Monday, March 27, 2017


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I spotted this guy in NYC, in the park behind the downtown library, when I was there several years ago. I really need to visit again! Someday soon I'm going to run out of reference material.

Sunday, March 26, 2017


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It might not look like it, but this scene was incredibly complex and hard to paint. That probably sounds funny, being that it's on a 6 by 8 inch panel. But so many of the color mixes had just slight variations in color and value. And there were so many of them! Not just the cups, but the reflections too. It took hours. And at the end I thought, "This is a mess!" So I put it up to dry and came back the next day. Sometimes you can't see how it all comes together until after you've recovered from the trauma. ; )

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spring Fling

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And now for something completely different. I found a patch of these lovely, sun dappled flowers in a Seattle neighborhood on a previous visit. Honestly I can't remember if it was spring or summer, so I apologize if the title doesn't fit. This is also my example painting for the Daily Paintworks Spring Challenge. Want to paint your idea of spring? Come join us!

Friday, March 24, 2017

See You See Me

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I'm always striving for compositions that are...simple yet complex, and I really felt like this one achieved that. Not that it will seem that way to every/any-one else. For me this "simplexity" is hard to create! Much harder than you might expect. Especially when you are doing it every day.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Crowded Corner

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What do you suppose these guys are waiting for here on the corner? A bus? Or maybe they're all about to cross the street.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sweet Creek

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This is one of my favorite places to go in the summer - Sweet Creek. There are series of small waterfalls all leading to a larger one, and instead of taking the trail I like to wade in the water, and climb up the waterfalls, taking pictures all the way. The whole thing takes me a couple of hours, and then 15 minutes back on the trail. Since it's not quite summer here yet, I painted this one from a photo.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


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My favorite part of this one is the spoon. Oh if only more things could turn out so perfectly under-stated. Still trying.

Monday, March 20, 2017


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This little hippo isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. He's not quite sure what this giant thing is next to him, so he's pretending he doesn't see it, to buy himself some time. This clueless-ness has also cost him some relationships. You might remember the cherry he dated some time ago. Well, that didn't work out, unfortunately. But everyone knows that cherries are pretty with it.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


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I don't usually eat my props, but this orange was quite good. The tough thing about painting it though, was there were no real dark-dark values in the segments. The darkest, as you can see, is that one little bit in the shadow of the left-most segment. And it isn't nearly as dark as the darkest parts of the knife reflections/shadows. So I thought this was tough, but also pretty cool looking!

Saturday, March 18, 2017


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It's been a long time since I peeled an orange and painted it. Five years, to be exact. Interested in seeing my history of orange paintings? This one is #149.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Martini with Lunch?

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Here's another back-to-basics apple painting, but with some glass to distort and complicate things.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Apple Pile

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I wasn't able to paint much in Texas, and when I got back I was feeling a bit rusty. So I decided to get back to my comfort zone for a little while - apples! I started with this basic composition. If you're interested, you can see the other 259 apple paintings I've posted, thus far.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Shady House

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We pass this house every time we drive out to the coast. Every time, I think, man I'd love to paint that. So one time, when I was with my artist pals, we pulled up the long drive and knocked on door. But either no one was home, or they didn't come to the door. We couldn't tell. I snapped a few pictures anyway, on the sly, and just got around to painting it.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Fear of Crowds

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I tell my students all the time that they need to compare more values than just what's right next to each other (which is what we ALL tend to do) - that they need to look over the WHOLE scene. But lately I'm realizing that it's impractical to compare every single value! And that the most important values to compare are LIKE values. For example, if I'm trying to match a certain light value, like where the sun is hitting all the spots on these roses, I want to squint and compare all the light values. Which ones are the lightEST? How does the color change as those lights get subtly darker. In this way I can create a kind of map in my head and paint systematically, rather than feeling like I'm starting over with every little area, and every color I mix.

I say all this because value is the number one thing I help my students with, and that's because it's hard! So any time I come up with something that helps ME, I figure it might help you too.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

My Little Friend

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As I painted this I was thinking about puzzles. I often think about them when I'm considering how to edit a "scene." Because if I change one thing, say make a petal smaller, it means something else will have to take up that extra space. Or if I make something darker, it will change the balance of the over-all light to dark ratio. It's a lot to think about! And just one of the reasons painting is such a challenge.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


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We're home from Texas! And while it was absolutely wonderful to spend so much quality time with our family and friends ... we've decided never to leave for that long again. Whew. A month and a half. I spent yesterday shipping off paintings and food shopping. Today I will lock myself in (and everyone else OUT of) my studio and paint to my heart's desire!

Meanwhile, here is a painting I did right before I left but never posted. Also, here is a link to an article I was interviewed for about living the American Dream.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Sunset Peaks

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When I was in the Sierra's last summer, I hiked alone on the first day up to this gorgeous vantage point, right as the long-shadowed afternoon-evening light was happening. I didn't have time to paint, so I took photos. Yesterday I pulled them out to paint from them.

As you might guess, choosing a 6x6in. panel was, ummm, misguided. So after trying (and failing) to fit everything in, I decided to stick with it and just redesign the composition.

I took my friend Paul Kratter's advice and pulled out my sketchbook. I think I tried it about 6 different ways before I landed on this one. My right mountain turned out a bit leany, but (even though I know it can't actually be like that in real life) I think it's fun, so I'm leaving it. Maybe I should have called it "Dr. Seuss Mountain."

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Rocky Reflections

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This is another one from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I believe it's the edge of Garnet Lake in particular. What's funny is that most of the landscape paintings I do I want to call "rocks and water" - I wonder why.
; )

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Jumbled Rocks

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This one I did from a reference photo (or two or three) from the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. I've camped/painted there with friends the past couple of years and it is a magical place. Sadly I won't be able to make it this year.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Chunky Stuff

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Hello from Texas! We have been so busy visiting family and friends that I forgot to post this week's Daily Paintworks Challenge until today. I did this one before we left. The idea is to divide your subject into the simplest value/color areas possible, and paint them in solid chunks, without any soft edges or gradients. This allows you to really understand the BIG picture, without getting distracted by all the little details. I really enjoyed doing it, and totally dig the result! Want to try it too? The Chunked Challenge (don't forget to squint!)