Sunday, December 19, 2010


I've been working long hours on the lizard skull. I feel like I must be obsessing over every scale that is placed on the lizards. I lay down some paint, then step back to see how the new application relates with other parts of the painting. Then I go back and adjust the value as needed. Large parts of the lizard bodies are done. I still need to put highlights and yellow stripes on their legs.

After hours of staring at the painting, when I try to go to sleep later that night, I can actually see after-images of the scales when my eyes are closed. Kind of like a phantom image, not as defined as when I am actually looking at it.

I also got some work done on the chimps last week. The dark tones are in on the chimp to the left. Made some adjustments to the proportions. I'm happy with how the shattered edges of the skull turned out. I used a shattered gourd as a reference to get an idea of how the light would glance off the rough edges.

I suppose the paintings are like children. Today I'm just a little frustrated with them. Tomorrow when I look at them at the beginning of a new day, maybe I'll be happy with them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The de Young Museum's No Sketch policy

The SF Chronicle ran a story about a shortsighted policy at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum. The de Young Museum prohibits visitors from sketching when they are in the "special exhibits" such as the current exhibit - "Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Beyond. " Click here to see the SF Chronicle article -

This policy stifles artistic development and is counter to the perception of San Francisco being a cultural haven and friendly to artists.

As all artists know, drawing is not simply an exercise in rote copying. Drawing is about seeing. I always sketch when I go to museums, so that I can really SEE what the artist did when he/she executed an artwork. Drawing the artwork prevents me from glancing over details that I need to really see. Drawing slows down your gaze so that you can really see. Further, many artists gain inspiration from studying the works of masters that they admire. The best way to really study a work is to sketch it.

I have sketched at the some of the world's most revered museums: the Louvre, The National Gallery, The British Museum, The Getty, London's National Portrait Gallery, and of course, the Musee d'Orsay. It is ironic that the artworks now off limits to sketching at the de Young can be freely sketched once the artworks return to their home at the Musee d'Orsay.

I have been to special exhibits at these museums, and not one of them prohibited sketching. I sketched Velázquez and Titian masterpieces at crowded special exhibits in London's National Gallery, and not one guard told me it was prohibited. I sketched from several Michelangelo drawings at a special exhibit at the British Museum, and was never told it was off limits.

I do not believe that the de Young is a world class museum, and unlike the world class museums, they discourage this time honored practice. They are all out for the revenue generated by the tape recorded guided tours. If an artist wants to sketch from the pieces in this exhibit, he will have to go to Paris, if he can afford it. Some would argue you could study a reproduction, but there are subtle details in the actual artwork that you would not be able to perceive in a reproduction.

Above are examples of sketches that I did at the Getty, Louvre, and the Musee d'Orsay several years ago.

PS the SF MOMA, which I consider to be a very fine museum, encourages sketching (in pencil) in its galleries. I enjoyed participating in some of their sketch Friday events a couple of years ago. I have never been prohibited or discouraged from standing in front of a work (even in special exhibitions) and sketching. Thank You SF MOMA.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Figuring out shadows

One of the tricky aspects of the lizard/skull painting is figuring out how the shadows would fall on the skull. I used my lizard models to replicate how shadows would fall inside of the cranium. I used a curved piece of white paper to simulate the curvature of the inner part of the skull, and shot reference photos. The lizard to the right has its tail coming over the front of the skull, so to figure out how that shadow would fall, I placed a clay "tail" over the front of my cast skull.

A long stretch

I've been working every day for 10 straight days. (My last day away from the studio was Thanksgiving). But I did make pretty good progress on the two skull paintings. The skull containing the chimps is practically done except for touches of highlight and the broken edge of the cranium. I will probably start working in earnest on the chimps this week. The skull and lizards have been blocked in on the other panel. This week I will be working on getting the skull finished on that one.

I also got some higher quality photos of the last four BDSM skeleton paintings done for Bert Green.

