Session #322, Work #316

So I didn’t have any of our furniture setup and the new apartment was in a bit of disarray but I managed to setup a flower from a large bouquet of wild flowers we purchased  at the grocery store today. After moving 90% of all our belonging out of one apartment and into another I really didn’t have much energy to do a full hour of drawing so I kept this one short at 30 minutes. I tried something a bit wild and expressive, but I don’t think it turned out too well.


Session #321, Work #315

We are moving to our new apartment tomorrow, so I don’t have much space to draw, luckily I don’t need much space to setup a still life. I’m not looking forward to moving all these boxes tomorrow.


Session #320, Work #314

For some reason satsumas are very interesting to draw.


Session #318, Work #312

I realized tonight that drawing a thin person standing straight up is probably one of the hardest things to draw ever. Actually I think its even worse when your trying to do 2 minute gestures of the standing straight poses. There seems to be nothing to latch onto, there are so many subtle transition in the line that it takes a lot of concentration to get the quick strokes of the charcoal perfect. This is why the first few gesture drawing are really terrible.

Session #317, Work #311

Tonight I picked up one of our spice jars full of bay leaves. One day I’m going to figure out my major subject matter then I won’t have to pull some random item every night to draw. But for tonight I was content with figuring out how to represent glass in front of white, not an easy task.


Session #316, Work #310

For this drawing I really focused hard on the values and I’m really happy with the result. I also took a couple glances at the still life through my iphone and its “mono” filter that basically turned everything black and white. I didn’t do this to get the exact values of certain areas of the satsuma, but to get the relative values. In my previous drawing the leaves were much too light and I was surprised to notice when looking at the iPhone that the leaves were much darker than anything, very close to the value of the cast shadows.

Session #315, Work #309

I picked up a few Satsumas from the grocery today. I may end up doing a painting of them as the green and orange is really nice. I also changed up my paper tonight for a sketch book of really flat almost plate like paper. I was having trouble with my earlier drawings taking on too much texture from the paper. The texture isn’t bad, it’s just too distracting for such small drawings. I think this very flat paper worked out much better even without a blending stump.

Session #314, Work #308

I was very excited to do the drawing for the fist time at Gage Academy or Art today, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get there until after 1pm. So, by the time I walked into the building it was into full swing and it was PACKED with artists and everyone. There were drawing session with short poses, long poses, clothed models, nude models, multiple models and single models. More drawing opportunities than you could shake a stick at. Also all of the studios were open and it was nice to see some of the great work that was coming from Gage.

Session #313, Work #307

My wife really does have a good artistic eye. We were at Central Market getting groceries and I wanted to go by the produce section and pick out a plant / vegetable / fruit for my drawing tonight. We both walked down the long row of vegetables weighing each one for its still life potential as well as it inevitable usage in some future meal. She picked out the coral mushroom, pointing and saying, “ooh that looks cool!”, I agreed and I think we touch every single one trying to pick out the best for a still life.

Session #312, Work #306

I forgot to take a picture of my setup after finishing the drawing, so I had to settle for a picture of the subject and setup that was different from the conditions in which I drew it.

There were lots of subtle transition in this leaf so I was trying to be very careful with my values. I also did something very different than what I normally do, I mixed charcoal and graphite. I used the charcoal to quickly cover the cast shadow of the leaf but I needed to use a stump to blend it evenly. I learned a while back that graphite and charcoal doesn’t mix well, you wouldn’t think it, but there are two very different colors. So to get around this I made sure that I kept the charcoal in the shadow only, separating the medium so the difference looked natural.

Session #311, Work #305

I used to hit three drawing classes a week, but lately I have been “busy” and I’ve only been making my Wednesday class. Not only is the figure the most challenging but also the most rewarding, I would like to do it more.


Session #310, Work #304

We had a wonderful dinner tonight with our good friends the Miller’s at Brouwer’s Cafe. I fit right in with the crowd as there was an unusually high percentage of beards throughout the restaurant. Maybe it was part of the dress code?

