Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Figure Painting Wrap Up

I have been planning on doing this a couple of days ago, but I have been sick and have not had a chance to go to the studio to photograph the final work in the class and bring home my notes.

The criticism and feedback I received can be broken down into two or areas, skill development and direction to take my art.

One of the areas I still am working on is the drawing of the painting. The instructor feels that I still need to work on proportion and value. I can see that I struggle with this in my paintings. I do not seem to have the same issues in my drawing. So I see this as a struggle with understanding the medium, rather than understanding the principles I need to apply. He suggests that I do gesture drawings everyday to train my hand, that way I won't have to rely so heavily on measuring.

An area I struggle with is modeling the form, he say that sometimes I model it correctly and but other times I over simplify it In the painting above he pointed out where I had correctly turned the form, then he showed me where I was off. This is something I continually struggle with. I am going to work on copying some drawings from a book of Russian drawings to help me resolve this. I think I might even paint studies of them after I draw them to try to translate what I learned into paint.

The other area we talked about was the direction I want to go this my figurative art. I told him I was interested in breaking away from limited color and emphasize that more in my work. He thinks that I should move any from glazing and work more directly. (I have been using the more classical technique of glazing in the color later in the painting. I don't do a grisaille, but I start using three colors to model the forms. I then add the color using various glazes.)

My instructor tells me that it is a value versus color issue. Both are important but the artist can not emphasize both. Focusing on one means I won't be able to focus on the other as much. I will be to decide at what levels I want to focus on each and what is important for my message.

I like his idea about what value is and what color is. Value is the logical aspect of painting, it can be broken down into rules and principles, where as color is the expressive side of painting based more on person emotion and experience.

The two paintings shown here are the final homework assignment and the final in class assignment. I am some what pleased with the homework,( girl leaning and holding her hair back) The figure is rather stiff, and has a somewhat unfinished feel. Here I think more preparation before the final painting would help me tremendously. I think I also became to wrapped up in the smaller forms I didn't pay attention to the larger ones.

I am not as pleased with the in class painting. I know I could have done much better. This is a case where it would have been better just to start over rather than trying to fix it. I spent most of my time correcting problems and making new ones.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Figure Studio Wrap Up

I have finished all four of the figure studio drawings. I felt that this was a difficult assignment to do as there was much to get done in a very short amount of time.

The assignment was to do two drawings each copying a Pruh'don figure drawing, one male reference and one female. One drawing was to simply draw the underlying structure of the figure. The other was to do a full rendering of the drawing. The purpose of this is to help us see how the artist saw and understood the figure to improve how I see and understand the figure. This works, as I have dramatically improved in my technical abilities over the last few months.

Though I am somewhat satisfied with how the drawings turned out, over all it is not my best work. I felt I had to rush through it and by the end I was tired and didn't put my best effort in. This refers to the last of the four drawings mostly. I spent about half the time I would usually spend on a drawing and it looks simplified because of it. Still, I believe this process has helped me learn a great deal so I happy with this as a learning exercise.

The instructor met with me at the end of semester to discuss my progress and the work in my class. Overall he was very pleased with what I have been doing in the class so we didn't discuss any particular work to critique. Instead we discussed my painting and how I could improve in that arena. Mostly that I need to spend more time on the preparation of my paintings before I start the actual painting. I need to start doing studies of my work and build up to a fully rendered study and use that to paint from when I do the final painting. This will eliminate most of the problems in the work before I start it.

Below are a few of the final in class drawings. As you can I never really finish one in class.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Paintings done and in progress

This a busy time of year for me. The final weeks of the semester are fast approaching. This means I have plenty to do. What I am showing here are a couple of the in progress paintings and a few expressive painting class paintings.

This first one is the final homework assignment in figure painting class. It is larger than I have worked on paintings this semester. I had decided to keep my paintings smaller this semester because of the volume of work I had expected at the beginning of the semester. I wanted to keep my workload manageable. However my instructor requested that I work larger so here it is. It is about 36 inches tall. I noticed that the size of it isn't really affecting my working pace. I did notice that I have to refine the detail of focal point much more just because it is larger.

