Thursday, December 7, 2017

Natalie - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 9"x12"

      Just a quick, loose portrait of a model from some glamour site. There's very little about this one I don't like -- except maybe the scan. Scanning always adds contrast and washes out some of the lighter spots, hiding much of the subtlety inherent in the real painting. I recently went through some originals and was struck at how much better many of them were than I remember them because I'm used to seeing the scanned file. I'm still trying to figure out an easy method of shooting originals with my camera. Theoretically, I should get a much better, truer-to-life image that way.
       I used a pretty limited palette on this one, yellow ochre, a warm red and ultramarine blue for the skin tones - with just a touch of permanent rose to bring the nose forward. The hair and lips needed a couple more colors and I think the background blue is a loose mix of ultramarine and cobalt. The fewer colors you use, the less chance of mud, everyone always says.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Cow #1 - gouache

gouache, 2017
available, 11"x15"

      A painterly cow portrait to go with my rooster a couple weeks back. Cow portraits have been popular for a several years, so I thought I'd try one. Not bad, but I don't think I'll make a career of it.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Carricknahowley - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 9"x12"

      I'm very happy with this one. It's just loose enough; it's Ireland; the sky isn't completely terrible. I actually found the location through a YouTube clip from a BBC show called Awash With Colour wherein Dermot Cavanagh teaches a celebrity to paint a particular scene in Ireland. In one episode Cavanagh and the celebrity of the week (I don't remember who it was now.) painted this location from a different perspective. I found the location and several photos of it through Google Maps.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Smiling 65 Galaxie 500 - ink+watercolor

mixed, 2017
available, 9"x12"

      My mom had a 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 when I was little. It wasn't a red convertible like this one. It was a sensible white four-door hardtop bought just before I was born. My dad drove a little two-door Ford Falcon with an engine that barely fit in the engine compartment. 
      It may sound strange but I'll always associate the grille of the 65 Galaxie with my mom's big, bright smile. I guess it's a mental association akin to pareidolia in which our brains automatically search for pattern and familiarity in an otherwise random jumble of stimuli. It's part of what makes us see familiar shapes in clouds or faces in the burn pattern of toast. I suppose a lot of people see faces in cars - some cars more than others; it's probably the genesis of the Cars animated movies. Maybe everybody thinks of their mom when they see a particular car. I consider myself blessed to get to see mine smiling at me when I see this one.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

St. Paul's - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 11"x15"

      This was an attempt at a very loose rendering of St. Paul's in London. It has it's merits. But it could be better. It's from a very old black-and-white photo from the '50s.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Sunday Best - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 11"x15"

      Now that Horror Month is over let's head back to church. This one was done from an old black-and-white photo. Family photos were taken very seriously at one time. I'm sure this family is wearing their finest clothes to show off one of their prized possessions, their new automobile. I'm pretty happy with this one, though I'd like to have been a little looser.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Dreamer - charcoal

charcoal, 2017
available, 8"x11"

      Now we're talking. One Saturday in February 1986 I took a beautiful and sassy young redhead on a first date to see A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge. We're still together, though she's less a fan of horror movies than she was back then. I'm pretty happy with this one (and her!). Freddy's melted skin was pretty tough, but I think it worked out.

      Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Brother - charcoal

charcoal, 2017
available, 8x11

      I call Michael Myers of Halloween fame The Brother, of course, because his sole purpose was to terrorize and kill his baby sister, the only family he missed in his original killing spree. But this actually is The Brother #2 as I've already featured Barbra's short-lived brother, Johnny, from Night Of The Living Dead. This one was difficult and didn't quite work out as well as most of my other horror portraits. You would think the lack of features in the mask would make it easy to draw. But that's the problem. The lack of features means there's very little to give the "face" form and it was very hard to render the subtleties in the warped mask.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Ancestor - charcoal

charcoal, 2017
available, 8"x11"

      Good old Barnabas Collins of Dark Shadows -- the good one played by Jonathan Frid for the television show of the late '60s/early '70s, not Johnny Depp's horrible attempt.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Prom Queen - charcoal

charcoal, 2017
available, 8"x11"

      We're continuing our month of horror with everyone's favorite reluctant prom queen from another Steven King movie about an outcast teenager. Surprise. Surprise.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Car - charcoal

charcoal, 2017
available, 8"x11"

      It's that time of year again. Though I'm not a big Steven King fan, per se, I did like a couple of his movies. Christine, of course, is just another story of a high school outsider finding or being given some form of empowerment. In this case, our protagonist finds a presumably possessed car that killed two people even before it rolled out of the factory. The best part of Christine, frankly, is that it can repair and restore itself back to showroom new. What gearhead wouldn't want a car like that?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Herbie - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 9"x12"

      I thought I'd try this portrait of Herbie Hancock from an old black-and-white photo. It worked pretty well, but I still might try it larger and maybe a little looser.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Beach Baby - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
nfs, 11"x15"

