Monday, December 1, 2008


I've taken on a part-time job in my pre-art world for a few months so will have to get more focused in my free time.

I had a dream of flying birds and wanted to try painting some in a slashing palette knife style. Here are the early results in very small 3x4 inch sizes. The size is not amenable to too much detail in this style but larger these may work. Always fun to experiment.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Split Figure

I keep experimenting with figures in my rough palette knife split figure style. There is something I love about the mystery of the figure when separated by the field of the canvas. Will keep pushing this to its limits, including more in wax too. Haven't tried larger sizes yet but that is a direction to try too. This one is 13x13 on hard board.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Last Hawaii Painting

This is another small, 8x10, painting of a scene from my Hawaii trip. It was done with the palette knife so has a nice texture. One difficulty is putting in people at this size and level of detail. May have to use a small brush to finish up with that.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Door Project

I have spent several days painting a mural on a pocket door. It is 6x3 feet in size and I painted it in acrylic. The design is a Van Gogh countryside painting with a few modifications. It was a fun project. It fits its place well as the walls of the kitchen are painted yellow.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

More Hawaii

I'm still working from some of my Hawaii photos. Here is a beach scene that is 9x12 inches. I also have another one in progress. This is painted mainly with a palette knife for the thick texture I want. By using the water soluble oil paints, I am able to get the texture and the painting also dries to the touch in a few days at most. This process encourages me because with normal oil paint, I'd have to wait many days to touch up thick paint whereas now I can finish a work within a week. The ablility to go from idea to completed work in a matter of days is a reason I took up the wax painting too. I guess I don't have the patience to wait weeks for paints to dry. When working wet into wet, I can just keep moving as the water soluble oils "set up" in a short time so I can blend without over mixing the colors together. I am more and more liking the idea, like the impressionists, of setting dabs of paint side by side and letting the eye do the blending.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New Work

Have had a minor knee surgery and been working on the political campaign so not as much time for the art but here are a few recent works. One is a drawing from my life sessions. Paintings are an 8 x 10 inch nice thickly painted Hawaii Dunes, and a small 4 x 10 inch Green Lake Bathhouse Theater work, both done in oils.

Have also attended a few free art demonstrations at the local Daniel Smith art supply store. These are very motivating, especially since I find I know as much as the instructors about many issues, just need to keep at the work.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Grand Canyon

Have been on vacation in Maui and did a few small paintings there. Here is a Grand Canyon scene I had done previously in wax and now did an 8 x 10 inch oil painting of it. I have several other small works from the trip, a few needing touchups.

Have been busy since I returned working on the political campaign as a volunteer. Figure if I don't help, who will. Political art is one thing but getting in the trenches is another.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New drawings

Here are two figure drawings made recently. I'll be taking some photos in Hawaii and love those sunsets. Should be some new work online soon from these.

Monday, September 8, 2008

New wax work

This is another 6 x 6 inch wax painting from my flower series of Magnuson Park in Seattle.

(I have been diverted lately following the political conventions. I'm a citizen first, artist second. Still really looking for a way to make art relevant to the real world as more than nice decorations. Not an easy quest.)

Friday, August 29, 2008

New Political Art

I finally finished my several month project in wax of war protest art. It is a flag design that I titled Bush's Folly Flag. The blue star field says "George W. Bush's Folly in Iraq" at the top and "Over 4,000 U.S. Lives X'd Out." at the bottom. The flag has stripes consisting of the red and white background X's and there are blue X's between the stars. The overall work is 32 x 42 inches on 4 panels glued down to a firm platform. The current casualty count in Iraq is 4169 and the flag contains 4366 X's as I anticipate this being the 2008 total at least, maybe even the total by the election. Of course, I could also talk about the thousands and thousands of Iraqis killed but this project took several months total making the wax X's to get to the 4,000 plus. Now I need to find a venue to display the work. Any suggestions appreciated.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wax Magnuson Park Version

This is a 6 inch by 6 inch wax painting of one of my Magunson Park scenes. I really love the texture the wax brings and need to continue to work on this texture in my oil paintings. Also, I lightly buff the wax works so they have a nice shine which makes the colors glow, something I only get in varnishing the oils.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Flower Paintings

Finally working and taking a break from watching Olympics. Have 9 of my Magnuson Park series finished now. All are 8 x 10 oils. Here are a few not shown before.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Drawings

Have been out of town competing in the National Masters Track and Field championships in Spokane, Wahington so only sketched for a few days. Posting some drawings from the life session today. Also started 5 more Magnuson Park paths and flowers paintings and should have these done by the weekend and will post some of these. Not sure if the result will be any major paintings. Also took some photos of Spokane Falls and will see if any are workable for paintings.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New figure drawings

I took a break from my figure drawing sessions lately while traveling and deciding what to do with them. I have been however sketching almost every day to work on developing my own style I like. I'm working toward "light" pencil touch that may be finally working. Here are some of today's results. These are 9 x 12 or 8x 11.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fourth flower painting

This 8 x 10 oil is the last of my current series of flower paintings of Magnuson Park. I also did a couple of mirrors using the same designs. Usually for the craft items I don't use original paintings but do interpretations of impressionist work, especially Monet but these floral paintings had a similar feel so I did them in acrylics on the mirrors.

