Monday, December 31, 2012

'Mike #4' -- FINAL oil painting

'Mike #4' -- Final completed oil painting

well, i just completed my painting for my class that i'm taking at -- had lots of fun and learned a lot about oil painting using the Dutch Flemish approach -- looking forward to doing more of these!

(more notes and thoughts about this technique to come!)

Happy New Year!!!


(click on the image to view larger version)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

'Mike v3' (WIP)

'Mike v3' -- started adding color (over top of the under painting that i previously posted); this is for a class i'm taking on learning the 'Dutch/Flemish' painting technique at

i'm having fun and learning a lot! This is still WIP and i will be adding more color, small details, hair, shirt, etc.. stay tuned!

(click on the image to view larger version)

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I met one of my favorite/inspirational artist's today!! (Brom)

I've been a fan of his for years now (and have several sketchbooks of mine, that contain studies of his work) -- i still remember purchasing a deck of cards that he created (for TSR?) back in 1995 -- that i still have and refer to today!

anyway, he had a book signing event at a local Barnes and Noble -- and i went there to meet him and get a copy of his latest book, 'Krampus' -- and we chatted for nearly 20 minutes about art, his life/career, etc. (very cool guy to talk to!)

..and it turns out that we live near each other!! :)

Here is a link to his website:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Homework #4 -- 'Mike v2'

Mike #2' -- under painting phase (oils) -- our assignment was to re-paint this person/subject while addressing our instructors comments and feedback

notice in this version (compared to #1) -- that i left the darks thin and transparent, letting the background show through.. while building up more opaque values in the lights

which version do you like better? :)

(click on the image to view a larger version)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Homework assignment #2 -

Oil Painting with Thomas Fluharty

Homework assignment #2 - 'Mike'

(this is what we'll be transferring to canvas/linen and painting over the next 6-7 weeks)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Schoolism - 'homework assignment #1'

I am enrolled in a painting class at '' -- the class is:
Oil Painting with Thomas Fluharty

Learn the historic approach of the Dutch Flemish masters through the incredible brush of Thomas Fluharty! In this course, Thomas will lecture on the principles of Dutch and Flemish painting and guide students through the process of creating a portrait in this method. He will discuss his techniques for creating a strong initial sketch, methods for laying down a good underpainting, color, and final adjustments. And of course, throughout the lectures, Thomas will reveal his best oil painting tips, tricks, and secrets that help set his work apart from all other painters. This course will be presented over five lessons and will run for nine weeks.

I am REALLY looking forward to this class! 

Our first assignment was the sketch one of three photos that he presented us.. to gauge our skillset(s), etc. We submit our work to him.. and Thomas records a personal video feedback session, in which he talks about what we did right/wrong and could improve on. 

This was my submission for our 'assignment #1' -- it took me about 6-7 hours to complete.. most of that time was spent on the eyes/nose/mouth area.. there are things that i see i want to fix/correct and could have done better, but i ran out of time and had to turn this in! I felt good to use a traditional charcoal pencil and get my hands dirty! Now i can't wait to apply paint and learn the 'Dutch/Flemish approach!' 

(click image to view larger version)

Lunch sketch 03

sketch time - about 40 min

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012

lunch sketch - 01

myself and a few other artist's at Microsoft Studios -- started doing a "Lunch Sketch" activity in which we spend our 1 hr break sketching (one day per week).. i will post my artwork here with occasional comments/notes, etc.

Lunch sketch - 01

Friday, September 28, 2012


Started doing 'timed' figure drawing poses again (it's been several months since i last practiced) -- and man, i am RUSTY/out of practice!!!

Yikes -- it's amazing how fast you can build up rust! (hand/eye coordination, etc)

i'll post some work here soon.. showing progress, etc..

stay tuned!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sneak Peek! -- Work in progress (WIP)

Sneak Peek! -- Work in progress

software: Art Rage (using custom Watercolor Brush along with a custom Palette Knife)

I'm experimenting with transluscent light effects via transparent watercolor strokes combined with areas of opaque paint, via the palette knife

(click on image to view larger version)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

speaking event - Media Systems workshop

I'm going to be speaking/participating in a #MediaSystems workshop at UCSC next week -- looking forward to meeting some really amazing/smart folks!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

'Ocean Shores'

'Ocean Shores'

digital painting; Software: Art Rage, Painter 12, Photoshop

Experimenting with digital mixed media (watercolors, gouache, pastels) and using various software for brushes, etc

(Click on the image to view a larger version)

(Detail view - click to see larger image)

I struggled with this one.. started out wanting to do a 'digital watercolor' -- went back and forth using various brushes in Painter 12 (Real Watercolor brushes, digital watercolors) -- wasn't getting the look and feel that i wanted (colors were dark, had trouble controlling the transparent strokes and how they build up); So, i switched over to Art Rage and tried a few attempts -- got ok results, but still not really happy with the look.

