Thursday, January 19, 2017


During President Obama's inaugural address, I took some screen shots off the tv and made these drawings.   They hardly do him justice, but I wanted to pay tribute to a brilliant, elegant and devoted public servant.  This was a class act that we won't be seeing again for a very long time.   

Thursday, January 12, 2017



This is a painting of a wonderful photographer, Gary Bridges.  Not only is he a great photographer, he is a very nice, warm and friendly man.  When I met him, I was taken with his lean rugged countenance and asked if I could photograph him and create some paintings.  He was very gracious and so I took 3 or 4 different poses and have painted 4 or 5 versions.  Because I don't like to paint teeth, my subjects look serious.  In this case, Gary looks downright menacing.  As the song from Porgy and Bess goes, " It ain't necessarily so!" 

This painting is going to be on exhibit starting this weekend with the 2017 national exhibition of the California Watercolor Association.  This is an organization very close to my heart so I was particularly happy to be included in the show.   National shows always have so much competition with excellent level entries vying for too few spots.  Sometimes I am able to make the cut and sometimes not.  Lucky this time!  I am looking forward to attending the opening reception on Saturday the 14th at the Harrington Gallery in the Firehouse Art Center in Pleasanton, Ca.  This is a fabulous venue and I am excited that CWA was able to have this important show here again. Reconnecting with local friends and a few from as far away as Florida is going to be another highlight of the day.

This is a new surface I experimented with.  It is supposed to resemble plaster.  You take paper toweling and separate it into one ply and glue it to the surface (watercolor paper, canvas, wood panel, etc.) with an equal mixture of gesso and mat medium.  I used paper towels that already had some paint on them and would have been thrown away.  I like how the whitish ground has subtle color coming through.  The surface when dry is quite rough, so don't use good sable brushes on it.  I added some watercolor crayon to the final piece which helped to accent the texture and the element of drawing that I feel is important to my work.  

Friday, January 6, 2017


One of my goals this year is to work more with the element of shape.  When my focus is portraiture, shape is an interesting challenge.  I am looking forward to seeing what comes out of this exploration.  The beginning step for me is to create a two value image from my resource material.  I like to play with digital apps to create a NOTAN (Japanese word that is a black and white image)  Value Viewer is a good app to create a 2 value image.  It also will create a 3 value image.  Once I have the notan, then I like to simplify the edges so I can make a stencil to work with.  Imaengine is an app that I use quite a bit.  I save these changes to my photo roll.  I can then put them into other applications for further changes.  This image was part of a demo in my workshop where we work with these apps.  The stencil allowed me to isolate areas of the face for texturing.  

This is a fairly true representation of the color of the actual painting.. This image has been published in the book Incite 4: Relax, Restore, Renew The best of mixed media and in the latest issue of Acrylic Artist.  It appears darker in the published works.  

I hope each of you have decided on some creative challenges for the coming year.  The best way to achieve a goal, according to the latest research, is to figure out what daily small tasks will lead to the success you desire and focus on just doing the activity.  I love this idea!!  So, I have decided that each evening that I sit down to watch tv, I will use my iPad to create a new shape drawing and find another artist who uses shapes in an interesting way.   I am just sitting there, anyway.  Might as well be productive.

Sunday, January 1, 2017


Hanging out with Monet on New Years Day!!
                                           HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY FRIENDS!

I have been wanting to get back to posting regularly to my blog for awhile now, but you know how the best of intentions go!  Well, I  had the pleasure of hanging out with Monet today and was inspired to get back on track.  The other thing I did today was listen to a live webinar where the leader talked about the psychology of commitment.   It turns out we are most motivated by pledging money to an organization whose values are the opposite of yours as the penalty of not following through on a commitment.  There is a website where you set your goal, the time frame (mine was for 4 weeks to start with) the day of the week you will record your progress, your pledge amount, pick to organization to receive the money and you can assign someone as a monitor to keep you honest and then you give them your credit card.   They will actually charge your card and send the money to your hated anti organization.  You will definitely see me here every week because there is no way on this planet that I will EVER GIVE THAT EVIL ORGANIZATION ONE NICKLE!!!  Talk about motivation!

I hope each of you have set some goals for yourself this year.  If you have difficulty sticking to a contract between yourself and yourself,  you might want to try this idea yourself.    

This is going to be an exciting month.  I will have a solo show at the end of the month.  More details next week.

Saturday, February 27, 2016


I just received an email from the Flashbag company that they are going to stop manufacturing, possibly indefinitely.  I am disappointed because I love their products and get so many comments on my bags.  It is the perfect combination of utility and self-promotion!   They are extremely sturdy but I managed to wear out two of them over a period of several years of constant use and abuse.   I hope I can replace them before the March closing.  If you would like a wonderful way to silently advertise your artistic talent, and or have some great gifts, now is the time to act.  Their website is

Maybe we can give them enough business to encourage them to continue!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


This is the last demo I did for the workshop last week.  The lesson was creating a painting on a collaged surface.  I decided to keep this one in sepia tones as the background papers were warm neutrals.  The wording was from a small brown paper bag I picked up at WholeFoods intended for a line of hand made soaps.  Inspiration is everywhere when you do mixed media!  Trash becomes coveted treasures and nothing gets tossed out.  I am now spending this week reorganizing all my "treasures" so I can find them when I need them. It is also useful to go through these sorts of supplies to remind oneself of what is there.  It is like treasure hunting in your own supply closet.  

I discovered I have quite a few unfinished paintings.  This might be a good time to see them with fresh eyes and get some fresh ideas.  

Here are the last of the student paintings, many of them are a work in progress.  Most of the group was not excited to be doing a self portrait but realized the value by the time the workshop was over.  The workshop is NOT about doing a self portrait.  That is just the vehicle to experience the process.    The last image is a wonderful example of how the information learned during this workshop can be translated into any other subject.  I can't wait to see how this nest egg painting is ultimately resolved!

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Here is another demo from the workshop I finished last night.  This one is another way to use stencils,  YUPO is such a fun surface to work with once you get the hang of it.  Most in the workshop are experiencing this surface for the first time.  I think they are having as much fun as I am!

Here are some of the paintings they produced using YUPO and stencils based on their Notan (2 value) images created with an iPad app.

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