I haven't worked on the legs much. This is because I changed the position of the legs from my reference photographs and decided to make them up. I changed the position because the way they were did not work for what I am trying to convey. I thought I would make them up rather then re-shoot new reference because I thought it would be a good challenge for me. I am now going to re-shoot reference. To get the level of precision I want,I am not ready to construct from nothing.

Over to the right you will see the final painting done in class. Like the one above it is in progress (I have worked on it quite a bit since this photograph) It is a five day painting. I am struggling with this one and I am not sure why. There are some days were I can't seem to do what I know I know how to do. I have had proportion issues. I had to redraw the shoulders and arm a couple of times before I was satisfied with it. The next concern is creating the atmosphere. I am trying to create an exaggerated sense of space. In order to do this I am exaggerating the values, I am exaggerating them in weird ways (not intentionally). I have lowered the overall value of the painting. The color is something I want to work on to. It leans way to yellow right now.

These next painting are from my expressive painting class. The one to your right is one of two I did last Monday. This last Monday was the last day to paint in class. I decided that I wouldn't worry to much on the last day. So I decided to play more with the painting. In this one I decided to include an environment and leave that environment somewhat mysterious. I am pleased with this one.

This next one is a painting I did in that same class. I started it because I got to a point where I liked my first on an decided to stop. I just did a figure study using the method I used in the first one, that is abstract the planes of the figure enough to break up the shapes but keep it tight enough that I am still painting a figure. I was focusing on playing around with the color. I still struggle with that red/green palette I paint in and I thought it would be good to play a little here. I am pleased with this one too. I like the figure in this one better than the one above.

This last one is the painting done two weeks ago in that class. It is the only clothed figure painting I have done in this class. It was a challenge to figure out what to do to make an interesting painting. I decided to make the face and hand the focal point of the painting and let the rest dissolve into paint as it moved away from that.
I think it is successful in that. The color was tricky and frankly I didn't know what to do about it. The models were wearing gray shirts with blue denim pants. This is what I came up with, even though I was attempting to be more expressive with the color. I basically switched the gray to green.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Figure Studio final homework assignments

I am currently working on the third of the four drawings due in the final assignment of my figure studio class. The assignment is to copy two Prud'hon drawings, one male and one female. Each drawing is copied twice, once as a structure drawing and once as a fully rendered drawing.

It is important to note that this is not a copy in the sense of a tracing or anything like that. What we do here is more akin to drawing a model sitting in front of us. We take what we see and reinterpret that into useful information to make another drawing.

This is the first time I have attempted to do the same drawing twice, one pretty much right after the other. After doing the structure drawing and starting on the second drawing I was not excited about doing the same thing over again right after doing it. I really didn't want to do it again. The image of the drawing I am copying is on a 8 by 11 inch sheet of paper and the details can be hard to measure out. I did come up with a solution that made the process much easier. I used my structure drawing I just did to draw the structure of my second drawing. This made things easier because they both were the same size. I set them up right next to each and measured distances between reference points on the first and then drew it on the second. (I am told this process is called sight sizing)

The rendering is the much easier part of the process. this time I did struggle with it because the reproduction of the drawing I was working on is not that great, the value range wass mashed together. I made my drawing to light and could tell that I did once I placed against others in the class last Thursday.

I am now doing the second structure drawing of the woman and it is going well.

I will post images soon.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Update on the work

I haven't said much recently about what I have been doing. This last week I was visiting family for the thanksgiving holiday and I didn't write anything about what I have been doing. That means I have two weeks of work to talk about.

The first one is the drawing I did before the break. It is a back view again. This is the second one I have done in this class. I was very excited when the instructor set up the pose. I like doing them because they are challenging and make for good drawings. The back is challenging for me because the landmarks I have learned to use to establish reference points are on the front of the figure. Examples of this would be facial features, the pit of the neck, and the naval. Since I don't see those on a back view I have to establish new reference points and estimate where the ones I like to reference are.

