Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween everybody! I hope I . . . er I mean Yvette gets a lot of twix bars.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I know it's too early to start talking about Christmas but I'm getting a head start by making some swinging ornaments. I want to make a bunch of these, they're so cool! Made with sculpey and acrylic paint.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I am working on creating new portfolio pieces to send out. I'm trying to focus on children's publishing, books, magazines and the like.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


John, Yvette and I went camping in the Shenandoah this weekend and I painted this scene next to our cabin while Yvette was napping. The sun was beating down and my gouaches were drying out before I could get them onto the paper which was a challenge.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

still life

Just for practice.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I went with the last color study. I think next time I do these I'm going to make them a little more detailed.

And the finished piece.

I'm pretty happy with the way it came out. I think taking the time to do the value and color studies and the underpainting are worth it. I was influenced to do this piece after reading James Gurney's Color and Light book. I wanted to try a glowing light effect.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Painting Process

I am trying to go about this painting in a more planned and thoughtful way than I have before. Here is my sketch.

And here is my very loose value study.

Here is my underpainting. I would still like to refine the background a little more. I want to keep it loose but it's too rough and flat right now.

Color studies to come next.

Monday, August 8, 2011


More sketches done today.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


A page from my sketchbook.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Lately I've been making drawing and practicing art more of a priority for me. It's been really hard with a baby trying to get anything done but now that she's getting older I'm able to have a little more time for myself. When she's taking a nap or just being good keeping herself occupied, I'll turn the TV off and get to my drawing table. I'm getting older too and it makes me think about is this the life I had envisioned for myself when I was younger. The answer is mostly yes, I have a family that I love, I'm happy, but the one thing that is missing is a 'career'. I made the decision to stay at home with Yvette and leave my job as a web designer but it's getting closer to the time I need to get back into the workforce. The one and only thing I have always happily envisioned myself doing (since I was eight years old) is being an illustrator. I went to art college but that just led to web design to pay the bills. Ever since then art has been more of a 'hobby' something I do when the inspiration hits but I never really honestly put in the time and practice it takes to get better and gain the confidence to put my work out there. I'm sort of at a crossroads in my life and realizing that if I ever want to make this illustrator dream a reality I had better get serious and start drawing. So here it goes!
Anyways sorry for the ramble and here are a few recent pieces I've done all for the sake of practice.

Some life studies

A quick painting for my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary margaritaville-themed party invitations that I was asked to design.

As Oprah would say I've had sort of an ah-ha moment as of late. I've known about underpainting and have tried it many times but until recently I never really understood the importance of it or how to correctly use it. The values are probably the most important thing in a painting and I have always struggled with creating strong contrasts in my work. I've been paying special attention to the values in my underpainting and then very carefully adding the colors of corresponding values on top, quickly and without fussing with it. Before I would try to blend and work the paint too much causing the underpainting to mix with my color layers resulting in a lot of muddy tones. So this small and very quick 2 inch study was the first time I felt like I 'got it'.

After that I thought I'd try my hand at something a little more involved. Still working small, loose and quick I copied a Gil Elvgren painting. Granted I came nowhere near Elvgren I still felt that it worked and I was improving, a good feeling.

So to learn even more about values I've been re-reading Andrew Loomis's Creative Illustration book and making small value study thumbnails. A practice I will keep doing from now on. Here is just one. Working small, loose and quick helps me to only focus on the large masses of value and not to worry about line and detail.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Magician's Assistant

New painting! I'm not sure why she has a mustache but it's cool.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Some sketches from the National Gallery this week. I'm really loving using mid-ground paper, I'm going to keep trying it for awhile.

Monday, March 21, 2011


My grandparents came for a visit last week and they were looking through some of my old paintings. They liked the Valentine Geisha I did for my little girl so I made them a new geisha painting while they were here.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Here are small practice paintings that I worked on yesterday. Each is about an inch or so big. I was trying to focus on having a strong contrast between the lights and darks. It is something that I struggle with and am trying to improve on. I think that the stronger the contrast between values, the better it looks. The top two are copies of Gil Elvgren and the catwoman is my own. I can see that mine lacks the strong contrast and I need to push this further in my work.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


A valentine painting for my little girl. She likes elephants.

Monday, February 7, 2011

rainy day girls

Finally a new illustration. I've been in a creative dry spell lately which is mostly due to a very demanding toddler. Free time to myself is long ago a thing of the past. However she was in a quiet mood today and I was able to get this painting done which I've had in my head for a while now. It feels so good to paint again! I also joined a weekly life drawing class starting tomorrow which I hope will continue to get the creative juices flowing. This was painted with my new acryla gouaches which once dry are like acrylic in that they can't be reworked but unlike acrylic (which I find can look plasticy), these have a nice matte finish. I give them two big thumbs up!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Newish paintings

I've been in a landscape-y mood lately. Here are some paintings I never got around to posting. The lemon tree (painted in oil) was just finished this week and is my favorite. I was playing with the effect of blurring edges and keeping the brushstrokes loose and sketchy. I really love it; it makes me long for summer.