Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Next Step

Here is the actual oil painting of the digital version in the last post. I am quite pleased with it, and feel like there are some things working better here than in the digital version. I pulled up the digital version on my old imac and painted straight from the screen, a first for me. It was very enjoyable to paint from the screen instead of a sub-par print. This is a 9"x12" piece, and I'm looking forward to doing a larger version soon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why yes, it HAS been six months...

So, we had our first son in August, which is all of the disclaimer needed for not posting in awhile:) I have been trying to utilize more of my film/color key skills in my personal work, and this is one example. The bottom is a photo which I took a few years ago. It had some great elements, but after doing a larger painting of it, I realized that it was missing some important elements. So the other three are the small digital overpaintings I did, using the photo as a starting point. The top is the most recent, and I think the most successful. I used a few other photos for value/color reference, but mostly just tried to compose the scene from imagination and not be hindered by the limitations of the photo ref. I'm excited to now do an oil painting of this and see how it changes from digital to paint. More to come!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Beach Campout Weekend!

Ok, so I usually only post art related things here, but I couldn't resist sharing a photo from our troop beach campout this past weekend. The kids had a lot of fun, and it was great to see them so excited to be having meaningful adventures together. If it looks like we're screaming in this photo, it was to prepare us for the cold Atlantic water which we were seconds away from being immersed in:) Go Boy Scouts!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Latest

So, here is a little landscape and its corresponding study. The larger finished piece is 11"x 14", so not huge, and the small study is around 4"x 6". And though I rarely show them together, I have included the original photo ref that I used for the piece. The photo itself is a compilation of three different photos (if you look close you can see the hack job in Photoshop...I was going quick). I include this so that you can see things that were similar as well as some of the dramatic liberties that I took with the piece, adjusting it for composition and interest. In these photos, the reference looks very vibrant and the two paintings are a bit washed out. In reality, the print of the photo was semi-washed out, and the painting has all of the color...funny. And beyond all of that, I had exactly two nights to get this painted and entered into a show (it didn't make it in:). So, though it was a mad dash to finish it--the piece bearing the marks of that speed--I'm glad that I pushed through and did it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Plein Air Easel

I just recently purchased a new 'Easy L' plein air easel, and am very excited about having greater flexibility to paint on location. The easel is great, but there were some design elements that I felt needed a little nudge to get where they needed to be. The slide-out wings were constructed on the flat bottom of the 'out of the box' easel with 1/8" birch plywood. I sandwiched the two pieces and alternated the grain and it turned out quite strong. There are stronger 1/8" ply's out there, but this was the cheapest, and worked just fine. A blend of different wood oils helps them slide well, and protects the wood.

Over the weekend I got out and did two mediocre paintings just to break it in. As Ron says (here at Blue Sky) "It's the indian, not the arrow!" ...onward and upward.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Magazine Spread

Here are two pieces that I recently did for a spread in the New Era magazine. It's a youth publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ( This particular story is about a young girl's spiritual experience while camping with her friends and church leaders. The bottom piece is a small vignette for the opposite page. It's all painted in Photoshop. (And these images are all copyrighted)...Enjoy!

Recent Sketches

Here are a few sketchbook pages from the last few weeks. The top left were ideas for a painting (to be posted soon), and the bottom left was in church on Easter Sunday (I was listening, honest!). The right was during our Scout campout last weekend. The boys slept in a little, but I was wide awake at 6 for some odd reason (does that mean I'm getting old?), so what a great chance to draw!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Circling the Square

So, rule no. 1 in Design: Solve the clients problem not your own. It turns out the camp needed the patch to be round:) So here are the two ideas for the round patch, and I think it is actually stronger in some ways. Amazing how we sometimes spend so much effort resisting change when revision and some healthy editing are often just what a design/painting need. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Seeing The Everyday

This is a drawing I finished last night (ok, early this morning, technically:) for the upcoming Spring issue of Seeing the Everyday magazine. The spread is a biography of Grace Rebecca Hartvigsen Thomas, and she was an amazing woman and mother. As always, you can see more about the magazine at: It was fun to do the old photograph look; as always there are things that I hit well, and others that I'll improve next time.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rebranding a Scout camp

So, once again it's that time of the year when Boy Scout camps all over the country start ordering t-shirts and patches for the summer camp season. This is an idea for a camp out West that a good friend is directing this summer. The top two elongated designs would be for t-shirts, and the bottom two are different ideas for putting the same design into a patch. I'm probably partial to the orange shirt color scheme and the patch on the left with the blue background. Enjoy!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

So, it's no secret that I am the proud husband to the most amazing wife ever. So, I thought a little Photoshop Valentine was in order to start out the day (and I thought that you, digital world, might enjoy it, too)...

Finally Done!

Well, I have finally finished the Kaysville painting. There are still some issues with it, perhaps, but it has been beaten to death sufficiently, and I need to move on. I added a lot more blue into the water, distant mountains, and sky, and I think it is harmonizing better.

The bottom piece is a plein-air piece of the Bronx River that I did a few weeks ago. The top half I painted quickly and then the sun went behind some clouds and I spent the rest of the time chasing it. After bringing it home I repainted the bottom half at least three times, and this is as much as I can do without more information. Sorry it's a bit blurry, if I can get a better photo of it in the next few days I'll replace it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Seeing The Everyday sketch

I did this sketch a few months ago for Seeing The Everyday magazine, but never posted it. It is one of my favorites that I have done for that incredible publication. If you haven't spent some time with that magazine yet, you really need to make some time for it: As I look at the drawing now, I really think it could use a suggestion of cast shadow at the base of the figure to ground it, and probably a bit of the left hand (her left) showing for the same reason. Next time:)

Little Key

This is a small color key I did on Saturday. Normally these come before the larger pieces, but I really liked the plein air piece I did of the Bronx River a few weeks ago, so I just decided to do this little small painting of it and use a slightly more intense palette. I have been trying to use black and burnt umber more sparingly lately, and I think it's helping my colors not be as muddy.

Color Studies

These are some color study pages I put together from little studies done over the last few years. A few of these have already been posted, but I thought it would be fun to have them all together. There is something strangely exciting about the energy of a loose little study that often seems elusive as the painting gets transfered to a larger piece.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Winter Plein-Air

Ok, so no excuses about how long it has been since the last post, we'll just be grateful for the present. This is a plein-air piece that I did New Year's Eve along the Bronx River. Though it looks rather secluded there are actually cars that travel along both sides of this scene. That's the beauty of artistic editing. I feel like there are some good things happening, and I tried to be quite basic especially with my treatment of the trees. Happy 2011! Best yet...

Some Sketches

These are some sketches that I have had for awhile and just haven't posted. The top three are plein-air sketches done around Blue Sky Studios during my lunch our over the past year or so. The bottom four little guys are just some studies I did from some photos I had taken a few years ago. Now that I look at the bottom four I realize that the composition is fair, but the lighting isn't really telling much of a story. The sketch of the large trees (the one titled 'Greenwich') is probably my favorite of the bunch.