Session #309, Work #303

“Just a simple clove of garlic” I said. Little do you know of the subtle nature of the curves of garlic until you really focus down hard on them and try to reproduce on paper. I think I redrew the shape of this clove three time but I got close enough, even after this I’m not very happy with the outcome. I really think I could have gotten much close with the values, but spending only one hour on a drawing doesn’t leave much time for improvement. One of these days I will focus hard on a subject that demands many hours of work.

Session #308, Work #302

We had a great day today at the Wildlife Safari in Winston Oregon but the drive back took longer that expected and we didn’t get back home till 11pm. So, I was tired and ready for bed so I only did a quick 30 minute drawing of an ornament that was painted by one of the Elephants at the wildlife safari.

Session #307, Work #301

Even though I spent two hours on this small drawing working hard on the detail and accuracy it still seems stilted and un-natural. This is the same problem that I have seen many artists face. It’s all about keeping the life and energy within the subject while at the same time focusing down upon its details. I have heard many artists comment on studies for major work having more “energy” than the finished major work. Its difficult to retain the lively essence of a subject while focusing on accuracy, John Singer Sargent, one of my most favorite artists, does this well.

Session #306, Work #300

While surfing the web I found some great drawings of leaves by Edwin Monsalve. I have done several drawings and paintings previously of dried and dead leaves but the difference between my works and his was how I felt about them. I had chosen these leaves as one of my nightly subjects and no more, but Monsalves’s are important and specific. The level of care and detail attributed to them commands that a viewer take notice. Monsalve is saying that this small leaf is as important a subject as a figure, or a whole landscape of leaves.


Session #305, Work #298

There are always those days when any skill at art that I posses seems to be well out of my reach and frustration wins out. Tonight was such a night. But, one thing I leaned from this is how amazing the art of Andrew Wyeth really is. Tonight his ability with tempera, a medium very similar to gouache, seemed light years ahead of me and completely unreachable. I hope to learn more from tonight’s failure.


Session #304, Work #299

Every body is different and interesting, but sometimes we have a model with a body much different than the norm. Tonight’s model was very thin and her body had many spots where the bone could be seen plainly. All of these areas where the bone is closest to the skin are seen as “landmarks” for an artist and tonight’s model had so many that it made the drawing much easier.


Session #303, Work #298

At the start of this drawing I was longing for sleep even though it was only 8pm. Needless to say I only lasted an hour before I decided to break this work into two session. Tonight I will be attending my weekly A&C Art Supply class so I will be continuing with this painting on Thursday, maybe while I eat myself stupid at the same time.


Session #302, Work #297

I’m finding gouache very interesting yet difficult to work with. Its very similar to watercolor yet I feel like it wants to be worked in a more opaque manner. And for the first time I really have to think about the white of the paper and use it to my advantage. Which in tern causes a need for careful consideration before laying down paint. I have to figure out if I want certain areas to only have transparent layers and show the white of the paper through or if they should be opaque.


Session #301, Work #296

This is my first ever attempt at using gouache so I began with a simple subject. I figured that it would be better if I didn’t get overwhelmed with drawing a difficult subject, and I’m very glad I made that choice because even this much painting took me well over an hour.


Session #300, Work #295

It has been a while since I have done a self portrait and I don’t think I have done one in graphite yet. I guess I am out of practice because starting this self portrait seemed daunting to say the least. I started very sketchy and small then after establishing the general shape of my head and shoulders I jumped straight in with the detail.


Session #299, Work #294

Still inspired by Andrew Wyeth I was searching the apartment for anything that I owned that was dear to me. I quickly became surprised that I couldn’t find anything. It seems that I have no keepsakes, no meaningful trinkets lying about my home, whereas my wife has a ton of keepsakes around the home and each and every one has a special meaning to her.


Session #298, Work #293

Not much to say about this one. I had a lot going on tonight and I didn’t want to spend more than thirty minutes drawing.


