Dec 27, 2011

Bing Xun WIP1

I'm having trouble photographing this painting because it is so big. So the quality of the image is pretty high. This is about the best I can do for right now with my camera. I'll try to borrow a better camera from a friend to at least get a better image when I finish this painting.

Send me a comment and let me know what you think.

Baby Commissions: Lea

Here is my second baby commission for the holidays.

It was painted with Yellow Ochre, Indian Red, Burnt Umber, and Van Dyke Brown. It was painted on a 6in x 8in masonite panel.

Baby Commissions: Arlo

Most of the Christmas presents I gave this year were portraits. So I was unable to post them until after the holidays, otherwise they wouldn't have been a surprise.

Here is the first one that I worked on, a portrait of Arlo. This painting was done with Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, Burnt Umber, Sap Green, and Van Dyke Brown. It was painted on a 6in x 8in masonite panel.

Dec 18, 2011

Bing Xun Dead Color

I'm still working on this and will post again when it is more finished, but I just wanted to send something out to the blogosphere because it's been awhile.

Dec 7, 2011

Bing Xun Thumbnail

I started a new painting this week. It may take me awhile to get it up and running because I still have to finish with the drawing and preparing the canvas.

This is only a 5 x 7 thumbnail painting that I did to work out the colors that I will be using. The final version will be an 18 x 24 half body sized painting which includes hands. I haven't painted actual hands in a very long time, hopefully they don't turn into creepy sausage fingers.

Nov 29, 2011

Aimee Final

Here is the final version of the Aimee portrait that I've been working on. It was done almost entirely with Raw Umber, Venetian Red, and White. There is also a little ivory black to darken parts and to get the greys of the eyes.

Nov 26, 2011

Aimee WIP1

I've worked about three days on this since my last post, so it appears to be a much bigger jump between this and the dead color stage.

I avoided posting because I thought it looked horribly un-viewable up until now. I almost stopped working on it because I didn't like where it was going, but I gave it one more day and now I can finally see how the painting will turn out in the end and be happy with it when it's completed.

For the skin tones I am only using White, Raw Umber, and Venetian Red. I used some Cad. Red in the lips and some Ivory black in the whites of the eyes and shadows.

Nov 18, 2011

Aimee Dead Color

I decided to start the next painting with a monochromatic underpainting. This will also only be painting in three colors (four if you count white).

Nov 17, 2011

Stan Final-ish

I still need to adjust a few more things to this portrait. I'll have to wait at least a week for the paint to dry before finalizing it. It is pretty much finished though, I doubt I'll have much more to do.

Let me know what you think I always enjoy getting comments and e-mails.

Nov 15, 2011

Stan WIP2

I haven't been posting in the last couple of days so this is about three days worth of work to the portrait. I am almost finished today I'll work on the hair and hopefully the shirt as well. Then I will only need to let the paint dry and add a few more alterations and it will be finished.

Nov 9, 2011

Stan WIP1

I have spent some time working on the shadows, dark-half tones, and the cheeks. I'll start on the features today.

Nov 5, 2011

Stan Dead Color

Dead color is when you only lay in the basic flat (or dead) color and value of an area. I could simplify the dead coloring by making just one color for the shadow and one for the face. I could also dead color in a more detailed way rounding every little form. There is a great deal of choice for this stage of the painting. Some people skip it altogether and just move onto the direct painting stage after the dry-brush stage.

I find that skipping this layer makes it much harder for me to accurately find the right color scheme and value structure in my paintings. Dead coloring lets me apply very light layers of paint until I get the right color and values for each area before I apply thick layers of paint all over the canvas.

Nov 4, 2011

Stan Dry-Brush

Dry-brush painting is where one uses only a very small amount of pigment on one's brush, wipes off the excess paint, and uses the minute number of particles remaining to scrub pigment into the canvas. Generally it is done with Burnt or Raw Umbers because of the dark value and quick drying time.

