Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coast Guard Deployment

I am a member of the Coast Guard Art Program, COGAP, and was recently asked if I’d like to be deployed for 4 days on their newest National Security cutter, the USCGC Stratton, of course I said yes. My assignment is to photograph the crew in their duties as well as images inside and out of the ship for future paintings to be submitted to the Coast Guard Art Program. I will board the ship in December and spend the next 4 days collecting reference photos for future paintings of this ship and crew.

USCGC Stratton under construction in Pascagoula, Mississippi

The Stratton is the third of four mega high tech 418-foot Legend Class cutters to replace the dependable but aging 378-foot Hamilton Class cutters built in the 1960’s. The National Security cutters perform alien migrant interdiction operations, fisheries protection, search and rescue, counter-narcotics and homeland security missions. On it’s first patrol out the sistership USCGC Waesche interdicted 2 vessels within a 48-hour period containing over 25 million in cocaine being smuggled to the US. The new National Security Cutters have the range to patrol from South America to the Bering Sea. The new cutters carry two helicopters and 2 long and short-range boats. The Legend Class cutters are real beauties!  
    USCGC Stratton getting underway

I have known about this new project for about a month now but had to wait for my travel orders to be cut before announcing it. Mary Ann Bader, COGAP coordinator, has been great to work with in setting this all up with the Executive Officer of the Stratton. I’m looking forward to being on board the ship and recording as many images as I can for future works. I’ve been going over my photo equipment in preparation for getting as many reference photos as possible in the 4 days I’ll be with the ship. I’ll be posting some of these images when I return from the deployment in December.
Captain Dorothy C. Stratton
Director of the SPARS, the Coast Guard Womens Reserve during WWII

Sunday, August 28, 2011

French Companion In Use

I built this French Companion from scrap wood leftover from other art projects. A French Companion is a very cool addition to my French Easel set up and really makes painting that much easier having all of the room to set things. Before I'd have brushes on the side or laying in the drawer behind the easel so I was always walking around to the back while painting. Now I have plenty of room to set everything right in front. The best bonus is that once the painting is done all I have to do is fold the lid and fold up the easel, no messy paint from a flat palette getting everywhere and eventually onto my clothes. I love this thing. If you don't want to build one just buy one...they are usually on sale at online art suppliers for around $60. It's worth every penny!

Small to Large Again...

"Chamberlin Ranch Oaks"
6" X 8" Oil on Panel
I used this small painting I painted about a year ago to use as a reference for a larger 16X20 just recently. In going larger I wanted to add more color and detail to the foreground. The goal was pretty simple and even though I had to drop off the smaller painting to a show before the large one was done all seemed to work out. Good thing too since the small painting sold at the show. I think the larger painting worked out very well and has a fresh look to the same scene. There were some good changes to the newer version and the additional colors and detail in the foreground make it stand on it's own merit.
    "Oaks At Chamberlin Ranch"
    16" X 20" Oil on Canvas

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Featured Artist September

In September I will be the Featured Artist at Galerie Gabrie in Pasadena, CA.If you are near Pasadena please stop in at the gallery anytime in September and check out my work. Jasminka Gabrie, the gallery owner, will be happy to have you at the gallery. Gallery Gabrie has work from some very wonderful artists so make sure you stop in and enjoy your visit!
If you would like a show card mailed to you please send me your address.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

California Art Club Show

I was sent notice a few weeks back that one of my paintings has been juried into the upcoming California Art Club show that will be at the Altadena Country Club. The show, "At The Foothills Of The San Gabriels" will run from Sept. 1 through Jan. 10 will have an artists reception on September 11, 2011. If you'ew in the Pasadena area please come to the Show Reception !!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Small To Large

Original small painting, 5x7
I did this small painting a while back..last Winter I think. I always liked how it came out and while looking for some other painting I bumped into this one again. After looking at it for a few minutes I decided to try and use it as a reference for a much larger version. Originally it was painted in a vertical format but I wanted to try an do more of a horizontal/rectangle format. In the end I liked that larger version of the painting and was happy I tried to stay close to the look of the small painting. Too many changes would have made the larger one a totally different painting so I'm glad I stayed with what inspired the larger painting.
The smaller version shown with larger 24x30 painting
The larger painting went along really well and was finished alla prima in 3 hours. The only thing in the larger painting I really changed was lightening the grass and bush. I also added trunks and small branches to the bush this time. It's a nice typical fog clearing morning in the Santa Ynez valley.

