April 30, 2009


Acrylic on Postcard

Another quick study based on one of my photos, this time an open dumpster in the park. I just like the way it sat there, defiantly ugly and utilitarian, smack in the middle of our beautiful park. I also like the big white piece of styrofoam sticking out of it, like a blank canvas, not yet touched, but already destined for the landfill.

April 29, 2009

That Hat

Acrylic on Postcard  SOLD
Based on yesterday's sketch I thought I'd try a fast and loose painting/sketch with a limited palette (white, burnt umber, yellow ochre, and ultramarine blue). The paint got very thick pretty quickly, but it was fun to mush around, since it stayed wet the whole time.

April 28, 2009

Hat Sketch

Charcoal on Paper

Got home too late to get the whole paint thing set up, so I did at least do some sketching. This is a study for redoing that dang hat I just can't seem to get right. Hopefully I can take some of this knowledge to the canvas manana.

April 27, 2009

Sonoma Mission

Acrylic on Postcard

Using up the last of the paint on the palette today, I think this one turned out the best. I think I can almost paint this with my eyes closed now. Almost.

April 26, 2009

Sonoma Mission

Acrylic on Postcard  SOLD
Sidways, this is 6x4. I just pulled out the palette from yesterday and steamrolled right through.

April 25, 2009

Sonoma Mission

Acrylic on Postcard

Standard 4x6 size, and rushing with a bigger brush.

April 24, 2009

Big Mission

Acrylic on Canvas Board

One of the followers of this blog asked why I was so reverent in my painting of the missions, and yet loose and freer when painting trucks or fruit etc. I didn't really have a good answer other than, "well, the missions are just big white boxes."  It got me thinking, maybe I should try some faster and looser mission paintings. This is 9x12, so I used a bigger brush, and limited myself to 45 minutes. I think it took less. Not sure.

I'm gonna do a series of these. The reference photos are from the mission in the town of Sonoma.

April 23, 2009

Livermore Morn

Acrylic on Canvas Board - 8x10 inches SOLD

Working a little bigger (8x10) and with bigger brushes, but still trying to get more of that looseness I'm getting in the postcard paintings. It's not easy. There's something that just clicks in the brain that says "this is more expensive than cardboard, so be careful". It's really a mental block I've got to work through.

April 22, 2009

Highway Barn

Acrylic on Canvas Board

I'm painting over a bunch of 8x10 boards that were just complete dogs. Trying out the bigger brushes this time. This looks terrible in person, but scrunched down to a little JPEG it's not so bad. Hmmm. I think I'll also need to start getting further back from the canvas while I paint.

April 21, 2009

Lavender Lot

Acrylic on Postcard

I pulled into a parking lot at a winery in Sonoma and really was caught by the colors going on in and beyond the parking lot. They turned out a bit garish here, I think, because I didn't have enough light in the room I was painting in.

April 20, 2009


Acrylic on Postcard - 4 x 6 inches SOLD

Taking a break from the Easter Egg Hunt, Elizabeth sits in the sun and examines her basket (not shown). I'm really enjoying working small and quickly. Even though I'm using acrylics, I've been using the same palette for a week or so now. Makes breaking down a lot easier, as well as starting up. I just snap a postcard to my stand, grab the palette out of the fridge and go to town.

April 19, 2009


Charcoal on Paper

This is for the latest assignment for the Different Strokes group. For a change we were to sketch the statue completely, not cropping or altering the composition. Karin also encourages folks to work in a medium different than they normally use, though most don't. She suggested sketching this time, so I thought it would be a good time to break out the charcoal and try that.

April 18, 2009

Green River Bank

Acrylic on Postcard SOLD

The view of the river flanking our campsite near Livermore.

April 17, 2009

Misty Mountains

Acrylic on Postcard SOLD
This is from a shot of the morning mist in the mountains near Livermore.

April 16, 2009

Sugarloaf Barn

Acrylic on Postcard

The same barn from down the road.

April 15, 2009

Hilltop Barn

Acrylic on Postcard

Back from another camping excursion, so I'll be painting some sketches from the photos I took. This is a barn up near the peak of Sugarloaf Mountain.

April 14, 2009

Yuba Bend

Acrylic on Postcard   SOLD

This is close to where we set up our camp. I really like the reflection in the little collecting pools. So much more vibrant and intense than the distant brightening sky. These look like they're not on the same plane though. Kind of a failure, since it's the part of the image I liked the best.

