Thursday, April 27, 2006

No Drama

As you guys know I've been doing some very urban studio subjects and felt like a change. Despite this spot being next to the 134 freeway, I was trying for something a little more pretty than the usual. This is a soccer field in Burbank close to the LA Zoo and the last on ramp painting I did. Very relaxing day without the Class, just J- Mac and some guy who kept walking back and fourth next to us for exercise. 6x8 oil on linen on wood.

Friday, April 21, 2006


Oil on Wood 28x36. Stop by and see the latest.

Saturday April 22 is the LAMA MUSE Art Walk and they expect 1,000 or more to do the walk. It is from 12 – 6 pm. Artists in attendance including me.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Hat Girl and Friends.

Here is a little group of little 6x8 oil recent figures from Ben and Jen's Los Fleliz Class. I think I like the first best, all I know is I need to do more. Figure still eludes me, but Jen's and Jove's influence has me using more color. The J& J influence... my new catch phrase. I wanted to put up one of my latest big train Train paintings, but they are still at artworks being photographed so these will have to do in my fed the Blog.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Show goes on

a reminder that this Thursday April 13th is the LA Art Walk, I will be at the gallery between 6 – 9 pm (the walk is from 12- 9).

Saturday April 22 is the LAMA MUSE Art Walk and they expect 1,000 or more to do the walk. It is from 12 – 6 pm. Artists in attendance including me.

M. J. HIGGINS fine art & furnishings
244 South Main Street
Los Angeles,California 90012
213.617.1700 fax: 213.617.1777

Oh and here is a painting of the Mason Hall from my little town of Sierra Madre. Drawings a bit off, but what the hell.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Joshua Tree and Dead Stand

Here is a studio painting done from a photo from a recent Joshua Tree visit. 12x12"oil on a Ray Mar linen board. I was to busy hiking and photographing to set up. Along with the fact the place has tons of tourists makes it less inviting to actually set up and paint. I like it the painting, but think it's slightly more realistic than I'd prefer.

This was my first desert subject and certainly I want to do more.

Here is the opposite of the quite Joshua tree painting. Oil on linen applied to wood.9x12. On the way to JT is that restaurant on the 10 that severs the Ostrich burger's called Hadley's in the town of Carbazon. Right next to Hadley's there was a burned out closed business with this stand of dead palms. It felt like it had been closed for awhile. Knowing I was going to do a painting of some part of the scene I asked the oldest woman working at Hadley's what the name of the place that closed down next door. She looked flummoxed and wondered: "There's a abandoned business next door? I never noticed." Then and there I thanked God I don't live next to a factory town, even though I like painting the subject.

I can't paint the desert with thinking of on of my favorite landscape artists and teachers Matt Smith. He grew up in the Senora desert and that gives his work an authenticity that visiting artists would be hard pressed to capture.
He's one of the most thorough, friendly and concise teachers I've had and somehow keeps his nice clothes clean while painting despite not wearing an apron. I just bought his new DVD and it was everything I remembered from his workshop, but I didn't have to fight for a good angle to see him paint or take notes. Visit his website for details, he's in my links to the right.>>>>

Here is a picture of the class workshop and a painting I bought from him.

When I started to get serious a few years ago about landscape painting Matt's work was one of the first contemporary paintings who's work I actually liked as much as the old masters like Edgar Payne. I since found more like Ray Roberts Carolyn Anderson and other contemporary painters, but Matt was the first one who made me think I could do it.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


This is an 8x10 sketch of the model in Jen and Ben’s long pose night last Wednesday. I was an hour late so I only had about 2 hours on it. What made me happy about it was I felt more confidence and understanding of the structure of drawing thanks to a weeklong drawing class with Jove Wang a few weeks ago. I first went to him to loosen up my painting approach, but ultimately realized my drawing needed work. His drawing demo’s killed, the structure and masterful flourishes with just pencil. See his pencil below.

Understanding the form so completely lets him approach his work inherently with simple, emotional painting, rough and alive. He's got an assistant who is a hell of a good painter who doesn't even know how good he is because when you compare yourself to Jove, your balls suck in and you just fold up. I think it's dangerous to be too in awe of brilliant painters, it can paralyze you.

Lucky for me I admire him tremendously, but I don't want to be Jove, just learn from him and be inspired by him. I also admire how he encourages me to do my own thing; he likes where I'm going and doesn't try and make me do pretty pictures or paint in his style. He just shows me how to do them better and is really happy when I do.

Even though he does a lot of sentimental subjects there is a very masculine modern and aggressive painter in him. Secretly I hope he quits the highly finished out chatting Chinese peasant lady paintings and does some dangerous contemporary painting of a Chinese execution or something. His lay- ins are sometimes so wild they look like murder scene. I sometimes tell him to stop at that point and become a modern artist and he just laughs.
Sorry the images are small I haven't asked his permission to show these so I don't what them reproducible. Remember the pencil is finished, but the painting is only a hour or so of a block -in. Jove has a new DVD. It's not tightly edited so you really get to see a full painting done over several hours. The only down side is he is silent and the occasional voice over is a bit amorphously flowery. Since the voice over woman doesn't speak but once every 10 minutes you are always startled by her voice. However, you really can see him at work, the closest thing to a workshop.