Words & Blues

Face to Face

Posted by in Artwork

I had a long run of long days recently in New Mexico – 12-hour days for three straight weeks, worked right through the weekends. No time for painting, but we did get a lot done on the telescope. Got back to Seattle on Monday, and am getting back to one of my favorite things: portraits. I did one earlier this week; it did not go well. Things descended into mud pretty quickly. Started a new painting yesterday, after watching (and re-watching) the first half of Charles Reid’s Figurative Watercolor. It’s…read more

Goodbye, and good memories

Posted by in Artwork

My favorite Cloudcroft, NM, eatery is closing soon, and I wanted to paint it. I took some photos, and one with the owner and her child struck me as a particularly good choice. This is the photo. In the end I cropped it to improve both the┬ácomposition and the sense of intimacy with the subjects. I recently bought a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 for drawing (it comes with a stylus, and there is plenty of good Windows software for drawing). I decided to do a very spontaneous study of form…read more

The Artist

Posted by in Poetry, Words

An artist is free, To fall, and call it flight, To destroy, and call it creation. To be undone, and call it alive.


Call Me Lefty

Posted by in Artwork

I’ve been meaning for some time now to get back to drawing with my left hand. I’m right-handed, but a few decades ago I experimented with drawing with my left hand, and it was a very interesting experience. You could call it “enhanced scribbling.” Not very sophisticated, but something interesting, usually a face, emerged from the chaos. Those drawings are in New Mexico, so I can post an example at the moment, but I will when I get my hands on the sketchbooks. Here are three left-hand drawings done over…read more

Portrait Progress

Posted by in Artwork

I started a portrait from a B&W photograph Wednesday, April 22 in Cheryl Long’s class. Here are the stages it’s been through on the way to being, for now, finished. Here is stage one: aded a wash for skin color, and got the mouth and most of the hair done. Took about an hour and a half. The hair was a risk; I knew that I wanted to use different colors (for shadows, highlights, and mid-tones), and scraping to show texture. I sort of figured I’d fill in broadly with…read more

An eye and an ear

Posted by in Artwork, Sketch a day

Worked on studies of facial features today. I’m tired, I have a cold, but I had enough energy for two studies (and, honestly, they are actually invigorating when I do it right). They are only tiring if I start sweating the details too much. Bold brush strokes are the most satisfying, though lately “bold” has gotten much less obviously bold. How is that, you ask? Well, in this case, the blue shadow between eye and nose was made with lots of Cerulean Blue, wet in wet, and then some browns…read more

Hair and faces

Posted by in Artwork, Sketch a day

Two small paintings: a study of a woman’s face for a large painting, and a first attempt at hair using Charles Reid’s techniques. First up: dark hair study. And this is the face study painted in Cheryl’s class this morning. Before I read the materials on hair in Reid’s book. Feels a bit stilted, but this is the first study so should improve with some more work. The nose/lips relationship feels a bit off.

Fun with flowers

Posted by in Artwork, Sketch a day

I don’t know why I don’t paint flowers more; they are so beautiful. Quick sketch of an iris, from life, in Cheryl Long’s watercolor class a few days ago. I added the window and clay pot from my imagination afterwards.

First Urban Sketch

Posted by in Artwork, Sketch a day

There’s this whole phenomenon called “Urban Sketching.” I mostly see outdoor scenes, but it can be most anything sketched/painted live that is city rather than country. The boundaries are pretty inclusive. Was at the City Perk coffee shop near here today, and was struck by the bright colors of a building across the parking lot, so I got out the new Koi travel kit, and my Daniel Smith travel brushes, and…painted. This was the result. On cold press in a Caslon notebook. I gave the painting to the woman making…read more

More faces and features

Posted by in Artwork, Sketch a day

Two pencil sketches with watercolor added. The face is after an exercise by Charles Reid in his book “The Natural Way to Paint,” and is freely adapted. Just added some wash to play after establishing the shadows. The face is not as yellow in the original as it looks here. Has a kind of Frankenstein aspect in the web image. The lips are for a large painting; I needed full lips, they need to be sensual to fit the motif of the painting. I think I hit the note I…read more