Thursday, April 30, 2009

Practice for DSFDF challenge

So my follow DSFDF'rs found out what Karin's next 3 week challenge was.   I read her post very carefully and was impressed that she seems to know her followers well.

Instead of panicking this time, I went to all the websites she listed and also looked at her cityscapes.  She's right, I've never done a cityscape, never had an interest to but how am I going to learn if I don't constantly reach outside my comfort zone?  So last night I forced myself to try an paint a photo my friend took while we were walking around Pier 39 in SF.

It's not great but it's not as awful as I thought it was going to be before I started these challenges.  I consider it a warm up for the NYC image she posted.  Oy Vay!

8x10 oil on RayMar

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sometimes my Ex really tics me off!

I'm sure this is not the kind of self portrait Michelle and Tracey were thinking about but this is what I felt like after getting off the phone with him talking about the kids.

Okay, I feel better getting it off my chest.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Beauty and Brains

I've been a fan of Tracey Clarke ever since I first discovered her blog soon after I started blogging. 

Tracey does the kind of work I wish I could.  Mixing realism with fantasy; mysticism with beautiful images.  Not only does Tracey have all this talent, she has a delightful sense of humor, a loving and doting husband and a great gaggle of animals.  

Tracey is a striking beauty and I've always wanted to paint her.  Her fantastic bone structure would be the envy of any model but also the way she allows herself to be photographed is facinating.  Please check out her blog and website and see what this young lady can do with brushes and paint!

8x10 oil on RayMar

Monday, April 27, 2009

Challenging Commission

I was delighted to have been asked by my contact from the SPCA to do a commission for an employee.  She sent a Jpeg of the lady and her favorite cat I am assuming.

I emailed her back and asked her if she wanted any particular color for the background or if she wanted to have her shirt black and if the price of $50 was okay for a 6x8.  [I know it's low but I'm giving the employees a good price]

She emailed back and said she would get back to me.

I started on just the form because I thought it would be challenging with the two subjects.  Then like some projects, I kept going back to it all the while waiting to hear from the employee.  Well the gal went on vacation and I went ahead and finished it.   I guess I can always change it right?

I know, I know, next time I'll ask for a direct contact number so I can work with them directly.  I'm still learning!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Companion of Diana

When I first saw Karin Jurick's lastest challenge on Different Strokes from Different Folks, I thought,
1. "What the heck is she thinking?"
2. "She wants us to do the whole statue?"
3.  "What the heck is she thinking?" again...
4.  "Am I going to do this?"

Of course,  like always, Karin has a very good reason behind this lesson.  Drawing is a fundamental skill needed for any kind of painting.  So I thought, I would do this in pencil, then I thought I'd challenge myself with adding watercolor, then I settled on acrylic because I hadn't worked with it in a while.  

I am surprised that I was wrong in thinking this challenge did lessen the submission pool.  Take a look at the awesome entries from people around the world! 

8x10 acrylic on canvas board

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My first equine portrait

Please go to the AFSA blog to find out why I decided to try and paint something I didn't think I could.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Working on a couple of things so....

Here is a painting I started a year ago and then changed every few months or so when I felt like it.  The last change was done a few days ago.   These are 24x36 oil on canvas....

Interpret them as you will!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kayla again

Find out why I painted Kayla again on my AFSA blog.

4x6 oil on canvas board

Angela Again...

I've know Angela Buxbaum for a few years now after meeting her on  She is an amazing artist, jewelry designer and poet.  I recently found out she was on Facebook too.  Like shoes for some women, she changes the style of her avatar often.  I was struck by the latest and asked permission to paint it.  It sort of turned out to be more of a caricature of her but I like it because it reminds me of Manon Doyle's style of women (which I adore!)

If she looks kind of familiar, some people may recognize her from an early post here from a different avatar.

Please visit Angela's website and check out her wonderful work.

12x12 oil on Ampersand hardboard.

Monday, April 20, 2009

And the winner is...

As you can see we followed the strictest guidelines under our State's gaming laws.

Congratulations Michelle Burnett for winning the Hoover Dam painting.

My son wanted to pick a winner too; so Dean Grey you get a small consolation prize.

So Michelle and Dean, please email me your address to and I'll get those prizes out to ya!
How fun was this?  I may have to do it again!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Do you remember this?

I posted this a while back as an experiment and wasn't quite sure what to do.  

So after my trip around 7 states in 6 days, it inspired me to do this based loosely on a camera phone image.  What do you think?

