Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Well, here it is.... First oil painting in two years.
Not sure what to think of it now. Kinda down that it's over, plus I have stared at it for so long, I don't have fresh eyes to see it for what it is. I can only see the place I would have gone back and changed.
Still, I'm happy I did it. I still need a title too. Any suggestions?

Saturday, June 19, 2010


So here is the value study for the painting I'm attempting to get done for June 30th.
This study is charcoal on paper 15.25x24. The eventual painting will be 30x47.
Before I mention what I think it's about, I'd like to get your take on it. What do you think?
Also, I need a good title.
Here is the comission I did for a friend of mine. Also in charcoal.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I get by with a little help from my friends

Took some reference photos this past weekend for the painting that is due on June 30th for the submission at Manifest Gallery. I want to say thanks to Reg and Kristen for opening up their house and helping me out with getting the photos taken, which by the way took a lot longer than expected, but that seems to be the way of things. I had a model picked out for this painting, but he wasn't able to make it at the time, and I had a hard time deciding if I should wait for him to be available or just use myself.
Since the deadline is fast approaching and I was dealing with some perishable items in my setup, I decided to use myself. Looking back, I think it was a good result:one, for the fact that I had to kneel on hard floors while photos were taken and I wouldn't want to subject anyone to enduring that, and two, the painting is deeply personal to my life so despite my issues with my own body image, its more fitting for me to be in the painting.
So now it's up to me to get this thing done, and I must admit that I'm feeling the pressure. I don't want to waste too much time with the few hours I have each morning available to work on this, but I don't want to hurry up and do a half-assed attempt at something worth painting either.

So many people have been helping out with this project, mostly in the spiritual and encouraging supportive manner , which is what I need to keep this thing moving.
I have the layout drawing completed now, and now want to do a value study while getting a panel ready for painting. I'll try to post pics of the value study when I get it done.
I'm still trying to decide how large I want to make the piece. I want to paint it as big as possible, but then again my wife and I have small cars, so transporting this might be an issue if I make it larger than what could comfortably fit into our vehicles. Oh well, it will come down to a gut decision at the last minute.

I also wanted to mention that I am going out to a week long art conference in August called the Glen workshop. It's an incredible week where Artists, writers, and poets from all across the continent get together in Santa Fe, NM, to be one community. The are classes offered in the morning by faculty renowned and respected nationally in their own fields of study. Everything from Figure drawing to fiction and non fiction writing classes, to a film seminar. In the afternoons and evenings there are lectures given by faculty as well as time to spend exploring Santa Fe. I went last year as a gift from my brother, and I am excited to be going back again. This time I want to say thank you to two friends of mine (Dan, and Cam,)who contributed funds to help me get out there. I would say that the trip last year was the shot in my arm that made me seriously contemplate moving towards being a professional painter. Last year I took figure drawing with Barry Moser, who is an extremely intelligent man and a font of wisdom and Wit. He's a real character and you can't spend time with him without him making a strong and inspiring impression on you.
this year I am taking a portrait painting class with Joel Sheesley and am looking forward to it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cossacks come out of the basement

I recently finished a portrait commission in charcoal that I'm really happy with. I would show it now if it wasn't for the fact that it's a surprise wedding gift for the client's fiance'. So, instead I'm going to talk about this painting that I ran across at the Cincinnati Art museum. - Well, not exactly. -I'll explain that in a moment.

Cincinnati actually has a nice art museum for a small conservative city, and I should add that we also have the Taft art museum and the Contemporary arts center as well, before I make it sound like we only have one public showcase for art.

Whenever I visit the museum, I often forget that there is quite a large collection unseen in storage, so when I ran across this painting I was very pleased and surprised to find it. I stared at it for quite sometime and wrote down the artist and Title. The painting is titled; "The Zaporozhye Cossacks writing a reply to the Sultan." Now the painting in the museum is done by Paul Porfiroff, but when I did a search online for it, I couldn't find a Paul Porfiroff, and instead the painting was credited to Ilya Efimovich Repin. Long story short, I'm 99% sure that the painting in the Cincinnati art museum is a copy for the fact that 1, the painting by Ilya Repin is said to be housed in The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2, the online images of the painting like the one above, seem to have a lot more detail than the painting I saw at the Cincinnati art museum, and 3, The signature on the painting I saw in person was done in red in the lower right hand corner, while the painting credited to Mr. Repin is done in black in the center bottom. If you're wondering why I haven't sought confirmation of this, well I have... I asked the museum's security personnel and info center personnel, and they didn't have a clue since it was recently put up on display and I sent an email to the museum curators asking about it and I am still waiting for a response.