      My first great-niece. I shot a few photos of her on a chance meeting between my wife and I and my nephew and his young family at a popular NC beach. Neither of us knew the other was there until they posted something to Instagram. A couple weeks later, they've got a portrait of their little beach baby. Honestly, this might be one of my best.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Backyard DeVille - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 11"x17"

      A Sedan DeVille that's seen better days. I'm very happy with this one in all it's loose realism.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Angie #42 - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
nfs, 9"x12"

      I haven't posted a portrait of my beauty queen in a while. This one was a pleasant surprise. I thought it was going to be trash almost immediately after starting it on Fabriano Studio paper, which I have complained about a couple times before. But, a few adjustments to my normal painting method, a fair amount of loosening and I pulled out a portrait with which I'm very happy. It's loose and painterly, but realistic and accurate at the same time. It seems the unforgiving nature of this paper forced me to be more careful and purposeful in my strokes and paint application.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Rusty Diamondback - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 9"x12"

      Another fishing lure. This one is on that horrible Fabriano Studio paper. There were even more issues with the paper on this one. That's the reason I left some spots looking a little looser than I usually paint these lures. In spite of the fight, I'm still pretty happy with how this one works.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Punta del Morro - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 9"x12"

      This is from a reference photo I originally saved from a Virtual Paintout "excursion" when the subject was Puerto Rico a few months ago. I didn't submit anything that month for reasons I don't remember. But, I finally decided to try this one out as a test for Fabriano's cheaper "Studio" line of paper that's only 20% cotton. I picked up a 9x12 pad the last time I was at Jerry's in Raleigh to try out. 
      Overall, this piece worked out OK on this paper largely because it was loose and wet. I let each layer dry before applying another. But, even then, there was significant lifting and loosening. The one spot that needed a minor correction in the form of lifting almost immediately started pilling. A subsequent painting on this paper proved this is quite possibly one of the worst papers I've ever used. Though it's supposed to be cold-pressed, it acts a bit like hot. The paint doesn't seem to sink in very well and lifts and re-wets too easily. This might be a good paper for quick sketches with only a couple washes, but I wouldn't use this for anything much more serious. The description on Jerry's website (which I'm sure comes from the manufacturer) says this paper can "withstand vigorous painting." Nothing could be farther from the truth. Of course, your mileage may vary.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Cogburn - gouache

gouache, 2017
available, 11"x15"

      I've had this rooster reference photo sitting around for years, originally planning to do a very loose watercolor. I finally pulled it out and a realist gouache showed up.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Grim Mower - gouache

gouache, 2017
available, 7.5"x11"

      Just a fun little piece to get back into gouache. I haven't done anything in gouache in a while. More to come.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

39 Cadillac - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
nfs, 11"x15"

      Loosening up on car paintings always feels like a double-edged blade. I'm inclined to render cars photographically as I did for several years. But, as I've mentioned here before, I no longer want to be a camera; I want to interpret and paint loosely. So, sometimes I try to split the difference and render some parts tightly and some loosely. Baby steps. The grillwork on this one is loose partly out of necessity. If I were painting this on a full sheet or even a half, I might have been more exact in the execution of all that grill chrome. I've done it before. But, at this size I'm not sure my hand is that steady. So, we went loose and gave the impression of lots of chrome grill tines (for lack of a better word). The yellow is a factory color of the period, I think, though the original color probably wasn't so bright. The original isn't for sale because my daughter expressed an interest in it when it was still in progress -- mostly because her favorite color is yellow.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

67 Camaro RS #2 - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
nfs, 11"x15"

      When the recipient of this commission of his first car saw it he immediately had to have another for his father since they shared the car. Works for me. Of course, no two paintings are identical. So, there are a lot of differences between the two, some things are better on the first one, some are better on this one. Overall, I might be a little happier with this one than the first one.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

'51 Nose - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 8"x10"

      This probably should be called "Rusty Cadi Redux" because I've painted this particular image before - back in 2011 (Rusty Cadi). The original was auctioned off for the local United Way a few years ago. But I've always liked the reference photo and thought it would be fun to revisit it in a slightly looser style. So, here it is, though the style isn't much looser than the first attempt.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Red Window - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 11"x15"

      Just a quick flower-in-a-window painting. There's actually very little I would change or do differently. That's weird.

