Thursday, February 26, 2009

What a difference a day makes.... (Winter, Almost)

...getting there....(and I may keep the title "Winter: The Abominable Snow Bubba"), who knows.

Thanks to my sweetheart, in suggesting significant lightening of the background, and other little observations. I still need to add a couple layers on the legs and stomach... there are some "flat" spots that I'm not quite content with.

It is at that stage where I have it hanging on the wall and I'm looking at it and digesting the final bits... and the coward in my if a bit fearful of screwing it up now that I'm this invested in the image.... there you have it.


You are a coward when you even seem to have backed down from a thing you openly set out to do Mark Twain

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Winter in progress (another peek behind the curtain)

Good morning everyone. I've been fighting some sort of germ-ish crud, so I did miss a blog post and a day of art. Back in the studio today and working on two versions of Buck, the black poodle for my client, working on Summer and Winter for the quad for the show in May, and going to lay out another painting, so today should be tremendously productive.

Hopefully, you can look beyond the odd colors and see the techniques that I've discussed in prior blog posts. (I know the painting has made the turn towards completion when it looks vaguely messy like this. I am close now to laying in the finer details that will make it "POP" and come alive".)

Sherman (Bubba to his friends), is a very quiet, Zen-like soul. He is very mellow and nonplussed about much of anything. And I'm working at conveying his personality in this painting. Most folks see him and are either put off or are afraid or intimidated by him due to his deformed Exotic face. But after spending time with him, they are always charmed by him and how he's just "there".

In Feng Shai terms he is the rock the grounds our household.

The day that we took him outside, he didn't hate it and he has the coat for winter, so he wasn't environmentally uncomfortable either. He was curious and slightly intrigued by the whole thing, hence his leaning into the experience. He wasn't totally thrilled with the snow in his head but as long as it stayed frozen and wasn't water, he was ok with that too.

So, now you've seen it in progress and I intend to have it competed this week for you to review.

Go do good things.


"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." ~van Gogh

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mr. Greeench....

Here is a very recent graphite sketch.  It is actually quite tiny at only 4"x5" and again was done as a gift to my Patron and Persian and Himalayan Cat Rescue.

For some reason the look in his eyes and his whiskers in particular remind me of "The Grinch".

No art for me today, fighting a wicked cold.


O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives.--Jim Morrison

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Going on an internet Field trip....

If you are a lover of wildlife art in any medium, then PLEASE go visit this artist collective/society on the net. Artist for Conservation is where all the giants of wildlife art are located as members.

And for those of you who love only cats (I belong to this organization), but also strive for the former group as well, then check out the Society of Feline Artists web site.

For me, I'm at my day job until 9pm tonight.... be inspired....

Saturday, February 21, 2009


This is a pastel painting on canvas, and my first foray into these two art supplies working in tandum. And this little guy was only 6"x6".
I was approach to participate in a local Audubon Society fundraiser and I created this in less than a week (with a full time job outside of art) and donated it to the event.
I'm now working on stretched watercolor canvas and LOVE it. I am mixing a bit of watercolor under the pastel, and it is making for some really exciting effects.

Petite Huntress....

This is a graphite drawing of Jake. She is the only female in our household of male cats (3).

Her calico markings are so distinctive and her intense predatorial gaze are making me seriously consider doing her portrait from this study as "Fall: Petit Huntress reprise", or some such. I think she would be stunning as a pastel painting.


Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. ~Stanley Horowitz

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fair Weather Prophet....

....and lots of lovely black tea.

The painting was done in watercolor about 4 years ago.... The little stone head was sent to me from Pakistan, and I was trying to capture the tranquility of the sun in the leaves and the mood of the statues demeanor.


The first cup moistens my lips and throat. The second cup breaks my loneliness. The third cup searches my barren entrail but to find therein some thousand volumes of odd ideographs. The fourth cup raises a slight perspiration - all the wrongs of life pass out through my pores. At the fifth cup I am purified. The sixth cup calls me to the realms of the immortals. The seventh cup - ah, but I could take no more! I only feel the breath of the cool wind that raises in my sleeves. Where is Elysium? Let me ride on this sweet breeze and waft away thither. ~Lu Tung, "Tea-Drinking"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Remembering Nigel.....

I have done quite a bit of work with and for Persian Himalayan Cat Rescue over the years. In the course of this work I have had the honor to know and to be the parent of some amazing Red Persians, including "Nigel". This portrait is NOT an image of Nigel, however it is an homage to every wonderful, clownish, curmudgeonly red my wonderful Patron and I have known and loved over the years. I am very passionate about animal adoption, and I support any group that is actively working to help animals in need. PHCR is my pet, ahem, project because Persians are the most single abandoned breed of animal. And personally I'm really passionate about adopting special needs or older animals. Kittens aren't the ones who need help (everybody loves a kitten), it's the older gents and lady cats who need the support most.

So if you see an inordinate number of Persian portraits flow thru my blog, it's because the images I paint are used for merchandise that PHCR sells and those proceeds help buy medicine and food for the cats in their shelter.
If you see an image that you are in love with send me an email and I can put you in touch with them for a win win.


Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.--Helen Keller

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The other Loki....

This pastel painting is the "other Loki" as I follow a great blog, twitter and page by Loki, of OCB, is a hoot and does a great podcast, and his owner makes really charming animinis on (the cool thing is both Loki's are orange cats).

