Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Second post - painting with dirt!

This mural is amazing. Painted with dirt....and will end up being washed away.  Gorgeous and a statement on the fleeting nature of life.

shaking things up a bit... wild and crazy!

This keeps making me think of that old Steve Martin....I'm a wild and crazy guy!
I wanted to paint something for our bedroom in the new place.  Something big and abstract. I started with a faint vision but then it just evolved all on it's own :-)  There are a lot more colors and textures in this than you may see on your monitor. Try clicking to enlarge it; that might show more.

 It's pretty rare that I paint abstracts.  Well, that's not completely true; I do paint abstracted objects where you can identify the subject... perhaps a floral or still life, but it's not often I work only with color, composition and texture etc.  I see things here I'd like to change - may or may work on it more.  It's probably better to start a new one - maybe a different shape canvas, some different color combos but maybe with some of this coral in it too.  See where that takes me.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Products Demo at Riley Street Art Supply

In class I've mentioned the occasional demos at Riley's in San Rafael where a rep from Golden covers the various additives  (gels, mediums, etc. ) for use when painting with acrylics.   One is coming up in March - just wanted to alert you.   Saturday March 7 from 11:00 - 1:00 downtown San Rafael on 4th Street.   Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Beagle Boy

 This serious little beagle was a pleasure to paint though initially I hesitated because he seems to have a bit of a scowl.  Before I declared "finished" I tried to make him a bit happier but then it didn't look like him anymore.  He reminds me a lot of Mollie, our cat.  She looks stern but it's all a big act.  Pets are fun to paint. I may get into this a bit more.

Also, what do you think about a 'pop art' version of Beagle Boy -with some out-of-the-box colors?  If I do I'll show it to you

Below is the photo I worked from.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Your Invitation: Two Holiday Shows - Too Fun!

Follow the Leader - at Art Works Downtown

What a crazy time. We expected to move in October but the date's been changed four times.  It felt like a cloud had settled overhead and wasn't going to budge. Ahh..but then things began to brighten up: first I got the good news that the  two little warblers were selected for Studio Gallery's tiny show (last post) and now.. "Follow the Leader" has been accepted for the "Small Works" at Art Works
Downtown in San Rafael.  Yay!.... the cloud is finally moving along.

So - Save the Dates.   Drop by one or both receptions and enjoy yummy treats, likely some music and lots of fun art.   If you can't make the receptions, you can always visit these shows anytime during their run.  The website links below will give you more of an idea

tiny -  Studio Gallery 1641 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco
Reception:              Nov 16, Saturday 1-6 p.m.
Exhibition Dates:     Nov. 14 - Dec. 22
Check website for dates and times Gallery is open, especially around holidays.
slideshow with some of the selected pieces

Small Works - Artworks Downtown, 1337 Fourth Street, San Rafael
Reception:            December 12, Friday  5-8 p.m.
Exhibition Dates:  Nov. 21 - January 2
Parking lots are located on B or C St. between 3rd and 4th streets, the corners of 5th and C St., 5th and D St. 
Check website for dates and times Gallery is open, especially around holidays.

Wilson's Warbler and Blue Winged Warbler at Studio Gallery in San Francisco


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Not the greatest photo but...

My birds have new 'houses'!

Click to Enlarge
Finally my 'chickadees' are framed** - just in time for the tiny show at Studio Gallery. All pieces will be no larger than 7" in any dimension.  Once the gallery owners have put the slide-show up on their website, I'll send an update with the link.

In the meantime - the basics:
Exhibit Dates:  Nov 14 - Dec 22.
Reception:       Nov. 16th  1- 6 p.m.
Second Reception /Gallery's 11th Anniversary!  Dec 6th - 1-6 p.m.

....Each of the birds are available as cards or prints  here.

*framing by A.C. Graphics, san rafael.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

a Royal Enfield

6x8"   acrylic on boar
I spied this cool motorcycle recently--a Royal Enfield. Thought it was really old but when I looked it up, found out it's brand new although fashioned after it's predecessor - a 1940s war bike.  Enjoyed playing with the sunlight and bike shadow, the cars parked in the distance. Would really like to get a ride on this cool machine!

Monday, October 27, 2014

set up an art studio - any time, any place

Of course, it's great to have a room dedicated as your art studio --no worries about spilled paint etc. But  even if you don't have one, you shouldn't let that stop you from painting.  In class Saturday, more than one student mentioned the lack of having a studio/garage/dedicated room to paint in.  I want to encourage you not to let that keep you from painting.

