Sunday, September 30, 2012

Great White Shark - Hour 6

Maybe another hour or two??? As fierce as these creatures are, they always look like they're smiling.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Journey - Day 44

Well ... my journey is complete for the most part. Around 1:30 EST, I submitted my portfolio to Portraits, Inc. Before submitting it, I looked over everything and just stared at the screen for a few minutes. This really shouldn't be a big thing - it really shouldn't. I think that sometimes I turn a molehill into a mountain. I've been drawing for over 30 years. I completed my first portrait of Bruce Lee when I was in the 6th grade, and since then, I continued to progress at portraiture. I've spent countless hours and money, honing my skill as an artist.

Over 10 years ago I began this journey, 2 years ago, I began pushing for this portfolio, and today, I wrapped everything up. I really hope that the staff at Portraits, Inc. like what they see, and I'll post it in here whether they want to work with me or not. Even if they don't I have a remarkable, and God-given ability to capture the character in a human face. Either they'll see this or they won't. I'm fairly confident that they will, and I look forward to a positive response from them.


So to a degree, the journey is over. But in reality, it's still going on. On to my next portrait.

Great White Shark - Hour 5


Friday, September 28, 2012

Great White Shark - Hour 4

Here, the outline has been established.

My Journey - Day 42

Day 42 is upon us, and I have just a few more days ... hours really, before this portfolio is due. Oct. 1 is the deadline. On Monday, I'll post all of my submitted paintings here so you can see what they'll be seeing. I won't post all of the additional work or the reference work. I think they'll like what they see. I've committed a great deal of time, not to mention money and years into this, and like anybody else, it's my desire to be accepted at something I love to do. Dean Paules is a Fine Art Portrait artist who I spoke to about two years ago, and it was because of his conversation that I really began to pursue this and train at it. His sincere confidence in "hey, if you're good at it and can do it, give it all you've got," really motivated and inspired me. I spoke with him yesterday and he said, "send me your portfolio and I'll take a look at it." What an honor!!!

I wish they could see my work in person. It's in this moment that I'm reminded of a conversation with a client a few years ago. "I thought your work was good from what I saw online, but when i see it in person, I'm completely blown away by what I see. The screenshots don't do it any justice."

I encourage anybody who sees my work online, to come see it in person. You'll be blown away.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Great White Shark - Hour 1, 2 & 3

 Here is a charcoal - in progress - drawing of a commissioned shark. I'm starting out with white charcoal paper, and the size will be 18x24. I'll upload them by the hour. This first posting consists of the first 3 hours. Yes, it took 3 hours just to color in the background. I know I could've bought black paper, but I wanted to really take my time with this and make sure that I touched every single part of the paper.

My Journey - Day 41

I haven't posted here in well over a week, and there's a good reason for this. You know how things can go wrong all at the last minute? I won't go into great detail, but let's just say that last Friday, Saturday, and portions of Sunday, my temperature was at around 103, my throat was swollen, and I couldn't keep food down. I couldn't do the photoshoot on Saturday, and was forced unfortunately to wait until Monday. 

Then, after the photoshoot, I took the pics home and took a look at them. I will say that the photographer was very good at what he did, but I didn't catch two of the photos. The one of Alicia and Sydney look sunburned. I don't want to put it off on the photographer, because on his screen, it looked awesome. 

Other than that, I'm coming up on the final few days. I'm nervous again, but I think that's to be expected. I don't think a photograph does my work justice at all. I really strive for detail and accuracy, and I don't think the photographs really pick that detail up. Again, not the photographer's fault, I just think it's one of those things. In person, it's just different. I hope Portraits Inc., take that into consideration. For example, take a look at these 4 shots of Rev. Gooch. Not one of them is anything like the painting. He called me after viewing them and said, "I'm not really pleased with any of them." I invited him over and after just a few seconds of looking at it, he and his wife remarked, "wow, you got me dead on. This is me."

Then to top things off, the PDF files are really compressing the images and there's a serious loss of resolution. However ... I'll get this thing right in the end. You can count on that. I've committed my life, study, work, to portraiture, and I'm good at what I do. Just a few more days ... I'm ready.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Rev. Frank Gooch


Here is the final image of Rev. Frank Gooch. The original photograph was taken by Peter Alexander Webb Jr.

