That's the watercolorist coming out in me...a certain comfort level with working quickly and spontaneously. The changes I made in Gloria's portrait are mostly in the hair and a little in the light blue background. It was all accomplished within hours of my previous post. Now I know that if you are an oil painter reading this, you are thinking "yea, but there is so little time to blend". Not an issue with me because I like to paint in a style where blending is not front and center. And if I must do a little, I do it fast (as one needs to do in water color!). You also are probably thinking..."not enough contemplation time while the paint is drying". I don't want loads of contemplation time. I have been known to come back to a painting weeks and even months later to make a change or two but it is a rare occurrence. I like to work within a relatively short time frame (as compared to oil) and at an intense level.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Here Come The Judges

I have the honor of co-judging a large art show at the end of this summer with Gloria Burt. Gloria has been a very prominent fixture in the Sacramento art scene for many years now. She is both a collector and art event coordinator. This is a portrait (11"X17" acrylic on stretched canvas) of her that I just finished today. It and the 5"X7" watercolor self portrait I did as part of a water color portrait workshop that I conducted about a month ago, will be used on the pre-show advertising printed material. By the way, a light pink conte crayon was used to bring out part of my beard going up to my ear. I forgot to leave highlights in that section as I was doing the water color! By dipping into my bag-o-tricks, I corrected the oversight.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Brushed Gesso Technique (Port of Sacramento en plein air...kinda)

Before I painted on this 8"x10" canvas, I heavily gessoed over the previous painting. This quickie sketch started out en plein air and was completed in my studio from a photo I snapped. I like the motion one gets from the gesso brush marks that underlay the painting. And when you lightly drag a brush over these marks, they pick up the paint on the top ridges while leaving the previously painted area in the valleys untouched. This can make for a nice effect. The second painting has been wiped with a towel with a little light yellow paint on it. I once read about a Canadian artist that wipes his paintings with a light hue to unify the image. So I tried it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Just a little ditty. Well it's not really a's a painting of a can of cat food. A ditty is substantualy larger and not commonly consumed by felines. My cat goes nuts every time I open these cans. 8"x10" acrylic on gessoed masonite.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

1953 Ford F Series

Trucks and cars can be tough to paint if you get hung up on the reflections which I did. The reflection here is my old studio. It was a cement, tilt up, industrial building on a dead end street up against the American river (that was populated by transients). Not a good place to be at night. My new studio is in a very populated area (day and night) in a mixed use, two story, (very well lighted during the evening) office building. And I'm right next store to one of the best art galleries in town...much better!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

On The Levee At The Port Of Sacramento

Another early sunrise painting I did from a late morning reference photo of the Port of Sacramento that was populated for about a week last summer by Delta (mother whale) and Dawn (he female baby ). In fact, you are looking at the water they swam in.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Harbor Sunrise

This is a studio acrylic from a mid day photo taken from the west end of the Port of Sacramento. Mid day photos can be boring. But it was a great steping stone from which to paint... just bring in some sunrise colors, add a tramp steamer and a few more dock poles, and voila! Ya gotcha yourself an interesting painting.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Studio Scissors or See David Play, Play David Play!

This study of my studio scissors was an exercise in color, layering, and energetic brush work...just like the previous abstracts I posted. The painting is in acrylic (of course!) and is on 12'x16" canvas board. It is the second assignment for my college acrylic class that I'm teaching this spring semester. The bottom painting is my final. Lots of impasto with the aid of molding paste mixed with paint.

Curve Ball

I call these four paintings my Curve Ball series in that I show very little abstract paintings on this blog, and indeed, do very little abstract painting. Oh, forgot...I did post an abstract early after opening my blog last year. Not a good painting! I like these four, however, as does my rep. who is going to show them to one of her clients. If her client likes these acrylic studies (each one is on 8"x10" stretched canvas) I'll be using them as models for 30"x30" canvases. Abstract painting is just as challenging as representational painting. In fact, both are very similar. You still must deal with such things as composition, color, value, brush work, layering,motion, texture,emphasis, pattern, etc., etc. So really, is there much of a stretch for a representational artist to do a few abstracts now and then?