Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Paintings

"Grounded" is the name of this new painting. It is 19 x 19 inches, oil on canvas. I've been very interested in painting big cloudy skies again, rain seems like a novelty in Southern California, so I've been running around with my camera looking for interesting light and cloud formations. This particular view is out at Montgomery Field here in San Diego. It has a flight school with a number of smaller aircraft. I was excited when they allowed me to have the run of the place, it was an inspired moment. I've often thought of painting an airplane on the ground. Thinking of it as a metaphor of my career, waiting to take to the air.

This is "The Mark Twain Hotel", 18 x 24 inches, oil on canvas. It's an old Hollywood haunt, located between Sunset and Hollywood Boulevard. I imagined that upon their arrival to LA, an army of optimistic would-be actors, writers, and other artists would have stayed at this place over the decades. All in hopes of making the big time, working in the industry.

And finally, this is a piece that I recently re-worked. It's called "Morning in Pasadena", 16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas. It's in a neighborhood in Pasadena that's by the Arroyo, just off of Orange Grove Avenue. I liked those high hedges protecting the back yard of the house and the harmony of morning light in a neighborhood where Greene and Greene would have worked, or Frank Lloyd Wright... Wright once told his students that they ought to plant ivy or large hedges around their early architectural designs, so that in years to come their mistakes would be unseen as the foliege grew.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

6th Street Bridge

This new piece is another moderately large one, it is 30 x 30 inches, oil on canvas. I actually crawled down the steep concrete basin to the bottom and walked a couple of miles along the L.A. River (in the rain) to shoot some photos a while back. Prepared to risk life and limb for my art, I almost slid on some gravel and toppled down to my imminent demise. But fortunately I lived to tell the tale and finish this painting, unscathed.
This view is a rather iconic angle of the old art deco era bridge, I loved seeing that dark underbelly, plus the reflections in the murky water. I decided to keep the color rather simple, emphasizing the dramatic contrasts. There's alot of thick paint on there, but other areas I kept washy and thin. The canvas was begun with gray gesso, a technique that allowed me to better judge appropriate values. At the drawing stage, I had to find my vanishing point and more accurately depict what the camera lens tends to bend. I'm very pleased with the finish here, it's one of those pieces that I've long wanted to paint.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


This is my new painting, "Canters, Fairfax". It is a relatively large painting for me, 36 x 48 inches, oil on canvas. I've spent months working on this one, it's one of my favorite pieces this year. Canter's is a really great deli located on Fairfax in Hollywood.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


This new painting is called "Billiards at Embers Lounge". It is 18 x 24 inches, oil on canvas. I tried to clean up the photo, when I photographed the painting there was alot of glare in the upper left corner.

This is one of the first paintings for my upcoming January show that includes a figure. Over the years I have excluded any figures within my paintings, my effort was often to express lonliness or aloneness. And a figure makes for an entirely different kind of painting. I think it works well here, this lounge interior would be incomplete without the guy shooting pool. It's like my own version of one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings, "Night Cafe with Pool Table".

I happened upon Embers Lounge when I was out on photo safari a few months back. William Wray accompanied me to Whittier, we had just shot a vintage bowling alley and wanted to get a cocktail at Embers and rest our feet. We were pleasantly surprised to find the bar filled with mediocre paintings done in the 50's or 60's by a patron who had paid off his bar tab by decorating the place with his depiction of hell... hence the name of the lounge, "Embers". It was like we time warped back into the 1960's.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Night Trains

Overwhealmed with other obligations, I've still managed to get a good amount of painting done since my last post here, but I've only just photographed my four new pieces. The first one here is "Night Trains", 18 x 24 inches, oil on canvas. It's part of my ongoing series of nocturnes and also the LA river. According to my friend William Wray, we're apparently founding members of the "LA River School of Painting".
This painting depicts a train yard, just east of downtown Los Angeles by the LA River. I was on a bridge, above the river, just as the sun had set. Not a place I'd prefer to spend an evening alone, I painted the view back in my studio rather than plein-air. It's really a study in blues, a narrow variety of color, almost a tonalist piece. I chose to paint it with a loaded brush, there's alot of pigment on there, giving it a liquid feel without much for hard edges. Painting the night is difficult, as I've said before, because it doesn't photograph well and the artist needs a good color memory and sense of color harmony. It's easy to let the painting go into black, and I try to never let it get too dark, allowing the viewer to see into this shadowy world. The earliest part of the evening is like a magical hour, it really casts a melancholy mood onto the landscape.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


