30 Day Drawing Challenge

was a group challenge that I participated in on Facebook during the month of September-October of this year. Many were done in clump sessions where 5-10 drawings might get completed in one sitting. Other times I was completing one specific sketch per day amidst client and "tradigital" work. The challenge was a lot of fun because often it forced you to think outside of a comfort zone or to challenge yourself to sketch a foreign subject matter. Here are a small collection of those images for you all to check out Bloggers. Thanks for stopping in I have a few posts to share with you before the exciting new year gets underway.


Engineering, Speed and Construction


are the underlying themes for this series of miniature oil paintings, aptly titled "Hot Wheels Training Facility". In 2011 I had the pleasure of meeting one of the head engineers for the Civic Center Big Air competition that was held directly in front of the Denver courthouse and capitol building. Dave McKay is the engineer's name and we got to talking more as I painted the ramp construction en plein air. We exchanged information and artwork for big air tickets, the good stuff you know. The event went off and it was amazing to see the view from the press area of the big air ramp, check the links for photos. 
Not too long after the Big Air event I received some "Top Secret" reference photos of another project Dave was working on and to say the least it was impressive. These paintings are a result of the "leaked" reference photos, and I am honored to have them to work from. Rarely are these opportunities afforded to an artist. These works were created as miniatures to simplify detail but also in an effort to focus more on the color and design of this 90 foot roll off ramp and the stages of construction. The thing is basically a 90' snowboard big air ramp for the customized tank you see Tanner Foust driving in the videos.
Dave also makes an appearance in the third video talking about the Double Loop stunt he was working on, another Hot Wheels world record attempt. More of Dave's work was witnessed by most of the world as Felix Baumgartner fell from the edge of space.
The four piece series also includes a fifth larger painting that is still in the works. The overall heavy engineering and conceptual construction inspired me to get these works framed in a different fashion than usual. I turned to my good friend, artist, and metal fabricator Stereo Abstract. Constructed of steel and welded into square frame format, these custom housings are a great compliment and really finish these paintings off with a nice touch. 

These paintings will be on display and for sale in a gallery show near you, stay tuned! 
Thanks for stopping in to view the work!

"Hot Wheels Training Facility 4"
Oil on canvas 
3" x 4" (2) and 4" x 4" (2)


Estes Raven

Some new works that will be in an upcoming December show, more info on this series of works, the show opening, demonstration dates/times, and the online preview. Thanks for stopping by!

"Estes Raven" Oil on board 


Art of Records 3



Rough sketches
Initial concept

For the second time this year the "Art of Records" premieres a group show featuring artwork inspired by two highly claimed and collected records. The "Art of Records 3" hosted by DJ Low Key and the Denver Solution was held on November 8th, marking the 20th anniversary of "Enter the Wu-Tang 36 Chambers" and "Midnight Marauders" album release dates, considered by many as classic albums, "36 Chambers" is ranked #387 on the top 500 albums of all time. 
I chose to create a custom version of the Wu-Tang album, and after a few different thumbnails I ended up falling on a concept based on a skit contained within 36 Chambers. In this clip Wu-Tang members are doing a radio interview, and Method-Man says "We form like Voltron, and Gza just happen to be the head". The reference is to the members of the group coming together to form a larger, stronger and potentially more dangerous entity than the individuals as a whole.
This small excerpt from the album inspired me to create this illustration, using elements from the Voltron cyber-mech from the 1980's and a serious, but caricaturized portrait of Gza. To further finalize the product of an album cover I collaborated with my good friend and designer, Dan Castillo who created the full vinyl layout and design. In this post I have also included a concept that I had initially wanted to paint, but scrapped it for the "Voltron" variation. 
I worked up the sketches and process in Photoshop and the final painting was executed in acrylic on board at 13" x 13". The painting consists mostly of glazes with some direct painting thrown around in the half tones and core shadow area. 
The final twist to the concept was the full custom designed vinyl cover, which Dan and I wanted to have a feel reminiscent of a Mad Magazine cover. All the elements to the design and illustration had this end goal in mind, focusing on a caricature style GZA and the layout elements of Mad from the font to the "tagline" at bottom. The final design is printed on vinyl and paper elements made for folding and housing the vinyl record. Very pleased with the final product from this collaboration project on a short deadline. The artwork is on display at Family Affair in Denver until Dec.13 if you want to see the painting and the rest of the other great works from the artists below:

