December 31, 2009

Tree Sketch

Digital Finger Paint on iPhone

I added the nifty application Brushes to my iPhone. This is a quick sketch I did while traveling to test it out. It pales in comparison to some of the provided samples. If you're interested, check out the examples on their website.

One artist actually did a cover for the New Yorker using this app.

December 29, 2009

The Wiggle

Marker on Paper

Back in town and ramping up for painting...

Well, at least I'm sketching again. Paintings will be coming soon. Very busy doing that thing that pays the bills at the moment.

This is a sketch of a local street scene that I really want to paint. Hopefully soon. I live on "the Wiggle" which is a series of dedicated bicycle lanes/paths that worms its way through the neighborhood, on its way to Golden Gate Park.

December 22, 2009

Bolinas Yard

Acrylic on Cardstock

A quick sketch from a photo from this Summer. (ah, remember Summer?)

I was trying to work in some things I've been learning about depth, distance and perspective. Tryin' I tell ya.

Naturally, there's gonna be a bit of a lag in posting again, due to the season, holidays etc. And if Santa brings me an xBox, then all bets are off.

All the best, Gringo.

December 20, 2009

Three Palms

Acrylic on Cardstock sold

From a photo of a view I really like in my neighborhood. I hope to do a bigger version of this, and even some on site plein aire sketches. This one is just a quick sketch from a terrible photo from my iPhone.

December 18, 2009

Mt. Fuji

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

Finally. Playing with paint again! Believe it or not, I really did miss it.

Here's a fairly boring painting of what is the highest mountain in Japan, an active volcano, and a truly magnificent sight. My apologies, Fuji-san.

December 17, 2009

Freeway to Kyoto

Marker on Paper

Another sketch from the trip. New paintings coming tomorrow.

December 16, 2009

Distant Mountain

Marker on paper

I have been absent for a while, but this should give a clue as to my whereabouts. Didn't bring paint, 'cause I knew there'd be no time, but I did manage a few sketches. It was driving me a little nuts not to have my paints with me. Not only was there no end of wonderful things to see, but I went to a lot of great museums too.

Now that I'm back, painting will resume tonight.

December 6, 2009


Acrylic on Cardstock

This started as another abstraction of the dairy barn, but along the way it took enough turns that it has lost all connection to the reference.

December 4, 2009

Dairy Abstract

Acrylic on Cardstock

Ah, yes. Plenty of paint already mixed out into little puddles on the palette, so I thought I'd distill the last composition into some basic shapes, keeping relative placement – the distance is less rich in color, the barn face the brightest and warmest. I could do these all day, though I'm not sure I'd gain anything by it.

December 2, 2009

Dairy Barn

Acrylic on Cardstock

I have a lot of reference photos from this ranch, so I thought I'd see if I could work on the values and color temperatures for this one. The light was changing rapidly while I was there, but this shot captured a lot of those different values. The sky in the back was grey and cloudy, but the sun had suddenly poked through warmly flooding the foreground. It's probably one of those kind of scenes that an instructor might steer you away from, but it really does remind me of the weather that day.

November 30, 2009


Acrylic on Cardstock - 4 x 6 inches    SOLD
Some trees on the side of the road near Novato, CA. I was trying to get that wispy late fall look, but it's more than a little challenging on such a small canvas and in the mad rush style I'm in.

November 27, 2009


Acrylic on Cardstock

This is a quick study in copying an image from a postcard for the Symphony (I think). I really just wanted to see how closely I could mimic the colors, as bold stripes. I got a little carried away and wound up adding more detail than I had meant to.

November 23, 2009

Acrylic on Canvas Panel

Thought I'd see about updating another old painting to see where I could take it. I realize that it is more common than not to go back to a painting again and again, but this is a new phenomenon for me. I usually try to get it all in one go, rarely returning to add or edit anything. The funny thing is I will critique and criticize my finished pieces, I just rarely ever feel like fixing them.

The second piece here is the update. Bluer shadows, calmer sky. The photograph isn't that good. (The darks aren't really that solid and filled in the way they appear here).

November 20, 2009

Two Missions

Acrylic on Canvas Panel

I stumbled on this panel, that I'd painted about a year ago. I couldn't help but notice that it looked quite washed out, and there weren't any real dark darks. So, I thought I'd just paint over the piece and see if it would be improved by beefing up the contrast.

I don't know that it wound up any "better", but I do like the increased contrast and the better definition of cool shadows. I might try this with a few other close failures from last year. Should be interesting.

November 19, 2009


Acrylic on Cardstock

A timed sketch (5 mins) of a bicycle bell.

November 12, 2009

Palm View

Acrylic on Cardstock

A quick sketch of a scene I photographed today while walking. For once I got a palm tree that doesn't look like a cartoon.

