Clouds – Volume I


I started the week out w/out a theme but after seeing a couple interesting clouds Monday/Tuesday I decided I’d try my hand at doing some cloud scenes. All these were based on photos I took with my iPhone but I’m not including those here A.) because it makes these posts take twice as long to create and B.) then you all would be able to see how badly I did at recreating each one :). I don’t think I’ve mastered clouds after six 30 minutes attempts – but I definitely had fun w/them and I certainly have more respect for all those oil painting artists who can make life-like clouds – because it is way harder than it looks!

By the way – half of these photos were taking while driving so I’m sure drivers around me were having a good laugh/steering clear as I swerved the road trying to get a clear shot. Also – trivia note for the locals, the last cloud one (below, right) is looking over the highway while driving down Walnut St from Crossroads (Cary, NC).

I did this one Monday night after a long day at work so I hadn’t come up with a theme for the week yet. So this is the odd one of the bunch and doesn’t belong to the theme!

Speed Photo Painting – Volume I

I tried more “outside my comfort zone” stuff this past week and attempted painting scenes from photos on my iPhone in 30 minutes or less. I stuck to the time limit for the most part which was nice – and the end result was pretty interesting so I’ll definitely try this theme again. It was tricky to come up with a photo with enough contrast and personality to paint each day but I managed to figure out something each day. I’ve put each photo to the left of its corresponding painting for reference.







Odd Scenes of Animals – 2011/04/17


This week I experimented with giving each painting 2-3 days of time. Technically this was my way of spreading out hour+ paintings across multiple days since this week was so busy. I was pretty dry on ideas as well – so giving each painting two or so days allowed me extra time to think of what to actually include in each scene. Once again I realized this week that I need to do some “studies” eventually on painting general objects – from trucks and cars to animals – because I still have to revert to smoke and mirrors to pretend like I know what I’m painting. The dark one is probably my favorite this week – but sadly it really has to be viewed on an iPad to see the colors/contrast properly.

Hopefully I’ll have more ideas next week so I won’t have to cop out like this again!

Star Wars – Volume I


I was fairly depressed about how last week’s theme came out (coffee cups) – but fortunately this week went much better. I did these all from memory so if you’re a huge Star Wars fanatic my apologies for anything I didn’t get just right!

I’m sure I thought of the topic because Lincoln is very into Lego Star Wars right now. Initially I was planning on just doing space scenes but A.) that felt a bit redundant since I already did a week of spaceships, and B.) it didn’t seem challenging enough since you can hide a lot with a mostly black canvas. I’ll admit a couple of them took some extra time but I think most were under an hour(ish).

I put a “Volume I” on this because there’s plenty of stuff I could do for future weeks…and since I had so much fun with the topic.



The God of Weather

This week’s 365 project is going great (of course after the lame coffee cups from last week anything is a step up!). Anyhow I got inspired while drinking my 8:30pm decaf tonight to do a second painting today… Just for fun :). And instead of holding it for the usual Sunday update I figured I’d post it by itself now fresh off the “easel”.

As for what it means, I’ll let everyone come up with your own conclusions… But for the record there were thunderstorms here tonight!

Coffee Cups – Volume I

There were two reasons behind this week’s theme. 1.) I shopped around and picked up my own personal Keurig Coffee machine for my office – and it is awesome! And 2.) this past Monday I noticed the sunlight hitting a Caribou Coffee cup and table a certain way so I was inspired to capture the palette of that moment. I then, for better or worse, forced out 6 more “coffee cup” scenes for the rest of the week. I put a “Volume I” on the title here since I’m guessing I’ll revisit the coffee theme in some way in the future.

This wasn’t one of my better weeks but whatever – I’m clearly still trying to feel out my style/approach to painting on the iPad so please bear with me as I figure things out!

Epic Portrait Fail! (365 2011.03.20)


Why the @#$! did I decide to try portraits!” was last week’s theme.

Man I was regretting going down this path on day 2!… but I figured I may as well try to stay outside my comfort zone sometimes – so I stuck with it. Though I’m not sure hiding eyes behind glasses counts as actually trying very hard. Plus I obviously blurred the lines on a few days since I don’t think Mario and Batman count as actual portraits… but whatever! In any case – I hope Marc and Holly aren’t too incredibly offended by my butchery! Just remember I stuck to 30 minutes or less on all of these (including my own which I am horrified by!).

I do want to spend a week practicing eyes, noses, etc since CLEARLY that is one of my weak (epic failure) areas! Here’s hoping next week is easier and more inside my comfort zone!

