Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Coopriders, Looking In"

I have been invited to do a portrait commission for Patti and Coop Cooprider that will be part of an exhibition called "Movers and Shakers": Who's Who in the San Diego Visual Arts World.

The reception will be on Thursday Jan 21 from 6:30 to 8:30, and is organized by the San Diego Visual Arts Network. The exhibition will take place at Art Expressions Gallery: 2645 Financial Court, Suite C, San Diego, 92117

I have spent all of my efforts lately on finishing this piece in time for deadline, it has been nearly two months of continuous work. "Coopriders, Looking In" is a large 36 x 48 inches, oil on canvas. The Coopriders liked my self-portrait, "Looking Inward", and thought it would be interesting to use a similar theme for this portrait of them. We decided to use a gallery space as the setting stage, since collecting art is one of their favorite things.

Patti and Coop are very interesting folks, my wife Holly and I have enjoyed getting to know them in the process of this project. They are heavily involved in the San Diego art scene, and serve on the board of directors of numerous arts organizations. They are collectors of art as well as "doers," Patti also enjoys making art herself. From the work of a little known Italian artist, Diego, to the works of Chagall, Lipschitz, Miro, Picasso, Leger, and Calder among many others, Patti and her husband not only collect the works of great artists, but they live cozily with their pieces in their home to inspire them on a daily basis. For the past several years, Patti and her husband have focused on supporting San Diego artists, occasionally selling some of the work by European artists in order to purchase the work of artists in their own back yard.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm in a new book, "100 Artists of the West Coast II"

I finally got my copy of this new book I'm in, 100 Artists of the West Coast II by Tina Skinner
You can purchase your copy on Amazon through this link.

My artwork is profiled in the book, including my painting "Looking Forward" 16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas (pictured above). This piece is depicted inside the book, as well as on the back cover of the dust jacket.

In the back of the book, all of the artists are pictured along with their web links. My self-portrait "Looking Inward", 36 x 48 inches, oil on canvas, is pictured there (but quite small) so I'm re-posting it here. This painting won the 2009 Urban Landscape Award at the California Art Club Gold Medal Exhibition located at the Pasadena Museum of California Art...
Among other images included in the book is my painting, "The Los Angeles Sky", 20 x 20 inches, oil on canvas...

I feel fortunate to be accompanied in this publication along with a couple of old friends from my days at the Mendenhall Gallery. This piece is called "Vesper" oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches, by William Glen Crooks. Glen is another fellow San Diego painter, and was an early inspiration to my young career through his friendship. His sense of light is unmatched...

Glenn Ness (another old friend and former Mendenhall Gallery artist) is in the book. I used to exhibit with him at Sue Greenwood Fine Art as well. Glenn and I share a fascination for the urban landscape, plus an appreciation for the paintings of John Register. This piece is called "After the Lie", 12 x 18 inches, oil on canvas...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Torrey Pines Nocturne, PCH

"Torrey Pines Nocturne, PCH", 12” x 16” oil on canvas. I donated this new painting to an auction benefiting the San Diego Coast Keepers...
The San Diego Coastkeeper protects the region's bays, beaches, watersheds, and ocean for the people and wildlife that depend on them. For the second straight year, the Ocean Gala will feature its signature Going Green Live Auction featuring eco-friendly items and outdoor experiences. The Going Green Live Auction will be conducted by professional auctioneers Charles Dreyer and Bill Menish, who have combined to raise tens of millions of dollars for local and national charities.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Rail Bridge Over the 101 Freeway" and the RAY TURNER exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art

I have been drawn to painting bridges for over a dozen years, all throughout my career as an artist, even before I went to Art Center. This new piece is called "Rail Bridge Over the 101 Freeway", oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches. And I think it's one of my favorites. The actual bridge can be seen while driving up the 101 freeway, between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. I was actually on my way up to visit my new San Luis Obispo gallery during the Labor Day weekend when I was inspired to do this particular piece. I'm now exhibiting work at the Just Looking Gallery on Higuera Street, be sure to check it out if you're in the area...