I think it's mainly due to the fact that my 'style' is more opaque.. i enjoy building up layers/colors and digital 'pigment' -- so i decided to switch my intentions and create a 'digital mixed media' approach.

I created initial layers of pure watercolor (using Painter 12 and the Real Watercolor brushes); I then dried the canvas and used the 'splatter wet and dry' brushes -- to create texture; The file was then saved as a .PSD, to preserve the layers and imported into Art Rage, where i used various tools (watercolors, palette knifes and even Stencils (for texture); The piece was again saved as a .PSD and brought into Photoshop -- where i have collected some great brushes (for creating 'noise/texture') and i applied a few final layers of texture, adjusting the transparency of each layer/brush as i went.

Looking at the final result, i'm fairly pleased.. there are things i see that i want to change, but after working on this for nearly a week, i wanted to finish it/publish it and move on to the next one!

I hope to create a few more in this style.. and then determine from there if i want to pursue a 'series' in this style or go back to my 'usual style' (more to come!).


Monday, July 30, 2012

Making of..'Old farm tires'

I saved my WIP/iterative images and put them into this time lapse animated .gif

(click on the above image for a larger version)

'Old farm tires'

'Old farm tires'

digital art; software: Art Rage

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I'm on vacation.. visiting my home in Ohio.. this is a barn at my dad's house, in Vickery, Ohio

Digital Art/Software:  Art Rage

Sunday, July 1, 2012

2011 - 'Daily Art' recap (a look back..)

2011 - 'Daily Art' recap (a look back..)

It's been several months now, since i finished my goal of creating/posting art every day of 2011. I wanted to write this sooner, but work has been really busy (lots of traveling, deliverables, etc) combined with the fact that it really took a lot out of me -- and i didn't want to really think about it for a bit. (finally - i'm not the best at writing.. much better at speaking!) -- :)

When i was back in Art School, i remember that when graduation time was nearing, my Professor said that we all to remember that creating art will continue to take an investment from ourselves. That we need to keep 'at it' and keep practicing/always learning and he stressed the importance of constant/daily drawing -- to keep your hand/eye coordination sharp. Because we would no longer be in a class environment and required to do so, meant that we needed to hold ourselves accountable for this. Well, once you get into the 'Real World' and life comes at you with bills, responsibilities, work (and someday, a family) -- it becomes very difficult to find the time to do this! AND -- if you a 3D professional (games/film, etc) you spend a lot of time learning your craft (tools/techniques) and working on someone else's due dates/deliverables and following their direction. (and not much time creating your own art, whether it's creating actual 'final art' or keeping active with sketching)

In my situation, i have spent the past 20 yrs in many different roles on many different projects and while i have managed to 'mostly' be successful at doing this, the past few years have been challenging to find the time (due to the fact that i've been working in the role of an Art Director, not as hands-on as i am used to doing.. combined with long hours at work). So, as a 'Resolution' to myself, i set a goal to create/post art daily, in 2011.

Here are some thoughts on the year (in review):

* the first few months were easy -- i had a lot of ideas and ambition. I think it was mid-March before i thought, 'crap-- this is a serious commitment! when i going to find the time?' and 'how i am going to continue to do this for 9 more months!'

* This really does force you to think about your art EVERYDAY.. some days i knew what i wanted to do, some days it was a continuation of working on a 'longer due date piece' such as a painting (but i would have to find time to do a sketch as well-- to post for that day)

* my figure drawing skills really improved -- i noticed in the first few months and from comparing Jan to April sketches was a big improvement to proportions, etc

* i was able to also LEARN new software/tools/techniques -- using Scribbler Too, Apophysis, etc

* i had a sketch book on me at ALL TIMES -- i had various sized sketch books, but always kept a small one with me

* i enjoyed both digital and traditional art -- learned some new software, love the ability to 'undo' and pick colors and brushes, digitally; also loved getting my hands 'dirty' and using oils, pastels, etc

* when drawing in my sketch book -- occasionally, with pen/ink i would 'mess up' and instantly want to do a CTRL-Z (undo) -- doh! amazing how we have changed as artist's and technicians, thanks to computers!