Right now I am working on two things in my drawing. I am still working on getting the structure correct. I am slow when it comes to doing this and always feel a little rushed by the time constraint (the class is only 6 hours long) I have been trying to identify the planes I see in the form and I also want to identify the anatomy the body as well. Doing the back is good for both of these, as I am not as familiar with the back. Things are are fairly simplified and there are a couple of errors, such as the area near the PSIS. Still I am satisfied with the technique I am developing here.

When it comes to my drawing I am aiming to do something at the quality of the Russian school drawings I see in the books at school. For me I have to develop each plane slowly and working large planes to small planes is the only way I can do it. )I watch some people do do everything at once and I get jealous.)

The instructor pointed out to me that I was reading the values wrong on this one. He reminded me to squint to evaluate the large value patterns, then go into the detail.

I have been working on the final in class painting in figure painting. I have resolved some of the issues I was dealing with in the last two sessions. I think I have all the proportional issues worked out. Last week the instructor pointed out to me that the head of the figure was to big and the torso looked to narrow. So, the first thing I did was check my proportions the next class. He said they looked much better after I worked on them so I moved onto new things. For the last class I decided to work on proportion and structure. So after the proportion I started on getting the planes of the form laid out correctly.

The instructor advised us to work on specific parts today and not bounce around to much. He felt working on many different areas is good in the beginning but at this stage we should be focusing in more. So I thought I would work on the head hands and feet. The only reason I chose this was because these are the areas I usually put off until the end. I thought I would challenge myself a little and do those first. (I will post an image latter)

In expressive painting I did another two figure painting. At first I was not very interested in doing the painting because the models were fully dressed and one model I have painted many times before. The instructor advised me to play with the color of the clothes and not to worry about the detail of the clothing either. He advised me to decide on the focal points and be much more loose with the rest of it. This made it much more interesting to paint. I decided the face and the hand of the figure in the back would be the focal points. The rest of that figure and the other figure would break up into more simplified planes. So far so good. I think I will work on this one some more and use this one for the final review. (I will add the image later)

The nxt week in figure studio I worked on a drawing where the model was sitting directly facing me. She had her hands interlaced in her lap. This made for a particularly difficult setup. I wanted to make sure I had my construction set up correctly. The way I have learned to do this is by drawing the torso and legs first then the arms will fall into place. If done accuractly then the arms will line up right and the hands will clasp together propperly. If done in correctly there will be problems. This time I think I had problems. I had to shorten the forearms just a hair to get the hands to come together right. This was extremely annoying to me because I knew from the begining that the hands would only work if I drew the proportions of the torso right. Somewhre I was off. It looks ok, but I know I had to shorten then arms so it bugs me. I worked on the value a bit but I really didnt get much time hear as I struggled so much with the construction and I took more time than usual to work it out. ( I will add the image later)


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Open Studios

I and many of the students in the MFA program are opening up their studios to the public in a couple of weeks. This event is to give people the rare opportunity to see what work is being done in there and, of course, buy some good art.

Open studios will be on Dec 6th at 11:00 am at 701 Chestnut St San Francisco CA 94133

I look forward to seeing you there.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Three classes, three projects

This post is a little late in coming. Sorry, things have been busy lately. This time I have three projects to talk about, two of which I am pleased with and one I am not.

Let's start with one I am happy with. The painting to your left is a one day multi-figure pose from my expressive painting class. This is the first painting I have done since my final project from my situation and environment class last spring. I enjoyed painting this one. The instructor set up the pose and instructed us to keep to simplify the information in the painting. Having just looked at the artist Euan Uglow I thought I would try breaking down the surface planes into geometric fields. I also felt the the models were actually to far apart in the situation that was set up. So, I moved them closer together in my composition. Overall I was pleased with it. It is 18" x 24" oil on panel.

One problem I had to overcome was the model sitting on the floor had to change her pose after I set up my composition. I had no problem with her changing as it hurt and she wouldn't have been able to hold it. I was faced with a decision once she changed her pose. Painting her how she sat meant her leg would run off the panel. I could change the who composition, attempt to paint the old pose, or figure out something that wouldn't make the leg running off look like a mistake. I chose the latter. I think it works.

