Monday, August 28, 2006

La Paloma Theater

This one is fresh off the easel, it's called "La Paloma Theater". Oil on canvas, 24x36 inches. The building is located on the Pacific Coast Highway here in San Diego. I believe the specific area is actually called Encinitas. Anyway, the day I drove by it for the first time, it struck me as something that I simply had to paint. The marquee had some other movie title on it, but I replaced it with "Some Like It Hot", a Marilyn Monroe movie that took place here in San Diego. Yes, the pigeons are eating popcorn.

Monday, August 21, 2006

La Jolla Cove

This is my newest painting, "La Jolla Cove". It is 30x40 inches, oil on canvas. Right now I'm painting larger canvases of San Diego scenes for my October show at the Timmons Gallery. Historically, this scene has been painted many times at different angles by artists such as Edgar Payne, Maurice Braun, and several of the old "California Impressionists" back around early 20th century. Compositionally, I decided to focus more on the sky. Hopefully making my painting less typical of La Jolla Cove paintings I've seen. I used broader brushstrokes and very heavy paint than I usually do. I often like that kind of blobby paint in other's work, I don't know why I haven't done more of it myself. Perhaps it just takes time to work more confidently in "alla-prima". It makes for a more deeply felt piece in my opinion, because the artist is working faster and can maitain the initial thought that motivated him to do that particular painting.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I did this piece as a comission a while back. It was something like 20x30 inches, oil on canvas. The client's mother had worked in this building back in the day and he had a vintage photo of the building with the old Ford Model-T parked out front. The place had since been painted a different color, but was otherwise still there. I went and shot photos of the place and used a combination of my shots and his photo to do this painting.

At the time, I was working in a small spare bedroom in my Glendale apartment. My progress in my work had slowed to a pathetic crawl. The heat would get so bad in that apartment that I would spend my days lying in my underwear on the couch with a fan blowing, attempting to keep cool. It never worked. Thank God for air-conditioning in my new place. Being comfortable while I work is far more important than I had ever realized... I guess I'm kind of a baby. To paint, I need to be cool and not too warm, well fed, well rested, free of interuptions, a clear head, and to top it all off I need to feel inspired. Usually I can work myself into inspiration, but inspiration must be coaxed. If all these prerequisites aren't in place, I won't get anything done. If I worked at an office or worked doing manual labor, I wouldn't need to be inspired. I could just show up and grunt through it. But painting is a spiritual act. When there's no inspiration, the painting won't be any good. But working through the difficult times is imparative, it's the only way to come out on the other side. I really feel like I'm currently doing some of the best work I've ever done. It's taken years to build momentum. I feel continually anxious to see my own future paintings.

Friday, August 11, 2006


"Lake Hodges" is 18x36 inches, oil on canvas. After spending weeks on the "Muffler Monument" painting that's posted below, I wanted to paint something that would give me some instant gratification. I just finished this "Lake Hodges" painting, it moved at lightening speed. It's got some thick impastos on there, I think I used $30 worth of white paint. Lots of palette knife at the lay in stage and broad brush strokes kept me from getting too fussy with the details, just looking at the big picture. I had fun with this one.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Muffler Monument (painting)

Finally I'm back on line. Turns out that my DSL modem was on the fritz, so I got a new one. If you recall, a while back I did a drawing of "Muffler Monument". It was a preliminary study for this painting.

"Muffler Monument" is 36x36 inches, oil on canvas, a fairly large painting. I figured that since I'd done my homework with a nice finished drawing, that it would be easy-street in executing the painting. Unfortunately, it didn't move so quickly. I had started with an all burnt umber lay-in. It looked awesome, maybe I should have stopped there. Then I proceeded to apply color, that's when I got into trouble... I had to re-paint the sky at least three times. But they say that a good painting should show some struggle. I'm pleased with the finished painting, I'd better be for as long as it took. It will be in my October show at the Timmons Gallery in Rancho Santa Fe.