I'm also still working on a time consuming project in my political art realm and realize it will take about 60 hours total time for a 32 x 40 work that I'm doing in wax. Will it be worth it? The image is a US flag with small X's for each fallen US soldier in the Iraq war. I see it as a protest rather than a tribute as I believe the war was unjustified from the start. As a Vietnam era veteran, I could see a false justification from the start and didn't think the Vietnam folly would be repeated in my lifetime but I was wrong. The artwork will be my attempt to shout about the needlessly X'd out lives.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Magnuson Park Flowers continued

This is another 8 x 10 oil of the flower gardens at Seattle's Magnuson Park. I have one more in the works to finish up.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Arizona painting

This is the fairly large, 18 x 38, oil I have been working from my Arizona landscapes. It's a view of the mountains behind Sedona. That's coffee pot rock on the right end of the mountain.

Have started a large project in wax also, part of my political protest art, and also have several more flower landscapes. Nothing like variety.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

More Magnuson Park

Here is another 8 x 10 oil from my trip to Magnuson Park. The flowers were wonderful and I have several more works in progress.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I took some photos at Seattle's Magnuson Park and am working on some small works from them. Also working toward the completion of a larger Arizona landscape and will post that soon. This is an 8 x 10 oil.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Have been out of town so only did a few wax paintings. Here is a retake of a painting I did in oils earlier as a 5x7 wax painting.

Visited a hot North Carolina but of course missed the hottest day of the year in Seattle. It's all in the timing. Training for my racewalking for a meet in Spokane next month and it's always hot there so hoping for hot weather here at home to be ready. Last time I did this meet it was in NC and was 119 degrees on the track during my 5K event. Needless to say, actual racing was out of the question as the first goal was to finish on my feet. Coming from Seattle is a definite disadvantage at hot weather venues.

Have a few other new works in progress and hope to make up for the gap here soon. Still a problem deciding what's worth doing as art these days. Have a few "political" works in progress too as a protest of what's happening in the world. Does a visual protest have any impact? The latest Art in America magazine had a good article about this issue.

I'm using symbols and combining them in unique ways to at least express my opinion as I only lightly engage the political process. I vote and write a few letters and help fund my preferred candidates but I'm not an activist otherwise.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hawaii sunsets

Now that I plan on returning to Maui for a fall vacation, I pulled out some Hawaii sunsets I have painted and redid them in the wax medium. Even though I have about 35 wax colors to work with, I find that with the wax the way I use it, with a stylus, I do not get the blending that allows subtle colors. These sunsets are thus very bright, almost like the whale and underwater paintings you see in Hawaiian galleries. I would have to melt the wax in small containers to mix the colors I want and I'm not set up with ventilation to do that so I use a pointillist type techinique of small patches of color side by side, thus keeping them cleaner and brighter. The oils I'm using as references are not quite as bright when compared although I had always thought of them as pretty bright.

Here are two 5x7 wax sunsets.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wax still life

Have been working on some longer term projects and ideas so not much to post. Do these small wax works for a break from the more strenuous work. (Plus it's finally yard work season in Seattle, yes, mid-June until we finally get a few sunny days.)

This is a 5x7 flower still life based on a bouquet I had and took several reference photos of before the flowers wilted.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A new split figure in oils

I am painting several figures to see if this idea will work of splitting a figure. Trying out how much detail to use and the size that works best. This is an 8x10 where the figure has quite a bit of detail for this size. The figures are a little darker than the image shows here but it was difficult to adjust the contrast with the dark center.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Arizona scene in wax

This is a small 5x7 work done in wax. It's my first try on one of the Arizona scenes I've been painting. I do these small works while I wait for my oils to dry. Started three new paintings today but now need to wait a day or two for the next layer. Have two of the new ideas for figures begun and a larger Arizona landscape blocked in.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

New drawings

Have been out of town for a few days so not much to post. Am working in a new figure based series and have done a small wax work but see that will go better in oils. Will post these once I get some done I am satisfied with. Here is the small 5x7 wax work.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Oregon Coast Sunset

This is another small, 5x7, wax painting done from a small oil painting of the Oregon coast sunset. Still learning the limits of where I can take the wax paintings. Here I had a 6x8 canvas board and taped it off to 5x7 because those frames and mats are more standard size and easier to find. I also blocked in another Arizona landscape in oils and will work on that this week and post it in a few days.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Seattle Skyline

This is a 4 x 10 inch wax painting of the Seattle skyline from Gasworks Park. I found a beautiful silver frame at a thrift store so wanted to do a painting to fit and the skyline was the best image for its long narrow shape. I used a photo I took for a reference and have done several paintings from this photo as it is just a great image.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wax Portrait

