Saturday, April 25, 2009

Never Long Enough

Here is a drawing from today. These days, it seems that I'm always wanting more time than I've got. I would have liked to have gotten more of the environment and her feet resolved... but it is what it is.

Model Recline
charcoal on paper
18" x 24"

Friday, April 17, 2009

Portrait Study

UPDATE: 4.25.2009
I couldn't help myself... I had to work on this more. The eye on the left was bothering me, so finally on Friday, I got a chance to get to it. I'm glad I did, because all though it seems like minute changes, it really made a difference in likeness.

For the last few weeks I've been working on this portrait study of my son Wyeth (I know, we are total art geeks for naming our son Wyeth, what makes it worse is that his older sister is named Sienna). Much like nature, it is very hard for me to paint my family, without feeling inferior in my skill. They are held up so high in my esteem, that I just can't see them clearly. Yet here, I am trying to conquer that notion, with one small step at a time.

This is a study for a much larger, full figure composition that has been brewing in my head for sometime. It is rather atypical of me to work so long on figuring out a painting. I usually can work off of a tiny thumbnail to get a painting started, but this one has such high meaning and importance to me, that I'm taking my time. What I've discovered from this study, is that I really need to work on getting accurate colors in my shadow masses. I use a very limited palette (Flemish White, Green Earth, Lead Tin Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Vermilion, touch of Manganese Violet, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Cobalt Blue- in that order counter clockwise on my palette) and lately I indeed have found it a bit too limiting. This painting also has mixes with Cad. Red light.

Portrait Study of Wyeth
oil on panel
14" x 11"


Today, I got a few hours to steal away to do a landscape study for a big composition I'm putting together. I do not consider myself a landscape painter, so this was a bit intimidating for me. Nature is my church. It is where I go to find grounding, meaning, inspiration and peace. And yet, I hardly ever paint it. I think that is because I have such high reverence for it. I can never do it justice. For many cultures it is not permissible to depict their Deity, and I guess for me it has seemed the same. So here is my humble attempt at nature.

Apex Community Park, NC
oil on panel
8" x 10"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Share the Love

I want to share with you one of my new favorite blogs. Painting Perceptions is a blog by Larry Groff, who is a wonderful painter of both urban and aux naturale scenes (I am purposely avoiding the term plein air painter). This blog however does not focus on his work, but on what else, perceptual painting. What is perceptual painting, you ask? As Larry describes it, "perceptual painting is painting with your vision as well as all the other senses. Not just the obvious easel set up in front of a landscape or still-life but also paintings done from studies, even photos and memory on occasion. Perceptual painting is not just copying nature but painting life from both vision and experience. As C├ęzanne said, “Painting is nature seen through a temperament.”

I stumbled onto this site at a most opportune time. You see, since starting this whole blogging adventure, I have begun to question categories and where exactly I and my work fit in. That was an unexpected side affect of becoming a blogger. Over all, I have always had a confidence about my work and why I do it (for joy and being able to 'say' something). So to be shaken and distracted by other ideals was, as I said, unexpected. I guess I was naive in thinking realism was realism. Over time (you think I would have gotten this from art school) I've discovered that their are all shades of realism, with all different definitions. I've discovered my work does not embody the ideals of classical realism, nor the refinement of atelier style realism, nor am I an alla prima painter as I often spend several sessions on each painting. I think my ignorance was wonderful and wish I could go back to it. I didn't have such questions about my work. I simply enjoyed making paintings. I used the terms representational, figurative and realist interchangeably. Now I stammer when someone asks me what I do. Larry's blog has given me comfort by describing and giving examples of other artists who represent their world in a similar way. There is no pretension, or elitism in his statements or the work shown. There is more I could say, but I think you should just make your own discoveries by visiting Painting Perceptions often.

Larry Groff
Mt. Woodson Boulder Group #9
oil on panel
8″ x 10″

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pleased to Announce

I'm pleased to announce that I have been selected as one of the 2009-2010 artists to exhibit at Visual Art Exchange here in Raleigh. We still have not yet worked out all the particulars, like dates and what to show, but I'm excited to be showing work in this beautiful space, and working with the great people over at VAE. As more information materializes, I'll be sure to let you know here.

Visual Art Exchange 325 Blake St. Raleigh, North Carolina 27601

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Open Book...

I can't decide. Do I show you what I'm working on or not? I'm doing a lot of comps and figuring out in general for my next big figurative painting. I don't always go through this process, often jumping into paintings and solving problems as I go. Should I share this process with you? Do I risk being seen as an artist with a lot of unfinished works? What if it all sucks, and I end up scrapping the idea completely? Open Book, full disclosure, or hidden secret production only showing the final gem image (or nothing at all if it doesn't work out)? I am really conflicted about this. Please share your thoughts...

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Why don't figure models wear glasses more often? This model has a wowser of a body with beautiful skin tones to boot and as if that wasn't interesting enough, she decided to wear her peepers throughout the whole session. I hadn't realized until that moment that I don't often get the chance to draw glasses on hired models. It's easy to find people donning glasses when doing impromptu cafe drawings of strangers, but for some reason, models of both sexes usually choose to take off their glasses before stepping up on the model stand. Hummm??

Model with Glasses Reclining
charcoal on paper
18" x 24"

Model with Glasses
charcoal on paper
18" x 24"

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sugar Bowl final

Sugar Bowl
oil on panel
8" x 8"

Sugar Bowl Progression

Well, here's my first video progression, Sugar Bowl. I don't know why it resizes the image automatically, and I have to admit, I used two different cameras, so the quality varies. I am definetly not a tech head though, so I am feeling pretty good about just getting this up.

Sugar Bowl oil on panel 8" x 8"