Friday, August 30, 2013

PAFA MFA 2 Fall Week 1

Today was my first day back in my studio on the 8th floor and the first day of my last year as an art student in the MFA program at PAFA. I moved my studio over the summer down from the 9th floor to the 8th floor in the beginning of the summer and left the school until today, except for the One Week Intensive Cartooning class I taught in July. I have found it a good thing to get away from the place and paint plein air or even paint at home to "clean the jets" as it were. I only want one voice in my head. I am disappointed to not have a window studio, so any natural light work will be done off site.

I have a mixed feeling so far, frankly I look forward to not being in school after a long ride and a lot of hard work and juggling to make this all happen. I'm sure I will miss it when I am gone, if not the hustle, I am happy to see old friend and maybe make some new ones. There is a new chair, Clint Jukkala, from Yale coming in to ride Ram Rod on the program this year. I think he has a lot of work to do and I wish him well.

So today I cleaned up the shop and got it ready to roll. I have ideas to paint, so many ideas and I am not sure how much I will be painting in school or at home yet. I'll figure it out as it goes along. I am looking toward and beyond the exit from the school already and have a check list of things I'd like to accomplish before May 11th happens, I shake the deans hand, get the paper and install my graduate show.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Wolverine Pin-Up

Here is a Wolverine drawing in progress that I will ink and put up for sale on Ebay in the next few days. I've decided to do  around a dozen pin-ups for sale on my Ebay store.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Batgirl Pin-Up

Here is the final Batgirl Pin-Up finished and it now for sale on Ebay  My commission list is open as well so contact me if you are interested.

Friday, August 23, 2013


The latest painting finished in the studio, Conclusion 18 x 24 OIL

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Drawing Comics

 I have been doing a lot of painting this summer but I'm also always doing comics like the Batgirl drawing above which I will have for sale in my Ebay store when done. I'm also always drawing Judge Parker, and you can see a process shot of some of the daily strips in progress below. In general I do all of my line-work first, then go back with a no. 4 brush and do all the blacks and brushwork. I work like a cook or a baker and do everything according to the recipe, and that works best when you have to produce a high volume of work. I did bust out the Hunt 108 and did some of the inking with that as well as the Pitt pens, I love the flexibility of the traditional pen nibs, but it takes them longer to dry, and on a tight deadline every minute counts.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Judge Parker Process

Here is a shot of this week's JP Sunday pencils that I did yesterday and then inked it up, lettered and colored it and sent it off to King Features. I ended up switching panels one the second tier for clarity reasons/ I inked it with a Faber Castell Pitt marker and a brush for speed reasons. I love my dip pens but they take longer to dry and the deadline was tight this week.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Elm Street Sunset

After giving the last few touches on the last big painting I decided I wanted to keep painting but to loosen back up and so I  did this little painting of the next street over from my house. No Freddy Krugers to bee seen anywhere so far. 12 x 12 Oil on Panel

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Climax of Play

This is the final version of the painting I have been working on over the summer, The Climax of Play, 30 x 40 in oil.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Philly Plein Air Painters: Kat's Rooftop

                                                    Kat's Rooftop, 12 x 12 Oil on panel.

                       You can read about my latest Plein Air outing with the PPAP on the PPAP blog

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Blog

I started and new PHOTO BLOG on Tumblr today! I am always taking photos, and since I got an iphone a few years back I always have a camera with me and I always have the phone in my hand, ready to shoot! I see a thousands of cool images flash before me daily, and try to capture a few. The artist eye is always open...

Friday, August 09, 2013

WIP: The Summer Long Painting

 I've been doing a pretty good amount of painting this summer, not as much painting as I want, as I always have to juggle commercial work, but still I am at it every week. I have often been painting plein air, which I really enjoy and I feel is vital for my path as a painter--I also feel it's vital when working from photo sources and from imagination. I started this painting in my old studio on the 9th floor at school at the very end of the semester, before I moved to my new studio on the 8th floor for my last year in the Master Program at PAFA. I started it after my final review which was so-so in reaction to the other work in the series I have loosely called "the Bride' since often the female figure is wearing a bridal dress in the--they are a lot of fun to paint. They also add a lot of psychological aspects to the painting, another level, along with the covered face of the figure. I had a lot of feedback from my critics about that series, mostly mixed to negative, but the interesting thing is my fellow painters, many women painters--really loved them.The critics want specific answers and I don't want to clearly spell out the narrative.  In the end these paintings are about me and what I want to do, which is paint the figure in an interesting way, with interesting compositions and light. Narratives I don't really want to define, I want the viewer to have the freedom to do that in any way they want, otherwise it all dead, or it becomes too much like an Illustration.

The idea came to me while working on the last large drawing I did of the semester, featuring the doll house. I am working from photos I took out on Route 1 one the way to the Brandywine at one of the abandoned houses I have fallen in love with. The doll house was on one of the abandoned properties, it was slowly being  pulled back into the trees and overgrowth. I really wanted to have the model there and paint it live, or start it live but could never work it out and the spring was still pretty cold when I shot the pictures--too cold to have the model stand in the buff outside. I'm glad I did shoot a lot that day as not the house has been demolished--I was crushed to see this!

The awesome dream spot that has inspired me has now been torn down probably for some friggin' strip mall! Ugh!  I'm so glad I did shoot those hundreds of photos before it was all demolished. Right before I moved my studio I did the roughout of the painting in one quick dash in a loose terps wash, just to get the idea out and on the canvas, where it sat in my living rooom for many weeks while I did a lot of other paintings, many plein air. I would look at it every day, and think maybe today I'll start on it again and finally did last week. I was thinking a lot about how I wanted to proceed, do "tight" I wanted to work. Do I keep it soupy and loose, or do I try to go for more of a detailed or finished look. I was thinking a lot of Repin, and even Sargnet's painting of Fredrick law Olmsted, even Thomas Ridgeway Knight's, Hailing The Ferry, which we have at PAFA.

