Seated Nude (in a Chair)

Seated Nude (in a Chair). Although this looks like a preparatory sketch, it was painted after the oil painting, which was painted after a rather large thumbnail sketch... Part of the "Women I Don't Know" series, I used the oil painting as a reference so that I might amplify the geometry of the form. I'm going to make prints of this drawing, mostly because I like it so much. My favorite part is Amy's hair, composed of rectangles which approximate the "curve" of her head. I had just started teaching some basic principles of calculus and approximations of curves were in the forefront of my thoughts...

Murals for St. Christopher's Inn (video)

Murals for St. Christopher's Inn (video). A brief approximation of the experience of rotating slowly in the center of the room while standing with one leg planted solidly on the ground. The other leg? That's the one contorted in a dire need-to-maintain-balance position, in choreographed slow-motion tiptoe between bed, bedpost, and floor. "peaceful" was the word most often heard as a description to the room once I had finished. Funny, given that my use of aerosol varnish set off the fire alarm. The entire room was thick with haze and post aerosol fume, but I didn't get it until several dirty looks and one really loud alarm later. But, I digress... Eventually, I had to cut open two onions, leaving one piece in each corner of the room, to get rid of the tremendous smell...

Murals for St. Christopher's Inn (Part IV)

Murals for St. Christopher's Inn (Part IV). Henry Moore currently has 28 sculptures on display at the Kew Botanical Gardens. So, of course I went. A month ago, in fact... and, of course I was inspired to draw some of the gardens... I transferred my watercolor and pencil sketch to the wall, but enlarged a horizontal length of 30cm to 250 cm. This wall provided blank space for the largest painting I have ever painted. Yet.

Murals for St. Christopher's Inn (Part III)

Murals for St. Christopher's Inn (Part III). I kept this idea... In a hostel, who typically stays in a private double room? Couples. So, I went with something which alluded to the idea of a relationship, without being cliche. The biggest bottles I've ever painted... 130cm tall...

Murals for St. Christopher's Inn (Part II)

Murals for St. Christopher's Inn (Part II). Another in the series of posts documenting my first mural assignment (for a hostel near London Bridge) Actually, these two sketches were never realized... the top sketch features a drawing I had done of a Henry Moore sculpture in the Hirshorn (Washington DC)... appropriate since I'm an American artist living in London.... get it? The bottom sketch is a recursive view of the window. The window featured such beautiful woodwork... ..and an amazing view of a really nice building across the street. Essentially, it's a picture of a picture of a picture of a picture... (Recursion is when the definition of something refers to itself). I'm also a mathematician living in London... get it? Anyway, due to the finite limitation of time, I had to cut out these two walls... (not literally).

Sketch for Kristin's Back

Sketch for Kristin's Back. Before I paint, I always make a sketch of what it is that I intend to paint. In some cases, I'll sketch directly onto the canvas or board. For this painting, I drew a thumbnail sketch onto graph paper, eventually using a grid to transfer some basic proportions to the board. If you compare the sketch with the painting, you'll notice that the dimensions of the board are in a different ratio to the dimensions of the thumbnail sketch.
I don't always use a grid to enlarge a sketch, but at the time I was planning a larger project and was practicing....

Murals for St. Christopher's Inn (Part I)

Murals for St. Christopher's Inn (Part I). I spent all day yesterday (Saturday) getting a feel for the room and the people who come to stay in the London Bridge hostel. These drawings are loosely to scale... My thought is to produce some kind of serial, a story told in a succession of frames, a love story without the sappiness.
It's really important to me not to make the room too sterile. Although, part of me really wants to make huge drawings of a Hypodermic needle on the big wall by the door, a Scalpel on top of the bed, and a bunch of drawings of Gauze and Band-Aids on the big wall by the bed. I think it's the lighting in the now empty room...

Table and Chairs

Table and Chairs. The London winter paints everything black and white; in the hibernation of the sun, colors disappear. In February 2007, I was wandering lost and lonely through dark streets and empty tables. It was a particularly desolate time and the wasteland of existence seemed barren and bleak.

