Saturday, April 5, 2014


Last night good friends had a private concert in their home featuring a jazz duet called Ivory and Gold.  Ivory plays the piano and Gold plays a flute.  A wonderful pairing of instruments, talent and friendship!  I managed to snag a comfy arm chair with a non-obstructed view so I could sketch on my iPad mini.  I used my favorite Sketch Club app. Of course, the challenge was to draw a fast moving target!  The flute proved to be impossible but I did capture the essence of jazzy piano man.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Yesterday I went to the last class of Mike Bailey's amazing 10 Week Beyond The Obvious workshop.  I have taken the class 4 times but I always try to go to the current class finale as a guest.  In 10 weeks all the participants have created at least 20 full sheet paintings.  There is one participant who manages to turn out 30, 40 or more.  The rest of us just shake our heads in amazement.  Each student creates a still life setup and they must stick with that composition throughout the 10 weeks.  The last class everyone brings in their 20 paintings and each person has an opportunity to arrange them in order of creation, placed under mats and then guests and fellow students file past the display.  We are allowed to take photos with the artists' permission.  I forgot to get permission to put some of them on the blog, so I can't show you the amazing work.  A pot luck luncheon follows.  It is always a fabulous day and a wonderful celebration of hard work, perseverance and amazing creativity on everyone's part.

One of the things I do is photograph many of the people in attendance.  It is a well known secret.  Naturally, there were some special faces that I fell in love with.  Today was a rainy day, perfect for staying in.  I thought I would do some drawing with a pen attached to a long wooden dowel device.  This allows me to put the paper on the floor and draw with a lot less control.  I think it creates a very interesting drawing.  I tried to do a continuous line drawing with my "extended arm".  My exciting discovery was how unrecognizable these faces are with this technique!  All but one of the above drawings is from the same image.  I'm not sure what I will do with these drawings but it sure was fun making them.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to present a demo to the Fremont Art Association.  They are fortunate to have a "home" with a gallery, meeting space and workshop space in the heart of old town Niles.  They honored me with a large turn out and we had a great time.  Everyone was very friendly and receptive.  I am hoping to come back and present this workshop sometime in the near future.

This was the first time I have had the opportunity to give this new presentation which is part of my new workshop.  I took a failed painting out of the growing stack! and covered it with collage paper earlier in the day.  This was the base for my new painting.

I talked about using the iPad or similar device to break down an image into 3 values.  Using that image, I drew the darkest value shapes in with a charcoal pencil, then added the lightest values with a white hard pastel.  Here is the photo I took at that state.  I was holding the camera up high and was on tiptoes, so there was some distortion, but you get the idea.

Then using acrylic inks in deep blue and burnt sienna plus an opaque acrylic white, I proceeded to fill in the painting.  Normally I would have sprayed the charcoal and pastel first but I didn't want to asphyxiate the crowd, so I just painted directly on top.  

Now that I have had time to evaluate the painting, I will finish it up.  It is always a good idea to ruminate on a piece you are working on.  It creates a little distance and different perspective.

Saturday, March 1, 2014



Yesterday I decided I wanted to do some string drawings.  If you missed my post on this fun way to draw, you take a long mop string, dip one end into a bottle of ink and then try to draw with this dangling, limp noodle.  Very interesting drawings result.  I have a large supply of blank newsprint paper that I usually use for this exercise.  Here is the drawing I created.


I must have attempted 5 or 6 images.  This is the only one I liked.  Next I decided to see how newsprint would take to mono printing with my large Gelli Plate.  When you add acrylic to even the cheapest  paper, it adds stability and functionality.  I thought I could practice mono printing ideas on the paper I just drew on.  Here is the drawing after I covered it with multiple mono printing passes.


The original drawing was pretty much obscured by the printing, so I wanted to see if I could paint a decent painting on this low grade paper.  I spread acrylic gel over an old unsuccessful painting that had collage on it and bonded the mono print on top.  

Today I painted on top with heavy acrylic using a credit card and a coffee stirrer like a palette knife.  The collage under the paper gave the surface a rough texture so the paint went on very brokenly when scraped across.


When I got it this far I was unhappy with the right eye and I needed to make further adjustments to the shape of his face.    Here is the final result with a few details.  Surprisingly, I can use this paper to do finished paintings on.  Wahoo!

