Sunday, December 19, 2010

A few pages full of 5 minute figure sketches. (30" x 20", conte chaulk)
A couple of warm-up sketches are done before any live model drawing session. Similar to athletes stretching before the big game or the singer practicing their scales before their performance. I have to confess, I'm not a fan of doing these, but I do respect the exercise enough to do the act every time I am about to draw from the figure. Most of these pages get thrown away, but occasionally, I find them unique enough to save.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Figure Drawing

This drawing is the result of a rare opportunity to be able to work with a male model.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sketchbook Scribbles

Two pages of random scribbles both done with a ballpoint pen.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Painting of Fear

7" x 11", Acrylic on watercolor paper

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sketch, sketch, sketch...Sketch......and sketch, ske....

Here ya go Patch,

How did I create my Halloween painting? Well, this painting wasn't easy. I mean as far as drawing and painting goes, it wasn't any harder than usual. It was the idea, the concept and the design that was difficult. When I began to come up with ideas, they were either just horror themed ideas that did not pertain to the holiday or they were cliche concepts I had seen numerous times before. I did not want to repeat image history.
So, I researched my reference files (as well as Google) to look for inspiration. After collecting over 20 or so images, I began to doodle a variety of different ideas. Ultimately, I thought it would be unique to take the photo of a sculpted boy and draw him on orange paper with green chalk. While it sounded like a good, creepy idea to put a clown costume on the boy and use the color palate of Halloween, it just lacked something...The Wow! factor.
So, back to sketching. Sometimes, illustrations only require one or two drawings. Not this illustration. The collection of drawings below is about half of what I did trying to work out this Halloween concept.
I love using tracing paper for these type of drawings. I am not ashamed to trace at all!
When I realized I was going to draw the entire body of the Trick r Treating boy. I purchased a pumpkin bucket ($1) at Goodwill, put on my puffy shirt, and my partner, Valerie, shot some photos of me --that's right! I own a puffy shirt. And so should you! Need reference of pirates, a prince, or halloween costume, well you need a puffy shirt.
Thanks to Photoshop, I was able to distort my sketch to achieve a more dramatic view of the Trick r Treating boy.
The final sketch, above, done on tracing paper with pencil.
Unfortunately, I have only one photo of the oil painting in progress. In my typical process, I began to paint the objects in the back ground first. I gave extra efforts to paint the heads in the back ground as well as I could in one sitting (8hrs) knowing I was probably not going to have time to go over them with a second, more refined coat of paint. To accelerated the drying process of the wet oil paint, I placed the painting inside of my car for a couple of hours during a hot, sunny day.

A friend of mine used to place her paintings in the oven on low. She once forgot about her painting in the oven and returned it, to discover a burned painting. Needless to say, she did not use her oven for drying paintings anymore.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Mary's Nightmare Before Halloween
Oil on Board, 12" x 10"

Show Info:
This October 1st - 31st

Autumn Society of Illustration, Philadelphia Cartoonist Society and Proximity Gallery present:

Opening Reception - October 1st, 2010
October 1st - October 31st

2434 East Dauphin Street
Philadelphia, PA 19125

Abstract Art

Two abstract artworks of mine just recently displayed in the
Philadelphia Sketch Club's Abstract Show.
Color pencils (Shades of Grays) on black paper
Oil on Board

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I will draw for food

It's not unusual for me to vacation alone. It doesn't bother me one bit. In fact, I commonly become more social and speak with complete strangers. I will also find myself happy to be dining alone with a sketch book and pen and draw my surroundings as I wait for my meal. Don't misinterpret what I write, I love people and hanging out with friends and my loved one, but I am just as content being alone with my thoughts and some art supplies.Left: A local restaurant in West Chester, PA called Penn's Table. A stack of highchairs and a view outside.
Center: Drawn during my first visit to Madrid, Spain. I enjoyed my meal so much that I returned to eat for three more consecutive days. The food and service was so good that I didn't understand why I was the only customer there. I eventually found out they had only been open for three months.
Right: Drawn during a visit to Kansas City, MO. Wherever I visit I always try to find a good place for breakfast. I knew I couldn't go wrong with a restaurant named "Simply Breakfast."
Left: During a visit to Chicago, I fortunately discovered this great genuine diner that probably hasn't changed in decades. I got up so early that I had a lot of time to kill before the Art Museum opened. Therefore, I invested more time to create this drawing.
Right: Drawn on Madrid, Spain during my recent visit. I love the broken bread I had been snacking on as well as the salt and pepper tray drawn on the page. The taller bottles are for Olive Oil and Vinegar. The only salad dressing available in the majority of Spain.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Introduced to Illustrator CS5 (and new laptop)

With mixed emotions, I invested in a new laptop, a Macbook Pro. I have grown up with PC computers, but because of my need to upgrade to Adobe CS5 I questioned whether or not both my Desktop and laptop would be able to handle the upgrade. Both systems being maxed out in RAM and processor speed, it was best to invest in a new system as well as convert to Macintosh computers. I have spent the better part of two weeks transferring files and learning the differences between the PC and Mac.

