Monday, September 30, 2013

New painting - The Rapids

There are times when I finish a painting and I am completely discouraged, and I keep telling myself, "This should've been better."  Even now, as someone that has been painting with oils for about 16 years or so, I end up with some bad paintings where nothing went right and I hate everything about it.  And then there are those times when I finish a painting and I really like it.  Even though I had quite a few interesting challenges and some rough spots, it turns out well overall.  Maybe I'm not 100% happy, but I like it anyway.
But then... once in a rare occasion... a very rare occasion I'll finish something where even I will question if it was my hand that really did it.  Today, I am happy to say, was such a painting.  I finished this one in 9 days, and strangely everything about it seemed to work out well.  There were, as always, some rough areas and really hard parts that needed more work and correction than others.  But even those corrections and refinements worked out well, and the entire painting came out beautifully.  I am calling this one "The Rapids," and here are some shots of its progress, along with the final piece.  Hope you enjoy:

Underpainting with Raw Umber.

1st layer of flesh tone on the figure using a limited palette of Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, and White.

Painting the bright red drapery using Cadmium Red deep, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, and Vermilion hue with White on the highlights.

2nd layer of flesh tone on the figure.

Finished with the figure.  Beginning to paint the landscape and background.

The Rapids
oil on canvas
36x24 inches

Friday, September 20, 2013

Time Out

Wow.. this painting has been a whole busy week of ups and downs, and today I finally finished it.  What an awesome challenge though... You really don't have any idea how tough a painting can be until you really get into it.  And for me, this painting became a challenge right from the start.  Actually, the underpainting was one of the easiest parts.  Anyway, here it is without any further ado:

Time Out
oil on canvas
28x22 inches
Unfortunately, this one won't make it to the Summit Art Festival this year, since that's coming up two weeks from today.  But you can be sure I'll be showing this one at some point.  As always, stay tuned for more.. I'm so glad I can put this one aside and move on to the next one!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rebirth of Venus

Today I finished one of the paintings I started yesterday.  I must admit, about 80% of my time on this painting was spent on the figure.  I often fall into the trap of working really hard on one part, and then just wanting to be done with the painting, so I whip right through the rest.  But, it is what it is, and so here it is for you to see what it is:

Rebirth of Venus
oil on canvas
24x18 inches
This one was pretty hard.  I was actually surprised to see that just over 3 hours had gone by once I had finished it today, and now it's already 5:00pm.  Anyway, so much more to come!  I have project ideas all over the place, and I'm excited to get to work on them.  Stay tuned..

Monday, September 16, 2013

In progress work/19th century realism

It's been a long, tiresome, but great and productive day.  I worked for about 7-8 hours today doing an underpainting and getting a good start on another painting.  Here they are:

The first one is clearly a figure painting that will have something of a "Birth of Venus" theme to it I think.  At this point it's kind of an improvisation.  Anyway, the second is more focused.  It's an underpainting for something fun that I'm calling "Time Out."  The little girl looks kind of scary right now, as my underpaintings typically do.  But I sure hope it turns out much more adorable.  It was pretty hard just getting the underpainting drawn, and I'm really really hoping it turns out well.  I'm probably just going to have to take my time on it, which I'm terrible at.

Lately I've been checking out some work by a lot of different 19th century realists.  I'm still focusing on landscape painting (while also doing these figurative works still), and some of the best landscape painting I've ever seen has been done by some really awesome 19th century painters.  Particularly, a few that I've been looking closely at are George Inness, Emilio Sanchez-Perrier, and Ivan Shiskin.  In addition, there are the great landscape painters that I already love like Frederic Church, Corot, and Pissarro.  But the fun thing particularly about Ivan Shishkin is that he is one of a few painters that is opening my eyes to a number of Russian realists of the 19th century.  When it comes to this generation of artists, I've found out that the Russians are insane with awesomeness.  In addition to Shishkin, there's Ivan Kramskoi and Ilya Repin.  And if that's not enough, I've also been getting more into some other artists of this period such as Edouard Dantan, Jean Leon Gerome, and Jehan Georges Vibert.  Some of these names have been really obscure for me for a while, but since I've been checking out their work, my eyes have been opened a little more to some amazing artists. 

Don't get me wrong, I have heard of a few of these guys, and I'm not totally ignorant of the 19th century realists, but I've really started to appreciate them way more lately, and I kind of like just how basically unknown some of these artists are.  It makes them even better somehow.  So if you're interested in seeing what I mean about these painters, look them up!  I may just do a few entries dedicated to these artists soon, and I'll go into more depth about what I love about them.  In the meantime, stay tuned for some more updates coming soon...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Updates, September, Art Festivals, etc.

Greetings art world, and general appreciators of the art world.

Well, let's see... I last left you talking about landscapes and my pursuit of improving my skill with them.  It's going pretty good.  I've done about 8 landscape paintings so far, and they're looking pretty good.  Here's a shot of some of them together:

Not too bad.  I'm still well within this project, and still looking forward to more advancement and eventually doing some plein air work.  All of these were from photo references.
So the month of August ended with a pretty unexpected and pleasantly surprising bang with the Raytown Artists' Association Invitational, where I was graciously awarded Best of Show for my self portrait! 

So today is September 5, which means we are only a month away from the Summit Art Festival.  There you will see this self portrait, the landscapes, and many more of my best works from this year.  I'm getting pretty excited for it!  So this month is going to be pretty busy getting all those paintings ready, plus maybe a few brand new ones... Maybe.  I've been working hard just about every day getting new work done, and continuing with my effort to pull off my best work yet. 
Overall, with the exception of my recent win at Raytown, it's been a disappointing year show-wise.  I was really expecting a lot more out of myself, and out of the shows that I entered.  I've recently submitted an application for the 2014 Gamber Center exhibitions in Lee's Summit, and I'm still not feeling too confident about it.  I should be getting notification of my acceptance or rejection later this month.  I was not accepted last year, but who knows.  Maybe this will be my year.
So last night I went to the monthly Summit Art meeting, and I have to admit I don't usually like going to those, but every once in a while it's a good idea to go and get in the loop with everything.  Particularly with the Summit Art Festival, which was my main reason for going last night.  The format of the meeting is typically business oriented, followed by a presentation of some sort by a local artist or art-related organization or something.  I usually duck out after the business part and skip the presentation.  But last night I was actually glad I stuck around, because the presenter was from an organization called Best of Missouri Hands.  It's an art organization that, in a nutshell, promotes artists and helps them take the next steps toward success in matters of publicity, exhibitions, education, etc.  The presentation went by pretty fast, but was quite interesting and informative, and I am thinking of joining this organization pretty soon.  So for all you Missouri-resident artists out there that might be interested, I would recommend checking them out at  The thing that attracted me the most about this was the idea of branching out and expanding my reputation as an artist outside of my little Kansas City bubble (which I still haven't fully conquered), and showing my work in other places, and getting help with promotion.
That's all for now.. Stay tuned for more.  And in the meantime, here's a glimpse of something new that I'm currently working on: