Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A.W.O.L no more...

A.W.O.L. for the non-military folks stands for Absence With Out Leave. It's been a rough month folks and I apologize for being so behind in posts and responses.

This painting does not do this lovely lady justice. I didn't capture her smiling eyes as well as I wanted and her face should be more oval. Her portrait of me is much more flattering and I adore it. You can see it on her blog HERE.

Because she finished hers within the first week, I was able to find out this is Christine Maclellen. This is actually the second painting I did of her. The first one, I thought I made her face too long. If I had time, I would paint a third and I am sure it would turn out "juuuust right".

8x10 oil on RayMar

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Gotta Go"

On a lighter note, I was at my daughter's soccer game a couple of weekends ago. We were in the industrial part of town and Porta-potties were scattered around the edges of the field.

No one I know likes using these facilities but I couldn't help but notice they complimented the fall leaves so well.

This is probably more than you want to know but during my 26 years as a cop, I only had to use this option once. It's inconvenient enough to juggle a 15 pound gun belt with attached baton , flashlight and other stuff in a regular stall; it was downright comical trying it in one of these.

16x20 oil on board

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Roger Kellmann 1961-2009

Roger Kellmann died last week and his funeral services were today. Roger was an all around good guy, good officer and great husband and dad. We were on the Hostage Negotiation Team together when I was working at the Department. Roger was also a CSI and a Field Training Officer. He died from suspected heart failure which is a common side affect of the job stresses. He will be missed.

8x10 oil on canvas

Monday, November 30, 2009

A "Little Landscape"

This little landscape was based on a friend's photo taken of our California hills. Painting smaller is in no way easier!

5x7 oil on canvas board

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Vicky Chen - artist

Vicky Chen is a talented printmaker who rents a space in Benny Alba's studio. She graciously let me photograph her at work .

You can see some of her wonderful prints on her website HERE.

6x6 oil on board

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not Cold Cut...Caldecutt Tunnel

This is bore #3 of the Caldecutt Tunnel in Oakland. This is based on a shot I took from my cell phone when heading west toward Oakland from my part of the East Bay. The orange glow is from the Sodium Vapor lamps used inside the white tile tunnel.

I think this is the bore that George Lucas used in a chase scene in his first feature film THX 1138.

I was imagining I was about to drive into the mouth of a giant monkfish. Okay.... so I need to cut back on watching Discovery Channel.

12x24 oil on canvas

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Airport Aerobics

Most of us have participated in Karin Jurick's Different Strokes from Different Folks Blog.

I spent waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much time with this one. The disadvantage of submitting it so late is running out of clever titles for one thing and the inevitable comparison one does with the other awesome submissions.

Check out those fabulous paintings on Karin's site HERE!

12x12 oil on board.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saved from a fall

This is a close up of my other painting from my day out with the Pleasanton Art League. Just as I was packing up, it flopped over and landed on the top edge on the ground. So when I got it home and I just repainted the top 1/2 inch or so to salvage it.

8x10 oil on Raymar panel

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Plein Air Debut

Everyone who has been a part of Karin Jurick's Different Strokes from Different Folks challenge knows Edward Burton.

I'm lucky that I live a couple of town/cities away from Edward. He was kind enough to let me know his plein air group was going to painting in my town.

[That's Edward painting a tractor]

Forrest Farm is a City Park and where there is a Farmer's Market on Saturdays. While we were there, the park employees were giving tours to a couple groups of school children.

My first attempt was looking at a clump of trees near a creek bed and the second was a tractor at the rear of one barn. They also train sheep dogs on this park land and it's so cool to see these dogs do their job out there.

The group plans to come out again next week and I'll try to join them again.

Both paintings are oil on 8x10 RayMar board.

Remember our Veterans....

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Protecting your body of work

Many of you already follow Alyson Stanfield's ArtBiz Blog. For those who don't I wanted to share some important information about protecting your life's work.

Imagine you seeing another person ( we won't even call them an artist) selling an image or product [ jewelry, glassworks] that is almost identical to yours. You send them a letter to please not copy your work. To your surprise, YOU get sued by this person alleging YOU are stealing their copyright.