This is my dry-brush painting of my new painting Stan. I used Burnt umber to block in all of the shadows and the background. The one problem with my dry-brush in this situation is that I did not block in the entire mustache as one value, (I could have done it in two as well with one being the light and one being the shadow of the mustache). By not darkening the light of the mustache I am saying that the light part of it is the same value as the face. I should have made it a value darker than white to give it a darker distinction like I did for the stripes on the tie. In this way it would have described his light mustache as a darker value, but still not as dark as the shadow of the mustache.

Nov 3, 2011

Stan Cartoon

Here is the Stan transfer from my drawing. I am very excited to start working on this today. I did my usual rub on the back of the paper transfer, but didn't use charcoal this time. I instead, tried using a dark brown conte crayon. I've been told that it should help by not smearing or mixing with the paint, which is what charcoal wants to do to ruin your day.

I'll let everyone know how it turns out in my next post, and if I forget to mention it remind me. I'm thinking of you Rob.

Stan Thumbnail Painting

I'm starting a new painting. This is it's little thumbnail painting that I did today so that I know the color scheme for the entire piece. I do think I'll darken the chin quite a bit though to give a greater sense of form to the entire face. Otherwise, this is what it will look like.

It is a tiny little painting that is 6in x 4.5in in size. The final piece will be 16in x 12in. I like to make my little painting the exact same scale as my big painting so that I can see what the tiny composition will look like.

Nov 2, 2011

Allison Final

Here is the final version of my Allison painting. I glazed some darker parts of the hair. Re-worked the sky and fixed some rounding issues with the arm. I got a number or framing samples to test different types of gold and silver frames for this piece. I might post some photoshoped versions of the samples to let people vote on which one's they like.

Allison WIP6

I worked on the hair. I've also been out of town so I wasn't able to work on or post anything about this painting. I have finished though, I'll post the final version next.

Oct 21, 2011

Allison WIP5

I finally got a chance to rework the arm a little more so that it isn't so ridiculously purple. I also spent a little more time on the face, more still needs to be done in this area.

Now I just have to work on the hair for the next couple of days and I might actually finish this painting by early next week.

Also I won't be posting a face detail because only minor changes were made from the last post.

Allison WIP4

New update of my Allison painting.

I forgot to post this yesterday. This was work done on Wednesday. I spent most of this painting session on the background. I will still need to rework the clouds a little more to make them more softer and less scratchy in places.

I also spent a little time painting the eye, and make a few other alterations to the face.

Oct 18, 2011

Allison WIP3

I spent that last couple of days working on the face. I realize that the last post was too high in contrast. I posted it on a laptop with dim lights and thought that it was a better image than it was. Here is a much better color match of the actual painting.

Also I posted another detail of the face so that you can see what I did on the face. I have almost fully painted it except for the eye. I'll give it a couple of days to dry before I retouch and finish the face.

Oct 14, 2011

I also thought I would take the time to post a larger version of her face. For some reason my larger photographing is coming out blurry. I think it might be from bad lighting and because it is such a big painting.

Allison WIP2

I worked on the arm a little more and got the right coloring for the shoulder. I started using Cad Red for the warms in this painting and kept thinking that it needed to look different in some way. In the back of my mind I kept telling myself that I should try using Venetian Red instead but I didn't do this because I wanted to limit my palette. After many hours of experimentation I finally mixed the right variation of C.Red that fit the painting and it looked identical to Venetian Red. So now I'm just using V.Red instead of C.Red. I should have just listened to my initial instincts, and I probably wouldn't have spent a whole day on just the shoulder.

Also now that I've painted a better representation of the shoulder skin tone I think I need to change the value and the color of the dark half tone. It is way too dark and purpley.

Oct 13, 2011

Allison WIP1

I haven't posted in awhile because I have been busy helping build a playground.

I was cameraless yesterday and couldn't take the work in progress photo just before this current one. So this is two days of work since the last posting. But you can mostly still see the underpainting as it looked yesterday morning.

The new addition since finishing the underpainting is that I painted the shadow shape on her back, a little bit into the dark halftones, and her lower arm. For the background I painted the whole sky. Yes that it tape holding up my painting.

At the time I couldn't seem to find a way to clamp it to the easel without it messing up the sky paint. After I taped the canvas and painted the sky I thought of a way to attach the painting without using tape, so hopefull you won't see those ugly tape stripes again in any of my progress shots.

