Thursday, April 24, 2014

Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 11

"Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 11"
watercolor on paper, 2014
5¾"  x 7¾" (14.605cm x 19.685cm)
For sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

This study is more of a detail than previous ones. I am figuring out the shapes within the rubble.
The even light of being in shadow makes it a challenge since I don't have the advantage of light and cast shadow to aid in revealing form. This forces me to not just see the shapes but really design them and edit a lot. It takes a clearer understanding of what is going on to make it work. I know because I have done several of these that did not pan out.280

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Some Thoughts on the CPC Ruins Series (so far)

I'm working on some other projects right now so I'm reluctantly pausing on these studies.
Here are some of my thoughts and observations after the first ten. I have done more but some did not work out.

Even a simple idea or motif can have endless possibilities and I am not short of those in this series.

It does not matter what the subject is VISUALLY, these could just as well be landscape rock formations, still life's or ancient ruins, which I am basing them on. I chose the ruins of the industrial landscape.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Study 7

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Study 4

For the artist the same concerns apply the moment you sit down and begin working. You are faced with all the design issues of value, shape, composition, color etc.

But really all those are merely tools put to work to make the picture and present some idea or record some observation. You have to mold them into your vision.

The hard part is figuring out HOW to say it. And the combinations are limitless.
That is one reason for the studies. Another is to get familiar with the subject.

Some of these studies have a monumental scale to them as in 3 (below), 4 and 7 (above), while others rest within the picture frame peacefully like 6 and 8 (below).

Study 3

Study 6
Study 8

Study 9 (below) is close to that monumental scale but is pulled back ever so slightly. It makes a subtle difference. This is middle distance cropped close. It is a little less commanding.

The relationship of distance and cropping is very much like any relationship of the art elements, they can be separated but are really tied together.
Crop in close on an object, from a near, middle and far distance and you get 3 different results  relating to perspective and our perception.

Study 9

In Study 9,  in addition to the practical reasons I noted in the post, I wanted to downplay its overall block shape. To do this I needed to put the focus on some other feature in order to modify its shape.
I de-emphasized the blockish straight sides by making the value close to that of the sky, losing its edges, then concentrated on the busted up concrete in shadow, climbing from the corner to its scooped out top.

Simply by adjusting values up or down you can overcome predominant shapes to suit your end goal.

Study 2 could have that monumental sense too but is tamed somewhat through values and edges. And even though it is cropped tight like Study 3 its angles are less severe. It makes a difference.

Study 2

No one factor or element really does it on its own. It is the interplay of the various combinations.

See my Daily Paintworks page for available works from this series.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 10

"Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 10"
watercolor on paper, 2014
7¾"  x 5¾" (19.685cm x14.605cm)
For sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

I pushed more color in this one compared to previous ones. I am still figuring out what I want to do and say with this series so in the experimental stage I am putting down whatever comes to mind.

As in others from this series of studies this one shows the excavator, but while at rest.
The 'Ruins' sub-series focuses on the plant, during its demise, but at its periods of inactivity. Much closer to the silence of ancient ruins in their depictions.
But here the silence is only for its short periods, not years and years... here it is brief.
So the excavator lingers nearby, ready to go at it again.

I like the bright artificial color of the machine against the earthy colors of the ruins. Coming in from the corner it does seem at the ready.279

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 9

"Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 9"
watercolor on paper, 2014
7¾"  x 5¾" (19.685cm x14.605cm)
For sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

This one is similar to study 2 in palette, a palette of earthy color favoring the gray-greens, layer upon layer, but painted harder edged and more defined.

It is the same section of building as studies 4 and 7 but different views and at different times in the demolition.

The left side is kept light in value, especially the lower left corner to avoid any uncomfortable near-tangent. This allows for the tighter cropping with the structure pushed left and off center but still opens up the picture (frame) to let the light filter in.
The real substance of the painting is the shadow. It's where all the visual action takes place, busy and energetic against the sky and smooth face of concrete collectively.278

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 8

"Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 8"
watercolor on paper, 2014
7¾"  x 5¾" (19.685cm x14.605cm)
For sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

Again while looking at the art of ruins from history I take my cue from them so this view is presented from what I would call a middle distance.

