Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"Friesian Afternoon"


Another 6"x8" oil on canvas study of Phantom trotting by on a warm summer afternoon. His mane has a long braid in front with the rest swept back in movement, and his gorgeous thick wavy tail was so long that when he stood still it had six inches on the ground. The breed standard for Friesian horses requires that the mane and tail not be cut. This horse epitomized "Poetry In Motion". It was his middle name.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

"Friesian Morning"

This is of course Phantom, my Muse, in a 6"x8" oil on canvas. This Royal Friesian had a bigger and brighter personality than many people I have come across! He was kind and brave and supremely intelligent, with a wickedly sharp sense of humor. I like how this photo captured him in a quiet and relaxed mood. We had turned him loose in a big arena and he blew off a lot of steam, and was his usual brilliant and magnificent self. Later when he was tired, he was cooling off and just walking by the the six or so people in the center of the ring. Three of us were photographers slung with wildly expensive equipment and long stalker lenses like paparazzi, and he exuded the confident, untouchable and distant air of a Broadway star who knew he was being recorded by admiring fans and was above it all, and I got this image. In actuallity he was a "people person", so we had to shoo him away from the party he thought we were having. I loved the backlit morning light. I need to reshoot this digital, it does not show the soft lavenders and cerulean in the background, or the luminosity of the colors.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"Point Dume Sunset"

This is a 8"x6" oil on canvas from an image I took at Point Dume. This is a lovely beach and the point is a popular rock climbing spot. I did the painting completely with a painting knife just for practice in using the tool. I do use a knife when painting for some effects, but haven't done a knife only painting since college, and it was a fun exercise. It was getting close to sunset, so the sand was dark, but I loved the light on the cliff face.

Monday, January 22, 2007

"Carp, I Dig 'Em"

I love Koi, which are just carp with attitude. I found this one in a murky pond, and he came over to see if I had anything for him to eat. I pointed my camera, thinking everything was just too dark to "catch" this character, but when I downloaded the images I was tickled to see that I'd even got that he was sticking his nose way out of the water, begging. This is another WIP, 8"x8" oil on canvas, it will need to dry for awhile before I go back in and finish it, I'd say it's about halfway. (My canvases are stacking up like jets at LAX, so I have new medium material on the way that will speed drying time.) His expression is wonderful, and that's what I want to really capture, and I like that his fins look like wings. Actually, I think this may be a lady carp.

Friday, January 19, 2007

"Goddess Of Compassion"

I started this 8"x6" oil on canvas at the beginning of the month, it is posted below as a WIP, and have worked on it probably 6 different sessions, and now it is closer to done. Paintings often go through an "ugly duckling" phase in the process, it's pretty common as some elements shift and colors come into harmony. I wanted this piece to convey serenity and contemplation. It's taken from a macro photo I took of a lovely soapstone sculpture I own and am fond of; she reminds me to be compassionate toward all beings, as that is the key to the salvation of this world. I specifically wanted the deep warm tones in the original photo, but then I decided to add some bold color to keep the painting from being static, and to evoke an emotional response in the viewer. I think it is working well so far. My studio space is cold and that slows the drying of the oils, or I would have more work up, but I'm hoping you will feel my pieces are worth the wait. I just started a red eyed tree frog on wood panel, he will be fun!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"1770 Thir Violin Scroll Study"


This is a study of the scroll top of the violin my Mom used to play as first violinist with my Grandpa's NBC Orchestra. "Joannes Georgius Thir Facet Viennae Anno 1770" reads the label inside. It's a size 7/8. It amazes me to think of all the music it has made in 237 years! It fills the house with a brilliant sound perfect for orchestra, and an amazing volume when she winds up her ambition and decides to break it out of its case and play it a few time a year. It's understandable that she doesn't want to play often, as she was giving recitals at age three! Her other violin is even older, and I will do it the next time, in full body, when I next want to do a fussy study. The violin is propped on the edge of its case, and I like the composition of the lines and colors. I posted it on 1-02 below as a WIP and was waiting for it to dry for a couple of weeks. It was fun, I learned some new tricks with it, and I'm glad it's done.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"Floating Phantom"


