Contact me at:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

#118 "Standing On the Dock" 14x11 on canvas

I usually spend the month of August at our family cottage on Sweetwater Lake in Brown County, Indiana. This summer my time was shortened as a result of our wonderful trip to England and Ireland.  I always do a plein aire painting from our dock. This year's was rushed and was a wreck so I decided to try something a little different. This is from a photo I took from our dock on a perfect August afternoon. Just a quickie that I'll probably hang down at the lake.

This summer was special. Mom had her entire family all in one place at one time! We had a great Labor Day weekend at the lake. Mom swam and kayaked! The Aw Kum On Inn once again provided the setting for wonderful memories!
This is our family 2016. Mom sitting 3rd from left in the front row.

Labor Day Weekend 2016 at the Aw Kum On Inn

This is what our dock looks like when we all get together!

Four generations swimming in the lake. Mom, me, Darcy and Ella!
Evening from the dock.











#117 "Two Cowboys" (and a disinterested horse!) 20x16 on linen panel

This is a larger version of another painting I did several months ago. It now has a new home in El Segundo, CA.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

#116 "Leaving the Harbor" 11x14 oil on linen panel

"Leaving the Harbor" 11x16 oil on linen panel



When you're leaving the Los Angeles Harbor, you pass a long rock jetty on your way out to sea. If it's in the early morning, often the marine layer shrouds the harbor and visibility is limited. Sometimes if you're lucky, you just might see something like this beautiful, 3 masted sailing ship on it's way out to open waters!

Probably the most fun part of this painting was getting the sails to read full of wind. Using light and dark shadowing you get the sense that there is definitely wind in these sails!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

#115 "More Fruit and Brass" 16x20 on linen panel


More fruit and brass! I started this piece in New Harmony. Our goal was to paint this still life in about an hour and a half. I knew I had to get the brass done as I wouldn't have access to it after that day. I wanted to get the fruit laid in and get the values and shadowing correct. Like a big dummy, I didn't take a photo of the still life so when I got back to the studio I was kinda flying by the seat of my pants.

In addition to the overwhelming amount of great information that was passed on, the art of glazing and the use of a fan brush really rocked my world! It's truly the effect I've tried to replicate with simple brushwork and light use of paint. Now comes glazing! By simply applying glaze to your paint it allows you to somewhat color over the existing paint (after it's dry) and add this translucent effect. Using the fan brush allows you to carry thin layers over existing paint and get a gentle blending while softening the edges. The trick is, how much glaze to add to your paint! That will take some time to learn. On this painting I glazed the fruit and the table top. You can see the softness as a result. I also glazed the hotspot area of the brass pot getting it ready to palette knife the final glob.


  1. Below are the 3 stages this piece went through to get the final outcome.

Stage one. The way it looked after the first hour and a half painting from life in New Harmony



Stage 2. First day in my studio re-working the fruit and table top.
Stage 3. Utilized glazing on tabletop and fruit.



Tuesday, May 10, 2016

#114 "Brass and Flo Blue" 16x20 oil


A couple of weeks ago I attended, The First Brush of Spring in New Harmony, Indiana. I will have to say it was a game changer for me. I took my long time friend, C.w. Mundy's workshop.There was so much amazing information shared and we did a total of 10 paintings!!! Some of the paintings had to be done in 8 minutes. They were paintings of pears. The idea was to draw the pear, demonstrate the light side, core shadow shadow side and the drop shadow. There were several other components to the exercise but theses were the main ones. We worked on glazing and for me in particular, I worked on edges (or lack of) and value relationships. Getting the correct value relationships are essential for a good painting!!! In addition, I have always wanted to do a brass pot and a flo blue vase. Little did I know that I would get to do both at the same time!!! It was a great week. We worked hard by day and played around a bit at night!!!


Our amazing group of artists and instructors!


One of my 8 minute palette knife pears!
CW and I singing, "Where Were You Last Saturday Night."


C.w. Mundy doing a lecture demo.






This photo is of Quang Ho, and internationally known fine artist, playing "Stairway to Heaven,"    being sung by an opera singer, sitting next to an extremely intoxicated woman who just couldn't get enough of the blond sitting next to her. I've never laughed so hard in my life!!!
                       


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Painting Linda Update!

Clash of styles!