Today (Monday) will be my day "off" but I'll probably still do some drawing at home.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I made some good progress on the two skull paintings this weekend. Yesterday, I got the lizard skull transferred to panel and added the acrylic underpainting. Today, I put in the dark prussian blue background. It has a subtle value transition and gets lighter moving towards the top.

I also put down the first layer of reds on the chimps and began establishing their form and major shadows. Any flaws of the original sketch start to become evident during this stage. So I made some adjustments to the chimp on the right, making his left leg more to the side instead of face on to the viewer. I also moved the leg up on the chimp to the left. When I painted it in, the trunk looked too long. I think some of this distortion occurs when the tracing paper stretches when I'm transferring the drawing to panel. The original sketch did not have this distortion.

The next stage for the chimp painting will be very time consuming, as the next layer will add the details of the anatomy for both skull and chimps.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Final study, lizard aggression

The final drawing is looking good. I got more writhing action into the lizard on the right. I like how the lizards are almost bursting out of a skull that cannot contain them. They are overlapping the skull on three sides. I'll transfer this to panel tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lizard Aggression

I already started on a painting portraying a skull with fighting chimps inside. But I decided to go ahead and start another skull /lizard painting. I was looking at internet images of fighting lizards, but all of them seemed rather static and not real dynamic. I then took these images as a starting point and arranged my clay lizards into an arrangement that is much more twisting and interesting to my own eye.

What I intend to do is work simultaneously on the lizard and the chimp paintings. I'll then take the one that i like the best and submit that for the beinArt Surreal exhibit at the Copro Gallery in Santa Monica ... the painting, which ever one is submitted, has to be ready to ship by early February. This will be a challenge because both subjects will require a lot of detail work, and normally would take 1 1-2 to 2 months each to complete. I will be putting in some serious studio time in December.

Got the studies for the lizard painting to a satisfactory point. Unlike some previous paintings, this one came together after only several thumbnails. I blocked in the structure of the skull for the final drawing and shot the reference photos. The day after Thanksgiving, I'll finish the final drawing by putting in the lizards, and transfer it to a 20 x 20 panel. I will also continue working on the chimp painting. The middle tones of the skull are painted in, and I need to get the basic color layer in on the chimps.

I somehow got quite a bit done today at the studio despite a migraine. I took some imitrex, and lay down for a couple of hours in the afternoon, and was able to work a few more hours.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I was a mass of indecision in trying to figure out the color for the background. I wanted it lighter in value than the last skull painting, to allow the chimps arm to show up in the upper right corner.

I went back and forth, tried to mix a gray that I used on a past painting. Couldn't do it for some reason, and of course I had not written down the color mixture that I used. So I tried burnt umber, ultramarine blue and aliz crimson plus white. Used raw sienna as the "yellow" for the lighter gray area at the top. There is a more violet shift in the gray than is shown in the photo above.

This can all go out the window when I start blocking in the skull. It's amazing how the appearance of surrounding color changes when placed next to another. What I will probably do is make sure that some of the shadow in the skull includes some hues from the background, like reflected backlight. That helps to bring a unity to the entire painting.

I told Jude that I was just a mass of indecision working on the painting today. I felt like I was making some kind of decision every five seconds. She then made an interesting remark: "maybe that is why some painters stick to a "formula" and the paintings start to really look uniform. " I told her I couldn't do that for long stretches. Even those little conjoined twins had differences in the background. I suppose I could crank out paintings faster if I stuck with the same background on all the skulls, but I like the differences in each one.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ready to Transfer to Panel

After numerous thumbnails, sketches, rearranging, and more sketches, the final study is ready to transfer to the panel. The background will be higher in value than the last skull painting. There will be a gradient, with the darkest value at the bottom, lightening as it goes up. If the value is too dark at the top, the left arm of the chimp with arm raised could get lost.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Drawings I made when I was a kid

