Sunday, March 23, 2014


11 x 14 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

I did this painting of a good buddy of mine. I painted his portrait in the beginning in the manner of dutch painters, starting with a monochromatic underpainting. To do an underpainting in this manner is beneficial, it lets you work out the tonality of the painting before worrying about color. Essentially all you have to worry about is color when the underpainting is complete. As you can see I changed the background to a lighter color than just using black. This approach is not for everyone but its something to try out at least a couple times to see if you like it. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, March 14, 2014

"Star Fruits"

"Star Fruits"
8 x 10 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

Something about the last post must of had an effect on our weather, the temperatures started getting warmer and I am loving every bit of it. Spring is definitely right around the corner, now to just melt all the snow thats accumulated. I wanted to continue the alla prima serious with another painting of star fruits. Their color and texture really attract me. It has a nice variation of smooth and rough texture, not to the touch but more visually. I forgot how much I really enjoy painting alls prima's, I find it to be the same experience as drawing in my sketchbook. It's a way I can just set up a small little still life and just practice away. 

Thank you again everyone for stopping by and viewing my painting. Hope spring is around the corner for you as well.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Gesture drawings

Since revamping my blog I really have not put anything other than my alla prima paintings on here. I want this blog to showcase all the things I like to draw and paint. 

Tonight I went to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and attended their open figure drawing sessions. It's vital for all artist to keep up with drawing no matter how much one paints. Drawing is fundamental to everything. It's obvious when someone is lacking with their drawing no matter how well they can paint. These drawings are one to 10 minute gestures.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


8 x 10 
Oil on Canvas

I hope everyone is keeping warm in this brutal winter polar vortex. This winter has tested our patience and hopefully will let up soon. I wanted to do an alla prima painting of these star fruits to remind me summer is around the corner. It was fun painting alla prima again, to try to finish the painting in one sitting was challenging after not doing for a while.  Can't wait to produce more of these alls prima's to get back on the band wagon.

Thank you for stopping and viewing my painting. Stay warm!

Monday, January 6, 2014

"Pink Peonies"

"Pink Peonies"
12 x 9 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

Happy New Years everyone! I have so much to be thankful for such a wonderful year, excited to see what the future has in store. Can't think of any other way to ring it in other than painting.  I have been wanting to paint for a while and finally after all the holiday festivities I was able to do so. Peonies have always been a personal favorite of mine to paint, their color and texture are a big draw to me. It's a subject in which if you try painting every single hair on a dog it will not work in your favor. Either way it's a challenging subject matter to paint, but always a pleasure to do.

I start with a very thin layer of raw umber, not using any mediums either. I do not use any mediums through out the duration of the painting, I like to keep the toxins level as low as possible. This stage I like to concentrate mainly on the composition and placement of shapes. I am not concerned with details or getting everything perfect, just getting the overall placements in the right areas. Later on through the painting the shapes shift here and there that's why I like to keep this stage fairly loose. You can think of it as a gesture drawing, not concerned with proportions or details, just the sole of the drawing, the movement of life through out the drawing. 

Once the drawing is complete I then start with the peonies and its stems. This is the big form modeling stage. I am only concerned with getting the overall chroma and the turning of the form correct. Still not worried about details, just turning the form with the lights and correct chroma.

Once the big form molding stage is complete I then start with smaller form modeling. In order for this stage to work the big form modeling needs to be correct. I have found with a lot of my students they like to rush through this step. The importance of getting that stage right is overlooked at more often than not. Smaller form modeling is just a miniature version of big form modeling. 

I am still not completely done with smaller form modeling since the background and leaves are not done. I lay in the background and really like how it pushes the peonies forward.

I keep going back and forth with the small form modeling stages through out the peonies and leaves. The painting is finally complete and really satisfied with it. These peonies get me excited for the summer after these sub zero temperatures we are experiencing. 

