Saturday, February 25, 2012


The last couple of weeks at the Friday portrait group with the YWA, I've been doing charcoal drawings. I probably should be practicing my oil painting, but charcoals are just so danged much fun!
This first one is Emmy, my friend Terry Robinson's ( daughter. I was glad that he got her to sit for us, she was a great model.
This is Tiffany - who was yesterday's model. A very pretty young woman. This was the second attempt at capturing her.
This is my first attempt at drawing Tiffany. Direct profiles are not my favorite thing in the world ... but her pose and something about her reminded me of a charcoal that Sargent did. Man! That guy could do some great charcoals! A lot of what I know about doing charcoal drawings I learned from looking at Sargent's work. Another hundred or two years of practice and I may just catch up with him.
It's a rare thing that I go back and rework any of the things that I do at our Friday meetings - what's the point, really, other than practice. Once a year we do a show and drag the stuff out of the closet for people to peruse. But, really, who wants to purchase a portrait of somebody that they don't even know?
Still, who wouldn't mind owning a few Rembrandt, Sargent, Gish, Fechin portraits ~ nest pass - nicht war?
But, regardless of all of that, I just may work into these things ... if nothing else, it's good practice. Art is it's own reward. Mostly, I think, they need to be softened up a bit. I'll have to experiment with that some - and maybe check on some of the proportions.

Monday, February 20, 2012


I was asked to do some illustrations for a children's book recently. After I'd sketched out a few and inked them, the publisher asked if I might do them as woodcuts or etchings. He had seen some of my prints and said that they would lend themselves to the story, since it is about a mouse who goes to a Renaissance festival. It's a bit more work ... well, okay, ... a ton more work, but I did two of the illustrations in my w.i.m. (woodcut/intaglio/monotype) method and was quite pleased with the results. It will be a long process to get it all together, but it's going to be a nice looking book when it's done.
The publisher with whom I'm working, is just starting out and is working on "e-publishing" - the new trend in publishing - and there's a great movement toward this kind of publishing in the children's book category, since it lends itself to all of the bells and whistles that you can think of in interactive learning.
He is also going forward with some of my old children's books, like the story of the Ant that goes to the city. We hope to have the whole thing together to put into a children's book publishing contest on-line in March.
There was an interesting interview on "All things considered" about the new trend in publishing, check it out:

Monday, February 13, 2012


When Tim came to visit last month, he brought with him gifts from the school where he teaches. I thought that it was very nice of them -- and I loved the silk cloth with its rich design and colour. I knew that it would become part of a still life.
I saw a painting demo on DVD last summer of a woman painting a rag doll with a tea pot and cups and such. Very nice demo ( "Rag Doll Tea Party" by Jean Chambers ), if you get the chance, check it out. I knew that one of the ladys in the YWA painting group made porcelain dolls at one point in her life, and so I asked to borrow one to use in a still life (thanks, Anne McClure). I had the idea to use one in a composition that borrowed elements from a John Singer Sargent painting.
When I got the scarf from Tim, though, I thought that I might just do a simple painting of the doll and the silk. Well, it turned out to be a challenge -- not because of the doll or the design on the silk ... but, because of the cats!
I had set this small still life up out in the living room at the studio rather than in the painting room itself where I had other things set up. Mistake! I had to take the objects down each time I finished painting and put them back in the other room. Fat ol' Kiah thought that I'd put that silk on the box just for her. I was really worried, too, about them chewing on the doll's hair or clawing and snagging the silk.
So, the painting is not quite done ... but I felt like sharing the image here anyway ... as usual, if you want to see the final product, you have to stop by the studio or see it in one of the galleries ... whenever - if ever - it gets framed and finds its way to one of those venues.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Gesterntag ins Schulzimmer

Gesterntag (yesterday), at the Gertrude schoolhouse, where the YWA portrait group meets every Fritag, our model was Wayne again (he posed as Father Christmas last October). This time he was dressed to the nines as a Pirate. What a great model he is. We all had a blast painting and drawing him. I was torn between doing a large charcoal and dragging out my oil paint, but the red plume on the far side of the face really caught my eye. Any time I get the chance to throw down some cadmium red like that excites my artistic spirit.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Last Friday's Model

Kori Good posed for us again on Friday. She always does a good job. I got to use one of the panels that I "dipped" about a hundred years ago at Del's studio in Washington. It was wierd trying to work around all of the bright background colours, but interesting and fun.

Tea Pot and Cup

When Tim was here, I set up a little still life on the coffee table and sketched it while we were watching a movie. Shortly after he left I set it up again -- only up on a little side table -- and painted it. I like the way that it came out -- although, I'm not real sure about the background.

At the Ocean

After I dropped Tim at the San Francisco airport, I decided to head to the ocean and paint. Heck, I wasn't that far away ... might as well take advantage of it. On the map it was only this far (I'm holding my thumb and index finger close together) ... and when I found a good exit on 101, it said that Half Moon Bay (M - O -O - N, that spells moon) was only 25 miles away. Yeah ... the ol' winding mountain road 25 miles! Oy. That's much different than any normal 25 miles. Anyway, it helpped to take my mind off of missing Tim.

It was cold and windy at the beach ... overcast and moody. Perfect for setting up an easel and catching pnemonia! I had a blast, though. It felt really good to be out there. It's been a little while since I've dragged my easel out and it was refreshing. The painting ... well, it's no Frederic Church or Pothast or anything ... but, with a little touching up back in the studio, it turned out okay.

Tim's Visit

Our son, Tim came to visit us from China for the last two weeks of January. It was great to see him. We did a few hikes -- saw the Sequoias and some of the waterfalls in Yosemite, but, mostly we just relaxed and spent some time together. It was a great visit and I was sorry to see him go. Man, it seemed like a real short two weeks!