Session #297, Work #292

Tonight I went so far as to have an Andrew Wyeth book open next to me during the whole drawing class. I used it as a constant reminder to look hard and try to achieve the best drawings possible. I started out well with the 1 minute poses at the beginning of the class. My drawing was slow but accurate and I had deep concentration on the shape of the model. Only for a few did I falter and loose focus, and with those you can tell because my line work is not near as confident.


Session #296, Work #291

Today I was looking desperately for some motivation and inspiration so I searched within artwork of one of my most favorite artists, Andrew Wyeth. I have several books on his work and after looking at all of them I was inspired more by his drawings. So I decided to put down the paint brush for a while and go back to drawing.


Session #295, Work #290

I wish this painting would have turned out better. I’m sure all it needed was more time, but I can’t seem to paint for more than an hour a night. Also I figured out very quickly that sequins are very hard to paint.


Session #294, Work #289

Its a very cute teapot but I only picked it for its bright colors. It was a nice contrast against the gray background I have setup.


Session #293, Work #288

There were a lot of great color variations withing the light and shadow areas of this squash. One of the hardest things that I have found to paint is yellow in shadow. Sometimes it gets cooler and goes green or it keeps its warm hue and just gets darker brown, but to make it convincing enough it has to be properly subdued yet still retain the idea of yellow. I also enjoyed trying to get the variation of texture of the squash, texture is one thing that oil paint excels at.


Session #292, Work #287

Over this year I have painted a lot of apples. You would think that they would get easier, but you would be wrong. Of course the drawing of the contour of the apple isn’t hard, but the detail of the skin with its subtle shifts in color and value can prove to be a huge challenge especially depending on how deep you look into the apple. Like most living things the longer you stare deep into it, the more detail you see.


Session #291, Work #286

Our weekly produce delivery from our CSA always has something interesting to paint. Tonight a small bunch of green lettuce has proven more motivating then most of my latest subjects.


Session #290, Work #285

It is no secret that I have been struggling with subject matter for weeks. Every night seems to be a struggle to find something of interest to paint. It’s late by the time I start a painting so my subject matter is reduced to what I have close at hand, so I arrange it under the light and go through the motions.


Session #289, Work #284

In an attempt to bolster longevity with my work I continued another hour with the dolphin keepsake, refining the drawing, values and color. I could have spent much longer but, alas, I can only seem to muster 1 hour of motivation a night currently.


Session #288, Work #284

I have been doing a lot of thinking about my paintings lately. I’m having trouble with focus as well as longevity and I think its directly related to my motivation with the subject i’m choosing.


Session #287, Work #283

I continued with this painting trying to improve the drawing still working monochromatically.


Session #286, Work #283

Focus on drawing and paint manipulation using only white and burnt umber.


Session #285, Work #282

So I’m having some drawing trouble with oils lately. I figured that if I drew the same subject in charcoal and payed close attention to how I use charcoal and figure out why I can draw so much better with charcoal rather than oil paint then I could apply the same methods from charcoal to oils with similar results.


Session #284, Work #281

I took my time here and tried to focus hard on getting the drawing correct, I even removed color and went for a monochromatic approach.


Session #283, Work #280

I’m not sure what is going on with me lately but my drawing accuracy has declined and I’m finding session that I’m struggling. I think it may have to do with a lack of focus. After tonight I’m going to try and slow down a bit and really focus.


Session #282, Work #279

Third painting of this same trinket and this is the second attempt at the front side. My drawing is getting worse.


Session #281, Work #278

I’m having a lot of drawing issues with paint so I figured I would start today with the beginning of several paintings of the same subject working directly on manipulating the paint for better drawing.


Session #280, Work #277

Not much to say about this session. I’m happy with the painting and I used a new gray Gesso ground that really absorbed the oil. I’m not sure how much I like the Gesso absorption but it did cut down on the glare quite a bit.


Session #279, Work #276

I really pushed myself tonight to put the paint on thick and tried to be as expressive with the strokes as possible while keeping the drawing fairly accurate. It turned out very messy.


