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.