Tuesday, November 11, 2008


A while back, I purchased a WWII era model airplane, a Lockheed P-38 Lightning. I've been out to airfields before and worked up paintings from what I saw, but I wanted to experiment and do something different, taking it to the next level. So I took my model airplane and put it in a beach setting for a more imaginative interpretation. I added the small figure sitting under the propeller to give the aircraft a sense of scale and add to the peaceful mood of the sunset over the horizon. And the quiet color harmony of the piece adds to that as well. Often, I've admired old paintings of shipwrecks, and this is my own modern take on the old subject (but obviously with a plane). It's called "Wreckage" 18 x 24 inches, oil on canvas.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

San Pedro Rail Bridge

This is "San Pedro Rail Bridge", another large new painting, 36 x 48 inches, oil on canvas. There's alot of thick impasto on there, as well as thin washy areas in the shadows. I troweled down some thick paint on the areas of the concrete bridge supports, I really like the effect. And I'm especially pleased about how the palette and overall color harmony of the painting turned out, sometimes less is more. The simple, yet bold graphic effect of the composition really worked on the large scale of the piece, it makes for a looming and weighty feel over the viewer's vantage point.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Looking Inward

"Looking Inward" is a large 36 x 48 inches, oil on canvas. It took months to finish. My inspiration for this piece is from something Carl Jung once said, "Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens." And a quote from Gary Parent, "To see your Dream you must stop looking outward at everyone else's Dream, and look inward to see and discover your own Dream."

This painting, "Looking Inward", as well as the post below of "Looking Outward" feel like the culmination of my efforts as an artist to this point in my life. My points of view, looking inward for thoughts and feelings, looking out at the world in longing and awe. Seeing potential. Both paintings include my favorite subject, architecture, and both make use of the figure.

The figure in this piece, "Looking Inward" is an obvious self-portrait. I started with a little sketch of this diner interior, it's "Cindy's" in Eagle Rock, close to where I used to live in Pasadena. But I wanted to include a figure in an interesting way, so I challenged myself to sketch one in the scene. After I doodled the guy outside, looking into the brilliantly lit diner through the window, I felt it had a symbolic dream like quality, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to do a self portrait. Lately, I have been developing an interest in psychology, read allot on dreams, the writings of Carl Jung, as well as Victor Frankel's "Man's Search For Meaning". And I believe that the greatest thing an artwork can do is to develop and carry some personal meaning for my life, and pass some on to the viewer, to discover significant meaning in his or her own life as well.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Looking Outward

This is a large painting, 32 x 48 inches, and probably one of my favorites I've painted yet. I'm calling it "Looking Outward". One of two large new paintings of mine, both inspired by a quote by the famous psychologist and author, Carl Jung... "Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens."

The setting is a building facade in downtown Los Angeles. When I first saw it, I imagined that it might be the old Chouinard art school's building on 3rd Street, the school that eventually became Art Center where I attended college. But this was just an assumption due to the bas-relief sculpture and decorative elements seen on the beautiful old building, on closer examination they're obviously symbolic representations of history, education, and the arts.

I found it to be an ironic scene that this beautiful old building, appearing to have once been erected to somehow glorify the arts, was now a textile manufacturing plant in the garment district... some people might refer to it as a "sweat shop". The worker looking out the window is a kind of psychological self portrait. As I worked on the piece, it became evident that the image was full of alot of personal meaning to me, this will be one of those paintings that I'll especially hate to part with.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

City Train

Another painting that I did a while ago, but recently re-worked. "City Train" is 24 x 36 inches, oil on canvas. I piled alot more paint onto this one, threw a shadow across the foreground to add a level of depth, cleaned up the bridge, and edited out a few other things. Made the cityscape in the background a little more smokey, I always love an atmospheric haze in the air of a painting. The scene reminded me of one of Monet's paintings at the D'Orsay in Paris.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Stockton Trains South and North

This painting is called "Stockton Trains South", it's oil on masonite, 16 x 24 inches. I intended to do these pieces as a pair, this one is with a cooler and more tonal palette. I loved how the concrete was so beat up and crumbling, and how it pulls the viewer into the painting. And the subtle mud puddles reflecting the telephone pole and railroad crossing sign.

This accompanying piece is called "Stockton Trains North", oil on masonite, 16 x 24 inches. Painting on masonite is a different challenge from painting on canvas, the surface is much more slick and makes for great transparency in the paint. I'll definitely try it again. I had fun with the warmer color in this one, had to do lots of glazing, and I did have to paint that sky three times to get it just right. But the clouds do add to the underlying zig-zag composition of the overall piece.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Chavez Ravine

This is my newest painting "Chavez Ravine", 18 x 18 inches, oil on canvas. The location is close to Dodger Stadium, that's downtown LA in the background. I painted on location here with my pal William Wray a couple of years ago, I used my plein-air study as color reference for this more finished studio piece. I was going for a more impressionistic palette with subtle color and a hazy atmospheric feel. As I worked, it helped me to keep in mind... warm foreground receding to a cooler background.

Recently I acquired a couple of drawings by Sam Hyde Harris. I was inspired by some paintings he did back in the 1930's and 40's, some of which were done around Chavez Ravine. One such piece is reproduced in a book I have, called "Plein-Air Painters of California, the Southland" by Ruth Westphal.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Thundering Trains

This started with an older canvas that I painted a couple of years ago. I liked it, but I felt that I could do more to take it further, so I recently re-worked it. The whole harmony is different now, it has much softer and more subdued color than before. And I edited out alot of elements that were there, like a telephone pole and some foreground train tracks. The size is 24 x 24 inches, oil on canvas, and I changed the title to "Thundering Trains". I think that my second attempt here with the painting is much more successful, I love it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Day's End

"Day's End" is 22 x 22 inches, oil on canvas. The view is in Pasadena, looking west on Walnut, very close to my old studio. When I started this piece, I did a little sketch with a cloudy sky. But as the painting progressed, I couldn't bring myself to change the effect that I got with the simplicity that you see here, the large mass of yellow, fading up into the darkening evening sky. It's in stark contrast from the bluish dark foreground. The view made me think of my drive home in my Art Center College days.

This painting is at the Timmons Gallery in Rancho Santa Fe, along with a handful of other pieces I recently brought down there.

Friday, January 18, 2008

PALMS ON WILSHIRE and Chinese Kitchen

This is "Palms on Wilshire" oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches. I barely finished it in time for my show, I'm actually bringing it to the gallery with me for opening night.

This is "Chinese Kitchen", it is 22 x 28 inches, oil on canvas. I've been putting the figure into alot of my new works, as will be seen in the future.