Its New Years again time to make a resolution. Noooottt! 
Nah its the same as last years resolution as well as the year before and yada yada. Not to make one. Why wait till the end of the year to become a better person? Looking back at this year its been interesting and certainly unpredictable. Broke out of my usual routine. Got out of a rut. Learned to relax and chill from time to time and not always work on stuff.  According to one of my friends being more of a "socialite." Oh well. This year will definitely probably be as interesting. My art will definitely improve.   

Sketch based off  the song Ana Molly by Incubus

State of mind. I am alive I guess? Title and theme for this one.

fanart of Gilgamesh from Final Fantasy

Was watching Feng Zhu and his youtube channel FZD design school. Episode 61 Design Reboot. What he did fascinated me. Feng took a screenshot of an old game called Flashback I think. A game he played when he was younger and gave it a modern look like he was doing a remake. This got me going. What if I went back and re-imagined old Sega Genesis games that originally inspired me way back in the day. 

So at the moment I choose Streets of Rage. 

And giving more life to a character named Blaze doing her iconic Judo flip. 

Eh it was one of those weeks when a family situation happens on a Monday and it effects the entire week. That one phone call that leads to several. Makes it feel like the whole week is already a drag with a horrible start. That lead to work stoppage and I didn't sketch for a few days after that. All is now well now I guess. TGIF.

Less talking more sketchin'

Portrait session from last Saturday.

Speed Paint 03 Geary stop near Japan Town SF

Speed Paint 04 El Prado Taos Mountain. 1Hr 15 mins

Whenever it is possible I attend the local drawing group with a live model. There are three groups in the area. For over a year now I’ve consecutively gone to the Thursday night figure drawing session. On & off. There has been word that a famous local/internationally known artist also attends frequently whose name is Sherrie McGraw. About 3-4 months of popping up occasionally I ran into her….Well sort of.  

I didn’t interact with her at first sight. I kinda ignored her. Pretended she wasn’t there because I was so shy and nervous. I didn’t know what to say. Or have anything worth saying. That first evening she was there I could not draw and it looked terrible and I severely hope she wouldn’t see that my observations skills were low and my drawing looked like nothing like the model. 

I don't hero worship but is one I would consider. I dubbed her as one of the 
“Art Goddesses that walked the Earth.”  

 Painting done last Saturday. Haven't done an alla prima in months.

One evening I was talking to some of the artists and told them I picked the most difficult pose and position. An extreme foreshortened pose from hell that could have looked like a human being if you saw from what angle. It came out as a mess any my eyes and hands were not cooperating with each other. I was sitting on the horse and talking with exaggerated hand gestures she came up from behind me curious of the conversation. Maybe she wanted to see my drawing maybe? I already flipped my sketch over so nobody could see it anyways. I had an excuse to talk to McGraw naturally but I didn't.
I froze. Sat still like waiting for a bee to buzz off. Shes not annoying or anything. Just that tension of waiting for it to be over.  I am super shy and tend to not interact with people until I get used to them. I've been told by some it is mistaken as being stuck up. 

Weeks and what then turned into months I realized that I could have possibly closed maybe slammed the window of opportunity of introducing myself as a decent person. It was finally November and I first saw her at March.

Then I realized that probably from her point of view she could have thought I was weird or plain stuck up. I’ve been accused of being stuck up when I don’t make instant conversation or simply refuse to small talk. Maybe the vibe I’m unintentionally sending out is that I’m a big jerk? The situation was over analyzed and no progress was ever made. The more I thought about it the worse it became. The anxiety and impending looming silence I had to do something. 

The painting started out nicely and then it became
 a prolonged exercise in agony. Was a good color mixing practice.

 An example of Sherrie McGraw's work. 
I've been fortunate enough to see this live at the gallery when I was younger.

I was waiting for the perfect chance the perfect moment. Well it didn’t come. It was a flawed accidental moment.  On a Thursday night a month ago. I came a little late and there was limited seating. And it was near her. During the first model break when I was shimmying and maneuvering around the benches and strewn art supplies that I caught eye contact and looked at her drawing and we instantly connected. I went over to her easel. Starting talking. We introduced ourselves. 

Nervously I revealed I knew who Sherrie was and blatantly said I was a huge “FAN.” That I first came across her work in high school. It was an example from my Academy of Art University figure drawing class from the pre-college program.  

After saying FAN I don’t know how many times I told Sherrie I had her book The Language of Drawing. It is a beautiful book with astounding drawings. The print quality is superb. The written aspects are interesting which in many art books they are not. They delve more into the psyche of what an artist thinks as they are constructing an image.

Anyways she offered and told me to bring my book in and she would sign it and if I have any questions just ask. I’m not used to asking for things.
What was interesting the day that I decided to talk to Sherrie was the day I had coffee spilt all over my light beige pants! Driving on the highway with a mug like a G with no lid is well not cool. I can normally drive around with a regular mug of coffee and not spill it but of course it had to be that day when you have to brake unexpectedly. 

When I told my friend this story they cracked, “You went for the humble approach didn’t you?” Its more like what more can I be embarrassed of when I already embarrassed myself? Hmm at least the spill was just on my leg and not any more vital critical area. It could have been worse. Maybe next time in life when I’m nervous about meeting someone I’ll take the humble approach. Embarrass myself to the maximum that I cannot possibly get any more nervous. You never know.

Maybe since I maintained eye contact she didn’t see my pants. Because when I talked to her she smiles and has that twinkle in her eyes. That enthusiasm and art spirit of teaching radiating.

Somehow the memory of a summer early fall afternoon in high school I joked with a friend that I would take my 2x3 portfolio and somehow climb a fence just to show Sherrie my work. Maybe to get some guidance that I could possibly meet her if I could. And viola! Life has a way of upholding forgotten promises.

