Weigh In

This was a piece I did while I was freelancing for a company doing graphics for the UFC.  This was before they had their own in-house crew.

At the time, I didn't quite know what I was doing and didn't have a pitch prepared for the company.  Dana White seemed to like it. I was in his office to show it to him, but at the time, I didn't know who he was in the organization. In any case, it was a missed opportunity.

I got busy with other clients and I didn't do more of these, though I have some somewhere that are still in the drawing stage. But those fighters are long gone.  This was from the weigh-in before Randy Couture fought Josh Barnett.

This is probably my favorite painting technique. I really need to do more of these.

If I was asked, I'd do more of these as a commission. I love doing portraits.


This is an old piece I did in an Advertising Class in school.  The assignment was to come up with an advertisement for a product.  I chose hot sauce.  Oils and acrylics. I was still trying to get comfortable with my painting process.

There's something about painting with traditional materials that brings risk to the table and makes the project a little more exciting.  Working digitally, is fairly safe and convenient. Painting with actual pigments and brushes is more satisfying, but lacks an UNDO button.  If you make a mistake, you have to paint it out or fix it.

I feel myself being drawn to working traditionally again.

Asian Cowboy

Here is a trick so you don't waste paint:  Do a small study first. This paining above is slightly bigger than life size.  You can see how small the study is below.

If you do a small study, you can determine what colors you are going to use, what parts should be in shadow and what should be in light.  It basically helps you plan and helps you to encounter your painting problems that you are going to face on a smaller scale. This will save you time and materials.

Doing a small study can help your bigger painting succeed without wasting a lot paint.

Good luck.

Wolverine Digital

I did this piece a while ago, when I was teaching in-class. I would often ask students what they wanted to see and they would shout suggestions and I would paint them.

I did this small sketch in my [Moleskin.](https://amzn.to/2v6zCNR) I did it with a 0.5 inch pencil. Then I took a picture with my phone and started from there.

Then I would develop the lines.

And clean them up some more.

Apply value. This was a photocopy onto gray paper. Some students were afraid of doing digital work.

Push the contrast even more. I think I used ArtRage for this.

Add color.

Not wild about that method of adding color. Trying something different here below.

This one I liked better.

I did this so long ago, that I don't completely remember my process. I'm still playing with my process so I'm still tweaking it based on speed and how I like to work.

Thanks for your support.


Caesars Palace

This was  a piece I did for Caesars Palace for a promotional mailer for a Super Bowl party.  It's cropped down from the original.  In the original there was a gladiator facing off against this guy in a 3 point stance like two football players at the line of scrimmage. This part of the painting was my favorite. It was also the last time I painted in oil for quick turnaround jobs.  After this, I switched to painting digitally.



Rainbow Mountain

This was a poster job I did for a pediatrician many, many years ago. His name was Noah and his practice was called Rainbow Mountain.

This was the first job I ever did that taxed the capabilities of my computer beyond what it could handle. I only had 2 Gigs of memory and I was afraid of putting in 2 more sticks and potentially breaking the computer.  I knew next to nothing about messing with hardware.

My process would be to buy a new computer and migrate all my hardware and data to that new machine. At this time, I didn't have enough money to buy a new computer this time and I was too scared to fiddle with hardware in the middle of a job.

Since there wasn't enough memory and Photoshop kept crashing.  The same file would also crash Painter. I had 28 versions of the same file because I was backing it up constantly.

The only application that could handle it was openCanvas.  openCanvas enabled me to paint and build it in layers without crashing. For that reason, I am loyal to openCanvas.  I still use it to this day.


This is a portrait of a friend of mine.  He taught me a lot of my salsa dancing moves.

When I was dancing with his group, I had gotten below 200lbs. I would like to be this thin again.

I also haven't painted large like this (I think it's 30 x 40in) in a long time.  I also haven't painted in oils in a long time either.

This is pretty close to life size, and I question whether or not I should paint that large.

I think I need to consider the size of paintings in terms of how easy they would be to package and ship.