This is the nightmare John T. Unger is going through. Listen to the phone call between John and Alyson and learn some basic ways to protect your work - one that involves what you do already when you post on your blog. Click HERE for the phone call.

Friday, November 6, 2009

An abstract now and then....

I like doing them because I can't do one all the time. I just have to be in the mood/moment and it becomes a mental doodling of sorts.

This turned out the way it did with no preconceived notion of where it was going. Do abstract artists have a set image in their mind all the time when they set out to paint?

20x16 oil on canvas

click to enlarge image

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Clockin' In and Out

I'm sure many of you have never had to do this, but I used to have to use a time clock to document when I arrived and left work at a men's clothing warehouse many years back.

What brought this memory back? I was at a downtown Oakland Art Gallery for an informational talk held in the basement of the building. The basement is also a part of the gallery as you can see the modern paintings and photos on the walls. However with all the contemporary images that commanded my attention, the one thing I was fascinated with was this vintage time clock.

I painted this on a wood panel and kind of like the way the painting itself turned out to be rustic and vintage looking itself.

16x20 oil on wood panel

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Malissa again

The only thing you may recognize is that determined look again. This is based on an old photo that I don't recall who I got it from as an emailed jpg. I was afraid I'd lose this image of a 6 or 7 year old Malissa warming up behind stage before the yearly performance with her old group Motuaina here in Bay Area, so I decided to paint it.

I loved being a part of the group for the 5 years we were there. Now she has decided she would rather concentrate on competitive soccer. I miss the family atmosphere, the dance, the culture and the costumes. It was great while it lasted.

9x12 oil on board

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

May all your treats be sweet....

Friday, October 30, 2009

Weed Lot in Pleasanton

My blogger pal Michelle Burnett does an excellent job hosting a "Following the Masters" challenge.

This month's challenge was Van Gogh. After reading the information about this Master and following the links she provided, she challenged us to duplicate or make an image in the essence of Van Gogh. I decided on the latter because studying his paintings intimidated me a bit.

This is based on an abandoned lot filled with dried weeds near the Val Vista Park in Pleasanton where my daughter practices her soccer.

click to enlarge image

24x30 oil on canvas

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

DSFDF challenger- Macy's

I submitted this for the Different Strokes from Different Folks Challenge. I thought she didn't post it but Lauren pointed out it was. *doi!* Thank you Lauren!

I had fun working with graphite powder and charcoal pencil for a really rough and rustic looking sketch.

8x10 graphite, charcoal on paper.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lucy and Chance

This is my biggest commission yet. It was so fun to do because the subjects are so interesting. Lucy is [I think] a chihuahua mix and Chance is a Golden Retriever. Lucy rules the house and even sits on Chance to remind him now and then. This is 36x36 oil on canvas.

When I went to deliver the painting to my friend Karen, who works at Pet Depot where I hold my "Meet the Artist" mini-events, told me the store was hosting a first aid class for pets this afternoon. I was amazed with the professionalism of the instructors and class. They even had a dog dummy to practice artificial resuscitation and CPR. Those skills and basic first aid made up for a 3 hour class.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


My Malissa. So different from Donovan but similar in important areas.

Here she is sitting waiting for her brother to have his soccer team photo taken. He asked her to be in his "buddy" photo. She plays for a competitive team in another city while Donovan is content to play recreational soccer in ours. So she sits a bright orange blossom in a sea of navy uniforms.

This is her usual expression. Intense, a little suspicious and cautious. Around friends she is the goof-ball and ham but deep inside I know she is always thinking. Donovan and Malissa have a close sibling relationship which I treasure because I didn't have one growing up with my younger brothers. Perhaps it was because of the tumultuous home life we lived. We're a little closer now but I love seeing these two take care of each other when they are not annoying the heck out of one another.

24x24 oil on canvas

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Those of you who have been with me for a while know I've painted my 12 year old daughter a couple of times.

Last week, my son, who had been sick with the flu was at his dad's. He was on his way to school when he started feeling sick again with fever and dizzyness. He knew his dad was out of town and his dad's wife was not answering the phone. He called me and I told him to come right over since he was already a block away.