Here is a write-up from the Westword about the show:
Tonight at the Meadowlark, the Solution is presenting the third installment of the Art of Records, its unique artistic series, which combines music and art in a compelling way by having local artists offer up their interpretations of classic hip-hop albums. This time, the talented cast of artists include Xencs L Wing, Jaime Molina, Thomas Evans, Karma Leigh, Triston Minton, Aisha Renee, Michael Coriano, Tiredpirate, Joseph Martinez, Delton Demarest and Dunn the Signtologist. The albums: Midnight Marauders by Tribe Called Quest, and Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), both of which came out twenty years ago on November 9, 1993.

Thanks to DJ Low Key and Denver Solution for the opportunity and thank you for stopping by to view the posts.

Here are links to the previous Art of Records shows:




Giraffe Rider Process Line Drawing

This post is a quick glance into the process of creating this line drawing in Photoshop for sample purposes, and eventually for the final mockup that will be used in painting. I generally work very similar to the pace and fashion I would with graphite. By slightly "ghosting" in your gestural lines and moving from section to section the rendering starts to take life quickly. 
In this stage I am squinting at the computer screen much like I would when painting on location, or when trying to break down the values of any object whether in studio or in the field. This helps to eliminate distractions and to simplify the information I am attempting to translate. 
In the next stage I begin working from reference to add more character and realism to the figure. In this instance there is not much reference of a large land mammal such as a giraffe, doing anything dynamic, so much of the drawing is completed fusing reference and imagination. Another technique that I commonly use is to flip the work horizontal and vertically, this helps to refresh the brain and see the work in new light, often times revealing flaws of the drawing. By working these steps in a repeated fashion I end up with the near finished rendering, and a great springboard to paint the final from. 
This process can be expanded and simplified based on the artists needs. For the purposes of this project I did not take the illustration farther as I will execute those steps in the final mural. This allows spontaneous work to happen in the final stages, keeping the work fun all the way until it is completed.


Work In Progress

for a new concept I am pleased to unveil as the date for painting closes in. This piece is progressing well and I am working two different environments for this scene as in the previous post, and have yet to determine which direction it will go, but I assure you it will be a fun final execution, stay tuned for more on this color study. Thanks for stopping in and look for more posts this week. 


Colorado Plein Air Festival 2013 Opening Reception

is this evening at the Denver Public Library's 7th Floor gallery. This year's showcase is sure to be bigger, more diversified and showcase even more artists than the previous years. The Denver Plein Air Festival is known as the country's largest urban event of its kind. As this event has grown it has expanded its boundaries and taken on the title of the "Colorado Plein Air Festival", adding Colorado Mountain Parks and the Lariat Loop as partners while opening the variety of paint-out locations to include areas and historic sites throughout the state of Colorado. I submitted five works to this years jury, and I had one accepted. That piece is shown on the E-flyer, but to see the work in its full grandeur, adorned with a hand made frame then you will have to attend the show and view the works in person, it is well worth it, not to mention the collection of Allen Tupper True works the 7th floor houses amongst many other large scale masterpieces. 
All of the paintings can be viewed through the online preview, and the accepted works can be seen in the professional category. I will post all of my submissions and opening photos in a future post this week. I am excited for this year's showcase, and please to hear that my 1st place painting from the Museum residences paint-out sold. 


Color studies done at work

Here are some digital color studies mocked up in Photoshop, no custom brush usage here just looking for color and shape relationships. Have been getting the great opportunity to flex the illustration muscles on the computer more these days, it is quite enjoyable with upgrades to a new machine and software. Stay tuned for more on this project in the near future, and as always thanks for stopping in. 