This last Saturday had another encounter with another fascinating artist. I’ll save that for next time.

It is strange I have come to terms that some of my dreams are happening in the reverse order than I imagined.

For sure I have come to terms that I cannot predict or determine the plot of my life but I can for sure help write some of the verses. But not in correct order. 

Non-text book information dictionary definition of speed painting is giving yourself a time limit and seeing how much can get done in a short amount of time.

So I starting doing speed paints while watching Dexter which is now officially my #1 favorite show.  Started it half a week ago. <3 Sorry Walking Dead I lost total interest awhile back. You've became a soap opera with zombies in it..liked it better when it had the feel of a hopeless horror suspense movie. Sorry Breaking Bad its brilliant but I predicted the ending.

But I'm a huge fan of dark psychological thrillers and dry humor and I guess blood & gore. Good believable acting. Can never find anything I like for myself. This has it all. Just finished season II and WOW its seriously awesome.

Anyways For now all the references I've been painting from are my photos that I've taken. Nice to revisit places you've been from painting them! Being able to experience and remember the lighting situations is priceless. Nice to catalog that into the visual library.

Speed Paint #1
Geary street near mason on the edge of the Tenderloin district Time 2:45 hrs

Speed Paint #2
Dolores Park: Time 2:30 hrs

Speed Paint #3 WIP 15mins so far...and #4 Have it picked out but haven't started.
Geary street near Japan town stop

Dreams. Being a professional artist is never easy. Painful at times. Much sacrifice of not being ordinary. It hurts sometimes but not as much as never doing art or giving up on it.

Whenever there is an epic deadline or severe challenge in my life I always play this song on repeat. Iron by Woodkid. I've seen tons of awesome game trailers and reveals. This one steals the cake every time.Released a few years back at E3. I was instantly blown away. It is fantastic with superb lyrics, editing, song and video. I prefer the assassin's creed version than the original music video.

 I relate to the struggle of this battered soldier as he makes progress on his journey and quest for knowledge. Which is what the game Assassin's Creed Revelations is about.



Deep in the ocean, dead and cast away,
where innocence is burned... in flames.
A million mile from home, I'm walking ahead.
I'm frozen to the bones, I am.

A soldier on my own, I don't know the way.
I'm riding up the heights... of shame.
I'm waiting for the call, the hand on the chest.
I'm ready for the fight... and fate.

The sound of iron shots is stuck in my head.
The thunder of the drums dictates
the rhythm of the falls, the number of deaths,
the rising of the horns... ahead.

From the dawn of time to the end of days,
I will have to run... away.
I want to feel the pain and the bitter taste...
of the blood on my lips... again.

This steady burst of snow is burning my hands.
I'm frozen to the bones, I am.
A million mile from home, I'm walking away.
I can't remind your eyes, your face

-Lyrics from
Studies. Studies. Studies. Study the great ol' masters you know! Don't question it. Just do it! Almost every artist says you should do them just because. I have questioned it. I've ignored the call or even saw the value of doing them. One of the reasons being there are numerous students that do them. Sometimes it appears to me that they don't comprehend the essence and soul of the painting. Sure you can deconstruct and draft the image stroke to stroke but if one cannot capture the soul or the emotion of the piece its meaningless. A soulless impression of what is rendered.  I've seen too many abused studies and revere these "saints." that I dare not desecrate these beloved images with my paintbrush.  

But Alas! Never mind. I've been dupped into doing a dozen color studies. It was mandatory. Last semester I took a course in the History of American Illustration. I could not escape this one or make any objections.  I was vehemently opposed to doing this. The doubts raced in my mind. "What if I butcher and misread the mood and intention of the piece?" Can I even nail it? Can it be done properly? I think my skill level is low." Well it happened. I did do it! And the results were better than expected.

These studies was quickly blocked and sketched in graphite and then scanned and rendered in photoshop. The rendering process was generally 45 mins-1hr for each study. Some of them I don't recall how long it took.

"The Renegade Monk"
N.C Wyeth

N.C Wyeth
"Blue Fairy Book"
Frank Godwin

Illustration for Harper's Magazine"
Elizabeth Shippen Green

"Magazine Illustration"
Saul Tepper

I've been converted. Strange. I am now a strong advocate and firm believer in the studies! Do your studies yo! (Feel and understand the piece or else its frivolous! You know?!) With this new found appreciation I utilize these colors these emotions. Colors evoke a spirit of strong emotions that can craft and capture the audience in such beautiful ways.

"French Cafe'"
Saul Tepper
"Coca Cola Advertisement"
Haddon Sundblom
"The Battle"
N.C. Wyeth

"Tom Sat Upon the Buoy"
Jessie Wilcox Smith

"Refrigerator Ad"
Saul Tepper
"The Queen in Hamlet"
Edwin Austin Abbey

One illustration I strongly felt was "The Mermaid" This was painted by Howard Pyle . Surprisingly this is an uncompleted piece because this was the last painting by the father of American Illustration. My heartstrings were strained as I recreated the mood and color of the two lovers who were destined to be apart although they belonged together. Oh the violets, blues, strong contrasting oranges. Sadly there are too many terrible reproductions of the illustration its heartbreaking. Thankfully I have seen and snagged a good reproduction. ;]

"The Mermaid"
Howard Pyle 

So dear fellow students and artists that walk the same path as I. Do not go about this being hasty and sloppy. It is not just about the craftsmanship. The most important factor is resurrecting and recreating the soul that lives inside the piece. Analyze, internalize, be sensitive and paint with earnest conviction. That said go and paint and enjoy these great works of art. :]
With Regards.

Happy New Year! May it bring new hope and opportunities
This year for sure I will update frequently.
(Seriously its on top priority on meh agenda) 

Peace n' Cheers!