October 12, 2012

Houses on a Cliff

 18" x 24" oil on canvas. Thanks to everyone for the nice comments. It's probably the easiest thing in the world to answer the comments but I've never taken the time to figure out how to do it. As I've said previously I like a painting to read pretty quickly, and I think this does. Super simple.
 Detail #1. This part is fairly abstract...at least like I use the term "abstract". Many people use the term "abstract" to mean splotches of paint, which can be 100% accurate. But the way I use the term "abstract", although it can mean splotches of paint, it can also be very distinct paint areas. So all of the areas of paint here are very distinct but are are very different from each other.

 Detail #2. Nothing amazing...
 Detail #3. The redish color is slightly more intense in the distance (upper right) to flatten the image.
Detail #4. Cliff in shadow on left, and sky in the center and on right.

September 29, 2012

"Santa Ynez"

I know, I know, I haven't posted for a while. The summer was super busy at CalArts. However I finally got some time off. My wife and I got out of California for a few days and when we returned home I got the chance to paint. This is 18" x 24".

Detail 1. The shadow side of the house is more purple than it appears here.

Detail 2. The bright horizontal line is more yellow on the left, and kind of yellow-green on the right.
Detail 3. Usually I'll paint a light side of an object and a shadow side of that same object. Reading about light and shadow they'll write about things like core shadow, bounce light, rim light, highlight, etc. But I'm not into painting realistically.

January 12, 2012

Houses and Dinghies

 18" x 24" oil on canvas
Originally I wanted to see if I could make this painting fairly quickly. After all it's smallish, 18" x 24" and at first I was going to use fairly realistic colors and contrast. Also the composition is fairly simple. But as I got into it I could see that by changing the colors slightly, and boosting the contrast, it could be much, much stronger. Where the central house is now, originally there was a dinghy, but I could see that it was way too conventional. The colors and the contrast were actually very difficult. I would paint something, realize it didn't work quite right, change the color the tiniest bit (and I mean tiny), and then repaint it. I like a lot how the painting turned out but it was definitely a struggle getting it there.

Detail #1. You can see some of the original grass color poking through here and there.

 Detail #2. Here's a piece of the ocean and yellowish sky. Here again I wanted to see if I could make the ocean work with a graphic pattern.
 Detail #3. Although this painting looks like it was done fairly quickly (and I like that look) it wasn't. It drives me crazy when a painting looks like it was carefully done. You know, every color transition is smooth, every blade of grass is fussed over, every detail is carefully done, etc. It doesn't mean it's wrong for an artist to do that, it's just not my taste at all.

Detail #4. Here are some of the dinghies. To the left of the red one you can see that I ruffed out another, didn't like it, so painted over it.
Currently I'm working on another painting of the same size, and hope to finish it before classes at CalArts get going again...we'll see.

January 6, 2012

Houses on the Lake

18" x 24" Oil on canvas.
Sorry I've fallen off the map. Things at CalArts have been so busy I haven't had time to paint for quite a while. However it's the break at Christmas time so I've had the chance to get back to painting for the last couple of weeks. I decided to do a couple of small ones to get back in the swing. Even though this is pretty small I struggled and struggled. It finally came together but it was a pain. I kind of like a painting to look like a bunch of mistakes that go together to make an image.

Detail #1. The darkest area looks black here but it's actually a very dark blue. Like I said earlier I really concentrate on design, and feel that it doesn't just apply to size and shape but to values and even to colors.
To many, many people the more photographic an image is the better it is. The way I look at it is that if someone wants something to look photographic s/he can simply get a camera.
Detail #3. The darkest area is a reflection of the under side of the bridge. It kind of looks black here but it's really alizarine (sp?) crimson and a little thalo green.

July 23, 2011

Roads and Houses

This may be the last painting I blog for a few weeks. CalArts has been a lot of work this summer so I haven't had much time to paint. I finished this a few weeks ago. I'm quite happy how this turned out but it was a real struggle making it work. I really strive for a painting to be abstract but at the same time totally recognizable.
Detail #1. I finished the entire painting but was only happy with this part, so it's what I kept and completely changed the rest. Green and purple are a very strange color combination but I wanted to try to make them work because I really liked the part above.
Detail #2. Hopefully you can see how abstract this painting is from some of these details. Although ultimately I shoot for everything to make sense, as if I was actually painting on location, I want every paint stroke, every splotch of color, etc. to be completely abstract.
Detail #3. More stuff.
Detail #4. It's easier to see how abstract this is when looking at a small piece of the painting.