Friday, July 29, 2011

California Art Club Show

            I was fortunate enough to get two paintings into the CAC show down in South Pasadena. This was a great looking show, lots of killer work in it, and a nice gallery too, The Fremont Gallery. If you click on that link you can get the info on the show but it ends this Sunday so you'll have to get over there quick to see it.
           I apologise for announcing this so late but I have been going round and round trying to update my website with no success. For some insane reason there is a glitch in either my web authoring program (Netscape Composer), my FTP program (Ipswitch) or my web hosting company (Earthlink) and damned if I can figure out which one it is because everything looks fine. About the only thing I can see fault with it my page title in my source code online is and it is on my Composer files and FTP files...that doesn't make sense....and yes, I've dumped my cache in IE so it's not that. Got any ideas???

          Anyway...here is the show card...and yep, they used one of my paintings for it, too cool!



          Well, I've been more than tardy with posting on the blog here. I used to have 2 main galleries I was in but one had to shut down due to the economy. That shut down left me with just the one but it's a great one to be in. Naturally, when they say jump I ask how high. I'm going to be the featured artist for the month of September there so I've been working on larger paintings. Galleries like em' big....and a lot of them too. I've been fortunate to have made sales during the year...sporadic, but none the less sales and right now any sale is good news.

          Living a life of selling art enough to pay most of the bills and have some left over to buy art supplies to keep going is not a fun one but it could be worse. My last job had me working 10 hour plus days and that left little energy to paint at night. I'm thankful for any sales. Being an artist is a tough life and if you like living large you're in for a big dissapointment. Luckily I came from "meager" so I understand and can handle "meager", haha.

          Last November I was in our Artist Studio Tour here in the valley and sold a few of the little paintings...5x7 and 6x6. That led the local art museum in the next town over to ask to carry my little ones in their gift shop. That's worked out well, once in a while a small check arrives and I get to drop to my knees with arms raised a shout "YES!". I trust more than a few of you out there have gone through that experience...it's pretty nice when it happens....wish it happened more.

          Since last Spring I have made frames, searched for better frame prices...always doing that, experimented with new frames which has led me back to my usual frames, haha., made it to a couple of artist friends shows which was fun, repaired my French easel which broke a support for the back leg, built a French Companion for my French easel...so easy to build. I also lost my best little camera for taking shots of the artowrk...it sort of works but not...can't take a pic with it so I had to buy another one on eBay to replace it...newer, larger megapixels and totally sucks for getting good shots of the artwork. I miss my older camera so bad I'm about to buy another one if I can find it. It's 5 or 6 years old and that's' like 20 with the ever constant changing technologies. I used to laugh at the fact that if you bought a new digital camera by the time you got home and unwrapped it they would have already come out with a newer one with more megapixels!...no joke.

         So....I'll try posting more here on the blog. Sorry to anyone who has been checking it. Life and other obligations can sometimes get in the way and you have to prioritize...been there, doing that now.   

Monday, March 14, 2011

Painting the Foothills

"Foot Of The Figueroas"
12"x16" Oil on Canvas
The Figueroa mountains line the northern half of our valley. My backyard is pointed right at them so I get to see them throughout the year in various light and shadow. I grew up right below the San Gabriel mountains living less than 2 miles from their base. Always having large mountains within walking distance has sort of stuck with me and I think I'd go crazy living anywhere away from the mountains.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Meadow Painting

"Afternoon Meadow"
6" X 8" Oil on panel
I'm just about to start another large painting but before doing that I painted this small painting this morning. I wanted to wipe off the remnants of paint left on my palette from a previous painting and didn't want to waste all of the paint so I used a nearby panel to paint this one. Just a small meadow scene of what the summer months will bring once all of this rain is long gone. I like the rain but lately it has come spaced just long enough that just before the ground dries up in comes another few days of rain.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Poppies And Eucalyptus

"Poppies And Eucalyptus"
9" X 12" Oil on Canvas
Can hardly wait for the poppies to start covering the ground in so many places around where I live. The other day I drove on the road down to Santa Barbara and already many flowers were starting to bloom at the roadside. The wildflower display in the Santa Ynez valley and the mountains bordering it can be pretty impressive.

