Continuing on my path to try and be more abstract, this poor painting went through MANY iterations (not least of which was a completely new reference image after painting on it for about 3-4 sessions). I played with adding cars, removing cars, adding building details, removing details, changed the color palette from a sort of mauvy base to this more cerulean blue base. This is also one of the largest paintings I’ve attempted since college, hitting 3×4 feet. I struggle a lot with the scale. Only in the last 2 sessions did it really click that all I wanted to do was play with colors and layering (versus capturing structural details – my instinctive approach). I feel a little more confident about it, and already have ideas for what I want – no, how I want – to paint next.
After a few sessions, this was where the painting was. I was not happy with how bright it was and how there was no continuity of palette – just a full on rainbow that barfed on the page. I also was already giving detail I didn’t want.
I toned it down and tried to pretend like I didn’t know how to capture the perspective (it was too round and I wanted more angularity). I couldn’t handle it though.
That’s what I have to say about that painting!
Starting fresh. Leaning heavily on my tan/mauve and purple palette. It wasn’t striking a chord though.
Which is how it got so green! This is a sample of when I started adding too much detail (and cars) that I did eventually ditched. Not to say that it wouldn’t be fun to make a realistic painting of San Francisco again some day, but I am really trying to experience this new way of thinking about the process.
I’ve been on a painting kick in the last year. Normally I don’t make time to get down into the garage to work on personal projects, but I’ve been trying harder to make it a habit. Helping keep me on task, I’ve also been documenting my process more than I ever have, and in this last painting, I took snapshots of the piece at the end of every painting session in order to see how the piece evolves. It’s so easy to forget where you started from, especially when you have days and weeks between sessions. So, I enjoyed seeing it come together and thought it would be fun to share.
A little back story is that the photo I referenced I took while on a road trip through the Southwest. The image was taken on Navajo land just east of the Grand Canyon. The gorge in the painting is in fact the same canyon, just a little less of the grand part, as it becomes shallow and narrow enough to cross like any ol’ river a few miles further down the road from where the photo was taken.
Over the summer, I completed a series of watercolors, the second time I’ve done so for the Sereno Group annual calendar. The images are of points of interest in the South San Francisco Bay, Peninsula, and Santa Cruz Coastal areas, and they will be featured in the 2015 calendar.
It was fun, as painting always is. I enjoyed working on the sunset image over the Baylands park, as making smooth gradients in gauche can be tricky but rewarding. I also really enjoyed painting the ship that sits at the dock in Capitola State Beach, as the colors of the rusty ship were really vibrant and contrasted beautifully against the bright teal water. I also haven’t played much with painting waves, and was happy with how they turned out.
I’d be happy to pass along any extra copies of the calendar that I get if you’d like a copy. Send me an email or leave a note in the comments if you would.
Originals are also for sale. Final sizes are roughly 8-1/2×11 inches.
I got a very interesting illustration project last week. I was approached by an international clothing company (based in DC here in the states) called Siqin that designs high-end clothing lines inspired by East-Asian, specifically Mongolian fashions. They were interested in having me create a watercolor that they could use for the 2014 season in their advertising and catalogs.
Based on a photo of a model riding horseback through a chaparral terrain, they wanted to heighten the sense of adventure and romanticism that their clothing lines express, in addition to putting her on a Gobi desert background. I was happy to take on the project, as it’s a very unique request and it’s always nice to have an excuse to break out the watercolors.
I used the reference photo and followed it pretty literally as far as form and color (well, with some caveats – I don’t like painting with black, so the horse is a blend of dark colors, mostly purple). Only other changes were to make the face a little more Eurasian and have her leaning in, not holding the reigns, so I have her lightly touching the horses neck instead. Having the nature of the clothing be clear was another factor I considered, so was careful to recreate the lines and folds of the fabric.
Here is a quick look at some of my sketches and the reference.
It was a quick project, turned around in just a couple days. Looking forward to seeing the final product in the Washington Post where they’re placing the ad.
