3.07.2017

Washington Mountain Scene

A mountain scene painted for friends at GearTerra.com. 
48 x 36 inches in oil on 1.5 inch thick canvas.

Ray Dunlap Artist

Tribute to a friend and his way with words.  Artist Ray Dunlap.
About 9 x 12 inches on board. Mixed media - acrylic, wood, paper, and ink.

Star Flow COD4

"COD" style made with adding dots to contrast with the flow patterns.  
About 12 x 18 inches on canvas board. Acrylic.

Swirls

I set up a checkerboard type pattern and in each space I swirled 2-3 different colors with the end of a paintbrush.  Unfortunately I didn't get a very good photo of this before I sent it to a friend in Houston. The photo is slightly tilted as you can see.  
About 18 x 24 inches on 1.5 inch thick canvas.  Acrylic.

4.11.2016

The art (or lack thereof) in spontaneity

I was just thinking tonight about what makes a great painting, and thinking about all the contemporary art I see these days.   There are so many artists that think great art is made by just slopping paint in all directions, filling up the canvas.  And in the early stages of learning, I think that's a typical approach (speaking as one who's never been to art school).   And it makes sense...often it's just great to see how different colors react to eachother, and to see how the paint flows or drips.  We become convinced that we have developed an artists spontaneity and an eye for great art.  In fact, we often become attached to our own creations. 

I certainly followed this path for many paintings.  More than I want to admit.  But to continue to progress in talent, an artist has to objectively evaluate their paintings alongside the many thousands of paintings out there online and everywhere else they exist.  If we're very honest with ourselves, so many of those abstract techniques have been done many, many times before.  Drip paintings (in the Pollock style), flow paintings, basic brush stroke paintings, geometric paintings,...they're everywhere. Are your paintings really demonstrating anything new or interesting?   Do they at least follow some basic principles of design, or are they literally just slapped on paint in all directions?   

I think real spontaneity, and the kind that looks organic, is very hard to do.  As soon as we put the first brushstroke down on the canvas, or the first shape (however it's created), our minds start to fall into old patterns and techniques.  I sometimes think abstracts can be done better by a machine or a blind person who is not influenced with what already exists on the canvas.  As for me nowadays, I think an artist who is progressing is intentionally trying new approaches and new techniques, often. And willing to really seek out critical feedback.  Ask yourself what you bring uniquely to your craft.  Maybe you haven't hit that point yet, but the artists I appreciate are those who are always striving for innovation and creativity.

4.09.2016

I don't like the color black.

Here's a bit of a disclaimer.  I'm not an expert at color but I am definitely finding that the differnce between an amateur painting and a more professional one must definitely include attention to details like color.   Now to the point... I don't like using black.  I don't see the color in nature very much and so when I use black in a painting, it looks un-natural.  It's like a shortcut color to get a dark value effect on a painting.  But I think it's a bit too much of a shortcut, especially for landscapes.  Even the night sky is not really true black but perhaps more of a very dark blue + brown.   Paintings with deep blues and deep browns feel richer and more interesting to me.  That said, I don't doubt the power of grays.  It think a master painter will typically be a master of using gray.  It provides those subtle variations that really are in nature but are difficult to observe.

3.21.2016

Le lieu de peche

New abstract art piece created by combining many of the elements from previous paintings, such as circles, dots, lines, and scratching through the paint.   
48 x 24 x 1.5 inches oil on canvas.

1.13.2016



I like to take old black and white photographs as pieces in colorful paintings.   This is a collage of four different photos - the house, car, motorcycle, and the biplane.  The plane is called a Curtis JN-4 Canuck, painted from a photo by Don Parsons, (permission provided).
18 x 24 inch oil on canvas

Untitled 3 January 2016

Here's the first start at a move to get back to color mixing type of abstract.  I see a lot of this kind of art but I want to add in some of my own techniques to create interesting shapes during the mixing process as well as afterwards, adding in some shapes and modifications after paint has dried.

12.13.2015

Yang Hyang in Korea


My wife, from a photo when we were dating in Korea, about 1992. Someone told me she doesn't look Asian in this photo, but she does have big round eyes in real life.  10 x 10 watercolor on watercolor paper

11.12.2015

Kathe Kollwitz

Kathe Kollwitz was an engraver and artist from Germany who focused on anti-war messages and the plight of the poor.
12 x 12 inches oil on canvas board

Old Harley Davidson

Painted from an old black and white photograph.  12 x 9 inches watercolor on watercolor paper.

