Thursday, March 31, 2011

No Where to Go, No Money to PAINT!

So, as some of you may know, I am a Graduate Student at Radford University and I study under Z.L. Feng. I chose RU because I liked Feng's style and realism he achieves with such an unpredictable medium. Also, there are not a lot of schools with professors that teach realism within the region I live. I am glad I came to RU and the results are beginning to show. In the last month I have produced watercolor after watercolor! I have made 5-7 portraits and I will share then on here as time permits.

So, today's painting is still in progress and it is based on a friend of mine, Keenan Rainier. A year ago I was hired by his band Flight 24 ( to do a photo shoot and one of the photos stuck out to me and said "paint me".

So, today, with both of my classes canceled and nowhere to go and no money to spend I was able to start! Last night I printed a few pictures on the image and I also did a few sketches to get prepared. After a few hours of prep work I was ready.

I did a placement sketch and made sure all of my pieces were correct. Then I began the painting and the result thus far:

I love the skin tones and the dark-darks and how the various reds, greens, yellows, blues and purples stick out as well. I am pleased and there will be more to come!

Will post a more "finished" piece tonight so check back then!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Painting

"Nunez", Watercolor on Paper, 11"x15", $125.00

Recently, I have been working with Watercolors and I am beginning to think that it is now my favorite medium. I like the level of realism, control and ironically the spontaneity that comes with watercolor. These elements are truly fascinating and I find them to be beneficial in this new series that I am painting.

The Series

As you saw with the last two paintings - Reminisce and New Generation - I have done portraits with developed backgrounds and not the typical soft gradient background typically associated with portraits. In the past I would find myself doing the soft gradient backgrounds and the emotional effect (the ability to emotionally connect between the viewer with sitter) seemed to be lost, as if they were looking at an idealized image of the person. I wanted to really breakout of that and show honest and real people with real stories.


In my new work titled Nunez I wanted to really show emotion and the best way to do that is by the look on his face and more importantly his eyes. I have painted Nunez before and used his image in politically charged themes trying to showcase his Dominican heritage while also sharing his story about being an American Service Member. I don't know if I had achieved those effects because they were either too overt or the background was an afterthought. As I pondered this I thought about backgrounds and decided to paint in the background a view of Iraq from one of the Towers in Iraq that we were posted on together. I wanted to showcase a little bit of a story but not too overt and more importantly a background that was not an after thought. I wanted a background that played a nice balance that helped to show my experiences with Nunez and his experiences in Iraq. In the end I think I accomplished more in doing less, and that is what art is about: problem solving.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Joy of Watercolor!

Above: "Reminisce" Watercolor, 11" x 15", $125.00 (Prints Available $30) For many years I have avoided Watercolor as a whole. When I was young I hated the lack of control I had over the medium and that bad experience carried all the way through college. During my college years I had the chance to go to a watercolor workshop and I tried out the medium and I immediately recalled all the reasons why I hated watercolor. However during my senior year of college I looked at several Graduate Schools, hoping to find a school that taught "realism", which is my style. I also wanted a teacher that specialized in water mediums. My search resulted with me going to Radford University to study under ZL Feng, a world re-nouned watercolorist. Despite my fears, I decided that it was now or never and after taking the plunge you can see that my decision has paid off. Above: "New Generation" Watercolor, 11" x 15", $125.00 (Prints Available $30) I have found that I can achieve a greater level of clarity, contrast and realism. For many years I felt that I could not do watercolor because I had no control, yet with Feng I found that control. Part of it was also due to my maturity and progression as a painter, I went from an Oil painter to an Acrylic painter - which is not too drastic of a change. During the year I was doing acrylic I found many techniques that worked and found a knack for working the medium. All of this combined with Feng's instruction has led me to a strong portfolio in Watercolor. The two paintings above are among my first 8 watercolor paintings ever! I think the key in watercolor is patience and understanding how to control the paint and a lot of that comes from attitude and careful preparation. I hope to post more Watercolors on here soon so stay tuned for more!