Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Miki's Lillies

Modern Art Museum by

THANK YOU MICHELLE BURNETT! for posting in your blog this fun web site where you can make it appear that your painting is in an actual museum.

This painting is almost as big as it is depicted in this image. It was an oil of my neighbor's lillies that her husband grew for her. It is 30x40 and was part a set of two paintings I did for her in exchange for a water heater that needed to be replaced at my house. I have never painted flowers especially on such a large scale but she seems very happy with this and she says she gets compliments from visitors because it is the first thing they see upon entering her home.

Scratchbord Octopus

I love this little scratchbord. It was a sample in a bag of goodies that were being given out at a Utretcht Store opening on Van Ness in San Francisco. It's only about 3"x5" but it was fun to work in the negative so to speak by scratching in the light rather than filling in with black. If you click on the image you can see some areas where my razor blade skipped over the surface instead of leaving a solid line. It left a cool type of stippling in places.

There are some awesome scratchbord artists out there with their most amazing images of animals and flowers because of the ability to etch such fine lines for fur, hair or vein in a petal. I'd like to do another one but the Libra in me is always bouncing back on forth on what the subject is going to be. No flowers, fauna or animals. I'll have to think about it more.

I'm wondering if people think I'm like the "Stanford and Sons" type artists blog. I think it's because I'm rather new in the art industry but it does seem with all the other wonderful artist's blogs I visit every day, there is not more than 2 or three mediums the artist works in. Or there is a set style and subject matter they focus on. Is that the secret to their success? Instead of my shotgun "I wanna try everything" jack-of-all-trades I should try to master one?

Thank you Karin Jurick!

I've been following Karin Jurick's now famous blog Different Strokes from Different Folks ever since the cow assignment in Week 8 . I felt like a kid with her nose pressed against the Toy Store window looking at the other kids play and have fun with the assignments she was giving. Like a "sign" she announced a year-end three week project and I knew this was the time to jump in with both feet and without a life jacket.

Being the professional artist she is I was amazed that she promptly replied to my email and let me know there were 130 applicants for this assignment. I saw how here participants went from a beginning group of 55, and bounced from 48 to 83 in the following months. I believe others were like me and decided it was now or never because this was such an intriguing project. I want to know who paints Karin!

As for my assignment, I was so lucky to have this handsome man as my subject. He is wearing a hat, has facial hair and is back lit by a beautiful scene of snow laden trees. He has tiny flakes of new snow on his shirt and hat. I took artistic liberty in making the snow more obvious on his hat and shoulders and omitted the trees in the background. I would like to read or hear his feedback on the painting and it is his if he wants it. It is oil on 12x12 Ampersand gessobord.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Emerging Bloom

This is another painting that I wanted to be one thing but ended up being another. On the right side there was a face looking at the lotus flower but I painted over it because it ended up competing with the bloom and I did not want that. The shimmer is from a little bit of ground glass that I mixed in with the white before I made the different hues of blue and green for the woven background. I toned it down and it does not reflect like Christmas wrapping any more but I like the photographic image of this painting.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Past Life

I thought I would post a composite that I completed during one of my certification classes. It was a simple composite of two halves of a photograph [top and bottom] that were drawn together for a imaginary face. It took me about and hour and a half. All pencil on standard 11x14 sized paper. I will post one that used five photographs later.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Have you ever felt your life was one big mess and you just have to plop down and untangle it all before you go another step? I've been feeling a lot of that lately and this painting reflects it well. The undulating white forces trying to make headway but they are hampered by the scraffito blue lines from making any progress. This is the first version. I later changed it to add more contrast by darkening the blue and adding more dimension to the white swirls. Some days I like the original version and others I'm satisfied by me trying to deepen the experience.

Friday, December 26, 2008


"Angela" is an artist I met in ArtBistro's website. So talented in so many fields. She makes beautiful jewelry, creates sensuous and vibrant paintings and charcoals and writes amazing poetry. She also has the habit of changing her avatar frequently, apparently fueled by her creative spark and sometimes by her mood. This self portrait for one of her avatars was my favorite. She kindly sent me a jpeg and I completely a 8x11 pastel for her. She seemed very happy with it and I am pleased with the results. I have not been inspired by another image since. Any offers out there?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Three Graces

Merry Christmas. I decided to post one of the few paintings with a slight spiritual theme. "Three Graces" started out as another attempt at a calligraphy piece. I scraped it down and let it set for a while. One day I had to paint and I had to express myself. I did this alla prima. 30x30 on canvas. I decided that it satisfied and comforted me physically and emotionally so I called it the "Three Graces".

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

An experiment

I wanted to try and do something different. I had been looking at a bunch of Japanese lettering tattoos on the web. I also like the way I was able to work wet on wet with the oils and create a nice texture to the background. I studied the different "Kanji" and decided I loved the look and the meaning of 'yume' or dream in Japanese. I tried to recreate the calligraphy style of the large brush strokes for the kanji 'yume' and then wrote the Hiragana 'yume' in white on top of it. I thought it turned out pretty well. I liked the end result and I've thought of doing another but I have decided which Kanji to render yet. Maybe I'll be inspired by something later.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I finally did it!

I've been meaning to start this blog for quite some time. Okay, maybe just a few months. I thought if I started it now I would have it ready to greet the New Year in a couple of weeks. I'm really looking forward to 2009 as I'm sure many people are after a tumultous 2008.

I plan to document my journey into a career in fine art. I had declared a Major in Fine Art in college but because rent and car payments called, I ended up quitting college and entering the Oakland Police Academy after being hired by a Bay Area Police Dept. All through my police career, folks would ask me if I painted and I would always say, "No, not really."

A year after my retirement, I took some private lessons to learn some oil painting techniques and every once in a while I'll go back to water color but there is something about oil.

I thought oil was going to be like a slow drying acrylic paint which I was totally used to and very confident in. Not so Uncle Joe! Even with the fantastic developments in additives, textures and new techniques for acrylics (which I am dying to try also) there is so much you can do and learn about oil. I'm back to being a student but I'm loving it. After learning the basic techniques by painting landscapes [which I still don't like to do] I painted my first chosen subject. That is the painting at the beginning of this entry.

The splitstone or Lithop is a plant that has always fascinated me. The plants are native to the arid lands of Africa and grow only to a couple of inches across. I love how the plant appears to be a bulbous green blob until it splits and another "stone" appears and starts to grow and separate the "rock". Fascinating. In this painting, I didn't include all the little spots and blotches and kept the surface more smooth because I ended up liking the look of it. It's 24x30 and took me about 3 or 4 days to paint and then tweek a little after about a week of letting it dry.