Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lost Friend

I've taken a day or two off from my art as I lost a close friend this week and was preparing for his service. I was his running coach for the past 20 years although he was 20 years older, at 80. I spent a sleepless night thinking about what I wanted to say, finally getting up at 12:30 and writing a few pages. I awoke again at 5 or so - it made for a short night and I had my figure drawing session that morning. It took a while to get going but I finally started to sketch in a fast and loose line, white marker on tan, and that allowed me to finish strong with several good drawings. Somehow, the looser I worked, the more my eye and hand coordinated and I entered that right brain zone we thirst for. Here is that magical sketch.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Foggy coast

Here is another of my favorite Oregon coast scenes. The distant coast is lost in the fog, a common event. This is 8 x 10".

I have begun my abstract painting course and will have a chance to experiment with new mediums and techniques as part of the class exercises as well as continue my own styles of painting, and add to them as I use the exercise material in my current work. This is one of the exercises where the assignment was to create a collage with concentration on shapes and also a concentration on one main color. I love the richness of black and shades of black so I started with a black background, then cut up a photo of a sunset over buildings and turned it upside down so the building shapes, a green tinted black, are at the top and the upside down sunset clouds repeat the cut out shape at the bottom - the splash of color to set off the blacks and grays. I then added some black ribbon and a black, outlined heart (a spade from a playing card.) I like the final effort and the textures of the blacks.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Small seascape

Here is a 5 x 7" sketch of the sea at Lincoln City, Oregon. It's one of my favorite coast towns for the scenery nearby and the casino. I'll admit I don't spend enough time touring the coast due to an affinity for poker. I have done a handful of paintings of this coast over time, including some of my favorites. Nothing like reflections on water to bring out the best.

Tomorrow is the start of my abstract painting course and I hope to crank out some great new work in that vein as I decide which style is my favorite and strongest to move toward in the future.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Abstract Work

Here is a small abstract I did in preparation for a larger one. I have been doing several styles of abstracts and enjoy the interplay of line, color, and shape to create a coherent whole. We know in color psychology that certain colors evoke different emotions. Certain lines also create different feelings in the viewer. These moods are independent of subject matter. It is in this vein that I try to use shapes and lines to create these emotions in a viewer.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Varied weekend

Wow. What a range of art this past 3 days. I read Kirk Varnedoe's book, Pictures of Nothing, a transcript of 2003 lectures on abstract art from the 1950's to the present. I paint several styles of abstracts and am starting a course next week on abstract painting , mainly to decide on future painting directions and this book gave me a good refresher on abstract art. At the same time, I attended a life drawing class, a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. Interesting to see were these two avenues will lead my work in the future. I finally have the time to experiment as well as work on my art. In the life drawing I try out various papers and textures versus various drawing mediums. Eventually I hope to develop my style there that I enjoy and and will give the best results. Here are a couple of images I drew today.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Running scene

I've been working on a Seattle marathon image but wasn't getting where I wanted on it so switched to a small, 5" x 12" canvas pad piece and did a fast and loose painting of a crowded cross country race start where I caught the movement and pack with simple colorful strokes. Will have to go back to my Seattle idea and rework it from scratch to get this same feeling into it. Movement is the key to an image of runners and I feel I captured it here.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Seattle Skyline

Here is a framed painting of the Seattle skyline on a nice clear crisp day. This is the view from Gasworks park across Lake Union, looking south. It is a popular scene to view from and paint. It is 8 x 18", including the frame.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I have been working on a self-portrait for the past weeks, slowly. Finally ready to show the in-progress result. Interesting how difficult it is to see yourself. What do we say, we look like our fathers as we age. My father was almost bald by his late 20's so I'm lucky I inherited my mother's thick hair. I plan on doing some more of these as my drawing and observation skills improve. I have an old self-portrait of about 25 years ago that I'll post once I take some photos of it for a comparison. I'm usually smiling so have to do a less serious one too. Maybe they can use this in my obit....not too soon I hope.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Green Lake oil sketch

I live just north of Seattle's Green Lake and it has been a subject of mine to paint for many years. I completed some small works recently from sketches made this summer. It's nice to look at these in winter with some frost on the ground to remind me of what a nice summer day there is like. I'm a racewalker so have been around the lake's 2.8 mile path roughly ten thousand times in my years in Seattle. I sometimes carry my small digital camera just in case I see a scene or wildlife I can't resist. This scene is a 6 x 8" oil done on unstretched canvas and is a view from the NW corner looking south. It is for sale at $85.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I have started attending some local life drawing sessions, that is, drawing from a live model. This is something I enjoy periodically as a means to sharpen my vision and my hand. Drawing the figure has been a learning method for artists for centuries. You can't "fudge" when drawing a figure like you might with a tree or a mountain. You either get it right or not. To practice in between sessions, I use all those catalogs we receive in the mail and draw the model's faces or hands and feet. These critical details make the difference in a strong drawing or a poor one. I've also been using a book of color portraits to paint from for practice. Even though I paint half my work in an abstract and even non-objective manner, one can never be too skilled in observing and painting. Here are a few pages from my sketchbook:

(It snowed in Seattle last night so I skipped my Tuesday drawing session. Roads are pretty icy and no sense putting my car at risk. Only snows here a few times a winter but we have very little equipment because of this so side roads never do get sanded or cleared. Luckily it always warms up in the afternoon and the roads clear up by then. )

Monday, January 14, 2008

New work based on Mexico trip

Here is a new work based on a trip I recently took to the Mexican Riviera aboard a cruise ship. This is the very tip of Baja, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. There is a beautiful small arch in the central rock formation. We cruised in just as the sun was rising so I took some great photos to work from. This work is 22 x 30.
I have also been working on a very different painting (different from my usual landscapes that rarely have people in them) of the start of the 2007 Seattle Marathon. This resulted from a possible photo project for a local magazine that didn't work out, however I had some photos I Iiked so started a painting of one of them. As before in a similar mural project, I found the most challenging part to be to paint small faces in the lead group of runners. There is a happy medium between realism and impressionism I try to paint for these yet the faces are never satisfying. I'll post this work when I feel more comfortable with it. Challenges are how we learn and grow, right?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Blog

Get ready to read and see new art work regularly. Although I update my Website at regularly, I will be putting up more frequent updates on work in progress, directions, and new art activities and thoughts here. I hope you enjoy reading and viewing as we grow together.

My daughter moved to Arizona last year and I have visited as has my other daughter, who is a great photographer. She now has a new D-40 camera and we both have taken photos for me to paint Southwest scenes from. Here is one of the resulting paintings. It is done in oils, my main medium, and is 12x16.

It is interesting to me how each type of landscape almost creates it's own technique to get the result I want. Here I underpainted with a strong orange that shows through in spots. It is very different from the Northwest landscapes where the colors are more muted except for sunsets and sunrises. The clear Southwest atmosphere makes for stunningly contrasted and clear shadows and light. I plan on more of these works, including the Grand Canyon which I have only begun to paint. Here is the first of these: This work is 18 x 24.
I plan on a series of related views as I move forward in capturing the new colorful landscape in oils.