I have a very old book that my uncle gave to me when I was about 4 years old. I've managed to hang on to this book for years. In it, there are little drawings I made, copying the photos in the book. I must have been around 4 or 5 when these were drawn. What's funny is that even at that age I liked skeletons. I copied an image of an x-ray of a common mole. (you can see the little drawings at the bottom of the photos shown above)

At that age, my mom gave me coloring books. I didn't care for them. I preferred to draw on the blank inside covers of the book.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I will admit that I struggled with this painting. I have one failure, an abandoned panel, with the same composition of two figures, but a background that didn't work. And with this stony rock wall background, I struggled with finding the right value to bring out the figures in the front, having enough contrast, but not being so dark as to be uninteresting. The stone looked really neat, like a warm light is glancing off some of the stone edges. But it didn't have enough contrast, so I ended up doing a couple of glazes of ultramarine blue to darken up the value. The trick was to retain the glancing light and shadow on stone.

The St. Andrews cross started out as a red cross, but it just didn't work. It became too prominent. So I reduced the hue so that it receded into the background more. And yes, the perspective drove me crazy too.

In my original sketches, the skeleton is looking straight forward and down. After mulling it over, I turned the skull to the right so that it is viewed in profile. Makes it more interesting.
My favorite thing about this piece is the way the light falls on the skeleton, especially the skull. The extreme side lighting enters through openings in the back of the skull and shines through the front and through the jaw/teeth.

The painting is getting close to done. I need to add the skeleton's left hand, more highlights on both skeleton and human, and little corrections, mainly to the vertebrae. It feels like it has been just a series of difficult decisions. I'll be glad when I can walk away from it. It is even haunting my dreams. Why else would I have a dream about giving some guy a blow job?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Journal versus Blog

When I started this blog I thought it would largely make writing in a journal irrelevant. And in fact, I wrote very few entries in my written journal during the time I've kept a blog. Recently, though, over the last couple of months, I've been writing way more frequently in the journal, and I've realized that blogging does not replace journal writing.

My journal includes quite a bit of material that I could never put out for public consumption. In fact, I don't even reveal some of this to good friends or even my partner. In scanning entries written over the last few years, I also realized that quitting my day job has allowed me to look much more deeply inwards. This is inevitable when you spend long hours working in solitude. This is in contrast to my job at the bank, where I spent a good deal of each day on conference calls or in meetings. I didn't have the time or the luxury of spending large amounts of time being introspective as I do now.

Above is a value/compositional study for the next painting.

Friday, October 29, 2010


The anatomical skull, enclosing an animal(s) that represents our primitive drives and psychological states, is still of great interest to me. I've done a lot of reflecting on what drives human behavior and desires. I could not help but also do some self-evaluation on my own behavior, desires and mental state.

The next one I want to explore is rage/aggression. It's that feeling where you go into a rage and you don't even understand where it comes from and you feel like smashing something or someone. It is the "fight" from the term "fight or flight" which is almost instinctual. I used to get into rages much more frequently when I was younger. I can understand how it leads to aggression and violence; fortunately I tend to take out my anger on inanimate objects. I've actually gone into such a state of anger that I had the urge to attack a piece of my own art and destroy it. I've done crazy things like topple tables over and fling things across a room. I've done insane things like getting behind the wheel of my car and driving in a rage at 90 mph on a Denver freeway. I don't fully understand how I could allow myself to get into such a mental state and how it got so out of control. (Part of it was being young and stupid. Age has definitely mellowed me out.)

There is a level of rage and aggression that the upper cortex of the brain can't always control. When a human is in this state of rage, we act out like our nearest relative, Pan troglodytes, the chimpanzee. The painting will incorporate flayed chimps battling inside a skull. The skull will be shattered as if struck with a heavy blow. I may have chimp clutching a large rock as a weapon. The musculature of the flayed chimp is so similar to human anatomy - in fact, when I paint chimp musculature, I use human anatomy models for a reference especially for the arms and legs. The line between human/animal can be very blurred.