This next is the one I am not happy with. this comes from my figure painting class. This is a three day pose were the model is lit by two light sources, natural and artificial. This was way beyond me this time. I struggled with everything. The drawing is off, the values are wrong and the color is weird. Notice how the figure seems to have a beard. I decided to do the artificial light only pose for the next painting.

The thing I did like about this painting was the experience of working with natural light. I don't do it that often so it was good to try to stretch myself a little bit. If it was only natural light I would have liked that more. Two light sources is tough stuff, especially when the lights are very different temperatures.

This last one is a drawing for my figure drawing class. It may not look like a completed drawing but it is. The instructor asked us do copy an illustration by drawing the structure only using only line.

The process that he teaches is one where you draw the structure in line first then work the values next. This process works well for me and I enjoy thinking in these steps.

Since this was an assignment of finding and drawing the structure of the form from another drawing, I spent more time on the structure than I usually do. I mapped more detail in the structure than I normally do. We are now asked to do the same drawing again but this time doing a full value rendering.

This is a copy of a drawing by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon. It is 18" x 24"


Friday, November 7, 2008

One Painting and Three Drawings

The first one I want to talk about is the painting I did for the homework assignment for my figure painting class. It is not as complete as I wanted it to be when I turned it in, but it is about 90% there. I like this painting. It is turning out to be much better than I expected.

The feedback I received from my instructor was that I needed to work on my edge control. Specifically the edge of the right side of the body does not have enough variance in the hard and soft edges to help create form. Doing this would give a better sense of form and depth as it would create the sense of the form turning. I also need to add more structure to certain parts, such as the feet, not more detail but be more accurate with the structure. The structure would make the painting look more complete. I was also advised to keep the detail to a minimum the further away from the focal point. This gives the focal point a stronger sense of detail.

The other thing I want to work on is the face. The people I've asked about this say it doesn't bother them so it may be less of a concern than I think but I want to correct a few things to make me feel better about it. I feel it looks a little sloppy and I want to clean it up a little.

This next one is the charcoal drawing in figure studio class. It is not a finished drawing, I haven't completed one yet in that class. This is fine because I am learning and that is much more important than completing a drawing. I like the torso in this one, which is the most complete part of the figure. My instructor remarked that I had done a good job on this part. The feed back was that I had drawing the leg to long, He pointed that out a point where I could correct it. Over all I am pleased with the drawing and think it would be nice to work on this for a few days rather than just one.
This next one is the homework assignment for that same class. This is a copy of Rembrandt's Bathing Bathsheba. I have had this one critiqued yet as it is not due until next week. I finished Wednesday think it was due. So I will turn it in next week and I will tell you what feedback I get on it.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Painting and Drawing From a Model and Another Self Portrait

To your left is the third painting done in class for figure painting class. This is a three day pose and is 18 by 24 inches. I think this one is working well. My goal was the same goals I have mentioned before, accurate proportion, value, and create a good color balance. The figure is a little small for the painting as there is a lot of empty space, but I do like the figure. I enjoy the color in this one. I think I will put it on my official site.

To your right is the 8th in class drawing from figure studio class. I like the pose. I am still having a hard time completing a drawing in this class, because of the process. Still, I enjoy doing it and fee like I have resolved much of my problems thanks to this class. The one thing I want to work on in this class is to loosen up the figure so the person does not look so stiff.

This last one is a self portrait I have been working on for the last few weeks. It was done for expressive painting class and is 18 x24 inches as well. It is not the most successful one I have done but I do like it. I did this one from a mirror in my studio. I tried to exaggerate the color on the face and keep everything else simplified. I lost the form a bit and need to bring that back some more. I also put some highlights on the shirt to suggest form that I want to remove (to go back to my original idea)

I also did a still life for this class too. I don't care for it because it has no real direction. I switched mid way because I didn't like what I was doing. I started very low key but couldn't get the color I wanted so I switched it up. Instead exaggerating the colors of the actual still life and made them up using an analogous color scheme. There is where I lost interest, I basically didn't push myself in this one. This one is 16 x 20 inches.

