Saturday, January 5, 2013

Personal Best - My Favorite Paintings of 2012

So I have not done as many paintings as I would like. However I have done more this year then I did in the last five years. I think that is a really sad state of things. My New Year's resolutions this year is to do more paintings.

I find a lot of inspiration in the children I work with, but because of legal reasons, I really cannot talk about them very much here. I respect their privacy and honor their families. We travel together with aloha.

Above is my favorite painting of the year. It has such a good feel to it. There is a softness of the reflected light that comes into the room I captured here. There is so much to be happy with in this paintings.

Above is another of the students in my class.

I really like his oxygen tank to the right. There is a neat reflection I rendered here. The few brush strokes render so much information. The bit of blue as his shirt and the dark as his chair.

This painting makes me smile. I managed to capture his smile in this. I had to work from a photo in this painting. With the others I worked from sketches and supplemented with photos. I really couldn't capture his smile any other way. While I can tell that I used a photo, I am really happy with it.

Above is an acrylic landscape I did after a watercolor I did earlier. The watercolor made my list of my favorite watercolors.

I tried to make this more then a pretty landscape. My main focus was on the surface of the painting. I took to heart the lessons of my art professors at the University of Hawaii and really wanted to have a dynamic paint surface. I layered the phases of color and staggered them to obfuscate the paint order. I wanted to make play with the shapes like an abstract expressionist, but still create a figurative image

I think this painting works. So much so I think I will do a few more like it. Let's see what I can come up with.

This is another painting of a student-- it's really rough to not talk about them directly. Their hearts are so much a part of what I try to capture here. Hopefully it comes through to you.

I really tried to capture his stature and the way he carries himself. That is one of the strengths of this piece. I spent a lot of time on the sight word wall in the background, I think it adds a lot to the piece and the way it is laid out.

Above is a portrait of Brandon's uncle, Glen, the owner of The Armchair Adventurer.

Armchair is the local Model, designer board Game, and Role Playing Game store.  He is my merchant of dorky delights. 

His store is like a hoarder nightmare, claustrophobic and stacked to the ceiling with merchandise. Walking through his store is often precarious; a misstep could leave you buried in a heap of Osprey Books. However his store is also where I often enjoy great conversations with my friends over a bottle of wine and a great game.

He had a heart attack earlier this year so I did this painting for him. He is surrounded by his true love, his store and all his precious artifacts.

"There is a marvelous story of a man who once stood before God, his heart breaking from the pain and injustice in the world. 
'Dear God,' he cried out. 'Look at all the suffering, the anguish, and distress in your world. Why don't you send help?' God responded, 'I did send help. I sent YOU.'"

Friday, January 4, 2013

Personal Best: My Favorite Monotypes of 2012

So in this set, I will talk about my favorite Monotype Prints of 2012. Monotype Prints are a process where ink is put on a solid surface then paper is pressed on to it. I like monotyping because it provides a quick and intense piece. With this printing style, the ink appears to sit on the page. I like playing with this effect and often will go back into the monotypes, adding ink and colored pencil to the print.

Above is Darkness Monotype #1. It is part of a series that showed at Ong King Gallery in Honolulu during the month of July. I started with an ink drawing of a deep sea jellyfish. I then added the print of extensions of its tentacles. I then used a colored pencil to connect the print and the ink image. 

I find the play of the tentacles in this piece very interesting to look at. It amazes me how well some of the ink images and also like the effect the water on the plate created on this, distorting the ink and creating pooled ripples in the ink. I started to play with the water on the plate effect later, especially in the next series.

Above is Forms in the Ink II. This series was five prints where I made abstract shapes then reworked the print with colored pencils. Of the five this is my favorite.

I do like the central red shape in this. It looks like a rose or a spiral galaxy. I like the play between the definition of the shapes in the spiral and the lack of focus in the rest of the print. Its almost like a vortex pulling the focus and attention there. 

Above is a portrait of Chris Martin It is part of the series of prints I did of my D and D group.

Chris is always in black so I wanted a black on black design for the stuff I reworked in the print. There is a spiderweb design on his shirt and the shape is echoed in the corner of the page.

I do think there is a pretty good likeness, although I think I made him look a little older then he actually looks. It is the first time I drew Chris in a while and it is a great print. 

Above is Darkness monotype number 9. I think of the series, this is my favorite of the prints. Although I have not heard that echoed by many people viewing the pieces.

I think I like it because of the rhythm created between the ink drawing and the monotype and the drawing in watercolor. There is a similarity in shapes between the seaweed that looks like an angry Audry II  and the extension of those shapes created by the monotype. It is then echoed again in the anatomical drawing of the muscles in the hand.

