Sunday, October 30, 2011

Me, model? Ok.

          One of my students, Janice, requested that I pose for her for another instructor's assignment. She wanted to photograph someone drawing. She gave me no direction other than to draw. So, I pulled out my blue chalk pencil and began to draw. I hope she received a good grade.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Recent Paintings and Drawings

Venturing into the Uncertain Divine

 Dream Lover
Aquatic Fantasy
Study of a Girl (Chloe)
Enduring Embrace

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Underpainting/Overpainting Portrait

Today, I began to add color over the underpainting of a woman.
The left photo shows the purplish brown glaze(thin transparent paint) applied over the red and white underpainting. The photo on the right shows the portrait 90% completed, opaque oil paint applied in the areas the the light has touched the face. I leave the glaze paint in the shadows untouched.
This technique causes the light to appear more illuminating.
Once this layer is dry I will apply a few glazes in select places to either darken or enrich the skin color more.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More sketches and a in-progress painting

above-Studies in facial expression and body language.

Study of the pose with the shoulders down.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Works in Progress - part II

This is my third sketch with this concept of two women embracing. In comparison to the other two sketches, I stiffened the pose of the woman on the right and lowered her head to add fear into her form.

Here is my color study, well it's more of a tonal study than a color study, but I did attempt to plan out what colors to use for atmospheric mood. This scan of this study is not very faithful to the actual study, but it doesn't matter, I will be altering the colors. More studies are needed.

A few hours were devoted to developing heavy textures with soft textures, as well as the lights and darks of the "landscape." This is a fun painting to do. I have a vision in my head of what it should be. When I close my eyes, it is as clear as a glass of spring water. When I open my eyes, I am not clear of what I need to do to achieve my vision.

A series of sketches for a concept not developing the way I want it to. I am just not thinking of or feeling a meaningful reason for the three dancers. Maybe I will return to original concept the center woman stood alone.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Works in Progress

I am feverishly sketching and beginning a group of oil paintings in preparation for a August show at the Philadelphia Sketch Club. I will be sharing the downstairs gallery space with my good friend Steve Iwanczuk.

(Above) The left sketch has freehand drawn (made up) hands and arms. The right sketch was completed after two models assisted me (thank you, Valerie and Deanne) in understanding what the human anatomy can't do. Before I transfer to my recently prepped linens, I think I will complete a third sketch combining certain details of the two sketches.

The first of possibly many layers of paint.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Homemade ink!

I received this jar of homemade ink from a great friend,
Chris "Patch".

He made it from the walnuts that fell off the walnut trees in his neighborhood, Chestnut Hill, PA.
Check out his blog posting on how he made the ink at:

You know it's good stuff, if it has mold growing in it!
(Footnote: I really don't know if mold makes for superior ink.)
My first attempt drawing with the ink. I attempted a loose drawing with bold washes. I achieved some unique effects, but I got too aggressive with the amount of ink I laid down and it got to be a little too unpredictable how dark the wash would dry. So I abandoned the drawing.

I had better luck with my second drawing. Worked much slower. Used a more controlled application and embraced the attempt to achieve realism. I pulled out my quill pen to achieve the fine lines in the fur.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lots and Lots of Obama Portraits

I created this portrait of Barack Obama to help me teach
a lesson on Creating Vector Portraits.
(Vector- a computer generated graphic art that can be enlarged or reduced to any size
without losing clarity.)

As with any good illustration, especially when creating vector illustrations, a sketch is required to plan out the shapes of the dark and medium tone. I scan in the sketches and begin to trace the shapes in Illustrator. After a few refinements to the shapes, I can begin to experiment with color and textures. The greatest advantage to computer generated art is how easy it is to make color changes as well as the easy ability to save multiple variations of the same drawing. It gets to be addictive trying to come up with better and better color designs!

While I didn't intend to mimic Shepard Fairey's famous portrait of Barack Obama, it's hard not to see his influential style within my rendition of Obama. His designs, used with silkscreen and stencils with spray paint, works very well with using the vector illustration technique. I always advise students to look at as much good art as possible and try to replicate the look in order to build one's creative skills -- watching out of course for blatant plagiarism!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

In Progress...

While the new canvases continue to receive their multiple coats of primer. I have been spending my free time drawing this sculpture of a angel recently given to me as a possible inspiration for a drawing.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Stretching Canvas - Old School Style

In preparation for an upcoming show in August at the Philadelphia Sketch Club, I decided to stretch some new canvases the old school, traditional way. It's really linen but everyone has no clue what I am talking about when I say stretching linens. Maybe they think I was talking bed sheets? I used to prepare all of my "canvases" this way, and stopped for a couple of years. But, I wished to paint these on a really great surface and, so, I dusted off the stapler, pulled out the cooking pot and purchased some fresh rabbit skin glue and oil-based primer for painting on linen.

Here are the steps for the month-long process of stretching one's own canvases or linen.
1.First, I prep the stretchers. I make sure they are square and that the corners are flush. If one corner is not flat I will get out the chisel and sandpaper and flatten the corner. If I do not do this then the canvas will wrinkle in the corner.
2. Before I begin stapling, I precut the linen approximately 3-4 inches larger than the stretchers. This allows me to staple the linen to the stretchers in this somewhat unconventional way. I make sure that there is some slag in the linen. This is very important because the glueing process will stretch the linen so tight that it can warp the stretchers, making the linen worthless to paint on.
Because this process, from start to finish, takes at least a month to complete,
I prepare as many linens as I can fit (or afford) laying flat, in my workspace

3. After all of the linens are stapled, I begin to cook the rabbit skin glue (I don't know if the stuff is really from rabbits and I'm leaving it that way) which comes in the form of crystals. When properly cooked the hot glue is liquid and easy to brush on. Almost immediately the linen will begin to tighten like a drum as the glue cools. Cover the pot of excess glue and place in the fridge for the second coat. As the excess glue cools it becomes jelly (Do not ingest, it not that kind of jelly.) After the first coat is dry, I slowly reheat and liquify the glue for the second coat, this time I coat the sides as well.
Once the second coat of glue dries (2 coats=approx. 1 day) I can begin the priming.

4. I prepare the oil primer (thick paste) into a liquid (like syrup) mixing in Mineral Spirits. Using a brush made for priming linens and canvases, I coat each linen with enough primer to cover well but not so much as to leave brush strokes. After 3-5 days the first coat will be dry and ready for a light sanding and a second coat. The more coats one puts on the linens, the smoother the surface. Personally, I put on 5-8 coats to achieve a very smooth finish.
I line the top of the excess oil primer paint with wax paper to avoid a skin from developing then cover the bowl, as well as the brush, with plastic wrap. Then, into the refrigerator. The cold will slow down the drying of the oil primer (oil paint as well) to prevent the excess oil primer and brush from drying. Warn your roommates that it is not Brush-On Food!