This new oil on canvas is called, "Westlake", and it is 12 x 16 inches. Westlake is an area just west of downtown Los Angeles, along Wilshire Boulevard. Once upon a time, this was one of the most fashionable ares to live in LA. And even though the area has lost it's upscale residents, it hasn't lost it's obvious beauty. I think that the contemporary architecture of the LA skyline is best viewed from afar, I really like how the hazy atmosphere seems to naturally mass the shapes of the buildings. Almost like Sam Hyde Harris' paintings of early California with his hazy mountains and trees in the distance.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Miracle Mile

This is "Miracle Mile", a smaller oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches. Sorry, but the pic turned out a little bluish. The Miracle Mile is a stretch of road west of downtown Los Angeles on Wilshire Boulevard. There's alot of old art deco architecture along there, including the El Rey Theater here in my painting.
When I began the execution of this piece, I started out rather loose and painterly. But the lack of detail seemed to be problematic, it felt unfinished and bothered me. So the result here (from 2 to 3 sittings) is a painterly, but finished out piece.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Los Angeles River Trains II

Another new painting in the more "alla-prima" or painterly style. I kept the color very quiet in this one, started it with just a burnt umber lay-in with a little blue to cool it down. I like the overall effect with it's gritty and industrial feel. It's oil on canvas (16 x 20 inches) and it's called "Los Angeles River Trains II", since I have already painted the area so many times. I can really see how a painter enjoys revisiting themes again and again, I'd like to think that my treatment of the subject changes and improves with each piece.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Union Station

Sorry for the pic quality on this one, it's not so sharp. For those of you who are familiar with Los Angeles, you've probably made your way thru "Union Station" to catch a train at one time or another. This painting is 16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas, and depicts the outdoor waiting area of the old Art Deco era train station.

The paint handling is much looser than I'm accustomed to. Lately I've been experimenting with a more loaded brushstroke, thicker paint application, more palette knife use, and working quickly or more intuitively. This is the first one that I'm posting, I feel like it worked out well (although my pic doesn't show the variety of color in my darker shadow areas).

Friday, June 15, 2007

Beverly Liquor and Randy's Donuts

"Beverly Liquor"

"Beverly Liquor" is a recently finished oil on canvas, 18 x 36 inches. For this new series of Los Angeles landscapes, I've spent alot of time researching locations and looking for 1950's style architecture and signage. Anything with the Googie style (like this Liquor Deli sign) was a big plus in my urban photo-safari. This liquor store is on Beverly Blvd. and I was lucky enough to see the bus pulling away from it's stop just accross the street... I feel like it really makes the painting.

"Randy's Donuts"

"Randy's Donuts" is fresh off the easel, it's actually still wet and waiting for a final varnish. It is 18 x 24 inches, oil on canvas. As far as donuts in LA goes, this place is an institution. Relatively close to LAX, it's located on the corner of La Cienega and Manchester Boulevards. One of my teachers from Art Center (Jim Heimann) actually once photographed the Oscar Meyer Weiner-Mobile driving past this place... he called it divine intervention mixed with positive karma and dumb-luck. Anyway, I was surprised that I had never seen a painting of it before, and I had long been inspired to paint it, so it seemed natural that I would include it in the series.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Starlite Drive-In Theater

This is my newest painting, "Starlite Drive-In Theater". It is a smaller oil on canvas, 14 x 18 inches. Recently, I've started a dozen new paintings. All of them are depicting something of the Los Angeles area. That's why I've been slow to post any new artwork here on blogger for the last month, but now several of them should be coming upon completion soon. I may even pick away at this one a little more before I bring it to the gallery. Any suggestions?

This particular drive-in is actually no longer in use as a theater, but rather a swap-meet. The big screen is gone, so I had to imagine it here in my painting. The old sign was my initial inspiration, I love the old star on the googie style sign, as well as the long bluish shadow cast by it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


In an attempt to paint a successful nocturne, I chose a view that I already painted in the daytime. This is "FOX THEATER, WESTWOOD", it is 20 x 30 inches, oil on canvas.