Oct 7, 2011

Allison Dead Color Background

This is the start of the new painting with only the background painted in a dead color fashion.

Allison Cartoon

This is the start of my next painting transferred onto the canvas.

Oct 5, 2011

Final Final Sean

This is the actual final final painting of Sean, unvarnished.

Sep 27, 2011

Sean WIP 2

Here is the latest update of this portrait. I worked on the forehead, nose and cheek today (very productive.)

I thought I might do something a little different and post an image outlining the area that I actually worked on so that you can easily see the comparison from the previous photo to this one. Let me know if this is something that you'd like to see more of.

Sep 26, 2011

Sean WIP 1

Here is the latest update of the Sean painting. I mostly worked on the neck, beard, side of face, and hair. I also think that I need to broaden his shoulder on the left by a little bit. I think Sean would like it if I made his shoulders look a little bigger.

I'm still a little undecided about the background. It might still go through some changes, if you have any advice let me know.

Sep 25, 2011


This is a very old painting. It is a piece of ginger candy. I've also included the underpainting for this one as well.

The underpainting was a different procedure than I usually do. It was painted with burnt sienna, which came out pretty chromatic. I thought that this would help with the brightness of the candy, but it wasn't that useful because I just painted a thick layer of orange over it anyway.

Sep 24, 2011

Sean Background Choices

Ok Time to vote on your favorite background.

I've organized them a little better this time. They are in the categories Light, Medium, and Darks and Greenish, Grey, and Red.

I think these are harder for me to choose because I think they all look good and usable.

It kind of looks like a Brady Bunch portrait too.

Sean Dead Color 2

Here is the almost final version of the dead coloring. If you look at it from really far away you can see that all of the major planes of the face are represented. Now I just have to round the forms with oil paint, and get a slightly more subtle color scheme going.

I think I might try to figure out the background in this stage as well. So hopefully my next post will be a couple of different background ideas that people can vote on again.

Sep 22, 2011

Sean Dead Color 1

This is the start of the actual painting process. It is a dead coloring of just the shadow shapes, and the dark shapes like the hair.

I always start working a painting by to the darkest darks first. In this case I painted the black of the hair and the beard first. Then when that is established I can use it to help me judge the proper value and color for the next darkest patches in this case the lighter beard parts, the side of the face shadow, and the shadow on the neck.

Dead coloring is when you have a flat value or color that is kind of the start of your underpainting. It is sometimes called an ebauche.

Sean Transfer

This is the cartoon transferred onto my panel.

I scanned the drawing that I had made. Then I re-sized it in photoshop to fit the canvas that I would be working with. I then printed it out onto another piece of paper and marked up the back of that paper with charcoal. Then I dragged a knitting needle over the lines on the paper to transfer the charcoal onto the panel.

The finished result looks like this, a blank canvas with the lines from the cartoon on it. The charcoal won't be visible in the final painting.

Sep 21, 2011

Website Design Update

I've spent the last couple of weeks updating my website with new drawings, paintings and a new gallery design. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Also if you see any loop holes anywhere please inform me so that I can fix it.

Here is the link to my website, in case you missed the link at the bottom of this blog post.

Sean Poster Study

This is a small study that I did to try and figure out the basic color scheme of the portrait that I am about to paint. I try to figure out the right color scheme before I dive into the big painting. It was painted on a small piece of foam core with acrylic paint.

Sep 20, 2011

Sean Portrait

Here is the start of a new painting that I am working on. It is just the cartoon that will be transfered to my canvas, as soon as I finish making said canvas.

Sep 19, 2011

Jam Jar Final

Here is my final version of the Jam jar. I'm finding that it is much easier to paint a decent final version when the underpainting is well constructed. I'm not sure what else to say about this piece.

Let me know what you think of this painting, I like getting comments and e-mails.

It was fun to do a couple of small paintings, but now I think I'll return to making bigger paintings, and will hopefully start the drawing of a new portrait this evening.