Above are the very rough small sketches for the concept.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Open Studios and Rambling about Insomnia

I've been trying to work diligently and consistently to get several new paintings done. As usual, i underestimated the amount of time these skeletons take. I'm finishing out the BDSM skeleton series. Above is the skeleton dominaitrix. She's almost done, just needs a little highlights on the boots and the leather of the flogger painted in. BTW, the walls are not vertically challenged - the photo was taken off kilter. Two others are in various stages of development. One of those two will probably be fairly far along, and will be placed on the easel.

I had some beautiful giclee prints made at Electric Works here in San Francisco. I'll have these available at OS, but most likely the major selling effort on these will be through Bert Green in LA. These are very limited editions, 25 -30 per image - including four of the Four Squared hybrid critters, and three of dancing conjoined twins.

On Friday, I'll probably be frantically hanging paintings, trying to tidy up all the clutter (which will be impossible, so visitors will just have to ignore it), and helping South Beach Artists get set up for our guests.

The Mission District Open Studios took place last weekend, so I took a little time to check out the Blue Studios and Red Brick Studios. At Red Brick - visited with Anna Efanova, who had some lovely whimsical animals in painting and sculpture. Also went over to see Hadley Northrup (an artist-neighbor of mine at the old Belcher Studios site) at her studio at Workspace ltd. She had some very nice pieces, including a beautiful painting of a lit alterpiece that fairly glowed.

I went over to Church Street Cafe afterwards, did a little sketching, and developed some ideas for more anatomical paintings. All the art and sketching got me so wired up, my brain was still cranking at 2 in the morning, and I had a very difficult time getting to sleep. I've always had problems with insomnia - it's like my mind just fires up late at night. When I was a kid I used to lay awake listening for planes - a sure sign of impending nuclear attack.

I think if I had a live work art studio, I would do all my painting between 10 pm and 3 am.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Life Drawing

Drawing is like playing a musical instrument... it takes lots and lots of practice, and if you don't do it, you can get rusty very quickly. I try to go to life drawing at least twice a week. On Mondays I go to Noe Valley - 23rd Street Studio. This is really a top notch session, with good lighting, good models, and the host Michael Markowitz serves tea and pastry during the long break. On Tuesday evenings, I go to the Odd Fellows building, hosted by Richard Perri.

At the studio, I'm working on the last set of BDSM skeleton paintings. I'm working on the backgrounds, which for me is tedious but critical stage of the painting process. I'm hoping to get into the more fun part of the process later this week when I can start putting in the skeletons and figures.

Above: 25 minute pose 9-7-2010
7 minute pose 9-13-2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

FourSquared Exhibit at ARC

All 16 little paintings of hybrid creatures are done, except for touch ups. I put in three really long days, Friday through Sunday. Put in 12 hours yesterday. The most difficult task is adding tiny details like whiskers to the rats. It's times like this that make me wish I had painted all 16 creatures onto panel rather than linen. (easier to paint fine details on panel versus canvas/linen). The disadvantage for panel however, is that it generally takes more layers of paint to get the same effect that I'm looking for.

Once the final touches are in, I still need to put on a coat of retouch varnish, and photograph the works for my records.

All 16 paintings will be included in a group show at ARC Studios and Galleries, in an exhibit titled "FourSquared. " This exhibition will feature 16 small square paintings from 16 artists. It is an honor to be included in this line up of well known, amazing artists working in different genres.

The opening reception for the exhibit at ARC will be on August 27, 7-10 pm.

ARC Gallery & Studios is located at 1246 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA. Here is a link to the exhibition website.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Life returning to normal, sort of

Getting ready for the 4 Squared Exhibit has been a challenge, but it's actually going better than I had hoped. I was able to develop ideas for 16 little 6 x 6 paintings in a week, and after about three weeks, I have finished 12 paintings. Two are almost done, and two remain with just the backgrounds in. Hopefully I will be totally done with painting these by early next week.

