Search Results for: statement series

Statement VIII

Statement VIII • 10" x 8"

Statement VIII • 10″ x 8″

Over the last year I’ve slowed down on new paintings in the Statement series in favor of other projects, but there was one more I hadn’t posted yet. This one is my photographer friend Jillian who took the reference shot for Statement I. During a different shoot for reference photos I noticed she was wearing a white shirt while I saw her reviewing photos. I asked to include her in this series, and here she is!

Since this was in her studio, there was a large white background on one side of the image. It had very subtle shadows and lighting which was interesting to pin down. It was so bright relative to the rest of the scene that I opted to put a warm tone on the rest: the crates on the floor, the stacked reflectors on the left, and the wall and floor. I kept the dark details in the blue-ish range to stay soft while still providing sufficient contrast from the warm background.

It’s always satisfying to find a few small high-contrast details to paint. The reflection on the camera screen was a fun piece to do as well as the embroidery on the shirt. Nicely balanced!



Yellow Ochre

Yellow Ochre

Burnt Sienna

Burnt Sienna

Burnt Umber

Burnt Umber

Ultramarine Blue

Ultramarine Blue

First round of white

First round of white

Cooler tones

Cooler tones

Second round of white

Second round of white

Warmer tones

Warmer tones



Embroidery detail

Embroidery detail

Another warm tone wash

Another warm tone wash

Statement VII

Will poses for a patient interview

Statement VII • 8″ x 10″

Since starting the Statement series I’ve been on the lookout for interesting variations on white fabrics. It occurred to me that there are a few occupations that include uniforms or articles of clothing that fit the bill. My friend Will, who currently pursuing an MD/PhD, has the accoutrement of the practice and kindly posed for me.

This was a fun shoot because it touched upon some of the style I use for user interviews for my experience design projects. I asked him to imagine he was conducting a patient interview and tell me about how it happens. It was interesting to see how he stayed attentive while taking notes (and the occasional teasing about me taking photos). The notes he was jotting down related to a patient interview he’d conducted in a class earlier that week.

When painting this one I tinkered with the order of what to paint when and am pretty happy with the results. I end up using a dry brush type of technique on both skin and the white fabric to eliminate hard edges. Knowing this, I worked on the skin and shirt first (after the initial tones) so I could allow myself a little overspray that I could tighten up when refining the background.

Working on the skin early is also a good way to reduce that antsy low point that comes during a half-finished painting. If the skin looks good, it’s okay to have the abstract/unfinished look to the clothing or the background. The core of the figure grounds the whole thing. I’ll probably play around with this more in the future when I’m ready to mix figurative work with other styles.

I particularly like the chiaroscuro effect in this one. The lighting adds an extra gravitas to an interaction that already feels serious. This painting feels familiar and friendly to me because I know who it is but I imagine it’ll feel very different for anyone else viewing it.

Was debating how much to draw in the rolling chair he was sitting on.


I'm going to have to buy more yellow ochre soon!

Yellow ochre

Starting to get some tones here.

Burnt sienna

Getting better at keeping a wide range of tones.

Burnt umber

Almost always the low point; everything just looks rough at this stage.


I think I'll always jump into the skin tones at this stage. It makes it much easier to work on.

Skin tones & shirt

These are still a little too red, but getting there.


Really like how the coat pops here! Painting with nearly-pure white is striking.

White coat

Filling in the detail work is always fun.


Statement VI

Statement VI • 10" x 8"

Statement VI • 10″ x 8″

Got this lovely late afternoon shot for the latest painting, part of the Statement series.

My friend Teresita is renting a room in a house with this fabulous master bathroom. The windows overlook trees surrounding the property, and was too good to pass up. She had a white (well, cream) towel, so we tried a bunch of shots here. This was one of the last ones we took, and the best of the bunch due to this great casual hand gesture.

The sun was low enough to highlight just the towel. That towel highlight had particularly nice lighting that matched the tealight. The tiles also had some interesting reflections that took a little effort to figure out – some were from the sun, some from the tealight, and others are reflected light from her. Overall, it’s pretty close to how it looked except that I ended up toning down the wallpaper a bit. It was some kind of 80’s glamorous and very, very shiny. Quite happy with how this turned out!



Yellow ochre

Yellow ochre

Burnt sienna

Burnt sienna

Burnt umber

Burnt umber

The blues

The blues

Bringing the greens

Bringing the greens

Toning down

Toning down

Cooler lighting

Cooler lighting

Towel details

Towel details

Final details

Final details

Statement V

From 2014

Statement V • 8″ x 10″

Another collaboration in the Statement series – this one courtesy of my friends Jennifer and Dave. Dave is a connoisseur of bowties and has written an eBook all about them. He had this great photo for the cover, so in exchange for borrowing it for a painting, I created a few layout options for the cover.

