It’s been a tough past couple years, my Grandma’s health has been slowly and steadily declining. I lost my Papa to cancer nearly 12 years ago and it’s been difficult to see my Grandma transition from that into where she is now. Between seeing the ones I love who helped raise me deal with the end of their lives and seeing my beautiful 7 year old daughter enjoy and be hopeful for the beginning of her life, I’m at a unique position in life where I see the bigger picture. It humbles me and helps me to reprioritize what is important in life. I’m always thankful for my career and being able to explore my talents but everything is subject to my family. I’m thankful to work at a place and with coworkers that allow me to be flexible for my family. This is a painting I did on my phone during one of my recent visits with my Grandma. Choosing to enjoy every moment not only with her but with all details of life, from the morning sun to the cooling of night. I’m thankful for it all and to be where I’m standing now may be seen as a “difficult time” but I see it as a blessing and a time to be deeply connected to life.
Spent some time at Seal Beach at Lunch. It was a beautiful overcast day and it felt great to get away from the computer and relax my eyes. There was so much subtle color popping up it’s tempting to try and oversaturate an overcast day or the opposite, make it all monochromatic. This is where working with gouache is really helpful - you can be excited about color choices and they’ll never look right when you place them in but trusting the medium they often find a nice place to nuzzle into the painting. Only thing that is really tricky is values in this situation. That’s the beauty of doing studies, they’re very low commitment and mistakes are welcomed and I learned a lot about things I can be more sensitive about when painting in the future.
It’s been a very busy last few weeks, sometimes its essential to get outside and be with nature.
Spent some time at lunch painting the PCH Club in Long Beach. The sun was bleaching everything - likely because my eyes have adjusted to the constant cloudy weather we’ve been having - it was a bit startling but I tried to stay true to my phenomonology without my mind correcting what it “should” be.
Lately I’ve been inspired to make romantic pieces. For what it’s worth…
I’ve been painting the sunset in my backyard for the past 2 days - lighting changes rapidly so I can usually nail 2-3 in the 30 - 45 minute span. If you ever decide to do this - I strongly recommend a speedy medium like pastels or digital painting. Mixing paint this quickly is pretty difficult but not impossible - that will be another goal down the line. Sunsets are so mesmerizing, my eyes tend to either over react or under react depending on my frame of mind. The idea here is that during this month my eyes would become more sensitive to the nuance of color/value/light and I would be able to eventually come up with some more sophisticated palettes. As an artist who primarily designs lighting for film - a sunset is something I’m asked to do pretty often and it can easily feel mundane but the beautiful thing about light is that its never the same - Monet made that point pretty clear in his studies.
Dancing in the water
Through the rushing rivers
Little could hear him pass
With a still small voice
Like a hand on his chest
But still, nothing
Tried filming the process this time - goal is always to bring life out of the palette by direction of the emotion I’m going for. Always looking for complex emotions to bring to life - things that are hard to put into words. This was inspired by a story told in John. People were desperate for hope - looking for a person who would come and help them. A man who was sharing stories by the river was telling people that this hope was coming soon and he told them about “a voice crying out from the wilderness” that phrase is what inspired this piece.
Ellie and I woke up early this morning and got some painting in
Well this whole rant came out this morning but it’s so relieving to share - my heart is to help you practically - although I share a lot about my faith please understand that my heart is genuinely to practically help you, not to sell you on any religion. If you don’t have anywhere else to look. I’ve been there!
I became a believer at the age of 16 on a missionary trip to the Dominican Republic. Missionary work is a term that gets judged very quickly. Often people jump to the idea that you went to another 3rd world country, lived in the nicest conditions amongst those struggling and did nothing practical to help just tried to force your religion upon them. Although those missionary trips exist I’m sure. I’ve never been a part of an organization that’s done that. I was fortunate that in my early years of going out to do missions, there was a strong emphasis on modeling the behavior and love modeled out in scripture by Jesus. We would live in their environment, we would spend more time listening than talking, more time helping them with building homes for the homeless, feeding the hungry, caring for the orphans, comforting those that have lost loved ones and offering a shoulder to cry on. I’ve always had culture shock during these trips and I’ve always had a difficult time coming back home after witnessing such extreme poverty and struggle. I thought that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and then God started to put people around me in my own life who needed help. Southern California is full of just as much poverty as there is wealth. My family went thru all kinds of poverty when my daughter was born. We had no home, although we were fortunate that our family put us up, we had no money but accumulated ungodly amounts of debt via credit cards, we had no health insurance, I have debts because of that that I will likely be paying off the rest of my life. For those of you who don’t know, Ellie had a ton of health complications when she was born. The simplest problem we faced was that she could not suck. Whats the big deal with that right? How does a child eat who cannot suck? It’s a serious medical condition that some newborns face, a delayed motor skill. We visited all kinds of lactation consultants from the first day she was born and nothing really helped. We visited pediatricians and doctors who basically said if we don’t have money there’s nothing they can do to help. What kind of world do we live in where Doctors can look at your newborn daughter who cannot eat and say its a money problem. The health insurance problem in America is the biggest shame, and the exact opposite of what Christ asked of us. People who make decisions on it have never been where we and millions of Americans have been but that’s a whole other story. My wife came up with the idea that when Ellie was sleeping we would very carefully prop open her mouth and drop bits of breast milk into her mouth and do it very slowly until we would get thru an entire meal. So when she was awake we cared for her and when she slept we cared for her. There’s no greater accomplishment that my wife and I have done than keep our baby alive during those times so that she can be the amazing person