Category Archives: Figurative

Biloxiana Sketches ~ in Line at the Waffle House

at a Biloxi Waffle House

At a Biloxi Waffle House.  original iPad painting.

On our last visit to Biloxi, we grabbed a bit of breakfast goodies at one of the many local Waffle House restaurants.  We didn’t really believe they’d have us seated within five minutes — given the long lines of seated and standing wanna eat patrons.  But the efficient staff delivered in fine style.  Here’s my iPad take on the scene.

Portrait Gallery Figurative – in the Window Seat, #1

resting at the Portrait Gallery

Resting at the Portrait Gallery.  Oil on Linen.

During a recent visit to the National Portrait Gallery, I saw two marvelous women, each sitting in one of the deep window seats that back up to the courtyard.  I decided to be bold and ask if I could take their pictures for painting purposes.  To my delight, each agreed.  Here’s the first – a petite little lady perched on the long cushion, resting her feet.  Another palette knife attempt.

Palette Knife Painting of Cousins, Engrossed in an iPad

Nathan & Ceci, engrossed in an iPad

Cousins, engrossed in an iPad.  Oil on Linen.

I fell in love with a darling photo of two cousins (my grand-niece & -nephew, if I’ve calculated that right), huddled around an iPad.  I knew I had to make a painting out of it.  Have been trying to learn how to paint with a palette knife.  This is one of my first attempts.

Another Upcoming Exhibit ~~ Ten Paintings at the DC Writers Center!

The wonderful DC-area Writers Center regularly hosts art exhibits in its large space, featuring the works of local artists.  Ten of my paintings will be included in the next show, scheduled to open in late June.  This exhibit is organized around the works of those who have painted with Gonzalo Navarro, a fellow teacher at the Yellow Barn Studio in Glen Echo, MD.  I have enjoyed Gonzalo’s teaching expertise — it’s always good to practice skills under the tutelage of an expert in portraiture and figurative painting.  It’s great to have Gonzalo at the Yellow Barn, as well as Maud Taber-Thomas, supplementing the excellent portraiture teaching of Gavin Glakas.

Here is one of the paintings I’ll show in the upcoming exhibit.  More to follow.

ballerina in profile

Pensive Ballerina.  Oil on Arches Oil Paper.


Portrait Workshop with Bill Schneider

I recently studied portrait painting with Bill Schneider.  After he did a wonderful demo, Bill had us emulate Nicholai Fechin’s gorgeous ‘broken color’ style, by copying (on a larger scale, so we could practice our facial measuring skills) some Fechin portraits.

Fechin's portrait (L) and my copy.  oil on canvas.

Fechin’s portrait (L) and my copy. oil on canvas.

First I copied one of Fechin’s beautiful women.  And then this precious child.

Fechin's portrait (L) & MOW copy.  oil on canvas.

Fechin’s portrait (L) & my copy. oil on canvas.

The next day we painted from a live model, attempting to apply the broken color method on our own.  Quite a difference in beauty, eh?  (Just keeping it real!)


Working toward Fechin’s ‘broken color’ in painting from life. oil on Arches oil paper.

I ended the weekend workshop with lots to practice and mull.  Thanks, Bill!


Merry Christmas to You and Yours

We have had a peaceful and joyous day.  And it isn’t over yet.  But while there’s a quiet moment, I want to reach out beyond our home and send love and hugs to you and yours.  Here is an iPad image I painted, based on a stone carving on a Capitol Hill church.  I had it made into Christmas cards, but since they haven’t gone out yet, I’ll post it here, with my very best wishes for the season and 2014.

IMG_1078 copy

Painting a Memory of Jeremiah’s Wedding

Before Ingrid & Jeremiah’s wedding recedes into fond memories, I wanted to paint a tangible memento, based on a photo taken by my niece Tess (Jeremiah’s sister).  Actually, a number of photos of the beautiful flower girls captured my artist’s fancy.  Here’s the first one I tackled.  Maybe there will be more.

Wedding Flowers.  Oil on Paper.

Wedding Flowers. Oil on Paper.

We Share Our Color Learnings

Post-show doldrums are a great time to share insights from prior workshops.  Several of us ‘7 Palettes’ have been sharing new color mixing techniques this week.  Here’s what I passed along from the fabulous Terry Miura workshop my sister Ceci and I attended awhile back.

Here’s a glimpse of Terry’s palette:


Terry Miura’s Limited Palette

And here are insights about painting the figure using a limited earth-tone palette:

  • Select one of each ‘primary’ color, plus white:   yellow ochre; transparent iron oxide red (‘earth red’ in some brands) , ivory black (standing in for blue) and Titanium white.
  • Using a palette knife, make two ‘puddles’ of paint consisting of a bit of each of the primary colors (in varying proportions, obviously):   a light-toned puddle for use in painting light areas of the figure and a dark toned puddle for shadowed areas.
  • To add variety to the light and shadow areas of the painting, ‘push’ each puddle toward other colors and values by adding relatively more of desired dominant colors and less of the subordinated colors.  For example, mix into part of the light puddle a bit more yellow ochre & some black to make a greenish variant.
  • Make sure that none of the darker values in the light puddle is as dark as the lightest light value in the dark puddle and vice versa.  Imagine a line down your palette between the two puddles to keep them strictly separate.
  • Paint the light areas of the figure using only the light puddle and its variants; and paint the shadowed areas of the figure using only with the dark puddle and its variants.
  • Assuming you’ve drawn the figure fairly well, you’ve got a fine looking painting!

Here’s Terry’s beautiful twenty minute demo!

Terry's nude.

Terry’s nude.

New iPad Art: Fairy Lilies in Negative Space; Pat’s Scarecrow in the Garden; at the O’s Game

I’ve done a few iPad images lately — good fun while sitting around at night.   I just finished a drawing with the ArtRage pencil tool of a sprinkle of fairy lilies against a background clump of ornamental grasses.

Fairy Lilies, original iPad painting, 2013, 1:1 aspect ratio

Fairy Lilies, original iPad painting, 2013, 1:1 aspect ratio


And I also had fun doing a more stylized rendition of Pat’s scarecrow standing in our garden, stopping passersby with its cuteness, but doing nothing to deter the critters from eating our veggies.  Pat actually built this wooden adjustable man, based on one our son Sam had seen in a magazine and really wanted.  Sam enjoyed it for years and then Will inherited it.  Pat has now re-clothed it in his old duds for scarecrow duty.


And I did a quick wild fun sketch of the ballpark when Pat and I went to an Oriole’s game in Baltimore last weekend.