Monday, June 26, 2017

AJ - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
nfs, 6"x9"

      Here's another quick portrait in Payne's Gray. This one worked out better than the last one.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cadillac #1 - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 11"x15"

     I got a wild hair recently to see if I could play with the logos/badges of various auto manufacturers and their products and drop a little impressionism/expressionism on them. It might make an interesting pop art series. Since I also recently bought a Cadillac (a VERY good deal on a used SRX that I couldn't pass up), I thought their latest logo crest would be a good place to start.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Edgefield School - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 11"x15"

      Just a fairly quick impressionist landscape of the old school in Edgefield, a magical place. As always, I wish the sky had scanned better; it's a moderately better one than usual.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Barry - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
nfs, 6"x9"

      This a quick portrait sketch playing with a loose wet style I've admired for a while. I've also needed to get back to monochrome for a while to keep my understanding of values strong.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

67 Camaro RS - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
nfs, 11"x15"

      This is a commission I did for a cousin of my wife. It's a gift for her husband, his first car. Fairly straightforward.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

49 Cadillac Hearse - marker

ink, 2017
available, 9"x12"

      I found some Winsor & Newton Pigment Markers on clearance locally so I thought I'd give them a try. I just bought a couple grays as I've been wanting to experiment more with grayscale and with markers. This is a first attempt. Not bad if I say so myself. The two pens I chose were a bit darker than I expected. I was looking for four levels -- two grays, black and paper white. Not really what I got. Even so, they work nicely in a horror theme, obviously. I'll be playing with these some more for both finished pieces and preliminary grayscale sketches for watercolors.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sidewalk King - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 11"x15"

      Ran into this majestic creature and it's twin in front of an Asian restaurant in Salisbury the same morning I shot last week's reference photo. I thought he would work well for a loose still life.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Salisbury Morning - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 11"x15"

      From a photo taken early one December morning in downtown Salisbury, NC. It was too early for pedestrians or even much traffic. The stark contrasts and long shadows caught my eye.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Take It On The Run - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 11"x15"

      This is from a reference photo I've had for several years afraid to tackle the detail and the shadows. I finally decided to jump in and I'm glad I did. This worked out better than I expected and pops right off the page/screen.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Decoy #3 - watercolor

watercolor, 2016
available, 9"x12"

      Another duck decoy. Both the texture of the chipping paint and the glossy reflections work nicely here.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

47 On The Block - watercolor

watercolor, 2017
available, 11"x15"

      This is from an old photo from the late '40s or early '50s found in one of those caches of "found photos" becoming popular on the web these days. When I thought I was done I felt the buildings in the background were too dark and intense, demanding too much attention. So I used one of John Lovett's tricks and added a very thin layer of white gesso over them and the most distant car to tone them down and push them back. Worked like a charm.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Edgefield Barn - watercolor

watercolor, 2016
available, 11"x15"

      Just another barn somewhere. I made up Edgefield because the barn is on the edge of the field and I couldn't think of anything else. I may continue to use Edgefield as a fictional place where all sorts of art lives.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Charleston - watercolor

watercolor, 2016
available, 11"x15"

      This is from a photo I took in Charleston SC a couple years ago. The building is a 19th-century warehouse just a short block from the riverfront. In the 1990s it was converted into offices.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Red Barn - watercolor + ink

mixed, 2016
available, 9"x12"

      A quick, little ink and wash sketch of a barn in early fall. This one is actually 5"x7" on a 9"x12" sheet to help set off the image.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Church Street Church - watercolor

watercolor, 2016
available, 11"x15"

      I called this one Church Street Church because it isn't a church anymore; it's an Italian restaurant. I couldn't find the original name of the church that occupied this building. Beyond that, I'm quite happy with this one.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Buick Super Hearse -- watercolor+ink

mixed, 2017
available, 9"x12"

      I haven't done Virtual Paintout in a couple months. This month we're in Ghana. As is evident from many paintings on this blog, I'm drawn to church buildings. So, while I wasn't looking for a church in the Ghana Street View images, I did happen across one that just happened to be having a funeral at the time the image was taken with a Buick hearse parked out front.This checked a couple things off my favorites list -- it's a car AND a hearse (to cover the horror theme). One of the few late model cars I've ever done.
      The original ink drawing is below.
 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Minnow - watercolor

watercolor, 2016
available, 9"x12"

      I might have rushed the details on this one a bit. My father was an avid bass fisherman, so I've seen lures and all other manner of fishing equipment my whole life. But it wasn't until I started painting them that I realized just how much detail is put into making these things look as realistic as possible. I guess fish are smarter than we think. And, maybe the chrome hooks are actually invisible underwater.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Food Truck - watercolor

watercolor, 2016
available, 11"x15"

      This is another piece from the same day as last week's painting. I'm still on the fence with this one. It's loose, but not loose enough. Where it's tight, it isn't tight enough. I liked the composition and idea as soon as I saw it. I'm just not sure about the execution.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Sunday In The Park - watercolor

watercolor, 2016
available, 11"x15"

      This is from a photo I took during a Sunday afternoon food truck rodeo in the area. Not exactly my normal scene, I thought I might see a thing or two worth painting. I was right. I'm pretty happy with the looseness of this portrait. I'd like to go a bit looser with the color, but the drawing itself works well and retains a strong naturalism/realism.
      Below is an ink drawing I did as a preliminary.