Saturday, February 26, 2011


Teaching two classes and being very busy with work leaves me very grateful but with little time to finish a portrait a week. So, it's back to the archives.

1983 was a very productive year. I was hoping to make my way as a portrait artist, and that year I must have produced dozens of portraits in watercolor and graphite. I had a number of friends who were more than willing to let me draw/paint them or their family.

A friend from high school, Tom Brennan, moved from Hartford to a tiny town called Fletcher, Vermont — so small you had to go to the next town for the post office which was in a general store. Here is a graphite portrait I drew of him and his first daughter, Erin.
My signature style then was to have a rectangular background with the subject breaking out its frame into the blank page.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

So, Can I Do It Without The Computer?

That was a question I asked myself since I will be taking commissions for portraits at the Six Summit Gallery. I know some people might not want a print, feeling it was not an original. Technically, the print is the original since the file is a digital file. I don't think the digital vs traditional argument will ever be settled.

So, I set about finishing the portrait of Lydia by printing the outline I had drawn and posted last week. I printed it on watercolor paper and then painted and drew directly on the paper... no separate layers, no scanning and assembling.

I'm pleased with the piece, but not ecstatic. I don't like the texture of the paper for drawing. I'll have to experiment on a hot press paper to see if I get better results. Also, the colors are not as dynamic as they are when printed on my Epson 7880. I'll keep plugging at this, and maybe even offer a client the choice.

Anyway, here she is... portrait number 5... my daughter Lydia.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

To Dad, Christmas 1978

Once again my week has gotten away from me. I'm grateful that I've been busy with design and illustration work. I also started teaching a class this week. I have a new portrait started, but won't get to finishing it until next week. So, once again, I dig into the archives. Today I'll share the drawing that was a turning point for me in realizing the drawing skills with which I had been blessed.

I don't remember who the subject was. It was from a photo I found in a magazine. But it looked like something my father might like. I'm sure I was pushing myself to impress my rugged, machine-shop-working father. He never said much, but the picture was always hanging right above his rocking chair in the den until he died.

I didn't know that there was such a thing as acid-free paper, or that there were other pencils besides your generic yellow number 2 model. But I was surprised and pleased with what I was able to do, and it started me on a path for many years creating very tight pencil portraits for myself and others.

By the way, here's the start of a portrait of my daughter, Lydia. Hope to post the finished piece next week.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Waiting for the J train

In November of 2009, while in NYC for my MFA, I grabbed a photo of this young lady waiting for the train. Tired and cold, she looked like an Ellis Island immigrant.

I'm enjoying working in this loose/tight style. I'm open to any suggestions or any photos you want to toss my way for portraits. I've got a lot of ground to cover these next 50 weeks.