Right now I am working on a painting for figure class, that I hopefully can use for my thesis. I am also working on yet another master copy drawing for figure studio.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

A new Drawing

This is another copy of a black and white photo from the early Hollywood era. This was the one I wanted to do over the Judy drawing I did previously. I just could find a photograph with good enough resolution, this time I did. Don't get me wrong I like that other one too, it just wasn't my first pick.

This time I did things a little different. Instead of copying the image exactly I tried playing around a little to create a little more dramatic image. Because I had somewhat of a limited range on this due to the nature of the assignment I didn't adjust it too much. The main thing I did was widen the value range. I lowered the deepest values and raised the highest ones and tried to relate everything in between.

If you look at the original photograph you will see a hand at the lower right. I thought it was distracting so I removed it from the picture. It looked strange, almost like it belonged to someone else.

Other than that I tried to remain faithful to the photograph, as the assignment required.



Monday, October 13, 2008

Todays Work

Today I did two paintings, one for class and another during workshop. The painting to your left is the one I did during the workshop. It is a small one, only 5 x 7 inches. I only wanted to do a portrait in the workshop. This was mainly because I was trying something in my in-class painting today that I wanted to continue to work on and I didn't want to have to think about the whole figure while trying what I wanted to do. I was working on my color. The painting looks a little weird but it was an experiment to see what ways I could push things around a bit.

To the right is my expressive painting class painting. This one is a little larger at 18 x 24 inches. The class assignment was to focus on texture and that is why the panel has lumps and swirls of thick gesso on it. I did try to keep to the assignment, but mainly I was working on my color today. This time I was really just trying to make it up in an orderly way, rather than paint what I see. That is, I was ignoring the color I saw. It was a very warm light with a yellowish hue. I didn't want to paint that, I wanted to try to do something with cool light, as if it were natural light. This is what I came up with. Not really natural, I was trying to develop something that related, light side to dark side, local color desaturated light, etc. I was also working on working thicker with my paint. I did not achieve what I wanted, so I worked on it some more with my study later in the day.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Two Quick Ones

Here is the first of two paintings I did today. It is the painting I did for expressive painting class today. This is a one day pose (I am thinking that every set up in that class is a one day pose) Today, I set two goals for me to work on.

The first goal was to work on the shadow side more. That is, I wanted to work on getting more color into the shadow side. It was not as easy as I thought it would be because I like to mass in the whole shadow side. This means I have to fight with the paint I laid down to establish my value. I got color in and I am happy with that.

The other thing I want to work on was my brush work, how I handle the paint. This semester I am trying to work on creating brush work that has a certain maturity in its handling. In other words, the brush strokes are planned not random or clumsy.

This is the study I did in the workshop today. I decided to switch gears from class and just paint a portrait capturing as much of what I see as best I could. This is where quick studies class paid off. I massed in everything fairly quickly. I then spent the rest of the session modeling and refining the form. I stayed away from playing with color, mainly because I spent the previous part focusing on that and I was tired. I am happy with the portrait.

I enjoy painting this model, one of my first portrait paintings I did was of him and I can compare to that to see the differences.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

A New Self Portrait

I did another self portrait today. This one is actually a study for another painting. I was just doing it to figure out some ideas I had for that painting. I am going to do a self portrait for expressive painting class and I was working out my color for this project in this study. I doubt I will use this composition, I took this from a photo of me I use when I paint my own portrait. I have done it enough times for now.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Finished a Painting from a Live model

This is the second painting in my figure class this semester. This time around I did something different. I planned out what I was going to do much more then I usually do. I think it made things a little easier for me while painting.

I didn't have to figure out what to do and how to do it at the same time. I just had to figure out how to accomplish what I set out to do.

This was a two day pose.

Monday, September 29, 2008

This was what I did in expressive painting class today. I am not very happy with this one. I struggled with everything about it today. There are a couple of things I was happy about, but over this painting did not work.

Today, the feedback from the instructor was that i need ot work on temperature and value on the shadow side. This is a common problem I have. I did some things to fix it, but really I just need to try to work on it the next time.

So I took charcoal in to the workshop today and drew.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another link to article

Here are a couple another links to articles about the mural.

