Peace on Earth

Peace on Earth

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October Art Walk!

Join us for the art walk at The Lab in Costa Mesa on October 29th!

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Lately I have been doing a lot of monotype prints. I purchased a gelli plate a while back and I'm trying to get the hang of it. I've taken about four semesters of printing when I was in college; one in J.C. was an introduction: letterpress, offset, relief, serigraph, that sort of thing. Then, at Art Center I took printmaking twice and a class focused on letterpress. The into at J.C. was focused on preparing us for working with presses in publishing; strictly commercial stuff. It was the late ‘80s and the same teacher also taught desktop publishing. There were several presses in the shop and I remember the offset press the most. It’s called that because the plate is forward reading, and when inked it transfers its image to a roller which is what comes into contact with the paper. I also had to create a color separation of an image by hand. I picked a picture of a friend of mine. We cut out cyan, magenta, yellow and black transparent acetate images and when they were laid on top of each other they made a full color picture. Mine came out pretty good.

The letterpress class was a logical extension of this. We set type by hand. I made a book of my poetry, illustrated by linoleum block prints I made for them. I bought bookbinding materials including hardcover bookcloth that I got from a special store in L.A. and bound several copies for people for Christmas that year. I was really proud of them. It was a lot of work. Like many professionally handmade things, they come out looking like they were made by a machine and people never realize how much effort went into making them.
The printmaking class was about the art of printmaking. Stone Lithography, etching, drypoint, aquatint, things of this nature. I loved it. I wrote a short story for a friend whose father had died, as a way of trying to comfort her. I illustrated it and gave it to her as an unbound folio. That was the second semester. The first semester was the stone lithography (which was pretty hard, no pun intended. I don’t know how Mucha did mulitcolored prints, but that was the process in those days. I did aquatints of the holy grail, and some other things that were of no consequence. For the illustrated story the second semester, more aquatints (the story was Marina about the life of a raindrop and aquatint was perfect) the text was a photo etching of plate made from high quality prints onto acetate.
Since then, linoleum prints have become a part of my regular artmaking process, I haven’t done etching since school because it requires a press (I use a rolling pin for the lino prints) and acid baths and resin and I don’t have the space for that right now. This gelli plate doesn’t require a press either and I thought I knew enough about printmaking to give it a go. It’s soft, so it’s easy to print on and then can be cleaned and used over and over again. Because it’s soft, you can’t use hard tools to scribe, but there are plenty of soft tools to use nowadays.
Most of my prints are fairly abstract, which is ok with me because I love abstract art. You can use any kind of paint or ink and most of the info I’ve seen suggests acrylics because it’s fast drying and can be cleaned up with soap and water, and then is permanent when dry. I like Golden Open the best because it dries slower allowing for more clean up time. However, most of the acrylics I have are not Open, because for painting with acrylics, I prefer creating several layers very fast. This is also why the gelli plate is good for acrylics. It’s very hard to get a good monotype from one layer, but several can create really interesting textures.
I usually run sets. I do several prints with the same base color, then by the time I’m done, the first print is dry and ready for the second layer, and they I run through layer after layer until I have several prints that have been through the same process. The prints are all original however as any image has to be created from scratch and the plate is inked each time. It’s a learning process for sure. My latest batch is a group of winter nocturnes that look kind of like Rothko’s and that’s ok with me.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


This blog was originally posted at my website, here:

I was sitting at home the other day looking through some of my art books. I have a giant Degas book that was a gift from my parents, that came from the Norton Simon Museum (the book, not my parents.) I love Degas and the way the application of chalk or paint (he can do both with equal effectiveness) can communicate the transitory quality of a fleeting moment. It adds an intimacy to the piece as if we were there as the washerwoman yawns while she works (presumably from being overworked and raising a family)
This quality, as well as his use of cropping the frame like the relatively new medium of photography, incorporating patterns in a similar fashion to the Japanese wood block prints that were popular at the time, and employing as subject matter, working class women (instead of upper class subjects or religious or classical subject matter that pervaded previous art genres) are indicative of post impressionism, that includes Degas' contemporaries, Van Gogh, and Cezanne, as well as the original impressionists Monet, Manet and their buddies.
But my work doesn't really look anything like Degas'.

I do use women as subject matter, but I look for what I believe would be strong women role models for a future daughter. I believe that our culture has a deficit of depicting strong women role models and I want them to be there for my daughter if and when she is old enough to look for them. There are plenty of women for her to look to, but they are not commonly depicted in popular culture. This is part of a vicious cycle where women remain in the minority of leadership positions or few are considered cultural heroes, and so girls grow up thinking that the best option is to get married and have babies, (which is of course an option, but women should have more choices. that's the point.) In any case, as an artist, I make the conscious decision to promote strong women role models.
This is a big enough subject that is should have its own separate blog post, so I won't say anymore about it here.
Back to influences.