ZOMG ROBOTS! (365 2011.03.13)


Last week’s theme: “ZOMG ROBOTS!“.

I definitely had fun doing these guys – plus I don’t think I broke an hour on any of these – so that’s progress on the duration front too. Naturally I wish I could have spent much more time on each one – they all deserved better backgrounds and light bulbs but alas… the clock ticketh. BTW – I know none of these are in the same arena as Pixar’s WALL•E – but if anyone at Pixar wants to chat let me know 🙂 (hey – a guy can dream right?).

Scenes of Boats (365 2011.03.06)


“Scenes of Boats” I guess would be this past week’s theme – the topic idea contributed, once again, by Donnie :). For the record some of these were actually done in ~20 minutes because my week was so hectic/busy! Also – one other note, I semi-cheated on the one from 03/03. I took ~6 colors from an actual sunrise photo I’d taken earlier in the week to avoid having to fish out the colors myself from scratch… I’m a lazy loser – I know!

Outer Space!

Continuing the trend of painting things I have no skill or knowledge in… this past week’s theme was “Outer Space!”. Some of these actually were done in under 20 minutes so that’s good – but of course I really don’t like them because they’re so simple (boring)! But – either way, another week down – on to next week now! BTW – I take suggestions (sometimes) so if someone has a good idea on a topic for a week please chime in. PS: No one ever show Lincoln or Corgan the one of the asteroid hitting Earth!

Weird Creatures (365 2011.02.13)

I’m not sure what this past week’s theme was – it started out as weird portraits of animals and insects – but eventually just became “anything weird with some kind of animal in it“. The problem with sticking to a theme is that the first few are spontaneous and fun but the rest of the week turns into a battle to force more paintings to fit into the theme – and ideas don’t always flow that easily at the end of the day at 7:30 PM after the kid’s bath time!
But – as always I had fun – although a couple of them took up more than an hour each(!!) – not because I was striving for perfection but because I kept changing the scenes. I would insert one of my usual disclaimers/apologies here on how badly I painted [X] – but I’ll assume you’ve all read at least one of those by now so hopefully it’s understood. On that note – I hope it’s also understood that I still cringe every time I call each one “finished” because I’d always prefer to spend more time on them all!

Ok – that’s all I’ve got for this week – see you all next week with hopefully some paintings under 20 minutes for once!

Still Life (Containers) I (365 2011.02.06)


“Fictional Still Life Scenes of Various Containers” is the title I’d give this past week’s paintings.

Like last week’s fish anatomy disclaimer, I apologize ahead of time for any atrocious assumptions I made about the physical attributes of dishes, pots and vases since I didn’t paint any of these using actual real-life objects. Maybe eventually I’ll get fancy and actually setup a still life (or a photo) to base future paintings on – but let’s face it… it is much easier to just sit down and make up something! While I do strongly dislike a few of these, I found a couple of them pretty fun. That said, aside from the Cheerios one I have to say they all feel fairly “lifeless” and a bit boring. I think if I do this kind of thing again I will make a point to get some kind of “Cheerios” element in each one!


365 Project: 2011/01/30 Update


Fish were the subject of last week’s paintings. Ironically, I think the 1st one is my favorite – not very nuts about the rest of the week. The colors on the 1/29 one (shark) are really bad but what can you do – these are 15-20 minute “quickies” (though I think I’m still taking 25-30 right now). Also – my apologies to all experts out there – I am not an expert in the slightest on fish anatomy so I’m sure I broke a whole bunch of laws of science this week.
In any case… I still look forward to these each day and am getting better at accepting when they don’t come out very good since I know that means I’ll have another day of the week to redeem myself (theoretically at least!). Can’t wait to start next week’s theme!…

See the 365 iPhone Painting 2011 gallery here…

365 Project: 2011/01/23 Update

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Sbp365_20110120I suppose last week’s theme was “start with a black screen and come up with anything you can think of“. I also was able to do my make-up day for missing the 7th. While I am having fun doing these I am starting to worry that I may never do any more 2-5 hours ones anymore – although I am thinking that I may pick one or two that seem interesting and spend more time on them in the future… we’ll see! Now to think of what this coming week’s theme should be…



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Make Up Day! (2011/01/07)!
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See the 365 iPhone Painting 2011 gallery here…

365 Project: 2011/01/16 Update


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1/13This past week, as you can see, became a theme about various scenes of leaves or other plant/insect life. Obviously Day 1 was just a random painting so he doesn’t count. A couple of these are pretty painful for me to look at, but I especially like the 1/13 and 1/15 ones. As with last week, none of these were done in 10 minutes. I think they all went at least 20 minutes each. So far I’m not seeing how that will change but we’ll see I guess. It’s still a mystery to me why the color palettes are often different on my PC screen than my iPhone – all this week’s are much darker on PC than iPhone – hopefully I’ll figure out how to resolve that soon.

