Friday, April 22, 2011


There are only two weeks let in y third year in the certificate program at PAFA. The heat is one full blast as everybody is rushing to finish things for the spring Prizes and then the final show for the ASR. I am in good shape, I am just working on a few more pieces for the my wall even though I do have enough now to hang already, but I'd like to get a few more pieces done for the show like the portrait of Alina above. i will still be working away at it and I have another portrait I'd like to try if I have time.
this big boy is kinda' slipping away from me. I have only two full sessons in on it an Mike Gallagher's class and only one more pose with the model, so I will be working hard to try and get as far as I can, it's 5 x 4 feet so it's a lot to cover in just class time. The rustoleum on the wood is more slippery and so I am getting used to that.

This is the final painting I'll be doing in Alex Kanevsky's class, again we are running out of model time, just one more pose, but I snapped a pic of the setup so I should be able to pic at it after the class is done. It's a real mix in a way working on all of these paintings as I'm trying different things in each--I just wish I had a bit more time with the models, but that's them's the breaks every semester.

Monday, April 18, 2011

First Place! Susan McDowell Eakins Painting Competition

This weekend I participated in the third annual Susan McDowell Eakins painting competition at school. It's a two-day event open to all 2nd-4th years students. Started by Al Gury who's the head of the painting Dept it is named after the wife of Thomas Ekains who's probably the most famous and infamouse painter from the academy. She was quite a fantastic painter herself as this portrait of her hubby, Tom clearly shows.

The judge this year was Rachel Constantine, a former PAFA student a a great painter on the rise. Here I am posing with Rachel and my painting.

Our position or easel was chosen by lottery so everybody had an equal chance at a good spot and since the group numbered 16, a good spot was pretty much had by all.
After two days of painting from the model from 9am till 4pm, Rachel came in at Al's request to judge the show.
The DPC was well representd this time around. Will, Alina and Lexi all took part in the paint-o-thon--and as I predicted Alina won 2nd place with her great painting and Lexi took an honorable mention. I was so happy for Alina as she has really worked hard and made big strides as a painter this year.
Here is a lineup of all the contestants this year. Since the competition happened later in the semester and so close to the spring show we had fewer people participating. Afterwards we all had Pizza and chatted with each other, Rachel and Scott Noel and Peter van Dyck popped in as well.

I am pretty exhausted from the lack of sleep pulling the double duty plus working on the strip at night but happy with the win and 80% happy with the painting, you always wish you had an little extra time, but that's the challenge I guess. looking back over the last two years at the previous paintings from the same competition I can really see the growth in my own work. Even if i hadn't won that is the most important thing, to really see the growth after a lot of hard work.

I look forward to the competition next year.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Judge Parker

It looks like the relationship crisis might be over for now....

Drawing Award!

This has been award week here and the studio, I won the Pulp Cover of the year Award this week and one of the three drawings I had in the show took 3rd place in the Drawn From PAFA exhibition at the Chestnut Hill Academy for my drawing of Veronica and Mike. Last night a group of us from school who had work in the show rolled out to the Chestnut Hill Academy for the opening of the show. It's a very good show which really illustrates the breadth and dept of drawing at the school and the Chestnut Hill Academy is a really ritzy place and it has a great mural by Violet Oakley in the library!
Much thanks goes to Dan Brewer for hosing and curating the show.

Pulp Cover Of The Year!

I am honored to say that my cover painting for Robin Hood King of Sherwood won the Pulp Cover of the Year Award this last weekend at the Pulp Factory Awards in Chicago!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Judge Parker

Here is this week's JP Sunday including the pencils for it before I went to inks and colors.

Saturday, April 09, 2011


It's only four weeks till the ASE at school so I am now trying to finish up a few more paintings for my wall. I have been posting a little less frequently and feel bad about it but time is a precious commodity around here these days. But I'm actually in really great shape, I have plenty of work to choose from for my wall and my two big anchor paintings are done. Now I am just trying to do a few more things to add to my wall, smaller paintings that I think will balance out nicely my variety and range as a painter. I knew this semester would fly by, but it has flown even quicker than I imagined.
I am posting a few pics of the last painting in the rough stage so you can see my process. Big shapes first as always and working with the rustoleum on the cardboard seems to aid me in this way of working. I am doing a very large painting on panel with the rustoleum and don't like the feel as much as on the cardboard.
here are my paints and I find paper plates are really the best palettes for this.the rustolem tack-up pretty quickly, not as fast as acrylic and certainly not as slow as regular oil, but the fact that it will set up dry to the touch in maybe 10-15 minutes allows me to work wet-into-wet and even re-wet or rework certain passages as the terps will loosen it back up.
I also like working with this limited set of colors right now. Some artists find it very inhibiting and this semester I have experienced a few ways of working with really very different palettes. From the uber-chromatic palette that Nelson Shanks uses at teaches at his school Incamminati, that has direct ties to the palette and color theory of Henry Hensche. There is a lot of cumulative info here from a Facebook group of former students and fans of his work. There is some more historical info Here and Here.Then I have employed with these paints something closer to the Zorn Palette which is a palette that is a low chroma palette. It was composed of a blue derived from ivory black, a low chroma yellow (yellow ochre), and a high chroma red (vermillion, or cad. red light). It is said Zorn didn't use a blue but it was clear that he did employ a blue as many tubes of cobalt blue were found in his studio upon his death. I am not a huge teckkie when it comes to palettes, some people really go crazy for it, but I think it's great to experimnet with ways of working like this, The Rustoleum yellow is more chromatic than a yellow ochre so it allows me to get a much more vibrant yellow. I think I am learning more about color, building and mixing, about temperature vs value and it is great for "keying" and certain light or atmosphere in a painting. The downside is the gloss which can throw me off when painting at times and like this week in class, make seeing the painting a real battle because of the glare. I think I will have to employ a matte white or non-gloss when working on wood vs canvas or cardboard or paper.
And at the same time I am cranking away of the Judge Parker Strip and a few side comic projects to keep the wood in the fire to pay for it all. Here is a stack of work from the past two or three months.
I have missed going to the Sunday Sessions at school which are run by Scoot Noel and Peter Van Dyck who has a nice interview up on the paints Perceptions blog. The drawing by Scott Noel above was done at one of the last sessions i was able to attend. It's a great chance to work alongside both Scott and Peter and see how they employ the ideas and concepts they teach in class. It think it's honestly such a rare occasion for teachers and artists of this level to openly work in such an open and jovial and communal atmosphere.

