Monday, August 31, 2009

I found this dried piece of kelp at Carmel when we visited Val and Bruce this summer. It had an interesting textured pattern and purple translucence that reminded me of stained glass. So often artists and designers find inspiration in nature. How often have you heard, " Let's bring the more of the outdoors indoors...) in those HGTV makeover shows? I think an industrial designer or fabric artist would do back flips over the surface pattern of this leaf (unfortunately the photo doesn't do it justice).

On another note, the 50/50 Show came down on Saturday. If you bought a bird, I will contact you this week to arrange delivery of your painting(s).

Thanks to everyone who helped make this a very successful exhibit for me, it went far beyond my expectations and I am honored that you would choose to have a piece of my art in your homes. Thank you!

Friday, August 28, 2009

50 Birds in 50 Days

The book is here! For those of you who missed out on getting your favorite bird, now you can own the whole collection for $25. The book is full color, 54 pages, softbound, printed on premium paper, and measures 7" x 7" (close to the original dimensions of the artwork). Preview the book by clicking on the book icon at the right. You can get a copy from me (and save the shipping charge) or order directly from Blurb. If you'd like a copy, send me an email and I'll be happy to get one to you!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Here's another small watercolor from my travel watercolor book done plein air. This is a view of a grouping of huge boulders on top of Mt. Diablo looking toward the west. I spent the day hiking and sketching with my pal Marty. Marty is a bird artist with killer talent.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Global warming?

My friend Kit over at Chic Provence posted last week about bringing round forms into our square and rectangular spaces and that got me to thinking about our collections (some of them with round objects) and how we go about displaying them. My collection of vintage globes (all round, of course!) spill out of our fireplace creating an interesting arrangement while tossing a little humor at the viewer at the same time. Here are a few more collections in our home:

Our Day of the Dead pool balls are content in a dish we bought in Radda in Chianti.

April's extensive and expensive doll collection was in dire need of a better home. It was lost in this out-dated dark wood cabinet for years. To remedy the problem we simply painted the cabinet and added interior lighting. Now the dolls are not as creepy when they stare at you, but I'm still convinced some of them come out at night.

What treasures at home do you have that could be displayed with more impact?

Friday, August 21, 2009

24 x 66
oil on canvas

Blue was painted a few years back when I was experimenting with aligning different (yet related) images together in diptych and triptych formats. The landscape is a view of Abbott's Lagoon in Point Reyes Station National Park, one of my most favorite places on earth. In fact, I'm long overdue for a day trip with my pal Shawn. As we lean toward September, the fog will disappear and the days at Abbott's will be sunny and stellar.

I've ordered a proof of my 50 Birds book which will arrive at the end of next week. If all checks out well, the book will be ready soon after. I'm going to attach a direct link on my sidebar for those of you who'd like to order a copy. I'll also have a stack of books here at home for those of you nearby who want to buy directly from me and save the shipping cost. The book is printed on premium paper and will cost $30.

Have a good weekend everybody, I'll be slinging some oils on the bird and preparing a few lessons on axonometric drawing for my students. Good times!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Here's a fun little project I'm working on for my friend Shaari. Shaari lives in a beautiful apartment in San Francisco on the 10th floor with a 360 degree view of the city, bay and Golden Gate bridge. She's changing the foyer design to include some acrylic wall sculpture pieces she bought in New Zealand. She wants an X with a little bird perched on top to welcome her guests just above the doorbell, so we're now working out just the right design for that moniker.

There's so many ways to bring a custom look to your home without spending a whole lot of money. Remember, it's all in the details...

Monday, August 17, 2009

A watercolor sketch from my Moleskine book.

This is an exciting and busy week! I've put the finishing touches on my 50 Birds book and if all goes well, I'll have copies ready in two weeks. Also, my class begins on Thursday evening and I'm looking forward to leading my students through the world of perspective and paraline drawing. We will brandish our black Micron pens and grey Prismacolor markers and render up a flurry of interiors and furniture. Watch out!