When I was a student at Art Center, as you may know, I was also working at the Mendenhall Gallery in Pasadena. I got to work closely with some great painters who exhibited there, like Richard Bunkall, Sally Storch, R. Kenton Nelson, Raimonds Staprans, Mark Ryden, and many others. I moonlighted as a studio assistant to some of the artists, including Ray Turner, who is having a show right now at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Be sure to check it out before it closes on January 31, 2010. There is also an impressive Wayne Thiebaud show in the main gallery...

When I worked with Ray, I was fortunate enough to collect some of his original works. Since the current exhibition at the Pasadena Museum includes his portraits, I thought I'd share just a few of those originals that I have (above and below).

Ray Turner's new book that accompanies the exhibition includes a section dedicated to a handful of portraits he did of his friend "Joe". Ray used to paint Joe every day until Joe passed away. The above painting is one such piece from my collection, a small 4 x 5.5 inches.

This piece above is part of his series of portraits of horses and jockeys, done in the 1990's.
Ray is renowned for his monumental landscapes. Here's a Turner landscape hanging over the couch in my living room, I love the industrial image. Nobody can paint a sky like Ray Turner, they are incredible, smokey, hazy, moody...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Liquor Store Nocturne, El Cajon Blvd.

"Liquor Store Nocturne, El Cajon Blvd." 18 x 18 inches, oil on canvas. This piece, as well as my other new figurative works, are available through K. Nathan Gallery in La Jolla. They have a wonderful selection of early California artists including Franz Bischoff, Edgar Payne, Alfred Mitchell, Maurice Braun, William Wendt, and all the other big names. I feel privileged to be exhibiting in such good company. In addition to these early California artists, K. Nathan handles the works of a select few living contemporary California painters such as myself, Robert Watts, Brian Blood, and Laurie Kersey... My work will be on their website soon, and we're planning an exhibition for the spring of 2010.

This old Liquor Store on El Cajon Boulevard has been a spot that I have long admired for a potential painting, so I have visited it a few times to get the perfect lighting I wanted for the painting. Early one evening when I stopped by, I found this gentleman stepping outside for a smoke.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

LONDON HOTEL ROOM and California Art Club Newsletter article: An Interview With Tony Peters on Edward Hopper

This new painting is called "London Hotel Room", 11 x 16 inches, oil on canvas. A couple of years ago, my wife Holly and I went to Europe, I did this painting from a snapshot taken of her in our room... we were jet-lagged on the first morning and woke up a little too early, plus we were excited to see the National Gallery.

This is the first time that I've included Holly in one of my paintings (although I have tried to paint her before). She's a nervous model, so I had to catch her by surprise when I snapped the pic.
Also, I have an article in the California Art Club's newsletter for summer, 2009. It's called ... "The Artist As Critic, Art That Inspires" and it's titled "An Interview With Tony Peters on Edward Hopper". Written by Miriam Noske, I'm really proud of how it turned out. It is an articulate dialogue about my award winning self-portrait "Looking Inward", comparing it to an Edward Hopper painting called "Office In a Small City". You can read all three pages on my website...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


In my continued effort to include figures in several of my new paintings, this is "Girl On Bike, Pacific Beach", 18 x 20.5 inches, oil on canvas. I used to live in Pacific Beach when I was a teenager, before I left for Art Center. To this day, I don't know how I managed to live there and yet stay out of trouble (PB is quite the party town). I always liked the old houses around there, so I thought I'd use it as a location for this idea I've had for a painting of a girl on a bike. She's talking on her cell phone, headed to the beach.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Viaduct Bridge

"Viaduct Bridge", 18 x 18 inches, oil on canvas. This is another spot along the LA River, when I started this painting, I considered adding all of the graffiti that was on the bridge... it had quite a bit. But I liked it better in this "cleaned up" version.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Drawing of a Girl Reading

This is my new drawing, "Girl Reading" 22 x 26 inches, pencil on white Strathmore paper. The photo of my drawing turned out a little bluish. *sorry* This is a preliminary study for a seperate painting I have started. As I began collecting reference around town for my own "library painting", I decided to go with the repetative pattern of the palm trees and the fence in the background. The neighborhood houses in the background are in Pacific Beach, an area here in San Diego where I used to live before I moved to Pasadena for school. Currently I'm doing a handful of summer paintings that take place in beach neighborhoods, if you scroll down a few posts, you'll see my painting of "Blue House in Encinitas". And I'll post my other new beach neighborhood paintings as I finish them too.