The Loki in this portrait is, ahem, my daughters cat. (I have been told that if the cat is in your sole posession for over 3 years, your child lives 10 hours away in another state, and you've paid over $800 in veterinary bills for the cat, then it is YOUR cat--I will let you decide that issue for yourselves).

This was my very first foray into pastel painting. And as you can see I have a freer more energetic line as this was intended to only be a "sketch" and a test for how the pastels handled and how the paper took the line and pigment.

Building on my prior blog posts, I was very happy with the energy and the way I expressed the severe contrast of light and shadow in this work. And again with the yellow/oranges the contrast would be the blues and turquoises. I love the "zing" of a great contrast.


“Where there is much light, the shadow is deep”--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain...

I've invited you into my studio in words and now visually. You can see "Winter" in process and a bit of Valentine goodness.

A close-up of "Winter". I would imagine that this is rather under-whelming as the base paintings are always a whisper of what I envision and where I'm going with this painting.

...have a really inspired day everyone.


I was walking down a street on an unusually sunny Seattle afternoon, and this gorgeous Great Dane, who was tied to a small tree on the sidewalk. He was obviously waiting expectantly for his owner, and was totally devoted to the moment of their return, and when it came to naming this work, I wanted something that not only conveyed his size and demeanor, but also his devotion. I was blessed to have a camera at that gorgeous time of the day with "sweet light", a stunning subject and some great study photos to work from.


It's on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.--Monet

Monday, February 16, 2009

This one's for Mom....

This is a watercolor I did in college, and I have often called it my self portrait.... Mom wanted to see it on my blog.

I love the non-localized color (painting a tiger a non typical tiger color), and this was when I was first branching out in my uses of contrasting colors to make a composition "pop".

Sloshing about in the water color....

All of the work to date that I've shown you was done in Pastel. This portrait if of "JJ" and was done in watercolor.

I will let the painting stand on it's own without further comment.

.... feel free to chat amongst yourselves.

Seek the strongest color effect possible.. the content is of no importance.--Henri Matisse

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Painting Pablo....

As the blog suggests, the idea is that we are together in my studio. So I thought today, that I'd let you see where I start with a commission and where I'm going until I abandon a current project ("Art is never completed, it is merely abandoned").

I finished this commission approx. two weeks ago. And I had the great fortune to actually meet the subject before I started on the project. His breed is a "Chin", and he is only about 3 pounds. He is minuscule in the eyes of his wolf ancestors. But his personality is on par with any Mongolian Emperor of old. We are his devoted subjects and Pablo knows it. He also has a very interesting solid Zen-like presence in person. His little personality radiates from his diminutive form, which I would never have understood without seeing him.

So we intersect his coloring (see the blog post previously on the color black), and the play of light and contrasts (see the blog post on light, contrast and hue), and we are at "Radiance".

And yes, even tho he is an emperor, he does have those disheveled ear hairs... even rulers get bed-head.

Photo realism is NOT my goal. As Picasso once pointed out, we have photography, there is no reason to try to repeat it. Art is more than photography. I am trying to capture the essence of my subject and their personality with one image. And I fully exploit light, shade and color to achieve those ends.


You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is.. unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far.--Alice Neel

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Contrasts in Seasons, Contrasts in Colors....

I was approached recently by the Cat Hospital of Portland to do a show in their clinic, which I've been dilegently working on since the invitation. Right now, I've started a quartet based on the seasons and just completed "Spring: A Stranger in the Garden".

I am now working on what is tentively called, "Winter: The Abominable Snow Bubba", but will most likely be titled something slightly more dignified. (see photo study). The Background is evolving into an amazing teal and navy colored forest that really makes Bubba's buff colored fur "POP".
Pam Johnson, one of my most cherished college art instructors took us outside one bright day and had us place a turquoise piece of paper on fucsia paper, and had us stare at it for quite a long time, and then proceeded to explain to us how we would never need to do drugs, because as artists, we looked at the world thru unique eyes. And how one could stand in the shower at certian times of day and get high off the refracted light shining through the water droplets. Now, I'm not so sure that I'd take any of my artistic observational skills quite that far; however, I did learn the power of contrasting colors and how to manipulate lights and darks, brights and subtle shadings with color contrast and the manipulation of shades and hues.
I learned many things about color and value, perspective and how to truly see from Ms. Johnson.
So when you are going through your day, look at the shadows of every day objects and REALLY see what color the shadow is.
Be inspired

Musings on black.....

This is Buck, my latest "muse". He modeled for his studies last Tuesday and he has been waking me at night composing ideas and inspirations in my head for his portrait. I may end up doing two and letting his "Mom" decide which she would prefer. His personality is slightly larger than life and the artistic challenges of his coat color and texture are very exciting.

Because black absorbs all color, I love to put lots of color in the highlights, like I did in "Redemption Value".... and her little black spots which I put, in her case, lots of true blue and a very wee bit of yellow to make it "pop".

I am also feeling that due to his slightly larger than life energy, I may do this portrait a bit larger than I have been... it's gestating in my head and it feels so great to have all these creative yearnings and energy and the time to work.


A sincere artist is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing.
::: William Dobell :::

Friday, February 13, 2009


I'm not trying to make paintings look like photos. I want to make paintings using photos as a reference, the way painters did when photography was first invented.::: Peter Doig ::: here daily for inspiration, a peak at what I'm working on, musing on and where I will be happening in a gallery or url near you.

Be inspired!