Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Self Portrait Sketch

From life, using Conte pencil on 5.5"x8.5" paper. Drawn last Saturday.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Arthur Haddock's Shoebox

One of the places I visited this summer was Santa Fe, and this post is about a painter I learned about on this visit.

Arthur Haddock was a 20th century landscape painter. Mid-century, he and his wife moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, bought some land and built themselves a pueblo-style adobe house. It was a small house with a shop, where Arthur made picture frames for a living for a few years.

This was a very difficult, unhappy time for the couple. Haddock wrote a suicide note and carried it in his pocket during this time.

His framing shop had two multi-paned windows. He took to blacking out all but one pane at a time in his shop and painting the view from that pane. He did this over and over, day after day, ultimately producing hundreds of postcard-sized oil paintings on pieces of matboard. He stored the little paintings in a box he called his shoebox, tied with a blue ribbon.

Eventually, things got better for him, and he went on to many more years of painting landscapes in New Mexico and Arizona. He kept the shoebox paintings hidden away, refusing to show them publicly and later, even denying their continued existence.

The shoebox paintings became a legend which was not confirmable until after his death, when his widow gave permission for them to be shown to the public. At which point, the little paintings--which were powerful when taken together--merited their own show at the Ernesto Mayans Gallery in Santa Fe.

Haddock was protective of this particular body of his work to the point of denying it's existence while he lived. But he did the most important part: he created the work.

My description of the shoebox paintings is based on Ernesto Mayans' book on Haddock and conversation with the current resident of the house. A slightly different version is contained in the "legend" link, above, which also has a picture of the "shoebox" with paintings.

The photo above I took looking through one of the windows in what was Haddock's framing shop.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Young Woman Wearing Glasses

I drew this Monday, from life. Charcoal, 18"x24".

Monday, September 28, 2009

Girl with an Orange Scarf (in progress)

Oil paint on 12"x16" canvas.

I'm painting from a photo I took this spring, while visiting Portland.

Friday, September 25, 2009


18"x24" charcoal sketch, drawn from life, yesterday.

Friday, September 18, 2009


On paper, 18"x24", with marker and pastel.

I drew this yesterday, from life. I believe it was a 30-minute pose.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Woman Reading

I did this today, from life, in a long pose workshop. On paper, about 15"x22".

One cool thing about this model: she really was reading this book, not just posed with a book. This means her hands and the book, especially, would change as she read, in addition to the usual changes on resuming a pose after break, but it also means that her gaze was concentrated and not the usual blank or sleepy look.

I'm happy to be back, drawing and posting, and painting and posting (soon).

Friday, September 4, 2009


The Station Fire is still burning, about 140,000 acres so far. The firefighters are working heroically. Meanwhile, all most of us can do is wait.

These are this morning's quick sketches. I drew from photos taken last month.

The first sketch is of an old woman, waiting for a restaurant table in Santa Fe. It's on paper, about 12"x16," done in crayon over marker and pastel.

The next sketch is a man, waiting for a bus on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. It's marker and pastel, about 9"x12."

The smallest sketch is of a young woman, waiting for the light to change, on Mission Street in South Pasadena. Also marker and pastel, about 5"x8."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pastel Woman (2007)

Pastel on paper, about 20"x25". Drawn from life.

I've been away from the internet, taking lots of photos and seeing new things. One place I visited was Santa Fe, which is full of artists and art galleries and, at this time of year (the Indian Market time), full of people shopping for Southwestern art. (I wasn't shopping--just happened to visit at the same time.) As I get a chance, I'll share some of the sights and experiences.

The light in Santa Fe is amazing. Our host told us that Mabel Dodge Luhan, a wealthy Eastern transplant to New Mexico who became a famed patroness of the arts in Taos, is said to have demanded "Why was I not informed of this?" when she first laid eyes on the Southwest.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Man at the Museum (work in progress)

This is my start on a 12"x16" oil painting inspired in part by a recent visit to the Norton Simon Museum.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tuesday's drawings

These are drawings from this past Tuesday, the last uninstructed modeling workshop of the quarter at Art Center. Once again, these were poses in the 5 to 15 minute range. The drawings are on 18"x24" paper, each figure occupying about a quarter of that space. The first two images are of graphite drawings; the last three images are of ink drawings.

I am glad I took this summer to focus on quick drawings from life. In the fall, I want to focus on longer poses from life, the so-called painting poses, where the model returns to the same pose throughout the entire modeling session.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Head and Hand

This is a 12"x12" oil on canvas that I painted this morning from an old black and white photo.

It's a painting with no white. Winsor yellow, Naphthol red and Ultramarine blue were on my palette.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Seated Man and Seated Woman

These are two drawings I did from life in 2008 at Spring Studio in New York.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

At the Stables (work in progess continues)

I did some painting this morning. So I'm posting what I did, and now will give this painting a rest and look at it later to reassess. It's time to get some other paintings going.

On an unrelated topic, except that it involves rocks, as does this painting, I recently saw the eagle in Eagle Rock. It was about noon and I was a passenger in a car headed up Figueroa and onto the 134 freeway west, and I looked up at the big boulder and saw why it is called Eagle Rock! Small mystery solved.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sleeping Woman (2006)

This is a charcoal drawing, done from life, on 18"x24" paper.