So I was going through updating my portfolio site, as one does, and I came across these illustrations I made back at Pratt, when I was taking Lynn Pauley‘s class. We took a trip to Coney Island in the off-season. It was eerily deserted, sand piled up on the boardwalk, carney’s lazily hanging about. It was great. I don’t even remember having a camera at the time, but I guess I was able to capture quite a few reference shots which I pulled this series from.
I was heavily influenced by Pauley’s style in that class. She works very loosely, basically considering nothing sacred, owning, no, cherishing the “mistakes” like a line that didn’t end up where you’d expected, or eraser marks boldly left half erased. I don’t think I ended up owning her style for myself, at least not to the extent that she owns it, but it was such a valuable experience to create something with almost casual ease. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I feel that these paintings that came from the experience feel casual and light-hearted, while still feeling a bit washed out and creepy, which I think was kind of what I was going for at the time.
I’m definitely digging back way too far with this one, but it is pretty rare that I have a piece/body of work that I did half my lifetime ago that I still enjoy sharing with people and laughing about. Back in my senior year of high school, I was in the AP Art class and we had to create a 16-20 piece body of work on a theme of our choice for our portfolio review at the end of the year. As I was just starting to learn about a variety of artistic movements that took place in the last century or so, I decided it would be fun to paint images that were homages to some of the artists I had learned about, and in some cases admired. But with a touch of absurdity, of course.
While working on a piece that was an exercise on using contrasting colors of the color wheel, I decided to paint a pear stuck in a padded room (yellow/purple color scheme). I enjoyed the mental image of a piece of fruit being psychotic, and so there developed the subject of the rest of the paintings in the series: Psycho Fruit. With the exception of 2 pieces, the psycho pear included, the rest of the series’ paintings do in some way mimic an artist’s style or play off a specific painting by an artist.
I made this awful website ages ago to house this collection, which does get the job done so I haven’t felt much compulsion to make it better since (though one of these days I will have to rephotograph them at a higher resolution). In my typical fashion, I also created and categorized the pieces neatly into 4 series of 4. Mind you, I’m no psychiatrist, so should not have been the one diagnosing these poor fruits, so apologies if any of the neurosis are mis-categorized.
If only I had broadened the project to include vegetables, then I would have certainly made the Van Gogh piece an *ear* of corn.
Yeah, I don’t think that OCD is technically a paranoia, but I guess I can see why I wanted it to fit nicely into my organizational system.
Ok, Peter Max was an odd outlier amongst the artist I chose to emulate. But really, can you imagine a better muse than a psychedelic artist for a series about psychosis?
So that’s the truth of it all. I admit easily that I could do it all much better now (I mean, I’m technically a better painter now), but even with their flaws, I have never really gotten sick of these pieces. It’s probably a sickness of its own, but I really just enjoy how ridiculous they are. I can only imagine what the judges thought when they saw these come across their desks. Clearly they enjoyed them too, as they committed me. To art school…
This past weekend I attended WooCamp, near San Lucas, California. I took the opportunity to be off the grid to give oil painting another go. I hadn’t touched the stuff in probably 5 years, mostly on account of it being extremely messy and me having no where in my humble apartments to work on it without destroying every piece of clothing I own, or the apartment itself.
But it was nice to get my hand back in it (yeah, literally, I’m such a messy painter), and no better place than spring in central California. This is the off highway 101 Central, not off Highway 5 or 99 Central, to be specific. And yeah, there’s a difference. While both are pretty rural/agricultural, the hills along this side of the state make all the difference. It’s definitely a part of California that doesn’t see much play in tour books, but definitely the sweeping chaparral that I strongly associate with this state and my childhood. Golden hills, purple and blue shadows, bright yellow mustard plants popping up every where, and the quintessential gnarly oak trees, which are so impressive to look at, but SO difficult for me to paint.
I make no promises to have many more of these posted in any near future, but in an ideal world, I’d have time (and space) to paint more often.