Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oil Wash

I'm doing some "new" things on this painting. Usually I will lay down a warm, burnt sienna wash on top of my sketch, and then work up from their. This piece is going to be cold and rough (rough water, fog, stormy clouds, etc...) so I am using a technique that I started playing with before I started my graduate program when I did my series of LOST paintings. I lay down some gesso with a palette knife and then put down a cool wash consisting of blues and cad yellow. With this process I get three really cool layered effects. The first layer is where there isn't any gesso. Here the oils penetrate the bristol board and create a really nice, dark, gritty wash. It is an awesome surface to draw on with color pencils. The second layer is where the oil lays on the gessoed surface. Here I am able to move the paint around a little more and get a soft blend of the colors. For the third layer, I take a soft cloth and wipe away a lot of the excess paint. Wherever there are raised ridges in the gessoed surface, the paint is almost completely wiped away - leaving some great patterns and textures. Most of this process is accidental - which I really enjoy. In the initial stages, I try to keep the painting as loose as possible. I will slowly tighten things up as I progress.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Final Layout

Here is my "final" pencil layout. I will probably make more changes and double check perspectives, etc... but this is what I will start painting on. I'm really pleased with the simplicity of the design. I can't wait to add paint and give it some life.

I couldn't afford to charter a helicopter to fly over the San Fran Bay for this piece. I did, however, stumble across a cool tool for the perspective and accuracy of the island and prison in their relationship to the Golden Gate Bridge. Google Earth is a free three-dimensional program that essentially allowed me to "fly in" and take a shot of the exact location I wanted for my painting. I will definitely use it on future projects.

Friday, May 13, 2011

More Sketches

I am developing my criminal mouse more. The model is very helpful to wrap my mind around the three-dimensional qualities of this character, but when I draw, I tend to morph the 3-D model with my sketches and what's in my mind. So the character tends to develop away from the model... but I am very happy with the final outcome. I really like where this guy is going... and I LOVE the seagull. He doesn't know what's happening to him, or that he has become an accomplice in a prison break.

I'm using the best paper for this development process. I used the same stuff on my pig book and I just love it. I can't remember what it's called, but it's like a plastic tracing paper. You can erase for ever and it doesn't wear down. I'll try to find out the name.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I'm really excited about this San Fran. painting. To help with lighting and perspective, I made a plasticine model of my mouse sadled upon a mock sea-gull. I'm really looking forward to getting this idea fleshed out more.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Amidst my final thesis work for grad school, I have a painting assignment from our trip to San Francisco. It's actually kind of nice... like a refreshing break from Casey Jones (more info on that later.) Here are my initial sketches for an idea I have. I'm thinking of calling it "Escape from Alcatraz." My research shows that the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Prision, and Al Capone all co-existed in San Francisco between 1937 and 1939... so this is a fun collection of all three. I'm really excited to start working on it as I finish my thesis project.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm Back

Sorry I haven't posted in so long. I have been (and still am) finishing my thesis for grad school. I graduate this summer from The Hartford Art School at The University of Hartford with my M.F.A. in Illustration. It has been an incredible program, and if you are reading this blog - you should check it out.

It has been a funny year so far. I find myself working like crazy - but still feel lazy. I work full time at Englewood Baptist Church, then come home and am "dad" 'till about 8:30 pm. Once the kids are in bed I start painting - either on my thesis work or a freelance job. But I am neglecting some areas in my life that cause me to feel lazy and ill prepared. Things like daily devotional time with the Lord, keeping a sketch book, exercising, keeping up with my blog, etc...

This post is part of my attempt to re-discipline myself to continue doing some of those really important "little" things in my life that make the "big" things credible... and in honor of my coming graduation, here is a 30 minute sketch I did of the head of the M.F.A. in Illustration program, Murray Tinkelman.

See you next week.