Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Drawing - step #1

I have good news as far as galleries for the new year. I intend to be producing a stack of new oil paintings. Here is a new drawing study for a painting. I will try to keep a image record of my process for this one and post it. I hope I don't screw it up.

Monday, December 29, 2008

in progress

I found a really interest statue in the St. Vitus cathedral in Prague this spring. Obviously a Christ statue but a great medieval look to it.

Besides the great view from the tower this cathedral had the greatest Alphonse Mucha stained glass window.

Monday, December 22, 2008

drawing exercise

I am ashamed to say that I've found myself getting away from drawing too much lately. It has lead to distortions increasingly sneaking their way into my work. Drawing is an exercise that can't be avoided for long. It's like practice for a sports player, neglect it at your own peril.

And a Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Drawing at the MET

Finally an oil painting. This is from some reference taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is the life of a dedicated artist sitting on the hard chairs trying to block out the loud tourists and get a competent depiction of the sculptures.

The colors shifts were really subtle and a little tricky mainly because I was trying to push the loose brush work on this one. It also makes it looks kind of rough as a digital image. Seems to work okay as a piece of art though.
Another problem I keep running into is how to get a good idea of the real colors when the paint dries and turns from the wet vivid colors to the low contrast mat variety. Some colors are more mat then others(black) and I haven't figured out how to avoid that problem.
I'll have to keep thinking on it. I usually paint a piece then it will sit propped against a wall for a few months in my peripheral vision so I can decide if it'll work out. Often it is useful to have it sitting on it's side or even upside down to get a feel for how the shapes and colors work.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Study for a painting

A new painting on the easel currently. I hope the composition is interesting but this is the drawing of the main figure, my wife.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

*Updated* Figure drawing #26

Update- I had some time last night so I took a while and improved the figure drawing done a couple weeks ago. I added some darks and smoothed the shading. The drawing becomes necessarily more generic as I worked because the model isn't there and I have no reference except the digital image of the original. I think it helped quite a bit to just take it and focus on the finish without the worries that are rushing through your head as you try to finish in the time that the model is there sitting for you.

Chacoal on paper 18"x24"
original post

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

figure drawing #22

NuPastel on paper 18"x24"

I wonder if it is ever possible to be truly happy with a figure drawing. Doubt it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

sketchbook #32

My niece after a swim in the pool.

Monday, November 24, 2008

figure drawing #26

Chacoal on paper 18"x24"
Fridays figure drawing which I am pleased with. I feel like my sketchbook drawings are my artistic strong point and I have been trying to get my figure drawings to catch up with them. This one is close. I like how it is tight and accurate around the face and eyes focusing the center of attention then letting the details go as you move out from there. And its accurate but also expressive.
And here is Sam's version.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


*Update- it may not come across clearly but the hand in the black area is some hapless victim obscured by his shadow.
Yet another illustration. The Avalanche blog topic is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I had this good idea for a composition but I get so bored trying to do full backgrounds so this is as close as I'll probably get. I hope it's not too dark it looks okay on one screen and dark on another.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lighting practice

A little practice done after Sam's demo on painting different digital lighting enviroments. It's an old drawing used to do this original painting.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

figure drawing -Portrait

This weeks figure drawing turned out really well I though. Full disclosure, the eye was misaligned but rendered well so I moved it slightly in Photoshop.

Monday, November 10, 2008


A new illustration for the Weekly Standard. I am really pleased with the lighting in this one and owe it all to a class given by Sam Nielson. I haven't really figured out a lighting scheme before getting started until this painting and I think it really improved the lighting on the animals. I stole the Obama face from a earlier painting so the lighting doesn't quite match but it saved time with the quick turnaround.
I really nailed it on the fairy dust, I don't know why but it may have something to do with my week in Disney World.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

charcoal mess

A very messy figure drawing from night school. It's been okay and I enjoy the practice but I am ready to move on.

One tip If you are working with pastel or charcoal do your rubbing with the back of your hand and a paper towel. Rubbing with your fingers should be very limited because the oils seal the area making it nearly impossible to erase anywhere near the original paper color.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Oil painting

18"x24" oil on Board
Finally, a oil painting finished. Now I will celebrate at Disney World.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

J.C. Leyendecker

I just bought the coolest Leyendecker book. It is 250 pages of great reproductions which seems to have most of his work. If you don't know Leyendecker you need to see his work(start here, here or here), if you already know Leyendecker you've probably been looking for his work and this book is a great collection.
Thanks to Blake Loosli for the tip.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


14"x18" oil on board.
You may have seen this one if you have been around for a while, but it never got posted. This was painted in 2005 and I really still like it a lot. It is one of those paintings that maybe you get lucky with but it is better then what you are capable of at the time. Though it is a little too tight it has some really nice edges that keep it feeling like an oil painting.

