Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Coastal Study (Plein Air)
8 x 10

We are going on vacation! Down to the central California coast, to hide out on a secluded beach thirty minutes from the nearest town. We will do a lot of eating, boogie-boarding, sketching, and reading. There's no internet, so my next post will be on August 6. See you next week !

Monday, July 27, 2009

24 x 36
oil on canvas

This painting sold a few years ago, one of my favorites. It's strange how I'll never see some of my paintings again...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Align CenterMy Family
Jessie, Emily, Becca, and April
(Yes, that is a red "sold" dot on my forehead...)

Last night's opening for the 50/50 show was a blast. The galleries were packed with artists and art appreciators, and at times, it was shoulder-to-shoulder art viewing. Here are a few of my friends who came by and happened to be grabbed for a picture. A big thanks to all my friends and family who made this a night I'll always remember!

Pearl and her parents Andrea and Duncan.

Louise, Shawn, Cindy, and Hayley.

Peter and Babby with their kids, Lizzy and Joey.

Shaari and Ellen.

Our Interior Design Department Chair Nancy and Creative Maven Ken

My students Julissa, Stella, and Uriel.

Friday, July 24, 2009

20 x 20 x 2.5
acrylic, oil, graphite, and silver leaf on wood

I've been adding architectural elements to many of my paintings over the years. Like the oriole above, I'll often cut out a corner and add a "support column" of a section of a tree branch. I enjoy this blending of painting and sculpture a lot, in fact, I have an idea in the works for another starling painting that will incorporate a nest of silver-leafed branches. I was influenced by my visit to the Uffizi in Florence by all the beautifully painted and guilded altars on display. I'd like to make some altars of my own which speak of the spirituality and mythology that birds bring to us.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pheasant Study
18 x 22

To my friends who will be attending the reception tomorrow evening, my work is hanging in the East Wing Gallery at the...

Sanchez Art Center
1220 B Linda Mar Blvd.
Pacifica, CA 94044


Looking forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What is good taste?

That's a question that comes up regularly in the interior design world (and often in the art world as well). You know the saying, one man's poker-playing-dog painting is another man's Da Vinci, or something to that effect. As designers, how do we guide a client's "bad taste" into a direction which is more fitting toward "good taste"? And who defines good taste? Is it the glossy shelter magazines, the high-end manufacturers of home products?

Good designers are good psychologists, they work well with and understand people. A designer worth his or her weight in gold is one who is a good problem solver and guide. They must meet their client halfway before the journey even begins. Most importantly, they listen to their client's wants and needs. So if my client is attached to and insistent on hanging the poker dog painting, then I'm going to make that painting work, somehow, in the final design scheme

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

22 x 30
oil on paper
(finger painting)

April and I hung the 50 birds yesterday at the Sanchez Art Center, I think they look pretty good up there on the wall all together. There's a great variety of work at this show from 67 artists, it should be a packed reception on Friday.

Today I go to campus to help my boss Nancy organize the resource and storage rooms in the interior design department to get ready for fall semester. I checked my roster this morning and I have a full class of 30 students- very cool. I missed teaching this summer so it will be good to get back to it soon...

Monday, July 20, 2009

22 x 30
oil on arches paper

Today I post this work from a few years ago in honor of our friends Val and Bruce in Carmel Valley. We spent the weekend with them at their beautiful home and returned yesterday with a bag of lemons from their tree. The lemons are now on our kitchen counter glowing like little suns on this very foggy and gray morning. Thanks, Val and Bruce!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Between Two Worlds
28 x 40
(work in progress)

I spent the better part of yesterday pushing the sky and distant hills. Working this part of the painting is absolute pure, unadulterated fun because I get fast and loose with the brush work. I apply the paint "fat" and do a lot of my mixing on the painting itself.

I'm re-thinking the rock perch, it looks too much like Half Dome to me, which makes my raven larger than Godzilla. I'm thinking more along the lines of a bramble of branches and leaves instead.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Bird Woman

Here's a peek at a few pages from my current sketchbook. You'll find more free-form subject matter that's usually not found in my finished work. My sketchbook is an arena where most anything goes and a lot of quick thoughts and experimentation with various media takes place.

Man under the weather...

I like these sketchbooks because the paper is thick and slightly yellow giving my drawings a look of antiquity.

