Category Archives: Figure

Sketches from NYC

While I was in NYC last week on business, I brought a simple pen and ink set.  I draw using a fountain pen with Roting-Brown ink, and a watercolor brush with water to create the wash.  I like to sketch people (for some reason, landscape less so). Parks are a good spot.  People tend to sit a while, or even sleep, as one of my sketches show.  There was also a parade that Monday (Columbus Day), so I was able to capture the crowd.

This woman was reading outside a restaurant, waiting for a table:

This guy fell asleep on a bench in Central Park:

Columbus Day Parade crowd:

Central Park trees:

Lastly, on the plane home, I drew small compositional studies based on reference photos on my iPhone:

Asleep (Green Room).

This is just a little figure study I did from a photo book.  I am looking forward to painting live models in the next few weeks when David returns from Latin America.  Painting the figure is by far the best way to learn to draw. I drew the figure a year with charcoal and newsprint before I first picked up a paint brush, in 2001. Drawing and values are the foundation of representational painting.

If you are interesting in purchasing, email me an offer.

Asleep (Green Room) – Oil on Linen – 12×9″


China Town Market

Looking through my reference photos last night, I can across photos of China Town, here in San Francisco. I did paint a plein air piece there a few months ago, but wasn’t that happy with it. It can be difficult for me to simplify while out doors (the distractions: weather, tourists, pressure for time with the changing light, etc).  Being able to simplify and absorb the essence of a city scene is a critical skill.

One artist that does this particularly well is William Wray (see here, here and here). Like William, I’m a fan of the Russian painters, particularly Nicolai Fechin. His brushwork is amazing. Maybe, someday, I’ll paint with that level of confidence. He combines that with his ability to see the beauty in any urban scene.

In any case, this painting is one step towards my goals to be a better painter. In light of that, I’m happy with it.  Enjoy!

China Town Market – Oil on Linen – 8×10


Working on Manuel

Even with David (the artist I share models with) out of the country, I decided to continue my painting of model Manuel–without him present. Of course normally, this is a huge “no-no”, but I was focused on the background, so I think it’s looking good. Might just call it done, and work on something else next time I paint him. To compare, this is the original image, and here’s another study completely.

Manuel (Front) – Oil on Linen

Back to the figure

I am enjoying a renewed interest in the figure after meeting David Germard at his recent Mission district open studio. David has a nice selection of male model’s, which is difficult to find as most groups focus on the female figure. Today’s model works annonymously, so I will call him “M”.

“M” (Back) – Oil on Linen – 12×10″

I really like the model’s expression in this one. I wasn’t able to finish, but at least got a good start on the head.

“M” Portrait (unfinished) – Oil on Linen – 16×12

Camille Przewodek Workshop, Day 6

Like all great workshops, I leave this week realizing how much I don’t know and energized to apply what I’ve learned to reach “the next level”. My goal is a bit lofty, and may not be attainable in one lifetime, but I really want to combine the compositional strength of Andrew Wyeth, with the poetic brushwork/expression of Nicolai Fechin and Segei Bongart, and the color sense of Camille Przewodek of the Henry Henche/Charles W. Hawthorne school.

Like Hawthorne, Camille had us focus on the figure largely in shadow, so we could explore the color of flesh in shadow. The study on the left is full sun, the right overcast light. She didn’t complete these to a level of “finish”.

Here’s my gray study study of a figure almost entirely in shadow:

Figure Study in Shadow (Overcast) – Oil on Linen


Join me on Facebook: Plein Air Painters Group

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re familiar with social networks, like Facebook, MySpace, etc. I’ve been following Facebook for a while (as part of my role at Wells), and think it has a lot of potential to connect people/groups in much more meaningful ways than MySpace. So, I’ve set up a group called “Plein Air Painters“, and I’d love you to join us!
The group is focused on the art of painting “plein air”, outdoors in natural light. For now, membership is restricted to plein air artists, of any level. This is a place to learn, make connections and share your experience. We’ll be able to start online discussions, submit photos of paintings to share or critique, and list events–like shows, paint-outs, workshops, and so on.
Here’s how to join:
If you’re not a member of Facebook,

  1. Click here to register
  2. You’ll then need to check your email for a confirmation from Facebook, click the link in the email to confirm with Facebook.
  3. Click here to visit the group.
  4. Click the “Request to Join Group” link on the right, below the painting.

If you are a member, click here to visit the group, then “Request to Join Group” link on the right, below the painting. Here’s what the page will look like… See the link “Request to Join Group” under the painting, below right:


“Jewel By the Bay”, Day 4

Just a couple of paintings to post that haven’t made up yet. The first painting below was done last night at the sunset “Quick Draw” event. I painted fellow artist Janan L. Shannon. This work will be part of the silent auction fund raiser.

Artist in the Shade – Oil on Linen – 10×8″ (SOLD)

I loved the light on this scene, later afternoon, my favorite time to paint (after a nap, of course 🙂 I was going for a simple, strong graphic-like design.

Red Box Cars – Oil on Linen – 12×16

Gay Faulkenberry Workshop: Day 4

We painted still life setups outside today. Beautiful day, a little too warm in fact. I got bored painting still life, so painted two other artists. One painting of a yellow chair was just okay, so I wiped it.

This is my first still life of the morning, a quick small “warm-up” study.


Green Vase – Oil on Linen – 6×8 – $100 AVAILABLE
After painting another still life (yellow chair), and feeling bored, I wiped it and painted this of local (Tempe) artist/student, Gina. I’m pretty happy with this one.


Gina – Oil on Linen – 6×8 – SOLD
This was painting was done of Sue.


Sue – 12×9 – Oil on Linen