Along with learning the Macbook Pro, I have been playing around with the new Adobe CS5. So far, I have not seen too many changes in the formats of the programs I commonly use (Photoshop and Illustrator) that would off throw a regular user. Adobe has added a few more tricks and options, but nothing I see that will revolutionize the way professionals will work. I only hope students of Adobe CS5 will not get lost in the overwhelming clusters of filters and options.

My first project with CS5:

I spent the better part of a day creating an invitation for a Birthday party. My client is a huge fan of dragonflies and therefore requested the invitations be designed with dragonflies.

Despite knowing I could easily create these dragonflies in Illustrator from start to finish. Possibly even saved a little time, as well. I still preferred starting with a pencil and ink with a brush.
My ink drawings converted to vector shapes. I love the Live Trace feature in Illustrator. And Live Trace respected these ink drawings as well and did a very good job.
The finished design.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Designer Doors

A recent project I am fortunate to be involved in is the revitalization of the school facility where I teach some college courses. Antonelli Institute in Erdenheim, PA (just outside of Philadelphia, PA) has been busy updating their old building that once served as a public elementary school. While better class room layouts, flat panel screens, and better lighting for student art and photography displays are installed, I was busy adding some decorative design to select doors through out the building.

The doors were created with a subtle play of the Antonelli Logo. Using Athena the goddess of creativity, Antonelli Institute (established in 1938) designed a Art Deco inspired representation of the goddess.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Freedom Playground

Above: Photo taken by Andrew Simcox

About four months ago I was asked to volunteer to do some murals for a playground designed for all children, especially disabled children. The playground and murals were constructed completely from volunteers both skilled and unskilled. With great pleasure, the murals are now complete.
(As always, click on the photos for enlarged views)
A mural of the Philadelphia Art Museum with the Sculpture of Rocky Balboa painted on the rock climbing wall.

Mural honoring Penn's landing and Independence Hall

Mural of Boat House Row

We were very fortunate to have a tent to work under while we painted the smaller murals which were then placed along the fence.

The mural of the Art Museum, on the other hand, was painted without safe cover. I am so amazed and grateful for everyone who came out and volunteered to paint in the 90+ degree heat and sun and humidity.

Credits for everyone who helped me paint the mural. Not everyone is represented in these photos.
Valerie Deaton, Rob Margiotta, Christian Patchell, Gina Stewart, Matthew Stewart, Karen Donaldson, Tom Broido, Beth Pergolini, Holly Firesheets, Crystal Hoez, Stephanie Yearick, Meagan Wenlock, Monica Cookes, Kelly Clark, Kevin Zazycki, Lauren Braun, Jewel Kurland, Ann Kriebel, Sandra Benhaim, Alexandra Capone, Deena Ball, Janice Lohuis
(If you helped paint the mural but have not been give credit, forgive me if your name is not represented)

This is the color study I did for the Penn's Landing/Independence Hall mural. First sketched in Pencil on Tracing paper, scanned, then colored in Photoshop CS4. The squares above and below are all of the colors needed to paint the mural. I used codes to indicate matching colors for different sections of the mural.

The photo above is the color swatch page used to mix and match the donated paint for the mural of the Penn's Landing/Independence Hall Mural. I spent most of the first two days mixing the colors from the dozens of random used exterior paints. 95% of the used paint was unusable. But, I managed to mix most of the colors necessary for the mural. Still, some colors I wanted I did not want to compromise quality in vibrancy and tone and was grateful for the friends and colleagues who donated to the Freedom Playground Custom Paint fundraiser I coordinated.

To: Jennifer Davis, Roger and Judy Scull, Lisa Deaton and Leslie Gearhart, Ed Zawora, and Andrew Simcox, thank you for your generous donations.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sketch Book Pages

Two recent sketches done in acrylic.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

K-Wiz displays a custom skateboard and a robot illustration in both Northern Liberties, Philadelphia and Old City, Philadelphia.

