Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Dutton Brothers in S. Korea, circa 1984

Saturday, December 22, 2007

RIP Piggy Iggy Oink Oink

My mom was in Korea not too long ago, where she picked up this squishy pig that flattens out pancake-style when you throw him against any surface. He'd regain his shape (for lack of a better word) in just seconds! She told me she bought him more out of pity than anything, and I displayed him on a cabinet in the living room for the same reason. He had a happy home here until I decided to toss the ol' pig skin around the kitchen table today and he sprung a leak.

Unfortunately there wasn't much we could do for him. You'll be missed Mr. Oink Oink.

Piggy Iggy Oink Oink in his final moments.

before going belly up.

Friday, December 14, 2007

More Winter

What can I say? Winter's grown on me a little bit. I think it's the puffy coats. So here's a couple new paintings. The first one is based on a childhood memory when my family lived in a small village in Korea. We spent a winter morning on the rooftop of our building, waging snowball wars and building snowmen.

"Tiny Companion" Gouache on Clayboard 6" x 6"

The second one is still drying, so here's a terrible photograph for now. Not based on anything in particular. (edit: replaced bad photos with color corrected scan. Wheee!)

The limbs of the manzanita trees are seemingly arched in a smile at him.... the colors he wears remind them of their green branches and flaky burnt orange bark in the summertime.

"Hope springs eternal beneath the boughs of her manzanita grin.
Look below and you'd never know where she ends and he begins."

"Beneath Her Manzanita Grin" Oil on Masonite 16" x 20"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Happy Winter

It's officially winter. Actually, I don't know what the official date for the start of winter is. Here in the Bay Area, it's been difficult to say. We're still getting patches of semi-warm weather, and the flowers in front of our house are still flourishing. I actually consider it official when I have to wear earmuffs in bed, and it's come pretty close to that the past couple nights, which is a clear enough indication to me. So the sketch above is a sort of welcome to the new season, even if I'm not its biggest fan.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Some New Originals For Sale

I'm selling a couple brand new tiny paintings on my Etsy Shop. They're priced pretty low so as to avoid hurting your holiday budget.... heck, buy them as gifts and you won't have to feel bad at all! They're small, cute, and ready-made to hang. Both are painted in acrylics on 4x4 inch wooden plaques (with about a 3x3 inch image surface).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"Tiny" Recap and Weekend Paintings

The Tiny reception on Saturday night was great fun and actually busy despite the rain that settled in for the evening. I was so happy to see a good number of friends come to the reception. Aside from the weather, about the only major disappointment was the turnout of the Cal vs USC game.

We didn't get too many pictures from the show, but here's a couple:

My "No Umbrella" piece is sitting in the bottom left corner of the window display.... suiting that it was pouring that night.

The morning after, I met up with a friend I met from the Sketchcrawl event, Eduardo Pacheco. We painted at the top of Alvarado Park, on the western tip of Wildcat Canyon. He was smart and set up on a paved path. I hiked up a trail, very wet from the previous night's rain, and was about two inches taller from the mud on my shoes by the time I stopped. I did a very quick oil sketch before meeting back up with Eduardo and his girlfriend to shoot the breeze for a while.

Alex had a couple extra days off for Veterans Day weekend, so we drove up north along the coast that night and stayed until late Tuesday afternoon. The rain has brought green back into Tomales Bay, and combined with the foggy mornings, I almost felt as though I were in Ireland or Scotland. I'm sure it would have been even easier to imagine had I been to either place.

I finally managed to meet up for a Grizzly Peak session this morning. After three early morning starts in a row, I was half tempted to sleep in, but I made it up anyway.

I apologize for all the poor photo quality by the way. Most of these were wet and had to be photographed instead of scanned.... and I have a poor light set-up back home. I'll try to scan them in later on when they're dry.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Post Studio Sessions

Tomorrow is the big day for Tiny Show reception. I have to admit a tinge of anxiety has mixed itself in with my excitement. I've been pretty good about balancing my schedule between studio and outdoor work, but recently I've gone outside a little more to mellow out. This update is a sort of review of the results, for better or worse.

Berkeley Aquatic park - I want to blame the relentless mosquitoes for the poor drawing of the tree, but instead, I'll blame the tree for being a poor model... take that, tree!

This is actually a little older, two weeks or so. The percentage of accuracy here is also about zilch, but I was more interested in experimentation with composition. I wonder why I'm starting this update off with two bad sketches... ?

I recently joined an online community called Sketchcrawl, which gathers artists around the world together to sketch on location from spot to spot. They held their 16th worldwide crawl this past Sunday. I met up with the San Francisco group, and found myself a couple new friends to sketch with.

We sketched around the Ferry Building in SF. Not exactly my choice of subject matter, but it was such a beautiful day that it didn't matter.

