Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Getting To Look A Lot Like Christmas

This is an 11"X14" acrylic on canvas that I painted at a live model session last Saturday evening from 6PM to 9PM. I'm slow. It's still not done. I shall complete it from the ref. photo I took. That damn sleeping cap kept changing position every time the model came back from his 5 minute break. Colors used: Napthol Red, Cad, Red, Cad. Yellow Light, Burnt Umber, Pythalo Blue, and Titanium White. This is my idea of a limited palette although I guess I could have limited it to maybe four colors. Limited palettes is less confusing to work with, harmonizes your painting, and forces you to mix colors. With that said, have a rollicking good season, whatever your holiday might be!... could this skinny old man with attitude be reading a Kwansa story? In reality, his prop was titled "Flattops", a book about aircraft carriers, which, by the way, is the traditional book for the Festivas holiday.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Yes siree bob!

This here cow girl that I painted from a live (not stuffed or from a photo) model about a month ago, is finally completed (this time with the aid of a reference photo that I snapped at the time of the model session). When I was painting her, a father and his little daughter came up to observe. The daughter said, "Why are you painting a boy?" I told the little rug rat to buzz off! But she was correct. I painted the cow girl's chin to look like Jay Leno giving her a distinctly cow BOY look. I corrected that in my studio. Hope Dad's little precious is not turned off to artists and their art. You can see my start and midway efforts here. I paint the big picture first before I begin to refine. Always the "big picture first" is my mantra, cow boys and cow girls. Painted on un-stretched canvas taped on a wood board.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Ooops...I mean Woof! Woof! 11"X14" acrylic on stretched canvas. This was a commission. I paint human and animal portraits on this size canvas for $385 from a photo of the subject. This guy's snout was a kick (not easy) to paint!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

One of my students in Art 300

This is a quick, unfinished charcoal (soft vine) of Diana that I did for my students to show them how to sketch a very light contour drawing and then go in (lightly again) with a few value SHAPES. I squint big time as I do this to eliminate a lot of similar mid values. It is like turning up the contrat "dial" in photo shop...high contrast leaves you mostly with dark and light shapes. Sure makes life a little easier and allows you to render a likeness quickly. You can always go in later and add more subtle value shapes if you so desire. The sketch ends up being a combination of light and dark shapes, soft, hard, and lost edges. The contour lines are no longer there, because as we all know, there are no lines in life...only demarcations between contrasting value shapes. Those initial contour lines were only there in the beginning to define the shapes. By the way, I did not start with any of the facial features. I first loosely rendered (lightly with contour lines) the head, cap, neck, and some of the shoulder area. Only after I was satisfied with that did I contour in the eyes, nose and mouth. After that process, I played off dark against light values. If I ever get the time to finish this sketch, I'll post it. Go onto Youtube and search for "The Face of Lincoln". Its an old black and white elementary/high school (circa 1960's) movie that I saw when I was about 12 years of age. It made a deep impression on me and shows a similar concept utilized in drawing and painting. It delightful and mesmerizing...nuf said!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wacknov Goes Berserk In Classroom!

About half a year ago, I invited that crazy and wonderfully inventive San Francisco Bay area artist Myrna Wacknov to come to my Sacramento City College water color class to show us the right stuff. She came about two weeks ago and did a self portrait from a reference photo that she had shot using the photo booth function on her Imac. Myrna went berserk working on a weird paper substrate and using funny drawing instruments and mondo bizarro inks and bleach! At the conclusion of her demo, she simply picked up her self portrait and smiled!... so did my class!!! Check out Myrna's blog to see more of her crazy and beautiful experimentations. Tell her Lobenberg sent you.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rest In Peace, Connie King