The emphasis is on the talus in the foreground, ramping up toward the ruins so the color temperature  variation really takes place there, the background is left cool. The placement of the sun also creates a wedge-shaped shaft of light further emphasizing the talus.

The sky is slightly darker than the this photo so the painting looks almost like a moonlit night.

I might make changes/improvements in another version of this, but that is the point of studies, to explore options.277

Friday, March 14, 2014

Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 7

"Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 7"
watercolor on paper, 2014
7¾"  x 5¾" (19.685cm x14.605cm)
For sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

One thing I have noted while doing these recent studies is the absolutely great negative shapes that jut in and around the positive shapes of the ruins.

If you see this recent watercolor and this one from 2012 you can see the plant in its previous form rose into the skyline as a solid brick. It is a different animal in its battered state.

The previous 3 and 4 have those great negative shapes, that puzzle piece of sky. Some are sharp and jagged, slicing into the concrete as in study 3, others blunt and round, the middle punched open and exposed as in 4.

I love the alternating rhythm of the negative sky shape in this study. The sky punches down into the ruins then the ruins punch back up into the sky, again the sky punches back.

I have to really pay attention to this and use it to my benefit.

This one is another (near) monochromatic in black watercolor. I first laid down a wash of pale yellow to give it an underlying warmth.

Again, as in study 4, the forward most column of concrete and its base separate from the rest.
In this one warmer and lighter in value but raked in a half light instead of a reflected light, the shadows streaking diagonally.276

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 6

"Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 6"
watercolor on paper, 2014
7¾"  x 5¾" (19.685cm x14.605cm)
For sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

I have always had a love for images of ancient ruins. I can't believe it has taken so long to do my own.
This study is the one most rooted in art history that I've done so far.

It has that romantic vision so often seen in the art from the past, it's airy with soft dreamy light and plenty of sky.

But again a hint of the excavator, modern machinery, to anchor it to the present.275

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 5

"Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 5"
watercolor on paper, 2014
5¾"  x 7¾" (14.605cm x 19.685cm)
For sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

Although this is a more tightly controlled study my goal was to push the color. Not only rich saturated color but especially the warms and cools.

Here I placed the warms to the left side, the direction of the sun.
But there are cools interspersed, as in the tanks and the standing concrete slab, so it ties into the right side.

On the two archways I went to extremes. Although both are in shadow I painted one warm and one cool to show their different directions in the environment.
Sometimes despite their shapes forms can flatten out, especially when they are the same value. One way to 'turn the form' or show their different directions is through warms and cools and not value.

This is all part of doing these studies, to try out as many variations and ideas as possible.274

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 4

"Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 4"
watercolor on paper, 2014
7¾"  x 5¾" (19.685cm x14.605cm)
For sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

With each study I do I play off a previous one to improve some point, test an idea or do some kind of variation. See previous two posts to see how they relate to each other.

This study has a hint more red and yellow to it than the previous monochromatic one. A whisper of burnt sienna and naples yellow in the mix, but only in and just enough to separate the horizontal broken concrete slab and what it rests on from the standing structure. Value plays a role too. I left it slightly lighter even though it is all in shadow (the sky has yellow only).
Together they impart a warm reflected light and essentially give me a foreground (the slab), a middle ground (standing structure) and background (the sky) and increases the depth in what would otherwise be a shallow depth of field.

The subtle color variations also give it a richness; from slightly yellower sky to the darker sepia brown to the red-orange of the foreground to the very important razor thin traces of the stark white paper,  referred to as rim lighting when backlit.273

Monday, March 10, 2014

Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 3

"Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 3"
watercolor on paper, 2014
5¾"  x 7¾" (14.605cm x 19.685cm)
For sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

I decided to try out some monochromatic studies. Many ruins drawings from art history are done this way and it gives it that old world feel. Once again holding the modern against the traditional.

I like this oblique view from the shadow side with the foreground bathed in light.
The dark shadow rising in the middle ground commands attention despite not being the largest element in the picture, it's all about staging sometimes. Light foreground, dark middle ground, middle range background (sky).
All of it conveys the massive weight of tons of concrete.