Homeless sleeper, and Eduardo, one of the new friends I met that day.

I wanted to paint with the Early Birds on Wednesday, but as I approached the parking lot way up on Grizzly Peak, I realized I left my panels back home. By the time I got back home it was too late to go back up, so I painted this view of my neighbor's house and their awesomely tall trees. Not sure if they're cypress or acacias. Two crows perched themselves at the very top of the highest tree as I was painting that area, so they're in there too.

"Two Crows" 5x7 Oil on Clayboard

I'm moving back into oils after a month's break. I tried them out on the clayboards I've been plugging on my blog. One noticeable trait is the clay just sucks the oil out of the pigment, which dries up what you put down pretty quickly. This has its share of pros and cons, but so far I'm liking the effect.

Yesterday, I crossed the Richmond bridge for a day trip along the north bay. I started off in the Marin Headlands which sits just beside the Golden Gate Bridge. It's another former military installment like the one in Pt. Molate I painted not too long ago. I returned to a spot I've been wanting to paint, a building sitting alone in a field with cypresses and a large hill behind it, only to find a few new things had been added to the scene. Piles of dirt, haystacks, and a green tarped fence. Eck. I decided to paint it anyway, but I may have to resort to a studio painting to get exactly what I wanted initially.

"Headlands Morning" 5x7 Oil on Clayboard

As soon as I parked and brought my equipment out, a lone coyote began following me.... very closely. I shooed her off a couple times, but quickly learned that she's been pretty much desensitized to people, as I'm sure a good number of tourists have been feeding her. I couldn't be bothered to constantly scare her away, so she simply sat next to me while I painted. She eventually realized I was just as hungry as she was.

I have to admit, the experience kinda fulfilled a youthful dream of mine to relive something out of Dances With Wolves (my brothers and I even had a hamster named Two Socks). Coyotes are much smaller than wolves though (but noticeably larger than hamsters), and my dog didn't care to dance so much.

Sorely tempted to paint this one.

The sad bit here is the Animal Protection Agency is forced to kill wild animals when they become too desensitized. I hope this one learns to hang out in smarter places than the side of the road and the likes of me.

I drove up north afterwards to Novato to meet my climbing/painting buddy, Jimmy. He showed me some photos a couple weeks ago of an old air control tower that's been gutted and set for restoration. It's only a matter of time before it's no longer ugly and decrepit, so we knew we had to paint it fast! Unfortunately, we got started with only an hour of light left, so that one will have to wait for a second session before I show it here. I did squeeze in a quick gouache sketch just before we met up.

That's it for now. Expect a recap on tomorrow's show soon!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Venetian Birds - The Series At Last!

After fooling around most of this year with doodles of birds in Venetian(esque) masks, and even a couple illustrations, I finally present to you the full series!

Each painting is 6" x 6", acrylic on canvas. They'll be hanging at the upcoming Tiny Show at the Studio Gallery in San Francisco, with a reception on Saturday, November 10th at 4pm. It's my favorite show of the year, so please drop by if you're in the area. There are literally hundreds of pieces hanging at any given time for seven weeks!

Without further ado:

"What a Hoot"

"Without a Paddle"

"How do I Look?"

"Cat's Meow"


"Up Past Bedtime"

"You Look Silly, Papa"

"No Umbrella (and I Spent My Last Dime on this Mask)" ... my personal favorite. I kinda hope it doesn't sell!

Here are some progress shots of the birds, freshly hatched:

Drawings all lined up. And that's my wife's Justice League Nutella jar above.

Thick canvas stretchers so you can hang them without a frame.

Underpainting/Washes on "No Umbrella" I dripped rubbing alcohol in areas to create the splotch effect.

The Lab.... err, Studio. Hmm, there are two extra canvases there.

Hope you enjoy them as I much as I enjoyed painting them!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Not the most elaborate costume out there, but she does feel pretty cute and that's all that matters, wouldn't you agree? Have a safe and happy Halloween, everyone!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Grizzly Peak Sessions

The Early Bird crew spent a morning this week up on Grizzly Peak, a ridge line above Berkeley that overlooks the San Francisco Bay, and a good chunk of the East Bay area. I wasn't able to join them that morning, though I was up there briefly to scout the area for another time. It was a shame though, because there were some really heavy hitters up there that morning, like Bill Cone, Ernesto Nemesio, Paul Kratter, and a few others, and it would've been great to watch them in action. I managed to paint the following day instead... not quite able to capture any sweeping bay views thanks to the rolling fog, but still enjoying the scenery.

"Two Trees and Path" 5x7 inches, Gouache and Watercolor on Clayboard

Jimmy G., a good friend of mine from the climbing gym, has been diligently painting bay area locations over the years, and Grizzly Peak is kind of like his backyard painting spot. He joined the gang the morning I wasn't able to make it, and was inspired to get an early start this weekend. So we were there today by 7 am, hiked to the top and got started.

