Monday, October 24, 2016

This Blog Has Moved!

For the past few months, I've been building a new website that is (hopefully) more user-friendly and offers more options for all of my wonderful fans and supporters.

What's new?

  • Along with offering beautifully framed originals, prints are now available in a variety of media including fine art paper, stretched canvas, and metal. All of the mediums available are professional quality, but the metal prints are my current favorite! They're super sleek and make for a clean, contemporary presentation.

  • There's a Wall Preview feature so you can get an excellent idea of how a painting might look in your home or office space. 

  • A Small Works Gallery of high-quality, affordable originals is available and will have new additions coming soon. 

  • The blog newly titled "Inspirations and Creative Insights" will still be alive and active. However, it will only be available on my new site. So, you'll have to join my site to keep updated to new postings, works in progress and exclusive member only promotions. I do apologize for this extra step if you're an existing subscriber. 

Even though the site needs some polishing, it is up and running.
I invite you visit and join me at

Thank you and see you there!

Monday, October 17, 2016

4 Reasons Why I Love to Demo

I had the opportunity of performing a landscape painting demo for a local art club this week. Last year I judged an art show for them, and they invited me back so I could share my thoughts and process regarding painting.

The demo was well attended and was full of enthusiastic kindred spirits.  I thoroughly enjoy the entire demo process because of a love of meeting new people, telling related stories, sharing what I've learned on my artistic journey thus far and because art is a somewhat private activity teaching and giving demos helps me connect with the creative community.

My subject was a location that I frequent that never falls short of being inspiring. I chose this particular scene because it had unusual shapes, appealing light/shadow patterns and excellent depth due to aerial perspective.

I worked from a photo displayed on a tablet beside my easel. Among the many points that I covered, I explained how and why I chose to redesign a landscape formatted image into a square format.

Given the brief demo time allotted, this painting remains in a "work-in-progress" status. You'll see this one again in a future post upon completion.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Are Your Traditional Portraits Getting Stale? Try This Fix.

In the spirit of October, I thought this pastel sketch would be a fun one to share. I don't recall what the model was going for with this costume. Maybe a David Bowe reference or a modern gothic twist on Beethoven, but I imagined him to be an off-off Broadway vampire opera character. 

I enjoy working with models who are creative and go the extra mile by designing their outfits to better the artist/model experience. Traditional portraits are all well and good, but when a model arrives at an open session with props and costumes, you know it's going to make an interesting painting. 

Over the course of the past few years, I've had the opportunity to paint pirates, gypsies, circus themes, superheroes and pulp fiction characters. These creative subjects spark my imagination and tap into memories of my "younger years" when I was following aspirations of becoming a comic book artist.

The area of art I focus on now has apparently changed. However, I still fall back on my early training because the core principals of art are never affected by genre.

Title: The Vampire Opera
Painted On: Canson Mi-Teintes Ivy Pastel Paper
Medium: NuPastel & Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencils
Dimensions: 9x12 inches.

Monday, October 3, 2016

One Thing I've Learned from Painting in Extremes

The record triple digit heat of summer in the desert has finally ended. The cooler fall temperatures are moving in, and it's safe to paint outdoors again without the risk of burning flesh and heatstroke. 

As much as I love plein air painting, I'm not an extremist when it comes to pushing boundaries to get a painting. I know and have seen plenty of artists who present themselves as performance artists or daredevils painting on the edges of sheer cliffs, under hurricane conditions, in sub-zero temperatures or the opposite. Kudos to the artists who can and do. They may reap high rewards if they make it back safe without incident.  

I feel these examples are opportune times to break out the camera, take a picture and head back to the studio. I enjoy the ideal, quiet breezes, comfortable temperatures, blue skies and cotton ball clouds.

Not to say that I haven't painted in snow, rain, and wind before because I have.  What I learned from working under those conditions is that overall, the more comfortable the environmental conditions, the more likely I am to produce a winning painting.

The photos above are from a very recent second day out in this plein air season. As you can see, it was a beautiful day, and I was able to lay the foundation for another potential gallery piece. 

I'll post the finished piece after some adjustments back at the studio.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Below the Surface

In this scenario, the model was mostly in shadow with a rim-light effect on his right side. The drawing below illustrates a true to life interpretation of how the model appeared. 

At the end of the drawing session, I was satisfied with the drawing in regards to the proportions and likeness of the sitter. However, the shading was too dark and gloomy for my liking. 

The model was excited to be our subject of the day and had a lively personality. I felt that my drawing wasn't reflecting this aspect of the sitter. 


The correction (shown above), was to invent a fill light on the shadow side to clean out the heavy mood created by the excessively dark values. A few minutes spent lifting out the darks with a kneaded eraser transformed this entire drawing.  

By doing so, I was able to describe the forms of the face much better than in the first rendition and more importantly reveal the upbeat character of the model. 

I did do some minor finishes on his left shirt collar and better indicating on his ear but for the most part, this was a value adjustment. 

So, which version is correct? I'd say they both are. The "Before" for its "This is how it looks" honesty and the "After" for going beyond surface effect to reveal the sitter's personality. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Price of Free

For those of you who don't know, an open studio is when a group of artists contributes to the model cost and typically there's no instruction provided.

Some artists choose to "gift" their sketches/drawings to the models who were hired to pose for them in open studio sessions.

This kind gesture is nice to do on occasion especially when a model has inspired a large body of work. It shows gratitude and respect for the model.

I've recently witnessed an entire group freely give their drawings to the model at the end of every session when it was not contractually a part of payment.

I attended one such session and when I didn't present the model with my "free" drawing the model quickly began to question, "Aren't you going to give me your drawing?" Immediately followed by, "What are you going to do with it? No one is going to buy a picture of me."

I never experienced this before. I thought to myself, Wow, what a way to discredit years of study and practice.

Despite the chance of falling on deaf ears, I went on to explain that this is a profession and yes, I may not sell this particular drawing, however; it does have a value.

Needless to say, my response was reciprocated with a blank gaze.

My drawings become points of reference. I don't just stash them away never to be seen again. I will routinely go through my collection and critique them to see what areas I could improve on or simply enjoy studying the successful ones.

Every artist has their policies, but I believe when artists don't put a value on their efforts (hobbyist or professional) it devalues the entire craft.

(I'm not referring to donating work for charity fundraisers or Pro Bono work).

Monday, September 12, 2016

Time to Reflect

Reflective light is light bouncing off one object or surface onto another. In this example, the sunlight is bouncing off the ground plane warming the shadows that face downward.

As the height of the cactus becomes too far away from the reflective light of the ground plane to reach there begins a shift from warm to cool in temperature within the shadow shape.

Soon, the cooler blues and blue-violets reflected from the sky above will influence the color temperatures within the shadows.

Title: Desert Texture
Painted on: Centurion Linen Painting Panel.
Medium: Oil
Dimensions: 12x12 inches.