Back of a Woman (Kristin)

Back of a Woman (Kristin). Painted yesterday, Sunday in Peckham (South of the Thames). Nice. A classic pose, the back of a woman is an elegant indication of her true beauty. There's an undeniable geometric foundation to her form that is both subtle and constructive...

The People

The People. Inspired by a poem of the same name, by an author whose name is no longer with me. This painting was the first of my synthetic pixelization series and depicts two lovers on a sunny day.

A Vase With Three Flowers

A Vase With Three Flowers. An atari-like composition, I must admit... Superimposing a gigantic grid over the complex reality of a vase and three beautiful flowers, I still smile thinking of this painting. Now, it sits on a wall in an office, shining a cheerful light. beep. beep. and it was all according to a plan

Still Life wth Pan

Still Life with Pan. Well, I was researching the grid. It was an independent study, during which I began to develop certain ideas which have served as the fundamental basis for much of my artwork. In this painting, the plane is divided into four quadrants. Fascinated as I am with geometry, it seems that each object begins to allude to certain basic shapes.

Still Life with Guitar

Still Life with Guitar. A classic. One of my favorite paintings... no real ideas, just my guitar on a chair. Painted in the undergraduate painting studio at William & Mary in the Spring of 1999, I was taking an overload in credits so that I could continue my painting instruction while undergoing student teaching in mathematics. I'm particularly fascinated with the color of this oil painting.

Self Portrait, Grid-based

Self Portrait, Grid-based. Infatuated with the grid, with the thought that overt geometrical relationships could so readily expose themselves with direct observation, I sat down at my drawing table and began to look into a mirror. It was 2003, but I can't remember which season. I do remember, however, that I was well-seeped in my 'pixlizarion' phase... and, I also remember the desk upon which I was drawing. Used as a bargaining ship to secure the big room in our newly acquired three-bedroom on the Boulevard, I never really used it for more than storing scattered piles of paper. In fact, I can only remember doing three drawings on the table. Mostly, I just sit on the floor when I paint or draw, which makes things much more intimate...

Apples and Bananas

Apples and Bananas. Painted as one of my last still life paintings of 2006. I was sitting at a brown wooden table. It was a summer night, calm, and damp in silence...

This particular series incorporates pseudo-dynamic elements to invoke relative notions of our own ultimately geometric composition. The same series also alludes to the particle-based structure by which reality is composed. I'll tell you more about it if you ask nicely...

Girl on Couch (Isabel): Painting

Girl on Couch (Isabel): Painting. I changed palettes for this one. Not because I wanted to, but because the colors made sense, and perhaps because it is so similar to the color of the drawings that I've been working on for the past year. Finally, a good painting...

The drawing was nice too.

Again, July transformed me. I had no idea where I would land, and suspect that I have not yet landed...

Girl on Couch (Isabel): Drawing

Girl on Couch (Isabel): Drawing. The underpainting for my most recent picture. Finished last week, one of the few paintings I really like from my time in London. I've done loads of drawings that I find compelling, but my painting has seemed to be slow and tepid. July was the month that transformed me, where focus came in the form of inspiration that I have never known.

So, in August, I landed. And, while being homeless in Bishops Strotford, my drawings took on new life. I knew that I was ready to paint again, so I put an ad on the interenet: "Pose in Return for a Painting." Isabel answered, and came to sit three times in Hendon. This drawing is from the first session.

View From An Apartment in Cheshunt

View From an Apartment in Cheshunt. Finished or not, it's gone. I've moved to so many places in the past two months... This painting was finished the day I moved out of my flat in Cheshunt, for obvious reasons. It was a gift to a friend of a friend but was commandeered by the original friend. I hope to one day see it again...

Sculpture Inside of the Hirshorn

Sculpture Inside of the Hirshorn. One of my first drawings done over words. When an artist draws a picture, what is often missing in the rendering are his thoughts. There is the perception of the object, which is colored by the bouncing of thoughts and words... Then, there is the rendering of the object, which is the result of pen to paper. I like this series of drawings because it reveals another dimension... Because an object is seen as an effect of its' surrounding environment, to truly reveal the reality of the perception, isn't it necessary to include the contextual state of mind of the artist?