April 13, 2009

Yuba Swimming Hole

Acrylic on Postcard - 4 x 6 inches SOLD

Again, all with one brush, using the same messy palette as yesterday. I keep it in the fridge so the paint stays fresh!

April 12, 2009

Yuba Reflections

Acrylic on Postcard   SOLD

I've got a ton of shots from my last trip to the upper fork of the Yuba that I've been meaning to paint. I'm gonna do a bunch of quick studies this weekend and maybe tackle a bigger one next week. I've prepped a handful of 6x4 postcards so that I'm ready to roll.

April 11, 2009

The Tower

Acrylic on Postcard  4 x 6     SOLD
This must be one of those famous victorians I've heard so much about. Ahem.
Just another quick sketch using up paint on my palette. Even though this shot is a bit cliche, it's still fun to do. There's so many interesting points of light in the night city scape.  I did this using one No.8 Flat for the whole thing. Kept it moving along rapidly. About 15 minutes.

April 10, 2009


Acrylic on Postcard

I really like these giant machines sitting and slowly rusting into the ground. This is a quick sketch for a possible larger piece.

April 9, 2009

Nicholas II

Acrylic on Postcard

This is from a photo of my nephew, reflected in a display cake, through the window of a shop. I like the photo because it's pretty loose to begin with. This is just a quick study to explore the subject.

April 8, 2009

Upper Fork

Acrylic on Postcard  SOLD
This is from a shot taken on a camping trip in Northern CA. I just wanted to do a quick sketch to get the basics in place. I may do a larger version soon.

April 7, 2009

Last Chance

Acrylic on Canvas Board

OK. It's a little more consistent in energy/brushwork etc. but it's still not working. Maybe it's just a bad subject for me. In the photo the far hills are actually darker than the near ones, which doesn't help with the portrayal of depth. There's so much I should have changed about the composition that I really should have picked a different photo.

This is the end of this series. Something different tomorrow. 

I promise.

... and later that night

Acrylic on-and-off Canvas Board

I worked it a bit more, and then decided to give it the big scrape.

April 6, 2009

More Dang Hills

Acrylic on Canvas Board

Taking another swipe at this. I've left the tree/bush out of the foreground and tried to go for the big swaths of color. somehow I wound up with a real disconnect between the busy foreground and the blah background.

April 5, 2009

Hills Abstract

Acrylic on Postcard

With a little of the already mixed color on the palette from yesterday, I did a quick, small sketch of what I had intended to do yesterday. The smaller size let me easily accomplish a looser more abstract of the shapes and colors. Something about the amount of paint and brush size just seem easier for me.

I watched Wyland last night, and he was using an entire tube of ultramarine blue for an ocean scene he was working on, and a 5 inch brush that looked like a house painting brush. I think that's what I'll have to try. Gulp.

April 4, 2009

Dang Landscape

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

This is another crack at that landscape that I was going to do more as an abstract, just to work on colors and shapes. I started out with a nice red stripe, then the yellow, the green and blue. But something happened and I forgot myself and 30 minutes later I had become obsessed with tiny unimportant details and had ruined the abstract completely.

I don't really know how it happened. Maybe because the page was so big, maybe the brush too small. Hmmm. 

I will try one more time manana.

April 3, 2009

Bikini studies

Acrylic on Postcard

These are quick sketches I did for the Different Strokes assignment. I was hoping one of these would be the one I picked, and even though each has some OK spots, I wasn't really happy with any of 'em, so I redid the big one I posted yesterday. (I posted in reverse, because the one I submitted was due yesterday, even though I painted these the day before).

Some I did upside down, and the bottom right one I did upside down and from across the room, super fast. About 7 minutes. Just thought I'd post 'em for the fun of it.

April 2, 2009

Red Bikini

Acrylic on Canvas Paper

For this week's Different Strokes challenge, the original photo is of a family at the beach. Too many humans for my liking, so I focused on one. Turns out so did almost everyone else.

The human form is a little more demanding than trees or barns. A disproportional tree still looks pretty much like a tree. This image is obviously a woman, but by getting just a few measurements wrong  I've made her shorter (or wider) than she actually is. I don't generally have this problem in drawing, but paint is still just a little more difficult for me to manipulate.

Uncharacteristically I did a bunch of quick studies for this, hoping one of them would be "the  one" but I didn't really like any of 'em, so I did this larger one instead. Maybe I'll post the studies tomorrow. Maybe. 

April 1, 2009

Hat Abstract

Acrylic on Postcard

Dragged out last night's palette and tried to distill this into it's simplest forms. Well, that's where I started from, though it wound up more of a swirling mess than an abstract.