The official unveiling of this portrait will be framed and will take place on October 7 at 
Lighthouse Baptist Church 
5608 Staples Mill Road
Richmond, VA 23228

(804) 264-1590

Please contact Rev. James Frank Gooch for further details.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rev. Frank Gooch - In Progress

It's been a few days, and I'm further along than this, but I haven't gotten pics of it yet. The hands still need to be done, the Bible needs to be touched up, and the books in the back. The photo seems slightly out of focus too which makes seeing the detail somewhat difficult.

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Journey - Day 31

So here I am - on the last two weeks of this portfolio. I'll be finished with the final portraits by Friday (hopefully) and then I begin working on the PDF's and putting it all together in a professional, presentable manner. This Saturday, I'll be taking the paintings to John Tyler Community College to be professionally photographed by a guy who does photography of artwork. My design instructor once told me that photographing artwork is probably the 2nd most difficult thing to photograph. She never said what the most difficult thing to photograph was, but for some reason, artwork is the 2nd. The thing that I hate about this photographing of artwork is, I have to rely on someone else. This is completely out of my hands, and to a certain degree, my portfolio is dependent on someone else's performance. This makes me nervous to be honest. I've put in a great deal of time, detail, time away from my family, etc., and I am anxious about this process. 

From my understanding, the gentleman who will be photographing my work (I'll give him credit after the photographs are taken) is not only reliable, but a very good photographer who does a great deal of craft/fine art photography. So we'll see. 14 more days until October 1, and I'm really looking forward to impressing the fine people at Portraits, Inc.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My Journey - Day 29

So ... there are 16 days until my portfolio is due. Last night, I had a meeting with The Brewers, the family of a portrait I'll be presenting in my portfolio. They absolutely loved the portrait I'm painting of their children, and they offered some critiques of my work. One thing I think artists genuinely love and hate at the same time, are honest critiques of their work. After all of the hours we've put into a piece, an individual comes along and says, "I like this part, and here's why, but at the same time, this isn't working, and here's why." The Brewers offered some advice, showing me places where the portrait just wasn't working. As much as I want to get a painting right the first time around, sometimes it just doesn't happen that way.

I'd planned to have the painting finished by this weekend, but it's not going to happen. I now have to restructure things - nothing major, but it does push me back slightly. I generally give myself 4-6 months from the time I begin on a portrait, to complete it. I began this particular painting back in April and here it is right at the 6 month mark. Well, I can either complain, or take it in stride and realize this is what I need to better myself. The Brewers are a wonderful family who have given me the opportunity to create a masterpiece on canvas. The painting in this blog is not the painting I'm doing for them - it is just another shot of me painting Rev. Frank Gooch.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rev. Frank Gooch - In Progress

It's coming along, but still a long way to go. It seems as though his suit is really drying at an irregular rate. One area will dry really shiny, and the other will be somewhat dull.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rev. Frank Gooch - In Progress

The face is just about complete. I won't add any highlights or touch up the hair until I'm finished. I'll let this dry while I work on the suit & books. I apologize about the redness in his face. When I get finished, I'll tray to take a photograph of this in different lighting.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Rev. Frank Gooch - In Progress

Ugh, he looks a little uptight. I think I'm going to have to lower the right arm slightly, and bring his upper chest and waist out slightly. His left arm might need to be extended just a little bit.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Journey - Day 22

I just wanted to say that I am more motivated than ever before to make this thing happen. I have 23 days left, and I am making decent progress. I sometimes am timid about telling people dreams that I have, and not life's goals to be honest, dreams that you have when you're asleep. But I feel that when we desire something so bad, fate, or this Great Creator who guides us through life, gives us a little taste of it through a dream. 

Last night, I had a dream that, to my left was a Secret Service Agent, and across from me was President Obama, and we were discussing the terms and conditions of his portrait. Let me be clear about something: though my life's goal is to obtain the official White House portrait commission of the President of the United States, not for once have I ever thought it would be President Obama. I've always felt it would be a president in the future, maybe two or three presidents after our 44th president. But then again, if President Obama were to win the election this year, the possibility for doing this is great. 

The only other time this happened was when I had a dream that I was sitting down with the great boxing champion, Mike Tyson. Let me state right here, that I do not believe that any of his "antics" that have been portrayed are excusable, but in the same breath, I'd like for it to be known that this man was greatly demonized. He wasn't the persona that Ali was, but let's be clear about one thing, the man did his job, and he did it well. I had a conversation with Mr. Tyson that I can still recall, and I'm not ashamed to write this out. I won't put that conversation here, until I am commissioned to do his portrait. I believe he is one of the greatest boxers that ever lived, and yes, I do think he would've handed Ali a new one, but that's another story for another day. 