November 10, 2009


Acrylic on Canvas Paper

This month's Different Strokes assignment. Go have a look and you can see what the original image is and how everyone else is interpreting it. I decided to go with fast and loose. Surprise.

November 9, 2009

Twins III

Acrylic on Cardstock - 4 x 6 inches    SOLD
This one I did with the stopwatch. I didn't actually remember to look at the stopwatch, but I think it was about 5 minutes. I was really just trying to push more colors in and got some of the reds, but still couldn't get those blues and greens in.

November 7, 2009

Twins II

Acrylic on Cardstock - 4 x 4 inches    SOLD
Well the last post turned out to be a stumper for a lot of folks. I showed it to my manager and she said "it's nice, but what is it?" Then my painter father said the same thing!
After painting a subject, I know well what it is, no matter how abstract I render it, but it always amazes me how others see it. I simply love this phenomenom! No wonder we ask "how do I know what you see as blue is the same thing I see?"
Well, I'm posting one more next and would love to hear if anyone knows what they think the subject is. Hint: there's a clue in the title.

November 5, 2009


Acrylic on Cardstock - 4 x 6 inches   SOLD
Quick study with a limited palette.
Actually, the palette I set up wasn't all that limited, just the colors I chose to mix.
I really did try to use blues and greens in the cooler shadow areas and get some more fiery crimsons in places. It's just that I mixed so much yellow with them that I didn't really get that much variety.

November 4, 2009


Acrylic on Cardstock

Just a little reworking on this abstract.

It's a little spooky.

October 28, 2009

Twilight Pool

Acrylic on Cardstock

A quick sketch from a photo I took just before sunset. I know the shadow areas are too dark to be believed, but that's how I see 'em.

October 26, 2009


Acrylic on Cardstock

More abstraction.

October 23, 2009

Tomales Bay Oysters

Acrylic on Cardstock

Just a quick study of a view across the bay in Tomales.

October 22, 2009

War Feathers II

Acrylic on Card Stock

Just a bit of fun....

I went back into this abstract with an blade and crafted some highlights and motion. I don't think I'd ever do that on a canvas, but it would work on panel paintings that started with a white background. Hmmm.

October 19, 2009

Glass Haus

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

From a recent snapshot. That's why it's so high-contrast.

That's it.

October 17, 2009

Out Barn

Acrylic on Panel - (repainted in 2011 - this version is gone)

A dull foggy morning in Sonoma, but a few of us set up in hopes that the sun would appear. Angela Fabela from the Monday Morning Painters was with us and he pointed out this small building to me.

What I liked about it was that there was a lot going on in the foreground, but that the rest of it went way back to the woods. Looking at the results, it kinda wound up flatter than I'd hoped. It's probably because the detail and size of brushwork is the same throughout. Hmmm.

October 15, 2009

SF Rooftops

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

This is more like what I had originally intended to do. Same scale, but with the knife instead. Kinda fun, but not sure I could do a lot in this style.

October 14, 2009

San Francisco Rooftops

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

This months Different Strokes from Different Folks assignment. I was really hoping to do something a little more abstract, and that's how I started, but I forgot to stop and put in a lot more detail than I intended. Take a look at the other entries. There's one by Jill Donahue that better captures what I was imagining, and lots of other great ones, including another superb piece by the host, Karin Jurick.

October 7, 2009

Red Barn Sketch

Acrylic on Canvas Panel

With 20 minutes left on the clock, I decided to try another composition. As a bonus, the sun had just come out, so I tried to get that contrast between what was in light and what was not. Having spent the whole morning painting in very flat light this was a little more fun. (oh, I'll be posting that one next).

And those "special effects" in the foreground came from packing it up before it was really dry enough, and having it stick to another board, and then separate badly. A rare experience when painting acrylic in Sonoma while it's still in the high 90's.

October 5, 2009

Pool Vista

Acrylic on Canvas Panel (destroyed)
Yet another pool sketch. It's not so much that I love this view, it's that I'm lazy and this is a great spot. Shady, and between the pool and the kitchen. The colors are staying nice a vibrant, but again, they don't offer any clue to atmospherical depth.
For a change, I didn't paint the fence. I painted around the fence.

October 2, 2009


Acrylic on Panel

For a change, I decided I'd try to paint colors and not shapes (whatever that means). So, I didn't do a sketch on the canvas, but rather started putting in color areas. By the halfway mark, I'd really wished I had put some shapes in first. I couldn't tell which post I was painting (or around which) and I also wound up with the result of the fields behind the fence looking like they were on the same plane as the patio. Bad, bad, bad.

Still, no one was physically harmed, and something might have been learned. At least the colors are pretty intense, which is good, since that's the language I was trying to use.

October 1, 2009

Fitch Mountain

Acrylic on Canvas Panel

This was a quick sketch from the top of the hill, towards the end of the day. It's kind of a random mess. There really wasn't any foreground, but now it appears to force itself. I guess the mind wants to see a foreground anyway.

