From my easel to your Monitor

These are all from last week.

If you haven't met him yet...

Meet my friend, Mark Stock. Noooo not the Mark Stock you're thinking of. Mark and I have been friends now for over 13 years, and he's one of the most brilliant people I know. He has bachelors degrees in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan (where we became fast friends), and also received his PhD from there.

Aside from being a scientist, he puts his creative mind to work making digital art using mathematics and his own programming. He's recently been having shows and also selling internationally.

Go see his work here:


Wayne Art Center Juried Show

Hey everyone!

I have some exciting news! One of my still life paintings from my first year at PAFA was just accepted into the juried student show at the Wayne Art Center! The juror for the show was our own Doug Martenson, one of the many wonderful teachers at PAFA. The opening reception for the show was today and there will be a juror's talk Sunday, November 9th. Here's the painting that got in:

I put it for sale as well, so we'll see what happens!

Living The Dream

Hello Everyone,

Many artists, I feel, were born with a pencil in their hand and a sketchbook on their lap. I, however, was not one of them. Until I came to PAFA, I had always thought of myself as a sculptor.

During my studies at Bloomsburg University, I experimented with clay. I constructed wild looking vessels and strangely contorted figures. It was fun, but I dreamed to represent the figure in a more realistic and dramatic way.

After my first class at PAFA, everything quickly changed. My eyes and mind were introduced to the wonderful world of painting. I still see myself as a sculptor, but I realize now that there is so much more.

I would like to start my blog, with some of my pre PAFA drawings that I made for my application portfolio. All of these pictures are done in graphite, which is my favorite media for drawing. I love the tight control and the subtle value changes that can be achieved.

Lion with Bird Cage
Graphite: 24" X 18"

Lion in Leaves
Graphite: 12 1/2" X 15"

Pirate Still Life
Graphite: 18" X 24"

Sea Sculpture
Graphite: 11" X 13"

Portrait Underpainting

Well, we're already half-way into the semester now at school and I can still hardly believe it! All the classes are well underway, and we're having midterm critiques this week on some of our projects. In the portrait class that I'm taking, we've now moved from doing small quick portrait studies to more involved formal portraits. I just started working on a larger half-length portrait this past week. I pushed really hard to cover the whole canvas in one session and I ended up with a relatively well-worked out underpainting. Getting the relative value relationships right early on is especially important in this portrait I think, since the set-up consists of a lot of very dark, almost "black" elements--the backdrop is black, and the model is wearing a black dress and a black hat. I can't wait to start working in color on top of it this week!

Life Drawings, paintings and design projects.

Since I neglected my posting duties last week, I felt the need to make up for it by posting lots of pictures. These are some selected life drawings from the past two weeks.

Blind contours rock.

Yeah they can't all be winners. Subtract another one from the 500.

I was actually very happy with the way the shoulder and torso works on this painting. Of course I can't remember how I did it or why it works.

Here's something I've been thinking about quite a bit. Design. Here's a few project I was required to do early on at Uarts. I've been thinking that these may have been some of the more important exercises I have ever done.

The first was done to teach us more about line and how to use it in a controlled way.

These were done to learn to control the movement of shape. For me, these have been inspirational in terms of composition. I have been looking back at these for just that reason.

This one is for Nicole. It was a narrative using line only.

Little things

I am constantly reminded of the value of getting out and 1. looking at other artists' work, and 2. taking risks and having fun. Yesterday I volunteered at the US Artists show in Philadelphia, PA, and had a great time drawing in front of the passers-by. Yes, I was nervous. No, I did not much like my drawing. But it was fun and I definitely enjoyed being around everyone. Plus the mixture of art presented at the show was encouraging and inspiring.

I am also more convinced than ever of the importance of a good value structure. I practiced at home last night with a small self-portrait in my compact mirror while sitting in bed.

Not too bad, considering it was dark, and I apparently move a lot.


Adv. Still Life: Compositional Studies

This entry is the first of what will be a series of posts throughout the entire semester about the advanced still life class that I'm taking now. In this class the students are really encouraged to be very self-directed and independent; we each set up our own still lives and we're free to work however we want for the whole semester. Because I'm interested in exploring a slower, more involved process, I decided to set up one large still life and do a series of paintings on it for the whole semester. This process is proving to be quite an interesting one and it's been evolving continually over the past few weeks, so I thought it might be helpful to really share what my progress has been so far.

I began by spending a week or two just getting the whole thing set up...I didn't really have much of an idea what I wanted to do going into it...and what I decided to do was largely dependent on the objects available which were mainly supplied by the school. However, I found a piece of furniture that I liked right away and so I immediately began building the whole thing around that. Here are some photos of still life once it was completely set up.

I began by doing a series of quick compositional studies of the set up, mainly line drawings, but some tonal studies as well.

As you can see, pretty early on, I began to develop the idea of doing multiple paintings that all fit together. I've been really interested in the concept of doing paintings which work compositionally on their own but also work well as part of a larger piece. Hopefully you can see, in this study, I have three paintings that fit together into the whole rectangle. Interestingly enough, I found that each one was based pretty closely on the golden ratio...I didn't plan that out at all, it just sort of happened that way, but I liked the idea, so I've been working with it and developing it a bit more.

Then I decided I wanted to include more of the top portion of the set-up, so I started experimenting with trying to add several top panels on to the composition I was already working out...this necessitated adding several other panels as well, and the whole thing began to get a bit more elaborate, as you can see here...

Here's a more fully worked out version of this idea... I think this is pretty much the overall arrangment I'm going with, though I'm sure I'll be making adjustments as I work each painting up more.

I've also been doing little studies of each individual panel...I've been trying to really loosen up and do very quick simple sketches.

I've also been trying to draw alot from memory. A bunch of these sketches, including this one, were done on the train going home, after I'd been drawing from the set-up and observing it for a while. Drawing from memory is a really great exercise to see how much you're really seeing...I've found that it often helps me realize what areas of the drawing are weakest and still need to be worked out.

Finally, I've started doing some more in-depth studies of the top portion, in both line and tone.

I'm going to be including a self-portrait in the mirror on the top shelf, so I'm working out exactly how that's going to's interesting to see that, in this instance, the value study is actually alot more helpful than the line drawing, especially in terms of seeing the self-portrait as a reflection in the mirror that is spatially farther away from the viewer. In the line drawing, the portrait really wants to pop out, and it just doesn't read like it's sitting in a place of space further back.

I have three of these paintings up and running now, and I'll hopefully be posting about them soon so you can see the progress on those as well. This is definitely the biggest and most involved project I've ever worked on, and I'm really excited to see how it continues to evolve throughout the semester!

A terribly interesting post.

My internet service has been terribly spotty this weekend. As a result, I'm posting these up on a night when I am terribly busy already. The pictures were taken on my table with terrible lighting but, you should still be able to get the idea

These first ones are master copies I did last week aimed at understanding the torso better.

This group is all work that was done from life.

This final image is a bit of a teaser. It is the value study for a painting I am working on. I will have that painting done in a few weeks.