Westwood Village is a stone's throw from the UCLA campus, there are a bunch of great old art deco movie theaters in walking distance from one another. Plus I actually just visited the Armond Hammer Museum in Westwood on Friday and saw their collection of Daumier paintings. Anyway... I'm satisfied with how this painting turned out, especially the color. Nocturnal paintings often get too dark when the painter relies too much on his photo refrence and not his color memory.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Los Angeles Winter

After a friend told me that I paint "all warm paintings", I thought I'd try to proove him wrong with this piece and the "Stockton Landscape" posted below. This one is called "Los Angeles Winter", it is 20 x 20 inches, oil on canvas. It is just east of downtown LA, over the 4th Street bridge by the train yards.

Stockton Landscape

I just finished this one last night, it's called "Stockton Landscape", 24 x 36 inches, oil on canvas. Tried to keep the color quiet in this one, the palette is mostly earth tones. The canvas I started with was an experiment, I toned it with a couple coats of light gray gesso... it really helped me maintain the mood I was going for.

I was up in Stockton in December for the Leyendecker show with Bill Wray. We ran around town shooting photos when we weren't looking at the Leyendecker paintings. Stockton is an old town in Northern California that's full of old shipping docks and railway depots along the river. I felt like this scene was right out of the 1970's with that old green car and railroad crossing signs. A cold day, likely the neighborhood of dock workers' families.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


This new painting is called, "Paris, City of Lights". It is 18 x 24 inches, oil on canvas.

I wanted to let everyone know about my group show that opens this Saturday evening, March 10th, at the Tirage Gallery in Pasadena. I will be exhibiting four new Paris paintings and one large drawing. It is a themed show called, "Foreign Shores".

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


"CATHEDRAL VIEW" (Notre-Dame) oil on canvas, 34 x 44 inches

These are my three newest paintings of Paris. Sorry if I haven't posted in a while, but I've been busy finishing the lot of them (and more). Tomorrow I'll bring them up to Pasadena, they'll be part of the "Travel Show" at the Tirage Gallery in March.

After my trip to Europe in September, I was inspired to paint these. They were just something I absolutely had to do. The first one (above) is, "CATHEDRAL VIEW" (Notre-Dame). It is oil on canvas, 34 x 44 inches. The pic of the painting turned out a bit dark. Anyway, I felt that I needed to paint this one big, my only regret is that I didn't paint it even bigger. I wanted to capture the feeling of massive grandeur and awe that I felt while standing on top of the cathedral bell tower, looking down over the ancient city. When I was up there, I felt that all of my work toward my skills and abilities culminated into that one moment, where hopefully I could put that view onto canvas. This will be one of those paintings that I'll especially hate to sell.

"BRIDGE ON THE SEINE" oil on canvas, 28 x 38 inches This next one (above image) is "BRIDGE ON THE SEINE" oil on canvas, 28 x 38 inches. Holly and I walked along the Seine River one morning on our way to the Musee d'Orsay. You can see the museum structure off in the distance in the painting. I loved the form of this 19th century bridge in the foreground and it's reflection in the water.

"LOUVRE" oil on canvas, 16 x 24 inches
And the last one pictured (above) is called "LOUVRE" oil on canvas, 16 x 24 inches. The view is actually looking down from the Musee d'Orsay. It was the only one of ten days in Paris that actually had a little rain. The stormy clouds looked so powerful over the structure of the Louvre.

It was difficult to narrow down what to paint from Paris. I can see why Hemmingway called it "A Movable Feast". Everywhere I looked was a seemingly potential painting. In contrast, it seems alot harder coming home to so-cal and searching for subject matter. I can see how the Impressionists could spend decades painting in the city of Paris and never run out of inspiring views.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Cuyamaca Reserve

This is a 10x12 inch plein-air painting I did called "Cuyamaca Reserve". The area is up in the mountains, just east of San Diego. The last time I had been to this place before I painted it was for 6th grade camp as a kid. As I was working out there on location with my friend Bill Wray, the sun went down behind those trees and my fingers froze. I had to finish the piece in the studio later. I think I poured way too much time into it for such a small painting, but I like how it turned out. The broken color and the impressionist's palette were challenging for me.