Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Balancing Act
oil on canvas
24 x 36

Here we are at the end of a full weekend filled with family and food, a tide of silence has descended upon our house, a deep and slowly undulating stillness moving room to room. There's always a void left after all participants have left and fanned across the state back to their own homes, carrying their conversations with them, tucked away in pockets and suitcases. During the holidays we balance many things, family love, emotions, sometimes walking on eggshells, but always loving them with fierce gusto. Our families are like spinning plates on top of very long wavering poles, and we, the performers, play to the audience our balancing act.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Dunes
oil on canvas
12 x 14

I was in southern California this weekend and I got a chance to photograph this painting I did while I was in art school. The painting hangs in my mother in law's foyer now, it was originally a gift from me to her mother, (April's grandmother), but when she passed, Judy inherited it. I'm sure it will eventually end up in one of my daughter's hands when April and I buy the farm.

This is my very first plein air work, it was painted at Point Reyes. I was 21 and my whole life lay before me. It was a great time and I remember really loving the idea of being an artist. This painting is so special to me and I look forward to seeing it every time we visit Judy.

Have a great Thanksgiving everybody, we have a lot of family coming in and I'll be busy at the grill smoking the bird over a bed of mesquite coals!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A few years ago I had a stream of painting jobs where I'd go into children's hospitals and paint their new CT scanners to make them less ominous to the patients. It was a fun series of gigs, my first job was painting two scanners for Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. It was a little intimidating at first, since these are obviously very expensive machines and they would make internal clicking and whirring sounds every so often.

This machine is a combo CT and PET scanner located at Children's Hospital of Dallas. I ended up painting three scanners for them over an 18 month period. I painted this one in two days. It was a very long weekend but having my ipod helped a lot. Here's the sequence:

The blank plastic "canvas".

This may look like a quick and simple coat of blue green but it took hours! I had to be very careful around all the buttons and laser openings inside the tube.

Fish detail.

Done deal on Sunday afternoon, I catch a plane back to San Francisco the following morning. Sponge Bob watch out!

Monday, November 9, 2009

One of the most important foundations of painting or rendering with color is the understanding of values using a range of grays bracketed by black and white. In any beginning painting class, a gray value scale is used to compose a picture using varying tones to achieve an overall composition. A student's first painting may only be painted in grays. In my design class, I run my students through a series of exercises rendering interiors in pen and ink and then in gray markers. This lays the groundwork for color in the following semester.

Here's the same interior using markers, which are very fast to use and can save the designer a lot of time. I'm always pushing fast methods of getting ideas to paper using markers and quick sketch techniques.

We also render with graphite, achieving the same tonal results but with a softer look. I encourage my students to include the details of the scene that make a picture ring true. In this interior, the reflected light on the the table top in front of the sofa is an important detail in bringing realism to the rendering and leading the eye into the scene.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I got a little paint time in this morning before heading off to work so I thought I'd throw a couple of studio shots onto my blog. As you can see, I'm working on my whistler duck and the water is almost finished.

This is my desk where a lot of artistic battles are won and lost! The ink drawing of the ship on the wall is a study for a sculpture I'd like to someday build- it's called "New Ark".