9.28.2015

Musky


Digital sketch made using deviantArt's dA muro app

Dot Pipes

Digital Sketch made using deviantArt's dA muro app

Corridor

Digital sketch made using the create app on the HP Sprout PC.

School of Fish

Digital Sketch using DeviantArt's dA muro

Seashell

Digital sketch

Contemplating Other Worlds

24 x 18 inches acrylic on canvas

Curly Head 5

14 x 11 acrylic on canvas board

Around the Pond



Can you see the bird and fishes? :) 24 x 18 acrylic on canvas.

Through My Heart

A fun color-mixing experiment!  This is 24 x 18 inches, acrylic on canvas.

Electrons #1

24 x 18 inches acrylic on canvas

Electrons #2

24 x 18 inches acrylic on canvas

Electrons #3

24 x 18 inches acrylic on canvas

The dog Roo

My cousin asked me to paint her dog, "Roo" for her. 18 x 14 inches oil on canvas.

Golden Pockets

Mixed media with cardboard, gold paint, other acrylic paints, and nylon strings

Shackleton portrait

Portrait of Ernest Shackleton, explorer of the Antarctic and expedition leader.  Oil on canvas board. 

Impressionist Landscape

16 x 20 inches acrylic on canvas. $125

Re-Ionization


A colorful abstract roughly based on the color change new galaxies undergo early in their formation. This painting won the "Most Creative" award at the Silicon Valley Food and Art Show in 2015. 30 x 40 inches oil on canvas.  $750

Elise


Portrait of my daughter Elise, 12 x 9 inches charcoal on charcoal paper. 

Ben and Bella at the Beach


Watercolor, 12 x 9 inches on watercolor paper.

Castle Mespelbrunn #2


2nd painting of Mespelbrunn I've done.  This is watercolor, 12 x 9 inches, on watercolor paper.

Survivor, Researcher


Simon Wiesenthal, the Nazi war criminal hunter.   In an interview someone asked him if he considered himself an Historian (after having written a number of books)... He said no, he's more of a Researcher.  In a speech he asked that people not consider him a Hero.... Rather, he said, every day of his life after WWII he has considered himself just a Survivor who could not let the victims down.  He had to search for justice for the victims.  12 x 12 inches, oil on canvas panel.  

Overcome


Image painted based on a B&W photo of a soldier overcome by the reality of a Nazi concentration / death camp at the end of WWII.  12 x 9 inches watercolor on watercolor paper.

Davenport


A new kind of style I'm pursuing using circles to create an impressionist piece.  
20 x 16 inches oil on canvas

One Starry Night

Digital sketch of Van Gogh based on one if his pencil self portraits. 

1.22.2015

Flower Pot Asbstract

Very large, I need to add the size and I need to add a better picture. This is acrylic on canvas.

11.26.2014

Fossils

This one is 18 x 24 inches.  I worked it over many times to get it to a point where I was satisfied with it.  Now I really like it and want to pursue more like this one.
oil on canvas

Towns

This reminds me of towns people construct over a rough landscape. 
16 x 20 inches oil on canvas.

Cappucino Abstract #3 "Fissure"

This is an experiment in using acrylic paint and mixing it on the canvas.   But the final layers were washed off with a garden hose.   That makes a sort of unique texture you don't normally see.
16 x 20 inches acrylic on canvas.

11.20.2014

Battle of the Somme

Scene from the Battle of the Somme documentary.   The battle lasted over 4 months and resulted in over a million killed or wounded.
36 x 48 inches, oil on canvas.

10.24.2014

Cappucino abstract #2

This is the 2nd in a series of 3 very different abstracts that I made with a few shades of brown and tan. I felt like Jackson Pollock while doing this one!
16 x 20 inches acrylic on canvas.

Hold That Thought

As the world is moving around us we capture little pieces of what we see, hear, smell, feel in our memories.
28 x 22 oil on canvas.  Sold

10.18.2014

Digital Footprint

This painting started out as a color-mixing but it just seemed very unbalanced between the red-yellow areas and the blue-green areas.   So I started adding in some other shapes to try and make it more balanced and interesting.   Some of these shapes I added in after looking at Klimt's paintings.   
20 x 28 inches acrylic on canvas.