So today, I finally took a day off from the studio. (partly due to a migraine and to take my cat to the vet).

Despite the time pressure, this project has been alot of fun. Combining creatures that are compatible colorwise, as well as matching up creatures that could both exist in a similar environment, was a mental challenge. For example, I combined an antelope head on an ostrich. To me, this made sense. I found an antelope with a similar color scheme to a male ostrich. They both are plains animals, and I think this helps create a kind of believability to the creature.

I might end up making larger works based on the ideas developed for these little paintings.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tiny Paintings and Other Goings On

This has been a very eventful week. Early last week, an artist friend of mine referred me to the Bone Room in Berkeley and they would like to include me in an exhibit at their relatively new gallery/event room (next door to their retail store). It looks like I will be in a show in October 2011. This is really exciting for me - I have shopped at the Bone Room for years and find it to be very inspiring.

Then, I was invited to participate in a prestigious show at ARC Gallery and Studios in San Francisco. The title of the show is Four Squared, will feature 16 artists, who will each have 16 small square paintings no larger than 10 x 10.

And yesterday, I received an e mail from a curator friend in Australia, Jon Beinart (also a talented artist!) who invited me to participate in a group show he is curating in Santa Monica at a very well known gallery in March 2011. This group show will be all surreal/fantastic realism, and will include some very well known artists, so it will be a real honor to be included in this show.

In addition, I had already been working towards putting together a body of work for my show at Bert Green Fine Art scheduled for January 2011.

My immediate priority is to get 16 little paintings done for Four Squared by August 20 . I didn't have many small square paintings on hand, so I realized this was going to require 16 new paintings from scratch. Amazingly, the ideas just came from nowhere for little hybrid animals. I had been wanting to do something like this for quite a while, and I had on hand several half baked sketches that were going nowhere. But within two days, suddenly some rather interesting things started to come together. (see images above). I now have 13 drawings of 6 x 6 done and ready to transfer to panels and canvas. I think I will do around half on panel, reserving the panel for creatures that require more delicate details. The other half will be on stretched prime linen canvas. Afterwards, I will probably mine these ideas/images for larger paintings with more complex backgrounds and themes.

I went to Jeffrey's Toys (I love any excuse to go there!) and found some little replicas of rhinos, ostriches, etc. which will help me with light and shadow as I paint. Also used the internet and nature books to look at animal reference photos.

I know that to complete this project, I will be at the studio 7 days a week for over a month. But this is way more satisfying and fun than the type of pressure I used to be under at the Bank when I had a corporate gig!

So you are probably wondering: how is it she has time to do a blog entry? The studio building's water supply has been shut off this morning until noon. So I am doing a late day/evening stretch at the studio today.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Setting up the model skeleton

I'm now finalizing the drawings for the next set of BDSM skeleton paintings. There is one pose that I had to set up, for a skeleton that is going to be tying up a human subject. My studio, unlike my old one on Belcher Street, does not have wooden rafters that make it easy to suspend the skeletons limbs into positions. The ceiling here is very high, and all there is up there are pipes, and a concrete ceiling.

I used monofilament line tied to drapery hooks, looped over the pipes up there. This did the trick, and I was able to set up my skeleton into the desired position.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Project nearing the end

After about 2 months of work, my series of dancing conjoined twins is almost done. There are a total of 6 of various small sizes, with the largest being around 9 x 12 and the smallest 6 x 8. Four are totally done, and two just need little tiny adjustments (highlights and touch up) once the current layer is dry.

When I get to this stage, near the end, I always try to have the next painting in the preparatory state - the idea fairly developed and ready for final drawings prior to committing to paint.