Thank you for stopping by and viewing, wishing everyone a Happy New Years! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"White Ranunculus"

"White Ranunculus"
10  x 8 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

Hi everyone, it has been a long time since I posted especially an alla prima painting. This year has been a whirl wind for me, an amazing year to say the least. After the wedding this summer I dived into several commission projects, one of them I was able to share on the previous post.  A long with working on those projects we have become new home owners! I still cannot wrap my mind around it. A little scary but amazing to own our own home. I know thanksgiving is long passed but I have many things to be thankful. I could not have dreamed for such an amazing year and what it's still surprising us with. I wanted to thank you guys as well for still reading my blog, even though this passed year I have been very limited on how much I have posted. I swear when I say I'm trying to get better in posting regularly, it's hard to post about painting walls when all I want to do is paint on canvas. 

I've stated in previous post I was not going to paint alla prima paintings for a long time, well, long time has definitely passed. I really do miss doing these little guys. They are equivalent to sketching in your sketchbook when practicing. I have not painted in a while do to the move and we are still getting situated in our new home.  Painting this alla prima gets the blood flowing again, gets my routine going with painting. I will never stop doing these alls prima's for that reason a lone, it allows me to always practice fine tuning my craft, which I think we should always keep doing as artist. This painting is the first painting to be done in my new studio, fitting to say the least. I did not want to just post the finishing painting, I miss explaining my process. It's always beneficial to share your process no matter what your style is, there's always going to be someone out there that will benefit from it. 

I started with a dry brush and raw umber for the drawing stage. In this stage I like to keep the drawing simple and clear. Not worried about details, just concerned with placement and proportions.  

I then fill in the basic colors for all the sections of the painting, this is the only stage I work everything at the same time. I do this to get the overall tone of the painting from the get go. I work with big form modeling at this stage as well. The point of big form modeling is to state how the lights and basic color note wraps around the form. The colors I use is naples yellow, raw umber, viridian, cerulean blue, cadmium yellow. 

I know all my shapes are not final when I move on, I like to have the freedom to be able to move things if I need to. Now I start concentrating one section at a time. After big form modeling is complete I start with small for modeling in the darks. I start with the left side of the flowers, first by stating the middle to darker tones. I do not like to state the darkest darks first, I like to slowly move into them by starting with a middle tone. I am using the same colors as I did in the previous step. The good thing about this method is that you'r painting wet into wet, the tricky part is to not get to muddy or thick quickly. 

Once the smaller forms for the darks are complete I move onto the lights. I like to jump between those two stages to get to the right look I'm going for.

I repeat the same process with the right half of the flowers. First by stating the darker smaller forms. An important thing to understand with smaller forms, they can only exist if the big form modeling is done correctly. Small form modeling is the icing on the cake, all your work is mostly done with big form modeling. A lot of people like to jump straight into small form modeling or the "details" instead of concentrating on big form modeling. Big form modeling stage is extremely important to get right, it's the stage where you have to make the lights believable. 

After I worked with smaller form modeling of the lights I moved onto the vase and vines. I apologize for not showing more process from that point. I essentially repeated the same process what I did with the flowers. I changed the vase to fit better with the overall composition. After the vase was established I went back into the flowers and brought out the lights and darks more.  I keep tweaking sections that have changed by values I established in other areas. I constantly walk back forth from the painting, especially towards the end. The painting looks much different when standing back, I never judge my values and chromas from up close, always by standing back. I could keep working on this painting, but I have to stop, especially when I feel it served its purpose. 

Thank you again everyone for tuning in and interested in seeing my paintings. I appreciate all the support. I hope you guys enjoyed this one, see you guys soon!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Collaboration Artshow

For the past two years I've collaborated with local artist Peter Geyen.  This is not only a collaboration with him but with a whole group of artist as well. There is so much that goes into making just one piece of art. The only contribution I have obviously are the paintings.  I have two large paintings as well as five smaller ones.  All paintings are landscapes and have their own theme.  

These paintings are completely different than what I usually do and I enjoy that the most.  To be taken out of my comfort zone and try a different direction is always beneficial.  I always learn something new when I do these type of paintings. They also can be extremely stressful. 

All these pieces can be seen at the IDS building in downtown Minneapolis from October 25 to November 10, 2013.

Oil on Fiber Glass
7 x 5 ft

Oil on Fiber Glass
6 x 5 ft

Oil on Canvases

The rest of the pieces are spectacular in their own right. The imagination with beautiful design is worth seeing in person.  I'm proud to collaborate with these guys and excited to see what the future brings.  Hope everyone can see these wonderful pieces of art in person.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Labor Day Weekend

Morning lake view from the cabin.


