Monday, December 17, 2012


And this is what you get when a professional takes the photographs:






Laura & Victor






Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6 - 3 Hours

It's Thursday night and only the second weeknight I've spent in the studio this week.  I have 11 days.  Well, 10, really.  To make 2 more paintings and complete everything else that is necessary for my first graduate school application.  Deadline : December 17.  Eeeek.

Soundtrack - Crystal Castles (III), Cults (Cults), Dark Dark Dark (Who Needs Who), Doug Burr (O Ye Devastator)

Piece(s) worked on - Ahmad; Sam

I've really given myself some liberty with this piece.  The textures alone are a bit of a departure from my typical style.  I can't even tell you how much fun I had painting this shirt.... Although, while abstracting can be more loose and "easy," it presents a whole new slew of formal challenges.  I got to a point tonight where I am happy - nay - excited about it.  Uh-huh.
Glare...oh how I loathe thee...
 There's something about the light quality on the figure that I'm pleased with.  Perhaps I'm getting better at this painting thing (or one would hope).  This concludes piece #13!

I'm really loving this bit up close

Sam is a lovely lady whose portrait I started tonight. Her space was quickly decided upon as a specific bench on the shore of a her neighborhood lake.  We went there together, and got plenty of reference photos, people watched, etc.  Then, as we got back to her apartment, she nestled in between the couch cushions and said this was also her space.  The effect this posture and environment had on Sam was immediate.  She was at ease.  It's a lot of pressure to have someone examining your every move and documenting it, which is why there's usually an element of discomfort in these portraits.  It was clear that this space truly belongs to Sam.

First sketch

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December 2 - 3 Hours

Sunday - Today I had the pleasure of seeing Jeff Sorensen's glass works in person.  He is one talented and hard working guy; seeing the size and variety of his pieces was truly inspiring.  Also, after a much needed trip to Utrecht, I was able to size some canvases that have been patiently waiting for a coat or two.

Soundtrack - Jeremy Messersmith (The Reluctant Graveyard), The National (High Violet - x2 #obsessed)

Piece worked on - Ahmad

More than one opinion was shared with me to STOP NOW on this face, and, luckily, I felt the same way.  So I did very minimal correcting today and I promise, I oath, I swear on Dior that I will not touch it ever again.  Now is the task of matching styles for his hands & legs, which I think I'm handling pretty well.  I haven't felt this good about a piece in a long time.

Again, apologies for the poor photographs:

shadows. love shadows.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1 - 3 Hours


Soundtrack - Joni Mitchell (Blue), Martha Wainwright (Martha Wainwright), My Brightest Diamond (Bring Me the Workhorse) --- yes, channeling some strong femininity tonight

Piece worked on - Ahmad

I need to try to keep myself from making any changes to his face.  I'm loving just how good the likeness is right now; the rough color blocks lend themselves well to the mood of this piece.  So, hopefully, I will not touch it further!

Friday, November 30, 2012

November 30 - 3 Hours

Friday - Feeling the pressure!!!  First application is due in 17 days.  I need 3 more finished pieces before then.  And all the other supporting materials too.  No use stressing, right?  #yeahright

Yes, I just hash-tagged in my art blog...uhoh

Soundtrack - Aimee Mann.  Lots of Aimee Mann.

Piece worked on - Ahmad

3 hours really flew in the studio today.  I really am surprised that much time went by.  WHICH MEANS it was a good productive night and things went well.  He's coming along quite nicely!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 28 - 1.5 Hours

Soundtrack - Local Natives (Gorilla Manor), Ralph Vaughan Williams (Fantasia on a Theme - 15 minute songs are awesome)

Piece worked on - Ahmad

I am having so much fun with this one - sometimes I forget how much I love to paint.  Tonight, I remembered.

Still sketching...

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26 - 3 Hours

Soundtrack - Joshua James (From the Top of Willamette Mountain), Alela Diane (To Be Still), Crystal Castles (III)

Piece(s) worked on - Laurie.  I put the finishing touches on this piece today - mostly hair work.  I'm really pleased with how soft it all looks and how mysterious her expression is.  12/20 - it really does feel amazing to cross another name off my list.
Glare is inevitable at this stage - but the colors are close to true.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November 25 - 4 Hours

Well look who has been doing a rubbish job of updating the blog?  This does NOT mean I haven't been painting...  The holiday weekend helped me get a few more hours in this weekend and I'm pleased to say that I have made some progress (albeit, not enough, but progress is progress, eh?).