I was initially inspired to do my "library painting" when I saw some old WPA murals at the New York Public Library. They were painted in the late 1930's by Edward Laning (pics below).

The walls in the McGraw Rotunda of the New York Public Library are decorated with large paintings depicting the evolution of the printed word. In particular, I liked these two different paintings of people sitting under a tree and reading a book. And I do love to read myself.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ralph Hulett

Ever since I was a teenager, my dad has had a carpet cleaning franchise in San Diego. I worked nearly every weekend with him from the time I was 14 years old, and sometimes I would get to see some interesting homes when doing the carpets. One such occasion, we were doing some work for a lady whose downstairs had flooded from a plumbing accident... she had the most wonderful collection of California watercolors. We rescued her paintings from any damage, and repaired her downstairs flood. My dad and I obtained a few paintings in exchange for some of the work we did there, Dad got a Whitaker and a nice painting of the San Diego Mission. I got to keep this particular Ralph Hulett watercolor pictured above. It's signed in the lower left corner, but no other information can be seen without removing the frame to examine the backing. I just call my Hulett watercolor "Desert Scene With Camels and Figures", 22 x 30 inches.

Several years passed and as you know, I went on to become an artist myself. Recently, I was flipping through the June 2009 issue of American Art Review with Eric Merrill and saw this amazing freeway painting (pictured above). I said to Eric, "Look at this painting, it's unbelievable! And I've never even heard of the guy!" Then I looked at the caption, it's called "Under the Overpass" 20 x 30 inches, oil on canvas, and was paintied by Ralph Hulett... the painting was to be on exhibit at the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica until August 23, 2009 (yes, it closes this weekend). The exhibition is titled "California Regionalism, Oils on Canvas"...

It took me a little bit to realize that the freeway (executed in thick oil) was painted by the same guy who executed my desert scene in watercolor. When I connected the dots, I made sure to check out the show. It was curated by Gordon McClelland and the show was quite impressive.
Before I even got to see the show, I started doing some research on Ralph Hulett. Turns out that he had been a student at Chouinard, the school that later ended up being dispursed to other LA area art schools like Art Center (where I went to college). He studied there under Millard Sheets and Phil Dike. Then in 1937, he became a background painter and animator at Walt Disney Studios, working on several films including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Alice in Wonderland, and others.
Living in Los Angeles, he painted personal work with the same subject matter that I have found to be interesting in my own work... freeways, city streets, downtown LA, old neighborhoods, etc. Here's Hulett at his easel (pictured above). I find his technique to be quite exciting, his oil method used a lot of slashing palette knife action, lost and found edges, and thick buttery paint. His work has a genuine mid-century modern feel to it. This painting below is of an old house on Bunker Hill, an area of downtown LA that is now covered in high-rise office buildings...
Ralph Hulett's watercolor method is also quite impressive. I find his color choices to be quite pleasing. The watercolors always have a strong design and personal touch to them, they don't look like anybody else could have painted them. Hulett certainly maintained his own voice within his work.

This watercolor pictured above is called "The Open Gate", 22 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Elysian Park View

"Elysian Park View" oil on canvas, 10 x 12 inches. I don't do allot of paintings this small, except for my plein-air work, but I thought I'd change my routine in the studio a bit for the summer. I put allot of heavy paint in areas of this little piece and did some all over glazing to harmonize the color. I really like how it turned out.

