Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Scene in Sebastopol

We’re in Sebastopol, CA and I painted this street scene in gouache. I captured lots of video. Later, when I get around to doing the edit, we can play that game where you can ask a question now and I’ll try to answer some of them in the voiceover.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Baths of Trajan by Haseltine

Baths of Trajan (Sette Sale, Villa Brancaccio, Rome),ca. 188215 x 22 inch gouache, watercolor, and charcoal on blue paper
William Stanley Haseltine's daughter, who donated this gouache painting to the Metropolitan Museum, described the villa as a favorite resort of the family and recalled joyful memories of her father sketching nearby ruins while the children played in the garden and the elders talked.

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Stag Wagon Chased by Hounds

Lord Orford and His Stags, by Lionel Edwards
Lionel Edwards illustrated this scene taken from the life of the eccentric Earl of Orford. "One day he happened to be driving his team of four stags from his Norfolk country seat, Houghton Hall, to Newmarket, at the same time as the Essex Hounds were out. The hounds by misfortune picked up the scent of the deer as the Earl was nearing his destination, and promptly gave chase. Their 'cry' frightened the stags, who got out of control and galloped hell for leather into the town, and dashed through the gates of an inn into the courtyard. A potboy with great presence of mind banged the gates to, after them, thus cutting off the hounds."
From the book Royal Newmarket, illustrated by Lionel Edwards.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Morgan Hill, California

We're in the town of Morgan Hill, California for a nephew's wedding. It's a hot day, but I found a spot in the shade to paint this gouache streetscape. I'll make a video of the process later after I get back to my editing computer.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Smooth's Force Field

Waves around Smooth are caused by his panting. Each wavelet is a breath. Photo by Frankster.G

Friday, July 12, 2019

Feeding Time at the Barn

At feeding time, the horses gather around the barn waiting for their afternoon hay.

I draw their outline in colored pencil and then begin adding watercolor washes. (Link to video)

The top planes of the horse catch the blue of the sky.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

International Artist, August Issue

The next issue of International Artist Magazine will take a look at the oil painting techniques I used for my recent Tyrannosaurus paintings. 

Two of the original paintings will be on view in September in Cincinatti.
YouTube video: Oil Painting with Textural Effects
Check out the full tutorial video Unconventional Oil Techniques, which is full of practical art instruction for all levels. Review on Lines and Colors
Download at Gumroad:
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DVD from manufacturer:

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


Phosphenes are apparent flashes of of light that appear without any light coming into the eye. They can occur when the eye is stimulated by mechanical pressure on the eyeball, with electrical stimulation of the visual cortex, or just by means of random firing of cells in the neural system.

Here's an explanation (Link to video), along with a way to demonstrate the blind spot illusion.

Phosphenes can be experienced by people who have been blind from birth when their brains are stimulated directly, or by people confined for long periods in darkness (where the effect is sometimes called "prisoner's cinema"), and by people experiencing hallucinogenic drugs.
Wikipedia on Phosphenes

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Getting Watercolor to Flow

Here's a little watercolor landscape of a dawn scene along a quiet stream.

The warm colors disperse into each other as the painting develops. Trees grow, reflections stretch down, and a bird appears. (Link to video)

The paints are watercolor and ink, and I'm using ox gall to aid dispersion. 

Monday, July 8, 2019

How do you develop imagination?

Lawrence Alma Tadema, A Kiss, 1891, 46 x 63 cm
Anthony asks:
I'd like to ask you, though you have plenty of information in Imaginative Realism on the subject, how one develops imagination. How have you stretched or enhanced your imagination? Or has it simply been there all along? What is the essence of that skill and how does one meet it? 

My answer:
It's a fundamental question, and there's no simple answer. I believe the imagination develops from several sources of practice or experience.

First, there's the inspiration you get from enjoying other people's art: reading books, going to museums, watching movies. To consolidate that inspiration, it helps to make copies, sketches, or notes, and think about them afterward.

The artwork of other artists serves your imagination best if it opens you up to appreciating previously unseen potential in the world around you. A pioneer in your field offers you a template for how you can begin to interpret the hazy ideas forming in your own mind.

Pages from the sketchbooks of movie director Guillermo del Toro
If you keep journals and sketchbooks of what you observe, keep another one for what you imagine. Draw designs for what you want to build. Try to capture your mental image of what you remember about an experience you've had.

Another way to develop the imagination is to harness your brain's natural image-making engine. Keep a dream log. See if you can accomplish lucid dreaming. Tap into your REM dreams and hypnagogic hallucinations, which are wonderfully non-directed, evanescent and hard to capture. Develop a meditation practice. I suppose you can also stimulate your imagination with psychedelic drugs, but I haven't explored that direction because I don't want to be seduced by the illusion that any of this comes for free, or in a pill. If you can develop techniques for encouraging your brain to generate images freely, you don't need drugs. As Salvador Dali reportedly once said, 'I don't do drugs. I AM drugs."

Albrecht Durer, Melencolia 1. Link takes you a
discussion of how Renaissance artists thought
about the sources of imagination and art.

Many artists that you may see on YouTube creating worlds from their imagination started out by developing a toolset of relatively standard techniques that you can learn and practice. Comic artists and storyboard artists in particular learn how to draw any situation from any angle. Learning the skills of imaginative figure drawing, perspective, and composition will reliably allow you to draw or paint a plausible image from your imagination, one that you can then take the next step of embodiment, by putting it though the process of sketches, studies, maquettes, models, and the rest.

In the comments, please share your thoughts on how you stimulate and develop your imagination.
Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist
Guillermo del Toro Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions
Oga Kazuo Animation Studio Ghibli Artworks 2 Japan Edition