Soundtrack - Ella Fitzgerald (Ella: Love Songs), Father John Misty (Fear Fun), Fiest (Let it Die), LCD Soundsystem (This is Happening)

Piece(s) worked on - Laurie; Ahmad

First, here's a picture of Luke's portrait (finished).  The glare is very annoying in the photo, but, alas, no new camera has been purchased, so glare will have to do for now.
Luke (finished)
I've been working on the portrait of Laurie for so many months...reworking, even restarting completely.  The frustrating/rewarding relationship of painting has truly manifested itself in this piece.  When Laurie was posing, she chose accessories and clothing from her incredible collection.  The necklace, crochet sweater and fur stole added important and challenging aspects to this portrait - leading to more time and failed attempts to truly depict them as intended.  I'm very happy with how those details have turned out.  Now to complete her amazing mane of hair...
Laurie - almost done!
My favorite bit in detail
I rarely post photos when the paintings are this rough, but I'm excited to try a more Francis Bacon inspired background for Ahmad's existential portrait.  Palette knifing and outlining.  Yes.
Ahmad - 2nd layer

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November 11 - 3.5 Hours

Soundtrack - Elliott Smith (Figure 8), The National (High Violet), Turin Brakes (Ether Song)

***can you tell it was a rainy day?

Piece(s) worked on - Luke.  I'm pretty much done - just a few shadowy details left.  And then calling it done.  11/20.

Apologies for the reflection-wet paint will do that.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 8 - 3 Hours

Thursday - Today marks my half way point.  I officially have 10 pieces done and feel so good about it.  Yes, I'm still behind schedule, but - YES - 1/2 way there (livin on a prayer?).

Soundtrack - Sharon Van Etten (Epic), Washed Out (Within and Without), Woods (Bend Beyond)

Piece(s) worked on - Nik; Laurie; Luke.  I finally finished Nik.  The paint is too wet for a decent photo, but I'll post one soon.  I got more background work done on Laurie.  And started Luke.  Luke couldn't decide on a specific place that he identifies with, so he went with : everywhere.  So here's Luke in front of a green screen. 
a start
This was seriously the most fun I've had painting in a really long time.  There may be something to this loose and chunky style.  Regardless, for a first layer, I'm incredibly happy with it.
First layer done!
The wall of finished pieces is growing...Nik, in the middle, is finally done!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 7 - 2.5 Hours

Wednesday - Things are getting crazy stressful.  And when I say things, I mean life.  To apply to the schools I want to ... I need 20 pieces done by the end of the year.  I'm almost at 10.  It's November.  So I went to meditation tonight.  Thank you, Common Ground, for being right nextdoor to my studio.

Soundtrack - Frank Ocean - (channel ORANGE), P.O.S (We Don't Even Live Here)

Piece(s) worked on - Nik.  SO. CLOSE. TO. FINISHED.  Of course I had to re-do everything else since the face had to be re-done.  Yes, his hair has maroon color in it right now; it's all a part of the plan.

Look whose eyes are the right distance apart now!!!

November 6 - 3 Hours

Election Day - OBAMA.  Marriage & Voter ID discrimination amendments defeated.  

Soundtrack - 89.3 The Current.  Listening to great music AND political updates.

Piece(s) worked on - Nik.  Sometimes I re-do paintings.  I realized the face just wasn't right.  I loved the expression, but the proportions STILL weren't there.  (Math never was my best subject...)  I started correcting his face a while ago.  Here's the orig:

Eyes way too close together 

And here it is with the right side re-done:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November 2 & 4 - 7 Hours

Sunday - Besides the fact that I'm now 3 paintings behind schedule Things are moving along quite well.  I'm getting that all too familiar nothing-is-going-according-to-plan feeling which manifests in ADD.  Which means, I'm starting multiple paintings without finishing one.  At least I'm working, right?  Right.

Soundtrack - Jens Lekman (I Know What Love Isn't), Florence & The Machine (Lungs), Neko Case (Blacklisted; Middle Cyclone), Chromatics (Kill for Love), The Raconteurs (Broken Boy Soldier)

On Friday (in progress)
Piece(s) worked on - Sydnee; Luke; Sam; Ahmad

Sydnee is finished!  As her place was Lake of the Isles during a run, I needed the portrait to convey the sense of motion.  This gal is always on the move as well, so keeping that in mind, I needed her to be literally moving on the canvas. Easier said than done.  I'm very happy with the composition and blur-like look of her body.  This is a step in the right direction for me stylistically, and I hope to continue to hone this technique.  For now, it is done.  Goodnight.
Finished (for now)

The colors are truer in this close-up.  I really need a new camera.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 23, 27 & 28 - 8 Hours

Background detail
 Lapse in blogging/lapse in motivation.  It's not that I don't have an incredible amount of stress motivation to finish my portfolio by the quickly approaching deadlines...because I do.  Life is starting to really conflict with studio time, and the unfortunate reality of having a time-consuming full time job is leaving me exhausted these days.  I'm trying to channel my undergrad lifestyle of going to class, working 8 hours and then going back to the studio for hours before sleeping for a few hours and repeating the same thing the next day.  Perhaps I'm getting to old for that?  Forcing myself to go to the studio is only half the battle; I have to make some progress too!

