March 31, 2009

Big Hat

Acrylic on Canvas 

This is a big one for me. I mean 20x24 inch.

Another one of those ones I thought would be easy, which turned out to be a bear. Hey, the hats all one color, right. Or is it a series of shapes and colors that add up to a hat? I kept painting, scraping off, starting again. Ugh!

I wish I had stopped at many other points, because when it was loose and sketchy, and wound up turning out kinda blah. Oh, well. Another one under the bridge.

March 29, 2009

Red Stripe Hills

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

I was trying to keep this fairly abstract, but got a little more involved with the details as it developed. This is a 12x12 inch square. I think I'll try a more abstract version manana. The most distant hills should be lighter, bluer and softer. This has so much energy up front that the various planes don't seem to relate to one another very well. 

March 28, 2009


Acrylic on Postcard

As the sun was setting past Mount Shasta, I snapped this shot of the clocks on the main street. Just a quick ten minute sketch using just a few colors.

March 27, 2009

Mission Veranda

Acrylic on Canvas Board

I don't know that this part of a mission structure is called a "veranda" but I'm too lazy to look it up. I don't even remember which mission this is. I think it's the one near Solvang. I was inspired by one of Kevin McPhearson's demos on getting into the different cool and warm areas in a shadow composition like this, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. 

March 26, 2009

Rust Barn

Acrylic on Canvas Board

OK, I admit it. I DO like photographing old barns. I just don't like painting 'em all that much. This one had been kicking around in the "pics to paint" folder for a long time, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. It's just that my mind sees it as simple shapes, but once I get going I start to obsess about all the little shapes and shadows. At least the sky and distant hills are nice and soft.

March 25, 2009

Red Truck Rough

Acrylic on Postcard

From a series of photographs of a neat old truck in my neighborhood. If you've been following this blog, you'll have likely seen this before. 

This was a timed study of 10 minutes. I already had the palette laid out, so I just dove in.  Wish I could keep 'em all this loose.

March 23, 2009

The Mission

Acrylic on Canvas Board

I'm doing a few more mission painting in preparation for a show. I know it's kinda premature to even be thinking about a show, but I think it would be a good experience to have one when I'm not even ready, just to get it over and done with and learn from the experience. It always worked when I was in bands.

March 22, 2009

Get On Your Boots

Acrylic on Canvas Board - 8 x 10 inches - SOLD
Like all boys/men, I wish I was a cowboy, except for the actual living on a ranch and working all day stuff. I have a feeling I'll be doing more of these.

March 21, 2009

Street View

Acrylic on Canvas Board

This is from a photo of somewhere near my neighborhood, though I'm not sure exactly where. Not that it matters. I like all the angles, but the composition is a little weak and there's no real focus.

March 20, 2009

Black-necked Stilt

Acrylic on Canvas - 2 x 2 inches SOLD

This was from a photo from "A Field Guide to 100 Birds of Hern's Head" by some friends of mine. I painted this as a birthday gift, on one of those tiny 2x2 inch canvases. Can't be sure of the photographer, but I suspect it was Eddie.

March 19, 2009

Red Truck

Acrylic on Canvas Board

I love photographing old red trucks. Well, any old pick-ups really. And I'm not a truck kinda guy. This is one in my neighborhood. Again, I wound up with a nice impressionistic background with a very flat and boring foreground. But it was fun to do.

March 18, 2009

Silver Bullet II

Acrylic on Canvas Board - 8 x 10 inches SOLD

This is from a shot at Open Studios at Hunter's Point from last year. The symbolic part of the image is the reflections of myself and Foo Dan Wayla Caven, from the Art League Now. I know the sharp horizon dividing the canvas in the middle is a no-no, but this is how it looked to me.

At the Conservatory

Acrylic on Canvas Board Ω
This is one of the palm trees in Golden Gate Park by the Conservatory. I certainly succeeded in keeping the back and middle grounds loose and out of focus, but so is the foreground which kinda destroys the balance.
I had edited out the person in the red shirt, but a visitor to my studio insisted I put him back in. I'll have to do something about discouraging visitors while I'm painting. Ahem.

March 17, 2009


Acrylic on Canvas Board  Ω
I painted this using a slightly blurry photo as my subject. I was trying to walk the line between impression and abstract and although I think that's what it is, I failed to capture what I really liked about the photo. I was getting too hung up on what I thought I saw. About half way through I turned it upside down (and the photo too) to see if that would help me see what was really there, but I don't think it helped much.

March 16, 2009

Scratchy Sushi

Oil Pastels on Postcard

Just didn't feel like setting up the paints today, but still gotta keep at it, so I tried these oil pastels I had lying around. It was fun, but you really can't layer light on dark with these or blend terribly well. Well, at least I can't. Maybe I'll try these again for the next Different Strokes assignment.

March 14, 2009

Giant Sushi

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

A tighter crop on the sushi photo (yes, I cropped it in Photoshop before painting) and bigger (12 inch square). I used a big fat brush and a lot of paint, but I really should have used a bigger brush and more paint.  This is the one I'm posting to the Different Strokes blog, 'cause I really don't feel like doing it again. 