We've been talking recently, in the comments section of the previous post, about models falling asleep while posing. For this pose, at least, it was entirely appropriate.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Looking Inward

This is an 11"x14" oil sketch on canvas, painted this morning, based on a small sketch I did from life in 2003.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Looking Down (two sketches from life)

I've been faithfully attending a weekly drawing group at Art Center. These are two of yesterday's drawings. The first was a 25 minute pose. It's about 12"x18" and drawn with charcoal pencil. The second is about the same size, drawn with soft willow charcoal. It was a shorter pose, in the 5 to 10 minute range.

Monday, July 20, 2009

At the Stables (work in progress)

When it's hot, I look for a shady place. This, an oil painting on a 30"x40" canvas, is my first stab at painting the San Pascual Stables, in the arroyo area of South Pasadena.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ficus on a Sunny Morning (30"x40")

More of my ficus obsession. This is the painting first posted on July 14th, further developed.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A few of yesterday's drawings

These are drawings from life on approximately18"x24" paper. I used a stick of soft willow charcoal and a kneaded eraser. The middle pose was 25 minutes long, the rest were 10 minute poses. The model did an amazingly good job of holding these expressive poses, which made drawing her a pleasure.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ficus on a Sunny Morning (work in progress)

This 30"x40" painting on canvas is of another Pasadena tree, this time one on Cherry Drive.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bronze Feet

This painting, on an 11"x14" linen canvas, is of a corner of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. The sculpture is of a woman in a classic contrapposto (maybe representing Aphrodite because she's classically beautiful--but, I didn't read the label). Here, of course, all you see are her feet and the shadow of her body and outstretched fingers.

I've been attending a small crit group, and the conversation veered to a famous painter who paints people but never paints feet. So, of course, I came home and found myself painting only feet. So, here's one for those amongst us who enjoy feet.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Some of today's sketches

Today was the day I returned to drawing from life, after a couple of weeks off. These are ink sketches, probably in the 10 to 15 minute range, on about 5.5"x 8.5" watercolor paper.

Monday, July 6, 2009

At the Norton Simon Museum (work in progress)

At the left, the more recent version (this morning's work), after considerable re-painting and also some sketching on a pad for composition alternatives, something I should have done before I started painting. (I ultimately kept the composition, so don't go blind trying to discern the difference.)

One of my favorite galleries at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena is is one that is full of figures by Degas. This particular oil painting, on an 11"x14" canvas, features a guard in a blue blazer, whose pose echoes that of the bronze figure. The painting also reminds me of this post --a favorite of mine--by Mademoiselle Gramaphone, which features another artist well represented at the museum, Rodin.

Below is the first version. (Last night's.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Some drawings from 2005

These are drawings from life, done in 2005, in uninstructed workshops. The first is charcoal, on 18"x19" paper.

The last two are small ink drawings (about 6" square, though they're not square). Often, after drawing more detailed images, I like to take a few minutes and make a smaller, less detailed image. These are a couple of my favorites.

I've been doing a lot of family-related stuff for the past week--all good. Among other things, I was lucky enough to help celebrate the birthday of a very charming 106 year old man (suddenly, I feel quite young) and also, in a separate celebration, to laud a 60 year old marriage in which the couple still behave quite lovingly toward each other (like "newlyweds," though most newlyweds are not so loving and respectful).

Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Cloudy Morning on a Ficus" and "Ficus on a Cloudy Morning"

These two paintings, each on approximately 20"x24" shellacked hardwood boards, are my two takes on the same morning scene. On the left, I painted the sky, then outlined the tree limbs. On the right, I painted the tree limbs. There are bits of green and glimmers of light in each, in honor of the courageous acts of those who speak out, everywhere, despite great peril to themselves.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Some of Monday's Drawings

These are drawings from life, done in my sketchbook on Monday. The first was a 5 minute pose, the second some 3 minutes poses, the next is a 5 minutes pose, and the last, a 2 minute pose. I used mostly Conte sticks for these; one has inks, too.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ficus on a Cloudy Morning

This is an oil painting on hardwood, approximately 20"x24".

Yesterday morning, after going to Gelson's to pick up some bagels and lox (because if you give a dad some garlic-scallion cream cheese, he's gonna want the lox and bagels), we went farther east on Green, close to Hill, to an area with larger, undecorated ficus trees. I painted this from one of the photos I took yesterday morning of the trees. (The garlic-scallion cream cheese is my own version of the addictive, Pinnacle Bagel cream cheese. Pinnacle Bagel is in Greenwich Village, so not available for our morning walk.)

In my own version of rule-following, I'm not posting this with the tree sketches from life (see June 20 post) because I used a photograph.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tree sketches

Vivien Blackburn at paintingsprintsandstuff has a challenge going to draw trees from life. This is my first stab at it, a marker drawing done of one of the trees outside the yoga studio I go to. If I get around to any others, I'll post them here, as well.

Note: As you can see, I've just noticed the link icon on the toolbar.

Update: The first two sketches are from this morning (June 30th), in my hilly backyard.

For tree paintings inspired by this challenge, scroll up to my June 27th post and my July 18th post.