Friday, December 28, 2012


I decided to do portraits of the kids that were killed in Newtown, CT and send them to their parents. I haven't done a lot of portraits but I figured I'm an experienced painter so I should be able to handle this. Because I use acrylic that needs about 10-15 minutes to dry I started four by doing drawings and then adding washes. This went pretty well until I started seeing places where the resemblance was off. I spent a lot of time correcting the drawings, then when I got a better likeness I added more washes to build up general shadow areas and then started adding color. Then I started having trouble. I'd fix a color issue only to notice a resemblance problem so I'd fix that but now the colors weren't working. Needless to say I'm in over my head but determined to carry on and hoping to get looser although I have difficulty adjusting details and staying loose. Emilie Parker is the first one I have finished. Her eulogy said that she loved to draw and would make cards for people so I felt a kinship with her. We probably would have had fun drawing together and it made me think about making art with kids.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


And now for something completely different! I was dragged kicking and screaming into the digital world and recall with teeth-gritting fondness the difficulty I had learning graphics software. But on the rare occasion that I create a digital image, I really enjoy it. This was done with Illustrator CS6 and is entirely vector. I still prefer the direct tactile interface of a brush or pen but there are definitely some advantages to digital, like moving things around and changing colors.

A while back I attempted to create a sportswear company with my cousin. Things never worked out with the company but we were going to call it Zenboyz. I recently had an opportunity to use the name for a design identity contest and this was my entry. I wanted to create an image that would allude to Eastern philosophy but in a way that was playful and didn't take itself too seriously. The target is a reference to a zen exercise that employs archery as a training device.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


A local organization called Muttville places older homeless dogs. They contacted me asking if I would donate a portrait for their fundraising auction so this was done for the winning bidder. I had a great time rendering Pookie's wild bits of hair. 14x11, acrylic on canvas.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Been taking an interest in Latin words and phrases. I started realizing how prevalent Latin is in our culture--legal terms, the root of common words and natural science terminology, and of course, on our money. And then there's the fun to be had by making up Latin-sounding phrases, like flatulus maximus, a condition related to lactose intolerance. I had an idea for this piece about light and dark and contrast. So I looked up some Latin phrases and found this one, lux ex tenebris, which means light from dark. This is 24" x 24", acrylic on canvas with the words at the top and the dove drawing being done in pen and ink and glued on as separate pieces of paper. Thanks to my artist niece Lindsay for the canvas! This will be in a juried competition show at the ACCI Gallery in Berkeley that opens July 13.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


A painting of my friend Ed's Vespa scooter I've been working on for about a year, off and on. Kept thinking I wanted it to be more than just a pretty picture. I've done some things in the past that incorporated collage and type, perhaps from my graphic design days. I did paste-up a few lifetimes ago and remembered liking how my desktop looked when all the elements were there but not assembled yet. You could get the same message just looking at the pieces, but it was an enjoyable exercise to put them together mentally. I suppose the intellectual art term for this would be deconstructivist. So, I went back to my piece and added some collage elements. The scooter painting satisfies the part of my thinking that likes rendering stuff, and the collage adds a quirkiness that makes it less predictable realism. The last part was adding the word "Vespa". I didn't like how it looked so I started sanding it off and was struggling with it a bit so I stopped. I looked at the texture from the sanding and realized I liked the way it looked and all of a sudden it wasn't the problem I thought it was. The word was still legible, so I decided to leave it that way. One of those rare occasions where I let something spontaneous happen instead of being determined to get to where I would have normally gone--completely sanding off the word, repainting the area, and redoing the type in a different way.

Friday, April 13, 2012


A portrait of my cousin's cat. Was quite pleased that she felt that I had captured the cat's character, something I always hope for but is sometimes elusive. Typically I like odd things the average person wouldn't even notice, like the dark spot on her back against the dark background. Acrylic on canvas, 11x14.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I liked the demeanor of this dog and wanted to create an image for practice as it had been a while since I did any critter art. I started it about six months ago and it has been sitting around partially finished underneath a bunch of other projects. I finally completed it a couple days ago and was happy it was looser than my usual work. Acrylic on canvas.