This one, although very similar to study 2 in composition, is its polar opposite, commanding and weighty vs light and airy.
Color aside,  just by utilizing different value ranges and controlling edges two entirely qualities come out of each.272

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 2

"Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 2"
watercolor on paper, 2014
5¾"  x 7¾" (14.605cm x 19.685cm)
For sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

This study is almost not recognizable as architecture at first look. I don't mind. That in itself might be a contemporary sensibility.

The point of doing studies is searching and one reason for doing these small is to record as quickly as possible my impressions without getting hung up on one for long. My mind is ripe with ideas and I must get them down. Sometimes our initial thoughts are the best ones.

A close-in detail study like this will familiarize me with all the shapes with-in the greater picture.
My mindset here was the rough jagged torn up steel and concrete presented in a soft light. Two opposites.271

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 1

"Catalina Pacific Concrete - Ruins Study 1"
watercolor on paper, 2014
5¾"  x 7¾" (14.605cm x 19.685cm)
For sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

I am on a little detour from working on seascapes so the next few posts will be of this continuing series.
As you will see I am trying out various approaches, from simpler and looser to tightly controlled. Some are rooted in art history tradition and may have that slightly romantic sentiment while others will have a more contemporary bent.

These 'Ruins' and the 'Demolition', first of it here, are both sub-series within my larger Catalina Pacific Concrete series.

The 'Ruins' focuses on the plant finally coming down. I have known for some time it would eventually happen so I kept an eye on it.
As I watched it slowly being razed I noticed the similarities between it and studies and paintings of ancient ruins from throughout art history.
I simply had to do these now. Strike while the iron is hot (sorry seascape lovers).

I will delve deep into this one and do larger versions in watercolor and in oil paint. For now I need to take a long deliberate look through studies.

In this first study I included the sign, light pole, fencing and the yellow arm of the excavator. I most often do this in my work, show some of the surrounding utilities, to lock it into the present.

My work is never a mere stylistic or subject rehashing of the past. Although some studies may focus in on the architecture in its ruined state, without the surrounding modern utilities and thus be a touch ambiguous, overall I want no confusion as to when and where it belongs. I live today so that is what I show.
I do however like the interplay of historical ruins artwork against my own contemporary versions.270

Friday, March 7, 2014


"Old Boat"
watercolor on illus. board, 2013
16" x 24" (40.64cm x 60.96cm)
For sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

I saw this old boat in the marina in the LA Harbor and it looked as though at one time it was being restored then was just abandoned midstream.
Although there was plenty in the background my treatment of this subject reflects my impression rather than its reality, its blank existence.

I originally began this as a sunrise scene but more or less let that go in favor of a more ghostly haunting lighting.

The green fencing was needed for compositional reasons but other than that I intentionally left the composition bare and sparse including leaving out some of the struts that held her up.
The dark ground plane helped to anchor the boat, keep it from visually floating away and to weigh it down psychologically.269

Links to similar themes in my work:
Tied up Dog
Gutted like a fish
Spot Lighted
Urban River 3
Industrial Purgatory

Thursday, March 6, 2014

HB Power Plant Landscape

"HB Power Plant Landscape"
oil on panel, 2013
6" x 8" (15.24cm x 20.32cm)
For sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

Here I painted the Huntington Beach California Power Plant from Costa Mesa. I have heard talk that it is going to be torn down although I have not confirmed it.
But with that in mind I decided to paint it from afar. The idea of it eventually disappearing from the landscape as new life springs up.

The power plant is pale in comparison to the vibrancy of the foreground.

The lively brighter vegetation painted with a sort of lyrical rhythm, pulsating with life while the background, nearly monochromatic, dissipates into the coastal atmosphere.268

Sunday, February 23, 2014


"Catalina Pacific Concrete (Demolition 1)"
watercolor on paper, 2014
9" x 12" (22.86cm x 30.48cm)
For sale at Daily Paintworks, CLICK HERE

Here is another from the series.
The old Catalina Pacific Concrete Plant, which I recently found out was built in 1939 if my source is correct, moves one step closer to being erased from the landscape, becoming transparent as its corrugated skin is slowly removed.