Last weekend we went to our family friends cabin for Labor Day weekend and the timing couldn't be any better.  To sit back and just relax was exactly what I needed.

Greg doing the one thing the cabin is known for.

Greg and Miles the best co-captains around.

 I was working on a couple commissions up there but in my "down time" I was messing more with Caseins. Caseins are milk based paints that are water soluble, drying time is super quick with these guys.  I bought them before our wedding trip to Europe and messed around with them a little.  I felt last weekend Casein and I became good friends.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Minnesota State Fair

"Evening Tea"
14 x 18 in
Oil on Linen

I'm very proud to announce my painting "Evening Tea" will be on display at the Minnesota State Fair! It's such an honor to be showing at a great venue and with so many talented artist. The Fair opens today August 22 until September 2. Stop by and check a lot of great art on display while eating cheese curds or a bucket of cookies. 


Monday, August 19, 2013

Rupert Brooke

"Rupert Brooke"
9 x 11 in
Ball Point Pen 

I wanted to thank you all for your nice comments from my last post, I really did not expect all your responses. Especially being gone for so long, thank you again everyone!

I did this Ball Point Pen drawing of Rupert Brooke, a famous English poet known for his idealistic war sonnets written during the First World War. Rupert Brooke was not photographed often and there are rare photos of him. He was an amazing poet for his time and even till today. I can't imagine if he would of lived beyond the age of 27 what other masterpieces he would of produced. I usually do ball point pen drawings in a really small format, but this was way out of the ordinary. I wanted to try something different by going bigger. I'm glad I did but it was a lot of work. When building up layers with ball point pen you have to be very careful by not pressing to hard with the pen or you'll get blobs of ink. It was a challenge to build up these subtle layers in such a large format.  I had a lot of fun with this one, not sure if I wanna go this big again but won't turn it down if it came my way.

Drawing and painting are relative, if you know how to draw then you can paint. I approach a painting the same way I do with a ball point pen. Always think about form, and how light wraps around the form.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Im back!

Hello everyone! Sorry for the long delay in posting. This spring and summer have been one of the most memorable times in my life. The reason I have been away from posting is because I just got MARRIED! My dream finally came true marrying the love of my life. We first met almost seven years ago in Florence, Italy. I moved to Minneapolis for her after studying there and has been the best decision I ever made. From the first moment I laid eyes on her I knew she was the one. We got married in Pistoia, Italy which is 30 minutes outside of Florence. The villa we got married was just spectacular.

To have family and friends with us was even more special. It was all such a surreal experience. An experience I will never forget. We also had another event here in Minneapolis to celebrate with everyone that could not make it to Italy, and one prior leaving to Italy. To say we have been busy is an understatement, but have enjoyed every minute of it. 

Aside from getting married I have been busy finishing commissions. I'll post the older work in a couple days. I did however create three small 4 x 4 inch paintings for a local show here in Minneapolis. I really liked painting that small and seeing how far I can take it.  Here are the paintings I had in the show.

"The Butcher"
4 x 4 inches
Oil on Masonite

This is a familiar face that I have painted and drawn before. This guy is the local butcher at our grocery store. Although I haven't seen him lately, so I can totally be sure he's still our butcher. But he has a great face to paint and have always wanted to paint him. Excited he agreed to pose for me, always unsure what the reaction might be when asking someone to pose for you.

4 x4 inches
Oil on Masonite

This is a very interesting individual I know. He's intelligent and extremely funny. Again it's a portrait I wanted to paint for a long time and finally had the chance to do so.

Contact me if interested in purchasing
"Mustache Jim"
4 x 4 inches
Oil on Masonite

This individual is somewhat of a local celebrity here in Minneapolis. He's a musician, and a barber. Another individual I would see from time to time and wanted to paint but never had the courage to ask him. One day I ran into him at the mall and took advantage of the chance. He was extremely nice and was very welcoming of me painting him. His hair and mustache are obvious reasons why I wanted to paint him. A very unique individual and a pleasure to paint.

Thank you again everyone for tuning in. I hope to post more shortly. Its hard getting back in the routine of things after such an amazing time.