Update! March 24, 2016
(See post #112 for the complete story)


Not being a trained artist presents some problems! I have learned thru some study (certainly not enough) but mostly a lot of trial and error.  I recognize when things aren't right. Where I get stuck is how to, "right it." I knew the painting was unbalanced but wasn't sure what to do. Simply adding an object wouldn't work.  Also, the face and the background didn't mix. I consulted with my good friend C.w. Mundy. We discussed the painting. Just as I suggested earlier, there were two major issues. First was a clash of styles causing the painting to be fractured. The second is the balance issue. 

To solve the first issue, C.w. suggested that I take the palette knife to the face!  Well that immediately scared the heck out of me, not to mention Linda's reaction! I assured her it was only being applied to the canvas! I do like the way it's painted, BUT it can't work with that background. Using a palette knife on the face will significantly change the style to more of an impressionistic painting IFdo it successfully. I will have to duplicate the current values and shapes using the knife.  Major challenge there!!! 

Below is a closeup of the stokes to replicate 




















The second issue is balance. C.w. sent me a drawing of how I might solve it. 



The idea here is to match the dark values found in the hair (see post #112) and place them in two similar shapes such as those seen here. The first would be the shape in the upper left and the second would be the area that is formed along the left hand side of the painting. I would match the values with a series of similar  strokes from the palette knife. If successful, the painting will then become balanced thus solving that problem.

When those two issues are solved, the painting will then become unified!


Previous attempts at solving composition errors.


This is a still life painting I did a few years back. I kinda liked the painting but always knew that the lower right corner needed something. At the time I didn't have the confidence or really the knowledge to add anything. About 2 months ago I thought what the heck, so I added an apple! As you can see, it changed the painting entirely. I may go back in and darken the value of that apple a bit as I think it pops too much but it does help solve the composition issue.






Wednesday, March 23, 2016

#113 "Couple of Cowboys" 14x11 oil on linen panel

"Couple of Cowboys" 14x11 oil on linen panel

Another in the western series. This is from a photo taken by Steve Clippinger.  I told Steve to keep em' coming! We're leaving for Arizona with my camera tomorrow. Stopping off at Pioneer Town near Joshua Tree and then spend the day hoping to get material for new western paintings. Heading for Scottsdale, AZ on Saturday and going to get a few shots of saguaro cactus along with some sunsets, rocks etc. We'll see!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

#112 "Painting Linda" 20x16 oil on linen panel

"Painting Linda" 20x16 oil on linen panel



Please click the YouTube link below and select fullscreen.



https://youtu.be/15E7z3_ekCI
It's a one minute start to finish journey of my struggles with this painting.




I’m going to bare my soul on this one. How does the saying go? “The best laid plans of mice and men?” I’m not a trained artist although I’ve some great mentors and have taken a couple of classes. I have just enough information to make myself dangerous!

I’ve always wanted to do a portrait and really get into the detail that would include among others, value changes, skin tones, eye, nose and mouth detail etc.  I had a great photo of Linda that I took when we were in Hawaii a couple of years back. I thought it would be a fun project and a great learning experience. The photo was of Linda on Sunset Beach, nearing sunset with a rather turbulent ocean in the background. With that in mind, I set off to compose the painting. I placed Linda’s torso off a bit to the right leaving room for what I had hoped to be an interesting but not overpowering background. I didn’t want to compete with the subject.

Now, there are other issues with this painting and I’m aware of some of them. Let me say that I also see some major strengths and that I’m not discouraged. Rather, I’m more determined that ever to see the problems, learn how to solve them and move on! It’s a continuous learning process. I remember when I first started painting about eight years ago; I would not let myself get discouraged. I was comparing myself to some of the best. I would complete a painting and it would be a total wreck. Rather than beating myself up too much, I would say to my self, find one square inch that’s good. Or one brilliant paint stroke and focus on that!!! Pretty soon it evolved from one square inch to two and so on and so on….




Ah, but I digress!!! So, I composed the painting based upon the subject and the background I had chosen. After everything was in place, I did a rough painting on another canvas to see if the palette worked and the spacing was correct. In my inexperienced head, I thought it was fine. My goal was to make it soft and edgeless except in a few spots where I wanted the eye to head focus on. I started as you will see with the eyes, mouth and nose locations to get my bearings. All was going well as her face developed nicely. After I was far enough along, I decided to take a break from the face and move to the background. THAT is when the trouble began or at least I thought so at the time. Looking back, I might have been able to make it work but I got impatient. NEVER get impatient when you're painting! It's for recipe for disaster. In my head, once I started the background, the lines between the subject and the background would blend so that you wouldn’t see a defined spot where one mass began and the other ended.