Elysian Park is both a park and an adjacent neighborhood in the City of Los Angeles. It encompasses Chavez Ravine where Dodger Stadium is located, and is mostly a hillside community that is also home to the Los Angeles Police Academy. The park itself is the second largest park in Los Angeles at 600 acres. It is also the city's oldest park, founded in 1886. I actually found an Emil Kosa Jr. watercolor image with this similar view to my piece, but painted back in the 1940's.

I have been up to this spot in Elysian Park to paint on location a few times, usually with a painting-pal. There's some strange folks hanging out around there... one time Bill Wray and I were up there painting, when a middle-aged latino gentleman wearing a mini-skirt and a tube-top shouted from accross the street to us, "Hey boys, you want to have some funnn?" Bill replied, "No thanks, that's not the kind of fun we're looking for, but that's a cute outfit you've got there!"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blue House in Encinitas

This is "Blue House in Encinitas" 32 x 22 inches, oil on canvas. Encinitas is a coastal town that includes Leucadia and Cardiff-by-the-Sea in North County, San Diego. I've been driving the coast lately, covering Southern California all along the Pacific Coast Highway 1. I really liked this old house with a VW bus parked out front and the ocean off on the horizon. The place made me imagine that a beach philosipher might live there, or a surfing guru.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Arroyo Freeway Exit

"Arroyo Freeway Exit" is 12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas. I've painted another bridge on the 110 freeway before, the freeway itself is an historic engineering landmark between downtown LA and Pasadena. Constructed between 1938 and 1940, the parkway was designed for people to slowly drive along at 35mph and take in the view, considered to be leisurely and scenic. The old bridges on this stretch of road are amazing, I first saw them as I headed up to Pasadena to start college at the Art Center, they forever remained etched in my memory. This particular exit (31A) is for Orange Grove Avenue, early on a Sunday morning, a rare occasion without allot of other cars.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

PCH at Torrey Pines

"PCH at Torrey Pines" is 30 x 40 inches, oil on canvas. I particularly enjoy the idea of viewing the landscape as seen from a car, it feels like more of a contemporary take on an otherwise classic tradition of california painting. Like a drive to the beach after a long day at work, the golden hour. This one of my favorite San Diego spots, it's where Carmel Valley Road connects to the Pacific Coast Highway in Del Mar, Torrey Pines State Beach is to the left over the old bridge in the background (for some reason, the water in the background seems more yellow in this picture than it actually is in the painting). I really liked this view with the palm and that old house, I've painted it on location before. Because there's allot of atmosphere looking toward the bright sunset sky, depicting the color of everything in shadows was tricky.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Preliminary drawings for "FALL"

(Perliminary drawing for "Fall", pencil on strathmore paper, 20 x 30 inches)

I have grappled with the challenge of adding figures to my work for years, and only recently have I begun to do figurative work that I'm satisfied with at the level of my landscapes. The more I keep working at it, the more I admire artists that do it well... Norman Rockwell and N.C. Wyeth are just a couple of examples. Then add to the list Edward Hopper, Rockwell Kent, Grant Wood, Andrew Wyeth, and more. And as I have begun to overcome some challenges of mine with the figure set in a landscape or interior, I have found that one of the most important foundations is in my drawing.

(Snake and leaves detail, from drawing for "Fall") So rather than jumping right onto canvas, I now do fairly resolved pencil drawings seperately on paper first. I have done preliminary sketches of heads, hands, and figures in my sketchbook. Then I move on to a large sheet of paper where all of my mistakes are made, erased, and fixed, until the drawing is to my satisfaction (these are the drawings you see posted here). Then I enlarge that drawing onto canvas. This way I don't have to fight the drawing so much when I approach the painting... I can focus more on color, brushwork, and painting technique. But I still make subtle changes and corrections with the drawing on the canvas as I go.

N.C. Wyeth, in his confidence, didn't seem to have much need for resolved preliminary drawings on paper. However, Rockwell executed one for nearly every painting he did, and they were nearly full-scale to the paintings. Artists have varying methods... to each his own. They're both awesome.

