Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Super Quick Update

aka Need to finish by Friday morning.  ugh Thanksgiving may have to wait.  And now I feel like a hypocrite after posting the awesome comic by Bill Watterson.  Oh well, adjusting my lifestyle is a life long process.  I'll keep trying.

Currently staring at this and I'm now quite sure how I want to tackle this translucent drapery....
I think I'll paint some vases instead.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I Love This

Again, I'm reminded here of what it means to live a successful life and what we are often told by society equals a successful life.  Check out the entire comic Here :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Laying down some paint

I started off here doing a blue wash over the entire piece then while still really wet using a paper towel to lift up the paint to maintain some light areas.  In this case I was mostly lifting up around the figure.  Afterwards I blocked in fairly flat colors in the background.  Building up the painting all over tends to be a slow process so giving myself something to focus on like the hair helps to keep me going and feels like I'm making more progress.  Though, I think there does need to be a little bit of paint everywhere so that there's some context to compare to see if an area is dark enough, chromatic enough etc.  In the end there's always a lot of back and forth pushing and pulling values and colors.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Progress Final Drawing

Not quite done with this drawing yet but figured I'd post a shot anyway.  I'll probably take a shot after I finish to work on a color study to flesh out what's in my head.  Will post more soon.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Photo Ref

Here's a few reference shots from a recent photo shoot.  The worst part for me is frankensteining all the shots together to get a believable, cohesive image.  As much as love painting drapery it tends to be the most work for me to get right.  I also think I'm probably more anal than I need to be.  Gonna try and tackle this right now.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

quick update

Refined the drawing a little.  Lot of anatomical weirdness that will have to get worked out after I take some photo ref.  Lots of potentially cool fabric that I'm looking forward to/dreading.  Over all I feel pretty good about the composition.  Not going to listen to the little voice saying "this would look really nice as a giant painting".  Maybe next time.


Pretty sure this is going to be my next painting.  My sketches are the worst!  Need to refine this idea, get photo ref, transfer and start slangin some paint.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hi Fructose Feature

I just wanted to share this.  Thanks to Hi*Fructose!  Be sure to grab your copy when it hits the stores.

Monday, September 2, 2013

"The Demon Haunted World"

"We accepted the products of science. We rejected it's methods." ~Carl Sagan
This painting is a tribute.

This piece is for the upcoming 20th Anniversary show at Copro Nason Gallery opening this Sat, Aug 17th in the LA area. If you're in the area it looks like a kick ass show. Also, I rarely have a chance to attend shows I participate in and I'm always curious how the openings go. If you do end up there post some pics!

Let's start off with the original thumbnails. Originally, I thought it would be cool to show the exposed back. I still think it could be cool and I may do a companion piece someday. I like the idea of light from the window illuminating a section of the mattress. Obviously, for this piece a different path was taken. I think the first sketch may have a heightened sense of mystery but I wanted to engage the viewer more.

Usually, I transfer the sketch then use my photo ref to make the final drawing right onto the watercolor paper. Lately, I've found it more helpful to correct the figure's anatomy on a slightly more refined sketch prior to transferring. It doesn't add a lot of time as I'm still leaving the rest of the drawing fairly rough. But it does help to reduce unnecessary erasing on the main figure and potentially disrupting the paper's surface.

Final drawing on watercolor paper

It's a balancing game here. I want enough information with the pencil that I feel comfortable laying in my paint. At the same time I don't want to fully render everything. It would waste time especially in darker areas that the paint would naturally give value to. Also wet on wet paint can offer really cool affects that may come off as too contrived if I tried to draw it all in.

While painting this marble table top I wanted to try and let the paint work for me. So I mixed about four colors I planned on working with and started in with a wet base color then moved left adding in other colors when appropriate. It's acrylic so it's not going to stay wet forever. One has to be very mindful of time and application. Note that my paint mixture was the consistency of melted ice cream. That is to say, not too thin. When the paint dried I was hoping to see for the most part a surface that resembled marble. There was obviously more painting required to give the surface a subtle reflective quality. Another reason I started here is in the beginning, as you'll see, I'm trying to paint in some dark areas as a point of value reference. Otherwise I may inch too slowly towards the necessary values. This inching happens anyway. There's always some back and forth with painting. However, I am trying to cut down on the baby steps. Not always easy for me.

Something cool started to happen with the texture on the wall here. Although there are subtle changes, I try to maintain the basic shape and flow throughout the piece.

Off to the right you can see my scrap paper where I test my colors. It's a good idea make sure that the color and consistency are where I want them before applying the paint onto the actual painting. It makes even more sense to test it in a spot with similar color and value as the one you're about to paint on.

Here I tried doing some wet on wet application to try and give the look of bruising or perhaps some infection on the arm. Again, what I thought was dark enough was not. As the rest of the painting progressed I realized repeatedly that the bruising needed to be much darker.

Shower curtain?  Who uses shower curtains? 

What do you do when you've been staring at something for too long and need a quick and different perspective? A nice large mirror comes in very handy for a quick change of perspective. Viewing the image on your phone or computer screen can also help. I'm assuming that everyone reading this is locked up in a studio somewhere and lost all of their friends long long ago. Of course, people are a great resource for feedback as well.

This last image is basically the finished piece. Unfortunately, I'm away from my studio and probably need to tweak colors slightly before posting the final image online. I'll update this post with a finished finished image soon.

UPDATE:  Since I was getting some requests for details I decide to go ahead and upload a few.  Thanks for all the love everyone.  Means a lot!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

What does "Success" mean? Let me think about that...