The bookcover

What you see here involved a little Photoshop work on the layout and colors. Though I liked this source photo best, it was opposite of the orientation I hoped to use. I flipped the photo and adjusted the orientation of the hand (right hand = no ring) and the shirt placket so they would be accurate. I also shifted the color of the tie from an executive red to a stylish purple. I came up with three cover variants, and they chose the third one.

Go check out the eBook and elevate your bow tie game!

This one has a particularly textbook-like feel.


This one's a little more like a cookbook.


I call this one the "O'Reilly".

How To

The painting

I ran into my classic dilemma with skin tones here. I usually end up skewing them too pale to counterbalance the warmth of the underlying tones. Those are the middle awkward steps.

The texture of the bowtie fabric was particularly fun to paint. Not only did the fabric weave run perpendicular to the stripes, it also had a little bit of a sheen that created some interesting highlights and shadows. One comment I got upon showing this to a friend: “I just want to run my fingernails across it!”

Sketch first, as always.


Yellow ochre fills in most of the foundation.

Yellow ochre

Midtones in burnt sienna.

Burnt sienna

Just a touch of burnt umber.

Burnt umber

Here's the point where it starts getting a little dodgy: the ultramarine.


So purple! It's a starting point, I suppose.


Went a little wild on the yellow/taupe tones, especially on the shirt.

Lightening up

Bringing in the crisp white for the shirt and tie helps a lot.

Bright stripes

A few shadows help make it less flat. Pretty happy with the subtle shirt folds too.


The skin tones needed more warmth, and a bit more definition on the neck.

A little warmth

Statement IV

Thanks Hannah and Amanda!

Statement IV • 10″ x 8″

The Statement series is mostly individuals, but this lovely pose was too good to pass up. This photo is from Hannah & Amanda’s commitment ceremony and was either taken by me or Alan. Only the metadata knows for sure!

This was shot outside in the sun which was a cheery change from the indoor lighting of previous images. I think I was still in indoor-lighting mode, and realized partway through that it was a little too cold and blue-ish. I ended up doing a sweep of warmer colors to fix it. It was also a group shot originally. I blurred out the background as I painted but opted to keep some of the tone changes for variety, in particular to highlight the hand around the waist.

Sometimes I can’t tell whether I’m done unless I let a painting sit around for a bit. On this one, I decided that I had wrapped it up a bit too early. After looking at it for a few days, I ended up coming back to the black/blue details on Hannah’s dress this morning to touch it up. Glad I did!

As always, taking the time for a good sketch pays off.

Initial sketch

Lots of detail on this one!

Yellow ochre

Started paying more attention to shadows on this layer.

Burnt sienna

The burnt umber pass is always satisfying.

Burnt umber

The ultramarine pass...not so much.


Decided the skin needed to be done first or it would bother me.

Skin tones

Needed to lighten it up here.

Lightening up

As long as I made the green for the leaves on the dress, I figured I should take a pass at the background.


I know I should probably do bigger areas first before diving into details, but I get impatient.

Flower detail

The lighting looked too flat, so I focused on better contrast here.

Tonal fixes

Here's where I warmed it up. It was looking way too cold before.

Warming the light

I was going to leave Hannah's dress more abstract, but that just didn't look right given the details on Amanda's dress.

Dress details

Statement III

Third in the series

Statement III • 8″ x 10″

The latest in the Statement series, with a fun variant on the white fabric: leather! A friend of mine has this neat leather motorcycle jacket, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to paint a different type of material.

Due to the color of the materials, I did something I don’t usually do on these painting: I used black paint. Carbon Black, specifically. I can usually get a good rich dark color out of mixing Burnt Umber and Ultramarine Blue, but I felt the colors in those would take away from it, and mute some of the matte vs shiny goodness here. I kept the rest of the colors pretty muted to balance it out…hence the grayish speedlines of the background.

There were a few interesting and tricky parts to this one. The jacket has a series of fine perforations on the bottom half of the chest and the inside of the sleeves. The helmet has mix of matte and glossy areas. Surprisingly, the jeans ended up being the most difficult part of this to get right in terms of the color and texture. I may need to find more photos with jeans in them for practice.

Also fun here: painting logos. The logos and color scheme reminded me of painting a 3-4′ wide piece of wood with a Nascar auto on it for a kid’s room decoration years ago. At some point I may try my hand at making a font.

Always, always worth it to spend time on a good sketch.

