February 28, 2009

Banana Bug

Acrylic on Canvas Board - 8 x 10 inches SOLD

Don't know why I keep photographing cars and trucks, 'cause I'm no car 'n' truck dude, for sure. But when I see them just as big shiny reflective colorful objects, they somehow excite me. Maybe it's the contrast to the grey of the city. Maybe because they are objects with their own coat of paint. In either case, I'm sure I won't run out of willing subjects any time soon.

February 27, 2009

Tiny Mansion

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

I passed this house on a walk recently. It has this grand entrance, but it's crammed into a tiny space on a little crooked street up behind Buena Vista Park. The scale makes it look like a stage set.

I decided to try an exercise I'd read about — painting upside down. I turned the original photo upside down on my screen, and then painted what I saw, hoping to be able to concentrate on shapes and light and not rely so much on "what I knew to be true".

It was interesting, but I didn't find it a terribly useful exercise. I may try this again.

February 26, 2009


Acrylic on Canvas Board - 9 x 12 inches SOLD

I got some bigger boards, so I thought I'd try some of the things that work on the tiny one, but on a larger surface. I took this photo at my lunch walk and thought it would be fun to paint some day, but I'm not ready to do people, I thought. Then I decided that someday is pretty much whenever you decide, so I just dove in.

Turns out people are just other blobby shapes, well at least in impressionism. Well at least the way I paint 'em.

February 25, 2009

Hillside II

Acrylic on Canvas Board

The same scene with a different approach. Wow, somewhere between these two is an actual concept, but alas not realized fully in either sketch.

February 24, 2009


Acrylic on Canvas Board

Just got back from a drive through the country and thought I sketch up what I thought was a simple landscape (from a photo taken from a moving car). Too much energy in the tree, which I didn't really want to make the center of attention, despite it's placement. I really wanted to make it as I comprehended it – as a snapshot instant of light on the hills. Oh, well. I'll probably try this again, soon.

February 23, 2009

Alamo Shadows

Acrylic on Canvas Board

A quick sketch from a photo of the path through Alamo Square just before sunset.

February 22, 2009

Little Berries

Acrylic on Canvas

With a little left-over paint, I did a super quick sketch of the strawberries. This was about 10 minutes, if that, and the canvas is a 3-inch square. You know, the kind that just jump into your basket while waiting in line at Blick's. 

I think one of the things that works in these little rushed sketches is that I only have time to go for the bigger shapes and that the entire canvas stays wet with paint, so that I apply new strokes thickly and lightly. Wish I could get that going in bigger paintings too. It's hard with acrylic, but I'll persevere. 

February 21, 2009

Strawberry Hearts

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

Kind of a let down after the other strawberries, but I said I'd post the stinkers here as well as the winners, so here you go.

February 20, 2009

Strawberry Pair

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

A quick study of some fruit on my desk. Somewhat easier than the apple, but I don't know why.

February 19, 2009


Acrylic on Canvas Paper

Trying to get that Carol Marine magic happening, but I'm still using way too many brush strokes to get there. I can only think it's because I don't get the target colors mixed right before placing them. I also think I'm using terrible lighting on still life set-ups. I think I can see it clearly, but when I squint, it all goes very dark. I may need to build a light box set-up like CM uses, but I'm hesitant. It doesn't jibe with my plein air training — well, what little there is.

Oh, I'll get over it. Maybe.

This actually took two goes. After about an hour, I basically just scraped everything off, leaving a little bit of the basic shape and took a deep breath and then tackled it again. It seems sometimes you just have to get away from things. CM blogs a lot about doing this, especially after she's been absent from painting for more than a couple of days. I know understand that this is a vocabulary that, like a second language, gets rusty, very quickly with absence. I'm not even sure I even spelled "pomme" correctly!

February 18, 2009

Back to the Garage

Acrylic on Canvas Board Ω
Somebody wanted the quick colorful painting of the garage. Since I'd done those on canvas paper, I said I'd try again on canvas board, and larger, so they could at least frame it.
It was fun to do again, but I seem to have lost the vibrance and immediacy of the earlier attempts. Result – less interesting. I might try again, but not sure I can face it again. Maybe I'll try it really big to see what sort of problems that introduces!

February 17, 2009

Victorian II

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

I had another day to work on my submission to the Different Strokes task for the week, so I tried again at a larger size, with more time, but I don't think I really improved much on the quick version. I probably should have done these in reverse. 