Friday, February 18, 2011

An Earth Palette

"Valley In Blue"
9" X 12" Oil on Canvas
I have been reading up on using an earth palette lately and wanted to give it a try. I thought forcing myself to use just 3 earth colors would push my mixing skills up a notch and teach me some new color mixes to try out. I used only Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Paynes Grey along with white. I enjoyed learning to mix greens and blues using grey and no doubt this will add to my mixes in later works so it was a good experiment to go through. Pushing yourself by using a limited palette is a great way to force you to learn something new and step out of your comfort zone a bit.
Greens are commonly bought by many painters but I have been mixing mine from my primaries for years now. Using these colors above was a great way to experiment with new green mixes, very pale green tones which will work perfectly for distant greens. This should increase my ability to use more convincing colors to promote depth into my work. Also, the range of greys and neutral tones found with these 3 colors is eye opening to me and will show up also in future paintings.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Nipomo Eucalytpus

"The Sappling"
20" X 24" Oil on Canvas
I've been working on larger pieces lately and at the same time experiencing massive problems with my computer when trying to start up. This is a newer computer using Vista and I'm still going through the problem more often than not. Aside from those woes, I've been able to concentrate on larger works since the new year. I'm really enjoying working larger but they do suck up more time to produce...still a lot of fun.
This one was painted from a reference photo taken in a stand of eucalyptus trees in Nipomo, CA that I love to visit. This young little tree was catching the most wonderful light hidden in between it's older brothers. The young leaves showing off their great shades of bright greens in the background of muted darks and the pale ochres of the grasses. Hard to resist not painting this one.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hillside Bouquet

"Hillside Bouquet"
6" X 8" Oil on Canvas
Winter naturally brings on thoughts of Spring so I suppose that's where the thought process began for this piece. A gentle hillside meadow covered with random Spring flowers, some green left in the grasses before Summer takes over. A very common sight along the mountainsides of the valley here.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A High Desert Painting

"Hills Above Little Rock"
8" X 10" Oil on Canvas
The view here is overlooking the small town of Little Rock up in the high desert not far from Lancaster. Whenever I can get up that way I like to drive through the desert, stop and explore...take in the desert air. The last time I was there I stayed till the sun went down to get some nice reference photos...took my painting gear but it was too windy and cold for that.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Valley Grasses

"Valley Grasses"
6" X 8" Oil on Panel
A quick one painted this morning. I like the summer colors in late afternoon light and miss seeing them now that Winter is here. I used this painting to play with color and try a few things out...nothing serious just little things. Fun little painting to work on today.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In The Arroyo

"In The Arroyo"
22" x 28" Oil on Canvas
A large painting of the sycamore trees down on the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena. This is an area that was painting by many of the early California Impressionist painters around and after the turn of the century. It's a great spot to get away from the city for a few hours even though you are just a short hike away from cement and red lights.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Eaton Canyon Meadow

"Eaton Canyon Meadow"
22" X 28" Oil on Canvas
I grew up hiking around in Eaton canyon which is just above my parents old house in Pasadena, CA. This small meadow is on the north side of the riverbed that runs down the length of the canyon. I think it is a great place to go and smell the sage and other aromas in the canyon. I remember my Dad taking all of us boys in the family hiking there once and we ended up hiking up to Henneger Flats...boy was that a story.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Spring Blooms

"Spring Blooms"
9" X 12" Oil on panel
This is the first of 2011 paintings. I started this painting 1 hour before midnight on New Years eve but finished it today Jan 2 due to a cold I've had and preparing for the rains that have now arrived again. We've got two trees down from the high wind in the early morning hours so I'll be playing with the chainsaws as soon as the weather breaks. Not the greatest start for the new year but I'm still in a good mood.
This is a larger version of a painting I did earlier at 5x7. I liked the foreground poppies and the spark they brought to the smaller painting. I also like painting with a knife occasionally so this was an appropriate one to start the new year off with since the flowers were mostly knife work.
Happy New Year to everyone.