Though I do have a studio, once in awhile I want to work on something at home.  We've been living in a temporary apartment for a couple of months and have lots in storage. While I have very little here here- it only took minutes to convert a space for a couple of hours painting.

I use the kitchen counter or table top (even couple tv trays would work), some grocery ads fliers that come in the mail, a small table-top easel,  brushes, paint, rags or paper towels, and water or mineral spirits for cleaning up depending on if I'm painting with oil or acrylic paint.  Here's what it looked like today.

(click for larger image)

Granted, didn't get very far on this piece. I don't have the original items anymore so just used it as a practice to get the metal of the bowl to glow.  I'll probably wipe off the board and begin a new painting.  

This is the same set-up I use occasionally when we're traveling.  So ....no excuses.  Get painting!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Unique Women making Unique Art

The class is Artistically Yours!   And the point is, for at least this one day, to make art that comes from deep inside - where you determine what and how you paint.  There are many wonderful classes on technique - and they are really important. But, at least once in awhile, you should put on some music, throw caution to the wind --and JUST PAINT.  Play. Experiment.  

If Picasso and Pollock had continued to paint portraits and landscapes, would we have known them? But they followed their vision - didn't listen to critiques - and their fearlessness made them universally known.

Some snaps of today's students on their personal journey.  It sounds easy but it is NOT!  You have to dig deep and be unafraid to follow a path that is not lit in front of you. I'm very proud of these unique women...and their unique art.
(sorry gals, not everyone got a great photo --the big windows blocked out a few of the photos)...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Artistially YOURS - a couple more empty spots!

 It's not too late - sign up tonight or tomorrow morning ... 

Get creative ~ have an adventure at Artistically YOURS!   
Oct. 25th  Saturday.   10:00 - 3:00; includes a lunch break.
College of Marin, Kentfield.  A one day workshop. 

We’ll have a series of exercises throughout with the day to set you on your personal journey. You’ll have a chance to explore and experiment in a relaxed, supportive environment. You will complete an original work -or two - or more!! ....without the aid of required subjects or photographs. 

All levels welcome.  Acrylic paint and/or hard pastel, markers or crayons.  

Sign up at HERE!  

SUPPLY LIST HERE    Be sure to use the right list! 

New painters - finding their voice - a wonderful variety of styles....

Notan Painting with modification

notan inspired still life     click to enlarge

Every so often I like to paint in a workshop with others to hone old skills and learn new ones.  I'm in one for the month October, every Friday, and am having a ball.  The first two Fridays we worked in the Notan style -with some modification.  Notan is a Japanese design concept - it has to do with the placement and power of your lights and darks.  Rather than think about the objects represented in your subject, you squint and find big masses of dark and light shape and paint those in an almost abstract manner.
Similar to monochromatic value paintings.  The idea is that for any painting (abstract to realism) to work well, it is how you use your -lights and darks - that contributes to its success.

The 'modification' I mentioned above: rather than black and white as you'll see in most examples of notan, we used Gamblin's Portland Grays (light/medium/deep).  The contrast isn't as great as notan b/w but it really trains you to use choose your values carefully in order to get some interest going.

First I painted in all the deep gray masses; then the middle, then the light.  I used a tiny bit of white for highlight in the focal point and a few very thin lines of black to define an edge here and there.

An anonymous quote found long ago --a repeat here...  "Color gets all the credit.... but value does the heavy lifting."   I use all the time in my classes (and in my head in the studio!)

Here's a kettle I found in an article....  one color, lots of values. You see the values give it it's depth and personality. If you had only one or two values it would be a pretty flat boring kettle.  By managing values this little pot has lots of personality.


You might enjoy reading more about Notan here.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

So many artists - so little time....

In my workshops, students have a wide range in what they enjoy and what they want to paint. E.g. in Saturday's class, I met folks who like plein air (outdoor painting) and landscape, digital painting, impressionistic etc.

I encourage you to pick out several artists whose work you admire and sign up for their blog or email newsletters.  I have a hard time narrowing down a favorite style of art... I really love getting art email updates from many I admire.

Here are just of few of  my 'faves'. (I know as soon as I post this, I'll think of more I should have included...)

Qiang-Huang  still life and landscape   (currently in his native home of Bejing; having trouble blogging)

Regina Saura  (click on the second line of text for her paintings etc.) 

Tim Horn plein air/landscape   

Carol Marine     modern, stylized realism

Jacob Collins  realism  (doesn't have an updated blog)  

Ken DeWaard  plein air mostly.  

