Friday, March 28, 2008

Olive and Victory

Oil 12x16 on linen
This is the corner of Olive And Victory in Burbank a half a block from Nickelodeon. The light was odd than day and taking a shot into the sun gave me a seemly under and over exposed picture. The challenge was taking this almost useless reference shot and making it into something. I don’t think it recognizable as the corner described as I just faked everything; it’s more a reflection of the dark mood I was in when it was painted.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lake Michigan

Oil on linen 12x12

Here is a painting based upon a snapshot from friend Joao Antunes

taken during his vacation to Michigan. I don’t paint from other people’s photos to often, but in this case the subject was made for me, utterly irresistible.
Been trying to do a bit more work with figures, but usually they are an element rather than the focal point. I hesitate to let my cartoon style steep into my fine art, but here is a little taste of mixing both the worlds into new oily cocktail. Enjoy the flava with my best wishes and thanks Joao!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Broadway Alley

Oil on Wood 22x42

This is an Alley behind old The United Artists Theatre on Brodway in Los Angeles... I broke one of my own rules on this one... Lucky for me those breaks don't stop this from working...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I will be doing an Addendum to Dave... Visit my cartoon blog to see it in a few days.

When I was about 17 I got in touch with Dave Stevens while he was still living at his parents. I imagine I saw something of his art in some San Diego con related thing and was blown away by his perfect inking ability. He was friendly and even thought he was only an year older than me he was already a budding pro having been published in fanzines and having sent samples to Marvel something I hadn’t even dared to do yet.

He used to ink my bad pencil swipes for comic book store flyers that ended up in the comic book buyer’s guide. I never looked so good. I remember just being in awe of his initials, so perfectly realized from the get go. We inked some comic book jobs together; he and Bil Stout making me look good on my inking jobs for Russ Manning or Mark Evanier when we all did Tarzan comics for overseas comic markets. Often he would come by my studio at my parent’s house just to pass the time in our lonely profession.

When I moved to LA he soon followed and that’s where these photos were taken, he modeled for a horror story I did for Bruce Jones. Not only was he a brilliant artist, his writing ability helped him to grasp every emotion instantly. I’d show more shots, but as an overwrought horror story the other photos would be in bad taste at this point. As thin as Dave was he was in his prime for these shots as Paul Power, Jim Gomez, Dave and myself used to go to the YMCA in Hollywood and train our balls off. Dave wanted to gain weight and would train until he dropped, but then would eat like he was on a diet. We would always goad him to eat hamburgers and he would order tuna salad.

Dave dated my sister seriously for a time, a hook-up that I hoped would lead to marriage, as I couldn’t think of a better brother in- law, but I think he was determined to be a free sprit after his disaster of a first marriage. I never got whole lots of details about it, as Dave was very private about romance and deep personal feelings. He was open with his frustrations with himself and his artistic ambitions and we spent many an hour bitching out everything in the world. We went to concerts and worked at the same studios, He being the one who made great friends I being the one to fuck up and alienate everyone. I’m sure I embarrassed him, but he never lectured me, I lectured him and harangued guys he loved who I thought gave me a raw deal and he didn’t hold it against me.

Dave was slow, but steady with his art, always striving hard to do his very best. On the contrary, he always said he hated working, which used to piss me off, as his ability was so high I couldn’t imagine being down on myself if I had that kind of skill. His big regret is he just didn’t have enough art education as we lived through the time of anti- drawing when conceptual art ruled, there were good artists out there, but It didn’t seem like it to us. I think we both shared that trait that there was so much more to strive for, but you work, you live life and then whoops you’re out of time to achieve that greatness you can see in others, but inexplicably not in yourself.
I used to love dropping by Bil Stout and Dave’s studio on La Brea… that was a place that breathed art.
At the peak of his success Michael Jackson was stalking Dave to draw a comic book about him. One night when the studio phone rang Dave asked me to answer it and if it was Michael to say he wasn’t there. This high voice asked for Dave and I went into my best Cheech and Chong. Dave? Dave’s not here? “Can you tell him Michael called?” Michael who? ” He knows me.” Dave had to run into the other room once he saw where I was going. When I moved to New York to study art seriously our friendship became strained as distance and the very busy phase of his career blowing up with the Rocketeer movie. I stupidly took that stuff personally and after not hearing from him in a situation I thought was important. I decided to get mad at him for 20 years.

I heard rumors about a “blood thing” over a year ago but chose to not believe it. After some therapy for anger management, I decided to start calling some old friends I had beefs with and at least try and make amends. About that time I heard how very ill he really was and decided to get hold of him. I didn’t have his phone so I wrote him a postcard and he was gracious enough to call me. Immediately the years melted away and we had some great long conversations. When he was up to it we had a lunch or talked on the phone, but he would be down often and I wouldn’t hear from him for weeks. Last time I saw him he came to an art show of mine. He looked good considering and was in typical form at dinner. I called to thank him, but didn’t hear back. I’ve been really busy so I didn’t try as hard as I should have to stay in touch, my poor rational is he mostly let me see the good days so I let my guard down. I didn’t think it would happen so fast. I hadn’t processed how long he had been struggling with this thing and those criminals at Kaiser.

I avoided the career info already covered on other news sites, just let out a few random thoughts. If you love someone and have had a fight, please, please call him or her. I’m really happy we made peace, but so regretful of all those missed years.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Above Travel Town

9x12 oil on linen

I got together with some old friends for a little PA painting last week. We first went to the Western Masters show at the Aurty and a quick lunch at the Golden Spur. Show was good, the food passable... our general consensus was this Cyrus Afsary was the best landscape,

but the Daniel Pinkham’s blew me away. We had planed to paint at the Train museum nearby (Travel Town) but it was closed. Making the best of a disappointing situation we walked up the road above Travel town, set up, and painted the water tank and the surrounding area. It was great getting back outside for the first time in many months. Vadim is my figure teacher, but seemed to enjoy a rare landscape outing. Ex students Bill Moore and Richard Scott rounded out the gang. I think we all did a good painting that day, I forgot how nice it is to just paint outside. They can't all be dark brooding studio paintings... ;-)

Bill Moore does the tank

The Master at work

Richard, Vadim and Bill M. and my old Dodge.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Pomona Foundry

16x24 Oil on Wood

We biked out to Pomona recently, I used to go to the antique shops there in the days before E- bay, now it's the latest excursion for urban painting subjects. Pedaling along near the main Rail line we found this big foundry. A mighty big furnace they have at the Pomona Foundry. I loved the bunker look of it so I had to paint it. This painting is mostly with rags including the furnace which I used thinker paint "Raged on" for the first time. In the past I kept rag work as thin under painting... Sky and gound are mostly brushwork , but only a few brushstrokes and some knife for the rest. This started pretty abstract, yet the rag texture gave it a realism that sometimes happens with certain texture effects.