Apple Sketch

This was a sketch I did of an apple. Painted in oils on a masonite panel. I didn't spend very much time on this one which is why I consider it a sketch. If I were to turn it into a full painting I would have worked the background that the form shadow on the apple a little more.

Sep 17, 2011


This was a painting that I did awhile ago of peppermints. It was entirely painted in acrylics, that is one reason why it less softened less smooth than one that would be painted in oils.

Sep 16, 2011

Jam Jar Underpainting

Here is a continuation of these small paintings that i'm working on.

This is the underpainting of the next small painting that I'm working on. Again the main idea of the underpainting is to get the drawing, colors, and major value shifts accurate. I probably spent as much time on the threads of the painting as I did on the rest of the painting. But everything else is pretty much a flat simple statement of color. This is often called a "Dead Color" stage.

You can also see that the colors are a little dull. The next layer will be much more vibrant with color.

Jam Jar cartoon

Here is the start of the next small painting that I'm working on. I started with a drawing, then scanned it, then I reworked the ellipses and straight lines in photoshop. I'll still probably lose the drawing when I get into the painting, but at least I'll start with straight lines and perfect ellipses.

Peppers Finished

Here is the finished version of the Peppers painting. I couldn't find a way to photograph it without getting a little bit of glare from the light. When it is totally dry I might be able to get a better image.

I might still add a little bit to the highlights but that needs to happen when it's dry so that I can make adjustments without causing more problems to the rest of the painting.

Sep 13, 2011

Peppers Underpainting

I just started working on a small painting of peppers. I will probably do a number of small still lives to kind of get the hang of this whole painting system that I am working out. Basically using acrylic paint as an underpainting and using oils on top of that.

I finished the underpainting today. The main idea of the underpainting is to get the drawing, colors, and major value shifts accurate in the painting. So for the stems I used a more planar approach with just flat colors, and for the peppers I rounded them as if they were generic cylinders. This way I have the basic color and values accurate for when I start to do my overlaying painting with oils which will make my life much easier.

I would move into working with oils now, but I should give this paint at least a day to dry.

Sep 12, 2011

Finished Portrait: Kristin

Here is an image of this portrait now that it is finished. It isn't varnished yet so it is a little duller in color than it will be once I varnish it. But otherwise this is it.

I'll repost a better image as soon as I varnish this painting. Which could be as much as 6 months from now.

Sep 7, 2011

Small Figures: Becca

This was on of the best models that we ever worked with. She could hold a pose like a statue, probably because she was a former gymnast. Anyway I tried something different with this pose by trying to work in a little background into the picture, but I think it only distracts from the image. There just aren't enough values to work with using graphite so when I added background I reduced the number of values that I could have in the figure, which in some ways flattened the image.

Becca Sketch

I have dozens of small figure drawings that I did while studying at the New School of Classical Art in Providence. The head instructor of the school was Dana Levin, whose work is pretty fantastic, check out her website if you get a chance ( I plan to highlight each of these small figures individually writing about the process involved and give people insight into the models' lives as well.

Small Figures: Peter

This great model was an off-season body builder. So he had a great deal of girth but not too exaggerated muscles. There was actually a slight disagreement after the model left over his weight. One of the students drew him to look larger, while another student drew him to be thinner. They disagreed on who had the more accurate drawing.

Which brought up an interesting question about drawing from the model. Does an artist simply draw the model as they visibly appear or do you as an artist draw a more exaggerated version of the feeling that you get from a model? In my class we had two students one who saw him skinny and drew him skinny, and the other who saw him as being fatter and drew him fatter. Can either of them be considered wrong if they were drawing the model in the size that they perceived him to be, or are they wrong because it wasn't accurately depicting the model? I won't try to answer these questions on this blog, it's just something to think about.

(By the way, I drew him in-between being too big and too thin, I took the safe road.)

Peter Sketch

I have dozens of small figure drawings that I did while studying at the New School of Classical Art in Providence. The head instructor of the school was Dana Levin, whose work is pretty fantastic, check out her website if you get a chance ( I plan to highlight each of these small figures individually writing about the process involved and give people insight into the models' lives as well.