Right: title: Slave to the Show
Left: title: The Owl Catcher

Click on photos for larger view

More information on the shows:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Who's K-Wiz?

Allow me to introduce to you K-Wiz. He is my alternate personality. The part of me that never grew out of my teenage appreciation of comics and graffiti. He rarely makes public appearances or displays his works to the public. But, this First Friday of May he will have two paintings displayed in public.

For one show I will be painting a custom skate board deck for an exhibit at The Exit Skateboard shop in the N. Liberties section of Philadelphia.

The other exhibit I will have a painting for the Domo Arigato exhibit at the Brave New Worlds comic shop in Olde City, Philadelphia.

Here is a sneak peak at K-Wiz's artistic endeavors:

Who (or what?) is the Ringleader commanding?
What is this Owl trying to escape from?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Watercolor Sketchbook

I recently pulled out this sketch book of watercolor paintings for a watercolor workshop I did for high school students. Before demonstrating a few key techniques in applying watercolor, I presented several examples of watercolor illustrations and personal works I had done in explaining the different ways of applying watercolor for various effects and styles.

These are just a few paintings I did while I was in Pont l'Abbe, N.France (Translation: Bridge to the Monk) and Galicia, N.Spain during the summer of 2006.

The page to the left was done at the bottom of a very high cliff in Galicia, Spain. This coastline is called the End of the Earth. My favorite story on how this location received it's name is the fact that it is the furthest west of the European continent. Therefore, during the time when the public considered the earth flat, they assumed that they could see...The end of the Earth at the horizon. Furthermore, they believed that when the ships would sail beyond the horizon, the ships would fall of the earth and perish.

As for the page on the right, I was sitting alone, outside at a restaurant table, drinking a coffee and drawing the church, peeking through two buildings. My intention was to paint the whole page in color, but the older waitress and I got into an argument over me possibly making a mess on her table if I used my watercolors. Despite leaving with a unfinished painting, I have fond memories of defending my cleanliness to a Spaniard in a language a barely knew. The page on the left was one of the first drawings I did in the sketch book. This page sure is dark and somber. I still recall how burnt out and exhausted I was when I began my vacation in France/Spain.

On the right was one of the last paintings I did in this sketch book. This page is much more upbeat. I obviously returned to the US in a much better mood. As I walked in this unknown town called Galicia, I purposely got lost in the narrow streets and discovered this amazing plant bathing in the sun. Growing from the crack within this outside wall, the flower discovered one of the few places the sun can beam within the street. So lucky I am to have discovered the flower's discovery.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

In Progress...Part 2

I managed to squeeze in a day of painting during this busy week.

I know that I am going to devote at least 15 to 20 hours of time just to do a painting. Therefore, I don't want to gamble with the possibility that the painting may or may not turn out well because I didn't devote 2 two 3 hours gathering reference and experimenting with the sketch paper and pencil with layout, composition, lighting and emotional impact.

Below, on the left, is my page of photos I gathered from magazines and the internet to help guide me into drawing convincing hair in the wind. To the right is my second attempt to design the hair blowing in the wind.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

New Header!

I finally managed to update the header of this journal. After all, the top of an artist's journal should have something representative of one's creative lifestyle. The execution of the header went through a couple of changes before it evolved to a retouched photograph. First, I began a drawing with a white pencil on black paper. But, I was working with reference that did not have the proper lighting I prefer. After spending a very frustrating hour trying to guess how to "dramatize" the lighting upon my face, I abandoned the drawing and the photograph.

Fortunately, my friend and master photographer, Robert (Bob) Golding offered to help me with my lack of reference information. His appreciation for detail and lighting made me confident that he would successfully direct me into an expressive pose. After I showed him my failed first attempt for the header, we got to work.

With one, very bright, spot lamp, a tripod, camera and a few experimental poses, Bob captured several usable shots

My original intent was to paint a self portrait with oil paint. After all, I am a painter more so than a photo-retoucher. But, after a few hours of adjusting, some retouching, adjusting some more, then a little more retouching, I was very pleased with the results.

Here are the multiple layers I used in Photoshop CS4 to achieve the header created. My favorite layer is the layer named "Stampface." On that layer, with the amazing "Stamp tool," I managed to soften my caveman eyebrow.

Thank you Stamp Tool!