Soundtrack - Bear in Heaven (I Love You, It's Cool), Death Cab for Cutie (Transatlanticism), Amanda Palmer (Theatre is Evil), The Shins (Chutes Too Narrow), Gary Clark Jr. (Blak and Blu), Dry the River (Shallow Bed), Cat Power (Sun), Local Natives (Gorilla Manor), Washed Out (Within and Without)

Piece(s) worked on - Syndee; building/stretching/priming new canvases

I've always shied from landscapes because I'm simply not interested in painting leaves/trees/water, etc.  When something is difficult, it's a good challenge -- this is one of the reasons that I love painting the face.  So the challenge of a lake scene was...challenging...but also really frustrating and time consuming.  However, I'm very pleased with the outcome and how impressionistic it ended up being.

Background is finally finished!
Not a happy brush anymore - I am way too rough with these delicate instruments.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22 - 3 Hours

Monday - Another beautiful fall evening in the studio with my windows open....Sydnee came by to see my progress and it was a joy to have her sitting next to me while painting her.  

Soundtrack - Radiohead (Hail to the Thief, In Rainbows, Kid A, The King of Limbs)

Piece(s) worked on - Sydnee.  Things seemed to come together with the layers nicely today.  I'm quite excited about it :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October 21 - 8 Hours

Sunday - Funday = Studio Day.  It was gorgeous, perfect fall weather today.  Thank you, windows for allowing me not to miss it.  Thanks also to my sister for bringing me lunch & her little urchins in to run around for a few minutes.  It was a nice break!

Soundtrack - The Beatles (Revolver, Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band, Help, Let it Be, Magical Mystery Tour), Passion Pit (Manners), Phoenix (It's Never Been Like That), Meshell Ndegecollo (Weather)

Piece(s) worked on - Laurie; Nik; making new canvases.  I've had issues today keeping on task with one painting.  Good thing I have more than one going right now.  And nothing breaks up painting like stretching and priming canvases.  I stretched & gessoed 3 new ones and applied the first layer of ground on 5 others.  Felt good to accomplish something today!

October 19 - 2 Hours

Friday - After 3 days off in the middle of the week, today seemed like a Monday and a Friday all in the same day.  So confused.

Soundtrack - eeeeeh, Top-40-guilty-pleasure night apparently - Rihanna (Loud), Lady Gaga (The Fame Monster)

Piece(s) worked on - Nik.  But, Nik was done, right?  Yeah, about that...I decided I wasn't happy with the face.  So, much like I did with Lindsay's portrait, I started with a new layer of shadow color.  And the entire face.  I realized I put 10 extra pounds on him.  {how terrible}  Also, working with a depth of field idea, I chunked up the paint a bit and am going to try to make the face more blurry and subdued.  Because, you know, I don't have enough to do and am not anxious at all about getting 20 done, I decide to re-do one.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

October 18 - 8 Hours

Thursday - The past few days I've been driving around Iowa, Illinois & Indiana looking at MFA programs.  The experience was incredibly valuable and has filled me with even more excitement to get this show on the road.  I got home earlier than planned and so had a day off at home today which led me to spend almost all day in the studio.  So happy/tired/excited.  Going to the non-art bill-paying job tomorrow morning is going to be that much harder.

Soundtrack - Neko Case (Middle Cyclone), Al Green (I'm Still in Love With You), Heartless Bastards (Arrow), Phantogram (Eyelid Movies & Nightlife), Beach House (Bloom), Lord Huron (Lonesome Dreams) 

Piece(s) worked on - Eric; Lindsay; Sydnee.  I finished Eric (and love it) and worked more (again) on Lindsay.  I didn't have the fleshy glow right in her portrait and I think I finally did get it tonight.  Pictures coming once the paint is dry.

Eric - done!
So happy with how this bit worked!!

So many canvases to make & prime:

Also got a good 1st figure layer on Sydnee's piece done.  

Sydnee in her place - running around Lake of the Isles