Or maybe I just need to get some bigger brushes. I'm off to Blicks manana and will see what I can find.

February 16, 2009

Victorian I

Acrylic on Postcard

I found a site that posts a new reference photo every other Wednesday, and then encourages artists to post their interpretations.

I did this as a quick study, just to get a hang of what I might want to do. Tomorrow, I'll post the larger version.  I laugh when I see the type from the postcard coming through my poor gesso prep work. I can't even see it when I'm working, but it shows up so well in photography. Bonus or bane? Hmmmm.

February 15, 2009

From the 7th Hole (Alta Vista)

Acrylic on Canvas Paper  SOLD
Yep, a view from the golf course near Holister, CA. An older photograph, but I liked the view. Not sure what the focal point is (again) but thought I'd try to render a loose study on the vista.

February 14, 2009

Silver Bullet

Acrylic on Canvas Paper - 6 x 6 inches SOLD

A quick study of a photo I took in the parking lot during open studios last Spring. It's a trailer of sorts, but I don't know what kind/brand. Like a lot of painters, I like shiny things that reflect the sky. This also features some people – a subject I usually try to avoid – but their reflections were so important that I had to include them.

I went to an art exhibit last Summer in Sonoma, and just about everyone had a painting of one of these in their booth. Second most frequent was rusty orange tractors.

February 13, 2009


Acrylic on Postcard

More palette cleaning (I'm cheap and wasting paint still bugs me – I'll get over it).

This is based on the negative shapes in the NYT crossword puzzle, which are almost always symmetrical. 

I  also got an award sent to me by a wonderful painter, Camille LaRue Olsen, who has a great blog of her own, and who also contributes to the Different Strokes blog. Check out her stuff, and check back often. She also shows a lot of her preliminary sketches and other tips on her process, which can be very illuminating.

 You just missed her first solo show, but I'm sure she'll be having more!

February 12, 2009

Mug 4

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

OK. That's it for mugs for a while.

February 11, 2009

Mug 3

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

February 10, 2009

Mug 2

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

A quicker looser version (or is that "loser" version) of the same mug.

February 9, 2009

Mug Study 1

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

Get ready for a slew of boring studies! I was inspired by Carol Marine's use of objects lying about as subjects and she also mentioned how difficult white ceramics where particularly challenging. Boy was she right. This is a coffee mug that was on my desk, and though a little greener and darker than pure white, it was very challenging. So, I did a bunch of 'em, and am posting them in order. More interesting paintings to appear in a few days.

February 8, 2009

Tomales Coast

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

A quick sketch from a photo of someplace near the coast from some trip I barely remember. I went there again yesterday to learn how to hunt for wild mushrooms, but didn't really learn anything except that I'm not terribly good at finding mushrooms.

February 7, 2009

Crosstown Traffic

Acrylic on Postcard

Using up more left over paint on another postcard. These are surprisingly fun to do. So there.

February 6, 2009


Acrylic on Postcard

Another painting on top of a photo/postcard. I realized what I like about doing these. I don't need to worry about drawing or composition as much (or at all) and can just focus on color and brush strokes. Just building up my "vocabulary" or at least I hope so.

February 5, 2009


Acrylic on Post Card

Experiments with a loaded brush. 

February 4, 2009

Oranges Drying Out

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

The oranges sitting on my desk are drying out and changing colors to deeper shades, so I thought I'd give them another go, only larger this time. This is 12in x 12in. I really need to find a bigger brush for working this large, so I can keep that simple yet exciting style that seems to work so well in the smaller versions.

February 3, 2009

Pear Abstract

Acrylic on Postcard

Started as an abstract that wound up looking enough like  a pear, so I pushed it in that direction. I was really just using up paint left over on my palette.

February 2, 2009

Orange Card

Acrylic on Postcard  SOLD

A quicker, looser view of the orange slices.

February 1, 2009


Acrylic on Canvas Paper

Trying to get a simple rendering of fruit, I'm still using too many brush strokes because I'm not getting the colors/values right on my palette first. As a result it starts to get muddy and overworked. I'm gonna try this again. A lot.

I also seem to be starting in the middle and working outward with no regard to composition. Not really what this exercise is about, but I really should be thinking of that as well. Couldn't hurt.