From artdaily. Basically the same as the other link.

from SFGate. Moslty about the opening of the Porziuncola, but does breifly mention the mural and us students.

All very cool!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Mural at National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi

Here is a link to an article about the mural I worked on. Its very exciting stuff.

This project was a lot of fun and I am so happy to have been a part of it. This was truly a rare opportunity for an artist. I felt like I was an artist in the days of the renaissance. (There was a point I was laying on my back painting on the arch at the top of the ceiling) This was also a great learning experience. I learned so much about the process of making a mural, the amount of work required to do it well, the planning and such. I also got a glimpse at what goes into such a large project in general. What they did here seems very complex. I was very impressed by what I saw there. Every time I went to work on the mural I saw something new. Overall I think I got much more out of it than I put into it.

I want to mention something about my role in this project, just to clarify. I came on to the project midway through the process. As the article says I answered the plea for help. Our director had asked me to join because they needed some extra help to make sure everything went smoothly as they approached the deadline.The mural was over half way complete when I came in, so I did not participate in the designing. That credit belongs solely to the others on the team. I think they did a great job of it too. I really do, I saw it when everything was completed and it looks great! I don't want to take anything away from their accomplishment by claiming design credit for myself. They put a lot of hours into it and they deserve the recognition for their work.

What I did was painted parts of the mural based on their instruction and templates. I also did a lot of template tracing. They were always apologizing for that, as it was the unglamorous side of making art. I enjoyed doing it, and there really isn't a lot of things glamourous in the process of painting a mural, its hard work. Still, I really enjoyed working on the project and I would do it again.

One thing about the article I think needs some clarification, The students worked on this project as volunteers, not part of any curriculm or class.

This was a great experience, I am so happy to been part of it. My only wish is that I had been part of it earlier. The people I worked with were great. The mural I worked on is beautiful. The porject it is a part of is one of a kind. All in all, a very good moment in my life.


In class and Homework

In Figure Studio, the back was the topic of the day. As drawings of the back go this one is better then what I have attempted to do before. I am usually pretty lost when it comes to drawing the back, but today it made more sense following what I learned in class that day.
Like my other life drawings in this class, this one is unfinished. Still, I am learning to draw and that is really what counts.
This next one is the homework assignment for figure studio. As you can tell, its another master copy. I had a week to work on it, so I had to make some decisions of what to do. The process of doing these copies is a slow one, and in one week I would be pressed to copy the whole painting. (The amount of time it takes to do one of these it makes me appreciate the time and energies that went into the originals.)Because of the time constraint, I decided to focus on getting the figure accurate. I didn't worry about the background, nor was I worried about matching the value exactly. I wanted to get the figure drawn accurately and the value to relate well. Those were my goals.
The original is called La Source by Jean Auguste Ingres. To see an image of this painting or for more on him go to
Both drawings shown today are 18 x 24 inches and in charcoal.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


This is the study I did in the workshop today. While working on it, I was telling someone I thought my lights were to light. She disagreed, she thought I was keep everything way too dark. She said I needed to put my lightest light in to get my relationships right. So I did and after dropping in the light I could see that everything was way too dark. She was right.
Its very cool that such a simple task helps out so much. I spent the rest of the time reworking the lights, it looks much better than it did.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another Painting and a study

This is the painting I did in class today. The assignment today was to do a high key painting. As you can see, I didn't do a high key painting. It is somewhat of a low key painting. I was struggling too much with other aspects of the painting today.

I was fighting my normal fight with the paint today. From this painting I have decided to tone my canvas a little lighter, not worry so much about transparencies in the shadows so I can aim to get the relationships withing the painting right.

I didn't finish this one. I like it enough that I may come back to it and work on it some more when I have some time.

Here is the study I did in the workshop today. I go to the workshop because there is a live model to paint. Today, I did a small portrait study. At first I didn't like the idea of his hand touching his face, but as I began to paint I thought it would be good to do. I really didn't want to spend time painting a hand. I think it made for a better study and forced me to work on hands, something I don't do enough of.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Very Happy with What I Have Learned

Today was the first time in my figure drawing class that I was able to get more than the construction lines down (I draw very slowly) I was very pleased that I got that far. Still, its not a finished drawing as I just started to work on value the last half hour of class.

