Saturday, October 31, 2009

Week 9

This week went by fast--hurling me through the 9th week of school like a shot.I fished up the painting in portrait class after 3 poses and then started another drawing of our horse model on Rives BFK in pastel.

The two sketches above are from Renee's class for our next pose, I'm going with the closer one which I will start on next week.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Week 8 mid-term and Vincent Desiderio Workshop

This last week was mid-term at PAFA. I only had one crit, and that was in Renee's class but we learned to stretch canvas in Materials & Techniques class and drew a live horse in Animal Drawing--but the best was the two-day workshop given by Vincent Desiderio. Once again Vince came down and gave a two-day intensive workshop for about 30 students, a mix of undergrads like myself as well as MFA students.

I took his workshop last spring and it was one of the best experiences I had at the academy, and this one was just the cherry on top of that. Vince transfers not only his mastery of techniques to you but his energy, philosophy--(a lot of that) and his passion as an artist. In short, he's sort of like a dynamo that charges you up!
Like my other favorite teacher Scott Noel, Vincent gets you going from all sides.Above and below you can see my painting in progress.

Above: Vincent gets ready to do the demo. Alina likes what she sees...

The workshop was broken into two days, the first we would get the drawing done and shellacked and then try and get as much done as possible on the painting, finishing it on the second day. Like last time in the workshop we did a block-in drawing in ink first, and some of the students did their drawing in charcoal, which looking back on it I should have done. The ink is more difficult to work with and starts building the paper right away where the charcoal won't. So next time I will do this with charcoal first. next we shellacked the drawings and then Vincent gave us a demo using one of the students drawings to do his demo with. he loaded in the light masses of the figure, succumbing on the titanium white along with a little burnt umber, yellow ochre and a little black.

The group was split into two rooms and Vincent walked in and out and gave everyone crits as they worked, for a few he would stop and paint on their drawings to demo what he was talking about and to make sure you got what he was talking about. It's a mixture of observational drawing and painting along with some ala prima. You are trying to draw what you see but also invent or push the concepts, the form in light, turning away from the light, slow or fast.

I also got to have Vincent give me a private crit on my work which I took in. He liked my paintings and said the were very good but that I could activate the surface more, bring more texture into parts of the painting. So I will try that on the next big painting. it was a great weekend that seemed to go really fast and while I got to know Vincent a bit better and my admiration grew for him as an artist I think I grew to like him even more as a person.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Black and White Red Head--Mid Term

This week we are at the mid term at PAFA and I had to do two paintings for my class with Reene Foulks, the same painting on a black toned canvas and a painting of the same subject on a regular white toned canvas to see how the toned canvas effected the overall color but especially the skin color. I choose to work for a picture I snapped of my friend Alina in the car at night and use her as the subject because I thought having the red hair would make a great accent to the painting. The second painting was the one on white which I did much faster than the one on black, that one took a second sitting to charge more color on as the dark canvas sucked it down. Both paintings were under 3 hours in execution.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Animal Drawing Week 8

This week was the mid-way in my Animal Drawing class. The class went on a trip to the Wagner Institute to draw from the impressive collection of animal skeletons they have. Most of us concentrated on drawing the excellent horse skeleton they had on display, this drawing was done in a little over an hour.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Martians Go Home--Inks Done

I have finally finished up the inks on the first issue of Martians Go Home and I am now quickly moving into coloring and lettering and next month I'll be knee deep into penciling issue 2.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Week 7 Progress

This is the painting I currently have underway in Al Gury's Life painting class on Mondays. This was my second session with the model and I think we have two more weeks, so this will be a fast painting. Maybe I can snap a pic of the model to finish it from as I don't have the uninstructed portion of the class. One of the issue we fight in this class is the fast dimming light which plays havoc with the values on your painting.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Baltimore Con 09

Yesterday I ran down I-95 to the Baltimore convention center to the 10th annual Baltimore Comic Con, run by Marc Nathan. I mainly went this year as Draw! was nominated for a Harvey Award. As they say, "it's an honor to be nominated", and as I predicted we lost out to the much anticipated Jack Kirby book by Mark Evanier. The awards ceremony was very nice, funny and well done. Kudos to the Harvey staff, Marc Nathan and MC, Scott Kurtz. I also took a few pals from school, Jackie and Will and fellow pros Scott Cohn and Ricardo Villagran. We posted up at the Kids love Comics pivillion run by John (Buzz Boy) Gallagher.

