Wednesday, December 12, 2012

West 45th Street

Here's a sketch from last Saturday. I wanted to try to have to fun with the trees going from a negative shape on the ground to positive shapes in the sky.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Here's a barn on Remsen Rd. in Medina.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Small studies

Here's some small studies from the winery. The first is on an Arches post card, and the second inside a moleskine sketchbook.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Here's a demo done at class from a photo I took a couple years ago in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. A loose pencil drawing is made, then colors laid in surrounding the edges of the fallen tree and bird. As long as those edges remain dry, you can float all sorts of paint into the wet and nearly wet mixture and you'll always have the recognizable tree and bird shapes to help make the painting readable.

Once that large background mixture is dry, you can float the colors of the bird and tree over it. When coloring light cut out areas, always make sure you put the colors in *past* the edges! If you stop at the edge, you'll have another pronounced edge and things won't be looking natural. It'll start looking super hard edged and you don't want that.

You can see a little bit of opaque brown put in the left of the bird, similar to what I did with the one grape in the previous post two weeks ago.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Panoramic Photos

I take a lot of photos, and here are some I took over the last couple weekends while out sketching and shopping. I used to put these together in photoshop manually. Then the software reached a point where it automatically stitched them together, and now the new iPhone software does it automatically on the phone itself!

 It also helps you keep the phone level while you're swiveling with an on screen guide. It's amazing how far technology has come!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Here's a painting done with no preliminary pencil work. The grapes are starting to ripen, which is a process called veraison.

The light yellow green, pinks, purples and greens are floated onto the dry paper, with everything blending together as you lay it all down. Eventually all of the paper is wet but the white sky holes. Things get adjusted (darks added, colors strengthened) as the paper slowly dries. Areas of the paper are wetter than others, and as the darks and colors are put in, some areas will fuzz out where it's wet, and others will leave a nice crisp edge where it's dry. Still other areas will form blooms or back runs, as the wet wash tries to spread out into an area that has *just* dried and the pigment ends up settling in the valleys of the paper, unable to spread out any further. You can see a little bit of opaque pink purple that I dropped in while it was still wet on the upper left of the cluster. The opaque paint can be seen to have spread out into the wetness before it runs out of steam. It's all a delicate balance of paint thickness, amount of wetness, and the varying degrees of pressure caused by them, pushing and pulling against one another.

At some point I dried the paper completely and started putting in the crisp darks to indicate the individual grape shapes and leaf edges and branches.

It's 10" x 14" on cold pressed Arches.

It takes a bit of experience to work with the different degrees of wetness, but that's where the surprises come in and what makes it an improvisational piece as opposed to having everything predetermined. One could make this exact same painting 10 different times and come out with 10 different results, each satisfying in its own way. That's the beauty of watercolor!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bay Arts 50th Anniversary Show

I was lucky enough to get these two pieces into the Bay Arts 50th Anniversary Show up in Bay Village. Stop up and check out the show if you get a chance. There's some nice stuff up there in the gallery of the Fuller House, including a terrific Bob Moyer watercolor and a great big George Kocar painting.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gardenview Seating

Here are some demos from class recently. The photo was taken in the spring at Gardenview, with all of the wonderful lenten roses in bloom. I've been talking to the students about how important is to do a grey scale study first and to think values, values, values! I create my grey scale studies on the computer using my wacom tablet and photoshop (the days of marker comps are long gone for this old soldier, but I'm going to pick up some grey markers for on the spot studies. More on that once I get them). When working on that, all I thought of was making an interesting pattern based on the arches of the seats, knowing that the repeating round forms of the arches would help unify the composition. Once that was done, for fun I put on a layer of color. The fall painting was then created in class. The next week the spring version was created, this time with no value sketch.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Here's three portraits from Friday night of Melissa. I've been overworking some lately, so I wanted to make sure these were as simple as possible. I use an 8B woodless graphite pencil for the pencil work on all of these.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

still life

Here's a little sketch on an Arches postcard.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Winery Demo

Here's the first demo I did on Saturday at St. Josephs Vineyard.  It's done on a 12" x 16" Arches rough watercolor block.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Berea Arts Fest

I had the opportunity to demonstrate at the Berea Arts Fest this past weekend. I set up by the gazebo and produced this painting. We had a lot of fun and saw lots of great art and heard some incredible music.

I'll be demonstrating up at St. Josephs vineyard in Madison this Saturday the 15th as well.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lake Erie 4

Here's the last two sketches from the other weekend. They're done in the moleskine sketchbook.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lake Erie 3

And here's the third large painting I did the other weekend.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lake Erie 2

Here's another one from last weekend.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lake Erie

 Here's a painting I did on the beach last weekend. It's on 18" x 24" Arches rough paper. I have more that I'll be posting. It was a productive weekend.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Watercolor Sketch Kit

Here's some photos of my watercolor sketch kit. Items of interest include -

Platypus .5 liter collapsible water bottle 
Very cool. I was experimenting with all sorts of small water containers and discovered this baby.

Sea to Summit collapsible cup
These come in a couple different sizes. Even shot glass size for the super minimalist! The one shown is 1 cup size.

Patagonia Lightweight Travel Sling Bag
My buddy has a Patagonia Atom bag, and I kept on thinking that it would be perfect for sketching. Unfortunately, it wasn't very flexible and didn't hold enough. This is the same size, but the waterproof double ripstop fabic is super light and a little stretchy. Since it's not as structured, it will hold lots more than the Atom bag. It will hold one of those 10" x 7" Arches spiral bound sketch books with ease. For regular use, I put one or two large moleskine watercolor sketch books in the bag (I have them set up according to subject matter... one for general sketching, one for portraits). You can even put an iPad with case into this versatile bag (not necessarily with all of this other stuff).

Kremer Pigments Watercolor Box
You fill this with plastic pans, which you can also buy from Kremer Pigments. Either full size or half size (you can see that I have both types crammed in there). You fill the pans with paint from your own tubes. No need to buy those pre packed watercolor pans that are wrapped up like little lozenge candies. Kremer also has a small watercolor box that I have, but I appreciate having the extra space to mix colors that the medium sized box provides.

Da Vinci Maestro Travel Brush
This is a number 6 I think. If I want to really travel light, I'll skip the bamboo wrap of my regular brushes and just take this. Saves a lot of space.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Little Italy

Here's a demo from class a couple months ago.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ohio City

I've been spending some time in Ohio City and sketching some of the great old buildings there. I especially love the wrought iron fencing and the layers that make up some of the roadways and sidewalks. Lots of brick alleyways.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

More Lake Erie Beach

Here's two more from last weekend.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sixth of July

Here's some sketches from last Saturday. I did some more on Sunday, and those will be the next post.

Friday, July 6, 2012


 Here's Miranda from last Friday night at the Literary Cafe.