I'm also back on the Between Two Worlds painting having let it sit for a few weeks...sometimes you just need to let a painting gel for awhile. Oh, did I mention I'm stuccoing my back retaining wall? Now that's a whole story all in itself!

Friday, August 14, 2009

North Pole/South Pole
12 x 26 x 2
oil, wax, silver leaf, ice pick

I've always been fascinated with paintings that depict arctic landscapes. There's just something about the vast, frozen, and unattainable part of our planet that stirs an sense of adventure in me. Ice can capture and harness the most beautiful colors of light, especially at times of light transition or "the magic hour" of the setting sun.

Frederic Church was one of America's premier painters and his paintings of icebergs are a true inspiration for me. In 1859, Church chartered the schooner The Integrity for about a month and sailed off the coast of Newfoundland in search of these floating mountains. Despite severe seasickness, he managed to sketch and paint daily, capturing the magnificence of these icy beasts. At times, he would take The Integrity's dingy and row up beside these bergs, risking all on those tumultuous waters just for a quick sketch.

The Icebergs, 1861

The Iceberg, 1875

I just love how the setting sun rakes a band of orange across the peak of this iceberg. This is why Frederic Church is such an American treasure.

My painting at the top depicts a landscape at the other end of the world, Antarctica. It is a dream of mine to visit Antarctica to do a little chilly plein air painting. That would really be something.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Sweetie!

Today I celebrate my my 25th wedding anniversary with April. April has always been my number one art fan and her support of my creative projects is constant. But most importantly, she's given to me years of love and three beautiful daughters. How did I get so lucky?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Morning Flight
31 x 48
oil on panel

Some paintings come right out with little effort, some I wrestle with to the bitter end. This is one of those difficult paintings where I hit my limitations. I have mixed feelings when I look at this one. Luckily, most people like it and fail to see the mistakes. As artists, don't we tend to be hyper critical of our own work?

Friday, August 7, 2009

After the Rain
31 x 47
oil and copper leaf on wood

The pheasant carries a rich history of symbolism throughout many cultures. In Chinese culture, the radiant golden pheasant, with its flaming red and yellow feathers, is thought to be the source of the legend of the phoenix. It is also regarded as a symbol of nobility and associated with high-rank in political office and civil service.

Native American lore considers the pheasant a symbol of protection and concealment. These birds are also symbolic of male sexuality because of the attractive males of the species, which makes sense, since they are related to peacocks.

The pheasant has always been a favorite bird of mine and I remember the joy of seeing them run wild in the fields of Tuscany a few years back. It was only this year that I became brave enough to dive in and attempt to paint my favorite bird. I was inspired by a painting my grandfather, Morris Weis, created in 1974 of a ring-necked pheasant, which now proudly hangs in our home. Morris was a house painter by trade, but was always creative. He only made three paintings during his life and the pheasant below was one of them. It was a major influence on me becoming an artist as I grew up with this work of art.

Pheasant by Morris Weis
26 x 20
oil on wood

Morris had no training in the arts, he only had a desire to create with his hands. This painting is built up with texture in the grass and even the grain of the plywood comes through, adding a sense motion to what could have been a very static painting. The frame was made from old fence planks he found and lovingly mitered and oiled to fit the picture. Morris was a rebel in his own, quiet way. He didn't have a lot to do with people and what society offered, mostly he felt, was a lot of bull. He found happiness in building boats, furniture, and the occasional painting. I miss Morris dearly and "After the Rain" is my gift back to him.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Abandon All Worries
oil and gold leaf

I'm back from a very relaxing vacation and looking forward to making some art in the studio and teaching my design class. Holidays at the beach always fill me with optimism, especially with the prospect of creating some fulfilling artwork. My door above speaks of that optimism. It's the opposite of Dante's cryptic message above the gates of Hell, "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here", and is obviously a play on that warning. I've always wanted to install this door as an entrance to an art studio, music, or writing room in a home. It might foreshadow the wonderful possibilities that would come out of such a room.

Note: Since fall is a very busy time for me, I will be posting on this blog three days a week, starting today, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.