Like last year the con was a one-day show for me, between the workload at school and freelance I needed Sunday to do some work, also the show is usually really slow for me on a Sunday, so I did all my fun on Saturday, pressed the flesh, sketched, talked with luminaries and friends and then saw some Hooters and ate crab cakes before I raced back to Philly and my two new kittens, Fechin and Cornwell, who tried to keep me awake by wrestling half the night.

Baltimore is a good show, all about comics, Marc Nathan is a great guy, he sends staff around to see how you are doing and feeds you. The fans are polite and bring their families and you feel its about comics, not about Hollywood, old actors from the 70's, wrestlers and video games. The Babymen seemed less a presence, or I wasn't that close to J Scott Cambell,and this year there were a lot less costumes as well. In short, it isn't Wizard or San Diego by a long shot. I heard reports that biz was OK, but not stellar and I expected that to be true as face it, everybody is pinching pennies in this shitty economy. I saw lots of sales. People seemed in a good mood, and I think the fact we are here and still standing and the current climate in the biz seems steady, if not stellar, gave me the gut feeling that maybe people are accepting the new biz model. The new reality that comics are just gonna have to tread water for a while like everybody else and hope a new land will appear on the horizon for the strongest swimmers. Neal Adams thinks motion comics are a possible answer. I think its a possible venue but I think we are still 3-4 years out from seeing where we will likely be for a longer period. Everything is in a big flux media wise, and readership is cut into all of these slivers.

One of the few sketches I did.

Last year I think people felt a lot more anxious about the whole biz and economy, maybe our enthusiasms have been properly curbed or returned to almost a pre-90's state. Then people went to comic cons to talk comics, not movie deals or toy deals, games etc. You networked, tried to get work and BS. It was not about $$$$ first and comics 3rd or 4th. Back in those days I remember fans being more excited about meeting pros, getting a sketch,a signature and it was all less high-profile and glitzie. I am also personally in a different place, being more involved in art outside of comics and I think that certainly lessens my anxiety about them as they are not my only lively hood and venue of expression.

Seeing Joe Kubert going strong, seeing Walt Simonson and Neal Adams swap art and shop talk was great! That just gave me a warm feeling that has been so missing I feel from cons where it seemed the people and craft have been so shunted aside if favor of the whole Hollywood angle. Both these guys were heroes of mine as artists and professionals and seeing them still pumped up about what they are doing was I have to admit, a charge.

The Wizard Philly show by contrast seems like an abused animal that needs to be put down, there was just no heat or love, but in Baltimore, there was, we all know things are gonna suck for a while, but WE don't have to suck as well.

You can see more pics from the con here

Friday, October 09, 2009

Egg Tempera

This week in media and methods we started using egg tempera, and gave our aural reports on the paintings we chose in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of art done in that medium. I did my report on the paint Dead Christ Supported by Two Angles by Carlo Crivelli (c. 1435 – c. 1495) an Italian Renaissance painter. Last week we saw a movie on Paul Cadmus who used that medium extensively in his work. It's also a medium employed by Andrew Wyeth to great effect in his work which I was studying again the last trip I just took to the Brandywine river Museum. One thing you learn right away is that it will take a long time to do a painting in this medium, so it's not for those who lack patience or like detail, but when used well or by a master this medium is really fantastic and can create amazing detail and lushness.

In class our teacher Anthony Ciambella showed us how to separate the yoke from the white of the egg using a wet paper towel and then to put the yoke into a jar with a cap of distilled water and then taking the pigments from the various colors mix them with the egg on a glass palette and start painting one stroke at a time. using rag board we all started messing around with a painting to try out the effects and see what the medium can do. You notice right away that egg tempera is thinner, more transparent unlike regular tempera or Gouache which have chalk and gum arabic mixed in that makes it thicker or denser. Everybody really got into it and many stayed after class painting away.