Starting sketch

I'm trying to speed up these steps since they're just foundation layers.

Yellow ochre

Sometimes, like here, I forget to take a photo before I start into the next stage. Doh.

Burnt sienna, a little umber

That's the rest of the burnt umber.

Burnt umber

I usually dislike this stage of colors, but I kinda like how this looks here.

Cautiously ultramarine

A proper black paint makes a big difference on this particular one.

Carbon black

I find these are looking better when I make the backgrounds more flat.

Gray background

It's nice to finally get to the detail work. I get impatient with the previous steps.

Detail work

Most of the finishing bits here were on that glove.

Gloves and finishing touches

Statement II

Another Statement painting on claybord

Statement II • 10″ x 8″

Another figure & fabric Statement exploration, this time where the drape of fabric comes from the surroundings. This pose presented some fresh challenges that can be hidden in drapey clothing: how to capture its natural balance and ease, and getting the right colors and tones in the shadows.

The sheets had a nice subtle damask stripe which was very handy for defining the shapes. When I first started into the shadows, I used a consistent gray until I noticed little patches of other colors. I realized there were two light sources: a prominent yellowish light (probably a ceiling light), and a much lighter bluish source (probably from a window). Separating these helped create more realistic lighting on the sheets and pillows. The wood was awfully close to the base burnt sienna color (with streaks of burnt umber), so the background was quite easy to clean up along the way.

My “despair” moment on this piece was making the error of using washes to lighten up the figure. It sucked out all of the color, and I ended up repainting over almost all of it. However, in the process of that, I came up with a stippling dry brush style that created a nice texture. I also found it better to gradually move towards progressively darker (or lighter) colors and mixing them as I went.

I think my first instinct when painting is to gravitate towards watercolor-style effects, but they just don’t work as well in acrylic on this fast-drying claybord. The drawing-style effects like stippling or hatching turn out better. The dry-brushing is pretty hard on the brushes, but if it looks good, it’s worth chewing up a brush or two along the way. I’ll just be sure to get the cheap ones.

Forgot to take a photo of the sketch

Yellow ochre

Midtones next

Burnt sienna

Last set of warm tones

Burnt umber

Not much blue here.

A little blue

The sheets are starting to shape up.

Starting to lighten…

Whoops. Just killed a bunch of tones here.

…and too far

Maybe a little too peachy, but better.


Focused on bringing back the contrast here.

Shadow tones

Brought the warmer lighting back on the sheets.

More lighting nuance

Statement I

A bit Lempicka-like

Statement I • 8″ x 10″

I’m starting a series of paintings to explore two things I’ve wanted to work at more: figures and fabric. I’m always drawn towards art that has people in it, especially people with a distinct mood. I also wanted to build up more technical skill in drawing/painting fabric with realistic weight and drape. I’ve been paying more attention to white walls/fabric in particular to get more attuned to subtle influences of light color and soft reflections.

After some thought I’m going with the name “Statement” for these. I’m looking for poses that communicate a point of view, and I’m challenging myself to not rely on facial expressions if at all possible. It’s also a nod to the role of fabric: not just a thing for comfort, but a thing that reacts to our shapes and reflects our stance.

This one is the result of a collaboration with a talented photographer friend, Jillian of Epoxy Studios. She recently took headshots for Alan, and they were good sports to try some artsy poses that I could paint. I really liked the balance of this image.

I’m also trying out a new surface: a smooth masonite-like board called “claybord“. I don’t particularly like the texture of canvas, so this is a nice change. It’s smoother than I’m used to, which is both good and bad. The paints seem to dry much faster on it too, which can be challenging. Overall, I like the size and how solid they are.

The fabric was particularly challenging. Two things in particular helped:

  1. I resorted to the old “turn it upside down” trick. This is an excellent way to sort out things that just aren’t looking right. Turning the image upside down, sideways, or even just looking in a mirror can reveal which parts are looking off. I’ve also noticed that sometimes just taking a photo of it and looking at the tiny thumbnail on a screen can do that too.
  2. Right when I was at the lowest point with this, Alan pointed out that the image looked a lot like paintings by Tamara de Lempicka. That hadn’t occurred to me when I picked this, but he’s absolutely right. I referenced a few of her paintings as I worked through this, making the fingers a little more cylindrical and looking at her fabric gradients for reference.

I’m looking forward to more paintings in this style, hopefully with a range of people.

I really need to clean my art table.

Initial sketch

You know the drill! Warm tones, lightest first.

Yellow ochre

Middle tones in; getting there.

Burnt sienna

Usually not too much of this one.

Burnt umber

Looks okay from a distance, but it's pretty rough up close at this stage.

