Misc. Stuff

An homage to teachers…

(Please forgive me for being long-winded, but this is one post where I can’t  be brief!) TL;DR, I am very grateful to all my teachers, they changed my life and I can’t thank them enough.

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for some time now, probably at least a year. Now it’s a lazy Saturday and I guess it’s time!

I think most artists, whether we are formally trained or not, are inevitably influenced by other artists, either through direct instruction, or books, or some other means. I don’t think any artist lives in a vacuum, where they never are impacted by the creative works of those around them, or from artists in the past. I don’t believe such a thing is possible.

In my case, I’ve had many influences, and most notably have been my teachers. They’ve come from different sources—art school, community college, workshop, private lessons… all were vitally important. And all have my eternal gratitude.

I thought I’d mention several of them here. There are some who have made a tremendous difference in my life, and others who were important and memorable. I wouldn’t say that the teachers who were the most profound to me, were “better” teachers—it’s just that sometimes someone comes along at the right time, and gives you something when you need it most. So, to you, what they did was immensely profound.

So, here’s my list of thanks to a few of these teachers, going back from the start.

Shirlee Prescott Morgan

(Known as simply “Shirlee” to me!)

Shirlee Prescott Morgan, my first art teacher.

I started getting serious about art when I was about 13 years old. I drew, mostly, and struggled with painting and color. Continue reading “An homage to teachers…”

Animals · paintings · portraits

Jabba the Cat, and the Clague workshop

“Jabba the Cat,” 6×6″ oil on cradled panel.

A recent effort! Jabba the Cat was done as a class project, for an oil painting student I’m currently teaching. We wanted to tackle the many different values and colors in a white animal–where are the values (lights and darks) the lightest? How light? How dark? Continue reading “Jabba the Cat, and the Clague workshop”

paintings · portraits

Micah, from life

“Micah,” 12×16″ oil on cradled panel.

This is a painting started about a year ago, and now finally finished!

The Winter of 2014 (January or something?) I was attending a local painting group run by a fellow artist (and my sometime teacher), Adam Clague. We’d get volunteers to pose for us each week. It was such a good experience for all of us and I hope we can start doing it again. Continue reading “Micah, from life”

Misc. Stuff

Back again, with a landscape!

“Tunnel View” 8×10″ oil on canvas panel.

I return to this blog, bearing a landscape. I don’t do many landscapes, something which I find a terrible pity, so I’m working on rectifying that, and here’s my latest effort.

Apologies for not updating the blog sooner, it’s been a hectic month—and a frustrating one—because other duties prevented me from painting as much as I’d like. I have several works half-done, but this is the first so far that’s ready to be shown. I’m determined to do more painting from now on. It’s been too long away from the studio, and that is unacceptable!

I did this painting at a recent workshop with Adam Clague, who is primarily a figurative painter but also is delving into landscapes (and doing a magnificent job!). Continue reading “Back again, with a landscape!”


An Apple, and Alkyds

My absence from this blog should not be interpreted to mean that I haven’t been painting! I’ve got several new works lined up, as well as other things, art-related, going on.

“Apple” 6×8″ oil on panel. Painted from life.

This was painted a few days ago, from a simple still life setup at my studio. I painted with fellow artist Diane, who has previously worked mostly from acrylics and wants to get into oils. Continue reading “An Apple, and Alkyds”

paintings · portraits

Blue Dreads – oil on panel

Yep, another study from a stock photo I found on DeviantArt! This time it’s a fellow named This-is-RArt. I loved his blue dreadlocks.

Blue Dreads, 5×7″ oil on panel

I’m studying warm and cool tones, and how they relate to the portrait especially. After attending a workshop taught by Adam Clague, I have felt like something has “clicked” and I’m seeing things differently! It’s strange, because it’s not like I didn’t “see” before—I’ve been drawing and painting for a long time. Continue reading “Blue Dreads – oil on panel”


After a long absence . . .

There’s really no excuse for such a long absence from this blog. Other than I’ve been busy and that a lot of positive changes have happened!

I’ve been studying more, and was able to attend a workshop taught by a wonderful young artist, Adam Clague. I’ve also taken some private lessons with him. His instruction has helped me immeasurably and I’m so grateful to him!

And, I’ve been able to paint a lot more, and work from life a lot more. These are vitally important to an artist’s development.

And lastly, I got myself a new studio! It’s a mess, but was very much needed. One of my friends said that renting this studio has given me more confidence and “seriousness” about my art. I think she’s right.

Well, that’s enough of the updates. Here are a few paintings that I’ve done in the last few months:

“Green Ribbon in Her Hair” oil on panel, 8×8″.

I whine about this painting, but I’m glad it’s done. I was trying to apply many of the things I’ve learned under Adam Clague’s tutelage. I realize that there’s much more to learn. I had fun with this painting, using some Charvin brand paint (with a limited palette). I love all the variety of colors available from Charvin.


“Zorn Palette, Jason Aaron Baca” 5×7″ oil on gessobord.

Thank you to Jason Aaron Baca on DeviantArt for the use of the stock photo as reference. Photographer Portia Shao: positivevista.com/ Model: Jason Aaron Baca http://jasonaaronbaca.deviantart.com/

I really enjoyed painting this little study. It was painted entirely with the “Zorn Palette,” a limited palette consisting of only: Vermillion Red (orange-red), Yellow Ochre, Black, and White.

The palette is inspired by Anders Zorn, who is getting a lot of attention from artists lately. (He recently had a big show in San Francisco.) In some of his paintings he focused so much on form and value, as well as temperature (“warm” vs. “cool” colors) that he could get by with just these four colors! The black paint is “cool” (almost blueish) and can substitute for a blue when needed.

You’ll see in the painting above the greenish tints in his 5-o’clock shadow, as well as the background color? All done with these four colors. I mixed the black and yellow together to get the green, and black and white gave me a “cool” grey (which can almost pass for a muted blue) which I used in the background.

The Zorn Palette is awesome. It helps the artist focus on values and shapes and brushwork, without agonizing too much over a myriad of color mixing choices. Sometimes, you don’t need any other colors other than the Zorn four (white, black, red, and yellow!).