This is one of the many teaching drawings Scott does in his first and second year drawing class. I love these drawings so much.
Here is a shot of Scott's palette and rig from the current painting he's got going on the 4th floor at school. I love seeing the path of an artist's thinking on their palette, especially when you can relate them to the work they have going. I think this is one of the things that makes PAFA so great, to be able to see and share the experience of an artist of Scott's level building his painting almost day-by-day before your eyes. I definitely directly employ the ideas and concepts I see both of these painters use along with the ideas I get from the Zorn palette and what I learned at Incamminati. I say mix it all up and make a stew of you!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


This is a painting that was the result of a critique of my work in my studio by my fellow students at PAFA. in my drawing class with Mike Gallagher we all had to review each others work and then write a review of each others work. then Mike wrote a paragraph with basically combined everything into sort of a statement and we had to produce a piece based on that.

So this is what I came up with, it's in Rustoluem on cardboard and I call it Philadelphia.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Judge Parker

Sophie learns the secret to wooing boys from Abby. In this Sunday I got to draw a little more of the Spencer Farm and really play with the color.

Friday, April 01, 2011


It was a busy week painting for me in school. I finished another painting for my wall and started another even bigger one in my class with Mike Gallagher. This painting is on another wood support but this time we didn't have time to prime the wood with oil or use canvas so I just shellaced it. I have never painted on wood before like this and there is some distortion going on since the support is so huge and the class is really cramped.

I am posting in this blog on my process on doing my last painting which for now I am titling Bagman. Like the first painting I worked from a big sketch in oil on paper. This idea or image came to me in a dream and i dashed out a quick doodle the next day, then I actually dressed myself up in trashbags and filmed myself walking about my living room, much to the horror of my cats. taking those screen grabs I did another oil sketch on paper. this was my primary guide to the larger painting. I would only refer back to the photo ref after I had worked on the painting for a while and gotten the feeling I wanted.

like the last painting I worked on a support of canvas stretched over Luann, then one coat of acrylic gesso and then I primed it using Windor-newton Oil Primer. hen that dried I borrowed the projector from the school library and projected my sketch and roughly traced off my composition which you can see below.
Then using shellac I covered the entire canvas sealing in the drawing. It's not so clear from this photo, but I could still see the drawing. the main reason I wanted the shellac is to get that under-glow to come through the painting. Since the support is rigid and very solid I won't have to worry about any cracking of the shellac like I would on a regular canvas.
Here is a detailed photo of the main figure from my first strike at the painting. One of the things I try and do is to get as much done on a painting as I can in the first strike, the first session. I think then I have the drive, the passion, the paint lust and that for me is the most important part of the painting process. Especially on a large painting I want to go in high energy and strike it fast. Then I can always go back and adjust things, even repaint them entirely.
Here is the oil sketch that was my guide

Here is the painting after about 5 hours straight. The canvas is 4 x 4 so I massed in the large areas with a big palette knife and my biggest brushes.

The biggest struggle is the struggle I am searching through as a painter. I am trying to work looser but not slap-dash. I love Sargent and Rockwell and NC Wyeth, Vince Desiderio, and Fechin. Great drawing and great painting with detail and design working together to give you a feeling, more suggestion than literal. I don't always get it or am not sure, and that's a spot you don't solve until something feels right. I think that because i am a very flexible artist style wise by training I will be in this place for a while.

After the first day I hand my critics come in and give me some great feedback, especially Scott Noel and Renee Foulks. I spent two more days adjusting and repainting passages and areas.
The first strike of the painting above and the final painting below. I'll let it sit and go back at it with fresh eyes in a bit after I jump onto some more paintings this week. I think I'll do some smaller paintings next week in the rush to the ASE. I feel really pumped up now and on a roll and I want to keep that energy rolling off the brush.