It will be odd when it is gone, since it is the only tall structure where it stands and can be seen for blocks in all directions. The skyline will have a noticeable void in it.

Although it has sat untouched for a while it won't be long now. It is going to become a parking lot for the current business that operates there now.

I painted this view with the skyline in mind, showing how the building is (has been) seen against it by leaving it nearly white, a blankness interrupted by the block of a building.
This version has more warms and cools interspersed throughout over previous ones (below), giving it some life just as it is being razed.267

See other versions of it here, here, here, here.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Seascape Cliff Shipwreck

"Seascape Cliff Shipwreck"
oil on panel, 2010
3.5" x 5" (8.89cm x 12.7cm)
private collection

This is another version of the same painting from the previous post.
The biggest difference is the addition of the shipwreck which made it more fun. Other than that the cliff is very similar in color but the background is cool green here, cool purple and orange in the previous.
You can see how in this one there is more separation of the cliff and background, primarily through value.

This is part of the reason for doing studies.266

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Seascape Cliff Crashing Waves

"Seascape Cliff Crashing Waves"
oil on panel, 2010
3.5" x 5" (8.89cm x 12.7cm)
private collection

Here is another small seascape study I did as a gift a few years back. Much like the previous post you can see the saturation of palette is the same. That is what I was doing at the time.

Again, like I said in the previous post, I am looking back at these earlier studies to retrace my thoughts and then decide if there is anything in them I want to pursue for a 2014 series.

I currently have about 15 or 20 works in progress at different stages, in 4 or 5 different series (genres) and various sizes so I don't have a lot to post just yet. I thought I would share these for now.

I have another slightly different version of the above I will post next.
You can at any time click the 'seascape' LABEL and see all the recent and past seascapes and gain a sense of what I am looking towards for a new 2014 series. 265

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Zen Seascape

"Seascape Sunset"
oil on panel, 2009
3.5" x 5" (cm x cm)
private collection

Here is a small seascape study I did as gift a few years back.
Besides the recent ones I have been doing, exploring different directions, I also have been looking back at earlier ones I did.
Sometimes I had thoughts, recorded in these studies, that got lost in the shuffle of other projects and paintings.
Now is the time to consider which ones I will reincarnate for a seascape series.

I stood on the cliffs just before sunset on a calm day at low tide, the water smooth as glass except near the shore where the gentle waves washed over the rocks, radiating these circular ripples. The deep rich saturated colors of sunset reflecting off the water like a stained glass window.

I remember it as having a zen like quality and realized that a view including the sky would turn out to be just another sunset painting and that the sensation (zensation?) was actually in the foreground, no distant horizon was needed. In fact including too much might have defeated it altogether.

I am reminded the sea has many moods, from the stormy to the meditative.264

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Avid Art 2

Ha! Ha! Ha! I made it... Avid Art 2 published January 1 2014 (just barely still counts).

OK, so here it is, Avid Art 2, repped by a bunny, or a rabbit (maybe I should call it rabid art) and it's meant to be cute sardonic or deadpan or something?
But please don't expect too much. I don't even know where it's headed.

What I do know is this one won't be too formal. I will leave it completely open to changing it on a whim if I feel like it.

I may change the header, the colors, the type, the format, the content, who knows. I might even have long run-on sentences (sorry High School English teacher)...  well probably not that last one.

When I decided to do another blog I spent a lot of time thinking about what and how to do it all, nearly driving myself crazy with planning, then it dawned on me, STOP IT! Just do it like a chameleon would and change it if I don't like something. Not everything has to go down a paved road. Every so often it's good to suddenly turn left into the brush, prickly's and all. Go there if you dare.
Link will also be in right column from here on out.

Link to, click AVID ART 2


Here's to a new year and fresh start!
Thank you to all who have helped support Avid Art, all my followers, visitors and commenters (but not the robots who have ruined my stats).

I hope 2014 is a blow-out year for us all!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Avid Art 2 ?