Drawing for the Hoover Dam paintnig will be done after Malissa comes home from school.

12x24 oil on canvas


No big commission from yesterday but I did get some more cat food for a 'pleine air' commission for another shop employee.  She want a painting for her daughter's birthday present in May.

She gave me two photo references.  One was in a frame with a collage of images you see a bit of on the right.  She then gave me a B&W photo of the pose she wanted to have the dogs in.  Mind you, the heads in the photo were about the size of a nickel.

Business was slow anyway because there was a Civil War reenactment occurring down the street.  She wanted a bigger canvas so I drove home (15 minute round trip) and got an 11x14 canvas board.

I then spent the remaining time I had for my "Meet the artist" event painting inside the store.  [about 2 and a half hours]

Sorry about the quality of the photo but I forgot my camera and used my phone to capture the images so I could leave the painting with her.

That was it!  I got several inquiries and we'll see if that results in anything.  HUGS! Oh, reminder.. contest ends tomorrow...

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Panser is another painting for the Art for Shelter Animals Project.  

According to staff Panser's a pointer who is  "spry senior" just looking for home to call his own.  

I'll be at Nicia's Pet Depot for another, "Meet the Artist" event.  Hopefully I'll have good news with a commission or two (crossing fingers).

6x8 oil on RayMar

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bunny for Malissa

Okay, so this is non-forensic and really not really fine art related but I wanted to show you why I haven't been painting/drawing the past day and a half.  

I know seasoned sewers could have whipped this out in an hour but it's been a while trying to sew something where I had to print out a pattern downloaded from the web.  

Malissa picked out the fabric and now I'm going to wait outside her school to deliver it to her before she walks to dad's.   She told me she wanted it 'right away.'

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Okay... I've decided

I am going to make the contest very simple.  Any one who comments on this post will have their name place into a hat (or bag if I can't find a siutable hat) and on Monday, my daughter will draw the winner for the painting of Hoover Dam.  That gives everyone an equal chance right?  It also tells me if a follower needs an image to read my posts....heh heh...Good luck!  hugs....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Micro mini gallery?

Okay, so I may never have a gallery showing but I was pretty jazzed when the SPCA I am working with  emailed me  photos of the donated display case that is set up for the paintings in the lobby of the shelter.

Isn't it cute?  The photo is a little low res but you can see Max on the left, Kayla on the right and a couple of watercolor artcards on easels at the bottom.

They don't have a display case for their other shelter but they are going to discuss how to display my work with staff either this or next week.

Even though I not getting any money from this, the feeling of actually seeing a dream of mine [ Art Saving Animals Project ] coming to fruition is payment enough.

Thank you Everyone!!

I am overwhelmed with the generous response and awesome advise to my dilemma which is no longer such.I have decided to push the prints or giclees because I don't want to take more time from painting other subjects and my kids [including making a bunny for my daughter she's been asking for every day since Easter]  

Thank you so much.  Your support and advise on art and on life is priceless. 

Super Cyber Group HUGS!

this is Sadie 6x8 oil on RayMar for ASAP

Monday, April 13, 2009

Question for my blog friends who paint with oil...

"Big Boy"  is another subject for my ASAP .  [Art Saving Animals Project]  He's oil on 6x8 RayMar.  I apologize about the glare because he was wet when I took the picture.

So the SPCA has told me for the third or fourth time they want to officially launch the project these week.  

The contact person asked me if I could paint duplicates of a couple of paintings that are already sold [remember all the money from sales goes directly to the shelter] because  a couple people were  interested in buying Bingo and Kayla.

I told her I wasn't exactly a Xerox machine (nicely and not sarcastically) and if I could try different poses and colors.  She was hoping I could get it as close as the original.

So my question.... I don't know if I can do this.   Any suggestions on how I should approach this request?   I don't even know if I recall what colors I used.  Pretty bad huh? 

Oh and another thing.. when I do these donation pieces, I do them with enthusiasm.  When she asks me to duplicate my painting, the spark on painting something new is gone and I think it will actually feel like work.

What do you think of  either asking for a portion of the sale price  on duplicates or asking her to have potential buyers of duplicates referred to me?   I don't want to bite the hand that's giving me free publicity....

Google yourself every now and then...

Funny what happens when you Google yourself sometimes.  I used to find only police stuff but now increasingly it is art related.  [which is good right?]  Today I found a new entry that link to a page on a book written by an instructor I took several classes from.