When he got here, he texted his dad's wife who then called him back. She told him to stay with me until his dad could pick him up later that night. I didn't mind but I guess she assumed I didn't have plans. I canceled my trip to help Benny Alba that day and stayed with my 15 year old. I took the opportunity to snap a few shots and I really like this one of him on the couch watching TV. Even thought he's taller than me now, when he's like this I suddenly see a little boy again.

This is a larger piece 24x24 and now that I've done a piece this size, it's time to paint one of my daughter to match.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Saddle Shoes

Wasn't it in the 50's that saddle shoes were the rage along with poodle skirts? My only personal memory of saddle shoes is the time a US Army doctor convinced my mother that I needed orthopedic saddle shoes to help correct my flat feet when I was 9 or 10 years old. I was "horrified" that I had to wear tan and brown saddle shoes when my friends all wore cute patent leather Mary Janes. Now I think they're cool again.

When I went to SF with Benny Alba a couple of months ago, I was lucky enough to sit across this dignified gentleman. He carried a cotton blue and red bag on his shoulder but I thought he looked very dapper with his white cap, white slacks and saddle shoes.

8x8 oil on hardboard

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sadie and Howie

Animal Place asked for a piece for their annual fundraising silent auction held in November. How could I resist.

I included Animal Place's very popular Howie in all his golden glory and then there is Sadie....

Sadie is Animal Place's program coordinator Marji Beach's favorite. Based on her past treatment when she was strictly a dairy cow Sadie was very leery around people. Marji described a breakthough with her in the Animal Place blog HERE.

9x12 oil on hardboard

Monday, October 12, 2009

Have you "Twilight"d?

I think almost every young girl from age 12 on up has read the Twilight series. I read them with my daughter because I wanted to make sure they were not too racy or violent. I could not believe she read all four books [average of 600 pages each] fairly quickly.

When the movie "Twilight" came out, I was prepared to hate it but was blown away with the wonderful direction of Catherine Hardwick.

With "New Moon" set to debut next month, my daughter has been collecting fan mags on all the movie stars. I remember Tiger Beat and all those other teen fan magazines. For me it was Davy Jones, for my daughter it's currently "Edward Cullen" played by Robert Pattinson.

I thought it would be fun to "force" myself to study this face ans see what all the fuss is about. Turns out to be one of the easiest sketches I've done in a while!

11x14 pencil on paper

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Vespa madness!

Even my 15 year old son wants to scoot around Italy on a Vespa one day. Vespas are the ultimate in compact chic transportation. These are all vintage Vespas and I had great fun painting them.
These are three 6x6 artboards I lined up together for the pix.

click to enlarge the 6x6 oil on board paintings!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tre Amici

I was near the UC Berkeley campus helping Benny Alba with her upcoming show. I noticed the mode of transportation of choice appearred to be scooters for the students. I loved seeing these 3 Vespas surrounding by bigger , darker motorcycles.

I'm not entirely happy with the result but I enjoyed the process so much, I painted three more vintage Vespas on individual canvases. So four paintings in one day! I will post the three others tomorrow.

6x12, oil on artboard
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Purrcasso Art & Craft Gala

Berkeley's Humane Society hosts an arts and craft's auction every year. I chose to paint Calhoun because he is their cover dog on their home page.

They were asking specifically for functional items so I donated a cotton tote decorated with acrylic.

Go to their blog and see the talented illustrators that contribute their work. There is even an Emmy award winning illustrator contributing this year. [ I didn't know illustrators could win Emmys]

Berkeley is right next to Emeryville which is home to Pixar. I was lucky enough to be able to arrange a tour of this fantastic workplace when it was my turn to teach a segment in my leadership course in alternative solutions to workplace environment. At that time, they had the storyboard for "Cars" posted all over their second story walls. You'll see many of the contributing illustrators work at Pixar and recognize their style.

Calhoun is oil on 8x8 board, the bag measures 15x17 inches

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Animal Place's Awesome Aiden

I got a little teary eyed when I read about Aiden from Animal Place's Website:

Aiden is a "bummer lamb". In the sheep industry, ewes oftentimes give birth to twins or triplets. This is more than a normal ewe can handle and many times one of the lambs will be abandoned to die.