However, this weekend I had a quite conflicting ideas about what to do next. When I get in this state, it can almost be paralyzing. Saturday, I got practically nothing done at the studio. My mind went back and forth on various ideas, and then I had this horrible fear that I was running out of ideas, and even worse, unable to come up with any decent new ones. I then realized that several ideas just need more time to percolate. They are worthy ideas and just need to be ruminated upon. While I work through some various options with these preliminary ideas, I decided to finish up the BDSM skeleton series. I still have 5 finished drawings and reference photos ready to progress to paintings.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Weekend

I had quite a busy weekend. It started with a bang on Friday afternoon when i meet up with artist friends at our weekly Artist Roundtable, led by Anna Conti. We met up at the Columbarium, with the intention of drawing, but were unable to stay due to a service. We headed to Clement Street, and had coffee and then a great dinner at Burma Superstar. We then headed to the deYoung, which is the happening place on that end of town. There was a live jazz band, really hot, the Marcus Shelby Quartet. Plus there was a program of street art, with some disguised street artists making a presentation in the auditorium.

I had to make a difficult choice, and decided to sketch the musicians. There is something energizing about the gestures of the figures, the forms of the instruments and just the beat that makes it a fun pursuit. Afterwards, as I was wandering around looking for my friends, the band's manager, and radio personality, Donald Lacy, tracked me down and asked to see the drawings. He then asked me to stay until the end of the program to meet the band and Marcus Shelby. I ended up giving the drawings of Marcus to him. I kept the sketch of the drummer (above). Anna Conti got a good snapshot in of me with the band.

Saturday, I moved stuff from the storage unit to the new studio, which absorbed extra stuff with no problem. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon photographing the fetal skull so that I can begin painting the new dancing conjoined twins. Above is one of the reference photos. (The gray blog on the side of the skull is just a kneaded eraser - I used it to prop the skull so it looks tipped to one side)

Sunday was another art day. I went over to the Studio Gallery for the opening reception. My friend Anna Conti had a couple of awesome pieces in the show, which was quite good. Then several of us strolled down Van Ness - got ensnared at Utrechts Art Supply (of course) and then checked out the new bronze Buddha sculpture at Civic Center.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Twin #6

Here is a preliminary drawing for dancing twin #6. I've also attached the original photo of dancers, that inspired this pose.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Back to the Lizards

I spent the last couple of weeks working on my anatomical chimps, as well as some studies of dancing conjoined twins.

Today I finally got back to the lizards, and got some midtones and darks put in.

Even more exciting: a large space became available in the studio building, just down the hall from me. Looks like I'll be moving my stuff down the hall next week after Spring Open Studios. The extra space will allow me to more easily work with prop set ups, as well as bring in a larger table for drawing. I'll be able to bring all my stuff that is now in a small storage space. This space is actually a bit bigger, and much better configured, than the space I had at Belcher Street. And the light will be better than the current space that I have, which gets very intense sun in the afternoon. The new space gets a much softer light, and will be more consistent and easier to work with.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Life drawing and Artist Roundtable

Had a wonderful Friday. Spent Friday morning painting, working on an anatomical chimp, inspired by Vesalius. This is the first of three small canvases I'm working on. There is still some work needed, such as reflective glare highlighted on the muscles, more lights in some of the cartilage, and light tones and florals in the plant life around the figure.

Everytime I look at chimp anatomy, I marvel at how similar their structures are compared to humans. And yet they are so aggressive, often nasty, with male dominated social structures. They make war on other chimp tribes, murder and have other nasty behaviors. When humans exhibit their best behaviors and best nature, we are clearly a big improvement over chimps - but when we lapse into our dark side, I can see our chimp brain emerging.

In the afternoon, headed over for an "Artist Roundtable" get together at Muddy's on Valencia and 16th. We had coffee, and headed over to Intersection for the Arts (exhibit of Margaret Harrison) and Art Zone. I had to really appreciate Harrison's rather unconventional paintings of sexed up comic superheroes, and her great use of watercolor. But I also had to recognize there is a fine line between making a serious statement with art, versus sheer sensationalism. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this exhibit. Art Zone had just wonderful blasts of color, and looking at the art here is best described as eye candy.