she is today at 6, having no memory of that struggle. That’s just a peek into how difficult that time was. At one point we were so desperate we moved to Idaho for a job offer in the produce industry (the industry I worked in previously) that provided health insurance and when we arrived the company cancelled the opportunity before I even started so we were stranded, had to ask for help from family to pay for our way back to CA to live with family and in that process we also racked up a lofty lawsuit from our landlord who was not satisfied with keeping our 2 months rent deposit when we left after only living there for 3 weeks, again witnessed to more opportunistic greed. We lived in a small room and all doors were closed in terms of job opportunities. We weren’t even thinking of jobs all we wanted was the most basic need - health insurance. I went to art center for one reason - they helped us get health insurance. Not many people know that. I had no intention of staying there for 2 years, our plan was one semester, get the help we needed then bail. God literally closed every door except that one so we had no time to find a better solution - we just said lets do it. But that’s how beautiful Gods plan is. That even out of our deepest needs he provides then tops it off with blessing beyond what we deserve and I discovered that for a person who never painted - I loved to paint. Jesus was asked once what the most important commandment was and he had a very simple answer. There are 2! 1. Love God 2. Love Everybody. That’s it and he clarified that every other thing that may be asked of you is covered under those two. He was the first peaceful protestor that I’m aware of and was ultimately killed because Love can be an offensive message. People couldn’t accept that God had sent down his only son to love them, he was either lying or his message was threatening to them. If you’re rich and unwilling to help those in poverty living amongst you then you don’t know God. That’s an offensive message to people who love money more than God or people. My heart breaks when I see where our culture is headed. The selfishness is out of control and I have recently decided that although our lives are out of control busy, I could be doing more. This blog is a long winded way of saying I want to help you. I don’t know how or what I can do practically. I don’t have a lot of money or time but I have a heart for you and would love to be available to you as long as you can be patient with me as sometimes it can take time to get back with people. I’m an artist and understand that struggle goes beyond just building a portfolio. It can often times be an emotional battle you’re fighting and I’d love to offer you my two cents on how to get settled into this industry, how to deal with road blocks and how to not give up. I have been helped by so many people along my journey into this career and I truly truly needed every last one of those pick me ups. More than those people will ever know. So feel free to email me at email@example.com - All I ask is that you’re patient with me because it can sometimes take a while for me to find the time to give you a genuine response.
Spent some time at lunch painting in the area I grew up in. Always feels like home here.
Ever since I can remember I’ve always been fascinated with trees. How they feed, communicate and the patterns of growth. How they mimic the rhythm of their neighbors and their shape is often evidence of the struggles they faced during their lifetime. I’ve learned to welcome these thoughts and learn more about these amazing creations as it does translate into the visual arts. The more intimately acquainted you are with your subject, the more you’re going to take care in representing it with your own phenomonology and the hope is that on some deeper level thats communicated to the observer. In summary that’s what art is to me, it’s to create a channel of communication that speaks to the heart in its own native language.
Walking home on a cool night - it struck me how much the sky glows this near acid cool blanket of light thats like the last breath of the day. It really grabs your attention when juxtapose to the first few lights turning on inside. Feels like winding down and Iooks like slow moving jazz to me.
Throughout the busy day, I’ve found it’s a healthy practice to take some time to be quiet and listen. As a person who believes and studies the old and new testaments, I’m often pondering scriptures and being in nature is a logical place to grow. On the day that I painted this piece I was thinking of verses out of Job 12. This book has proven to speak to me the most. It’s a story of a man who lost everything in a sudden moment. Lost his children, his livelihood and his health in a single day. Throughout the book he is trying to recover physically, mentally and spiritually and a group of friends stop by to speak with him and offer their advice as to why things have gone wrong. Opinions range from one extreme to another placing blame on everything from Job to nature to God. At this point, Job is speaking about how God must be involved in his calamity, who else could be responsible? I won’t spoil the ending of this book for you, it’s like anything good, it invites you to be revisited over and over and everytime you will learning something new. This verse stuck out to me personally because I was dealing with a series of disappointments at the time and questioning what was my fault and what was God orchestrating things for the good of those who love him. Although here Job is considering that God may be behind all these natural consequences he’s suffering, the beauty of what comes out in his thoughts is a picture of how God is speaking through all creation.
“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”
Had a bit of time to paint this morning - I have this pinnochio wood carved box that sits on my desk and it was begging to be painted this morning. Sketched on watercolor board with a #2 pencil, painted over in gouache, bit of pastel on top for atmosphere and I foolishly touched it up with that #2 pencil so thats where you're getting that reflectivity in some of the lines. I was mindful this morning and took a shot of the rough in phase. Wood is such a beautiful material to work with - there is so much going on between matt and reflective surfaces - local color changes so subtley yet so often - its a dizzying thing to try to capture.
Wen’t down to UCLA one afternoon and setup in the middle of the hustle and bustle of professors and students rushing around, turned on some John Adams and tried my best to capture the feeling.
My daughter Elinor has recently turned 6, she’s in kindergarten and as cliche as many truths in life are, she’s growing up incredibly fast. She’s often my subject when I’m sketching or painting on the weekends, the focus is not on developing my skillset but rather enjoying and observing her at that particular moment in time. It’s what I do at soccer practice or dance class and it’s a real joy to be able to fully soak it all in. Life goes by too fast.
gifted to man
quick to leave
the more I seek You
the more foolish I am
24x36 in Pastel on Mi Tientes Touch