Well, in a nutshell, it wasn’t working for me. I got too detailed in the sky, clouds and ocean. They really competed with the subject. So, I toned it down a bit. Something was still wrong but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It could have been a poor choice of background to begin with but more likely, inexperience as to how to tie it all in and make it work.

I decided to just remove the not so gentle Pacific Ocean! (Whoa! Think about that!) That space between the torso and the left side of the canvas was now blank and I just blended the blue. OK, so now I’ve got a real composition issue. What in the heck am I going to do with the left side of this canvas? At this point, the painting will have at least one major flaw and that would be composition, which is fatal for the most part. That said, I had too many hours into this painting to scrape it all together!

I contacted my good friend Victoria Gillerion for some advice. She helped me see a few things and I made some subtle changes but I still couldn’t solve the negative space problem.

One of the secrets of a good painting is to see to it that the colors of the palette can be found throughout the painting and not just confined to one area. This brings uniformity to the work. I had to get skin tones into the headband, hair and of course the background. Hints of all colors all places. I took several colors that I found in the skin tones, headband and hair and made a huge pot of paint. I then took my pallete knife and dipped into different colors and began slapping paint on the canvas. I really like the effect! The background was awesome as far as I was concerned BUT, it really didn't work that well with the subject. Why? It looks like two paintings to me, not to mention the composition error as a result of changing the background. It appears to be a well-done face/torso painted in one style “placed” on a well-done background painted in a different style. Why does it appear that way? I think it’s a colossal collision of the two styles, and a lack of knowledge as to how to blend the two, ending up with defined edges that separate the subject from the background. 






I took several colors that I found in the skin tones, headband and hair and made a huge pot of paint. I then took my pallete knife and dipped into different colors and began slapping paint on the canvas. I really like the effect! The background was awesome as far as I was concerned BUT, it really didn't work that well with the subject. Why? It looks like two paintings to me, not to mention the composition error as a result of changing the background. It appears to be a well-done face/torso painted in one style “placed” on a well-done background painted in a different style. Why does it appear that way? I think it’s a colossal collision of the two styles, and a lack of knowledge as to how to blend the two, ending up with defined edges that separate the subject from the background. 

For now, the painting will remain as is. It is quite the journey and the more I know, the more I find there is to know... it's a never ending quest! 



Update! March 24, 2016


I'm not a trained artist. I have learned thru some study (certainly not enough) but mostly a lot of trial and error.  I recognize when things aren't right. Where I get stuck is how "right it." I knew the painting was unbalanced but wasn't sure what to do. I consulted with my good friend C.w. Mundy. We discussed the painting. Just as I suggested earlier, there were two major issues. First was a clash of styles. Secondly, the balance issue. 

To solve the first issue, C.w. suggested that I take the palette knife to the face!  Well that scared the heck out of me immediately. I do like the way it's painted, BUT it can't work with that background. Taking the palette knife and altering the style will significantly change the style to more of an impressionistic painting IF I can do it successfully. Major challenge there!!!


The second issue is balance. C.w. sent me a drawing of how tI might solve the balance issue. 



The idea here is to match the dark values found in the hair and place them in the two forms seen here. The first would be the shape in the upper left and the second would be the area that is formed along the left hand side of the painting. I would match the values with a series of similar  strokes from the palette knife. If successful, the painting then will then become unified.

Have to thank C.w. for his input! Pretty cool being able to consult with one of the best! Now the rest is up to me.



Tuesday, February 16, 2016

#111 " Three Pieces of Fruit" 8x10 on linen panel

"Three Pieces of Fruit" 8x10 oil on linen panel
I went to the studio today all excited about painting something really different. I got there and ...... nothing! So, instead of wasting my day, I decided to do a quickie. That's supposed to be an hour or less but I probably spent a little more on this one.  Painting from life is such a good exercise and keeps me honest so to speak. Not what I intended for today but it's what I got!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

#110 "Day Ride" 11x14 oil on canvas

It's seems like months since I've been able to grab a day or two to paint in my studio. Actually it has been. After returning from Indiana, and no major responsibilities, for a few days, I decided to see if I remembered which end of a paint brush to use! My intention was to paint a bridge. I ended up with my first attempt at western art.