Surreal Seating

Today I'm busy, I'm adding the finishing touches to my 50/50 Birds book and finishing the sky in the Between Two Worlds painting. Then we're off to Carmel Valley tomorrow to visit friends.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mt. Lassen
9" x 12"
oil on panel

This is a plein air painted from Manzanita Lake in Mt. Lassen National Park where I camped with my pal Shawn awhile back. We climbed to the top of Mt. Lassen the day before and took in a spectacular view where we were able to see the peak of Mt. Shasta to the north. Both mountains are extinct volcanos, but there's still plenty of geothermic activity going on at the park. The caldera of Mt. Lassen is unworldly, full of gray ash, black, craggy outcroppings, and snow- reminded me of a landscape straight from science fiction.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Panton Chair
5" x 5"
Graphite on paper

Eames LCW
5" x 5"
Graphite on paper

Here are a couple of renderings from a set of nine designer chairs I drew last year. This fall I'm going to have my interior design students render chairs in this manner, as it's a great way to practice drawing simple objects using two-point perspective.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Nectarine and Knife
6" x 8"
oil on panel

I painted this yesterday, wanted to get away from the bird thing a bit. April is in Mexico with her mom this week so the house is very quiet and I'm sure I'll get a lot done. After Between Two Worlds is finished, I'm planning to get back to more landscape work and small objects like in this painting. This afternoon I'm working on my 50/50 bird book, hopefully I'll have copies at the reception.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Between Two Worlds
(work in progress)
28" x 40"

Early posting today to show last night and this morning's progress in the studio. As you can see, (compared to the post a few days ago) I roughed in the sky with more color and texture. I also blocked in the mountain range and perch rock. Finally, I darkened the raven a bit to see how he'll look against the sky. Next step is to go over everything with more refinement while keeping some things in check such as aerial perspective and shifts in color temperature. Later, I'll add some foliage around the raven and place a few of his buddies in flight.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Raven Study
9" x 12"

Today's project was to finish this raven. It's the study for the raven which will be painted in Between Two Worlds. This study gives me a chance to practice on the feathers, play with the lighting on the bird's form, and work out some value issues. The lighting in Between Two Worlds will be warmer since this painting depicts more of an overcast coastal day. Like today. It's 6pm and the sun is just now breaking through the fog.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I Play With Blocks!

Years ago, April gave me a set of architectural blocks as a gift. I've found that they're a great source of inspiration and the set has actually turned into an important tool for sparking my creativity. Not to say I've turned into another Brian Wilson sitting in his infamous sandbox, but these things are fun! As a painter, I'm constantly dealing with the 2-dimensional plane, so playing and exercising my brain with these 3-dimensional blocks really enhances the way I approach and imagine images on my canvases. And I think in general, play enhances our lives and helps us develop cognitive routes to problem solving.

Now if I can only find my toy army men...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Between Two Worlds
(work in progress)
28" x 40"

This painting was started a few weeks ago during the 50/50 birds project. I had little time to work on it then, but now it will be my primary focus for the next two weeks before vacation. This is the underpainting stage, where I lay down color temperature, composition, and value with the first layer of paint. My goal with this one is to create a painting that expresses the vulnerability of California's wilderness to fire and maybe say a little something about our state's political climate at the same time. I will post regular updates as this piece develops.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

50 is a good number. I'm turning 50 in a few months. And in terms of completing something, it's doable. 50 paintings in 50 days is something I should be doing anyway, all year. For us artists to set out, work it, and finish a specific goal in that amount of time, is simply, a great way to spark the creative flow. My friend Cindy set out to do sit-ups 50 days in a row, so you see, it's not just an exercise for the studio. What do you want to do for 50 days? Start that novel? Fix up your house? Volunteer?

Please keep tuned to this blog (and share with your circle of family and friends) as I'll be posting at least twice a week on the shenanigans going on in my studio. Look forward to works in progress, field trips, thoughts on the creative process, and a myriad of other topics.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who has logged on and followed along with this endeavor. Special thanks goes out to those who parted with their hard-earned money to have a Holland painting (or two, or three, or...) in their collection and that means so much to me. Thank you for your support.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Swan Song
6" x 6"
Painting #50

That's it- 50 birds! Done! They are all arranged on my studio wall awaiting installation at the Sanchez Art Center, bursting with color yet strangely silent. There should be some sort of chirping soundtrack to go along with these birds. Tomorrow I'll post a group photo of the paintings along with some comments about this whole process. And yes, (to answer a common question from the visitors of this blog) I will continue posting about my journey along the art trail.

Don't forget to mark your calendars for the opening blowout:

50/50 Show

Friday, July 24, 7-9 PM

Sanchez Art Center
1220 B Linda Mar Blvd., Pacifica, California, 94044


Sunday, July 5, 2009

White Peacock
6" x 6"
Painting #49

Saturday, July 4, 2009

American Bald Eagle
6" x 6"
Painting #48

Happy Independence Day!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Scarlet Macaw
6" x 6"
Painting #47

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Common Pigeon
6" x 6"
Painting #26

They say cockroaches will inherit the earth, but I believe it will be these birds!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Long Migration
6" x 6"
Painting #45