* one of the unfortunate draw backs to creating art 'daily' is that it can contribute to a 'quantity over quality' sort of deliverable. i admit that there a more than a few pieces i cringe at, when i view the work

* in creating the work, i had some challenges!! Travel: i had to create/post art while making trips to.. Seattle (once to visit/interview, another time to relocate); Germany (three times for work-- finding time to draw on the airplane.. drawing in the hotel room while jet lagged!); Jamaica (finding time to create art when i was on vacation!); Life change(s) -- i had to still create art while dealing with selling my home and dealing with a cross country move; then on the relocation trip out to Seattle, we drove across country (32 hrs) and had to find time to draw in the car, in hotel rooms, etc; Also, had to find time to create art while starting a new job and buying/moving into a new home; Sickness - had a week where i was sick and still had to find time (and energy!) to create art; Holidays/events -- everyone has things going in our their lives (kids events, family visits, etc) -- these are things that i had to work around as well.. i remember being at my brother-in-laws for Forth of July (in Ohio) and not bringing my sketch book. It was 7-8pm and i thought, 'Oh shit! want am i doing to do.. i am at a BBQ and socializing.. and i have no idea what to draw or any tools to do it' -- so i used my iPhone and painted a still life using 'Colors' -- i painted my 'Corona bottle' that was sitting on the table in front of me and then uploaded it from the BBQ! :)


Wacom Cintiq 21” (home)
Asus slate PC (with pressure sensitive pen)
Various software (see upcoming slides)
Pen/pencil – sketchbooks
Oil/acrylic paints on canvas
Pastels (on pastel paper)
Mixed media (matte medium, collage techniques, etc)

* Photoshop CS5 - mainly for editing/post-processing; i do use custom brushes that i've created/collected for finishing touches (splats, grime, etc)

* Painter 12

* Art Rage Pro (best 80.00 i ever spent!)

* Alchemy - (free software)
open drawing project aimed at exploring how we can sketch, draw, and create on computers in new ways. Alchemy isn’t software for creating finished artwork, but rather a sketching environment that focuses on the absolute initial stage of the creation process. 

* Apophysis -- (free software - fractal flame editor for Windows)

* Scribbler Too - (free software)

Figure Drawing Resources (Seattle Area)
Classes, open drawing sessions, forums, etc
Workshops, classes and more (North Capitol Hill area)
Art/Not Terminal Gallery -
Art gallery, classes, workshops (Seattle)
Kirkland Arts Center -
Workshops, classes and more (Kirkland)

Posemaniacs - (loved this site!! it's it almost daily to practice my figure drawing skills! it has a built in timer for 30/60/90 second poses)

** WHAT's NEXT??
This past year (2012) has been a rough one, in regards to my work. I have been doing A LOT of traveling (to Germany, almost once a month) and i have 4 projects that i'm over-seeing at Microsoft. So, i have been cautious about what responsibilities i can take on -- but i have been active in training, taking classes on Zbrush, watching training/tutorial videos on Digital Tutors and Gnomon Workshop. I think my 'next personal growth' and focus will go back to 3D as i get back up to speed with Maya/Modo/Max and Zbrush -- i don't want be away from the technology that i work with, for too long.. don't want to get 'left behind!' -- i  feel that as an Art Director, i need to be current with tools/techniques that we have available to us, for creating content and it's one thing i've prided myself with doing, during my career. i have some personal 3D projects that i'm going to work on (landscapes, in particular). I am also teaching/mentoring at DigiPen college and that's been fun and exciting for me, as i LOVE teaching and it's something i want to pursue late in my career. I am looking forward to working with the students this coming Fall semester.

In terms of my fine art career -- i will be working in my studio (late nights!) to wrap up a few paintings and i want to work on finding gallery representation in the Seattle area (so if you have any contacts, send them my way!) I will still be posting artwork online (via my blog, Facebook artist page, etc) -- stay tuned! 

Thanks for your time! (i may be adding more to this post, as i remember things i wanted to say) -- but at least i FINALLY got this written and posted! :)


Monday, June 25, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Brave - Behind the Scenes at Pixar

nice little 9 min short -- showing the Pixar campus, interviews with crew and some technology challenges they faced (mainly CG hair related):

Friday, January 13, 2012

Statistics - Daily Art 2011

Here are some statistics from my 'Daily Art - 2011'

(Number of artwork(s) created, out of the 365 days)

3D art - 5
Abstract Art - 23
Concept Art - 23
Figure Paintings - 22
Floral Paintings - 9
Landscape Paintings - 15
Misc Art - 14
Portrait Paintings - 9
Figure sketches - 193
Still-life Paintings - 32

..more to come! stay tuned!