I also like the areas I reworked in the light colored pencils that bring the shapes of the original drawing back into prominence above the monotype. Again showing the play between the borders and shapes,.

Above is a really close for my favorite print of the year. It is of my friend Marc with a bear on his head.  It was part of my Friend 2012 Monotypes.

There are so many things I like about it. The likeness is there as well as the overall feel of the print. I smile whenever I look at this print.

Looking through my Monotypes, I'm a little unhappy with the number of prints I did. I really want to make an effort to do more of these in the up coming year.

"Hard work often leads to success. No work seldom does."
 ~ Harvey Mackay

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Personal Best: My Favorite Drawings of 2012

So I started drawing at the local vampire game and was very happy with the results. Above is of Heath, portraying the Prince in the city. I have one in the works of his wife Shannon and myself.

I for some reason really liked the idea of doing large scale drawings with a G2 pen.  Thinking back on it seems really confusing to me. I think I wanted to work with pen and had not yet bought my new fountain pens, I also did smaller drawings with the G2 pens and like how they came out.

I was planning on the drawings to be reminiscent of Piero Della Francesca's  Duke and Duchess of Urbino. So when I finish Shannon's picture they can face each other.

There are a lot of neat things going on in this drawing. I really like the details of the hat especially how it looks at it's going into the shadowed section.

Above is a drawing of one the students I work with. It came out so good. It's hard to not talk about him.

There is a lot to like about this drawing. I think the line quality and the variation of the lines are very dynamic. The composition on the page is interesting and seems very complete.

I really hope his father, a University of Hawaii at Manoa printmaking graduate, uses the drawing for a screen print. Then there will be T-shirts of this image. 

Above is a drawing of Marianne Cope I did as part of a ongoing Saint Icon series.

I really like this drawing and accomplished  a lot of things I thought. I wanted an image of her older then the images I saw being used. She did most of her note worthy work when she was older and it seemed to me disingenuous to depict her as a young fresh faced nun. So I used a lot of images to piece this image together. 

Above is another drawing from the vampire game. This is of Lauren.

There is a great mood to this drawing. She reminds me of Death from Neil Gaiman's Sandman. I like the blue shadow under her chin. I also like the violet in her face and forehead. There is a melancholy to the portrait that is really a treat to look at.

So it seems drawing at the Masquerade Games was really productive. I may have to roll another character that draws simply to get good sketches of people in costume.     

I really like this sketch. It may just be random lady I drew at a work meeting but I really like how this drawing came out.

I like how I rendered her blouse. The crosshatching is really illustrating the curves well. I also like the different quality lines  throughout the sketch. The line variation is doing a lot to define her form.

"Every mark matters." 
~ Jo Petty

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Personal Best: My Favorite Watercolors of 2012

This is a recap of my favorite watercolors from 2012.

Maybe I'm biased on the above watercolor, but it's one of my favorites.  It's of my dad at an Independent Order of Odd Fellows meeting and it is the first time I painted him. I like the looseness of the sketch and how the colors pooled in the shadows.

I am really proud of this one and the likeness. So much so I framed it and it's proudly displayed in my living room.

I do really enjoy doing candid from life sketches of strangers. I really think this is one of my best. Its of a college student studying at the Starbucks near my house.  As it was finals week, he stayed long enough. I had time to really plan out this sketch.

I worked in pencil first, then planned out the lights and darks. I then worked quickly and got most of this done in a half an hour.

There are so many things I like about this sketch. I love the white ear buds and how they look against the background. I love how the shadow on his computer came from a drying paint pool. I really like his backpack and the chair, how simple they appear, done in just a few brushstrokes, and still very defined they are.

This year I really started to regularly paint landscapes and this is one of my favorites. There is a stigma about painting landscapes in most artists minds for a lot of reasons. I really had to struggle a little to get over that feeling.

This is a view of Olomana from Olomana Community Park.. I used it later in a larger painting and was very happy with most of the elements of this watercolor. I love the puddle of red on the left corner that makes the mountains in the background.

Here is a painting of a stranger I painted while between films at the Honolulu International Film Festival. The man in the picture had been to a bunch of the same films we went to at the festival.

I really like the shadows of this picture. The blue gray shadow on his face and the difference between his face and his arms and legs. The purple shadow behind him also looks very good too.

The last of this collection of watercolors is another landscape. I like this because I really worked out a method of painting the mountains in this drawing that created a neat effect and worked well with watercolors.

Here in this watercolor I drew in two colors of ink: brown and red. I used the red to define the highlights and the brown ink to define the shadows. The effect is created especially with the green mountains is also really nice. The red ink makes the highlight areas bounce , while the brown ink blends and melts into the shadows.

The mountains here are the next ridge near my house. So there is that element of familiarity here.