Anna, Marianna, Teresa and I then headed over to Mission Cultural Center for life drawing, where we had an amazing model. I was a bit rusty, since I hadn't been able to attend a session for the last couple of weeks.

Monday, March 22, 2010

ArtSpan Tour des Artistes

I was very honored to be selected as an artist to participate in ArtSpan's Tour des Artistes. This is a VIP Brunch-Around tour of five working artists' studios led by ArtSpan's Board Chairman, Michael Yochum, and ArtSpan's former executive director, Therese Martin. The tour began with coffee & pastries at ARC Studios & Gallery, 1246 Folsom Street; and attendees enjoyed a VIP limo bus and refreshments along the way. Even cooler than that: two of my artist friends were also featured on the tour: William Salit and Kathryn Arnold. Attendees also got to visit the studios of Carolyn Hinman and Phillippe Jestin.

I was interviewed by Kris Vagner at the SF Examiner, and described some of my preparations for the tour. (here's a link to the article - just click the page number at the top and enter "28")

There were 22 folks on the tour, including tour guides. So it was a bit crowded in the studio. I had to caution one women to watch out for the wet palette that I had left out on the taboret. (I had worked on the skeleton/lizard painting that morning - it helped to keep me from stressing out over the event!) To make a bit more room, I shoved the easel way back and put my buddy Friedrich the skeleton out in the hallway to be my doorman.

Basically, I did a show and tell, very similar to what I do for friends when they visit except much more organized. I made "packets" of related sketches going from early thumbnail concept sketch to the final finished drawing that is transferred to panel or canvas. The discussion included several of my reference clay models used to work out perspective and shadows. I also showed them the reference photos used for the BDSM paintings, including the skeleton strung up into poses using monofilament line hung from the ceiling. I don't know if it's a good idea for artists to talk about where the problem areas of the painting are located, but I did share with them places that caused consternation during the painting process. I gave them a handout color printout, showing a painting from first layers of warm underpainting through the final touches.

I also talked about the process of finding authentic models for the BDSM series. The poses themselves were developed by looking at porn magazines, websites and so forth. I then used Poser software to manipulate a virtual human model and skeleton to visualize various poses. But the virtual model has than android look. I joined various organizations and websites to locate authentic models.

It was a very nice group of people who asked great questions, such as why certain colors were used for background, why certain color is used for underpainting/ground. There was one question though that I tried to gracefully evade: someone asked me if I participated in the BDSM lifestyle or tried it out. I told them I was too busy but had been to the Citadel a few times. Is that vague enough?

Mike Yochum was a wonderful moderator, and he asked me to cover a couple of topics pertinent to the symbolic content of the works.

I also had a milestone event: an older retired couple bought one of the paintings in the BDSM series! The usual buyer of my paintings are generally younger, so I was excited to have reached an audience beyond my normal market.

I hope that all of the attendees had a great time.... despite the butterflies in my stomach, I had a good time.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Base Layer on Skull

Another busy week. I've been asked to serve on a committee to organize for Spring Open Studios. I finished (I think for good) my temp job at the Bank, so I don't have to worry about the pesky day job anymore!

I was asked to participate in ArtSpan's Tour des Artistes. This is a limo guided tour to several artists studios. Unlike Open Studios, when an artist generally spiffs up the studio for a larger numbers of guests, this is more intimate, and the goal is to see studios in their working state. I've been putting in the hours to get several paintings to an advanced state in anticipation of the event.

I had been contemplating getting some better track lighting put up to illuminate the walls (and works). I have wall mounted lights which are great for lighting the work area/easel, but these are no good for lighting works on the wall. The Tour des Artistes, and upcoming Spring Open Studios, gave me the incentive to go ahead and put in tracks for lighting the wall.

Today, made some good progress on getting the base layer done on the skull/lizard.

P.S. the SF Giants item hanging behind the painting in the photo above is a freebie apron that Jude got for me at the ballpark. I am not a Giants fan.