Thursday, December 23, 2010


"Sunflowers" (Dec, 2010) acrylic on canvas (24" x 28")  This was an Xmas gift comission

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


ink, crayon, & graphite on paper. Approx 2 feet x 2.5 feet.
Another of my rececent "comic strips". This one is someone (I wonder who??) recalling how he ate an entire tub of guacamole, with chips!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Illusion of Comix

This drawing is made to look like it's a comic strip, but it really isnt....or is it? Are a few boxes and some word balloon shapes all that's needed to make a comic strip??? (Oh, the burning questions I come up with!) An illusion within an illusion! Very interesting...! (ink, ink wash, Sharpie, graphite, and crayon on paper. Approx 2 ft x 5 ft) 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Captain Eyeball

Ink, crayon, Sharpie, graphite, tempera paint on paper. Approx 2ft x 5ft (Dec 2010)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

King Eyebeam

ink, graphite, Sharpie, crayon, and tempera paint on paper (approx 2 ft x 5 ft)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Old Codger

Portrait comission, acrylic on canvas, painted from a series of reference photos (November 2010)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sentient Clouds

"Sentient Clouds", mixed media on paper, 18" x 24" (created Nov. 2010).  This picture started as a series of random marks, squiggles, doodles, gestures, and icons, and I worked straight through at a fast rate until completion. As I worked this drawing, it evolved:  I grouped clusters of marks into shapes, and then continued adding more marks, patterns, and shading. Disparate marks and patterns came together to form a cluster...and those clusters I grouped into still larger clusters.  In this way, this work felt very organic--since it grew naturally! It reminded me of one of those "Sim Life" games. I was under a time limit with this drawing, so I had to resolve it quickly. Thus, I cut out a cartoon painting from one of my sketchbooks and collaged it into the picture (for a focal point), and also added some additional color. Working through a drawing like this really feels like a marathon. When I was done with it, I felt spent!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fear of Mountain Lions

"Fear of Mountain Lions" (2010) Ink & graphite on paper.  This is an illustration for a chapter in a story.  The story is about a man who is alone in a remote mountainous area known to be inhabited by mountain lions.  Suddenly...a thrashing about in the brush nearby! What could that be?! A mountain lion??  My task for this piece was to create a series of patterns, strokes, an textures that representted whatever I was associating this scene, and then rolling it all together into a sort of pastiche. So in this drawing you'll see fear, rocky cliffs, mountain lions, big fangs, shredded clothing, scrubby scruffy desert foliage..and so on. Oh, I didn't draw those things literally; it'all implied here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Facebook Quick Sketch

This is a new picture of a Facebook friend, who's portrait I drew from one of the pix in his Facebook photo albums. He's wearing a construction hat.  Size is roughly 9" x 12".  I used a felt-tipped pen & wax crayon.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


A recent drawing of irises, drawn from life. (ink on paper)

Friday, October 22, 2010


Here's a recent piece I did with a "Halloween" theme. Ink, graphite, watercolor, and watercolor crayon on paper; 9" x 12" in size.  I like the fact that it's kinda hard to see what's happening, as if you were looking out onto a dark night, and saying "what's going on out there??!"

Monday, September 27, 2010

Amaryllis flower

Drawn from life; pen & ink on bristol board, 11" x 14" (2010) .  An amaryllis flower in full-bloom. It just as easily could have been a flowing robe. The folds, textures, and color are really pretty incredible.

Mother Nature Saves The Day

(Ink, goache, colored pencil, & Sharpie on foam core)  Roughly 2' x 3' in size.  I'd created this piece in March of 2010 specifically for a show about "Earth Day". It was rejected, because of it's over-active design, and for some graffitti I'd posted in various places with Sharpie --but also probably because I'd painted it on foam core, a material you buy as office supply stores!  One graffitto says "Save the f**king world already!", while another says "I fight Evil in the nude!" (I've blurred the offending text) Chock it up to too much comic book thinking, but I thought it was great.  It's basically a design with some "Mother Nature" superhero character surrounded by all kinds of life growing, evolving, spurting, and floating all over the place. The curators of the show were worried that schools that take their classes to this gallery on field trips might be offended.  Perhaps they would...but perhaps they might also think it's hilarious and full of spunk! No dice. "Mother Nature Saves The Day" was consigned to the compost heap. (Not really, it'll just have to resurface in a more appreciative environment) 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Portrait of My Mother

Every artist should paint his mother! This painting is acrylic on canvas and is roughly 2' x 3' in size.  Painted from a series of reference photos in 2006. I took about 10 pictures of her posing at various angles, so this picture is actually a composite.  Sketched and painted by hand; no projectors or grid lines. Probably the best portrait I've ever painted.

