Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Casual Art

This art is not precious. It is rough, loose, reworked and messy. One of them even has a seam where I added a piece to the top to give the scene more sky. Most of these were sketches taken from my sketch book. I mounted them to foam core coated with gesso and glued to wooden stretcher bars. I did a number of small thumbnail studies and glued those on as well. While the glue was drying, I smeared gesso along the edges with my finger.

When that was dry, I wrote some descriptive text in pencil. I sprayed workable fixative over everything before painting two coats of acrylic gloss varnish and finished with a coat of Krylon Kamar varnish. I frame everything in a custom made acrylic box frame.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sketching in Church

I find it easier to pay attention in church if I have something to do with my hands. It was the same way in school: I needed to be doodling. I suppose that's one of the reasons I became an artist; I developed a love for drawing while I should have been studying. These are a few sketches made during the morning service at Pasadena Covenant Church. Now I want you to know that I also take notes during the sermon, so I can become a better person.

Also, I don't paint in church. That would be rude. I sketch the scene, and paint it later in my studio.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Some New Artwork

Here is what I am doing now: collages that combine a primary image with a number of smaller images of different views of the same subject. This idea is an outgrowth of some of my earlier paintings where I included small study sketches and notes. Those were usually quick pen or pencil studies and typically in black and white. I wanted to create more interest with this new series and decided to explore doing these little thumbnail sketches in color, and doing more than just subtle variations on the main image. The idea is to tell more of a story. For example, one painting features a sketch of Los Angeles Union Station. Above it are small studies done from inside the train as I rode it down to San Diego on Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Another L.A. Scene

There is a lot going on here in this little sketch. I was on the Pasadena Freeway heading south toward downtown near West College Street. Traffic was slow. You can see the top of the car in front of me, the structure of a freeway sign, an office building behind some thick green trees, small bungalows climbing up the hill and the gleaming skyscrapers of downtown rising up behind. It is a mixture of elements creating a colorful jumble of old and new, and something you would never notice if you weren’t looking for it.

Notice how the sketch is different from the reference photo: the buildings are larger and are the dominant feature, the foreground is downplayed and the colors enhanced. I used a Sanford Uniball pen to make the drawing before painting it with watercolor and adding white paint for some accents.


Lalo Guerrero was a Mexican-American guitarist, singer and farm labor activist widely recognized as the father of Chicano Music. I was commissioned by the Historical Society of Southern California to do this painting as a gift to Mr. Guerrero in recognition for his contributions to music, humanity, and the history of Los Angeles.

This is an imagined scene of his night club from the 1960's and is one of my favorite paintings. I only had a scanned photo of poor quality taken in the daytime to work with, so I turned it into a rainy night scene and added cars and people. When I presented this to him, he burst into tears.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Studio Workshop

This is the reconfigured studio workshop space in my garage. It will be used for framing and organizing work. Painting will still be done in the living room of the main house.