September 30, 2009

Healdsburg Clock Tower

Acrylic on Panel

No, I never got around to putting the clock-face in. I didn't feel like the rest of it was going well enough to warrant one.

I'm discovering that by using a green I really like, right from the tube, that I'm not getting enough variety in my greens. This is a perfect example of that lazy behavior. I'm gonna try mixing my greens from scratch more often from now on. If I remember.

September 29, 2009

Far Hill

Acrylic on Panel

I found myself in a landscape setting I was bored with, so instead of painting my immediate surroundings, I picked one distant hill as my subject. It was early in the morning (a time of day I rarely see) so the hills were the same fiery orange they are at sunset, though unlike sunset, they get lighter and brighter as you sit there and you find you're questioning your initial swathes of orange.

September 27, 2009

Blue Flag

Acrylic on Canvas Panel

It's Abstract Sunday! (though Surreal Sunday rolls off the tongue better).

September 26, 2009

Copy Study

Acrylic on Canvas Panel

This is a copy (sort of) of someone else's work. It was basically a challenge issued to try and see if their style could be deciphered. Well, even though the colors are pretty close, as is the composition, the brushstrokes reveal the lie. I'm not even close.

I guess you can play Jimi Hendrix's songs, but you can't play 'em like Jimi.

September 25, 2009

Japanese Tea Garden

Acrylic on Canvas Panel

Again I picked something I thought would be easy and turned out to be far more complex than I thought. That's why I think the sketch worked better. It remained simple and calm.This is a little all over the place with nothing really hitting the mark. I may have to try again.

September 24, 2009

Tea Garden Sketch

Marker on paper

This will make more sense tomorrow.

I just think this turned out better than the painting.

September 22, 2009

The Raven

Acrylic on Canvas Panel - SOLD
My driver dropped me off at a nice shady spot across the street from the Raven, and while she went antique shopping, I painted. The light shifted a lot, as expected, but I had a good sketch and could keep in mind where the highlights were when I got started.
The most challenging part, believe it or not, was the color of the sidewalk and street. I know it's grey. I also know it's in sunlight. So it's warm grey, right? And yet I wound up with an orangey putty color. Hmmm.

September 21, 2009

Garden House

Marker on Paper

It's sketchbook Monday!

A study for a possible painting. I think I may try a few different angles first, though.

September 19, 2009

Bowling Tree Small

Acrylic on Cardstock

You know I love doing these "after" sketches. Once you've worked out the shapes, colors, values etc. it's really fun to whip another one out while waiting for pasta water to boil. Mmmmm... pasta.....

September 18, 2009

Bowling Tree Big

Acrylic on Canvas Panel

This is a tree that towers of the lawn bowling lawns in GGP. I wonder how long it's been there.

Any way, it's just one of those things that every time I pass by, I take a snap shot, so it obviously needed to be painted. I think I try a few variations on this.

September 16, 2009

Gringo Cakes

Acrylic on Canvas Panel

My latest submission for the DSFDF challenge. I had such high hopes for this, but basically wound up with about 30 minutes to get it together. Just glad I even remembered to do that much. Check out the other artist's takes on this. This was one of the tightest assignments and even given the vast array of submissions, they tend to fall into certain patterns, which made me more than a little cautious. They're all great, but what can you do? Karin says it is also the largest outpouring of new contributors, so it's well worth a look.

I've been bad. I've been absent.

I have a volume of excuses, none of which are are interesting or pertinent.

Let's just chalk it up to... well... a lapse. It happens.

I'm back online and with a vengeance.

Gracias, all.

August 27, 2009

Mission Blue

Acrylic on Panel

This is a thin slice of the mission at Santa Inez, I think.

I was inspired by seeing some Georgia O'Keeffe paintings at MOMA. There were a lot of her pieces that broke all the commonly held conventions of composition – just a tiny sliver of sky, a close-up of an architectural detail, a centered subject etc.

August 26, 2009

Spring Lake

Acrylic on Panel

I joined the Monday Morning Painters at Spring Lake in Sonoma. It always amazes me how much the surface of the water changes from minute to minute. I guess you just have to pick one moment in time and keep it in mind (along with the color of the sky, the temperature of the atmosphere, the direction of the shadows etc. etc. etc. Easy, right?)

Here's another artists take on the scene (unfinished).

August 22, 2009

Gold Hills Wide

Acrylic on Canvas

Having recently sold two versions of similar paintings, I went back to my reference photos and decided to try a larger one. Much larger. 30 x 10 inches. I just made sure to not use anything smaller than a half-inch brush, and tried to rush along and keep things loose and fresh.

I think I need a little more room to be able to back up from something this large while I'm painting it.