Nighttime Floaters

(Acrylic on unstretched canvas) I painted this several years ago, and it no longer exists...I've since painted over it. But I include it here to show how, at some point, I became interested in started a painting with a series of abstract shapes, instead of starting from a sketch and transferring it to canvas, as is the method used by many (less brave!) painters. I usually create the shapes as a result of drawing (with a fully loaded paintbrush) all sorts of intersecting lines and shapes on the canvas, and then, choosing the ones that appeal to me or are part of a general compositional sweep (say, as in this case, they are all part of an upwards movement going from lower left to upper right) From this point, I can either leave it alone (as I've done here), or I can turn these shapes into recognizable things, and thus come up with some sort of story or narrative...then the narrative would be what the picture is "about". But even without a narrative, the picture is about a series of shapes and their interrelation with each other.  That alone constitutes another world in which you can totally get absorbed.  I find this picture very calming. I'd used several layers of light washes to create the blue and purple tones in this piece.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Disposable Coffee Cup

About two years ago, I ordered some coffee from some chain store, sat it in front of me, and did what artists do: I studied it for all of its wonderful textures and shadows.  I drew this in my sketchbook with a big nobby piece of graphite, about the size of a large crayon.  The odd texture on the side of the cup is one of those paper sleeves, to buffer the heat from the coffee from burning your hand. Even in a well-lit space, with multiple light sources, you can still get interesting shadows. Notice the cast shadows on either side of the cup, caused by the spotlights the were above me, while I sat there in the restaurant.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tilted Hulk

This a pen & ink drawing that I made in early 2008.  I've got a whole series of these. I drew them all, very quickly, one after the next after the next. When I was done with one, I ripped the page off the pad and started another. I continued like this for about ten drawings...then I felt  spent.  Working with pen & ink like this has some inherent problems.

First, there are all the interruptions caused by having to reload my ink by dipping it into the ink bottle. My having to reload my pen every 15 seconds actually has an effect on how the artwork looks; it looks like it's...full of interruptions....which is a look that I like! But mentally, it becomes a nuisance. That's why I switched over to Sharpies a while ago, so I could draw away, smooth as butter, without having to worry about my pen drying out, or my flow of creativity running up against a sandbag.

Now I'm back doing pen and ink...and I like the results. I'll post more of my pen & ink "doodles" as time goes on.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Vague Pompadour

I like to look at this acrylic on canvas painting as a sort of "relaxed" comic book panel. Starting from a series of loose gestural shapes, I saw a red-eyed character staring right back at me, with a wavy jet black pompadour, greased all rockabilly-like.  Some wordless word balloons hover in front of this character's face, to the right of the picture. Colored with bright and simple colors that I usually associate with kids pop culture, such as comics, candy wrappers, movie popcorn boxes... it also reminds me of a rolling landscape. How about this: a red-eyed dog-faced character runs out of a comic book and across a rolling landscape saying...nothing.  Works for me! 

Seriously though, it's really not important to me that I have a "message"; that really must come from the viewer. As an artist, I concern myself with making an interesting picture. Your associations are the ones that really matter. But since we all live in the same time in history, and experience the same mass media, and are familiar with what the world is like now (and then) there are cetain that things and references that you and I will pick up on together, and those things will come out in how you see my artwork. Although my way of seeing the world may be a little different from yours, the graphic symbols, shapes, forms, and artistic approach may strike a chord within you. When I look at this piece, I think of old campy movies, probably when I used to go to the New Loft Theater as a kid, when it was on 6th Street, on the UA campus. But if you don't see that, that fine, because art is like people: you develop your own relationship with it in a way that best suits your personality and temperment. (Acrylic on canvas, roughly 24" x 18" in size, made in 2006; I also made the frame out of stained plywood)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Radiant Energy"

This recent painting, called Radiant Energy is from my Fine Pulpe Arte series, which takes its inspiration from old paperback novel artwork, and old comics from the Golden and Silver Age of comics.  (As background music, perhaps you can image an old radio drama playing, such as "The Shadow"...) This piece is supposed to be about inspiration, but from a campy place that references Jewish contributions to popular culture.  Jews had a big part in the creation of comic books and  pulp novels, so this painting is sort of a tribute to all of that. Made with the methods and materials of old comix: Painted with tempera paint and ink on corragated cardboard, then stapled to a sheet of plywood, also painted with tempera paint.  It's a large sucker: about 4 feet x 2.5 feet.  People have told me that my work reminds them of Philip Guston's..and I can see that.  I like this piece!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Unidentified Flying Idea

Unidentified Flying Idea

(Acrylic on canvas, 2010) Large red chunky forms on the right, a doodle-design that seems to be pointing to a word balloon in the top center, and some goofy grinning guy floating in the sky on the right.  And who is that in the lower center part of the painting...The Yeti?! A lost caveman? Alley Oop? Unfortunately, I cannot answer these questions for you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mystic Jalopy

After pushing paint aroud this piece over and over, suddenly an image appeared to me out of a bramble of doodles and strokes, like out of some weird hallucination: a floating cactus ball hovering over the discarded hull of an old car...made of rock...immersed in water.  The sound of a babbling brook and chirping birds wafts in just over your shoulder.. the air is crisp and clear. A lone ciccada revs up his buzzer and makes a huge racket. All the while, an oddly shaped mutant cactus ball floats over the right side of this picture.