What I am really pleased with is how it turned out. I really felt like I was spending my money wisely at the academy today. I have seen a very dramatic change in my drawings. I am learning and finally seeing the results I have been trying to achieve in my drawing. Hopefully I will be able to do this in my painting this semester as well. A very exciting day to say the least!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Expressive Painting

I did two paintings yesterday. The first painting shown is the one I did in my expressive painting class. As we are still doing warm up paintings before we begin any assigned projects I am allowed to experiment and play with the painting.

Many of the students in this class are abstract painters and it reminded me of when I was an undergrad, painting abstract compositions. Though for a long time I haven't had the interest to do that type of work, I have been reminded of how much I used to enjoy doing them. Because of this I want to try my hand at it again. I have decided to do an abstract painting in this class. It has been a while and my process of thinking about and making paintings has changed dramatically over the last couple of years, so I think it will be difficult. The class is a figurative class of sorts, but I am aiming to create a non figurative, completely abstract composition based off of the figure.

This was my first attempt, and as you can see there still is a figure. As I painted, I had a difficult time breaking away from the figure. In the back of my mind I kept saying to myself, "model the form! model the form!" I was stuck in a very technical mindset, that I could escape. So, there it is. I will have to do some work to accomplish that abstract painting.

The second painting is a study I did in the workshop right after class. For this study I thought I would tighten it up a little. The area I focused on was controlling my color while keeping my values right. I do try to keep everything in mind; proportion, value, anatomy, etc, but in a three hour study I can only do so much. So I set up little goals or areas of focus. Certain things worked, but as you can see I totally ruined the head. This stems from a drawing issue. I had made it too narrow and in my attempt to fix it I muddied the whole thing up.


Friday, September 12, 2008


This drawing is a copy of a Rubens painting done in charcoal for my figure studio class. The assignment was to find a painting of one of the past masters and copy it. We had a week to do it. This being the first assignment for the class we were told to have fun with it, as we haven't been introduced to concepts or principles. I took this to mean do the best you can with it. That is what I aimed to do. I have done these before as I have taken a class by this instructor already, so I felt I should just continue with what I had learned last class.

We only had a week to work on this, rather than the three to four weeks I have had on the past drawings. Because of this, I had to plan out what I wanted to get done for this copy as I work extremely slow when doing this kind of stuff. I decided to focus mainly on the figure, you will notice I have put the elements of the environment in the drawing but they are not fully rendered. Except for what she is leaning on, I felt that was necessary to render to some detail. Other than that, I tried to only hint at an environment.

I also decided that since we were to have fun with the project to do a couple of things that would not exactly be copying the original but staying true to it. I did this because I wanted to translate the drawing into something I would be able to do that kept a certain level of beauty. From past experience, I noticed that trying to slavishly copy, stoke for stroke, will get me a likeness but it doesn't necessarily give me a good drawing.

With that in mind I decided to first lower the overall value of the drawing. I did this because I am working from a reproduction and I have learned that reproductions are generally wrong about correct value and color, a problem with technology. I felt that trying to directly copy the values as they were I would have created a drawing with a light side and a dark side, with no middle tones. It would have looked weird. With one exception, I matched the value relationships as best I could.

That exception was a decision to emphasize the light as it hit the form to give the viewer a sense of a directional light source. In my reproduction I had a hard time seeing the differences in value on the form. Looking at image online I could see it and I figure that Rubens was so subtle in his transitions they get lost went printed on a personal printer. Anyway, I didn't have that in front of me so I determined were the light was coming from and worked the form as if that was how it should be.

Overall I am pleased with the result, though there are some mistakes I wished I had avoided. The legs are in the wrong place. I had originally drawn them too low and halfway finished with the drawing it was pointed out to me of my mistake. I tried to fix it as best I could but I still see the error. Also the drawing is fairly stiff, especially the face. Still, I am learning so I feel successful.

The drawing is 18 x 24 inches, charcoal on paper after Peter Paul Rubens' painting Leda and the Swan.