Ultramarine blue

Otherwise known as the point of the process where I feel like it's just not working.

Starting into detail

Supposedly the guy in the top pic was a cop that she asked to pose for her.

Lempicka references

Had the colors more normalized at this point; much better.

After upside-down

The Raven

The Raven

The Raven • 28.125″ x 34.125″

This moody piece came together from many different sources. I found this gothic (or possibly medieval)-looking frame at a Goodwill attached to a beaten-up print from JCPenney. Around the same time, I was working on a UI design that needed sample content and had picked the phrase “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” to use. It occurred to me that both this Alice in Wonderland riddle and Poe’s poem “The Raven” reference the same themes: writing, ravens, and a touch of madness. I envisioned a frustrated writer toiling in the late hours by candlelight – a good fit for the heaviness of the frame.

While making the initial sketch, I decided it would be interesting if the writer was himself a raven and was using his own quills to attempt to write. I liked the idea of arranging the pose so this wasn’t obvious at first, but a closer look at the back of the head would look more like feathers than hair, and what could have been seen as the arm would actually be a beak.

I gathered up dozens of photo references for desks, candlelight, and ravens, but I knew it’d be tricky to get the perspective, pose, and lighting right without a proper mockup of the full scene. I briefly considered getting a 3D program to set up a scene and ultimately decided it would look too artificial. Instead, I built a scene out of a shoebox, a tiny flashlight, a 9″ posable model (the excellent A9 Ranger from Digital Double), a few odds and ends, and lots of paper and cardboard. After taking about 50 photos from every conceivable angle, I whittled it down a winner and enlisted my husband and frequent model Alan to mimic the pose for additional clothing/lighting reference.

The frame is pretty shallow so I tracked down a 24″ x 30″ canvas on panel for the painting. The beginning process was pretty similar to my other paintings. I’ve come to realize that after my tone layers & ultramarine blue, I often go to either greens, purples, or whites as the next few layers. These are usually the ones that start bringing individual areas much closer to a finished state. I also set the frame around the painting in the later stages to make sure the tonal range matched.

Like previous paintings, I’d restricted myself to using ultramarine blue for the dark areas initially; it, combined with burnt umber, can often make a rich and interesting dark color (to see this in action: every painting in the Statement series uses this blend except Statement III, which uses a carbon black for the helmet and jacket to make it stand out). Near the end the overall tones still looked a bit too soft, so I browsed through paintings of candlelit scenes for inspiration. This helped me shore up the candles, and this painting by Pehr Hilleström in particular made me decide to use carbon black to make the figure and feathers stand out.

The back of the painting is papered over with a copy of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem. I ended up leaving out references to “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” but will leave you with the solution I’d come up with and still prefer most: because they both have inky quills.


Concept & reference

Concept sketch w/ reference

Unlit scene with A9 ranger

Unlit scene with A9 ranger

Primary reference

Primary reference

One of dozens of alternates

One of dozens of alternates

Initial sketch for canvas

Initial canvas sketch

Yellow ochre

Yellow ochre

Burnt sienna

Burnt sienna

Burnt Umber

Burnt umber

Ultramarine blue

Ultramarine blue

Pink tones

Pink tones

Green tones

Green tones

Yellow & cream

Yellow & cream

More blues

More blues

Yellow and black accents

Yellow and black accents

~For Sale~

Unless otherwise noted, all pieces shown here are original art for sale. Fine art prints (giclee on watercolor, or printed on maple) can also be created at 8×10, and for some pieces, as large as 2x the original size. Ask me!


Fine Art


Corridor • 13.5″x13.5″ framed (Works/SJ silent auction now ’til Dec. 2nd; prints also available)

A Seat At the Bar

A Seat At the Bar • 12″x12″ (prints only)


Elevate • 48″ x 36″ (prints only)

Chinese Folktale calendar repaints

Chinese Folktale calendar repaints • each 12.5″ x ~31″ (all available except Rabbit In the Moon)

The Raven

The Raven • 28.125″x34.125″ framed


Escalation • 25.25″ x 14.75″ framed

Seek Expression Not Escalation (T-shirt)

Seek Expression Not Escalation (T-shirt)


Untapped • 24″x12″ framed

The Complete Tomato

The Complete Tomato • 13.5″x13.5″ framed (prints or rental only)

