Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hot Cider on a Rainy Day

Last Saturday I was at the farmers market in Vancouver, Washington, courtesy of my brother, Zack. There was a light rain falling as I, and Shani, Ava and Hudson, took many photos. I'm not exactly sure which of us gets the credit for the source photo for this painting (we took hundreds on my camera), but I'm very grateful to my generous guest photographers and to my brother, for thinking the market would be a fertile source of paintings.

This oil painting, 18"x18" on canvas, is the first from that day.

This painting is a work in progress.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lorena 20"x24": Work in Progress

This oil portrait is much larger than life and presents a new challenge. I'm still working on it and thinking about it, but I feel it is going in a good direction.

I'm trying out some new paints: M Graham, which are walnut-oil-based, rather than linseed-oil; they flow better and stink less. (I learned about these paints from reading another blog, rue Manuel bis, at

I'm also trying out using oil bars (I have a black and a white) and I'm liking what they can do in terms of mark-making. The oil bars were a suggestion of Anne Saitzyk's. I also was inspired to try them by looking at the blog My Journey With Art, at (he paints in acrylics and uses crayons or a squeeze bottle to make his marks on paintings). (Both blogs I've mentioned are on my blog list, if you want to check them out.)

Green Woman, Gray Man and 3 Heads

These are drawings from 2008, from life. The larger pieces are each 20"x26", the smaller is 10"x20".

Green Woman and Gray Man were each longer poses; 3 Heads was the same model doing short poses. Once again, I'm using markers, and brush and water. Green Woman also has areas of pastel.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Long May She Wave

Here's Thursday's workshop painting, painted from life on an 11"x14" canvas. I painted over a painting of a street scene from about four years ago, when I first started to try to learn to paint in oils.

The model was reading the book Long May She Wave by Hinrichs, Hirasuna and Heffernan, a "graphic history" of the American flag. Coincidentally, this is a book I know and was fascinated with when I first saw it. I wanted to imply the element of Americana that the book represents in my little head study, so I painted red, white and blue over the model's head.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Girl on a Cell Phone and Girl with a Red Muffler, together

I've done some thinking and some painting on each of these and decided to post them together because they go together in my mind. Both instantiate and memorialize parts of LA that I love.

Girl on a Cell Phone, set in Silver Lake in winter, has been considerably punched up. I've developed the girl to the point where she more than holds her own with the looming mural.

Girl with a Red Muffler, set on a winter day at the old Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax, has also had substantial work on the central figure, especially her face, shoulder and hand.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Girl on a Cell Phone

This is an oil painting on a 20"x24" canvas that I painted yesterday. I painted from a photo taken outside an LA coffeehouse. What fascinated me was the relationship between mural and woman and the rhythm of their gestures.

This is a painting in progress. I need to wait and look again.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


These are marker drawings from life made at Spring Studio, in 2008. Both were terrific models, whom I drew more than once.

The approximately 20"x24" drawing on the left is marker, plus wet brush. The approximately 17"x23" drawing on the right has areas of pastel added over the markers.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Seated Woman

This is yesterday's painting at Anne Saitzyk's figure workshop. The workshop inspiration was Matisse, though clearly I was heavily influence by some Chagall stained glass windows I recently visited. (The windows are in a church in Mainz, Germany. They're the only church windows Chagall did--at least according to the church's literature.)

I painted from life on a 16"x20" canvas. The canvas was white, and I wanted a lot of texture and color, fast, so I started with globs and smears of several colors of acrylic paint, which I then rubbed, scratched and otherwise abused to form my underpainting and background. Because I wanted to be able to paint over part of this in oil paint, I was careful to remove enough acrylic paint over that part, so that that area had enough time to dry and let me oil paint during the 3 hour session. (You can paint over acrylic in oil, but trying to mix acrylic and oil or paint acrylic over oil leads to grief.)

Thursday, April 9, 2009


This is from last week's figure workshop session at ACAN. I painted in oils on a 12"x16" canvas. Anne's assignment/inspiration for the group was the use of whites, as in Degas' pastels. I painted from life, but I liked my little thumbnail sketch and tried to paint so that the strong lines of the thumbnail were present in the oil painting. I don't think the painting is particularly like the pastels we looked at, but it does bear a resemblance to Degas' sculpture of the little dancer, in the Norton Simon Museum. My subconscious surprises me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

LA Boy and His Dog

This painting is of a young man hugging his puppy in a Silver Lake coffee house.

I painted from a photo taken by my daughter, Amanda. The support is an approximately 20"x26" oak board, that I primed in clear gesso. This is the first painting using pieces from the 4'x8' board that I got from the hardwood store, and it's the first time I've used clear gesso.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Blue Back

This is another large drawing done from life at Spring Studio in New York in 2008. I used markers and pastel.

The size of the drawings tended to be dictated by what I could comfortably roll up and carry away with me (usually around 18"x24", up to about 2x3 feet). The papers I used were mostly printmaking papers I found at Pearl Paints or Dick Blick. In general, I draw on the most tactilely appealing paper available to me.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

LA Day:Red

This is a painting in progress. I started it yesterday and will want to wait a day or two and look at it again to see what I want to add/change. It is on a 16"x20" canvas and has its origin in a cell phone photo I took this winter at the old LA Farmers Market.

Although I paint in oil, I don't use any turps or turps substitute. Clean up is by wiping as much off the brushes as possible and then washing/rubbing with soap and water. The brushes are actually in better condition than when I used Gamsol.