Kathleen Lipinski  local Marin landscape artists (she and her hubby, Steve Emery)

Julian Merrow-Smith - an English painter who lives in France.  

Also check out Daily Painters  and/or Daily Paintworks

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Hot Day - Very Cool Class

Today's class was so into it!  Color charts and mixing,value scales and studies.  For a few it was the very first time they'd picked up a brush and painted.  Others wanted to step back and pick up some of the basics (terminology, techniques etc.) they missed along the way. Very open and friendly.  One of my favorite suggestion for painting loose and relaxed came from one budding artist:  "...and with a gin and tonic." Cheers to that!

So here are our 14 artists. Unfortunately it was hard to get the folks on the north side of the room- the light was pouring in. Sorry gals.

Thanks All for a great day.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Meditating a study

8x8"  oil on panel CLICK to enlarge

I was about to begin painting another painter who was standing at an easel well behind this young woman.  Couldn't resist taking a quick photo. She was sitting so calmly. The photo was from my camera and I'm not very steady with it. Maybe it's just as well - not much detail in the photo so the painting has to be pretty loose. What became of the painting of the woman with the easel, you ask?  Not good!  Wiped it off.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Red Faced Warbler joins her buddies...

Red Faced Warbler
Finished this little painting today. It was really a challenge because I wanted to use, generally, the background colors as the previous bird paintings but it was hard to make the body pop out. So I move to to a much higher key than my photo source....artistic license and all that.  Painting her face I kept wondering if she's singing, complaining that hubby's late with dinner, or calling the kids back to the nest...?

Here are the four in the series. Each is 6x6", oil on board
Click here purchase

This Cardinal - the background color is too different to group it with the others; I may change it. We'll see....

Monday, September 15, 2014

Two October Workshops - come on down...

Fall session at College of Marin has begun -and both my workshops are in October.

Student Conquering Color Mixing
October 4th -  GET READY TO PAINT!  10:00 - 3:00.
For complete Novices.  This class already is close to capacity.  If you're interested sign up soon.

October 25th ARTISTICALLY YOURS  10:00 - 1:00  (note, time is wrong in error in the catalog)
Open to ALL levels. Lots of playful painting - no specific subject to paint from. Exercises and warm-ups.

To sign up for either class, click this link, scroll down and click VISUAL ARTS and then find the class you want to join.    http://marincommunityed.augusoft.net/index.cfm?fuseaction=1010&&#!

Be sure to check my website for the Supply Lists!

Spread the word. Both these classes are no-stress, comfortable adventures.  Come for FUN.
Write me if you have questions.

Here are a sampling of photos from previous classes.  Do these 'kids' look like they're having a goodtime or what?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Guess Who?

8x8" oil on board
Took the photo not this but previous summer during the intermission of a children's production at The Playhouse in San Anselmo. There's a great park-like lawn...and kids were everywhere.  It was a fun day - the young thespians were so good; the picnic on the lawn-yummy. And getting several good paintings shots was icing on the cake.  One of my earlier posts "Follow the Leader"--also came from this same day.  The texture on this board is very hard and bumpy.  It's a birch board with gessoed canvas. I put plenty of paint on it; just a naturally rough surface.  Not sure if this is my favorite type.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bluejay - take two

Blue Jay
When I got in my studio yesterday decided the blue on blue of at mr. blue jay just didn't do it for me. When the paint dried it looked pretty dull. He sat surrounded by blue when two of the other birds in this 'series' sat in a "brown" background (green/red/ blue/white mixed in varying degrees). Decided to change him to match the others.

On a totally different note, you know how we're moving to our 'downsizing' condo soon.? We went over to take a peek at the construction Saturday; thought I'd post a 'before' picture.  SCARY!   Hard to imagine it done in less than 60 days.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Back to the Birds....

Blue Jay 

Cardinal Rules redux

Yesterday I decided to paint the blue jay.  He looks young and pretty sweet, no?  Unlike the blue jay we had a few years ago - that guy would dive-bomb my cat trying to pluck fur for the family nest.  The Ms. must have squawked 'my hero' each time he returns with a beak full.   The Cardinal - do you remember him from the other day.  While painting the blue jay I kept looking at the 'mauve' background and it look muddy to me; darker than you see in the blog (backlighting).  So I mixed up some naples white, raw sienna and a bit of white.  The little scumble at the bottom left is not the painting but rather the lip of my easel; I need to lift the panel and take a better photo.