A couple years back, I did a series of acrylic paintings representing the departed spirits of the Chinese that lived in a tiny all-chinese town on the California delta. The town's name is Locke. It's still there in a beautiful, decrepit state often visited by bikers, tourists, and artists (google Locke, Calif.) One of the few chinese left living there from it's glory days was a woman who befriended me and told me many a story about the town, Her name was Connie King, a feisty lady who managed to get the county to replace the town's aged sewer system so that it could continue to survive as a testament to the Chinese who immigrated there and of course to "Gold Mountain" (California). She is shown here holding a painting of her and her memorial chinese toilet garden with the toilets that many of the departed chinese immigrants sat on before the new sewer system was installed. She was also instrumental in getting the state to restore some of the town's buildings as historical monuments and also getting the state to fundl a monument on the town green commemorating the Chinese who called Locke, California, and the United States of America their home. Connie peacefully died in her sleep a few months ago. It was my honor to know her.

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's crude and it's rude

This here cow girl was started last Saturday. I painted her as she modeled at another art studio here in Sacramento. It is acrylic on non- stretched canvas. Her face was mostly painted in a dark color value. I am now layering the brighter color values on top. Still funky lookin, but I'll eventually get er done pard!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sun up to Sun down

Both acrylics on stretched canvas. The sun up one is untitled. The sun down is titled "Chianlinked Sun down".

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Holiday Acrylic Workshop

I found a winter snow scene photo posted on Flickr and could not resist doing an acrylic interpretation of it. I took away the aspens and added Sierra pines and a sunset sky. The first session of my two-session workshop starts this Saturday. We will practice painting the trees, snow, sky, water reflections and do a small study. Then on Dec. 5, we'll paint a full 14"X18" painting. Compare this acrylic with the same scene I posted a few weeks ago that I painted in watercolor. Which one do you like best?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Late last month, I did a portrait workshop in water color AND acrylic... simultaneously. The attendees were both watercolorists and acrylic (and oil) painters. So here's how it worked: I would start laying down the basic light and middle skin tones in water color while painting on a flat table with an overhead mirror above so that my watercolorists could see what I was doing. While the washes were drying, I went to my stool and easel to start the skin tones (on the same female subject) in acrylic and on a stretched canvas. Whilst the acrylic paint was drying, back to the h2o table to continue on the next stage of the water color portrait (on 140lb cold press). Then... back and to the easel... then back to water color table... back to the easel... back to the water color table ... you get the idea. This crazed and schizoid activity went from portrait start to portrait finish, and everyone went home happy!! I couldn't believe it! Would I do this again? Show me the money and don't be cheap!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

They are blocking my signature!

Those bastards! And what are these two girly men hooked up too?! Safety harnesses?! Wimps!!!

Sierra Pasture Snow and Stream

This is a half sheet watercolor on 140lb cold press with just a touch of colored conte crayon. This will be the image for my annual Holiday watercolor workshop towards the end of Nov.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

9 foot by 12 foot Sacaramento Kings biggie banner progressive photos

From grid and charcoal drawing to almost finished. Speaking of transferring a small gridded out drawing to a larger grided out drawing and painting, that is exactly what Michaelangelo and his crew did on the Sistine Chapel project. Cool!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Working on a biggie for the Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento King's attendance record last year was less than stellar (worst in the league :( ). This new NBA season, they are therefor doing more outreach programs. One of them is very cool, indeed. They are paying artists to paint billboard art that will be seen on the major commuting arteries around town. We're talking 12 feet by 45 feet! Most all are up now with some having been painted by graffiti artists. The Kings organization built large "easels" and had primed substrates at the arena for the artist's to work on. I came in on the tail end of the program to paint a 6 foot by 12 foot banner that will go up in the arena's parking lot early November. I had just enough room on the floor to paint in the comfort of my studio. I stand on a large piece of job file furniture to view the banner. I paint, listened to my sports music CDs titled "Jock Jams", and sometimes imbibe a few beers to get into the sport spirit. The only thing missing are arean hot dogs and nacho plates. Oh, and the Sacramento Kings Royal Court Dancers are not there to cheer me on... art is a lonely business. You can see my thumbnail sketch, NBA photo reference, and "palette" in the photo here. The Kings provided the gessoed vinyl banner to paint on. I'll have more photos in future posts. GO KINGS!

