Monday, February 28, 2011

The School of Light and Color

I am proud to announce that I am now an in- resident, workshop instructor at The School of Light and Color in Fair Oaks, California. This is a vey well known art school owned by Susan Sarback, an internationally renowned oil painting artist and author of the very popular book, "Capturing Radiant Light and Color". My first weekend workshop there, earlier this month, was "Learn The Six Skill Sets of Drawing". I had some students as far away as Hawaii attend. My next workshop will be in April, and I will be teaching my On-The-Go Ink and Wash Sketching technique. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A portrait in progress

I teach an acrylic painting class at a local University Art store two Thursdays a month. It is a two hour class, and we paint everything from still lifes, landscapes, and portraits. This handsome young North African man is a portrait we are currently painting. I started out by painting in the man's basic skin color (the local color of his face) and then quickly sketching in some purple shadow values to start to bring out the features of his face. Next came some high light values with a few of them in some colors that I was observing from the reference photo. Exact colors are not too important at this stage. It is more about establishing features with value shapes and just starting to get a feel for color hues in the face. The final (but not completed) stage here shows more facial hues and continued value exploration. The portrait is getting a little less crude and more polished as I continue to explore colors, values and the planes of the face. Lesson here?... paint the rough facial hues and value shapes in order to begin the process of organizing the face. This process can take hours to days depending on how long you want to paint at each session. I tend to crawl at a snail's pace so that each time I sit down to paint again, I approach my subject with a clear head and fresh eyes. At each session, I "polish" just a bit more. This process for me cannot be rushed. At each stage, as the face "emerges", my eyes are more sensitized to the facial hues, values, planes, and edges on the face. When I start a portrait, there is a lot I flat out do not see, but as I polish, I begin to see more and more! NEVER think that you can go for all the facial nuances from the get go. It just does'nt work that way. Stay tuned for the final stages.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Direct To You from Sunny California

This is a 5"X7" itsy bitsy watercolor painting I did last December. I used the last of my Manganese Blue for the sky. REAL Manganese blue, not the contemporary fake stuff. I'm so sad, but take heart, David!...they still make Opera.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thank you, Karla!

Thanks to fellow blogger, Karla, I was able to add a link to my new "On-The-Go Ink and Wash Sketching" booklet in the gadget section on my blog's right hand sidebar. Now visitors can click on the booklet's cover and link to my page to review and purchase it. Just type in the title or my last name in the site's search box. Here is an example of an on-the-go ink and wash sketch. I will be teaching this technique in a workshop sponsored by the Sierra Watercolor Society in Reno this March 10 and 11.

Friday, February 18, 2011


This is my new 22 page On-The-Go Ink and Wash booklet that can be ordered through, but how do I get a photo and link onto my side bar like on Carol Marine's blog? Help, I need somebody, help!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A rose is a rose is a rose and by any other name is a rose.

This is a painting I did for my wife for Valentine's day. Why buy a rose when you can paint a rose.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Birthday!!!

I know that this is suppose to be my "art only" blog, but I can't help it, because I am so excited for the Egyptian people...HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Surf's Up

Last December, the surf was up at Asilomar Beach just south of Monterey Bay. No surfing for me, but yes, a little photography. From one of those snaps, I did this h2o on 140lb.. cold press, rough watercolor paper. The rough texture was a good choice, allowing me to take an exacto knife and to scumble the full length of the blade across the paper to give the affect of looking through the ocean spray at those middle ground rocks. With the rough paper, the blade just hits the peaks of the paper, allowing the valleys to stay untouched.

Monday, February 7, 2011

How can some parts of the world be so damn green?!

Yesterday, I was watching a TV play from Great Britain, and in the little industrial village in the hill country where the play was filmed, the landscape was green, green , green... everywhere where you looked. A week earlier, I was watching a documentary about the last moonshiner in the hills of Virginia, and there too, the landscape was green, green, green... and that was in the summer for green's sake!!! I'm a native Californian living in what is called "The golden state" and called that for reason. This is what we see a LOT of during our long summer season, and it sure nuf ain't green, green, green! Acrylic on stretched canvas, 8"X10".

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Japanese Egrets in Snow

This is an interesting watercolor that I did awhile back. It was one of the few times I used frisket film. I wanted to first paint a wet-on-wet background for a soft atmospheric look, but how to not paint over the egrets? I guess I could have painted over them considering the background would have been very light, but I wanted to preserve the pure white of the watercolor paper in some of the areas in the birds. Frisket film was the solution. I don't know how easy or difficult it may be to find frisket film now-a-days. It was used (and still may be used) by airbrush artists to mask out areas or shapes to be painted or protected while another area or shape is being airbrushed. One cuts out the shape with an Exacto knife and lays it on the paper or board that is being painted on. The frisket film has a low tack that holds it in place. I laid an entire sheet of frisket over the birds and cut around them with my Exacto knife. If one has a very sharp blade, it will cut easily through the frisket film without cutting into the watercolor paper. By the way, I was painting on 140lb. cold press watercolor paper. After I lifted the excess, outer area of the egrets off the watercolor paper and lightly burnished what was left over the egrets with my fore finger, I lightly wet the paper with a large watercolor brush and painted the background wet-on-wet. When that was dry, I lifted off the frisket that had protected the egrets. This technique was a lot easier and more effective than trying to protect the bird shapes with a liquid frisket, and you can cut extremely complex shapes out by using frisket film.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lilies of the Nile

Wow!...I can't keep my eyes off of the live Al Jazeera feed. I wish the citizens of Egypt the very best in their quest for democracy, but I digress. This is not a political blog screed. The blooms here is a watercolor that I have just completed for a workshop I am offering towards the end of this month. They are not lilies (as far as I know, but I'm not a botanist nor a gardener). This watercolor is 14"X18" and painted all wet-on-dry (except for the background that I first painted wet-on-wet) on 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper. The wet-on-wet background juxtaposed with the wet-on-dry foreground flowers (what the hell is the name of these guys?) create a beautiful sense of depth. Also note that I am rarely dissatisfied with accidental "blossoms" ( a big one in the lower right hand flower where the stamens are coming out). They just add to the richness and energy of the painting! Color palette on this one: Ultramarine and Phthalo blue, Burnt Sienna, Opera Red, Bright Violet, Hooker's Green, Veridian Green, and Bright Yellow.