It's a page from Carrie Stuart Parks book titled "Secrets to Realistic Drawing".  It was a class exercise she gave me during one of her classes.  A better photo and more details are on this post of my blog.

Thanks for humoring me.

This is Mike

Can you believe I was extremely shy as a child?  I was probably perceived as rude when people talked to me and I responded by hiding behind my mother clutching her skirt like a curtain over my face.  That probably looked pretty ridiculous when I was 16.  Just kidding!  Actually I was extremely shy until I was about 12 dropping the skirt camouflage at around 3 and turning to looking down and shuffling my feet.

Now I am extremely comfortable talking to anyone about almost anything.  This was developed when I was a street cop and an Internal Affairs Sergeant.  Needing to establish instant rapport sometimes meant the avoidance of fighting or resistance by the contacted party.

I still am that way.  I'll talk to the grocery clerk, or the guy helping to fix my phone.  [and no, I am not that type of person who talks to just anyone on the street or to birds in the trees]  Sometimes I find it challenging to find some common ground or areas of similar interest and every once in a while, I'll realize early on, they don't want to be bothered.  On the other hand, more often than not, I'll find someone that has lead an extraordinary life.  

Mike was one of our transports.  After two days on the road with him.  He shared with me and my partner his troubled childhood,  his innate talent and success as a professional skateboard performer in Las Vegas as a teen and how it was squashed early on by being placed in a foster home because of neglective and abusive parents.  Drugs helped him cope but then lead to two jail stints.   Now he was trying to start anew with a new girlfriend and young children.  He turned himself in for a charge he claims he is innocent of.  This took him away from his 4 year old daughter and 2 year old son but he sees this as an opportunity of wiping the slate clean.  My partner and I have the same philosophy of  the possibility of change and setting a new course no matter what life dealt you in the past.   Hopefully we both encouraged him that things will get better and he will return to be a positive influence on his children.

What Mike did for me was remind me how important my role as a parent is no matter how seemingly brief my time with them is.   Even though my budget has me eating cereal and peanut butter sandwiches near the end of the month so my kids eat better, it is much better than what life in jail or prison is.  I can choose when to eat, what to eat, when to sleep, shower and able to go outside when I want for as long as I want.  The fact he savored the fresh air when we had the car window down as we were driving underscored the fact the little things do mean a lot.

[this is watercolor, pen and gouache on a 8x10 Fredrix watercolor board]

Sunday, April 12, 2009

For my Blogger Friends

First of all thank you for all the positive feedback on my landscape from my trip.  I'm flabbergasted because I don't/didn't do landscapes because I didn't think I was very good.

Secondly, I know I am over due for a contest give-away on my blog so I painted this yesterday.  To make up for it, this is a bigger painting; 8x10 on canvas board.  No palette knife work here like the previous.  Thank you Sam Dolman for asking!  I did a little palette knife work on the top clouds.

This is based on a photo I took while we were winding our way through the tourist traffic.  Our prisoners both had lived in Nevada, hence the trip to NV jails, and were giving us bits and pieces of info on the Hoover Dam.  

For the contest, I'm looking for ideas.   Instead of a couple days like my Facebook contest, I'm thinking a week.  It could be easy like  "how much was that first pet commission with the two dogs?"  or a little more complicated and esoteric such as the best way to promote my ASAP blog and program.   Please give me suggestions.  This is YOUR contest. 

Happy Easter to all....

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Small painting

This is a small painting I did yesterday based on one of those 75 MPH photos out the front windshield I took with my digital camera.  It was the perfect fix for my painting 'jones' yesterday.  

Even though I don't usually do landscapes, it certainly fit the bill.

On a side note, Erika Nelson won this for getting the closest guess to the mileage on the trip.  Not counting my commute from California to Nevada and back, the total mileage for this trip was 3,600 miles in 6 days.  This contest was on Facebook

Uh.... now that I'm telling you this I think I should hold another contest for my blogger friends....

6x8 oil on Raymar

People sometimes ask...

why I have a positive attitude. Like my profile says, I always look for the light because I 
have seen so much of the dark. It doesn't mean I don't like the dark parts of life because 
like a painting, you need the darks to highlight and emphasize the lights. This comedian 
kind of simplifies my outlook on life.

Life is amazing....a prime example is finding a wonderful group
of people I would have never met through blogging. How cool is that!

Friday, April 10, 2009

I'm home!

a plant in the room I stayed overnight on my partner's ranch. Micron on paper  

Oh my goodness, I'm surprised I'm not as exhausted as I feel I should be. 