We were both amazed by the sunrise and how the dark blue-gray clouds hanging over Mt. Diablo were suddenly smeared with bright lavenders and oranges. It was actually incredibly frustrating despite its beauty, because the entire color scheme and mood would change in the seconds you were looking at your palette to mix a color that was no longer there. I definitely need to work on better memorization.

I had every intention of saving my disastrous results, but we moved downhill a bit to start a second painting, and I needed a board to paint on, so I wiped out my sunrise and painted this one over it.

"Trail Through Cypresses" 10x8 inches, Gouache and Watercolor on Clayboard

I need to go in and tweak a few things, though I already made a few adjustments back in the studio. It's only an 8 x 10, but after painting 5 x 7's for a while, it was a challenge to cover something that felt a lot larger. I'm thinking I'll stick to the smaller sizes for a while, or try 6 x 8's. I'll also be sure to carry more boards from now on...

Still, I have no complaints. You can't beat painting outside! Even when you're sitting on a pile of chipped eucalyptus that's beginning to ferment, attracting hordes of gnats and mosquitoes toward you and your painting, when you could be painting in the breezier, bug-free spot on solid ground like the smarter guy over there is.... well even then, you just can't beat painting outside!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

West Berkeley - Sand Tower

I met up with the Early Bird crew this morning for a quick painting session. Though the meeting spot wasn't exactly pinpointed, it wasn't hard to find the others, as this particular block in West Berkeley's industrial district seemed to demand that it be painted!

"Sand Tower" 5"x7" Gouache/Watercolor on Clayboard

I didn't quite get the angular structure of the wooden slide coming out of the building (among other issues), but it was still an enjoyable subject to paint overall.

As a technical aside, I've been having a great time with these new clayboards. Gouache is tricky on gessoed surfaces, but these boards are formulated to accept watercolor so I'm able to build up multiple layers as well as lift off paint wherever I need to. They're not to be confused with watercolor canvas (stretched or paneled), which I've tried in the past and did not care for. I'd love to see other people give the clayboard a shot and tell me how they like'm.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Castro Ranch Rd.

Grazing Fields off Castro Ranch Rd. - 5"x7" Gouache/Watercolor on Clayboard

I used to live in El Sobrante, very close to this view that I must have driven past hundreds of times. I've always wanted to paint this location, but have never had my paints or even a camera with me anytime I was passing through. I was in the area yesterday to meet with my dad before cutting through the backroads where this view is to meet with Alex for lunch. I found myself with an hour to kill and my paintbox in the passenger seat, so I pulled over to paint. I was unprepared as usual, having very little water in the bottle. So I had to make do with dirty brushes and selective washes. The irony of it all is that it started raining as soon as I was done.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pt. Molate Ghost Town

I've been striking out on a huge percentage of my outdoor sessions. One day I'll gather the courage to show them publicly.... of course, even some of the work I'm pleased enough to show are strikeouts in their own right!

Well, I had a particularly hard time yesterday at the Emeryville marina, so I decided to go out again this morning. This time, I went on a recon mission of sorts when I accidently missed the freeway exit to Pt. Richmond and ended up in Pt. Molate, just shy of crossing a toll bridge. After a few minutes of winding roads, I found a shut down naval station, complete with old barracks, even a fort where cannons must've once lined up in ranks. I focused on the government housing.

"Naval Ghost Town" 5" x 7" Watercolor and Gouache on Clayboard

Where curtains once hung in ruffles, there was now corrugated metal and plywood panels. It was strange because I grew up as a military brat on various army bases. So although these buildings looked very institutional, it still felt a bit like home.

Early Bird Painters

Speaking of outdoor sessions, remember me mentioning the possibility of a collaborative blog? Well, it's up, and there's already some great artwork on it. It's definitely worth visiting and visiting often:

EarlyBirdPainters - Blog

Have a great rest of the week!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Laundry Daze

Here's my latest illustration. I'm trying to round out my children's book portfolio, and have had this image floating around in my head for roughly eight months. The idea here is to have a double page spread, with would-be text fitting in the sky. The trip to Europe earlier this spring provided some excellent cityscape reference to make the image possible. Namely, Rome for its textures, and Barcelona for the rooftops. Hanging laundry, however, seemed to follow us all over the continent.

"Laundry Daze" 10" x 20" Gouache on Watercolor Paper

The shutters I shot in Rome were falling apart, lending itself nicely to the mood of the girl. At the same time, I don't quite know what kind of statement I'm making with the plant next to her.

A close up on the drybrush buildup when using gouache opaquely.

Some scraping with a woodblock cutting tool on the building wall. Light wash on the fabrics, with a little colored pencil to soften the shadows.