This is the little head I started in class and it became clear very quickly that it would take a long time to do a painting, layer upon layer upon layer, cross hatching down the color in a weave across the surface, using dry brush and wet brush techniques. This little head is nothing great, just a test drive, but I think I will actually try to do a painting in this medium that I can take to greater completeness.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Week -6 progress

This is the first sitting on the second pose in Al Gury's portrait class. I still need to get back into it a bit, especially the legs and then I'll be swinging away at it next week.

Here is the 6th pass on the grisaille in Renee Foulks class. I am still not happy with that leg, well especially the knee, but I will start the glazing in of the color next session and I think I'll do a separate drawing on the knee to solve the issue.
Detail of the painting, this painting was a real fight...and still is.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Week 6 and the Baltimore Con

This week we are getting a bit deeper into the Fall semester and I feel like now the wheels are getting a bit of traction finally. I felt the first several weeks was a lot of busy work with not a lot to show for it, I felt like I was rushing around every day but I ended up with no mass of work. Some days are a rush between classes at PAFA and rushing down the street to teach my classes at Uarts and then the long, sometimes sleepy ride home on the train.

But I feel this week I'll get to bite in more on the paintings in both my Portrait class and my class with Renee. I think I should finish the Grisaille of Jim and maybe get to glaze into it. My classes will be turning in their first big comic assignment in Storyboard.

I also had a great weekend with friends going down to see the Rockwell Kent show at the Brandywine River Museum, this was my third trip this year and they had several new acquisitions of paintings for their collection of NC Wyeth's work and a show of Jamie Wyeth's work as well. I always loved Kent's work and it was a really great show, one that shouldn't be missed. They had a lot of sketches and pencil drawings, prints and lithos and a lot of clippings and articles covering his life and work.

The only negative for me was the catalogue they had of the show, which was really a gate fold pamphlet for $5, and not worth it, I wish they had made a really great book of his work instead. looking at his paintings I was reminded of the work of Maynard Dixon, Diego Rivera, Ed Mel and the art of the old golden book Encyclopedia I have from the 30's which was my father's as a kid. I had seen a few smaller paintings before and prints but never the big paintings on display nor the original pen and ink drawings for such books as Moby Dick. Of course going to see the Wyeth's work as well as the paintings by Pyle, Cornwell, etc., is always a huge charge for me, it seems to always make things so clear to me as an artist when I see their work.

Next weekend I will be heading down to the Baltimore Comic-con for the yearly event. I'll be there Saturday only. I'm also attending because DRAW! has been nominated for a Harvey Award. I'll be floating around the Kids Love Comics pavillion, so stop on by of flag me down if you see me walking around.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


Yesterday the class went to the Philly Zoo, America's first zoo, to draw the big cats in the Bank of America big cat pavilion. There was a big difference in the attitude of the cats, the Pumas or Mountain Lions were always on the move, constantly prowling around and hardly ever holding still except in a few instances. The lions laid around a lot except for when the male decided he wanted to get his SEX on. So we got to see the circle of life, or at least the start of the circle.

It's really amazing to see these animals up so close, their heads are huge and after a while they all took turns coming over to the glass and pacing along looking at us all like tasty human treats. I tried to sketch as best I could, it ends up being more like gesture drawing at times or drawing from memory as these guys don't hold still.

But it's a great exercise , and I plan on going back next week to do some more sketching at the zoo.

These are some of the better drawings from the trip yesterday.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Podcast Interview with Me

Chris Marshall did an MP3 interview with me for the Twomorrows podcast.


Here his another shot of the painting in progress in Reene Foulk's class. Now it's inching my way across subtle transitions so I really have to slow down and look a lot more than I paint to make the transitions work. How do you translate temperature and local color in a gray? What does the painting need as opposed to what I see?

And Reene set this up to be a real difficult problem as the lighting is very, very soft, diffused, hardly any strong core shadows. In the end I will glaze color into it, maybe starting next week, I still have to finish the head, hands and drapery.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Oil on Paper

This is a small study I did in my portrait class Monday to set the composition and color temp. It's oil on paper about 5 x 7. next week I'll start the full size painting keeping this as a guide.