Will I get Avid Art 2 to launch on January 1st 2014? That is the plan.
Sometimes plans go awry but then sometimes they don't.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Villa Riviera Backside

"Villa Riviera Backside"
oil on panel, 2013
6" x 4" (15.24cm x 10.16cm)
Direct link to painting here

The fascinating Villa Riviera in Long Beach California.
I have painted this building a couple times already and always had plans to get back to it. I still don't have clear in my head what exactly I want to do with it or how to portray it. Doing these smaller studies will help me see and decide before doing a larger version.263

12/30/13 I've added this update below:
Two other paintings of Villa Riviera here and here.

*This one gave me fits when I photographed it. I will have to reshoot and repost the image.
**12/29/13 I've updated a more accurate image.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Seascape Dark Rock Study

"Seascape - Dark Rock Study"
oil on panel, 2013
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78)
Direct link to painting here

In my recent seascape studies here is an oil painting. The dark rock against all the white boulders made for a good study in the colors of white on a bright sunny day. I pushed the saturation quite a bit on this one.

If one like this makes it to a larger more finished version I may likely pull back a bit on the saturation. Part of experimenting is pushing things to really find out what can be done. This allowed me to focus on the color cast of each area.262

*I photographed this painting while wet so most of the white specks are glare highlights. When dry I will rephotograph.
*12/28/13 I've uploaded this more accurate pic. Gone are the white highlight specks. Any left are the white of the board showing.

Friday, December 20, 2013

HB Power Plant Backside

"HB Power Plant Backside"
watercolor on paper, 2013
6" x 9" (15.24cm x 22.86cm)
Direct link to painting here

The Huntington Beach Power Plant may be getting torn down soon so I present it from its backside and in the background, the marine layer moving in to engulf it, a device I have used before to indicate an eventual disappearance from the landscape. We get so used to some landmarks around us they become a fixture in our lives and we will notice them more when they are gone one day.261

*The color of this pic is a little off, a bit too pink, but when it leaves my photo editing app it looks right.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Seascape Tide Pools 2

"Seascape Tide Pools 2"
watercolor on paper, 2013
6" x 9" (15.24cm x 22.86cm)
Direct link to painting here

Here is another exploratory seascape. I am doing these in preparation for larger works.
As I experiment with light, atmosphere, seasons, palette, design, moving the horizon up and down etc, I will begin to hone in on one or more series within the larger seascape motif.

This one and the previous "Seascape Tide Pools" both are fair weather versions.260

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Seascape Tide Pools

"Seascape Tide Pools"
watercolor on paper, 2013
6" x 8" (15.24cm x 20.32cm)
Direct link to painting here

One of my goals for 2014 is to do more seascapes. I am beginning to do these smaller watercolors to search out what direction I will take with them. In this painting, at low tide, the tide pools remain relatively calm even when there are waves.
I am sure I will do others of these tide pools since the rocky pools offer some great patterns.259

Monday, December 16, 2013

Train Bridge Study

"Train Bridge Study"
watercolor on paper, 2013
4" x 6" (10.16cm x 15.24cm)
Direct link to painting here

This is a small close-up study of a train bridge over the Los Angeles River. I love the submarine-like shape of its foundation.

I will at some point paint one or more larger versions of this bridge.
Doing studies helps familiarize myself with the complicated structure of this bridge which crosses the river at an angle instead of at 90 degrees. That means there are more angles to work out the perspective of, in fact hardly any 90 degree angles at all.258

Friday, December 13, 2013

Press Telegram #2 - Pile

"Press Telegram #2 (Pile)"
watercolor on paper, 2013
5.5" x 7.5" (13.79cm x 19.05cm)
Direct link to painting here

This is what was left of the Long Beach California Press Telegram, a pile of rubble.
Shoveled into a nice neat pile is the remains of peoples former lives. The paper itself, as it once was, is the story now.

