Painting of Elia at Play

Portrait of Elia at Play :: Oil on linen - 14 x 14 inches

Portrait of Elia at Play :: Oil on linen - 14 x 14 inches

I love painting people! It’s my opportunity to spend time with, and bring into being a fragment of the human experience that can be examined and appreciated. And even further, the opportunity to put on a pedestal the experiences that trigger emotions from both precious and critical moments in our lives. I think it can be said that every portrait artist is looking for that special commission. There was something quite magical about this one.

This work opened up the opportunity to explore most of what I like about portrait painting from almost every angle; Intense light and shadow, dancing warms and cools, and communicative gesture in the subject make this a wonderfully balanced piece. In the technique itself, it was necessary to display a sense of craftsmanship and spontaneity all at once. The brush strokes are assured, yet playful. My attempt was to keep the background soft and feathery, while pushing the subject forward with bolder strokes. This was not easy as it was quite dark. I handled the shadows differently than I normally would with the shadows of a face for instance, which I often leave slightly transparent and lacking in detail to suggestively separate it from the light plane. The extraordinary contrasts forced me to “push” the background with denser paint, although I compensated with thicker strokes for the subject and foreground elements to achieve my goal. On the topic of color, I do not often use yellows for their own sake, but I enjoyed integrating them slightly. They are not prominent in this painting, as they are in my gorse bush study, but much is mixed into the greens, and offers a pleasant lushness to the light in the trees. It’s as if you can feel the warmth of the mid-day sun sprinkling through the cooler shadows. My favorite aspect of this painting is the subject (Elia) leaning and passing through both light and shade. Truly immersed. 

This was the perfect reference. Painting from life is always preferable, however it is difficult to capture and deliver the "decisive moment" that can be snatched by a photograph such as the one I worked from. I am truly glad I captured that thin slice of time and perspective in paint, and perhaps gave it something more than it could have been otherwise. In this moment, young Elia is caught with a seemingly mature sense of reflection and contentment surrounding her play. A moment of true enjoyment. You could linger in it forever. I’m very proud of this one.


Live painting event at The East Room

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I will be setting up my easel to paint an oil portrait at the East Room. I think I'll bring along some smaller paintings to sell too if anyone is interested. There will be Rock n' Roll, and tattoo art. Come out! The event goes till 4am. But I will only be there till' 1am.  

Wednesday July 11, 9pm-1am
Demonstration in oils - The East Room
A live painting event for Jams & Jammers
Free event






I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what it means to be an artist. My goodness, right? But more specifically, what it means to be an artist who enjoys the gathering of experience and insight. Not just for myself, but in aid of cultivating a shareable, and accessible aesthetic for others. As a foundation, I’ve been thinking about how we are shaped as human beings. What are we without the influence of others, directly or indirectly? The contributions in human history have massed into a cumulative knowledge that has erected the pillar we all stand on. I have an underlying sense of gratefulness, amusement, wonder, and at times, terror. It’s as if these feelings run just below the surface of my skin. They rest with a modest tension, warming and bubbling over as I am absorbed into the world around me by my vocational interests. I am reminded that it’s the people part that rings out with importance. We are here, with our condition, for better or for worse. Our need to recognize the relationship we have with each other, and with nature, are becoming more important by the day. 

My place is not to be isolated in the studio. Although, I often revel in it. My recent experience with teaching and conducting workshops has reinvigorated my passion for this cumulative contribution - as small a part as it may be. And not just for the sake of contribution, but the preservation of the approaches I hold dear. Focusing more on engagement and connection places more context under my instincts and guides my motivations. I advance, trip and fall, and constantly re-define. Chiseling away at the block, gradually revealing something that looks a bit more refined. Every interaction I am gifted, is the opportunity to see the larger sense of existence. 

And for a bit of news about classes, demos, and workshops...

Three Week Class - Painting With Gouache
I'm excited to announce my signing on to be an instructor at The Art Center in Highland Park! Bringing back a lost love, with an introductory class on painting with gouache. Fridays, 2-5pm. April 13-27.

Click here for more information, and to register. Receive an Early Bird discount until April 2!

New Demos and Workshops on the Calendar
Take a look at what's on the calendar for April, May, and June! Sign up for a workshop, private demonstration, or a free in-store demo.


Blick Grande Opening Demonstration

Here are some pics from the Blick Grande Opening in Schaumburg this last weekend. I had a great time. To be totally honest, I was quite nervous at first. I don't do this sort of thing often, painting in front of people that is... Painting a live model is quite different than painting from a reference photo, but as I've had plenty of experience doing so, I usually don't have people watching my every move! Well, almost. They were occupied by their own creations too, and I was happy to be a part of their guidance.

Thanks to Colart, Winsor & Newton, my wonderful model, Elizabeth, and the eager participants!

Photo cred: Lyndsey MacGregor




It's coming up quick! I am representing the esteemed brand Winsor & Newton at the Blick grand opening in Schaumburg this Saturday the 19th at 4-6pm. See the opening and activity information here. My part will be a two hour portrait demo of my friend Elizabeth. My many thanks to her for sitting for me this time around. There will be stations set up for interaction and practice with the products under my guidance. Come and enjoy!

I've had a wonderful time painting and playing around with some new products by Winsor & Newton's Liquin line of mediums. My paints flow effortlessly over the oil paper, and retain a lovely, unifying sheen. I'll be posting more of these portrait sketches, featuring the Winsor & Newton product line. So be sure to check back at my website, or my official YouTube channel for more, and subscribe for continued updates. See you there!