"The only person you have to please, 
with your art, is yourself." 
~ Don Getz

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Personal Best: My Favorite Figure Drawings of 2012

Over the past few months I have begun to take more and more advantage of this blog as a place to put my work.  There are so many advantages to doing this that I never would have considered: it provides a record of my artwork that is almost always available, searchable and accessible.

This blog also gives me an opportunity to review and analyze my work. To run this blog,  I have been forced to photograph, catalog and write about my art work on a regular basis. All things that are easy to forget and slack off on.  However after putting in all this work, as the year is ending, I can for the first time look back over a large amount of work and pick my personal favorites for the year.

I think my figure drawings have been really strong this year. I just got back into regular attendance of a few workshops and classes and am really happy with the end products. I look through the folders of artwork and have so many favorites for this year.

In quite a few of the drawings I have the feeling of, "Wow! I cannot believe I did this." I choose five of my favorites for this post.

Above is a drawing of Adele from December 10th. My favorite thing about it is how I captured the dramatic lighting of the pose. The drawing has a real chiaroscuro, Baroque feel to it.

All the elements in this page are working: the main figure, the gestures behind it and the toned paper. The shadow is also strong; the dark blue is really doing a lot of work dividing the page and putting the main figure forward in the composition.    

Above is a drawing of Katelyn from July 23rd. There is a great looseness and spontaneity to this drawing that I personally always strive for. I think that was one of the main benefits of the large poster board sized pages I was working with: It kept me frantically working throughout the 20 minutes. 

In some cases the end product was not very good. In others, like this, it is amazing.

The ink wash is also beautiful in this. I particularly love the places it creeps through in the oil pastel. Her stomach is a beautiful patchwork of the layers of oil pastel and the blue underneath. The blue is also making the shadows do neat things. I used burnt sienna for the shadows and where I blended it, like the shadows of her face the vibrant colors mute and darken. In others where I used the burnt sienna thickly it pulls nicely away from the blue wash. A good use of my color theory. Thank you, Professor Toni Martin!  

The drawing is great too. Her hands are a little boxy, but still well defined. I am really proud of this drawing.

This drawing is of Rachel from October 29th. I really love this drawing because it made a really great page out of the drawings I was having the most trouble with.

For a long time I would regularly attend the WCC figure drawing class. Snowden Hodges who ran the class would often live by the lesson Joseph Sheppard relayed to him, “If you cannot do it in 25 minutes you aren't gonna do it.”

So in classes by Snowden or at WCC, all the poses outside the gestures were 25 minutes. I really got used to that pose length because that was what everything was. There were some exceptions but most telling to me is that I still have playlists on my iPod labeled “Drawing” that are 25 minutes long exactly.

So in these new classes at the art academy and University of Hawaii, I had a lot of problems with the 2 five minute poses and the 10 minute pose. For a while I struggled with what to do with them. One night I tried this and I was so happy with the end result that I have continued to work similarly since.

I really like the figures in this page. I love the hands in the center figure the most. How with just a few lines of oil pastel I was able to define interlocked fingers and their flow. I love how all the figures on the page work. The gestures in the background provide a nice anchor for the 5 minute sketches and the 10 minute sketch on top of it. 


This drawing is a recent one from December 16th of Alex. This was my first time back at the UH figure drawing workshop. I really like the whole page on this one. 

The gestures in this pose are really nice. I think all 4 figures are doing a great job establishing a rhythm in the background. They are like the drum beat, flowing through the piece and capturing movement.

I think the main figure fits well in the page too, almost framing the right corner. It is a great figure with lots of movement and power in the drawing.

This page works really well and that is why it is one of my favorites for the year.  This page has a great set of gestures and a great main figure.  There is also a lot of interplay between the two that makes is dynamic.   I love the two central gestures are looking at the main drawing’s head, pulling attention to it. I love that the right most gesture, which is almost covered by the main figure, its left leg is almost identical to the main figures back arm.    

Above is of Katelyn from September 24th. It is a pretty straight forward sketch of the model lying down. I sat on the ground to get a more dramatic perspective. I love this drawing.  There is a great feel to it and everything about it is working. 

I really like the shadows of her face. I also love how I rendered her hair. There is a nice "roughness" to this drawing and it is balanced pretty nicely with the delicate figure. Again the energy and spontaneity is nice in it; so much is defined with a few strokes.

This figure also shows a lot of skill in rendering the figure in a short amount of time. I really like how it came out.

"Everything... has to be resolved through rhythms. 
You're constantly massaging each form, 
trying to get it home, 
pushing further and further until these all coalesce
 into a marvelous kind of rhythm 
that reveals the life of the painting." 
~ Leland Bell