Friday, October 16, 2009

I have NEVER thrown away my tubes of empty watercolor paints.

Why?, you ask. Because what could be fina in the state of Carolina than a tall glass vase of spent watercolor tubes?! I really, really want to thank everyone to date who responded to my plea for help in the previous post. I think all of you had good suggestions, even some of the more humorous ones. Dollars to donuts, I just may incorporate one or two. They are food for thought. Meanwhile, I have decided to let my painting be for awhile. I'll bide my time, the passage of which may be just what the doctor ordered before I make any decisions. Again, a BIG FAT THANK YOU to all!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Downtown Dead End?

The corner of a bank building in downtown Sacramento. Acrylic on stretched canvas, 12"X46", and going nowheresville?, a real downer?, and a dead end? It's not finished.I need to refine some elements such as the windows, and I want to add some brush stroke texture in the shadow side of the building... but... short of adding a dead pedestrian lying in the street, I'm finding it difficult to make this painting interesting :( Signed, In desperate need of advice. aka: woe is me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Man Paints Dog

This last Sunday was the first day of the First Annual Sacramento Plein Air Festival. This is the very first plein air event I've been in. I was out Sunday painting en plein air on a lazy street of a tiny delta farm town named Courtland (famous for it's annual Pear Fair in the middle of July when the average temperature at that time is a 100! They still draw a good crowd!!). It was somewhat breezy so I painted in the shelter of the back of my gas guzzling Toyota Forerunner. No problem parking any old where on the street of a tiny farm town...quiet, no traffic, few people except for the street dog taking it easy in front of an old empty Roman Classic-style bank building that hasn't seen life in decades. It was a fine day communing with dog and bank.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Art Geography 1A

Here we are at my Studio L painting side by side as I teach Rita (a talented high school senior) a few lessons on how to paint a portrait from a reference photo. We have several geological-like strata of art over which we toiled. The first layer is a triptych that is a commission I am currently working on (see one of my previous posts). Propped on top of a blank canvas on top of the commission piece is an initial drawing of a barn by a pond (see one of my previous posts), and propped on top of that is the finished painting. "Barn by Pond" (nice title, huh?) is a current acrylic workshop that I am conducting at a local art materials store. Also take careful note that Rita uses her jeans to clean her brushes whilst I use a rag. Both methods are acceptable within the painting establishment. If you wish to call me to say hello, please note my phone number on the grey supply locker (click on the photo to enlarge). The Studio L phone bank is waiting for your call.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Barn In The USA!

With apologies to The Boss and whoever posted the photo that I painted from (on, here is my acrylic painting on stretched canvas (8'X16"). Two hours painting time with minimal fussiness. Initially drawn with the the edge of a small flat brush, and then the basic shapes (barn, trees, and sky) quickly blocked to destroy the white canvas (except for the snow on which I added a minimal amount of color). After that, just a matter of refining whilst squinting. This was painted over a disgusting painting I did over a year ago. I gessoed over it. Gessoed brush marks and some of the thicker paint from the previous painting has given this final rendering a beautiful texture!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Barn on Pond

This was painted from a photo I found on and is being used as reference for a two-session acrylic workshop that I am doing here in Sacramento. I am teaching my workshop artists how to block in the basic shapes/values/ colors. After roughing those items in, the artist then starts the process of defining. I am teaching that one needs to minimize the defining process and let the viewer complete the painting! Click on this image and see how simple it was painted. The trick is to learn to do abreviated painting. Concentrate on shape, value, color, texture, composition, but for heaven's sake, stay away from those tiny brushes and excessive details. If you want to see a wonderful blocking in process followed by more step-by-step images and painting notes, check out another Sacramento artist (an oil painter) by the name of Terry Miura and his painting of Notre Dame. Click on his "Studio Notes" section. My next posting (and keeping with the barn theme) will be an acrylic I'm working on today that is aptly titled, "BARN IN THE USA!"