Like many of my industrial subjects the fascination here is all the various shapes.
Whether it is a pile of debris or a hillside in nature does not always matter to an artist. Instead we focus on its artistic values. So this is more of a study for the series. When I figure out what else to say I will use this for another painting.257

"Press Telegram #1" here.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Old House - Zorn Palette

"Old House (Zorn Palette)"    SOLD
watercolor on paper, 2013
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)
Direct link to painting here

This is another in Anders Zorn palette of ivory black, white, yellow ochre and vermillion.
This I did from the photo on the DPW Challenge. I normally don't use someone else's photo but I did like the old abandoned house and they shot the pic from a good angle.

I am finding out by these two that the Zorn palette does not really translate well into watercolor (see last post). For one the ivory black does not give a very good cool blueish gray when mixed with white. I very rarely use tube black in watercolor or oil, preferring to use a chromatic black mixed from ultramarine or cobalt blue and burnt sienna.
Also white mixed into watercolor acts very different than white mixed into oil.256

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Seascape - Zorn Palette

"Seascape (Zorn Palette)"
watercolor on paper, 2013
5" x 7.5" (12.7cm x 19.05cm)
Direct link to painting here

Here is a small watercolor seascape done in Anders Zorn limited palette of ivory black, white, yellow ochre, and vermillion.

The challenge of course was no blue for sky and water. No matter though. I used the white with black to get a cool gray for the distant clouds, black with yellow ochre to get a green gray for the water and generally saved mixes of vermillion and yellow ochre for the rocks. There were a few mixes of three colors but that was for subtly in keys areas, primarily to help turn form.255

*If you saw this previously the color was too warm. I've uploaded a more color accurate pic. 12/12/13

Monday, December 9, 2013

Little Seascape

"Seascape - Cliffs"
oil on panel, 2013
5" x 3.5" (12.7cm x 8.89cm)
Direct link to painting here

Aaah, the marine layer, coastal fog, it is what makes for dramatic light and color.
It is near the perimeter of coastal fog that the deep rich colors live, before they die under its gray canopy. The landscape begins to fall into shadow but there is still enough sunlight to rouse color saturation.254

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Series - Locomotive, PHL 72 Limelight

"PHL 72 Limelight"
oil on panel, 2013
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)

This painting will be featured at Segil Fine Art Gallery in Monrovia California for the Eleventh Annual Holiday Small Works Show.

Opening night is Saturday, December 7th, 2013, from 5-7:00 PM

It is another from my latest locomotive series.

I'm not only using this series to experiment and put down paint in different ways but also looking to make each painting unique in some way, never losing sight of capturing the Southern California light I see everyday all year long.

This was one of those glory moments. I was down in the LA Harbor area and spotted this PHL locomotive towing its prize.

I chased it down, caught it just as it switched tracks, raced back around the corner to get a better position and was just in time to catch it backing up as it passed the lime colored fence. The low-angle afternoon light illuminated the lime green fence, literally and figuratively like a limelight, and since (shiny) black is so reflective... well, you can see.

To further enhance that moment and more importantly my impression of it, I painted the light of a thinly veiled marine layer into the painting for a beautiful atmospheric effect. Gentle, soft, low-slung bright light making long shadows.

I rarely paint a locomotive without having a point of view. No, no, no.
I always see first, the painting in all its totality, then one of a locomotive in its environment. It would be short-sited and do no justice to these mules of the harbor to do a mere depiction of it.

They are the true stars of the harbor. Not the huge bloated 'fat cat' cargo ships waiting to be unloaded, not the pretty white cruise ships with all their 'lace and doilies'.
So their moment in the limelight is well deserved.253

Monday, November 25, 2013

Leibster Award

click image to read

I'm a bit delinquent in getting this post out as I've been busy.

I, along with four others, was recently selected for a Leibster Award by Ricardo Azkargota,  a great watercolorist. The goal of the award is to recognize and promote blogs.
In the spirit of the award we are to choose 3-5 of our own and award them. Each must have fewer than 200 followers.
I must say it was not easy. There are several others I could have chosen and there were others that had over 300 followers already.

I could only come up with 3 that met the requirements and agreed to accept it.
It is very much like those old chain letters, however it is in the spirit of promoting each other that I went forward with it.
In no particular order my 5, 3 choices are:

1. Amanda Fish - I love her light feathery touch of the brush and her sensitive handling of her subjects.

2. Ski Holm - We share a love of the atypical, the subjects not often painted. The industrial and gritty cityscapes.

3. Frank Eber - Great atmospheric watercolors. I enjoy reading his thoughts and insights on painting, something often missed on artists blogs.