Museum Residences Quick Draw 1st Place

Daniel Sprick makes a surprise appearance
Tim Deibler working on his first painting
Scott Ruthven completing his second painting  
Ken Valastro at work

award for my painting "Looking West" what a great honor! The paint-out was held on September 5th, at the Daniel Libeskind designed DAM rooftop terrace garden. This quick draw paint out was an invite to award winners and ribbon winners only, making the competition a high level showcase of some of the best plein air painters in the west.

The event was scheduled from 4-7pm allowing only a small window to setup, decide on subject matter and get to painting. I chose a west facing vantage point, one that included both cityscape elements and atmospheric ones. I utilized a simplified palette of Cad Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, and Ultramarine Blue. I use this palette because it forces me to make decisions and value adjustments quickly, without the excess tube color around to distract. With all the paintings complete and the time limit closing, we all placed our paintings on display for the silent auction and waited for the judging to commence. Ron Hicks was present, and for those that know of his work, it was a real pleasure to have Ron lay eyes on the paintings and do the dirty work of determining the winners. For those that don't know of his work he has a solo exhibition coming up at 1261 gallery, and it will be a colossal display, don't miss it!

As all artists talked and shared our shock of having Daniel Sprick in attendance and watching him work en plein air, the judging was handed out. To my amazement, I was awarded 1st Place in the competition! Coming in 2nd Place was Scott Ruthven, and in 3rd was my good friend and amazing abstract painter Jennifer Bobola!

Overall a humbling and inspirational paint out and competition, I am still reeling from this decision and honored to have been amongst such amazing painters and to have such a prestigious award bestowed upon me, thanks Ron!

I received award money and a number of prizes for this 1st Place award, including an ad in Southwest Art which I will be putting into production in 2014! I will be in attendance for the Abend Miniature show demonstrations throughout the month of December, and am looking forward to large scale works in oil that are on the easel for the end of 2013, and into 2014. Look for more on these paintings and where they will be shown in coming weeks.

A special thanks to GTMD, Christine Serr, Javier Flores, Ron and Judy Proctor for the great photos!

A final thank you to all the folks that view the blog posts, comment, share, and support freelance and gallery artists! Look for more posts soon, and to leave you here is
an excerpt from OutdoorPainter.com with a short interview from Clyde Steadman about the Museum Residences paint out:

Life is unpredictable for a plein air painter. Sometimes you paint in a windy mountain meadow, and sometimes you paint on top of a David Libeskind building in downtown Denver.
Clyde Steadman can attest to this firsthand, as the photo below shows. The artist and teacher was invited by the building's management to paint from the grassy rooftop of Museum Residences during the recent Colorado Plein Air Festival. The structure, which Libeskind designed to mesh with the addition he designed for the Denver Art Museum across the street, houses condominiums.
Steadman was joined at the Museum Residences Paint Out by other area artists, including the acclaimed (mostly still life) painter Daniel Sprick. "Dan came to paint with us, though he is just enjoying the camaraderie, I think," says Steadman. "He is remarkably generous and modest. Sprick moved to Denver a couple of years ago, I think, and paints with some of us in local figure painting groups, and joins us more rarely when we paint outdoors."
It was a short painting session, from 4 to 7 p.m., and Steadman reports that Sprick paints the same way en plein air as you would expect him to paint in the studio, and that Sprick's effort looked essentially "like a small vignette of a Dan Sprick painting." Plein air isn't Steadman's usual approach, either, although he enjoys it. "I'm a longtime painter," he says, "more of a figure and still life painter than a plein air guy, though I do like to get out regularly, especially in the winter, when snow pulls the shapes and values together and lets me suffer for my art. So much of my art involves looking at beautiful naked people, and I owe some sort of karmic debt for that -- standing in the cold snow for three or four hours restores my sense of artistic balance!"