I figured I just go at it and let the ideas and thoughts work itself out on canvas as I went along, keeping it loose and work into and over things as I proceeded. Let my gut tell me. The pic above was the second session on the painting, I just sort of slopped it in mostly using my largest Kafka brush. I love these brushes, they can be used at times almost like a palette knife and I can also slap and drag them with great effect or pull a precise edge/line. I just wanted to get the color ideas down knowing I can really change anything at this point very easily. I looked at this as a painting with two figures as the doll house to me is just as equal, maybe even more important than the female figure.

This is where the painting is now after another day of painting on it. I continue to re-define the figure, reworking the background on the entire piece. Sometimes I have to sit and think for several minutes what I want next, or what needs to be painted over, pushed in, pulled out, harmonized. at 30 x 40 this is a decent size to paint at, but I realize I have to constantly keep stepping back to judge the whole. I'll continue to post progress as I progress. I snapped this pick with my iphone, so the values are off and a bit blown out.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Cézanne's Underpants

 Over the summer I've been having a little fun collaborating with my friend and fellow painter Lexi Thomas on some paintings. We collaborated on another painting a few months ago which was pretty interesting as we both have similar  but different tastes and approaches as painters. We shared studio space at school at PAFA and even had classes and teachers together. In my comics career I've often collaborated on making pages, inking or penciling other artists work and vise-versa. It a big part of how the medium/business works on the commercial level.  However, although there are painters who have collaborated, painting is almost 99.9% a solo effort. There is a collaboration in a way between teacher and student where the teacher sets up a model or still life for the student to work from, giving you a choice, but still setting up the "game' as it were.

So I was interested for fun to see how this painting would go as its not from observation like the first one we did together, but from imagination and some photo swipe we both used. This paintings was a collaboration of imaginations.  I started with roughing out something to start above, I found a pic I liked to work from, though I discarded a lot and just took bits of it and made up the background or environment--or what could be one. I passed it off to Lexi and she had the painting for about a month and a half and delivered the painting back to me as it is below.
Lexi really added a lot here and it was surprising to see how much she changed many things like the figure and also pushed the values closer together. The addition of another figure and the umbrellas made this a much more specific scene as well as making it more balanced. Her paint handling was also different, it was more crunchy or chunky than what I had started with. Adding the shirt/towel on the main figure was another way of adding something specific yet hiding the identity of what I had started with by not finishing the figures face. Another note was adding that brown area at the bottom right which helped stop the composition.

Here is the final paintings with the additions I made. I decided it needed some additional figures, which i modified from the photo ref Lexi gave me that she took at the beach and then manipulated in Gimp.  Then I decided to add an additional figure on the "color note' that she had indicated. This added to my thinking a lot more interest and space at the bottom of the painting, which is often the weakest part of paintings, especially landscapes. I worked on the sky and clouds too refining shapes, a lot of little things. in the end I was pretty happy with our experiment/collaboration. You kinda' have to check your ego a bit, which is hard for a painter, we are like cats, not like musicians. This painting was like a jazz piece with each of us taking the melody and ideas from the other and hopefully making a piece that reflects the best licks of us both as painters.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Judge Parker Process: Inking

 Yesterday I posted the pencils for this Sunday strip. Above is the next step, my inking all done in this case with Pigma and Faber Castel markers, all permanent and waterproof, something that is a must for longevity of the original. I work for reproduction, but I also work to have an original piece of art as well. When I have to execute a strip/Sunday or dailies in a rush (which is often) I ink with markers because it goes faster and there is no drying time like with regular dip pens, which I do prefer, but it takes longer ans the ink takes longer to dry. All told it took me about 90 minutes to ink this Sunday strip. The next step is adding the blacks, which you can see the final fully inked strip below. Next I letter and color in Photoshop which takes about 3 hours on average, depending on the complexity of the art in each strip.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Judge Parker Process

Its been a long while since I've posted some Judge Parker work on the blog.  This is the latest Sunday strip on the board, which is the 9-15 strip. I penciled this while fighting some kind of stomach flu the last day or so. Its on 2 ply Strathmore and penciled with an HB lead. The Wedding/kidnapping storyline continues to churn on. Its always interesting to read comments by readers on the Comics Kingdom and Daily ink message boards about the strips, the characters and about what Woody and I must be like and must be doing on the strip. These readers should all be doing their own strips they are so "creative' in their comments and insights into the way comics are done and the motivations of every character which means, A) everybody is greedy and B) everybody wants to sex everybody else on the strip!

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Back in the Studio: Return of the Hood

After a long break from this painting, which I started at the end of last semester in school I decided to get back to it. I had it sitting in my living room all summer and I kept looking at it every day as I worked on a lot of other paintings, but yesterday it gripped me up, and I plopped it down on the easel and went at it, working all over the whole piece. I'm working from photos I took myself and the house where i shot them has been torn down since I took these pictures earlier in the year. its a shame as I wanted to go back several more times, but its just a pile of rubble now....

This painting is part of what I have loosely called my "Bride" series,  even though the figure here isn't wearing a dress, but she is still hooded. I've had a very strong reaction to this series of paintings. From my female friends it has been very positive, from the critics at school it was a mixed bag. But I want to continue on and see where these paintings take me and I take them.

This painting is a decent size,  30 x 40 and so I have to keep moving back to try and see the whole thing as I work at it. I'm trying to feel out the amount of detail I want in the final piece while keeping it loose and spontaneous in spots. I might actually roll over parts and repaint them in the next session to even merge areas more and subvert some details.