Girl, Reclining on Couch

Girl, Reclining on Couch. February, 2007. I was there in a pub off of Old St. with Nina, who has her own drawing of the same couch in this set of drawings... See if you can find it.

The Round Table

The Round Table. This painting no longer exists. I painted some weird nothingness on the bottom and then the nothingness consumed the all. So, I threw it out. Now, I think that I should have kept it...

Girl, Crouched on Couch

Girl, Crouched on Couch. Life drawing can be easy, life drawing can be hard... The determining factor is my mind. When I am distracted, thoughts of life infiltrate my drawings. They contaminate my forms, making it difficult to see... Bruce Lee said that he "becomes the Fight." When I become the act of drawing, my drawings reveal themselves to me. Rather than creating them, I am discovering them...

The Red Light District at Night

The Red Light District at Night. It was one of my last drawings from 2006, a day before the new year. I was laying in my bed, peaking out the window at 3am. Last night, I was having dinner with three Romanians. One is an air-traffic controller who lives in the Netherlands, and he was telling stories of the red light district...

It's funny how two people can see different views of the same thing.

Astronaught in a SpacePack Sees Jesus with Big Feet

Astronaught in a SpacePack Sees Jesus with Big Feet. A self-portrait. You decide the rest...

Girl with Scarf

Girl with Scarf. The green couch, a two-seater, was purchased for $10 and tied to the top of my silver 1992 Toyota Camry. Mike and I rolled down the windows, each grabbing hold of a different side so that I could drive down the cobbled streets of Shockoe Slip... We had just signed the lease for our first studio and had found the perfect couch, one that would be cool enough in its' mediocrity to appear in dozens of my paintings and drawings over the next eight years. I am particularly fond of the face in this picture, though I do recall being asked to change it several times...

A Scooter in Amsterdam

A Scooter in Amsterdam. Sitting in a cafe, watching people walk by... In front of me was a scooter, parked beside a canal... I drew this scooter while outside, having coffee. The canal had walls made of red brick.

Girl, Cross-Dimensional View

Girl, Cross-Dimensional View. I never can tell how someone will react when I draw them the way that comes naturally... Holly seemed to be really cool about it, which is nice. Personally, I would take it as a compliment if someone used me to springboard into more fundamental things... Anyway. There's nothing that brings out true personality than to show someone a picture that you've drawn of them.

Ocean Village at Dawn

Ocean Village at Dawn. A landscape, transformed by the new light of the sunrise... What is visible to the eye is just a small portion of existence. Reality is often just a product of perception.

Teapot with Particles

Teapot with Particles. Vibrations in space affect the real thing.

Sausages and Corn on a Grill

Sausages and Corn on a Grill. Drawn last Friday, I was at perhaps the coolest music festival on the planet. Luckily Sorph the Zen Dog was there... my plan was to live off of apples, oranges, and canned mackerel for four days. She had this really cool portable one-time-use-only grill, and was so cool as to offer to share her food with me. I really need to eat better...

A Still Life Model

A Still Life Model. She was nice to draw, the type of face that drew me from across the room. The title is a play on words, get it?

Legs (Self-Portrait)

Legs (Self-Portrait). Actually, my couch is purple. I'm surprised that it's me. I'm surprised that I like looking at my feet. What you can't read:

"I'm just really tired

But I'm not listening to me

(-insert drawing-)

But it's too late
it's too late to sleep
I've got to keep repeating myself
for no one to see"

It was 2am one night in November, 2006.

Roses are Pretty, Just Like You

Roses Are Pretty, Just Like You. Drawn in Amsterdam, I was thinking nice thoughts about people far away....

Vase with Three Apples

Vase with Three Apples. The first synthetic pixelization painting, completed at the end of my first semester of Painting instruction from Lucy Barber (visiting Williamsburg from New York for a year). Working from observation, I used simple geometry to define the forms: three apples, one white vase.

Still Life with Three Bottles

Still Life with Three Bottles. Aaron's favorite game to play for awhile was "Guess the Bottle," where everyone who happened to be hanging out in my studio would take turns guessing which brand of beer or soda lay hidden behind the opaque layer of paint which coated it... I later painted over the background of this picture...