("Brandi" pencil drawing on strathmore paper, 14 x 28 inches.)

My finished painting of "Fall" will be a large 36 x 54 inches, oil on canvas (work in progress). It's one of the more complex and detailed paintings I've ever attempted... it includes two full figures, a big bush with more leaves than I'd ever want to count, the ground is covered with grass and leaves, and a neighborhood full of houses in the background. I'll talk more about some of the underlying meaning of the piece when I post the finished painting... but don't hold your breath, this piece will take me a while to finish!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Urban Landscape Award

As mentioned in my previous post, I attended the California Art Club's 98th Annual Gold Medal Exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. It was a very exciting evening, I got to see allot of old friends and meet some new ones. There was a bunch of great artwork in the show, and I feel very honored that my painting, "Looking Inward", won the award for Urban Landscape, sponsored by Art Ltd. Magazine.

That's Christopher Slatoff (left), myself, Peter Adams (CAC President), and David Gallup

"South Rock, Laguna" 10 x 12 inches, oil on canvas.
In contrast from my urban landscape work, and to keep the blog updated with new paintings, this is "South Rock, Laguna", 10 x 12 inches, oil on canvas. I executed it on location with my painting pal Bill Wray a while back, then finished it in the studio. I've got a handful of plein-air pieces that I'll post here in the future.

Pictured below is "Above Torrey Pines Beach", oil on board, approximately 20 x 28 inches. This is one of my favorite areas here in San Diego, I enjoy hiking along the trails at Torrey Pines State Reserve, and do a little bit of plein-air painting there when I get a chance. It's a departure from my typical studio work, but I enjoy getting out and soaking in the sun when I can. It's only a ten minute drive from my house, and a big reason why I moved to SD. Doing plein-air painting helps me keep an eye for color and forces me to work faster... and as a studio painter, I often feel cooped up, it's nice to get outside.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

SOUTHWEST ART MAGAZINE and the AMERICAN ART COLLECTOR, April 2009 issues, CAC Gold Medal Exhibition

The new April issue of AMERICAN ART COLLECTOR features an article about the California Art Club's 98th Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition and includes an image of my self-portrait, "Looking Inward" on page 82 with a little write-up about my art.

Also, SOUTHWEST ART MAGAZINE picked me for "Best of the West" in their April issue. There is a full page image of "Looking Inward" on page 30 along with a write up for the CAC Gold Medal Exhibition titled, "The Gold Standard".

These magazines will be on newsstands this week.

I'm excited about going to the Pasadena Museum of California Art for the CAC show, "Looking Inward" oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches, will be included in the exhibition. The dates for it are April 26 through May 17. It is one of the most prestegious and collector-friendly art events in Southern California. Here's a link...

I also have a half page ad in the April issue of AMERICAN ART COLLECTOR with my painting, "Looking Outward" on page 79.

"Looking Outward" oil on canvas, 32 x 48 inches

Monday, March 16, 2009

Looking Forward

With my newest paintings, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I am working on a series of figures. This one is "Looking Forward", a smaller oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches. My goal was to place a prominent figure in a landscape that felt like one of my own paintings, and to do it in the most interesting way I could think of. There is a kind of mood with this figure and it's placement that I was going for, the piece acts as somewhat of a portrait, but with a feeling of anticipation for things to come. In my mind, she wants to move on from this place in order to grow, to start the hero's journey as in mythology. The model is 19 years old, and I remember myself at that age, my greatest desire was to leave the familiarity of home to explore the possibilities that awaited me. Hence the title.
For the painting's execution, I started with a quick sketch of the figure. I had taken my model (Michelle) to a neighborhood around Banker's Hill and Hillcrest in San Diego for a photo shoot. The light was particularly bright that day, with the sun scorching down on us. As I worked up my sketches later, I manipulated the figure drawing around in photoshop with the landscape sketch. I labored the precise compositional placement I wanted, with the figure at the end of the driveway, then enlarged my drawing to canvas. The whole underpainting was laid in with raw umber on a gray gessoed canvas, then I painted the figure. I even lit a plaster cast of a Roman sculpture to paint from, just to get the light on the head just right. I wanted a crispness with the form, a sense of reality, but slightly stylized in the manner of my sketch. The color harmony worked out well with the landscape behind her, there is a sense of a slightly hazy atmosphere going back into the distant hills, and the house at the end of the driveway is in sharp contrast. There is allot of foliage behind her, and I tried to treat it with the stylization of my own. I love the way the Renaissance painters would paint trees and foliage, or the manner in which more recent painters like Grant Wood treated plant life, I want to play around more with these kind of natural and organic forms in subsequent paintings. Over the years, I have painted many architectural forms. Including the figure forces me to add not just an organic and more naturalistic element to my work, but a more psychological element as well.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Los Angeles Sky 2

