“Sandy” is Complete

Sandy took longer than I originally thought… but I think it looks great. It’s quirky, fun, and bold-colored.

sandy complete2

Spacing is everything in this painting. The humor is in the empty space, and the two unfortunate birds in the background. Sandy’s blissful, unaware of the tragedy that just took place. She’s so excited to see you, she forgot all about her vicious activity.

The bird did not.


I just noticed part of the scolding birds’s head has been compromised. I’ll fix that… Based on what I’ve learned about birds, these are Texas yellow warblers.

The painting is a nice, big size. I left extra space at the top so that it can fit nicely into a frame without compromising space.


… I’m going to keep it in my bedroom until I can deliver it to Tiffany.


You’ll notice that sometimes it looks more green than blue; the lighting in my room is a little bit yellow… which makes the background appear more green.





“Sandy” for Tiffany

I was asked to do a pet portrait for my friend Tiffany. I’ve done a few pet portraits before, but decided to try a different method this time.

Here is some of my inspiration:

DoggyArts on Etsy
Andy Warhol

I think a pop-art cartoon style would be so fun for pets.

This is Sandy:


Here’s the outline and progress:




The portrait is a whole body shot. I’ve only done shadows in the face, and will have to finish the rest of the body. I’ll also most likely lighten some of the lines on her face. Some parts are a bit darker than they should be.


There are some surprise friends in the background. That red splotch is not supposed to be in the picture… it was an accidental spill. I think it might be to morbid to leave red drips there.


Sandy is known to have brought back some presents for her owners once or twice, so I thought adding these friends to the picture would make the paining personal…

…and quirky.

While working on Sandy’s outline, I also finished  the outline for the next painting in my Portrait Project series: Ana. I plan paint her in the same cartoon style as Sandy:

SandyAna Outlines.jpg

Yes, she’s holding a fish…. There have been so many animals lately.



Portrait for Kassie: Complete

It took a few tries to finally get the colors and background just right, but I really like the outcome. I’m delivering this one in person, so there’s no mysterious envelope picture in my post.


Portrait for Kassie finishedsmall1

Here’s a progression of the background and final layers:



You can see all the subtle differences between them. The edges were done in a matching reddish-brown:



Sepia is a difficult color to capture, and I found out there are many different types… ranging from yellow, to orange, to brown. I chose a reddish-brown, but it looks more yellow in sunlight. I think it’s a great color that will match most rooms. I like how it looks in my living room.






Portrait for Kassie: Progress 

I might have to stop everything I’m working on, and do a portrait of Prince. 
As I continued working on the Portrait for Kassie, I noticed the sepia tones I was using were a bit too scattered. I don’t want the painting to have multiple colors; the idea is for the work to have a single sepia color, with varying degrees of dark and light. 

So, I created one sepia tone, and decided to wash the whole painting with the color. 

The wash will allow me to start fresh with color, and yet keep the work I’ve done so far.

Here are some close-ups of the progress: 

I want the background to be more blended into the subjects, to make the entire painting more cohesive. I might darken the background to match the darker tone of the subjects… but I am leaning more toward lightening Kassie’s friend and her dog. For example, her shirt and hair would be lightened, as would the dog’s face and nose. I think a lighter painting would look better inside a typically decorated home/apartment. Dark paintings can be very jarring on white walls. 


Portrait for Kassie

Kassie requested a portrait of a good friend of hers and her friend’s beloved dog. She sent me a few photos to sort through, and I created a composite that combined the best features of each photo.

kassie composite editing

Here’s the composite. It gives an idea of what the finished painting will look like, and  helps me ensure that the scaling is correct. Sometimes putting one face on another body doesn’t work out very well. This one, of course, looks just fine.


Kassie suggested sepia tones, which I think will look great. The brown tone will  give the painting a nice a earthy, natural, and classic look. Unlike the composite, will be painting the friend with her hair down, and will also fill in the background with color.

I want the painting to have a Van Gogh impressionist style, must like I painted Francisco:

francisco finished

But without the blue tones.

Here is the first layer:



I may have to add more black and white to get the right tone of sepia.


Traveling… so much traveling

I’ve not posted in a week or so, due to so much traveling! Between DC, NYC, Cancun, Harlingen TX… life’s been a whirlwind.

Despite the travel, and subsequent sore throat (for some reason there’s yelling involved in dancing in Cancun), I’ve managed to do some creative projects, as I tend to do.

David Bowie 1

I started a David Bowie painting a few weeks ago, and lately added a new layer. I don’t quite like the painting yet… and I’m trying to figure out a way that I can grow to like it. In essence, this painting is simply not my style. To be truthful, I’d have preferred to paint a different photo of David Bowie. However, I attempted to paint this one on a request I received, and after all, it is an iconic album cover. I think, in time, I can fix it so that it is more enjoyable for me, but for now it remains as is:

David Bowie


I also made T-shirts for some very good friends of mine who are tying the knot soon. I tried to make the shirts as silly as possible. Initially, I thought to put “I heart ___” on each shirt, one for the bride and one for the groom. But, it occurred to me, upon seeing photos of them with a prop parrot, that I had to include some pictures.

kuba shirt

I did not take very good photos of the shirts; I apologize. This above is the bride’s. The groom’s was similar, but green, with the bride throwing a kiss to the parrot.

I also made a cauliflower pizza at some point over the past few weeks. It was a very ambitious undertaking, and we were dangerously close to starting a massive fire, but it came out beautifully.


Finally, I’ve been taking practice photos of my artwork for Instagram. Yes, I’m on Instagram now. It took a while for me to really understand it… and I’m still proceeding very slowly, with overt caution, toward this new social medial frontier. I’ve realized it could be a great tool for my artwork, so I continue the journey. Here are some of the shots I’ve taken:


I really want my Instagram to have a style… I want to showcase my work in a way that reflects the mood of my art. It’ll take some practice to get one down. And, I haven’t mastered “hashtags” yet (I still call them number signs. As a human, I admit that I resist change), so don’t get too excited.






“Ben” for Emily: Complete

Here’s the finished painting of Ben:


Ben finished


The navy of the whale is a little bit darker than the navy I used in Emily’s painting. I wanted the whale to stick out, but not be quite so obvious, so that it would look like one cohesive beard from far away. There are navy swirls all over his beard, but it’s hard to make it out in these photos.

When I add sharpness and contrast to the photo of the painting, you can get a better feel of the paint strokes that you see when looking at it in person.

Ben finished small
-with added sharpness and contrast

I hope Ben likes the painting. It looks great alongside Emily’s:


BenEnvelope far



“Ben” for Emily: Progress


Here’s the progress on Ben:

Ben2 smaller

The blue looks much brighter than in my last post, because I took this picture in the sunlight (the other one was taken in the evening inside my home). I actually like this blue tone, the more I paint. I think I’ll keep it as it is.

The whale will be navy, to match the navy shirt of Emily’s portrait. I’ll also add some navy throughout his beard, and possibly use it to color in the “B” on his hat.

You’ll notice I’ve changed the direction of his eyes slightly to the left. I also did this to better match Emily’s portrait. Their original pictures had them looking straight at the camera, but I decided shift their eyes for more whimsy and interest.

Here’s Emily’s finished portrait for reference:

emily finished

Ben’s portrait should be done by this weekend. I hope to send it Saturday morning.