To see the original painting:

For more information on Rubens:


Monday, September 8, 2008

Expressive painting and Figure Studio

This is from expressive painting class today. It was the first day of class and this was basically an exercise to get warmed up.


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Classes start this week, I am excited!

As the title states, classes start this week. I am excited! They start Thursday so I only have one this week but it begins again!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Summer Update

The break between semesters has been a busy one. I haven't had time to do everything I wanted but I did get a lot done. Sorry to all those I promised to visit but never actually made it out to see during the break. I really did want to see you all.

During the break I helped finish up the mural at The National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi. I am excited to see it when the rest of the place is done! This was definitely a once in a life time experience. How many other artist can say they have done what I have done here. If you go to the website the mural is not shown, what you see there is the mural for the replica porziuncola. The mural I worked on is on the wall facing it.

I also revamped my website. Something that took a very long time and and gave me a few headaches. I learned how to do so much in the process and am feeling high tech right now. It is the best version of my website I have come up with yet.

I took a little break and went down to LA for a couple of days, we did stop at the Getty and the Moca, while we were there. I enjoyed the Getty (as always) , the Moca wasn't very interesting.

I have found time to paint too. Imagine that! Mostly I worked on my master copy painting. No image of that yet. I was stuck for awhile but after some help from an instructor I think I am heading in the right direction on it now.

The stuff I am posting is studies practicing some ideas I was working on before I approached the copy again. I am working on unifying the whole form. A mistake I have been making is focusing on the detail too early and I make a mess of the painting.

So what you see today is paintings practicing some new techniques and ideas.

The exercise in the first two shown was to practice controlling the paint. It sounds silly, I know but I was watching my instructor demonstrate how modeling the from and I watched how he was applying and moving the paint around. I thought I would try doing it that way. So I pull these two unfinished paintings out and started reworking them. They are very unfinished, but I do like the results. I'll mention it here, more on it below. The color is weird because I was trying something new. It is working but I need to refine my approach.

This one is a painting that I started because I wanted to work in color for the day. I have been working in basically a monochromatic palette. What I have been doing is mixing up nine different values and laying it out on my palette to make it easier when I am painting to get the values on my painting right. This is a method I learned in my head drawing class. I like it as it works for me. So I thought I'd try to incorporate it as a method when I am painting with a color palette. I basically laid out my values then my colors, mixed up a couple more, then got to work painting. I kept with a fairly limited palette so that I don't over complicate it. Looks a little weird but I like this way of doing it.

This next one is just an example of the grissaille painting I have been doing for the master copy. I did this as a practice after that demo I mentioned earlier. I also did this because I have this egbert brush that I wanted to try out. A few instructors use them so I thought I'd give it a try.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

New website version

After many hours of work, lots of questions, many mistakes, many a puzzled moment, and late nights I now have my new version of my website up and running!

I am excited about it. I was fairly tired of the format I had for a few reasons. First it was a quickly done just to get a site up, so it didn't have all the things I wanted. I wanted something that looked more professional and to look less novice. I just just bored of what I had. I saw new software I wanted to add to my site. Finally, I have more artwork to add to my site. So I went to work on building a new site.

It was a much larger project then I expected. It took awhile, and I am very appreciative of my very patent girlfriend, of whom I asked a million questions in the process of all this.

Do check it out. It has some new paintings.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Painting and website changes

Today I added color back into my paintings. After a long break from painting in color it was nice to use it. I will continue to use a grisaille in my work now as it helps me solve some of the problems I have been dealing with, but color is fun. I was planning to upload some pictures of what I worked on, but I forgot to bring my camera home. Oops, I'll have them for you sometime this week.

Now that there is a break between semesters it is time to catch up on some of the things I have been neglecting. So I am updating my website. In an effort to continue to make it more professional there are going to be a few changes to the layout and content. It is very difficult because I am not a web building person. Hopefully it will be done in the next couple of weeks.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Paintings

Here are some new paintings. Its been awhile so now is a good time. Most of them are from my summer studio classI am working on updating my website as well. . I will let you know of any changes.