Sunday, August 31, 2014

"Slippery Ice"

18x36x1.5", mixed media on canvas

This one contains pieces of an old bedsheet that wore out and tore, so it was no longer useful in normal life. So I glued it down. Then there were too many ridges, so I took my razor-blade-in-a-safety-handle (kids! never use razor blades without safety handles!) and cut away some of the sheet. I liked the rough edges, so I then put medium on the whole piece to protect it. 

There's another unusual thing about this piece, which is that it uses a metallic paint. I don't tend to use those, since they can get precious, but it wanted it here.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

"Peeled Away"

24x30x1.5", mixed media on canvas

This is a another in my series of paintings that have fewer colors, and thus emphasize texture more. This one used to be a painting where I'd glued down old rags made out of T-shirts, then added other texture material such as patching compound and sand. Then I painted a figure over it. But the painting never spoke to me, so I peeled off (hence the title) the rags, used that as an undercoat, then added the fabric and mucked around until I was happy with it. 

By the way, peeling off is a great way to add interesting texture; it can result in surfaces that you couldn't create on your own. Mostly it's best to do it once the glue material (I use either white glue or gel) has hardened to the touch but has not cured. Often you'll pull off some of the original gesso, and sometimes you need to be careful or you'll tear the canvas. Not that that's necessarily bad, mind you...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

"The Confused World"

30x40x1.5", mixed media on canvas

This painting, and the one in the immediate prior post, were accepted into the Santa Cruz Art League's juried multimedia show! It's called All Mixed Up. I am so honored! It feels like my paintings are going in a good direction, and I hope that this is proof.

For this one, I used an older painting of mine that was no longer working for me, although I love that bits of it show up here and there. Basecoats are crucial. I also added industrial foam (the stuff that electricians put behind outlets) to add texture. And I had been utterly drinking in the amazing work of Hannelore Baron, so I added fabric. By the way, Baron was amazing; you should look her up. Her work could make you cry.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"And the Walls Tumbled Down"

36x36x1.5", mixed media on canvas

I've gotten more and more into paintings that use fewer colors and that have a lot of texture. Fewer colors lets you focus on the texture, and actually seems to evoke emotions! I'm discovering that I love what happens when I add an element, then try to pull it off the canvas. It leaves the most beautiful detritus! And, to a certain extent, I'm returning to what I was doing a few years ago.

Now, the material in this painting is interesting. You might be able to tell that there's cardboard, and maybe Plaster of Paris + gauze off a roll. But there's also eggshell (those larger chips) and an old towel I found while hiking, that I applied and pulled off. There's also flexible patching material from the hardware store.

But, to me, the important thing is how this looks aged and crumbly, with a lot of richness. Yeah, I like it.

Friday, January 10, 2014


30x48x1.5", mixed media on canvas

As I've mentioned before, I have a painting process, which is to make a tremendous* mess on the canvas then resolve it. The mess is usually made up of texture materials from the hardware store (patching compound, stucco patch), maybe some paper or sand, and paint thrown hither and yon. This picture was surprisingly difficult, not to paint, but to figure out an approach. When I resolve the tremendous mess, I often look at the painting at different rotations. With this one, I kept turning and turning and turning it. I did some work in resolving the darks and lights. I added more paint texture. I saw various shapes, but I kept returning to a small face I saw, so I finally painted it. Suddenly, the face brought the whole work into focus.

* I like the word "tremendous" here. I used to say I'd make a "terrible mess," but, you know, it's really not terrible. So I looked for a colorful word that would express my effect on the canvas. And I thought of "tremendous." I like it. Today, at least. Could use some other word tomorrow, I suppose.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"The Heart Cannot Lie"

36x36x1.5 acrylic on canvas

I haven't posted since March, but I felt like posting this one. While I was painting it, I was trying to find a figure to work with, but it insisted on being abstract. I'm falling back in love with adding texture to my paintings. Of course, that can change tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


6x6", oil on canvas board

This one came out looking young. That wasn't on purpose. Just the proportions. But it's interesting.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


6x6", oil on canvas board

One of the benefits of working small is that you can go over the top. If this was a 36'x36" painting, it would be too much, at least for most spaces.

Friday, March 8, 2013


6x6", acrylic an mixed media on canvas board

I'm still doing my small paintings of abstract faces, and am still on a roll. I am so strangely fond of these, even though the paintings are funny little things, with weird emotions. Or maybe that's why I'm fond of them.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


6x6", oil on canvas board

I've found that it's interesting to use a 6x6" board that I previously painted on. These are paintings I don't like very much, so using them as a base coat is a great way to make them mean more to me. In some cases, I go in and scribble with oil-based pens (I mostly use Sharpies and some Uni brands). Then I like to let some of the scribble work show through. This one is moving further away from reality, but you can still see that it's a face. Or most people can. Not sure if that matters. I'm also experimenting with pencil and scratch lines.