Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Plein Air Part 1

Here are two plein air paintings I've done in the past few weeks. I worked a lot in oil painting while I was in art school, but plein aire is new for me. Much like oil painting in the studio, except you have to lug everything with you, the Earth has to do this annoying thing known as ROTATING, which wreaks havoc on your lighting and you get eaten alive by mosquitoes. The plus side is you really get out of the house and truly get to appreciate God's green Earth.

This first painting is a view of the Hudson River from the Montgomery Place Estate near Barrytown in Upstate New York.

This photo illustrates very clearly why it's a good idea to paint on site versus painting from a photo. Note how drained the color is in the photo. Also, while the foliage is defined, the sky is a complete white wash. The camera could not catch the true color or the subtle value changes my eyes were able to see.

This is my backyard. You can see my mom's hydrangeas and Godzilla sized rose bushes.

PS: FYI, plein air is short for 'en plein air', French for 'in the open air'. Plein air painting has been around since the dawn of painting, but the invention of tubed oil paints and French box easels in the 1870s truly helped it to take off.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Earthquake Dragon

big (adj): large or great in dimensions, bulk or extent
titanic (adj): having great magnitude, force or power
gigantic (adj): exceeding the usual or expected (as in size, force or prominence)

I'm revisiting an older ArtOrder challenge. I was focusing on sheer scale, plain and simple. Hope you like it!

Definitions from

Sunday, September 20, 2009

ArtOrder Hurakan Silhouettes

'Yon mortal enemies of Asgard! The scion of Odin himself doth stand before thee!! Tremble in fear, for the wrath of...'

...whoops, wrong god of thunder!!! Here's the right one! HURAKAN, the Mayan God of storms, fire and lightning!!!

And he's so cool, he can pull a Maleficent!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Halloween Scene Setters

Okay, Halloween is still a while from now, but this is a special occasion, so I'll talk about it now. These two illustrations are the two scene setters I created for my employer, Amscan. They were my first two projects, and they're available now for purchase at Party City. The direct links to these products are here and here.

They're not going to give Frank Frazetta any sleepless nights, but they're a milestone for me. When I graduated from art school, I told myself I was going to get a full time job doing what I love to do. Those who are in this field know that's a tall order. A lot of my peers in this field go freelance, but I personally need the reassurance of a regular paycheck and health insurance. It took me three years, but I did it, and on June 30, 2008, I was hired full time as a designer at Amscan.

Sure it's not Pixar, but for me, it was a huge step forward in my career. And these illustrations, as tacky, commercial and artistically questionable as they may be, represent a very proud moment of my life.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

ArtOrder Owlbear

A redesign of the Owlbear. I took inspiration from an owl, a bear, a bison, a Nile crocodile and an ankylosaurus. Yeah I know: random.

Some rough design sketches. You can see I originally planned a more traditional owl face.

And the obligatory sihlouette studies.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

B-17 Fighting Fortress

I went to an air show this past weekend where vintage WWII aircraft were on display. Here's a watercolor sketch done on site of the B-17. The light rain certainly made things a bit more interesting.
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