Such was the case with Aiden who was abandoned and rescued by someone who found him crying and near death in a field.

Aiden is very special. He rarely hangs out with sheep, preferring the goats, pigs, humans or cattle as companions. When he sees a person he knows, he'll come bounding down the hill for some attention.

Aiden's being auctioned for Animal Place HERE.

8x10 oil on Art Board

Saturday, October 3, 2009

And now something completely different...

I never played with baby dolls when I was growing up. I don't remember why. I've always been fascinated with what I believe are mostly male designers think what cute or beautiful babies to be. Some of the images kind of scare me to tell you the truth.

Maybe by blowing them up and studying them as I paint them, some of the mystery can be explained. I don't know. I'm thinking of doing a couple of more.

24x18 oil on canvas

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sweet Susie from Animal Place

I couldnt' help but smile at this content pig basking in the warm sun. This is what Animal Place wrote about how sweet Susie got to be at their sanctuary:

Susie was a research pig whom the researcher fell in love with. She and her sister Valerie were saved from slaughter (as is the fate of many research farmed animals) and has lived at Animal Place since she was six months old. She's now 8!

Many thanks again to Sam Dolman who so patiently helped me figure out how to put that cool little widget on the side. Sam sent me to HERE on ebay to get the code to insert into the widgets on the customize page. I just had to figure out how to resize it a bit because the code was written for a blog post. Lil' Susie is 6x6 oil on panel.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Summer and Sadie from Animal Place Sanctuary

This is what Animal place wrote about these two:

"Summer (left) is a dairy byproduct, an unwanted male calf. They are sold at auction for between $3-20 and are generally considered worthless by industry.

"Sadie (right) is a former dairy cow. She never knew any of the calves she gave birth to. At the young age of 6-7, she was sent to slaughter but miraculously saved.

Now, she gets the chance to mother two more calves (Nicholas was her first opportunity). She's very gentle with both of them. "

I've placed this painting up for auction on Ebay HERE.

Sam Dolman was kind enough to try and teach me how to add a widget on the side bar for these listings. I'm still trying to figure it out.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Nate from Animal Place Sanctuary

After 7 games of soccer between my two kids over the past two days I'm a little pooped! I feel bad because it was the kids who were playing in 100+ degree weather for most of the games.

I'm trying something new. Animal Place Sanctuary is the midst of a big move to bigger and larger Sanctuary. I would like to try and auction my paintings where all the profit goes to them. I intend to only keep the portion that would enable me to buy replacement materials and reimburse me for the shipping and handling.

What do you think? Any suggestions/comments?

From my fellow expert artist/blogger pals, how do you insert the ebay widget on your page so I don't have to tell my viewers to go HERE to see this on ebay?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Visit Sam Doman's Blog!

I am a HUGE admirer, groupie and fan of Sam Dolman's unique animal paintings. If you look at the enlargements of his paintings [just click on the thumbnails on his blog] you can see each individual stroke of fur/feather/hide lovingly placed on the canvas to render his amazing images.

He's sponsoring a 'Giveaway' of a print right now with a little contest. Check out his work and enter his contest! Just click HERE to get there.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Meatball the cat

This is my contribution to James Parker's Art challenge blog.

He was also featured in a previous painting perched on Malissa's shoulder.

Meatball is our 19 pound cat. He is my son Donovan's cat. It's uncanny. Because cars will park day in an day out in front of my house but when the SUV that brings the kids home parks outside, Meatball immediately goes to the front door to wait for them. This is before you can see them get out of the vehicle.

11x14 oil on gessoboard

Sunday, September 20, 2009

If life gives you lemons

you're supposed to make lemonade as the old adage says.

I had grabbed some veggies from a local Asian market and was painting this Bok Choy and watching a documentary called, "Dear Zachery" on my computer. This movie chronicled the movie maker's friendship with his childhood buddy who is killed by his doctor girlfriend. His friend who was also a doctor just learned the girlfriend he was leaving was having his child. After his death, his parents try to win custody of their grandchild and is ultimately let down by the system.

