Figurative Friday 5 - Sam

Sam modeled for my Frog Queen piece last year. She was a great model  but I knew I was going to end up changing her likeness a bunch for the piece, so grabbed some normal shots of her as well for myself.  A while back I wanted to test out some new oil colors and some palette ideas so grabbed one of the photos for inspiration and did this little study.

Oil on Panel
8 x 12


6 x 6 oil on panel 
Another quickie oil sketch that I ended up liking. Maybe she wants more work, maybe she doesn't. But no matter how she ends up, sometimes those "in between" moments are fun to linger on.

I am working to get to a place of confidence where I can bring in some more of that "in betwee-ness" to my finished work. I think many realist painters end up going through something similar. I love the way it looks when done right- it brings an "alive-ness" to the piece and creates more of a dialogue with the viewer. Artists Like Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Rick Berry, Greg Manchess and Jeremy Mann do it beautifully.

I tell my students: Good art is as much about what you can leave out as what you can put in. And the first one is much, much harder to do well I think.

Grey Widow - Portrait Sketch

When I have been thinking in thumbnails/prelim drawings and color studies for too long, I like to just sit down with a couple reference photos from my library as inspiration and do a little free-form oil sketching for an hour or two. One of my favorite things to do is just make a little portrait of someone pretty. Some of them turn out terrible, some of them turn out ok and sometimes I really like them and end up seeing something I can take furthur. I would like to accumulate a good-sized series of these to show at some point. But for now, here is one of my recent favorites:

Grey Widow
Oil on Panel
5" x  5"

"I Aten't Dead"

To quote my favorite Discworld character. I just moved to Boston. And while times the NYC withdrawl gets to feeling a bit much, I just look out my REAL STUDIO window to my LAWN and somehow I think I can go on.

So I've been lax, I admit. The lead up to the move, the move itself (happening quite suddenly a month before schedule) and getting adjusted... sure I've been making art- just not sharing. Only some of it due to contractual constraints. That ends now. I've got a decent backlog waiting to see daylight and it's time to get back onto communicating with the rest of the world.

The above self portrait was done in a little over an hour one morning when I looked at a still-wet palette from another piece and figured I shouldn't let all that paint go to waste. I call it "You're Coffee's Getting Cold."


Back in January I posted the oil sketch for this piece. I've been finished with it for a while, with the occasional tweak here and there and finally decided that it was time to share.

There's something about painting old men with white hair that really appeals to me for some reason. I think it's the challenge of whispy hair against old, leathery skin. Wrinkles are so much fun! And big, bushy eyebrows.

Still Life

So I have been doing a lot of charcoal stuff lately and decided, after being inspired by Rob Rey's beautiful still lifes, I wanted to spend some time painting to keep up my practice. I haven't done a proper still life in... a long time. So I set one up all nice like- even did some clever umbrella action to control the light. Here's the set-up:

And the full painting:

Because I'm me, I spent longer on it than I had originally planned- so tomorrow I think I will set up a smaller one, stick to my time-limit and see what happens. I was just too happy to be playing with paints today to stop.


So I've been working several things: one of which is a Gandalf portrait and thought I would share it in its "sketch" stage.

I tried a different way of working this one- just using some photo reference, and sketching first with a blue pencil and then with raw umber directly on a gessoed panel. There's something lovely about the freedem this warrants- much like drawing with charcoal. It's got some colors on it now, and perhaps I will share another progress shot soon.

Back to the easel!

Oil Sketch

So in celebration of finally being able to go outside again, I decided to do some painting from life. Here are some windows I can see from my back porch. And by porch I mean fire escape.

I spent about an hour and a half on this I think. I am going to do more at different times of day to see how the light changes. This one was 5:30ish- 7. The little spot of yellow between the windows was only there for like 5 minutes, and it was fun trying to capture things like that as they came and went.