I’ve been traveling on an anniversary trip with the wife and couldn’t bring my paints. That said, we made the flight out of Puerto Rico, but hit delay after delay getting home. As of writing this, the airline is asking someone to volunteer their seat for a delayed flight. I am not volunteering! Luckily, I used the time wisely and did some more Record Girl Comic art. I’ll share some vacation photos and some preliminary sketches soon.
I really enjoyed creating this follow up to my last post of Record Girl. I feel like this character is an amalgamation of several girls I knew growing up and I look forward to developing her persona in my spare time. What do you think?
I can’t believe I am doing another comic. What’s more crazy, it how much fun I am having doing these. After painting for solo long, this feel like a fresh breath of air and it is another outlet of creativity. What will become of these, I have no idea, but so far the response has been great. With that said, I’m gong to stop here and let the work speak for itself.
I love California, it’s a great place to visit, but I would rather live in in Virginia. The change of seasons are great. That said, the coastlines of the Pacific Highway are some of the most beautiful places i’ve been. Here’s a little 6x8 oil painting I did last night. While I was painting, the memories came flooding back of those beautiful beaches. Also this week I worked on something I haven’t dabbled in a very long while. It is available for purchase here.
Growing up, I always wanted to be a comic book artist. But life has a way of taking you into different directions. Anyhoo… Here’s a quick space story, hope you like it.
Just completed a painting to trade with my buddy Thomas Bradshaw who just got engaged with his lovely lady. I hope they enjoy this caboose painting from Exmore. I’ve always wanted to own a painting of his and I am really enjoying his painting of a caboose hanging on my wall! Here is a snap shot of my painting process.
I got stuck on this one folks, it happens. To me, it feels like leaving a lawn half mowed. I imagine what my neighbors would think about that. It feels like quitting. Let’s not even discuss the highbrow attitude that one should only post finished work. “How dare they?”. So what? I’m stuck right now. Deal with it. Eventually, a solution will come along. Besides, the bar featured in the painting is no more.
Hey everyone, these are the things that I’m currently working on with ProCreate. Some of them are in various stages of completion and some of them may not make the cut. Also I have been stoked to get several requests to do a follow up feature blog about painting with non-toxic mediums. Later this week I will share my thoughts on this process that I’ve kind of gone about and hope that it will help those who are looking to paint with toxic free mediums.
Just posted a new Painting for sale, “Morning Coffee” 6x8 oil on canvas. Based from my father and step mom’s travels to Europe. My dad has always had a good eye for photography. Looking forward to creating more of these little studies so that I can push my work while I work on cleaning out my studio and get it ready for more video recording and lessons. Would love to know what you think?
This is the current state of my studio, but I have long term plans for it. But first it has to get clean! We all hate it when our workspace gets too cluttered to effectively get anything done in. I have been the process of cleaning my studio out to just the bare essentials that I need. Last year I had double the amount of sketchbooks that you see in the below picture. It took time, but the two stacks on the left are now gone as I write this, and I feel better already. It really makes me question holding onto all of these when I almost never go back through them. It’s best to say they were the process to get to the next level. As for my moleskines, While I have a ton, they are easier to manage. My goal is to have just supplies for oil, gouache and watercolor painting. Anything else is going to be purged. For all the artists reading this who have perfect and immaculate studios, I loathe you and I admire you. If you are like me, having to always manage a mess in the studio, I highly recommend that you watch a couple of those Marie Kondo episodes on Netflix. It has been very helpful for me to get into the right mindset of purging unnecessary art supplies. I’ll keep everyone updated on the progress, now I have to get back to work!
I’m really excited to share with you that I have a new digital print store up (click here). These prints are ready to hang right out of the box and onto your wall, no framing needed! Also the last three are works in progress that have been on the drawing board. I’ll elaborate more about my prints in my next post, but I just wanted to share the new work with you all.
All 10 of my paintings in the order that I painted them from Gloucester Plein Air. For me it was nice to go out with a bang. To be recognized by your peers for your efforts and walk home with awards and sales. My hiatus on plein air events begins, but I’m grateful to all the friends I’ve made along the way. I am still painting outdoors and in studio, I have a solo show I just committed to in November. But I am at a stage in my life in which I wonder what is next for me and my painting. More exploration on how to develop my voice as a painter to come in the near future.