Hot Chocolate Espresso Steam Blocks the View of a Van Obscuring the Front End of a Compact Automobile

Hot Chocolate Espresso Steam Blocks the View of a Van Obscuring the Front End of a Compact Automobile. The last time I used a lined notebook, this drawing is an excellent example of when I used the geometric foundations of light and reality as objects in my compositions.

Close Up of a Painting Girl

Close Up of a Painting Girl. Honestly, I haven't painted another painting like this one. Which is nice... Very loose, a huge contrast to the style I would take up eight years later. This oil painting was painted in February of 1999, during my independent study in painting... I was taking an overload in credits to fit in the class during my last semester at school, on top of student teaching math... Again, "Close Up of a Girl" is weird because my topic of research was the grid...

The Silver Penguin

The Silver Penguin. A glistening chrome-finished steel statue, resting on top of a black box... I had spent all of the summer of 2006 drawing everything, everywhere, everyday. In the weeks before I moved to London, my drawing output increased even more. The implied geometrical forms help to define the overall shape of the drawing... Ever since then, something about the line has been so compelling.

Boy, Lost in Space

Boy Lost in Space. In the middle of my particle phase, I was having trouble articulating what I was seeing... It became difficult to justify the overt geometry of the particles of light that began to appear in my paintings and drawings... Everything had become too cerebral... The fabric of reality began to de-thread, revealing the nature of its' braid, and I had only began to internalize things...

A Naked Man's Feet

A Naked Man's Feet. Well. Short poses make it hard to draw an entire figure... It's 6:30am, Sunday morning. I've just come home from the Big Chill in King's Cross. It's been light for two hours already... Weird.

The Empty Chair

"The Empty Chair" is the drawing I was drawing as the photographer was setting up the lights on Thursday's meeting of the Life Drawing Society. It would be the chair filled by the model for the first half of the evening, after which he would move to a bright red couch with no cushions...

Male Head (Looking Up)

One of the drawings from last night. The model (a journalist) hadn't practiced holding long poses, so we had to alternate between four-minute and ten-minute positions. For some reason, it was hard to warm up... I blame it on all the flashes going off... The after-party was nice... I met loads of cool people, played the guitar for a bit, and missed my train home.

A Thinking Man

A Thinking Man. A nude male, perhaps my least favorite thing to draw... Tonight however, it's happening again. The London Life Drawing Society is letting a male writer from Maxim magazine pose so that he can write a story. I'm going, just in case they take pictures of the crowd... The price? I'll be forced to draw a naked man. Ugh. "The Thinking Man" came from sneaking into alumni sessions at VCU, sometime back in 2003. I used it as the template for a painting ("Four Men Facing Left"), which is why you can see bits of colored lines scattered somewhat randomly about the drawing...

Four Bottles and Some Particles

One of the first particle paintings, "Four Bottles and Some Particles" charts the path of light as it cascades in and around four bottles sitting on the ledge of my window. The whole "light as object" thing I'm still pretty proud of because it was an intuitive step beyond the two-dimensional and three-dimensional geometry that I had been working with (i.e. some physicists think that light is a manifestation of the fifth dimension)... Which came first, the science or the art? For me, it is the observation that comes first, the explanation second...

Black Lamp, Illumination (drawing)

This is the study drawing for my painting, "Black Lamp, Illumination," completed with a black ball-point pen. After the drawing, I painted the oil painting in the strict geometrical composition that I eventually called "synthetic pixelization"... Some time after painting the painting, I remember showing it to my mom, who said, "See? Now you've got something to show for how you've spent your time..." or something like that, but her point stuck with me...

A Plastic Watering Pot

An assignment in my first university art class, I was 18 years old and it was the beginning of my second semester (Spring 1996). "2-Dimensional Foundations" was the class, and at the time, I almost hated it for its' structure and rigor. Drawing from a still life set-up was the fundamental emphasis, but I didn't understand what Cezanne said ("Still life trains the eye") until much later... Looking back at this pencil drawing of a plastic watering pot, I see much beauty in its' simplicity and shape. Too bad I forgot to finish the hole at the top...