It also appears I missed a day already (1/7?) – so I may have to do a make-up day. I could be lazy and just use one of the 3 iPad paintings I did this past weekend but I will not!

Tech trivia: I discovered this week that the Flickr app for iPhone is EVIL. I of course love Flickr itself, but after testing a few things I figured out that the reason some of my previous painting uploads looked so dithered (crappy) was because the Flickr iPhone app’s UPLOAD process actually *downgrades/screws-up* the photo’s color depth! However, if you simply email a photo from your iPhone to Flickr, the color depth remains in tact! This is sad because I used to love the Flickr app – but for now I’ll have to work around that because I’m definitely a “give me the correct color depth or give me death” kind of guy!

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See the 365 iPhone Painting 2011 gallery here…

Native Son

I’m guessing the title of this wont sound familiar to many people – but it’s an oooold Bryan Adams song about, surprise, the Native American Indian. Since its Thanksgiving time, I thought I’d do a painting around this topic… minus the “pilgrims” of course.

Technical notes: I almost copped out and did this as a night/moon scene – because for some reason “night” scenes are easier for me because the contrast, clouds, etc take less detail somehow. But – going that route made the covered wagons hard to notice and it also gave the “open fields/mountains” the wrong feel – so I stuck it out and stayed with a daylight scene. I also tried giving the Indian a few more trinkets, feathers/etc – but I opted to keep it simple and finish by Thanksgiving than spend a few more days coming up with the right style and amount of his “accessories”.

I think about this topic fairly often. Even if I tend to over-romanticize/simplify what actually happened – due to my atrocious lack of education on the actual details/events –  I am pretty sure it’s worth remembering and reflecting on from time to time. Regardless of how black/white or gray the issues were back then – the bottom line is that an entire race/culture was basically wiped out. It’s impossible to know how you would be had you lived back then vs. now – but being the idealistic guy that I am I hope I would have been more like the Kevin Costner character in Dances with Wolves than one of the many (most) back then who mistreated and/or betrayed this people… I can hope anyway.

Here are the lyrics to the Bryan Adams song if anyone is interested. If you want a gold star click here to listen as you read the lyrics below (it’s a cool song!).

NATIVE SON

(Bryan Adams)

I’ve seen many moons through these wrinkled eyes
The years have made me old but they’ve made me wise
Now the white man lives where our rivers run

For now better days have passed
We walk the streets of broken glass
Our people vanished as snow before the summer sun

Like dogs we were driven from this place
Such injustice, time will not erase
All these changes cannot be undone

When you feel the anger inside of you
Hold your head high – let your aim be true
Though your heart beats like a drum
My native son

Once there was a time my little one
Before the wagons – before the soldiers’ guns
When this land was ours as far as the eagle flies

No white flag – no broken truce
With few words one can speak the truth – I don’t hear it
Time won’t heal it now

With each new day that comes to pass
Will the great spirit free us all at last?
He said we were the chosen ones

For all we had there’s nothin’ left
We wont forgive – we can’t forget
You know that your day will come
My native son

With each new day that comes to pass
Will the great spirit free us all at last?
What has happened can never be undone

When I was young – not yet a man
The sun rose and set upon our land
We were the chosen ones
My native son.

Dino Lincoln!

Yes I’m once again breaking my “no Dad talk” rule here because this one is based on some new TV show Lincoln’s currently obsessed with (Dino Dan). Anyhow…

This painting went about like the last one (Airports!) in that it took quite a few ‘re-dos’ to get a dinosaur that looked halfway believable and not totally silly looking. Once I got past that (or gave up trying!) the rest of it went great and I had a lot of fun doing this one. For the record I attempted to get Corgan in here but there was something neat about just one person staring at the dinosaur so I resisted – I also tried putting Yoshi behind Lincoln but bailed for similar reasons.

As a side/geek note – I have to say I am still gleefully amazed at how much fun my iPhone is. I can’t describe how fun/neat it is to hold a device in my hand that let’s me paint these things while it, at the same time, plays my music of choice via iTunes/headphones – insane/awesome. The only downside continues to be that I stay up way too late at night because of it!