Friday, September 18, 2009

Eat Meat and Support the Cosmetics Industry!

The 2nd Self Portrait Global Love In challenge (your self portrait with something on your head) is now posted on my second blog blog! I will be announcing a 3rd self portrait challenge as soon as I can garner some ideas from any you out in blogland. I need ideas, please!.. pretty please with whipping cream and a cherry on top! This is my 2nd challenge entry. I got the goofy hat years ago from my local butcher. Guess what? Rendering companies make regular weekly stops at butcher stores and super markets to pick up bone, meat, and grease! I was told that after the rendering process (whatever that is), some of the final product goes into the manufacturing of facial and body cosmetics! I'm pretty sure that meat by products also go into the making of soaps and jello.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm medium bipolar and a cheater!

Yes I am! I go from acrylic to watercolor painting on a whim. In fact here is a watercolor I did two weeks ago to break up my busy acrylic painting regimen. It's on 22'X30", 140lb, cold press watercolor paper. It is a scene in the high Sierras just above Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe. I painted this watercolor from a photo reference that I threw up on my monitor next to my easel. The painting executed on a flat drafting table surface, which up until now, is how I have watercolored for almost 40 years. This semester, however, I have begun doing demonstrations for my Sacramento City College watercolor students on the vertical so everyone can easily see what I'm doing. We have no overhead studio mirrors. A portable video projection unit was just acquired, but I have yet to take out the time to learn how to use it. That's OK. I want to paint like Tony Couch, a well known and superb American watercolorist. If Tony can watercolor vertically, David can watercolor vertically! And now for my confession...I'm not a pure watercolorist. I cheat! At the end of my painting, I will sometimes add colored conte to the piece. Can you see here where the dastardly deed was done? (Click on the image to enlarge it)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Some of my new paintings at one of Northern California's best art galleries.

These are some of my new paintings up at the Elliot Fouts Gallery here in Sacramento. I am now painting like mad for a two man show at the gallery in February.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

One more post for today

This is a triptych acrylic painting on three stretched canvases that each measure 12"X46". It is a commission piece of Lover's Leap just before the summit on Hwy. 50 leading down to South Lake Tahoe. The lucky souls that commissioned me own the cabin that has this view! Not to be outdone, when I look out my window, I see the setting sun coming through my lawn sprinklers, and that really ain't no shabby view! Some day I will do a painting of this. But...I digress...the Lover's Leap triptch is by no means complete, but it's about 20% past the halfway point (would that bring it to 70% done?), so I'm feeling good about getting it off my easel soon, and getting onto other stuff. An artist's work is never done! I'll post the finish on this one as well.

Still Refining the Dragon Ride

Thought I'd update you on the progress of the children's dragon roller coaster that I started last week en plein air at the Calif. State Fair here in Sacramento.. It is being painted in acrylic on stretched canvas (20"X20"). I spent two solid hours drawing and roughing the scene in front of me. All subsequent steps are being done en studio! And it is no wonder, for how could I ever complete a canvas this size with this degree of complexity and with the sun dramatically changing the lighting conditions within a meesly two hr. period? Alas, dear reader, the trick is to maintain a certain modicum of plein air painting freshness whilst working indoors in air conditioned comfort with no mosquitos, gawkers, and sunlight to contend with! The photo you see here was taken just before I started the canvas. The lighting set up in my painting takes into account what I saw at the end of the two hour period. Indeed, I wanted the sunny foreground with cast shadows of the roller coaster track (yet to be painted in). I shall continue on this within the coming weeks and keep you posted. I just know that you all are waiting with baited breath!!!!:) At this point, I'm about 70% done.