This is a small, 6 x 8, portrait done with the encaustic wax medium. The texture and finish is attractive but it looks like I'll need to do these larger to control the figure details. Will try some 8 x 10's or and see if these work better.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

New Wax Landscape

This is a 6x9 landscape of my favorite place, Seattle's Green Lake. I realized a problem with the wax based painting is that there are only a limited number of color cubes I have to work with so I need to blend on the work itself. With paint I can just mix the color I want but the wax doesn't lend itself to mixing as I don't have many colors nor do I want to get involved in melting the colors together other on the actual painting surface. The plus side is that I tend to work brighter and more impressionist style with small bits of color, like Monet or Seurat. I will be trying some figure paintings to make use of my drawing sessions with the wax technique. Also reworking a large Green Lake landscape with my thick palette knife style but not at a point where want to show it yet. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

More wax work

This is another small, 5 x 7, landscape done in the encaustic wax technique. It was an image I was having trouble with in oils but here I feel I nailed it. I realized most of my wax cubes are fairly dark colors so will need to buy more light colors to work in this impressionistic vein. Now, can I apply what I learned to a larger work in oils of this same image? Will try that soon. It's great to try other mediums and themes and bring the knowledge gained back and forth between them.

You can see some of the nice texture the wax gives, even in this small image.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wax painting

I have been working with the new medium, encaustic or wax. I use a small stylus that melts the wax as I dip it into the various colors. One issue is that it is difficult to keep the small cubes of wax clean when working with them so impurities develop. Will have to find a solution. Another problem is in going over a darker color with a lighter one, the darker one underneath melts at times and the light is not as pure either. Overall though, I find the technique relaxing and not tedious and I'm happy with the results. Have done two small landscapes and a face from my life drawing sessions. Am satisfied with the landscapes and here is one of them, a Grand Canyon scene.
A final step is a light buffing with a soft cloth although here too, buffing too firmly results in colors mixing too much. The textures produced are superb and the buffing gives a luminous glow, like varnishing an oil painting. A final drawback is that I have to work small as larger works would take too much wax to apply with a stylus. You can melt wax in pots and apply it with brushes but this requires a well ventilated studio which I don't have at this point. This work is 5 x 7 inches.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Still Life

Have continued my eclectic jaunts. Finished another grid painting and still life so posting the latter. Also creating some impressionist style work with the wax medium. I found that working small provides the depth and variety I like. Will post these new works soon.

The flower still life is from a bouquet I had at home. I took several photos to use after the flowers wilt. The still lifes give me the chance to really emphasize the paint and texture. This is one of the thickest paintings I have ever done. It's 8 x 10.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Local Seattle Scenes

Finally, a hot weekend. Was 80 yesterday and will hit that again today. Here is a painting that is a view from Golden Gardens beach, on the west side of Seattle, on Puget Sound. Water is a little too cold to swim there but sunbathing on a nice day is popular. It's an 9 x 12 inch oil.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Green Lake Path

This is another small, 9x12, painting I refreshed by going over it with the palette knife. The image was satisfactory but needed more texture. I have quite a volume of Seattle's Green Lake work and will have to set up a separate area on my Website for all these. Still have a large project in mind once the weather improves and can go out on the lake for new photos.

Monday, May 12, 2008

New Arizona work

I've competed several new paintings from my recent Arizona trip. I've kept more of the colorful red rock theme here. Hope you like them.

These are both 12 x 24.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Here are some new drawings from my life sessions. Model was tall and slim.

Also have been working on some Southwest landscapes but taking a while so no finished results to post. Some works take longer in the oven to bake...

Also took a class on encaustic or hot wax painting. I'm looking for depth and translucent surfaces however in this class we melted the wax with a small iron and with soldering type irons so while the effects were interesting, it wasn't quite what I was looking for. Did create a couple of nice swirls style works postcard size but I was able to do these with markers before. Only advantage with the wax is the immediate drying and the depth of the wax so automatic texture is added. Also, the metallics were nice and give a jewelry like look. Will see if I do more of this but always good to learn a new technique for future reference.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

California sunset

This is a small 8x10 oil painting of a truck stop during a trip to California. It's one of my favorite urban scenes.

Have started a series of new Southwest landscape paintings and will post the results soon. Still deciding on the style, that is, how far from realistic can I get and still get the scene right? There is a range of photo-realistic to realistic, to impressionist, to very stylized or almost abstract. Each landscape has its best place in that range and the challenge is ending up with the best for the particular scene. It's what makes painting fun but also frustrating at times.

Friday, May 2, 2008

New Grids

Here is a grid painting I have been working on for a while and I am getting to the finishing touches. It reminds me of reflections in skyscraper windows, hence the title. I have several more works, including a series of red, yellow, and blue grids that are also almost finished. Will see if I do any more as am getting back to landscapes for a while.