Session #278, Work #275

While setting up a still life tonight was getting a bit disgusted with how contrived it was. I shouldn’t have to setup a pretty still life to paint. There are wonderful still life paintings all over anyone’s home, all I have to do is point my gaze towards them and see. So that is exactly what I did, and there is nothing contrived about a well used desk.

Session #277, Work #274

For Halloween night we traveled with some friends down to the Benaroya Theatre in Seattle to see the movie Psycho which was accompanied by a live orchestra. It has been so long since I had seen Psycho that I had forgotten most of it, but it was nice to see the movie on a large screen with an artists eye.

Session #276, Work #273

I don’t have much to show for the drawing class today. I had done a few drawings before the painting today but the painting took up most of the class so I didn’t bother taking photos of the drawings.

Session #275, Work #272

This was a fun painting. There was so much randomness in the shapes, values and colors that I could do nothing but look hard and try to see everything. I even like how the painting turned out to be almost abstract. After doing this one I have an urge to paint flowers for a while.

Session #274, Work #271

I didn’t worry too much with detail here, I just wanted to capture the general shape of the angle and its values.

Session #273, Work #270

The best part about this still life was the blue towel that I sat the winter squash upon. It reflected a nice blue into the shadows of the squash and it was a nice challenge to get an intense blue in the shadows yet keep them the correct value.

Session #272, Work #269

Jamie had asked for input on the lighting and pose for this model and usually I don’t give my opinion much but for today’s spooky class I wanted some very dramatic lighting, something with emotion and even a bit cheesy. So, I proceeded to light the model myself, and Jamie and the whole class seemed to like it. Well, everyone said it was adequate, I hope I didn’t annoy anyone.

Session #271, Work #267

After having a lot of fun last night with trying to achieve an intense purple I thought tonight would have been great to try and achieve the other secondary color. This pumpkin was very orange, and its surface was very reflective.

Session #270, Work #266

I was really amazed how intense the purple was on this cabbage. I had to pull out a few other colors hidden away in my taboret to come only close to its intensity. I finally ended up toning down the colors on most of the cabbage so that the more intense areas of color would stand out more.

Session #269, Work #265

Tonight Jamie had us working on angles and the ability to re-produce angles as accurate as you see them in nature. He even showed us his amazing invention, the “Bollenbach Angelamometer”.  It was basically two clear thin rulers attached to one another by a center point on one end allowing each clear ruler to rotate easily at any angle. The artist could then use this “Angelamometer” by holding it up in front of them, looking through the clear material of the ruler and matching the angle of the subject they see beyond the ruler by rotating it. Once the artist has matched the angle with the “Angelamometer” they could then compare that same angle with their paper. I hope to one day become a master “Angleamometer-er”.


Session #268, Work #264

White on white is basically a lesson in values. The lesson tonight was made a bit more difficult with the subtle curves of this tea cup and the design on its outside. I think I could have drawn the cup much better, but I’m happy with how the values turned out.

Session #267, Work #263

I had so much fun with the last painting, dealing with duality of light and shadow on the same subject, that I wanted to try something similar but with colors that were very unnatural. Basically I wanted to see if my current palette could capture the intensity of this lemon yellow in direct light and shadow. Also the green parts of the lemon squeezers were super intense unnatural colors also, I think the intensity of those colors were the hardest to capture.

Session #266, Work #262

I liked the idea of having two items very similar next to each other but one in shadow and one in direct light. This way I could see directly the change in color and value on two items with matching surfaces.

Session #265, Work #261

I really liked this elephant candle holder keepsake. The wood is a very deep red and I wanted to try and capture the color well. I think I was able to capture the color, but you could never tell because of the glare off the painting. That is the trouble will oil paint, if you paint dark you ultimately get a ton of glare when you take a picture of your work.

Session #264, Work #260

The more random and unknown the pattern is the more you have to look to understand it and you can’t get more random than a pile of leaves. I always find it very interesting that no matter how random nature is, it never seems to make a mistake, it’s sort of a perfect chaos.