I was introduced to western art by some of the very best. When I came to California back in the early 1970s, I was surrounded by amazing musicians and artists. Of course, CW Mundy was my best friend and pickin buddy. We had made our way out west not on horseback but in an old VW. Probably not a lot more comfortable! If he wasn't playing his banjo, he was painting. I watched him for hours and hours for years and years, never imagining I would ever paint anything. CW's peers were Frank Locklear, Jim Vincent, Kent Butler, Steve Hills and others. All of these mentioned were such talented artists. But the leader of the pack was Donald "Putt" Putman,  http://stellargallery.com/artists/putman/index.htm  Putt as he was affectionately known, was the master. His art was and is still collected by serious art collectors everywhere and is displayed in some of the finest galleries in the country.  CW and all the rest for the most part looked to him and studied under him. As musicians and friends with Putt, he invited us a couple of times to come to Scottsdale, Arizona to play for the opening of his show. For payment he would do a water color of us. These remain some of my prized possessions.

Here we are in April of 1973 in Scottsdale, Arizona. That's Cw Mundy on the left, me in the middle and Frank Locklear on the right. We're playing out front of a gallery for Putt. That's one of his paintings in the background. My oh my...

Putt had a studio in Hermosa Beach on PCH and later went on to open a coffee shop on Hermosa Avenue with his wife Bobbie next to the old Hermosa Theater. Putt would paint right there in the coffee shop/resturaunt, often using his numerous western props and a live model. Putt later moved to the slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and passed a way in 2007. He was as nice as he was talented. In addition to the two paintings below, both of which were painted of me as a result of playing music for him, I have several other original water colors and signed prints. They are a treasure!

So Putt, all these many years later, please let me say thanks... thank you for your amazing talent and ultimate influence in my life.
Me and my Martin D35



Now, back to "Day Ride." I ended up with this very fun painting of a trail ride. I found this photograph from a Facebook entry by a fraternity brother named Steve Clippinger who is this amazing artist currently living in Palm Springs. Steve has a horse named Darrma. Steve and Darma ride Indian Canyons several times a week. He often takes pictures of his adventures. I'm still waiting to see if this is a photo Steve took or one that was taken by one of the group.

I really enjoyed doing this. I used a palette knife on the rocks to give them the presence they deserve. I like the way the horses and their riders kinda fade off in the distance, a little dust kicking up along the trail. This is my first ever attempt at western art. The western landscape just provides so many opportunities and while it seems that western art isn't really "in vogue," these days I guess I'm not either. That said, one of the wonderful things about getting a little older, and being an artist, I can just paint what the heck I want!

So yippee ki ya! Here's to the wild, wild west!!!

Bing Crosby, along with a group that includes Martha Raye, Bob Burns, Louis Prima, Roy Rodgers and the Sons of the Pioneers, perform a rollicking "I'm an Old Cowhand (from the Rio Grande)" in Rhythm on the Range (1936).



Still gonna paint that bridge someday...

Saturday, January 9, 2016

# 109 "My Romance" 11x14 oil on linen panel


"My Romance" 11x14 on linen panel
My long time friend Larry Bridges is completing his album, "My Romance." He sent me a photo and asked me if it were something I'd like to paint. I "think" it's finished. Pretty happy with the results now that I've spent some time with it. 

I've had a difficult time photographing this one. Can't seem to get it into focus and the skin tones aren't represented as they really are. Will probably try again later after I look at if for awhile longer and make any changes that I feel are necessary.  I'm extremely happy with the logs! They were done entirely with a pallet knife to give it real texture in contrast to the overall relative softness of the remainder of the painting. 