Prior Art series

Emilio Sets Type

Emilio Sets Type • 19.5″x25.5″ framed

The Ceramic Type of Bi Sheng

The Ceramic Type of Bi Sheng • 13.5″x16.5″ framed

Omid & Ashlea See the World

Omid & Ashlea See the World • 19.5″x25.5″ framed

Stereograph Selfie

Stereograph Selfie • 16.5″x13.5″ framed

Marcela Animates

Marcela Animates • 19.5″x25.5″ framed

Wheel of the Devil ~ Wheel of Life

Wheel of the Devil ~ Wheel of Life • 13.5″x16.5″ framed

Jillian Adjusts the Tone

Jillian Adjusts the Tone • 19.5″x25.5″ framed

Yin & Yang / Dodge & Burn

Yin & Yang / Dodge & Burn • 16.5″x13.5″ framed

Shirley Card Distortion

Shirley Card Distortion • 12.5″x10.5″ framed

Deb Trims the Screen

Deb Trims the Screen • 19.5″x25.5″ framed

Year 24 Group (Incomplete)

Year 24 Group (Incomplete) • 13.5″x16.5″ framed

Quicksilver Ambition

Quicksilver Ambition • 12.5″x10.5″ framed

True-to-Life Fidelity

True-to-Life Fidelity • 16.5″x13.5″ framed

The Art of Splicing

The Art of Splicing • 12.5″x10.5″ framed

Steve Plans the Transition

Steve Plans the Transition • 19.5″x25.5″ framed

Mix It Up

Mix It Up • 12.5″x10.5″ framed

Statement series

Statement I

Statement I • 8″x10″

Statement II

Statement II • 10″x8″

Statement III

Statement III • 8″x10″

Statement IV

Statement IV • 10″x8″

Statement V

Statement V • 8″x10″

Statement VI

Statement VI • 10″x8″ (prints or rental only)

Statement VII

Statement VII • 8″x10″

Statement VIII

Statement VIII • 10″x8″

Original Illustrations

Harvest: Avocados

Harvest: Avocados • 5.75″ x 5.75″ framed

Harvest: Blueberries

Harvest: Blueberries • 5.75″ x 5.75″ framed

Harvest: Persimmons

Harvest: Persimmons • 5.75″ x 5.75″ framed

Cat's In the Cradle

Cat’s In the Cradle • 12″ x 12″

The Man In the Moon

The Man In the Moon • 12″ x 12″

Roots: Carrot

Roots: Carrot • 8″ x 10″ framed

Roots: Garlic

Roots: Garlic • 8″ x 10″ framed

Roots: Ginger

Roots: Ginger • 8″ x 10″ framed

Roots: Lettuce

Roots: Lettuce • 8″ x 10″ framed

Roots: Onion

Roots: Onion • 8″ x 10″ framed

Roots: Potato

Roots: Potato • 8″ x 10″ framed

Roots: Radish

Roots: Radish • 8″ x 10″ framed

Peace, Love, and Understanding I

Peace, Love, and Understanding I • 7.5″x8″ framed

Peace, Love, and Understanding II

Peace, Love, and Understanding II • 7.5″x8″ framed

Peace, Love, and Understanding IV

Peace, Love, and Understanding IV • 7.5″x8″ framed

Creepy Ancestors

Creepy Ancestors • 3.2″x4.2″ (multiple available)

Edith O'Gorman

Edith O’ Gorman (Language of Flowers) • 10″x12.5″ framed

Me, My Purse, and I

Me, My Purse, and I • 13.5″x13.5″

Bathers I

Bathers I • 9.75″ x 11.75″ framed

Bathers II

Bathers II • 9.75″ x 11.75″ framed

Bathers III

Bathers III • 9.75″ x 11.75″ framed

Bathers IV

Bathers IV • 9.75″ x 11.75″ framed

Bathers V

Bathers V • 9.75″ x 11.75″ framed

Bathers VI

Bathers VI • 9.75″ x 11.75″ framed

Bob Marley

Bob Marley • ~16″x22″

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks • ~16″x22″

Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper • ~16″x22″

Eddie Vedder

Eddie Vedder • ~16″x22″

Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper • ~16″x22″

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic • ~16″x22″

Tina Turner

Tina Turner • ~16″x22″


Series 1: Craft (Sandy)

Series 1: Craft (Sandy) • ~4.5″, comes w/ display box

Series 1: Craft (Birdy)

Series 1: Craft (Birdy) • ~4.5″, comes w/ display box

Series 1: Craft (Glam)

Series 1: Craft (Glam) • ~4.5″, comes w/ display box

Series 1: Craft (Forest)

Series 1: Craft (Forest) • ~4.5″, comes w/ display box

Series 1: Craft (Woody)

Series 1: Craft (Woody) • ~4.5″, comes w/ display box

Series 1: Craft (Pup)

Series 1: Craft (Pup) • ~4.5″, comes w/ display box