Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lady in a Red Scarf - Video

Here is the video for my latest alla prima portrait, Lady in a Red Scarf.  Real time was approximately 80 minutes (minus the initial toning of the canvas with burnt umber).  Hope you enjoy, and be inspired!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lady in a Red Scarf

This was a pretty fun one.  Alla prima portrait, and the video will hopefully be up soon.  I am working on another as well, which will also hopefully have a video.  I keep saying "hopefully" because you just never know with my computer.  Anyway, enjoy!

Lady in a Red Scarf
oil on canvas
14x11 inches


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Classical Drawing Workshop - March 16 - May 4

For those of you in the Kansas City area, I wanted to invite you to join me for an 8-week workshop in the wonderful art of classical drawing.  We're limiting the workshop to 12 students, so I hope you will sign up soon!  Go to to see the details and to register.

In this 8-week workshop, we will immerse ourselves in some of the timeless principles and practices of the Old Masters. We will visit the basic fundamentals of line, shape, value, and form. Then, we will put those fundamentals to use through cast drawing, Master copying, drapery studies, and eventually figure and portrait drawing. Throughout the workshop, I will also conduct quick demonstrations of my technique, and talk about how the classical method, the Old Masters of the Renaissance and Baroque, and new Masters of today have influenced my work.

Here's a sampling of some recent drawings I've done:

Figure study - woman with a pistol

Figure study - man shivering

Portrait studies

Thursday, January 17, 2013

You are invited... come and see two of my newest paintings at the 2013 Blue Springs Art Show!  This year it will take place on March 9-10, once again at Vesper Hall in Blue Springs, Missouri.

This will be my 4th time exhibiting at this show, and I am hopeful that it will be a good one this year.  Last year I was blessed to have been awarded 2nd Best of Show for The Artist, my self-portrait.  And as icing on the cake, I was very happily surprised to have won the 1st place People's Choice award for my other painting in the show, my rendition of Velázquez' Juan de Pareja. 
So, this year I am really hoping for another great experience!  And part of that is up to you!  I would just like to remind everyone to come out on that Saturday, March 9th, so you can vote for the People's Choice, which will be awarded later that evening with the rest of the awards.
In other news in my little art world... I have also been blessed with the opportunity to teach my first workshop at GotArt Gallery in Lee's Summit.  It will be an 8-week workshop starting mid-March, and will focus on the timeless art of classical drawing.  We'll be doing Bargue plates, cast drawing, Master copies, figure, portrait, and more.  It's going to be so awesome and fun!  More information will be coming soon!
Also be on the lookout for an invite to another show coming up in April at Images Gallery in Overland Park, Kansas.  I'm not yet registered for it, but will let everyone know as soon as I am, and if/when I am accepted into the show!
More to come...

Beauty in Warm Light - Video

Video for my latest painting, Beauty in Warm Light.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Beauty in Warm Light

Here is the latest, and there will hopefully be a video for this painting available soon.  I just need to get it edited, and hopefully that process will go a lot smoother than the previous video did.  Pray for no crashes!  Anyway, for now I hope you enjoy the new painting.  Be inspired!

Beauty in Warm Light
oil on canvas
20x16 inches


Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Wise Old Man


The Wise Old Man
oil on canvas
20x16 inches

Alla Prima Video

Well, sadly my computer kept crashing every time I tried to edit and refine the alla prima video.  But the good news is that I still have the raw version of it condensed to nearly 8 minutes.  However, it has no editing done on it beyond that.  So... no intro and a pretty abrupt cut-off at the end.  In some ways, the video itself is as raw as an alla prima painting.  So I guess it's fitting that it turned out this way.  Hope you enjoy!


Today, I did two underpaintings for some future paintings... hopefully future show pieces.
The first was a gladiator-like figure, mostly for the sake of practicing my skill of painting the male figure.

The second... is pretty awesome.  I tried my hand at a type of portrait that I've seen before, but never actually tried.  It's an old man with a long white beard, and I've always loved seeing paintings like this... with the white/gray fuzzy facial hair, and not to mention someone with a lot of character in the face.  So I am doing one such portrait, and as it turns out he looks hauntingly a lot like Gandalf.

Some of my very favorite artists like Velázquez and Rembrandt never began their paintings with a preliminary drawing.  But in a way, they kind of did.  Even going straight into the paint on the canvas, their drawing was in the form of the underpainting.  This was also widely used by many of the Impressionists, and something I have incorporated into my paintings for the past couple of years now.  I used to begin my paintings with a light contour drawing on the canvas with a regular graphite pencil.  Then I proceeded with a sort of "paint by number" technique where I filled in the drawn contours with shapes of colors.  This is how I painted one of my most beloved paintings by many, Camel in Giza.