What does it mean to be successful?

This question has been on my mind of late.  It’s the basis for a documentary I’m participating in titled “Making It” about the struggles and successes in the arts industry.  How does one make it as an artist?  What does it mean to be successful?

Consider what it must feel like to be in Heaven.  You’ve been waiting for it your whole life.  You’ve worked hard, did all the right things.  It feels good.  Like freedom, like peace.  Then you realize that there are billions of people who didn’t make it.  You know some of these people.  You’re related to some of these people.  Some of these people also worked very hard.  But you made it to Heaven.  How happy can one be?  How does success feel?

Perhaps personal success in this way is a bit myopic.  I find it increasingly difficult to just make art and feel good about myself when there are so many unemployed, underemployed, impoverished people slipping through the cracks.  Most of us, it seems, associate success with our jobs.  Our placement and ranking within the industry.

The more I learn about technologies like automation, the exponential growth of computing power, and our rapid increase in productivity the more I realize that jobs are becoming more and more obsolete.  It seems apparent that at some point the bond between income and employment will break.  It’s cheaper, safer, and more efficient to use software algorithms and robotics.  It’s just a matter of time.  What will we base our success on then?  College is mostly about preparing people to find jobs.  Not necessarily about learning for learning’s sake.  Will people attend college and take on huge debt if jobs are becoming automated out of existence and the remaining jobs become more and more scarce? 

These technologies will probably not affect artists and other creatives nearly as much as people in other fields.  Yet, even now I can ask myself how many artists do I know with BFA’s and MFA’s?  And how many of them are making a living off of what they studied in school?  I would submit I personally know quite a good deal that are successful and at the top of their game.  But not nearly as many as the people struggling to get a foot in the door.  Some of which are quite good.  A college education is no guarantee.  Hard work and mastery is no guarantee.  Networking is no guarantee.  Amazing fellatio... well, you do what you gotta do.  But still not a guarantee.  Even if you do make it I don’t think most nonartists realize how many hours a week it takes to be successful and to run your own business.

At the end of my life do I want to look back and say “I did it.  I spent most of my life working my ass off.”  Admittedly, part of me would be proud to say so.  My mom came to America from Vietnam with a ridiculous work ethic.  It rubbed off on me.  And the other part of me would be exhausted and burned out and probably suffering from numerous affects of chronic stress(worth looking into see Robert Sapolsky and his amazing beard).  With such technical capacity for the extremely high productivity levels that we possess today does it make sense that even now work and jobs remain our society’s main goal?  Do we really need even more jobs?  Is that success?  Perhaps what we need is a revolution in social thinking.

Consider some of these quotes from some people who may know a little about this topic.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I feel like this stuff shouldn't take as long as it does.  Today, I'm going to try and get as much done on the figure as possible.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

wip nuff said

I lied.  I'll say a little bit more.  Sometimes I forget how fun painting can be.  Especially the somewhat organized spontaneity of the wet on wet application.  On the wall the application is a much thinner wet on wet.  On the table top I'm using a slightly thicker wet on wet application.  Think of a consistency closer to melted ice cream.  It helps to have the colors you intend to bleed together already mixed and ready to go.  I have to keep reminding myself to stay loose(not unlike a "your mom" joke I recently became familiar with) in general.  Though, it also feels good to tighten up and do some detailing here and there and actually finish a section.  I guess the old "everything in moderation" may apply to my process as well.  More to come(insert mom joke here).

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"The Demon Haunted World" Final Drawing

With some help with my photo reference I've taken a fairly loose transfer of the sketch and created my final drawing right on my watercolor paper.  The photo reference turned out pretty good for this piece.  It took awhile to get in the folds and creases of the fabric, but the refined drawing should serve as a good foundation to layer my paint over top of.  It's not necessarily a follow up to "Goddess of Antiquity" but I think I liked that piece enough that it influenced the direction for this one a bit. I'm trying to be efficient with my use of the pencil.  I don't want a fully rendered b/w drawing.  I want just enough information with room to let the paint work for me as well.   I've uploaded a larger image for anyone who'd like to zoom in for more details.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

"The Demon Haunted World"

Kudos if you get the reference here.  Here's a slightly refined sketch using my photo reference.  I didn't add tons of detail.  I just want to get the proportions right.  This saves me time because I'm loosely transferring the sketch and will add the details of my finished drawing right on my watercolor paper.

  Here's a vid I made a while back discussion my transfer technique for anyone interested.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

New Painting in the works

Life has been a bit crazy as of late and I have take a much needed brake from art making.  However, I recently did some sketching for a new piece and something emerged out of these sketches that I'm rather excited to start on.  The photo reference has been taken and I'll hopefully start on the final line drawing tonight.  Stay tuned for more progress shots

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Print of "The Secret of Oz"

It's been awhile since I've had a new print to offer.  Here's my latest print with Gallery Nucleus.  I've decided that an open ended edition would be cool to make the print more accessible for those interested in my work.

I'm really interested in the "Pay what you will" model that's recently emerged.  Abundant hi res images for whatever you can afford to contribute?  Sounds great in theory and for anyone interested in my paintings.  Not sure how it will play out in real life.  This new model may require an experiment with one of my pieces to see what happens.  Worse case scenario is it's a freebie.  That doesn't sound so bad ;)  For now I hope you enjoy this piece.

If you're not familiar with "pay what you will" here's a TED Talk by Amanda Palmer