For the past six days, I got up no later than 6 got on the road and after driving for no shorter than 10 hours, dropped the prisoner off at a jail and then checked into a hotel room no earlier than 8pm.  Today, up at 6, dropped off our last "passenger" and then drove to from Elko, Nevada to Dayton, NV, then to Patterson, Calif to my partner's home and then an hour home drive to get back a little before 11pm.  

Thank you for the well wishes everyone!  All prisoners ended up thanking us and telling us we were the best transport they've ever had (even though they were both going to jails or in one case a Federal Prison).   

I miss my kids ( I have to wait until Saturday though because the ex is taking them to Tahoe in the morning), my pets, my bed and all my blog buddies!  Oh, and I am surprised as to how much I miss my art!  I can hardly wait to wake up tomorrow and start painting.  For now, here are a few of the quick sketches I was able to work on.  (Difficult when you're driving 12 plus hours a day)  We went to several states I've never been, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.  I had been to Oklahoma and Nevada before. 

 Again, it's good to be home and I'm glad to be able to reconnect with my friends.  Super Cyber HUG~

The motel's washer with my uniform inside entertainment for the night.  ballpoint pen
Newly incoming women waiting for the medical screening.  Althought it was only 8pm, sleeping is a common way to cope with stress in this environment.  These were not our transport prisoners. This jail had a very loose environment.  No one was handcuffed to the bar as you can see, the males were located on the other side of that half wall, the adjoining room had holding cells with a couple of doors open so the prisoner could just walk out if he wanted.   Very different form the four other facilities we went to.
ball point pen on copy paper I asked for from the intake secretary.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Back in the saddle again....

So the folks who've been following my blog know the financial challenges I face after my divorce and dealing with the fact the ex gets a chunk of my monthly pension.  

I never really wanted to but I'm putting on the basketweave again.  The economy has struck even our middle class neighborhood and part time jobs have been hard to find.

I was offered a gig that I cannot refuse.  A guy who worked with me at my old PD called out of the blue and asked if I wanted to work at a new prisoner transport company.  I was hemming and hawing because I thought I was through dealing with that part of society.  A few days ago, he said he had a job if I wanted to start right away.  It may be a one time job or I may decide the money is good enough to work once a month until my bills get paid to a more manageable pile.   

I'm leaving today and I'll be driving with my partner to Dayton , Nevada; picking up someone in Las Vegas and transporting him to Colorado.  We then have to go to Kansas, Oklahoma and back to Nevada with a couple more pick-ups and transports.  I should be back by the 7th or 8th at the latest.

I hope I'm back by the 8th because I promised my daughter I would take her to the SPCA volunteer training class that evening.  She's been bugging me to sign her up.  

The only other negative (besides not seeing my kids for that time) is not being in contact with my blog pals.  :o(

My Facebook and Twitter pals can see what I'm doing because I'm going to try and load photos of where I am while on the trip with my mobile phone.  

So please don't forget about me while I'm gone.  I'll be back and hopefully have some more interesting stories to tell.   Oh, I wonder if they'll say anything about the new equipment I want to bring with me.... HUGS!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Will work for food...

Cat food that is.  I went to Pet Depot to pick up a check for  my first commission.  The owner didn't have the store checks with her.

One of the clerks for  whom I painted a "pleine air" of her deceased beloved dog during the 'meet the artist' event on March 21st said she was able to not cry for the first time yesterday when she saw her painting of her precious golden retriever

She asked me if I would paint one for her sister whose dog Murphy just passed away at 15 years old.  She said this dog was 'her baby'.  I said of course and she asked how much I wanted for it.  I know she does this job at the pet store for the love of animals not money.  I said she could buy a bag of food for my cats Meatball and Sami.   So paintings like this go easy because of all the love I see in this face.  I'm going to deliver it today and pick up my check for the prior commission.   Things have a way of working out don't they?

6x8 oil on RayMar

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


This is a little 8x10 watercolor on board that I am giving to the Pet Depot Owner for having me have the "meet the artist" day at her store.  She liked the event so much that she booked three more days in the next three months to do the same.  [This is despite the fact, I only got one commission]  So it was a struggle because I'm not that competent with watercolor but I thought I'd try it anyway.  What's she gonna say?  I started this last month, put it away for a couple of weeks, bought some gouache for the small details to see if it would help.  Oh well, that's the advantage when it's a gift and not a commission right?