There was so much I didn't know back then. Still, I learned a lot from this piece, about the things I should and should not do regarding mediums and glazes.

I haven't worked traditionally in a long time.  Most of my work has been digital. I've been wanting to go back to working traditionally.  I might as well since this work isn't for clients.


Batman, Drawing | Painting | Digital

I started watching Batman on TV in the 1970’s with Adam West. It was a staple of my childhood.

Whenever I had a chance in art school, I would do a comic book piece. I would squeeze them into assignments whenever possible.

Sometimes, I would hire a model then turn him into Batman.

Batman w/ Cross.  15 x 20 in Oil on Board 1993.
Batman w/ Cross.  15 x 20 in Oil on Board 1993.

The method was to use a glaze of transparent color and liquin.

And I would also use them as a subject to do demos for my students when I became a teacher.

These demos were done in class.

I’d start them off with line and value. Drawing from my head, blending with turpenoid and erasing with a kneaded eraser.

Then I’d apply colored pencils to a copy and add a solvent like turpenoid.

Then I’d scan the colored pencil drawing and adjust it even further in Photoshop. Here, I made it darker and pumped up the saturation.

Batman Colored pencil on 9 x 12 in Vellum/Digital 2004.
Batman Colored pencil on 9 x 12 in Vellum/Digital 2004.

One of my favorite things about a teaching job is the free paper and drawing materials.

Thanks everyone,


Dance as a Means of Escape

I’m grateful for bad experiences. Those bad times can force you to create better times. Better times lead to good times.

One of my first jobs out of school, I had a manager who had no experience as an art director. Being micromanaged by someone who didn’t know what they wanted was an uncomfortable situation and super frustrating. There was a helplessness in that I didn’t know how to fix the situation and no one I could go to for help. The sensation felt like wanting to escape, but something holding me back. That doesn’t quite encapsulate how I felt, but I tried to do my best work. It was extremely rare when I felt like I had achieved it. The designs and ideas didn't feel like they were mine. At all. In school, this was referred to as “being a wrist.” But if I am being truly honest with myself, I was enduring the misery in the hopes I could power through it. It never occurred to me that I could just go find better job. Back then, in my mind, quitting or getting fired was tantamount to failure. I was young then, and didn't know how to resolve interpersonal conflicts.

The frustration of having someone indecisive sit behind me whispering in my ear how she wanted me to move the mouse, “click on this,” or “change the size of that,” slowly drove me insane. The heat from her face on the back of my neck. This being one of my first in-house jobs, I had no idea it wasn’t supposed to be like this. There weren’t any computers in the art department of my college at the time. My teachers taught traditional drawing and painting, with pencil and paper, markers, oil paint and acrylics. Early Photoshop couldn't even do layers back then and was crazy expensive. My school was rigorous and competitive, with no room for whining. I had no idea that in the real world, your boss wasn’t supposed to ride you like Zorro. I thought this was normal and every job was like this and I just needed to suck it up and deal.

On a lark, my neighbor invited me to go to a local Ballroom Dance studio to get me out of my funk and my house. It was fun and I signed up for lessons. As I learned to dance, I realized that I was making own decisions. I was reacting to the music, putting together steps and creating my own moves. There was no longer an indecisive "team lead" whispering in my ear exactly what I should do (and then say no, I don't like that, put it back the way it was), the music went in my ear, to my brain, and out my feet. The ladies I was dancing with followed my lead, without question. It was so liberating.

It got to the point where I was dancing for three or four hours a night, for over a year. Going for breakfast after midnight and eating a full meal. I could feel the calories evaporating off my skin along with my sweat. Waking up at 6 o’clock to get ready for work and then doing it all over again. I was so healthy back then.

Dancing was fun. I was a fiend for finding new places with live bands. I regret stopping. I even did a couple of professional gigs as a dancer. I miss those days. I wonder if I can ever get back to them.

Checking to see if my dance shoes still fit.

Thanks for reading,

[My Camera](http://amzn.to/2p4NUJ9)

Click here for my Previous Post
All images © @PixelColada