All I'm saying in this posting is, as time is winding down to submit my portfolio, I'm more motivated than ever before. I was given another taste of my future and it was so real, because it will be real.

Rev. Frank Gooch - In Progress

Often times, I'll do a very in depth monotone underpainting of the face, and then with a very thinned layer of "flesh tone" paint, go over the entire face and let that dry for a day or two.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Rev. Gooch - In Progress


Each book is a one that Rev. Gooch wanted on the bookshelf. I had some of these books in my own bookshelf, and others, I had to look up.

My Journey - Day 20

Time is winding down - 25 days left. I'm really feeling good. Just waiting on paint to dry. I've also gotten into this habit of straddling my painting into sections. I know that liquin speeds up the drying time on a painting. So, the base color has a decent amount of liquin in it, and as I move to the next layer, I won't use as much. What this means ultimately, is that I'll put the base of something down in the morning, and with the ceiling fan running, by 8 p.m. it'll be dry to the touch and I can put on another layer. Ventilation is your best friend when painting. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Journey - Day 19

26 days until this portfolio is due. All of my paintings/drawings should be wrapped up by Monday, 17 September, but no later than Thursday, September 20.

Rev. Frank Gooch - In Progress

Close up of the face thus far.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Just A Bit Of Fun

For the last few days that I've gone into my art studio to paint, shortly thereafter, my youngest daughter says, "can I watch you paint?" She's already light years ahead of me at her age, and what a thrill it brings me with her questions as she watches intently. "Why are you using that brush? How did you mix that color? Why did you paint that that color?" She sits and watches me - not staring off into space - and sometimes offers her own little suggestions. What a little blessing!

It's oil paint - it's not cheap, and I let her mix up her own compositions. A young child who understands the color wheel, primary colors, complimentary colors ... I wouldn't change that moment with her mixing up the colors for anything. I'm in the middle of painting, and she comes over to see if it's okay if she mixes up pink. She pulls from the Alizarin Crimson, and then grabs some Titanium White, and mixes it to her liking of pink. There she was on my easel, in front of the Rev. Gooch painting, just mixing away. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Do All That You Can


Today, I did all that I could to further my career. Seriously. It's not often that I can say that, but I must admit something. Realizing that I have 30 days until this portfolio is due puts an immense amount of pressure on me. But this is a good thing. I sometimes wish that I could always have this kind of drive - to push myself to the limit until there's nothing else to do.

For the longest time, I would paint and wait for something to be auctioned off, sold, or contracted out. I'd go advertise, but there was no real drive to push myself because I didn't see everything paying off. But when I wake now, there's an insane amount of drive that wakes me up and compels me to go into my studio, turn on the light, and stare at the image forming on the canvas. Even if the canvas is blank, in my mind, it already exists. It's just a matter of moving and turning the paint to form a reality of what's already within. It's my duty to create, and if I fail to do so, I fail my family, myself, and my future generations. It's my duty to do all that I can to make something happen every day, every minute, every second ... it all counts. I have a finite amount of time on this earth, and if I don't do all that I can to create the next greatest painting, then I haven't done justice to my career. I know that each painting isn't guaranteed to be a masterpiece, but I try with each painting. 

Today, I worked on the canvases (yes, there was more than one) until I could do nothing else. The intense aroma of "odorless" paint thinner not only permeated the room, it also saturated my hands and clothing. It was a good day. And so I ask you the same question I ask myself every day, "did you do all that you could today?" Did you put everything into bettering yourself? Your career? Your family? If not, why not? Was Facebook all that important? What about youtube? Message boards, etc.? What stood in your way, and why? Are those things so important that your career can wait another day? How you start your day is how you live your day, and how you live your day is how you live your life. One day turns into two, and two into four, and four into eight, and so on and so forth. It's okay to put things off today, and then put them off tomorrow, and then the day after that, and when you're in your 50s and 60s, I wonder if those things will really mean as much then as they do now.

Rev. Frank Gooch - In Progress

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Rev Frank Gooch - In Progress

I've now added the base flesh tone to Rev. Gooch's hands & face, plus put more emphasis on the shadows of the flag, and matching up of the color of his suit.

My Journey - Day 15

So last night I was painting on my Richeson Dulce Easel, and the bar that holds the canvases up, broke. Really? This late in the game? Oh cruel fate! To that I say, 'well, moving on.'