New great artist link; If your not already aware of Lucong he is a fantastic painter with a interesting subdued mood to his work. I like the portraiture that he is able to make accessible. It's not easy to paint a portrait that is appealing to everyone beyond just the subjects family.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

keeping a low profile

I think things are getting a little better with my night course. I have figured out how to do just enough of what the teacher wants to keep him off my back, but still do what I want to do. I do think the many gesture drawings that we do is a useful exercise for me. This one was maybe 10-15 minutes, I kind of rush through it to see how far I can get.
What I like about this is that it seems I got a good feeling of weight here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

sketchbook #30

A drawing, following my typical method of a more finished face and loosing detail moving away.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Night school

So I decided I might sign up for a community night school figure drawing class. I love figure drawing, the cost was respectable, and regardless of what I learned from the teacher I could get some time with a live model. Right? Well turns I out it's miserable. The teacher, and I am choosing my words carefully here, is a jerk. He's got nothing but negative comments about anything I do (example: he pointed out that the left hand above was no good and couldn't see the suggestion of a hand in my shape, plus the model moved a lot). I'm in the class with a large group of beginners so I don't think I'm bad comparatively. He's just a jerk.
More importantly, I have no clue how his teaching method is supposed to help. No wonder there are so many untrained artists with teaching methods like this making things more confusing. One thing, I am not high on is overboard study of muscles, this guy is clearly proud of himself because he knows the name of every muscle in the body. I don't really think it is that important. I have a good basic knowledge of the bones and muscles and most of that is thanks to drawing them. I took an anatomy class once which I thought would help, it didn't, instead it was the lowest grade I received in college and a lot of stress. I think I have learned much more through observation of models. I am interested in being able to draw what I see not necessarily what the reason for these shapes are. My philosophy is learn to draw the shapes and masses and you can draw anything regardless of it's interior makeup. When I taught we only had a couple of models, students would ask for others but in my opinion you are learning to draw what you see if you can't draw one model that you are looking at you wont be able to draw a different one(though it may be more interesting for the artist). I am not trying to say it has no place for the study of anatomy but I think people like this get carried away, he can name them but can he draw them?
Chapter 2
Anyway, it is not fun but we'll see if the misery and practice helps my art in the end. You'll probably be seeing more figure drawings because I do a lot.

Monday, October 06, 2008


So I had more elaborate plans for a background but alas. The challenge with this style was trying to decide which lines to exclude(see drawing here). I also had no reference for the arm and had to make it up along with the bird.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

figure drawing #21

A recent figure drawing. I like the shape of the leg.

Monday, September 29, 2008

after Fechin 2

I was looking at some more fantastic drawings of Nicholi Fechin. This is based off one of them, I was trying to copy his long beautiful flowing lines.

Sometimes when I draw, I enjoy ignoring the overall perportions, not really characature just being loose with the shapes. But, this is the lazy way to draw. You need to be careful with it because it's easy to stop measuring and let it become a bad habit.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

slouching figure

This figure drawing is a couple years old but I have always really liked it. It is quick and loose but the model really had that slouch that I think is conveyed naturally.

No one ever does figure drawings in these kind of stale, realistic poses. But I like them.

Monday, September 22, 2008


An rush illustration done for this weeks The Weekly Standard magazine. I'm glad it was Teddy Roosevelt because its easy to identify him and I thought the idea was great.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Harry Reid is my homeboy

And really, who doesn't like Harry Reid?
A little bit different style here a lot quicker but I like it. It is harder to get a good likeness when you have a lot less detail to use(maybe).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lines (in progress)

A new painting I have been working on. I thought I would try a more linebased style patterned after Joshua Middleton. It's really heavy on the dramatic lines and I plan some more muted color work underneath.
Again my wife gets to be the model, stay tuned.

Monday, September 08, 2008

figure #19

A recent figure drawing, I focused on the face and got a decent likeness.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Check out that mustache.

