I find myself at a point where I have so much to say and none of it do I actually want to articulate. Reasons why I’m a visual artist, I can be too expansive otherwise. So instead here are two things - a drawing I did to practice since I’ve been traveling a bit and away from my studio (you can see more of these sketches in my digital sketchbook or on my Instagram), and my new adventure - surface pattern design. Has a sexy ring to it, no? I’ll find the energy to want to talk about it eventually, but for now it’s new, taxing, thrilling, satisfying, and disheartening all at once. You can click here to see all the patterns I’ve designed so far (I’ll explain that Sultry Vintage thing another time. It’s a long story), and hopefully in the near future you can plaster your walls, hide under the covers, and sew your own clothes out of the designs I’ve created. Your life, completely visually tailored by yours truly. Fancy.
Question: can an artist base their entire career on paintings of candles? No? Maybe? Well, this was just a warmup. I have twelve candle paintings upcoming for a big trompe l’oeil style project so hold on tight.
No, but really. Where. I feel personally affronted in the ways in which time is always reminding me how long certain projects take to come together. This one - that I’m intending to turn into a second book with dozens if not a couple hundred illustrations - is coming up on three years now. Granted, the idea didn’t solidify until last fall, but still. So here is a new illustration to add to the Dark Mysteries collective, and I’m hoping to focus more on it from here on out so I can get the story finished and the artwork to go along with it realized as well. Cheers to the best laid plans!
There’s so much I could say about this painting - about how it helped push my practice, my mindset about what I want my work to be, how it helped me further let go of caring about how my work is perceived, and how it gave me hell but was worth every second I worked on it and pushed through. But instead, I’ll just show you the label I’ll be affixing to all these pieces moving forward. I dug up a saucy antique printing block and, well, it just seems appropriate that they’re now a mark for this series.
While you’re busy letting thoughts for new work fully form, you mess around with digital. Or, at least that’s what I do. I have two paintings in my head that aren’t ready for canvas so here’s an illustration I did based off one of my favorite photos of Gene Kelly. Because, Gene Kelly.
January’s almost gone and this is the first bit of art I’ve done yet in 2019. Adult responsibilities… goooo away. Anyway, you can find prints of this in my online shop. Hopefully I’ll have time to lock myself away in my studio soon and finish/start a few paintings. Here’s to hoping!
For once! I’m prepping and ready for inktober this year. If you’ve never heard of inktober, click here. Essentially it’s an exercise artists can participate in to challenge and push their skills in inking and design. I absolutely love it as I work in a fully black and white format and it informs my choices and spurs growth in my style very quickly. It’s also insanely exhausting. Last year I burned out (and my marker quit) after about eight days. One reason for this is that I work within the tight bounds of a very specific theme. It’s a darkly magical, Faustian, mysterious theme. It’s a flip side of my personality and interests, and one I can only fully delve into in such intensity for so long. The month long format of inktober is a perfect frame of time, but still not one I’ve ever successfully completed. This year I’m working not only to complete the 31 days but to push the complexity of my narrative, line work and composition, something I’m able to do thanks to the outrageously amazing app Procreate. Working digitally this year will allow me to experiment more freely without losing years of my life by - quite literally - going back to the drawing board when working out compositions. As a sneak peek teaser here are the first two pieces I’ve completed ahead of the start of the inktober challenge, and if you’d like to see more of this narrative you can click here to go to my Dark Mysteries gallery. If you want to follow along, each day of October I’ll be posting one of these to my Instagram & Steller pages. There I’ll also be posting time lapse videos of these pieces so you can see how they came together, which I think is a pretty awesome aspect of working digitally, as well as background details about pieces that unlock more of the symbolism. There’s more than meets the eye in a lot of these. Hope to see you there!
I don’t often draw people. Couldn’t tell you why, I find people insanely fascinating on so many levels, but it just takes a lot for a face to catch my eye and compel me to draw it. I’m working on changing that by getting some digital drawings together of faces I find intriguing - that all seem to be coming from the vintage fashion loving crowd. (Perhaps this has something to do with my love of Mucha’s ornately attired women.) This is burlesque performer Dandy Dillinger.