For the past couple of weeks, I have been debating about which painting surface is best for me to paint with. I have been using canvas boards forever. They are light and durable and the best part is that they even hold up in a torrential downpour, (as experienced at Easton one time). Linen boards are very nice too, but the cost is nearly triple the amount. They have a finer tooth to the surface than common canvas and seem to be the choice for most painters. Then there is a gessoed board of Masonite otherwise known as MDF. Super slick surface, especially if you buy it pre-primed. The nice thing I like about MDF is that you can mount linen or canvas to it with an adhesive like Mighty Muck, (which is non acidic). I do like prepping my boards on these. The surface is really good, but it does take some time. I tried primed paper or paper that handles oil has been for me the most disappointing experience. The worst experience however was using a cradle board birchwood surface with pine substrate. Most of them are fine and great, but having a defect that I thought I could sand and fix before painting over turned out to be a disaster. Should have returned it as soon as I discovered it, but I didn’t and painted something I really liked that I can’t sell. EVER. Best cradleboard that I have experienced to day is going to HomeDepot, buying a interior door blank, (a door with no holes or hinge indentions). Cut it to your preferred size and cut a 1.5 inch wood to fill in the side you cut. Glue it with Tightbond III Wood Glue. So far, it is light, sturdy and no warping or flexing. Best of all is that it’s already pre-primed all over and you just need to sand and gesso your painting surface and the side you filled in with the 1.5 wood. If anyone is interested, I can post a video about what I’ve done to make them.
I know what you’re thinking, “Here goes another rant about the horrible social media that rots people’s minds and sells your soul”. Well fear not my friends, this is not this blog. I have experienced a great sense of community with FaceBook and Instagram. The ability to be exposed to artists that I admire and discover new artists has been very rewarding. However, I do feel a disconnect that in such environments, the ability to recount my experiences in long form is lost. I won’t even begin to get into the can of worms that is privacy and ownership with social media. So, I wanted to experiment and go back to my blog. To tell my stories, share my work without fear of judgement from my peers. Yes, I do feel that pressure to live up to everyone else’s expectations, even if it is not really there and nobody gives a damn about what I write or post. So here is to new beginnings and experiments. Are you excited as I am about the unknown? Let’s begin...
Today, I had another request to paint a portrait from a photo. These are such delicate decisions. Most photos people show me are washed out old photographs of long lost loved ones. The photo is more of a placeholder for their memory which fills in the gaps of missing details. Since I don’t possess the same memories, the photo provides little if any details of how to handle the portrait. What they are hoping is that I can read their mind and magically pull the visions from their memories and produce what they remember of the loved one. Sadly, I can’t do this. More often than not, I politely turn the job down and explain the photo is lacking necessary visual information needed to work from. I feel for them and their longing to reconnect to those memories. However, sometimes, there are photos that I can work from. The technology of better cameras in smart phones helps me immensely when accepting new commissions. And of course, good contrast light doesn’t hurt either. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here are two photos that will help illustrate my point. I hope.
A photo of my dear mum. Notice the washed out details? She literally could be any young girl from that baby boomer era. Not a good photo to work from.
A photo of my Pops. See the details and the contour of the face from the shadows? This kind of photograph makes an excellent reference for a portrait.
Hi art buddies, I’m just going to let the photo do the talking here. Same painting, same lighting, but the one on the left shot with RAW took a lot less editing. Not to mention is much closer to the actual painting. Somehow I changed my camera settings to JPG from RAW and couldn’t figure out why the last batch of paintings were off and took much more time to edit, until I looked the file format. Duh! DON’T SHOOT YOUR PAINTINGS AS JPEG/JPG.