Monday, September 01, 2008


This is a drawing done from a nice pic I found in a catalog. There is nothing better then a little good drawing practice if you don't have good reference I recommend using a magazine or catalog.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Snow monster

This was done for the Avalanche blog, I really tried to push the painting toward completion. I think I have trouble finishing entirely, and it makes a huge difference to have a strong background. I wonder if I should have put more time into the drawing and composition though. I'm not sure I am totally pleased, and it gets hard to finish unless you are sure your happy with it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

And now for something completely different

I think this will be my inaugural insect post. A sketchbook drawing pencil on paper maybe 4".

While visiting Prague and the Alphonse Mucha museum, I saw a breathtaking pencil drawing he had done of berries and leaves. It was so simple but so well done and meticulously detailed. I tried to follow that lead with this bug but my lines are nowhere near as perfect as Mucha's.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Finally, an oil painting. And a landscape at that. This is a horrible digital image that I will fix eventually, but for now this is what I have.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

figure #17

A figure drawing, offered without comment.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


I did this one special for my sister.
Visit her blog, she is an extremely talented artist but isn't sure she wants to pursue it. At only 17 she's great and will only get better, I like the cupid drawing. I am sure she would love to hear your comments.
I tried to think of some symbol for the scarf thing but couldn't think of anything, what would represent the state? Any other ideas?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Obligatory Thom York drawing

One right of passage of every young artist is a crazy drawing/painting/installation of Thom York the singer of Radiohead. His music is just too inspiring, and his face to interesting to pass up. Here's a nice one by Jason Seiler.
If you want a challenge with your drawings, try human faces that are upside down or at an odd angle. It forces you to measure and makes it hard to use some of the crutches that you may have unknowingly developed. There are also subtle distortions that I notice consistently reappearing in my drawings. I've always wondered if that had some relation to the dimensions of my face. Maybe you've heard the Leonardo/Mona Lisa speculation. I've learned a periodic return to more precise measuring helps me recognize these flaws and adjust accordingly.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just a study

Haven't done much digital painting lately, here is a simple study of a great picture I found in a fascinating documentary about Kurt Gerron.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Little girl

I posted this painting mostly finished a little while back. Well, I've finished it Heres a decent upclose look at the face, thought I've never really had a good digital image thate show the brush strokes very well. At least you can see some of the strong reds that were pushed in the face and I like the ear.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Heres a recent portrait, this model had an interesting face with slightly extreme features as per Sam Nielson's nice painting.

Monday, July 07, 2008

figure drawing 10

I did this figure drawing a couple of weeks ago, it was a bit of an awkward pose and I made the neck too long (luckily it was rescued thanks to Photoshop).
I would love to spend more time on figure drawings, it's like a great constant challenge. The paradox is that the better you get at it, the better your eye for detail will get thus revealing more problems. Just like chasing a carrot on a stick.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy July 4th

To celebrate Independence day, here is a portrait of our greatest(and most attractive) president.

This was done for the "Meet the Robinsons" video game. It had a nice half second cameo. One difficulty was the long horizontal format that I needed to fit the tall vertical Lincoln into, I ended up shrinking the hat.

Monday, June 30, 2008


My wife is addicted to House(get it?)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

sketchbook #24

Finally, a little bit of quality alone time with the sketchbook.

I enjoy just drawing the face maybe slightly caricatured but mostly realistic then push the shape of the head for a more graphic look, sometimes it works.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

figure drawing 8?

A new offering from Friday figure drawing. I think this one turned out well. The anatomy is accurate and linework works well (though it really doesn't show up well here). One of my big struggles is keeping a loose natural feeling to the pose, I think this one works. I only wish I had more time to work on it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hillary in full HD color

When Hillary posed for this painting, I was somehow unconvinced by her smile. I'm not sure she was actually happy.
She didn't really pose but this is the full color version. I think I got a lot closer to the likeness. I wasn't happy with the original, she isn't easy because she doesn't have really distinguishing features. I like the painting style it is more sculpted, and I picked the flat coloring on the face purposely to look like a flash photo.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


I've started into a pretty ambitious new oil painting it is large with a lot of background (both aren't my usual cup of tea). This is a study for the work, I'm not sure if he is creepy enough though.

It will be a very large painting but it has an appealing composition so hopefully I will have the willpower to see me through to completion.

Monday, June 02, 2008


I did this figure drawing a couple of years back but have always liked it. Those were the blissful days of figure drawing 4 times a week. Now I am just trying to keep my head above water when it comes to figure drawings, though I've been a little more optimistic lately.