So, here's the question:  Would this painting be considered a collage since it is painted on a single sheet of paper with nothing glued on top?

Friday, February 28, 2014


Yesterday I attended a wonderful live model session at the Los Altos Hills City Hall.  Karen Druker created the event as a fundraiser and there were 20 artists working in various media with three different modeling stations.  One was a beautiful senior woman, one was a woman doing Yoga poses (it hurt just to see her hold these poses for extended time) and the last was my favorite model, Christina and some handsome dude with gorgeous hair, longer than Christina's.  I can never seem to pass up an opportunity to draw Christina, so I settled in there.  Because this was a very public venue, all the models were clothed.  I was not very inspired by the choice of clothing, so I focused on faces and torsos instead.  I was able to be very close to the models compared to the other drawing venues.  This allowed me to see features much better.  We were even allowed to take photos, so I can finish some of these drawings at my leisure.  These drawings were 5 , 10 and 20 minute poses, not necessarily in the order of appearance.

I decided to just take my iPad and stylus for this session instead of hauling lots of art supplies and easels, etc.  I used the application "Vellum" and had a great time exploring the different settings.  There are 3 different Erase categories.  One is hard erase, one is soft erase (like taking a kneaded eraser and lifting charcoal from the page!) and the last setting titled Erase was like conte crayon in various shades of sanguine and buff, etc.  Way cool!!!!!!  I decided I wanted to "tone" the page first and then draw into it and lift out.  So far, my only frustration with this program is the inability to alter the width of the mark in the "Line" setting.  You can adjust the value of the line but not the width.  At least not that I have discovered.  Maybe my Kickstarter support of the YuFu Stylus will help with that.  This is a pressure sensitive stylus that will vary the line as you work. It has a very fine tip which will make it easy to see exactly where I am placing my mark.  I should received mine by May, I hope!  Now, if someone would just invent a way to eliminate the glare on the iPad screen in sunlight so I could do more sketching outside.  

After the drawing session everyone was invited back to Karen's gorgeous home for a delicious luncheon.  She even made it a little celebration of my AWS signature acceptance.  That was embarrassing but thoughtful. Thank you Karen for a fabulous event.  You are the most remarkable, energetic, dynamic, generous and prolific artist, hostess and philanthropic woman I know!

Saturday, February 15, 2014


texture self portrait stage 2
I spent hours creating line drawings of lots of photos with TRACE yesterday.  By reversing the direction of this image, it seemed to compliment the light/dark pattern .  I hope to keep much of the collage patterns visible in the end.  I will try to play around with painting ideas with a digital program before I actually put paint to paper.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 9, 2014


This is how the painting finished up.  It started out like this

Evolution stage 1

This is acrylic on YUPO.  It might be a finished painting, but it doesn't really speak to me but so much fun exploring with paint.  My idea was to add an image on top.

Evolution stage 2
I made a drawing on parchment paper and then created a continuous line mask with a glue gun.  Laid it down and brayered acrylic over it.  Interesting idea but it has problems.  

Evolution stage 3

Added some collaged papers Starting to look interesting but problems with the white streak on the right side of the face, lost the lines of the fingers.  I laid the glue mask back down and attempted to add more paint.   Messed it up big time. 

Evolution stage 3
I covered over the mess up face with more collage paper.  As I was looking at it, I realized the dark shape in the middle was perfect for a head, so I looked through my photos and found the perfect image!

This is a photo of my son, Bill, taken while we were on Skype.  I just photographed the screen! He thought I was....well, you know,

Evolution line drawing from app TRACE

This is a cool line drawing I created from the above photo with the digital app TRACE.   

Evolution stage 4
I used a sanguine red conte crayon to draw the lines onto the painting so I could wipe away mistakes with a damp paper towel.  Then I used an eye dropper with black acrylic ink and drew over the lines. 

Evolution stage 5 FINISHED
Using the new Golden High Flow Acrylics, I added some color here and there.  These new acrylics are so transparent, they work beautifully as glazes.  I didn't want to loose the patterns of the collage papers or the ink lines.

I can't wait to try this technique again.   

I can't wait to teach this process in my new workshop Texture and Self Portraiture in the Digital Age!

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