4. ---------

5. ---------

Tuesday, November 19, 2013



It's starting to look like I'm going to need another blog.

Something to appeal to my sardonic side.

Stay tuned.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dusk, Dawn, Light and Dark

I have done series and themed works then written about them here on my blog. Most of these ideas have been expressed through the vehicle of the industrial motif, a subject largely ignored since it is most often not pretty.
That is a mistake. It is the idea entrenched within the picture and not the picture itself that is (or should be) important.
I know the risk of doing this means a narrower audience and yet I push on. I can't give it up because it is part of me.
I try to show others what I see and hope they too will see it but only some can, or slow down enough to  pay attention.

I have used the end of the day as a metaphor for ideas.
Aging Relic: "L. B. Plant (Arco Oil Plant)"
The Dying Day: "Catalina Pacific Concrete"
Ponto Storage: "Ponto Storage #1"
Urban River 4: "Santa Ana River #4"
Absorbed by History?: "Linden and Broadway"

I have used light and dark for the same.
Yin and Yang: "Oil Plant #4 (Sunlit Grass)"
"Dark Rain"
"Light Rain"
Melancholy: "Harbor Line #50 (Catalina Pacific Concrete)"
Curtain of Rain: "BNSF (Cajon Puddle)"
Spot-Lighted: "PHL Sulfur Pile"
No House of Cards: "Catalina Pacific Concrete (Storm)"
Crushed By The Sun: "Warehouse Rooftop (w/ Palm)"
Beast of Burden: "Harbor Line #61 (Dusk w/ Engineer)"

And I have used the dead of night too.
Terminated: "Oil Plant Nocturne"
Subdued Energy: "Tree Nocturne (19th St.)"
'Of the Night' 2: "Nocturne - Night Owl"

Lately I have been exploring the beginning of the day and the potential themes of it.
Tied Up Dog: "Relic Sunrise"

Like night and day the dusk and dawn are opposites but also complimentary. They are moving in opposite directions but they share the same moments of light, the day or night ending or beginning.

They are divisions that mark the day and carry their own meanings and associations and can be different to us all. The beginning, the end, but of what?
Neither the beginning nor the end is really tied to any one meaning, it is a matter of personal experiences and perception and most importantly observation. It can be but is not always cheery.

It is not necessarily one of hope, that idea is too common and obvious, just think of all those motivational posters, slogans, images etc., too much and it becomes trite. The new day can also represent despair, for some, as each new day IS another beginning of something. That idea I tackled in the above Tied up Dog: "Relic Sunrise"

It does not always have to be that extreme either, sometimes it's the small melancholy incidentals that are just part of life... the things we encounter daily but ignore, those small incremental changes in the landscape, things we notice briefly then forget, an abandoned object or building.

We are already conditioned to see beauty in nature, the figure etc but you have to look for it in the unpretty.......You need to stop and take notice or you'll miss it. It's there if you look hard enough.
It is the job of the artist to point it out.

I should say I am not a depressive person, never have been, I am happy and like it that way, but many of these things I examine are just part of life and I think examining them is worth doing. Not all artists want to do nothing but happy snappy works so although I don't live mired in it I can still put down my observations on it. That point of view is just as valid.

I am not even being needlessly negative, or needlessly happy for that matter, instead I am recording what I see and doing so consciously.

I might even say that to know one side you must look at its opposite to really understand, so being the content person I am means it is perfectly logical to stare at the 'unpleasant' to fully realize and appreciate who I am and what I have.

You can't really know the darkness until you have stood in the sunshine otherwise you get along thinking 'this is how it is' and 'it' is normal. That would be abnormal or at least naive.

How can you know joy unless you have tasted sorrow, we must experience both.