Anyways, I still love the painting for many reasons...

First off, without even reading the title, you can tell that the cast of characters are writing something humorous, if not pointedly so, and there is an audience of revelers and contributors surrounding the sneering face of the scribe. I love the faces and poses in this painting. You can almost hear the laughter and read into the character of each man in this painting. I love the face and pose of the Cossack in the center smoking the pipe and glaring with a smile to the right.

Secondly, I love the ethnic diversity in this painting. Without conjuring up ideas of modern social-political agendas, I'm just saying that I love the sense of family within the painting given that you see men of European decent as well as men with differing ranges of Mongolian decent all congregating as a deeply linked brotherhood. I actually did some research on it and found that there is in fact, a deep bond of brotherhood in Cossack culture. You can find more about that as well as read the actual letter that was being written in this painting here.

Thirdly, I love the way this painting is designed. You can trace a spiral inward from the man in back center with his left hand pointing up and to the to the left and then spiraling clockwise you can follow the heads of the men closest to the scribe until you hit the feather at the dead center of the painting. The man siting on the barrel with his back to you is almost falling out of the painting and this direction is reinforced by the Cossack in the back exhaling smoke out his nose with the slanted rifle or spears behind him. - The rifle,or spears begin an invisible line to the head of the man leaning back on the barrel. Finally the crew in the center of the painting are framed by the man in the white cloak with his back to you as well as the man to the far left also with his back to you and just off the left edge of the canvas.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I've got a little 5x8 bound sketchbook that I carry with me most places in the event that I come across time and something interesting to sketch.
I try to be sneaky about sketching people in public other than close friends, because I'd rather not have the person become uncomfortably self conscious. I dunno, maybe it sounds weird and maybe I think I'm stealthier than I actually am, and people just annoyingly play along with me...
These are quick (30- 45 minute) sketches I have done of people in public. Pencil on paper. Just trying to observe and grab a good likeness while the subject is moving around.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Goal # 1

Alright, so I know people are wondering where the heck the artwork is... I'm trying to focus on doing new stuff and that's kinda tough with a three year old and a 3 month old to take care of. I'll try to post images of sketches and such just so viewers can see what I'm up to.
So my first goal is this:
There is a great gallery in town called Manifest. I love the fact that they're one of the few galleries here in town that seem to have a connection with what is going on outside Cincinnati. Part of their mission is to engage the public with powerful and beautiful artwork, as well as to revitalize and reenergize the creativity and appeal for art in the community. They're also focussed on offering classes in drawing to the general public by knowledgeable and gifted instructors. It's a small gallery, but heck I love what they're doing and what they're about. Anyways... they have juried competitions throughout the year and on June 30th of this year is the deadline for their Painting annual(INPA). They're selecting entries from all over the world for works of Painting and/or writing about to be printed into an annual that will then be sent to various places around the country. I have an image in mind for this and I aim to try to meet this deadline and see what happens.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Last attempt at painting

So here's a detail from the last (unfinished) painting I did about 2 years ago. There are some issues with anatomy and proportion that I didn't realize until later on, but heck it was a good start and a wealthy learning experience. I hope to digest what I learned in this one and bring more into the new painting I'm gearing up for...

In the (humble) beginning...

This site for me is a declaration that I am now in pursuit of painting professionally. For a long time I have wanted to do this, but have found excuses not to, born out of fear. Don't get me wrong, I love to paint and draw, and a lot of people think I'm really good, ...I just didn't really believe it myself. Why? - I dunno. Fear does funny things to the human psyche.
There are a lot of well established painters my age that I admire, and yet I thought there was no way I could ever get to where they are since I am just starting out. I then read an old post on a blog by artist David Kassan where he says "...still have a long way to go to get there but its the journey that is the kick ass part of this painting gig."

I'm realizing it's not about getting obsessed about reaching an endpoint, but taking the journey today. It may take me 25 years to get to where I want to be as an artist, making me 60 years old before I might realize my dreams, but I'd rather have that than be 60 and still be in the same place I am now.

Another good friend of mine confronted me about my hesitation to pursue painting. He said it's like you have all the signs that say GO!, but you're standing in front of two doors; the door to painting, and the door to something else, and I'm waiting for someone else to open the door for me. I am busted.

Due to the economy, I lost my job in October(doing painting and sculpture for museum exhibits), and now that I'm still unemployed, it seems like it's time to reinvent myself.

So I can't promise excellent grammar, or anything really thrilling, but by reading read this blog, you can come on the journey with me. I'll try to post as often as I can, and please give me feedback as you like.