Monday, May 26, 2008

2 from the Archive

One of my earlier acrylics when I thought I didn't really know what I was doing, but it ain't so bad is it? Painted on stretched canvas 12"X 48".
#2 is a h2o (watercolor) painting on Fabriano Artistico 140lb. cold press of a college art student of mine that had a very paintable face indeed. The circles I painted in, because he always added circles into his paintings. Actually, this is mixed media with sketch lines added in conte crayon.

H2o Abstract

Here's a water color abstract I did about 2 years ago. I don't exactly know how I did it. Maybe I used an atomizer. Anyway, a few months ago I was given a brand spanking new $800 air brush kit and am planing some abstracts combining air brush with traditional brush painting and combining acrylic with water color. I'm hoping to accomplish this during the summer season.
Hey...check out Nicholas Simmons... he does mixed media work combining water color and acrylic...real loose stuff and real nice. He's in my links section.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Vic Fazio Bird Sanctuary

The two smaller acrylics were painted on MDF board about 2 months ago. One is under the freeway or Yolo Causeway that goes over the bird sanctuary.Tthe sanctuary also functions as a rice growing area and in the winter, a flood run off zone. Each painting measures 8"X10"." Under The Causeway" was an exercise in perspective and value. The second painting gives you a view of the freeway. No birds!...when I set up my easel, they fly away...not very trusting of plein air painters! The larger painting is on stretched canvas (12"X16") and was painted spring of '07. A few hours ago I "improved" it by working the sky, reeds, and water just a tad.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

View from The River Levee

I was on the west side of the Sacramento River levee in West Sacramento to get this farm and barn scene. It was all painted with different sizes of flat brushes. I'm in a flat brush mode. I thought the challenge would be the magnificent oak tree towering over the barn but noooo!... I spent several hours trying to make the foreground work. I finally ended up painting the foreground on the right side of the road darker than it really was. It looks kinda like a cast shadow of dark value greens, blues, and violets. Then I painted in some oranges to compliment the green oak and another small cast shadow coming in from the left and matching the cast shadow coming off the barn and farm equipment. Shadows going right and left?! Oh well, it seems to work. I softened the field behind the barn so as to place more emphasis on the tree, barn, and foreground. I'm going to let this painting rest, but meanwhile, I'd love to get some feedback from some of you.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On The Delta

Early in the morning this Wednesday, I went to the River City rowing Club facility at the Port of Sacramento to do an outdoor painting. The bastards locked the gate! There is a special place in hell for them, and they won't be rowing boats! I headed back to the studio and worked on this acrylic of a boat dock on the Sacramento River in the San Joaquin Delta. It's on 8"X16" wood panel. I don't know what type of wood!...just wood! Sorry, it's the end of day, I didn't eat lunch, and I'm grumpy. It's easy to get grumpy when you are 61 (unless you're teenager...they can put themselves on super duper grumpy autopilot!).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Laughs Unlimited

Last week, May 7 under the post heading "Times They Are Changin", I had a pity party and wrote about my wife's possibility of being laid off from her teaching job and the lousy health care system in the good ole U S of A. This morning I received a comment from one of the "On Painting" blogsters... pretty funny. If you have not visited these artists' (a he and a she) blog, you owe it to yourself to click on their link in my links section. They both craft incredibly funny posts! I discovered these two upon a recommendation from one of Silvina's recent posts (see my link section and go visit her as well).

Monday, May 12, 2008

Scuffy #2

Last Friday, I set up my easel on the dock and got this view.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Times, they are a changin

Summertime and the livin ain't gettin easier. Gasoline prices keep sky rocketing (but at least SUV and Hummers sales are plummeting- I guess there is a silver lining here). Food prices keep going up (here too, there must be a silver lining, because we have been a glutinous country for decades). All this "sunshine" leads me to get a little more personal. My wife, Cheryl is into her second career and second year as a high school english teacher. She will find out within the next three days if she has a job to come back to next year. As things stand, the state of California will run out of money by August, and the budget for the state school system has been severely slashed. If she is out of a job, she will join thousands of laid off teachers, and we will have to pay for our own health insurance (any self employed artists out there? If you take a $5,000-$10,000 dollar deductible, you might be able to "afford" the quarterly payments). As an adjunct college prof., I don't get coverage. I need to pony up the scratch to get on the college district's group health plan.

So, is this a diatribe on our broken down health industry, the state of the economy and recession? Maybe I'm having a pity party here. Well...this IS a blog. Blogs can function as diaries (with the exception that it's open for people to read).

Got that off my chest. Don't forget to vote this November.

PS: This acrylic hand study (8"X10" on masonite) was painted for my acrylic/oil class. I make it a habit to always demo class assignments.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Another Acrylic Portrait Commission

This is Alice. She has for many years worked to develop directions and programs for how we educate our children here in California. And for many years, I too have worked with her as an illustrator whose illustrations have appeared on many posters and text material (I include a sample here). She recently left her position with the County Offc. of Ed. to take on a new educational job. Her coworkers commissioned me to paint a portrait to present to Alice at her "retirement" dinner. So here she is at home with her dog (who came to work with her every day. I loose count of the number of times that I have had project meetings with Alice, other educators, and her dog).
What was challenging here was not only to paint a good likeness, but to render the table and tableware without having them distract from Alice and pal. I was provided with a small reference photo from Alice's coworkers.

Scuffy The Tug Boat Found!

Two thousand years ago (I think) when I was a wee one, my favorite Golden Book (do they still publish Golden Books?) was "Scuffy The Tug Boat". I loved the story of Scufy slipping out of the hands of his little boy and heading down the stream, river, port, and finally out to sea. He eventually gets returned to the little boy and the safety of his bathtub for a most satisfying snap, happy ending! I read it over and over (these were the days when children read for amusement) and loved the illustrations. Fast forward to 2008- I go out Friday mornings to paint en plein air from about 7:30AM to about 11AM after which I head for campus to teach an acrylic/oil painting class (I'm in tall cotton on Fridays!) Well... last Fri., I and another painter were out at the Sacramento Rowing Club on the shores of the Port of Sacramento. Imagine the Shock and Awe (where have I heard this term before?) I received when I spied Scuffy there!!!! Wow!!!!! He's grown up now, retired, and tucked snugly amongst the river reeds by the club's boat house!! And....the owner of Scuffy came by to chat with us!!! He's grown up as well, and is a very nice man. I got his cell number so when this Friday rolls around, and I go out to paint Scuffy again, the nice man will let me climb aboard and give Scuffy a hug and kiss!!!!! Shock and Awe indeed!!!!!!