Saturday, February 28, 2009

"Motion" (ongoing abstract series)

Watercolor and ink on watercolor paper - 8" x 10" (SOLD)

After my last painting I was feeling kind of burned out. I didn't want to do anything too labor intensive. It's the weekend and something light was in order.

You know what that means?

Abstract Painting Time!!

This is one of my favorite abstract pieces to paint. It's from an ongoing series titled "Motion", which appropriately tries to capture movement in its purest form. Very basic but I could stare at this for hours.

Quick to paint. Fun to do. Simple.

Just what I needed right about now.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Quadruplets" (Bananas - Step 4)

Watercolor on watercolor paper - 6 1/2" x 9 1/2" (SOLD)

Finally, it's finished! Thank God!!

In the previous stage, I mentioned the yellow bananas were not looking quite right. The overly brown shadows were adjusted but it didn't help. The artwork was a goner as far as I was concerned. It was going to be cut up and the back used as scrap paper.

I should've made the bananas green right from the start, I thought. Since I literally was going to throw this painting out it couldn't hurt changing the color of the fruit just to see how they'd look, right?

So after applying several green watercolor washes over the yellow bananas....poof! they were green. I really liked the change and began rebuilding the bananas in additional green tones. I dulled down the background even further and darkened the shadows underneath the bananas.

It now had some serious potential and after all the finishing touches were in place this still life was officially saved!

The final painting still has bold colors like I wanted....just greens instead of yellows.

One other thing to note. I always sign my art in the lower right hand corner. Due to the composition of the artwork that just wasn't possible. I ended up having to place my signature in the lower left hand side, which looks odd to me, but I guess I'm not use to it.

In the end, I'm just glad it's all done and that my hard work and tenacity paid off.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bananas - Step 3 - Panic!!

Here is where things get scary.

I dulled down the background colors, darkened the shadows, and strengthened the darks on the bananas.

This is the point where I think I messed things up and consider destroying the artwork and starting all over again.

The browns on the bananas look too brown now. I wanted the fruit to have a nice golden color but now they appear quite dark.

I'll give one final attempt to adjust this painting and get things just right. If not, it's got to go!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bananas - Step 2 - Underpainting

Here is where it starts to get fun for me. (Watercolors should be fun after all!)

At this stage I laid down blocks of color I plan to use in the painting. Remember I said I wanted it to be bold?

Right now everything looks intense but as I build up the shadows on the bananas themselves I will be toning down the background. The background shouldn't compete with the main subject.

Now I'm ready to start the final stages and complete this still life. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bananas - Step 1 - Drawing/Sketch

So I'm working on a painting of bananas at the moment. I thought it would be fun to show the painting process and the various steps to its completion.

This is the drawing phase. Just a light pencil rough of the bananas scattered about.

I like the composition of the bananas here. Originally, I intended to have them all neatly lined up. Boring. This is much more interesting to the eyes in my opinion.

My plan is to bombard this piece with really bold colors. Think yellows, reds, and blues.

To start things off right, I listened to the B-52's while drawing this. The funky, high-energy melodies matched what I'm trying to capture in this latest painting.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Lost and found.....

It had just started to rain while I was walking down Michigan Avenue and look what I found. Lying there on the ground, about to get blown by the wind, was this small piece of art!

At first glance I thought it was litter but once I got close enough and saw all the colors I knew it was something special.

Measuring roughly 4 1/2" x 6", the artwork was done on what seems to be standard sketchbook paper in a combination of watercolors and marker.

The picture is a of simple figure so I assumed it was done by a child. But upon closer examination you can see there is some real thought that went into the organized blocks of color so perhaps this was done by an adult.

It had a very primitive, folk/outsider art, abstract feel all rolled into one. The artwork was about to get destroyed in the rain and the all the colors just spoke to me so I snatched it up and took it home.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nude Male Ink Sketch - Back Pose

Pen and ink on paper - 8" x 10 1/2" (SOLD)

Did this sketch last week from a live model, highlighting a male nude's back and lower body.

I liked the pose that was used. Looks strong and powerful. It was easy getting the proportions right since the model was muscular and had a defined build.

The ink drawing has a very loose, rough feel because obviously the model couldn't hold this position forever. Time was of the essence!

It's meant to give the impression of the male form rather than be a fully rendered piece of art.

A standard technical pen was used to sketch the male figure. The shadows in the artwork were created using hatching and cross-hatching techniques. And I picked a warm neutral color for the paper which I think works best for this type of nude drawing.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

"Valentine's Day Strawberry"

Watercolor on watercolor paper - 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" (SOLD)

With Valentine's Day coming up I wanted to do a painting that had a lot of reds and pinks in it so doing a strawberry still life seemed like the obvious choice.

This was a bit difficult simply because of its size. The details had to be especially tiny.

I chose to use the ACEO (miniature art) format because strawberries are some of the quickest fruit to go bad. If I painted a much larger version the strawberry might have started to turn before I finished! The smaller the painting the quicker it gets done.

I'm not a fan of pinks myself but I tried adding a lot of peaches and soft purples to the background to help break it up. I do love the strawberry's light green, unripened crown. That's what made me want to paint this one in the first place.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chicago Loop at night - Wabash Ave. Bridge

I was thinking about doing a Chicago cityscape painting and decided to take some pictures with my camera. I love going to remote and underused parts of the city and this is one of them.

This is a shot from the Wabash Ave. Bridge overlooking the Chicago River. Looking west towards the Loop (taken around 7 p.m. at night).

It was so cold when I took this photo (probably why no one was out). But even still, the illuminated skyscrapers, the bright street lights, and the warm glow reflecting off the choppy water below made this so damn romantic. Of course I was all alone when I took this picture.  *sigh*

This is the neat part. 

Here's the exact same scene! I took multiple shots but my hand accidently shook the camera and blurred the image when it went off.

I love this! What a happy mistake. Just wanted to share.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Watercolor and ink on watercolor paper - 4 1/2" x 6 1/2" (NFS)

I was asked to do a painting by my west-side gal pal, Tiffany (holla! - love typing that). She wanted a portrait of her dog Velvet. Velvet is a Miniature Pinscher and she's about a year old....soooo cute!!

The painting was relatively small so it was quick to paint but still a challenge. There's tons of detail in this piece especially in the fur.

The hardest part was getting the dog's coat to have that glossy sheen and not look flat. I also wanted to capture that subtle glowing effect on the eyes. There were several times where I thought for sure that I fucked it up and would have to start all over again.

Everything was done in watercolors except the blacks which were done in ink. I used a combination of brush, dip pen, and technical pen for all the inkwork.

I'm really pleased with the way this turned out!