March 13, 2009


Acrylic on Canvas Board  Ω
This weeks challenge on Different Strokes is a photo of what I understand is fish and vegetables wrapped in seaweed and rice, though some people interpreted it differently. Actually I love sushi, but being a gringo I lean more to the smoked eel and non-traditional California styles.
This was a quick sketch to work out the colors. I was pretty sure a lot of folks would do the composition just like this, as in the photo. I think I'll do another with a different cropping  manana. Then I can decide which to post to DS.

March 12, 2009

Whiskey IV

Acrylic on Canvas 

Sick of this composition yet? I sure am. Decided to give it another go small (2 x 2 inches) since this seems to produce interesting results. I am kinda liking it better than the big ones. Guess I'm gonna have to get some bigger brushes if I want to achieve this on a larger scale.

Last whiskey glass for a while. I promise. Maybe.

March 11, 2009

Whiskey III

Acrylic on Postcard

Back at that glass, this time on a postcard, primed with a pink/red wash in advance. It's a little looser and has more activity, but it still sits kinda flat. Maybe I'm struggling to add dimension and level to a subject that was relatively flat to begin with. I tend to gravitate towards linear, high contrast subjects in my photography, after all. I may do one more. I may not.

March 10, 2009

Whiskey II

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

The same reference photo as yesterday's post, but square this time and a lot larger. It's a bit looser, but still reminds me of the type of watercolors I did years ago, and not the kinda of painting I want to be doing. I'm also being too stingy with the paint at this size. I may try again with a bigger brush.

March 9, 2009


Acrylic on Canvas Paper

Back to glasses. I couldn't find anything else I wanted to paint and this photo reminded me of Summer. Can't wait. I don't think it's actually whiskey. I think it's a version of a shandy – half beer half lemonade – and the melting ice lets you know just how hot Sonoma is in August.

I tried to keep this loose, but it's kinda hard when all the shapes are hard edged. As a result, it winds up looking more like illustration, and not at all where I want to go with my painting. I may need to try some more versions of this.

March 8, 2009

Bodega Beach

Acrylic on Canvas Board - 8 x 10 inches SOLD

From a photo I took last Fall. I had painted this for an hour or so and put down my brushes and walked away. I came back after a while and realized that the beach didn't really read right. The colors were too pale on the sand making it look like water. So I mixed up some more and added that over the white. I lightened the shadows on the beach too, making them a little more blue.

March 7, 2009


Acrylic on Canvas Board
A quick study from a photo taken in Sonoma. I really couldn't get any of the colors right. Hmmm. I may need to add another color to my set. I found a bunch of different reds at a garage sale and though they don't look so different from one another right out of the tube, they way they interact with other colors in mixing is astounding. 

March 6, 2009

Salsa Picante

Acrylic on Canvas 

Not a lot of time today, so this is a quick 2-inch impression of a jar sitting on my desk. On my monitor this looks bigger than actual size. Boo! 

Back to some bigger work this weekend.

March 5, 2009

Rear Window

Acrylic on Canvas  Ω
This tiny study (2 x 2 inches) is of a view of another painting in an apartment across the street. I can't tell if it's of building or mountains. I just wanted to capture the basic color and shape, since that's what appealed to me, and it's all I can make out.
Of course ten minutes in, the light that had been on all night, every night this week, was turned off, so this is all I got. Maybe that's all it needs. Maybe that's all it deserves. Ahem.

March 4, 2009

Alamo Sunset (after-study)

Acrylic on Canvas Board

I know it's a common practice to do quick studies beforehand, but I felt like doing one afterwards today. Same subject as yesterday, same size (9 x 12 inches) but this time I used one of those 2-inch wide foam brushes and really kept it loose. I just wanted to see if I could get the colors and mood right without working on too much detail. I like it, but I'm not sure you'd know what it was without seeing the reference photo. Hmmm.

March 3, 2009

Alamo Sunset

Acrylic on Canvas Board - 9 x 12 inches SOLD

Not really a sunset in the traditional sense of the word, but when the sun dip behind one of SF's larger hills the light is just great. More like an eclipse really. This is from a photo I took last fall which I'd intended to paint, but forgot about. It's medium sized (9 x 12 inches).

March 2, 2009


Acrylic on Canvas Board Ω
From a shot I took at my mom's kitchen island, hence the extreme overhead lighting. I just really liked the dark shadows. It wasn't until I was nearly done that I could actually see that the shadows also had a middle orange halo. 

March 1, 2009

Wig Out

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

I couldn't wait to do another painting for the Different Strokes gang! I got the image from the DSFDF site and quickly whipped this up. For, again, I did this one upside down, just cropping in to a bunch of the mannequin heads to try and make things simpler. In hindsight I think I should have cropped in closer. In any case, go check out the other entries. There's quite a range of styles and interpretations. Really opened my eyes to seeing differently.