Monday, November 30, 2009


Okay, here's my piece of jewelry for the Library show. It was kind of strange, I thought, that they required that to enter ... but the guy who runs the Cat's Eye Gallery where we meet to do our figure drawings is a jeweler (among other things).

While contemplating the jewelry piece, I initially did some nude figures ... but they were not working out too well. I decided to put it off until I was sitting at the Avenue West Gallery on my shift to work on it. I'd thought that I had my sketch books with me that contained all of my nude drawings, only to discover that I only had my daily sketch book. I didn't think that any of it would make a decent piece of jewelry ... until I came upon my sketch of Pfeffer. It made perfect sense for me to do an effegy of a cat for the show (because of the name of the gallery sponsoring it) ... so, there it is.
It's made of Sculpy clay ... a shot of gold spray paint, some dark oil paint painted on and then wiped off to give it an antique look ... a clasp glued to the back, some glass sequens glued in ... and: viola! P.O.S.! Rather embarassing ... and I hope to never do jewelry again.

Library show

It probably sounds strange that the figure drawing group that I belong to is doing a show in the exhibit hall of the library ... but, that's where we're having it. Here are the charcoals that I'm putting in.

I had one different charcoal that I was thinking about using and was going to do some more work to it, but, again, Pfeffer helpped me out with that. It was sitting on the coffee table while I was working into one of the other drawings, when Pfeffer came and laid on it. When I called her to get off of it, she just rolled onto her back and obliterated most of it. Oh, well, it made the decision a little easier.

I've already posted the oil painting that I'm putting in (although I've done some work on it since). I'll post a picture of my "jewelry piece" as soon as I finish it up. It's kind of embarrassing. It's my first and only jewelry piece ever.

Monday, November 23, 2009


This weekend I worked on no less than nine paintings -- all in various stages. One that I spent much of my time on is a nude that is due for a show in a few days. The figure drawing group that I belong to is having a show at the Spokane Library. We must submit two charcoals, one oil painting, and one piece of unique jewelry. I have yet to start the piece of jewelry, but I do have some ideas. Definitely not my thing. I doubt very seriously that I've ever created anything like that ... unless we include macaroni necklasses made in grade school. It could be fun, though. We'll see.
It's kind of unusual that I will spend this much time on a portrait or figure drawing. Detail is not really my thing -- especially lately. I'm much more of a broad strokes kind of painter. I find it much more expressive and a whole heck of a lot more fun. Still, this is going okay.
One of the other ones that I spent a while on is something that I started about a year ago. It was off to a good start back then, but things just kind of took a different turn for me, and I was forced to shelve it for a while. It's a scene of the Spokesman Review buildings, old and new, as they face each other across Monroe Street. I've painted in this location before, but this is strictly from photos. It still has a little way to go, but I think it's off to a decent start.

The other seven paintings are mostly things that I've posted here recently that I'm still working on. I did start one new one, but it's not far enough along to show yet.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lilacs revisited

Like many artists throughout history, I have a habit of working on several pieces at once ... sometimes leaving paintings in various stages for long periods of time. Last night I ran across one that I had all but finished and I wondered why I hadn't. It's a small painting of Lilacs and a tea cup. All that remained was the design on the cup.

If I remember right, I was going to work more into the blossoms but wasn't able to come back to it right away and they faded -- and lilacs seem to fade awful quickly. It was only a matter of a short amount of time to add the design to the cup ... and a few touches here and there to the rest of the piece.

Over the next few weeks I hope to finish some other works that I started but haven't finished. It's a rare thing that I totally give up on a piece ... I may never finish something ... but the intention to do so is always there.

Along with all of that ... I watched a special on the telly about a couple of Leonardo's unfinished paintings. Exciting stuff. His Battle of Anghiari -- which has been long lost (we have proof of it through drawings by other artists -- most notably Peter Paul Rubens) may have been located behind a false wall in an Italian museum. The authorities don't want to move the wall, though, because of a mural by Vasari.

The same scientist who did all of the research and made the "discovery" was asked to do some curating on another unfinished Leonardo work: "The Addoration of the Magi". While examining it, he found that a much later hand had worked over the painting, obliterating much of the original under-painting. Using some real complex imaging aparatii, the scientist and his staff were able to create a digital image of what lies benieth the over-worked painting. Stunning. New Leonardo drawings that have not been seen in hundreds of years! In the background of the Magi painting one can see a pair of horses fighting ... when the scientist revealed this pair, using his improved xray technique, it looks for all the world like a practice sketch for the Battle of Anghiari! Cool. I hope to see a book or article on all of this come out soon.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Seattle Street Musicians

This is the fourth painting that I've undertaken from my little weekend trip to Seattle a couple of months ago. I'm really enjoying the freshness and looseness that I'm getting lately and I hope to keep this painting very loose, even though I am going to work into it a little more.
Painting has become a lot more fun for me lately and I feel like I'm growing -- but, the more I grow, the more I recognize how far I have to go. Still, the joy that I am getting from these exercises make me dig in and push a little harder to overcome some of the areas in which I am so inept. The challenges in life, though, are what make it so interesting.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Under construction

Here's a look at the painting that I started this morning. It's from a picture that I took in Seattle of the wife of one of my friends. I liked the way that she was framed by the horse and the triangle of reds -- wished that I could have stopped the world and painted it from life.
I'm not sure if I'll work more into the face to make it a portrait of this spacific girl or not. I suppose that depends on my friend - if he is not interested in purchasing it, I'll just make it a generic woman -- maybe build up some of the lights a little more.

It's another small piece -- really painted mostly for the excercise.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

End of the Innocence

It would have been more appropriate to have painted this one a little closer to my 50th birthday ... stupid mosquitos drove me out, though. It's just as well, I guess; I love the fall colours and had a blast building up the paint.

I wish that the photo captured the colours better -- I had a heck of a time trying to get a shot without glare.

Art Spirit

My brother, Chip, and I went over to Idaho on Saturday afternoon and stopped into the Art Spirit gallery in Coeur d'Alene. I was surprised and quite pleased to find another printmaker displaying her work. It's a shame that it was the last day of her show, I would have urged people to go and see it. She is a proffessor of Art at Gonzaga, though, and you can still see her work on the Art Spirit web site: Or google Mary Farrell. Lots of nice figurative work. She does a wide variety of the various printmaking techniques. Many of her pieces don't translate well to the pictures on the web ... as many of her prints are so large.

I've been thinking about doing prints lately, now I'm inspired by her work.

November Art Walk

Once again I took my sketching stuff to the "First Friday" gallery event. Between work and matting and framing charcoals, though, I didn't get much sleep and wasn't very active. I spent more time mingling and making connections than I did doing sketches (that's what these open house things are supposed to be all about in the first place, anyway). I did do one sketch of Conrad, the owner and sole proprieter of the Cat's Eye Gallery, where a bunch of us artists meet on Thursday evenings to work from a model. One of these days I'll post some of my figure drawings here.

This month I decided to pull most of my paintings down and put up a bunch of charcoal drawings. I often feel that it's a shame to do so many of them and never have them see the light of day once they are completed. Most of the drawings that I hung are from my travels in '05. I did put a couple of newer ones up -- and I have a few more that will be hung as soon as the mats are done (I'm having them made and it has taken them a little longer than I'd anticipated). I didn't really take any pictures of my space this time, but you can see it behind my friend and co-gallery owner, Dennis Smith (I think that's the nose of Elizabeth Scott that he's talking to).

When I put the rest of them up, perhaps I'll post a better picture.