I've started a new series in earnest that's taking on a life of its own. It began with the simple idea of explaining how all my work comes together - both as a visual catalog of what inspires me, and to show what is constantly knocking around in my mind that informs the more involved paintings and compositions I pursue. It's also helping me work on what I set out to do at the beginning of this year, which is loosen up my style. Each of these paintings is one brush stroke closer towards instinctual mark making while letting the overly-focused/critical side of my brain rest after doing the heavy lifting with composition. I have to admit it's a freeing way to work. I'm holding myself to as few rules as possible while doing this in order to allow each piece to stand alone and be as idiosyncratic as it needs/wants to be. The only task I've set for myself is that each successive painting must have elements of the directly previous one - whether it be an object, shape, pattern, or just a color - and imagery from paintings previous in the series can and should pop in and out. So this first series is now starting to build momentum, and I'm really loving where it's going. I hope you'll consider following along with each new piece on my Instagram.
I'm calling it "Roaming Abroad" as that's what and where my mind always is, and by you engaging with it you're doing the same, taking time to explore the landscape I've created for you.
A life goal of mine is to one day live close enough to Venice that I can take off to paint it whenever I need. And painting Venice is, most certainly, always a need.
I couldn't tell you if it's the weather or just a new pace my life is taking, but I'm embracing the slowdown as I let ideas simmer. In the meantime, here's another digital piece inspired by Mughal carpet designs, the scent of flowers on a warm wind, and one of my favorite colors - persimmon.
I don't remember the first time I saw Turner's abstract atmospheric paintings, but I do remember how they made me feel. It was like a lightening bolt - they woke me up. The energy in them is insane. I particularly love Nocturne Black and Gold: the Falling Rocket, and Fishermen at Sea. My worship of a stormy sea rolls deep, and so here is a little digital painting in the vein of Turner.
Some new digital work happening now that I was able to get Procreate back into my process. What a relief, it's such an amazing asset to have for working on the fly, for figuring out new ideas, or just practicing techniques. It's so important to my work flow that I'm really going to be able to kick it into overdrive now, and I could not be happier.
True story. Well, actually, it's an historical fiction, but it is indeed true that I published a novel, and it's currently free to download in Kindle format this week. So if you're at all curious, click the cover to the right (which I also designed and painted) to grab it. Truly hope you enjoy and would love to hear your thoughts if you do give it a read.
A little plein air piece from a few weeks ago up at the San Diego botanical gardens. They have a really energetic and moody waterfall tucked in the hillside whose course and chatter I'm sure I wouldn't tire of even if I sat by it for days and weeks on end.
I'm currently in my studio wrapping up a piece from my main series of work, and although it's been stop and go for me over the past few months I'm looking to remedy that this week. Excited about it!
New thoughts, figuring out new ways of deconstructing compositions and layering that leads to an impossible to photograph painting = another day in the office.
There's just something about the rocky coastlines here in California that draw me in, and they're either wonderfully caricatured or frustratingly impossible. This one started out the later but I tamed it to the former. A little cove down the street from my house - my favorite spot to tuck away on sunny days.
For a long time with my art I was concerned with subject matter. I didn't know what I wanted to paint, and over the years I've honed in on what I like: nature, mostly, architecture, and people, sometimes, but not in an academic realism sense. As you can see in my abstract limbs series I focus on representations of people and their suggested actions, asking you to look long enough to decode its imagery. Now I've come to the point where I know what I like to paint and I'm trying to push myself in technique. I've recognized I own a duality that, on the one side, causes me to obsess over accuracy, and on the other, an emotive side that wants things looser and more gestural. With each piece I've been working on lately I've been focusing on getting the grander image accurate and the details more instinctual. Trusting your gut is a terrifying business. Refining these two forces that pull in opposite directions is what I'll be working on this year, and here are a few of the pieces that have come of it so far.
Sometimes a commission comes my way by request of a passionate art collector who offers me the freedom to really stretch out and push the themes I've been working in - these are the types of requests I live for. I was asked for a mother daughter portrait in a dreamy format incorporating the abstract florals I've been using in my watercolor and limbs series (I've yet to come up with a name for this series. Working on it.) This watercolor portrait is the result and I couldn't be happier with it. If you're at all curious to see the stages of this painting I've been trying to update more progress shots of my work on my Instagram account. Click here to see.