BTW full disclosure: these are not my own photos and it's an iffy thing painting from them.  They are the photos I found in our local Wild Care magazine (Marin's animal education and care center)

Speaking of birds - check out these ravens.  Took this shot a winter or two ago - I've seen them several times in persimmon trees.  Feel free to paint it for halloween!  Send me your image if you do - would love to see it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Oldie but Goodie, Classes and more...

6x6"             Take Five      oil on panel
   click here to purchase

The title of today's post refers a painting I did awhile back. Okay, okay - I can just hear you saying "Oh - I thought you were talking about yourself!"  - very funny :-)  I started in the studio today; not sure if I'll wipe it off or finish it. We'll see...

CLASSES:  I'm teaching two Fall workshops at College of Marin. Check them out ...and if you know others who might be interested, please pass along the link to my blog - or just forward this email.  Note: Oct. 4th class has a limited number of openings.

Oct. 4   Get Ready to Paint - this class is for Total Novice students. See description/register here:     http://marincommunityed.augusoft.net/index.cfm?method=ClassInfo.ClassInformation&int_class_id=38&int_category_id=1&int_sub_category_id=1&int_catalog_id=0

Oct. 25  Artistically Yours - this is a 'free wheeling' painting session. Music, experimentation, very loose. Also one day. All levels welcome.  Read more:   http://marincommunityed.augusoft.net/index.cfm?method=ClassInfo.ClassInformation&int_class_id=39&int_category_id=1&int_sub_category_id=1&int_catalog_id=0

Trivia: I think I mentioned in July we sold our house of 22 years.  We've been temporarily renting an apartment until we get a new place.  One great thing about this location is that it's really convenient to most of our favorite haunts.

Here are a couple photos I took along the 20 minute walk to my studio....both of these photos were from the pedestrian overpass near the Larkspur Ferry Bldg. The top one is of two ferries that shuttle folks back and forth to San Francisco; the bottom shows a peak view of Mt. Tam in Mill Valley, two towns south of here. I should have waited to take it from the top of the pass, but you get the idea. I'll miss this when we move.

Larkspur Landing Ferries

Mt. Tam in Mill Valley 

Monday, August 25, 2014


Not getting much time to paint this week (aarrrh) ---one of those "paper work", appointments etc.  So today I'm posting a drawing I did last week at Linda's.  Don't do enough drawing - should be a daily activity - even while watching tv or waiting to get into that dental appt. etc. but...  Anyway, I was flipping through a magazine when I saw this b&w photo of model Tsanna.  Don't know her but...what great bone structure, no?  Called to me.  When you are interested in your subject it is SO much easier.   To those students out there - keep drawing!

Friday, August 22, 2014

A So Cal Study

Headed down to the OC to celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday last weekend...one of those Big '0s. Good Time.  Then treated myself to a short visit with my painting pal, Linda Yoder.

As usual, we got yakking about artists whose work excites us and she introduced me to Milt Kobayashi. Wow!  Awesome--full of exciting color and boldness. Energy and exaggeration. His style reminded me of work I'd seen awhile back by Malcolm Liepke, but a bit more whimsical. Evidently they studied and painted together.

I decided to do a study right then and there--using his work as a lesson in broad strokes for the face and figure.  I tend to blend blend blend when doing faces and figures. Wanted to practice putting color down and leaving it alone.

Here's his original followed by my study.  Lessons I worked on: line and gesture, bold strokes for the facial planes, minimal blending, and ..pouty lips! I left out his wild signature hair in the study. I love it but thought I'd just leave the study as is for my version.
Original.....by Milt Kobayashi

Study oil on linen - Valente
I will do a few more to get the feel ...the motor memory and then will try and paint a few of my own people in a bolder brighter way.  One day hope to take a class with this new FAVE of mine.

In the meantime - I'll continue my bird series....and painting some figures the way I have come to at this point.  Evolving is what keeps it all fresh and fun...but it has to come naturally and not forced. We'll see where this interest takes me...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cardinal Rules


Blue Winged Warbler

Still Don't Know!

Had a lot of fun painting this 'in-you-face-Cardinal'. Can't you just feel he's going to get his way.....or else!   While painting "Red" I kept looking at my two earlier bird paintings; felt they needed just a touch of something to jazz a smidge. I found a couple new photos of Blue Winged Warblers - they vary quite a bit from head to toe. So I selected a more chiseled profile and like it a lot better.  The bottom painting - notice there are are a couple brush strokes of blue in the shadows (we all enjoy a touch of make-up now and again)and I smoothed out his toupee a bit.  The highlights were too white before.  You can compare these with my last post.  I think the changes show of their personality a bit more.