I was weepy already from watching this film when my son calls me from his dad's. His dad and I don't see eye to eye on how to treat/deal with issues and I feel so powerless when my son is upset and I cannot go over and give him a big hug. I called his dad and I fight my natural compulsion to tell him what I really think of him try to make it his idea for an alternative way to deal with the issue.

I watch the rest of the documentary doing the ugly crying because of the tragedy of what these grandparents go through and my guilt of 1. not being able to do more for my kids and 2. feeling bad because it really isn't as bad as what these grandparents have gone through.

So if a painting of a vegetable in the cabbage family can reflect my dismal mood, then I've succeeded.

This is oil on 8x10 gessoboard.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Just for fun

I painted these to take down to a little gift shop in our town. The owner took two of the four paintings I brought to show to her partners.

They are 5x5 and 1.5 inch deep acrylic on canvas.

I have not sold any paintings on ebay [except for a couple of ACEO's that my fellow bloggers so kindly bid on].

I'm going to give it a try.

The Honu listing is here.

The Peace sign listing is here.

There are little 2x2" mini-canvases that I put magnets on the back. What do you think of them? What would you pay for a little painting like this?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Confounding Cupcakes!

I thought this would be fun. I had missed a couple of challenges for Karin Jurick's Different Strokes from Different Folks blog. I thought....o, yummy ...a subject near and dear to my heart, "this should be easy." HA!

I have never spend so much time on a challenge piece! Four separate painting sessions, correcting most of the time and trying to keep from scraping it all off and starting over.

I thought I'd be clever and flip the image so the shadow was on the opposite side and then line them up vertically because the majority of the submissions were horizontal. [also because my fav artists had already painted my previous ideas of close ups and other lay-outs]

I started out with a off white background on a burnt sienna toned canvas. Wasn't happy with it, gave it a yellow wash; REALLY hated it and then gave it a green wash and then finally a bright green layer.

The cupcakes didn't turn out the creamy way I wanted like some of the other challenge artists did. They remind me of the display food Japanese restaurants have in their front window for customers to look at that can look a little dusty after time. Learned a lot though...[patience for one]

24x8 oil on canvas

Monday, September 14, 2009

This is Thizz....

8x10 oil on RayMar board

This is "Thizz" . A memorial piece for a friend's "first baby" as she describes him.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

8 Seconds

18x 20 oil on canvas

I have been following Michelle Burnett's Challenge Blog ever since she started in April. It has grown rapidly in just the few months she has started it. I was always a little intimidated because of the caliber of artists submitting their work and the subject matter seemed very complex.

When I checked on Following the Masters this time, the challenge just cried out to me, "DO IT!" with a subject near and dear to my heart. Her blog is also educational and I loved the website she listed on her lesson plan which directed the viewer to the works of Western Artist Maynard Dixon. Seeing his paintings again tipped the scale.

I grew up on Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, the Lone Ranger and every Western [movie and TV] out there. When I was growing up in Japan, I would accompany my dad to the Army Base movie theater and watch every 'spaghetti western' that came in.

Some of the few American TV programs that Japanese TV Stations ran were Rawhide, Bonanza and the Rifleman. I grew up thinking that the Cartwrights were fluent in Japanese.

So thank you Michelle... this little cowgirl had a great time painting this image.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Portrait Quandary

Someone wanted to give a memorial piece for her friend. Her companion Bandit passed away and she had mentioned she always wanted a painting of him. This person asked for a photo of Bandit and the top image is what she got. When asked about any other images, she said the only other photo she had of Bandit was with him under her arm with his head facing the other way.

I immediately noticed Bandit didn't look too happy in the photo. I don't know about you but I wouldn't be too thrilled if my mom brought herself and another family member into your close quarters. I'm not an expert in animal body language but I worked enough with Animal Control officers when I the director for the local shelter to know that ears back isn't a happy dog.

So I asked if I could paint Bandit with ears propped up a bit. Since she has seen Bandit, I had her approve a little sketch to make sure it look okay before I painted it. I sent her the finished image today and she is very happy with the end result.

Anyone else deal with these sort of issues? How would you have dealt with it? Would you have just painted the image as it was?

8x10 oil on gessoboard