I have been painting every day, but everything is in drying mode between finishing layers, and I didn't want to keep showing WIPs. So I painted this 6"x8" oil on canvas last night, and did a bit of touch up this afternoon. I'm happy with it, it was supposed to be a quick, bright color study, and was fun. Plus I love this horse. His name is "Phantom Of The Opera", and he was a Royal Friesian imported at age four from the Netherlands. He was one of the Queen's royal carriage horses, and he was a truly royal horse in every sense, with a grand sense of humor, a great intelligence, and a truly stunning way of going, with incredible action. He was trained in Dressage and High School (think Spanish Riding School) movements. I had the privilege of riding him a few times, and was his very happy groom for awhile as well. His heart belonged to my dear friend Davida Oberman and her friend Smokey Robinson, and he was well loved by a huge number of people. Everybody knew Phantom! He was even in the Rose Parade. Sadly, he was lost to colic at age 17 some years back, but he lives on in the hearts of many people, and I for one will always celebrate him! He was my best and brightest muse! Soon I will be painting his blood nephew, "Music Of The Knight". Get me those photos, D!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

"The Pollinator"

I took a photo of this single minded little honeybee in the gardens at El Alisal, home of early newsman and dedicated cultural photographer Charles Lummis. It's a hand built river rock building nestled in the Arroyo Seco area south of Pasadena, CA. I took a lot of different photos inside and out, but was charmed that I caught this one tiny bee in flight so clearly. It's a 4"x4" oil on hardwood panel, and the image continues around the edges so no frame is needed. This piece is much more vibrant and rich than the photo shows, I may need to fuss with my digital camera. settings and reshoot it. It looks like a jewel on the wall. I probably need to come up with a nicer name for her. Suggestions are welcome! This icon of sweetness will be for sale later when she is dry.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"Jumbo Rocks"

I finally made it out to Joshua Tree, and it was fabulous! I took lots of photos, some of which will also show up here in the future in the form of "Faux Plein Air", in that the work is done from my own photo reference on my laptop screen instead of painting on the spot in open air, but the work is done quickly and with as much of the characteristic simplicity and boldness of plein air as I can currently obtain. As I am a "fussy" painter, this is new for me. Did I mention I had to scrape it back twice before I was happy with it...? I loved the shadows on the back side of this group of huge boulders. It will be for sale later, when it is dry.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

"Far East Trader"

This is an early portrait I did in oil on canvas of a thoroughbred racehorse. He was a lovely and refined bright bay, with an elegant and sensitive face. This is a scan of a photo from an old slide, so the colors are all washed out, especially in the eye. I am looking for the original slides in storage soon. The canvas size is 22"x28".

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Goddess Of Compassion

Another 8"x6" oil on canvas work in progress. I thought it would be done last night, but this one has a mind of its own, apparently! I'm off to work on it now. The lovely soapstone sculpture posing for this painting is of the Buddhist goddess of compassion or mercy, variously spelled Quan Yin, Kuan Yin, or Kwan Yin, also AKA Tara.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Queensland Native

This is the Queensland, Australia varietal native Eucalyptus tree painting shown below in process, done. Usually I sign a painting when I believe it's finished, then find a few more tweaks later. As it's a gallery wrap canvas, I still need to paint the bottom edge, but, it's a wrap!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Queensland Native

I'm almost done with this 6x8 oil on canvas, I adore Eucalyptus trees and yet have never painted one before. My grandfather's house had a grove of them similar to this tree that attain great height and substantial girth, and which shed long strips of bark and small gray seedpods, and smell wonderful. This particular tree is elsewhere, and I am in love with it!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Old Violin

I decided to let this 6x8 oil on canvas dry so I could have more control over the fine detail and add some glazes. It's of a circa 1770 Thir violin propped on the edge of its case.

Gary of Barry

I decided to post some work in process. I always enjoy looking at process shots of other artist's work, it's a revelatory study in how a painting goes together. I mostly paint in layers for bigger works, and have started working alla prima for smaller canvases. This painting is of a friend's old Golden Retriever, at layer one. The strong color notes will be subddued as the layers progress. I'm not real good at remembering to take process photos, but I got a reminder today when I put four more hours into a small oil and the viewer who saw it since this a.m. asked if I'd painted today...