Shiro in progress
5″ x 5″
oil on aluminum
Robbie in progress
oil on aluminum
17″ x 15″
Painting in a traditional style, takes many layers of paint and lots of time.
Visiting an artist’s studio, you will see multiple painting in the various stages of completion. By first doing a thin coat of paint and mixing more oil medium with my paints for each successive layer (known as working lean to fat), my paintings will last for many hundreds of years without cracking or buckling. Not all artists care about the longevity of their paintings, but for me, I care out of respect for what I’m doing and for the work countless others have done throughout the long history of painting to figure out best practices. It also creates a rich depth that you can’t get with just one layer of paint!
Please take a look at my pet and human portrait galleries and visit my Commissions page to learn more about my commission process!
Octagonal picture frame in progress
Cutting a liner for a custom frame
An artist’s studio isn’t only for painting!
I often hire local framers (my favorite in Seattle is Gallery Frames) but sometimes I like to make and finish them myself. This frame, pictured in multiple parts above, will be for an oval family portrait I made several months ago. It took some brainstorming to figure out the perfect frame I’m really excited for it to be completed!
I hope you’ll check back soon to see how these pieces progress!
Painting an eye about the size of a grain of rice takes quite a lot of concentration.
Though I usually like to have lots of paintings going at once, this August most of my time will be spent working on a miniature 5″ x 6″ family portrait. Once I had the underpainting finished, I realized this painting would take a lot of focus to finish. I’ve been using every spare minute to move this little portrait along, and as long as I keep holding my breath at just the right times, it looks like it will turn out nicely!
It’s almost done, so check back soon to see the finished piece!
Seattle independent filmmaker Aaron Bourget has edited a video from a recent visit to the painting studio.
It’s difficult to be in front of a camera (especially when 6 months pregnant!) and Aaron really helped make me feel more comfortable. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into what’s hanging in the studio, and what I’m working on!
Thank you Aaron!
“Nine on the Beach”, oil on aluminum, 14″ x 14″
A first-person perspective captures the intimacy of a unique moment.
This image is so rich in textures to explore, from the surface of the water over the rippled sand, to the skin and all the various textiles. But what really makes this painting special is the story that inspired it and brought nine people together for a day to remember.
When I was first approached to make this painting, I admit I was a little skeptical. My client mentioned that he had taken the image the previous weekend and wanted a portrait made from it, with some slight modifications. It seemed like such a casual request to warrant countless hours making a painting that will last hundreds of years. I was compelled enough by the image to do a mock-up and give an estimate, yet I was curious, what made this image so special?
When my client accepted the estimate, he gave me the backstory:
This image is from this past Saturday when we scattered my Mother-in-law’s ashes at the beach and I shot this photo when we were all standing in a circle before the ashes were scattered. My idea of this painting is to give my wife a gift and a memorial from a really beautiful day. Part of what I like are how different all of our feet are, dress shoes and suit from the service bare feet, etc. The idea of the seagull is a representation of Jean in the middle of us.
The story was so moving that it completely transformed my perspective on the commission, from being slightly skeptical to feeling deeply honored. What a stunning reminder of the power of a story to give meaning, that a few words of insight into a shared experience can make an image so deeply moving.
What a beautiful memorial, and what a loving husband to bring the idea to life.
The final painting, framed and ready to gift wrap
My father gave me a foundation, not only in art, but in all I hold dear.
An extremely social person and an engineer by trade, my father was my earliest influence as an artist, gardener, and animal lover (we had bunnies, dogs, and cats, a pig, goats, chickens, horses, pigeons, and probably more that I’m forgetting). Dad took art classes throughout college and always kept up drawing when he could. When I was little, I loved studying his drawing exercise books and sketchbooks. I remember one book in particular that had printed at the bottom of every page, “you learn to draw by drawing,” and that mantra has always stayed with me.
By the time I went to college, my dad’s Multiple Sclerosis had progressed pretty far, but I know he would have supported me in my decision to be an artist. Above is a paining I did of him while in art school, when my style of painting was much looser (I’ve been painting on metal since my junior year). My passion for making things, and for nature bonds me to my father and keeps the sharp and lively man from my childhood strong in my mind and heart.
I love him dearly and I’m thankful to everyone back home that helps take care of him. Especially my sister, Theresa, who diligently and lovingly visits several times a week and whose FaceTime calls from the nursing home make him seen not so far away. My aunt Carla recently found and framed the certificate below for him from when he was the Art Club President in high school.
Vigil (Molly), Oil on Aluminum panel, 15″ x 15″, 2015
I’ve been busy working on a portrait of Seattle floral designer and dear friend, Molly Jackson. I just submitted it to the Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition. It’s my first time entering, please keep your fingers crossed for me!