Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sketchbook Saturday

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There's a petting zoo in Tillamook Oregon on the way to Lincoln City, and since Mary Jo loves the animals... I get a sketch stop.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Brown Bottle

Brown Bottle, oil on linen, 5" X 7", 2011
$125 USD framed
e-mail Angel Gallery for purchase information
(please mention title of painting in mail)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Me, oil on canvas paper, approximately 8" X 10", 2011
$250 USD framed
e-mail me for purchase information
(please mention title of painting in mail)

Me as seen at night through a small mirror.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Daffodil (sold)

Daffodil, oil on linen, 5" X 7", 2011
I usually leave the flowers to those more capable, like Sarah Sedwick, but every now and again...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sketchbook Saturday

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One last D.O.L page...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bosc Pair (sold)

Bosc Pair, oil on panel, 8" X 10", 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Burnt Driftwood Log Study

Burnt Driftwood Log Study, oil on linen, 8" X10 ", 2011
$250 USD
e-mail me for purchase information
(please mention title of painting in mail)

I mentioned a post or two ago that I was headed down to Lincoln City Oregon for a weekend with family. Managed to squeeze in a painting on the beach. Folk drag these driftwood logs into boxy little forts, and then light one in the middle on fire -- makes for a fun beach experience.


Painting setup:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sketchbook Saturday

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Hangin' out at the Department of Licensing. aka DMV.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bosc Pear in a Box

Bosc Pear in a Box, oil on panel, 8" X 10", 2011
$250 USD framed
e-mail Angel Gallery for purchase information
(please mention title of painting in mail)

Happily, I avoided any puns on 'bosc' and 'box'. This is one of two pear paintings I did recently-- the next will appear next week..

Monday, April 11, 2011

Apple and Knife (sold)

Apple and Knife, oil on clayboard, 5" X 7", 2011

Painting on clayboard again-- lot of the painting process is forced dry brush with this surface.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Notes on becoming an artist... part two of two

This is part two of a two part series talking a bit about my journey as an artist. The first part is found here.

Why do I paint what I do now?
When I look at the art that has influenced me over the years, I see a common thread that runs through each of those periods, and still resonates to this day. This thread has attributes that I would call values or principles. They are things that I respond to in a painting, and by extension work to bring to my own art.

This is the raison d’etre of a painting: the thing that it is about. The story can be overt, (i.e. this is a picture of a person reading, or the ingredients of a meal), or the story can be subtle (the gesture of a sweep of spring onion stems, or the interplay of values). Elements can serve as a stand-alone story or be combined.
These are a few of the storylines I use most often, followed by an example. This is not a comprehensive list.
Gesture (...the energy and movement of the subject 1)
Subject (the essential nature or substance of something as distinguished from its attributes 2)
Sense of time/place (...results gradually and unconsciously from inhabiting a landscape over time, becoming familiar with its physical properties 3)

I just can’t abide by poorly made art. Poorly made means poorly drawn (the thing I hate most), poorly conceived, lacking an appropriate ‘presence of mind’ apparent in the piece. A good craftsman must be intellectually honest and hardworking: to be otherwise is cheating both yourself and your audience. I feel like I have far too often been guilty of violating this value; I should work harder, be more prepared when I produce a painting. A high level of craftsmanship is a constant struggle, though one that gets easier the more you apply the things you have learned through experience and education.

Over the years I have found that I respond to the manifestation of ‘energy’ in a piece. You can see it in the line quality of the comic book artists I favored as a kid, in the explosive movement lines in illustrators I love, and the brush strokes of the painters I pour over today. I don’t particularly care for a lot of academic painters (like Bouguereau ) because their paintings lack a surface energy, or a dynamism in gesture.
Alla prima as a discipline appeals to me as the nature of painting in a single session drives urgent energy into a painting. I like to see some bravura element of brushstroke in piece, or a distinctive gesture that excites.

I almost called this value ‘pedestrian’ but that word has too negative a connotation. Basically this means I like art that isn’t too snooty. I don’t care much for art that is too cute by half in its conception, execution, or treatment of subject matter. I like art that references things of its time, its era. Even some of the folks in my inspiration list (Dan Gerhartz, and Jeremy Lipking I’m talking to you) go too esoteric/cliché for my taste.
Being of the era also means being grounded in the Real—I like to paint real places, real people, and real things in a manner that is recognizable.

Finally, art needs to be consumed. It is fundamentally an act of creative communication, and as such that connection is only truly complete when someone else takes possession of a piece. The purchase of a piece of art is the ultimate act of making that connection—someone put enough value on the piece that they are willing to part with hard earned money in order to own it. To be humble with that is to keep prices at a level low enough for real people to afford it.

If you’ve read Notes on becoming an artist... part one of three you’ll notice that most of the artists who I consider influences are figurative painters. If you apply the values mentioned above, I think you’ll see how they fit. Almost all artists included have an element of story or narrative as a key part of their art. Their pieces abound with a sense of energy, and they are consummate craftspeople. For the most part they painted or drew the people of their day and age. Gil Kane’s comic characters from the 70s look era appropriate as do Paul Oxbourough’s subjects from the 90s. The strongest of the artists worked from life almost exclusively—or were trained to work from life. People are endlessly fascinating subjects, and at my core I consider myself a figurative painter.

Realities such as having day job and limited studio space are factors that have affected my ability to paint people from life. Instead I generally have relied on photography (photos that I shoot, not taken by others). I have tried to compensate in a myriad of ways; sketching, deep observation, color and value correction, etc, but at the end of the day, photo source just isn’t as good as having the real thing in front of you. Most of my heroes painted predominantly from life, and if I want to be true to their spirit, I need to do the same.