This new painting is "The Los Angeles Sky 2", oil on canvas, 20 x 20 inches. It's based on another piece that I did a couple of years ago on a larger scale. The landscape is set in an area just east of downtown by the L.A. River, just after the rain. Los Angeles City Hall is the building on the left side of the skyline. Paintings by Maynard Dixon and N.C. Wyeth inspired the stylization of the big cloudy sky. I enjoy the juxtaposition of the geometric city buildings below with the organic sky above in this piece.
I had originally started this canvas with a prominent portrait painted in the foreground, and intended to use the landscape of the bridge and downtown buildings as the "mise-en scene". Although I liked the idea very much, as the figure developed, I felt that it was too tight and photographic. I like to let a piece mature organically with a life of it's own, and although I use photos as reference for work at times, I hate for an image to appear mechanical and without a soul. So as the piece evolved, the clouds covered the portrait. I love how the finished product turned out here, although it covers up a failed attempt at another idea.
This failed attempt, however, proved to be an important step in several of my new figurative works. The current paintings I'm working on now all include figures, it's a whole new level of executing a painting. It involves allot more planning, working with models, preliminary drawings, compositional sketches, and technical challenges with paint. Entire days and weeks before even getting to canvas. Getting a harmony of flesh tones with the landscape can actually be a daunting task, I feel like it's the ultimate challenge to a painter to place a well painted figure in a space that's interesting and relates well to the setting.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Arroyo Seco Freeway

"Arroyo Seco Freeway" is an historic engineering landmark (the CA110) between downtown LA and Pasadena. Constructed between 1938 and 1940, the parkway was designed for people to slowly drive along at 35mph and take in the view, considered to be leisurely and scenic. The old bridges on this stretch of road are amazing, I first saw them as I headed up to Pasadena to start college at the Art Center, they forever remained etched in my memory. I particularly like the morning light that was captured in this piece, along with the long blue shadows stretched across the foreground. "Arroyo Seco Freeway" is 18 x 24 inches, oil on canvas.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Four LA River Trains

"Four L.A. River Trains" is 18 x 24 inches, oil on canvas. This area of Los Angeles, just east of downtown, is a world of continuous inspiration for my work. I made an effort to keep the color quiet in this piece, using a limited palette. The foreground trains are rich in darker/warmer contrast to the milky haze of the atmosphere in the receding cooler background. I like the way that those trains are all converging together at this point to make it under the bridge, those tracks they follow help make for a rather interesting composition.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Picnic Tables

This is "Michelle and Rocky", 16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas. I've been experimenting more with adding new meaning to my work, I want to be more diverse in my story telling abilities. After my trip to the Louvre in 2006, I felt a deeper need to paint the figure, so I've worked with a few models since then. This picnic table is in a park close to where I live, and I'd often wanted to paint it.

This is a smaller painting that I started on location, or "plein-air". It's called "Picnic For Crows", 12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas. My painting on location started with the picnic table on the sand, I set up my easel at a beach in Encinitas and got a good start on it. Later in the studio, I added the crows eating my picnic... the image reminded me of a couple of crotchety old art dealers I used to know in Pasadena.