I had done a digital painting that I was really happy with, but I knew that is could be better in oil. My first pass in oil was not close to the digital, but I was able to work out the mechanics of the figure, especially the tilted shoulders. Using the model photo and my digital painting as my two sources of reference, I finished this yesterday rather quickly. Was it because I had a digital painting to keep me on course with staying fresh and spontaneous? I would think so. As I photographed it, I noticed three things that needed fixing and I literally spent the early morning going from computer to easel and back to camera to get things right. Funny how one tiny stroke placed just right can make all the difference in the world. Wouldn’t you agree? I like the oil painting, what do you think? Digital or Oil?
If you are one of my close friends, you know that I am very competition with myself and my art. I am a painter. So when someone doesn’t ‘get’ my work, I can at times get frustrated. Not so much as I used to. The first rejection I ever got was from a student show. It had me so mad I couldn’t see straight. I was livid, but looking back on it now, it was hilarious to expect them to accept a ‘wet’ painting than I just finished, because I had procrastinated until the last two days. It was my first oil painting so that goes without saying, I had no idea what I was doing. It was a healthy thing to experience and to learn a little humility. After all, my family and friends had been telling me for years I was “GREAT!”. So why couldn’t the jury see it? The cold hard fact was that I was NOT VERY GOOD. We need to grow on encouragement from our friends and loved ones. My recent rejection was to an exhibition of work known for being so far away from what I do that if I did get accepted it would have been an anomaly all on it’s own. Like Han Solo said, “Never tell me the odds!”. Don’t let the odds keep you from entering your work if you want to. That word “want” is important. Submit if you think you want your work in an event. This was a local museum and I really loved one of their most popular recent exhibitions, so I thought, “Fuck it, let’s enter.”. I had no reservations that I would be an outlier if chosen, so when I didn’t get in, I laughed at myself. Rejection is good for growth. It is necessary, so relish it, laugh at it, and drown your frustrations with your favorite beverage. However, ask yourself, was it your best work? If it is at this current time, shake it off and move on. If deep in your heart you know it wasn’t, then begin to ask yourself what you need to do to get your art to that level. Easy said than done, but if you can honestly look inward to see your own deficits as a painter, then the journey to becoming a better painter is a little clearer. Competition is healthy, even in art. It helps push you beyond your comfort zone and boundaries. I know it has helped me grow as a painter tremendously, but I have to laugh off rejection and so should you. It’s ok to be a sore loser at times. Get mad, get upset. Yell and scream. Give the art establishment a big “FUCK YOU!”. Shake it out of your system and move on to becoming a better painter. Because you can’t make great work from loathing and regret. It’s toxic and it will eat at your soul.
A new year, a new outlook! I’m starting the new year recovering from foot surgery. It’s been a painful long two years of walking and standing. It sucks, but I am looking forward to moving forward to getting better and moving on with my work. What happened to my foot? Well, the short story is I had plantar fasciitis. I managed in pain for a year spending a lots of money of specialized shoes, inserts, boots, splints etc before I got a cortisone shot. Things got better, or so they seemed. After slowly building incorporating excercise back into my life, I started to notice that pain started to evolve on the top and side of my foot. THREE DOCTORS LATER, various X-rays, CAT Scan and an MRI, I was told that I had three torn tendons. It would require surgery and I now here I am, recuperating during the holidays not being able to drive and limited hobbling around. The good news is I and recovering and I am looking forward to running and being a dad who can play with his kids at the beach. My buddies Mark and Mike were super awesome to help bring me to last nights Norfolk Drawing Group for painting night. It felt good to be out of the house! First painting of 2019. “Anastasia” 12x16 oil on canvas.
“Night Beckons the Fisherman” 16x20 oil on canvas. Was an awesome night listening to Led Zeppelin and talking to the occasional tourist. Met a group of students from Mongolia who were nice enough to watch my gear while I went to my truck. When I came back they were taking pics of themselves posing behind the easel! Had a fun time and was really happy with the results of the painting.
I have to say that with creating new brushes using Procreate has allowed me to bring my digital painting closer in line with my traditional oil painting. All of the standard brushes are nice, but going beyond those and customizing and creating new brushes has really allowed my work to evolve in new and exciting ways. That said, I am happy to say that my new digital paintings will be available to purchase very soon. Below are a few that I hope you will enjoy with some time-lapse videos to see the a little into the creative process.