Thursday, October 27, 2016


This is Stephen. He's a plywood artist and I absolutely love his work. He makes really cool stuff out of plywood - vessels, fine art, coffee cups, etc. A couple of years ago we worked on an inkwell design together and he built me a couple that I love and use practically every day. Anyway, we've been talking lately about him building a couple plywood panels to replace the two metal gas tank covers on my Ducati Scrambler motorcycle. So, a couple of weeks ago I rode out to talk about it with him and asked him if, while I was out there, I could do his portrait.

It was a perfect autumn day so we sat out on his back porch and caught up with each other's lives while I sketched. I brought my large Moleskine sketchbook (12"x16") which I knew would be ambitious for just an hour sketch. Well, the time flew by for me, as it so often does when I'm sketching/painting and before I knew it, my time was up. I didn't especially like the portrait I painted so I took a photo of Stephen with my phone with the plan that I would fix it back in the studio.

I have mixed feeling about this portrait now that I've "fixed" it in the studio. Part of me feels like I've "cheated" - it's sort of half live and half from a photo and therefore not true to my proclaimed effort of doing live portraits. But then the other part of me says I didn't have time to "complete" the portrait so it's fair that I use a camera to so that I can bring the portrait to a satisfactory conclusion. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016


This is Dipika. I met her in May when I traveled to Nepal and joined a group of strangers to trek the Annapurna circuit. She's my first "face 2 face" portrait in this new phase of the Portrait Project and this sketch is from a few months ago when we were on the trek. I ended up painting her portrait 3 times over the course of the 2 week trek. This one is my favorite, though as I recall, she wasn't particularly fond of it.

This portrait took about 30-40 minutes and was done in the evening at a teahouse near Chame along the Annupurna circuit trek. I used a 4b pencil and small watercolor kit that fits inside of an Altoids tin along with a Pentel waterbrush.

I'm going to flat out give all the credit for this new phase of Portrait Project to Dipika. She inspired it by showing me that I not only could do it but that I had vastly more to gain in painting from life. After I painted Dipika, I had the idea to paint the portraits of our entire group - eighteen in all. And since they are all friends now and live in parts of the world I may never get to, I'll be sprinkling their portraits in as I go along. So, thanks Dipika. You started something.

Friday, October 21, 2016


This is Truth. The whole truth and nothin but the truth. I sketched her today.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thursday, September 29, 2016


This is me. Finally, I have fallen victim to my own brush. It's not exactly how I see myself (do I really look that intense!?) but I was going for it, like I have done with all of my portraits, drawing and painting what I see and letting the moments flow together until I feel like I have a complete portrait. When I start a painting, whether it's a landscape or a portrait, I never know how it will end up. It's what keeps me going - it's an adventure - and the act of painting changes me and I come away with a different understanding and connection with who or what I just painted that I didn't have before I started.
So, I've been thinking, after completing my original goal of painting 250 portraits, how, or even IF, I would continue The Portrait Project. I have gained much from this project, both in terms of improving my skills as an artist as well as gaining a deeper connection to my friends. But I've also realized that by working with photographs - and usually without my subject's permission - that I'm denying their participation in the process of making their portrait. So, here's what I'm going to do - I'm throwing all of the names of my Facebook friends (currently there are 477) back into my "friend jar" (The "friend jar" is a jar that sits next to my desk that has the names of all of my Facebook friends whose portraits I haven't done. I reach into this jar without looking and take a name out when I'm ready to paint a portrait) ((really, I do this)). But this time, I'm going to do "live" portraits - as many as possible - rather than working from photographs. I hope you will all join me on this new and exciting journey.
OK! Let's make some art and see what happens. Should be fun...
8x11 pencil and watercolor. #253

Sunday, September 25, 2016


This is Greg. And that's a little piglet he's holding. He's a farmer now but when I first met him about 15 years ago he was working for a big bank and getting out on his bike whenever he could - probably just trying to get outside of being inside so much. Biking is a great release from stress and being indoors.

It's been interesting to see him make the transition from banker to farmer. He's not on his bike as much as he used to be - probably doesn't have the time - but he also probably doesn't need it as much. I saw him recently after not having seen him for several years and he was a different man- calmer, more seasoned, more settled in - like he's found his rhythm - his cadence.

20x30 Acrylic and gold leaf on panel. #252

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Watercolor and pencil in my huge Moleskine sketchbook. This was about a 15 minute pose.

Greg in Progress 2

Portrait in Acrylic on OSB. Experiment with iridecent pearl paint. Day 2 detail.