July 16, 2011

Red Truck

27" x 36" oil on canvas. Sorry that I've kind of dropped off the map. Even though it's summer I've had a ton to do at CalArts. I'm actually getting a little crispy on the edges and will be more than ready for some time off before school starts in September. Another example of how I like a painting to work 2D and at the same time 3D.
Detail #1 This photo's a little soft. I think the camera was too close to the painting, sorry.
Detail #2 What I usually shoot for is a painting that reads very quickly...maybe 5 seconds, and yet is so interesting that you could look at it a thousand times and still see something new. Of course I wish I was always successful at it.
Detail #3 The splotch of yellow paint near the hood of the truck is slightly green. Green is the complement of red so it makes the truck stand out more than a warm yellow would.
Detail #4 Some things, like the yellow horizontal line, are simply for visual interest...it's not to represent anything, it's just for visual interest.

June 7, 2011

Big Red Cloud

40" x 48" oil on canvas. I wanted to make the cloud seem huge so I made some real tiny houses on the bottom of the painting.

Detail #1. This is pretty close to the actual size of the houses...as you can see they're fairly lose.

Detail #2. The color of the cloud is an orangeish red. What I think is interesting is that for some reason this made the cloud look like it's somewhere in the midwest...

Detail #3 I think maybe the midwest thing has something to do with the sky color too.

Detail #4

June 4, 2011


18" x 24" oil on canvas. I'm trying out a different layout to see if the weirdness with the text goes away or is equally weird. When the painting is on the left and the text is on the right the relationship between painting and text often gets completely messed up for some reason. This painting is super simple and fairly small. Even with something simple like this I always shoot for interesting design. In fact I never even start a painting without thinking design.

Detail #1 Super simple. There's probably a great book out there on design but I'm not familiar with it. The way I learned design was based on how it was taught at the Bauhaus in Germany in 1919-1933.

Detail #2 Also I shoot for color relationships...colors that work well together. I may not be phenomenal at color but colors that work well together is something important to me.

Detail #3 Once again pretty simple...maybe too simple, but the jury's still out.

May 30, 2011

Overlooking Water

22" x 30" oil on canvas.
Another fairly rough painting. I'm not at all satisfied with the sky color but decided to upload this image anyway. It's not at all unusual for me to finish a painting only to realize later I want to change something...that's just sort of the way I work. Maybe I'll be working on a painting and put it aside for a day or a month and look at it and realize I hate the color of this, or the shape of that.

Detail #2 Sorry that the numbering is somewhat messed up. I was going to add another detail and decided not to at the last minute. The two light things in the water are supposed to be boats. I decided to make them simply paint strokes to see if they'd read as boats...and I think they do.

Detail #3 Nothing amazing.

Detail #4

March 26, 2011

After Rain

36" x 48" oil on canvas.
Well it's spring break and even though my son brought his camera it has been raining or cloudy all week, so the light has been too cool to photograph anything. However this image was on my hard drive.
When starting this painting I was going to make the houses that are in sunlight in a continuous horizontal band, but very quickly I could see it wasn't going to work. So as you can see I didn't do that.

Detail #1. Here's another case where I ruffed out the shrub and then painted the negative space (the lawn) to define it. I like the look of that MUCH more than painting the grass before painting the shrub.

Detail #2. Ditto.

Detail #3. The windows and other stuff are just splotches of color.

Detail #4. More splotches of color.

February 16, 2011

Yellow Stripe

36" x 48" oil on canvas.
I probably won't post anything until spring break when my son is back from school with his camera. I'll have to see if I have images for one more painting on my hard drive.
Here everything was kind of back lit and from the left so I could get the purpleish (is that a word?) shadow on the ground.

Detail #1 I painted the sky several times because I wasn't happy with the color. I remember it started out blue but I think blue is kind of a twinky color for sky. Also, if it was blue it wouldn't make the hills in the distance be anything special.
If I remember correctly another time it was sort of pinkish.

Detail #2. Another shot of the background hill. Now that I look at it the orangeish highlights on the distant trees is too dark, so it doesn't work as light.
I like the way the yellow field is mostly just a horizontal line.

Detail #3. Now I see that the values could have been pushed farther.

Detail #4. The paint that breaks the shadow on the bottom was just runny paint. Here again I can see now that the value of the shadow could have been pushed farther...next painting.