What does this all mean??

It means that when I'm standing up for hours working on pulling a composition together, sometimes I can get ridiculous!

This picture is acrylic on canvas, and uses primarily four colors: green, orange, blue, and yellow.  I'd just rececently seen a show about Impressionist artist Paul Cezanne (at the Phoenix Art Museum), and I noticed something about his work: he didn't use black; rather, the darkest color he'd use (at least in the painting I was staring at) was a thalo blue (that is, a very dark blue-green color)  What happens when you use only colors (as opposed to using black, which isn't technically a "color", but rather, a "value") is that the colors you paint interacts with all of the other colors on your canvas.  Not so with black; you won't find black on the "color wheel", thus, black isn't part of any "color scheme"; it just sits there, announcing its presence, but not really contributing to the harmony of the color balance in a painting. Black can, however, add a lot of value contrast, which can help a picture really "pop", but if you want vibrant color interaction, it's best to stay away from it (unless you mix it with some other color)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mutant Turkey Man!

Art as as ongoing aesthetic exploration in mixing comics and fine art.  This painting reminds me on those old Japanese monster movies, like Godzilla: the cityscape in the background, the creature in the foreground; the "heroic" composition, looking up at the figure....yes, comic books have definitely influenced how I look at art. To me, this looks like it could be the cover of some odd sci-fi story magazine, or some off-beat movie poster.  This painting is actually painted over another painting ...which was painted over another painting.  This is what accounts for this piece's chunky built-up texture.  Once again, I stuck with a color scheme that reminds me of...Spiderman!  Of course, that's not what I was thinking when I made this painting; I was thinking of shapes and forms. The comic book quality is what happens at the very end, when I'm tying everying together.  But what lies under this picture, as far as composition, and color, and the same that girds the a million others: a solid abstract foundation.  That's really the main thing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Rubbery Desertscape: "Martian Goldrush"

Martian Gold Rush

I was happy with how this painting initially ended up--as a Dr. Seussian set of rock formations; very Southwestern, in a sort of surreal, Salvidor Dali sort of way...but something was missing...that extra special bit of spice. What could it be? Of course! One of my comic book drawings pasted right into the painting! (He a little hard to see in this photo, but he's there, standing atop a cliff in his cyan blue space uniform) So there you have it: a crazed looking astronaut character staking a claim (with his flag) in the middle of nowhere atop some Martian cliffs.

Ideally, I'd like to go back into a lot of my paintings, and start pasting my own comics back into them, out of respect and reverence for my artistic roots (that is, comic books), but also...because I think it would be a lot of fun, and would make the work more interesting! Cartoons being happiness and joy! So why not insert a little nugget of joy into my own painting, in the form of one of my own cartoons? Sounds like a good idea to me! Besides, collage has a rich history; just ask Picasso or Kurt Schwitters. And what's more, now the work doesn't feel so lonely. The colors here, also, hearken back to comics: the orange and blue are the same colors that you'll find in old Donald Duck comics.And you thought art was just about being a free spirit? Ha! It's a lot like engineering too. There's a lot of tweaking that you've got to do to get things to feel just right.

Cartoony Surrealist Landscapes

This is another piece in my series of cartoony abstract paintings. I painted it about a week ago. This all start out as very loose sketches, more of an explorations of lines, shapes, and patterns, more than anything else. In short time, images and forms begin to appear; it has an "evolving" feel. I help along shapes and forms that look promising, like they could be interesting in my painting. So, I clump some together, erase other, and in this sort of artistic negotiation, I get to know my painting, I see what it is that's coming into view, and when it becomes clear, I strengthen it with some light and shadow.  My abstract work usually looks like some sort of cartoony surrealist landscape, which is a great way to describe Tucson.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Abstract Chunky Style

This piece is a sample of my newest painted work (painted in late August, 2010). It is acrylic on canvas, roughly 2.5' x 3.5' in size. It is part of a series of "abstract" work. This series I'd created based on a request. So...this is the lastest example of the type of work I do as an artist. I've always gone back to the qualities of superhero comic books, which were my first introduction to art, back when I was just a kid. The attaction of rough chunky forms, bold colors...basically, the whole "muscular" quality of it all, still inspires me. I've lived in the Lower Sonoran Desert for most of my life, the the shapes and forms of the landscape and scenery (mountains, rocks, cactus) have obviously inspired this whimsical and imaginary painting, which you see here. More about how I create these images, next time.