I have always cited Michelangelo & Da Vinci as huge influences, and I really love their work; especially the Pieta and the Madonna of the Rocks. I love Leonardo's use of Chiaroscuro and the glazing techniques that combine to give depth and texture to the beautifully rendered figures. I love the way that Michelangelo poses and renders his figures. These poses are a precursor to Mannerism.
My work doesn't look anything like these guys' work.
I also love Rembrandt, & Rothko, Homer, Hopper, Franz Kline, Sargent, Courbet, & many many others. I love illustrators like NC Wyeth, Arthur Rackham, Leyendecker, Rockwell, Frazetta, Lee, Gorey, and many many others. My first influence was Charles Schutz. Then came my love for comic books; Spiderman, Batman, Xmen, etcmen... Maybe I have so many influences that it's hard to discern any single one. Maybe I've been drawing and painting for so long that I've developed my own way of doing things. Maybe I'm such a crappy artist I can't even copy my heroes very well. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Music to Create To

I listen to a lot of music when I create. I lean heavily on it to keep me in the mood I’m trying to convey as I work on technical aspects of the work. Mostly I listen to sacred music. Often Eastern music. Indian or Sufi is best, but I also listen to Medieval Christian music. It is fairly important that any vocals not be in English as that would distract me, particularly if I'm writing. If I'm painting, it's not as big a deal to have English lyrics but they rarely are. Donna De Lory's music in mostly in English and that's ok. Her music is wonderful. Anonymous4 is a favorite too. I hope the spirit of the music keeps my spirit focused as I'm concentrating on mixing a particular color or trying to paint a representation of the Goddess, or otherwise caught up in some technical aspect of work that is necessary but could distract me from imbuing my painting with the spiritual energy that is my goal in the first place.
Lately I have been writing the story of Robin Hood and that requires a different approach. I still like to listen to music, but in this case I will listen to music that sets the period for me. The piece is set at about 1100 ad, so music actually from that era is a bit hard to come by and when one does, it can be; shall we say, an acquired taste. More Anonymous4 is in order. There is a French album of music dedicated to the Madonna that is really 14 century. More on the money is “Origin of Fire” which is music by Saint Hildegard circa 1000 ad. The fact that it’s German and that “La Bele Marie” is French and Robin Hood is English doesn’t bother me. Loreena McKennitt is faux period and English language to boot, but it’s so ethereal that the language isn’t a problem. This kind of New age, Medieval crossover works ok because Robin Hood is widely regarded as a fantasy although there is no magic in it and it takes place in history. My version has a bit of New agey fantasy aspect, but not really. It’s similar to the amount you find in David Gemmell’s Troy series, but with less “K”s.
If I am making a Halloween card, I may listen to Halloween like music. This can be tricky because I am not interested in the Monster Mash. At least not over and over again. The same goes for Christmas music when making Christmas Cards. I want a mix of Standards, Classical and Modern (like Sting or Annie Lennox) Throw in some Vince Guaraldi and there’s my Christmas mix.
Speaking of Sting and Annie Lennox, Soundtracks like the Lord of the Rings can be very good, but invariably the Bridge of Khazad Dum comes on at the wrong time. Don’t get me wrong. I love that piece. I should just put it with the Halloween music. ; ). Last of the Mohicans is a favorite also.
When I’m painting landscapes I sometimes like to listen to jazz. I like Charlie Parker best. My jazz world basically centers around Bird. My favorite is Bird with Strings. I also love Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. One of the Best selling jazz albums of all time, the musicians were paid a standard session fee of $10 a day each. That kind of thing really chaps my hide.
I hope this rambling tour of part my working process helps you to find a groove to work to. Or at least provide you with some musical ideas to listen to.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Our Lady of Lourdes

When I set out to illustrate the story of Saint Bernadette, I was surprised to find that there were photos of her. After some digging, I found a whole cache of photos taken right after she had her visions. Someone had had the foresight to pose her in the positions and outfits she was wearing during her visions.
When it came time to paint Mary herself, I knew no photos would be forthcoming. I looked at a lot of Marian paintings (long one of my favorite subjects) and realized that Mary seemed to appear to people in ways that would make them comfortable: San Diego saw a woman who could be a fellow native, there are "Black Madonnas not just from Africa but Eastern Europe as well. In Italy she is depicted as blonde (more from the available models than visions, granted) I decided to find a model that looked similar to Bernadette herself. I didn't have to look far. Although it had never occurred to me before, I realized my good friend Carmen bore a striking resemblance to Bernadette. She agreed to be my model.
Saint Bernadette describes her vision of the Virgin: ”She has the appearance of a young girl of sixteen or seventeen. She is dressed in a white robe, girdled at the waist with a blue ribbon which flows down all along Her robe. She wears upon Her head a veil which is also white; this veil gives just a glimpse of Her hair and then falls down at the back below Her waist. Her feet are bare but covered by the last folds of Her robe except at the point where a yellow rose shines upon each of them."
With this as a starting point, I painted St Mary as Berndadette may have seen her on that fateful day. I painted this watercolor as an illustration for my Book "The Lady in White" (available here), and offer a print from the painting to you for the first time.

Monday, July 8, 2013

New Show This Weekend!

Join us at A Little Known Shop in Anaheim, CA this weekend 7/13/13 (lucky!) I will be showing new artwork (camping paintings!) prints, cards and God knows what else!