Additionally my absolute favorite artists were what I call 'triple threats': they worked still life, figures, and landscape. To be the artist I want to be means to try and follow in their footsteps.

People like Duane Keiser and Julian Merrow-Smith have been doing work that fits the values outlined above, and when I found an aesthetic/conceptual approach (Painting A Day) in 2007 that met my own affinities and needs I was pretty hooked. Still life and plein air painting offer a great way to work on direct observation skills without requiring large studio space. Working small means time is more easily managed. Painting still life that is modern-- not stuffy or looks overly posed has turned out to be a joy. Plein air painting is less a joy, but has still become a love.

Next week we’ll look at my progress in the last five hundred paintings or so and maybe speculate on where the future might lie.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sketchbook Saturday

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bread and Water (sold)

Bread and Water, oil on linen, 5" X 7", 2011
e-mail me for purchase information
(please mention title of painting in mail)

Off to Lincoln City this weekend for a quick trip to see my dad and his partner Nancy. May try and sneak in a landscape or two while I'm there...

Side note: I mentioned the recent brouhaha over inspiration, influence, derivation, and plagiarism (
Plagiarism or 'passing off' - it's got to stop) a post or two ago, and I thought I'd share this tid-bit with you.

I was prepping material for my influences post last Sunday and did a Google search on "Duane Keiser" and no fewer than two Keiser bread and water pieces showed up.

Now, I didn't do this painting with either painting in mind (I did this painting last week). I had not seen either of the Keiser pieces in the last year or so, but I have seen both at one time or another.
I find it interesting that my piece is sort of a blend of elements from both: 1 and 2.

Hat tip to Mr. Keiser for being there first (as usual)!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Leek (sold)

Leek, oil on panel, 5" X 7", 2011

e-mail me for purchase information
(please mention title of painting in mail)

Monday, April 4, 2011

The First 500 Paintings*

(click picture to enlarge image)

I was preparing material for a post on inspiration and influence, and collected an overview of the small work I've done over the last few years into a single image. This link will take you to a large JPEG for a closer look. The images are arranged in rough chronological order. Hope you stick around for the next 500! *It's not actually 500 paintings-- it's more like 513, but you get the idea.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Notes on becoming an artist... part one of two

After a brief navel gazing period that I’ll share with you over the next couple of weekends, I plan to start a weekly Sunday post on influence and inspiration.

Here’s part one of a two part post…

There’s been a bit of brouhaha amongst some of the Internet art cognoscenti lately, having to do with notions of plagiarism, derivation, originality and commerce. (See here for the main gist of the issues: Making a Mark, “Plagiarism or 'passing off' - it's got to stop“ and “Make Your Own Art!”) It’s probably inside baseball to most of the people who read this blog, but it’s set me to thinking a bit about how my own journey reflects on those issues. I’d like to share a little bit of how I got to where I am at the moment: what has influenced me over the years, why I paint what I do now, and where I plan on going in the future. From the vantage point of my head it seems pretty logical and consistent.

What has inspired and influenced me over the years?

I’ve been an avid consumer of visual imagery since as far as I can remember, and except for a short period up until about the fifth grade, I’ve always wanted to be an artist (earlier I wanted to be a scientist). At first I really wanted to be a comic book artist (a dream that came true eventually). In high school that changed to the idea of becoming an editorial illustrator (which I did for awhile after college). A few years after graduating college I think I finally came out as a ‘fine artist.’ So what shaped my aesthetic?

Here are a few artistic highlights by decade…

I was an avid consumer of comics and children’s books through this period—I started reading teen-age comics at a very early age (thanks Dad!), and looking at kids picture books long past age appropriateness; I used to go to the library after middle school and devour illustrated books for hours at a time.
Gil Kane was extremely memorable to me, as was Neal Adams.

Click images to see larger pictures
80s part I
I was at the height of my comics mania during the first part of the decade, and there are too many major artists to mention, but here are the top few:

80s part II
In the later part of the eighties comics turned more illustrative which opened my eyes quite a bit. The stories got more adult, and the quality and depth of the art got more mature to follow. I also discovered my first true non comics influences in some amazing editorial illustrators and a few fine artists.
Dave McKean Gary Kelley

Richard Diebenkorn Burt Silverman

I graduated college early in this decade, with a broader interest set than I had started. My earlier influences still held me, along with new additions. I dallied a little with some of the more conceptual artists: Du Champ, Matisse, and a few others, but mostly stayed true to representational figurative art.
Highlights include:

Edgar Degas John Singer Sargent Edward Hopper

Edouard Vuillard Mary Cassatt Johannes Vermeer

Malcolm Liepke Margaret Dyer J.C. Leyendecker


This last decade has seen an explosion of imagery on the web (up until about 2000, most all of the art I had seen was in books, magazines, or gallery/museums), and consequently, I’ve seen a lot more contemporary art and had access to others not well represented to me until this time.

Thomas Eakins Dan Gerhartz Scott Burdick

Dean Cornwell Jeremy Lipking Joaquin Sorolla

Phillip Geiger Paul Oxborough Duane Keiser

Justin Clayton Shawn Kenney Julian Merrow-Smith

This brings up pretty much up to date. I've found that while my tastes have changed somewhat over the last thirty odd years, they have changed remarkably little over the last twenty five-- basically late high school and after.

Next week I’ll talk a little about how the artists above, combined with my own sensibility factor, turned how and what I paint now…

(much shorter post, I promise!)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sketchbook Saturday

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