Monday, November 15, 2010


For many years we had a large couch and a chair in the living room. It had fallen into hard times and showed its 20+ years of use and abuse from three boys, two dogs and three cats rather badly. We seldom used it. We were also paying for satellite TV that no one was watching. Finally it was time to move on. We cancelled the satellite service and gave away the furniture and in its place put an IKEA wood and canvas chair and two director's chairs. Now we have a simple little living room for relaxing by the fire, reading and watching the occasional DVD. It a nice sanctuary.

At the other end of the room is a low book case full of my art and architecture books and my collection of Christo books. Sitting atop the shelves is a wooden tripod table lamp I found on sale at a hardware store. Across the back wall is a series of six drawings I took from my sketchbook and mounted to gessoed hardboard panels.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Building a Model

I love scale models, particularly architectural ones. Back in 1974, when I was in art school, I designed and built a model of an artist's community that consisted of a series of triangular shaped gallery spaces, studios and loft living spaces. I don't know what happened to the original model but fortunately I had taken a number of photos that I could reference in rebuilding it. Beginning with a 12" x 12" x 2" gessoed hardboard panel as a base, I cut 1" squares and triangles out of mat board and assembled the miniature complex using white glue. I finished it with some dried yarrow weeds to represent trees. This was a nice break from my usual painting time.

Back to Work

After a little break from my normal routine of painting to do some teaching, exploring acrylic abstracts and building a model, I am back doing urban scenes in pen and ink and watercolor. I found a slide I had taken a number of years ago of the Chinatown district in San Fransisco that has everything: buildings, signs, people, cars, and the Bay Bridge beyond. This is an overwhelming scene. To keep myself organized, I started from the center and worked outward, taking my time and enjoying the drawing process, not thinking yet about how I am going to paint it.

I decided to use the sketch I did of Chinatown in Los Angeles (top) as inspiration. It started as a detailed pen and ink sketch to which I added bright colors, splatters and white paint. I left a large part of the sketch unpainted.