When Larry's album is completed I will attach   an mp3 of the title track. 
Worked from this photo


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Palos Verdes Art Center


Linda and I enjoyed a great evening Dec 4, 2015  at the opening reception of the 2015 Palos Verdes Art Center Holiday Art Show. I was honored to have had two of my paintings, #106, "Fruit and Brass" (shown here) and #108 "BB and Lucille" juried  into the show and both will be displayed in the main gallery until January 3, 2016.  If you have not experienced the beautiful gallery at the Palos Verdes Art Center, now's a good time to go!
Palos Verdes Art Center

Dinner at the reception.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

#109 "Tea Time" 8x10 oil on linen panel

"Time for Tea" 8x10 on linen panel
 Wow! Not what I expected!!! As an artist you're supposed to know the end result BEFORE you start. I must admit, not so with this painting. Using my Grandma Schuyler's teapot and my antique clock (and an apple from Vons) I set out to do a very loose painting. As usual, my left brain dominated.  Hate it when that happens!!! That said, I love the composition of this  painting and the palette. I painted in all the shapes and values as I always try to do. This time.... I let it sit over a couple of nights. Today I came back to it and this is what I saw. VERY happy with this one. When it dries I will take it back to the studio for some ever so minor tweaks. This was fun!!!



Friday, September 18, 2015

#108 "BB and Lucille" 20x16 oil on linen panel




"BB and Lucille" 20x16 oil on linen panel
I decided to buy a decent easel. Like most things, if you have the right equipment, it just makes the job easier! This new David Sorg studio easel does just that. It also allows me to easily paint using larger canvas sizes. 

My first painting on the new easel is a 16x20 oil of "BB and Lucille." I thought I would include a couple of shots of the process. This painting was perhaps my greatest challenge so far. I certainly didn't realize it until I started slapping paint. I did it upside down which helped. There were so many challenges so I tried to solve them one by one. Each day I took it home and looked at it. Each day something bothered me so back I went. I think this will stay as is. One thing I can say, I can tell you things I didn't do wrong for a change! I'm overall very happy with it but it's always a quest for something better. It's a sickness!!!



Day one

Day two
Day Three Morning
Day Three Afternoon








Sunday, August 23, 2015

#107 "The Point" 8x10 oil on linen panel

"The Point" 8x10 oil on linen panel
Picked a picture perfect day to sit out on our dock and do a little plein air of the view. It is very difficult to paint green. I learned a few tricks from Scott Christensen last April in our work shop in New Harmony, IN.

#106 "Fruit and Brass" 11x14 oil on linen panel

Back home again in Indiana and have had a couple of opportunities to paint. This was done in my good friend Victoria Gillerion's studio at the Stutz Building. We always seem to get together and paint a couple of times while I'm here. CW's studio is right around the corner and of course he dropped in for a critique of both our works. He wanted me to bring the painting back to his studio the following day as he felt it had potential to be a very fine painting. The following day we set the painting on his easel and both took the time to critique it and decide what finishing touches I should add. I've taken two photos of this painting and neither correctly show the paint stokes, values and colors accurately so I will have to wait until I'm home to photograph it again. Until then, I'm very excited about this one!!!


Victoria now works part time in a framing shop and we decided I should spend a little extra for this one.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

#105 "Copper Pot and Fruit" 8x10 oil on linen panel

"Copper Pot and Fruit" 8x10 oil on linen panel

Well it's been awhile. I've really been in a rut and haven't found time to paint!  Seems I can't get to my studio lately! Found some time this week and decided to do another still life. After the plein air class last April, I was totally discouraged. I didn't complete one satisfactory painting the whole week! Looking back, I can see a couple of things that I would have changed. First of all, I used my alkyds. They are fine in the studio but outside, they dry too quickly for me. I'm slow which is another reason I have trouble. dIn a still life, I control the environment. Plein aire.... not the case! I need to practice over and over outside in order to "get it!" Hopefully I will make myself do it.

The reason I say all of this is because, when I'm in a rut, I go back to creating a simple still life. There is nothing like painting from life. I get to think about exactly what I want it to look like, compose it carefully, choose my key and then lay out my pots of paint. Usually 2 or 3 pots that I will use for my values. In my studio, lighting doesn't change and, clouds and shadows aren't moving etc. like that!

I've practiced with fruit quite a bit. This time I decided to add a copper pot that I found in a thrift shop in Palm Springs last February. The biggest challenge here for me was to make sure I drew the pot correctly! The pot had a handle and a spout. I never did paint in the handles but I did have the spout. After looking at it I decided that the spout added nothing so... with a few strokes of the brush, gone!!! Once I felt I had what I wanted...the fruit was pretty easy and I was off to the races!!!

The second biggest challenge was creating a combination of values and colors that gave the impression of copper. For my first attempt, I'm very satisfied. I bought a few other copper pots etc. that day. I have a feeling I'll be doing more!