I simply must do this, have some target, something to drive me in my work otherwise I am merely painting pretty pictures and will get bored to death. To me, that would be depressing. There must be something in it or I end up feeling a bit hollow as I work.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Night Rain in Digital

"18th St. Rain Nocturne"
Digital, 2013

I've had my share of struggles with the digital medium. I know I only have the most basic tool (iPad) and app (Brushes) for this but one way to help figure it out is to redo one of my own oil paintings.

I look at tutorials and other digital paintings but redoing one of your own slows down the learning curve.

Now I am only reinterpreting it through a different medium. I was involved in the original decision making so I am not also trying to figure that out. It is a more simplified version with not as much of the orange throughout, the colors are not woven together as well, but I do have more mileage under my belt in oils and it was still a valuable learning excercise.252

The oil painting version here.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Image Quality Upload Problems and Google+

My image upload woes may be coming to an end.
I finally found the information in Google Product Forums on how to fix the problem I have been having. See recent posts and you'll see what I am talking about.

It seems the culprit is Google+ and its photo "Auto-Enhance" feature which is "On" by default.
Apparently you do not have to have a Google+ Account to be affected by the problem.
You only have to have ANY Google account to be affected (read infected).

For those out there who have experienced the same exasperation! Click this link or copy the URL below.!topic/blogger/s-zNWU-LnnY

The ONLY way to remedy the problem is to switch over to a Google+ account, which I did not plan on, otherwise you can't not turn off the auto enhance feature.
So that now means I will be known online through Google+ (first) and not through my blog.
Too bad, I preferred my link to go directly to my blog and not through Google+.

I will be going back and updating/reloading the original photos on the infected posts, the photos I adjusted and decided on, not some dumb auto enhance feature, sometime over the next few days.

Thanks Google

**All posts have been updated.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Series - Locomotive - CSX 966 Lightening

"CSX 966 Lightening"
oil on panel, 2013
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)
Direct link to painting here

Here is number 7 of my new Locomotive Series.

Although this originally was a day shot there was something about this dark midnight blue locomotive and the lightening bolt under its number that screamed nocturne.
Because of that I had to add the lightening strike in the background, natures flash bulb. I mean c'mon it's a no-brainer!
The white highlights, very similar to rim lighting, and the lightening itself, electrify the darks of the night. Pun intended.

I added the stickly leafless vegetation overlapping the train to echo the lightening, help counteract the strong horizontal composition and move the eye down through the locomotive from back to front.

As I move through this series I am trying out variations from paint application to compositions, color palettes etc. Here I put a little bit more of a glow behind the cab which moves the focal point out near the left side, a rule you do not usually want to break. It worked out because there is enough interest elsewhere to offset that rule.251

Sunday, October 20, 2013


"Smilin' Jack"
oil on panel, 2013
5" x 7" (12.7cm x 17.78cm)
Direct link to painting here

I can't think of anything that says Halloween better than painted steel and asphalt, can you? ; )
At least in my version.
I could paint actual pumpkins but there are enough of those.

Every year the Phillips 66 refinery in Wilmington California paints one of their oil tanks, shaped like a pumpkin, for Halloween.
It takes more than 100 gallons of orange, white and black paint to cover the 3 million gallon tank, known as "Smilin' Jack". (update-correction : it is orange all year long and takes 100 gallons of white and black paint...)

In the spirit of Halloween I couldn't resist having some fun with it by churning up the sky and bringing the Jack-o-lantern to life rather than doing a more straight forward approach.
Even this view suggests he is rising from behind the asphalt berm.

"Smilin' Jack"

The seething cauldron begins its boil
Toward Halloween He starts his toil

His rise each season is his knack
For all who seek a holiday snack

What lies ahead is why He smiles
Ask those who have fallen for His wiles

His invite just might be a trap
If true, for you, will be your hap

-David J Teter-

Have fun sleeping tonight!250

*This is a horrible quality image!
More image quality upload problems with blogger.
It's random, some days it works, todays is dreadful. Very frustrating!
Please see DAILY PAINTWORKS for the better image.
I wish I knew what to do about it. If anyone out there has the answer please let me know.

**I have updated this post with a 'fixed' photo. This is how it should have looked in the first place.
See this post for an explanation.

Saturday, October 12, 2013