I also found this gem in my vast collection of photos of my work.  This is an in-progress look at one of my older paintings called Skull, in which you can see that I would also start off with a canvas primed with black gesso or black tempera.  This simply helped me to see the colors clearly as I put them on the canvas.  Although my process and technique have changed since then, I thought this was a pretty cool picture of what I used to do.

I actually do know of a few artists that work in a similar fashion.  It is an effective way to paint for some.  For me it was, but it was also quite tedious.  So with my lack of patience in painting (which I am working on, seriously) it never seemed like the best way for me to paint.  In other words, I always wanted to find a better way.  So in my studies of the old masters and practice of classical drawing, I'm learning to draw effectively and directly with the paint itself when I do my paintings.  Certainly it is a good thing to also do some drawing beforehand anyway as a way of mapping out how the painting is going to look.  It will also make the underpainting go a lot smoother and quicker.
More to come soon!  Go draw something.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Alla Prima Portrait

The term alla prima literally means "at first attempt," and refers to a painting completed from start to finish in one sitting, typically in a short matter of time (2 or 3 hours at the most).  I wouldn't say I'm great at alla prima painting, but I love it.  It's a lot of fun, and is really great at teaching problem-solving and improvisation. 
So today I completed an alla prima portrait, and hopefully you will see the video of it as soon as I get it uploaded and edited.  And sure enough, I did a lot of improvisation and problem-solving through the course of the painting.

Alla Prima Portrait Study
oil on canvas
14x11 inches
Today's painting was brought to you by the following palette:  titanium white, cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, scarlet lake red, indian red, alizarin crimson, sap green, burnt umber, prussian blue, and viridian.
I am expecting to get an invitation to the 2013 Blue Springs Show soon... hopefully in the next month or so.  In the meantime, new paintings are on their way, and hopefully some more shows as well.  I am really hoping to get back in touch with Latteland on the Plaza again.  I really loved showing work there before in May-June 2011.  It was awesome!  I heard lots of good things from the baristas there, and incidentally they were hearing good things from customers in those three weeks that my work was hanging there.
More to come soon!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Another great artist

I just purchased a couple of new dvds from Northlight ( and just got them a couple of days ago.  They are two demos by another great draughtsman and painter named Costa Vavagiakis.  In addition to having a totally AWESOME name, Vavagiakis is indeed an excellent master at his craft. 

The two dvds I got are simply called "Drawing a Portrait from Life" and "Drawing the Nude from Life."  Each is about a 3-hour demo condensed into nicely done 60+ minute videos showing the essentials of his technique and process of drawing from a live model.  Here are a couple of clips from each of his dvds:

Drawing a Portrait from Life

Drawing the Nude from Life

It took me a minute to realize where I had seen his work before, but I knew it looked familiar.  Sure enough, some of his work is featured in Suzanne Brooker's book Portrait Painting Atelier.  Here are a few of his pretty awesome portraits:
For more on the artist, check out

Friday, January 4, 2013

Portrait of a Señorita

This is the portrait that I was working on several months ago, and I honestly hated the way it was going.  I was rushing through it, which of course brought a lot of frustration. 

But today I returned to the portrait finally, and oiled it back up so I could touch it up and take my time with it.

The result of today's labor:

oil on canvas
36x24 inches

A lesson for all artists and those wanting to be artists:  Slow down.  Skipping crucial steps and trying to make short cuts will only result in a weak piece. 
Lesson for me as I move on to the next painting:  Work on patience.  Wish me luck.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Making of a Portrait

After literally about 24 hours of uploading and editing, I finally have the video for my latest "Portrait of a Woman".  A few blogs ago I put up the video for the underpainting for this portrait.  So now, at last, here is the rest:

My camera's battery went out on me by the end, but all you really missed was the painting of the rest of the background.  Not much more than varying tones of a mixture of prussian blue, sap green, viridian, indian red, cad orange, and burnt sienna.  Obviously blue was the dominant.
Hope you enjoy.  I'll be back with more later.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Portrait of a Woman - Finished

Today I worked for about 4 or 5 hours completing a portrait that I had started a few weeks ago, and if you recall I posted this picture of the underpainting:

So, after spending time on it today, it has now become this:

Now I also attempted to make a video of the entire process, although my camera's battery went out near the end of the painting.  Everything else came out okay, and I am in the process of editing.  So hopefully I will have a decent video to show soon.  Except you won't get to see the end, but all you're really missing is the painting of the background.  The figure, for the most part, was completed.

My next project will probably be to finish up the other portrait that I started some months ago:

As you can see, she's got quite the matte finish to her, so she'll need to be oiled over again before I continue work on her.  I haven't even shown you the rest of the painting, because there is hardly anything great to look at.  What you see here is the best part of the entire thing so far. 

So until next time, hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013