Monday, December 28, 2009

Urban Bicycles

When I go on my walks around the Mission district looking for "street stuff" to include in my paintings I notice how many bikes there are everywhere - tied to posts, parking meters, grilles and benches. So numerous that we stop seeing them. They are such an important part of the urban landscape that I should put more of them into the "urban patchwork" paintings I'm working on. To that end I have decided to spend some time drawing bicycles in my studio. It's hard - much harder than drawing the figure. All those funny brackets, cables and gear components. And wheels at an angle - aagh!
Here are a couple of the sketches I did today.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Great demolition!

This enormous warehouse on 3rd St. at 16th in San Francisco is being demolished. When I took these photos last week the siding had gone, leaving the windows suspended on the steel framework - seemingly floating against the blue sky. The grid of blues and grays is lovely! I'm sure it will all be gone in a few days.

My Christmas present.

What a great present I had from my friend Diane:
It measures 30" high and is made from heavy wood from which the paint is peeling, and it comes from the recently demolished Goodmans building on Bayshore Boulevard in San Francisco. Diane managed to get most of the letters which spelled "BUILDING MATERIALS" through friendly and persistent negotiation with the demolition contractor. Unfortunately she didn't manage to get the M (for Mackey) but the N is just as good. It now lives in my studio. Thanks Diane!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Patchwork Paintings

I think a new painting might be about to happen! I've been working on a few panels relating to my favorite building - the Mission laundry on Alabama St. at 18th. When I'm working on the panels I have no idea whether they will ever feature in a painting - that's the fun part. I threw some of them onto the floor last week and I sensed compositional potential. I'll try to make a decision and fix them together before the holiday. Then I can have a great underpainting to get back to when I return to the studio.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The good thing about storms......

The good thing about storms is the sky they leave in their wake. This was yesterday afternoon. I looked up from my mixing counter and saw these beautiful clouds hanging over the bus depot on Bryant Street.
If it wasn't for the freezing temperatures and the water coming through the ceiling I'd venture to say that I have one of the best studios in San Francisco!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cold weather getting you down?

To any of my lovely followers who may be feeling miserable in this cold weather: Please feel free to visit me in my studio for a deeper appreciation of how cold it can get. You will leave (probably immediately) feeling that your life is warmer than you had imagined.
Trying to heat my studio in this old concrete factory is pointless - any heat generated just flies straight out of the single-pane metal-framed windows. So I bundle up and keep moving. I have re-invented the term "kinetic art": instead of the artwork moving the term describes the artist in perpetual motion.
Happy winter to all!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Great Drawing Evening

I'm part of a small group of artists who meet on Thursday evenings to draw from the model. This week's meeting was really fun - good conversation, plenty of snacks, and a great model who brought a lot of patterned outfits with her. The fabrics were crazy! Here are a couple of my drawings done with conte pastel on pre-prepared paper.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving in my studio.

I hosted a pot-luck dinner in my studio at Thanksgiving - for "orphan" artists, friends and partners. There were 12 of us and it was a LOT of fun. The food was great (thank you everybody) and the conversation was very lively. Here is a view of the table before everyone arrived. Once the light started to dim and the candles were lit it was quite magical!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

LA - strange but fun!

My friend Diane and I have recently returned from a trip to LA. We went to get a feel for the art scene - I'm hoping that there's a place for my work down there somewhere. We checked out galleries in Chinatown, West Hollywood, Wilshire Blvd., Bergamot Sation in Santa Monica, and Culver City. It was hard work but a lot of fun - and because we stayed at the fabulous Avalon Hotel in Beverley Hills we felt wonderfully pampered at the end of each day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm off to LA!

Tomorrow morning my friend Diane and I are driving down to LA for a few days. We're going to hit the galleries, well - as many as we can: Culver City, Santa Monica, Bergamot Station, Wilshire Blvd etc. We both need more gallery representation. It will be hard work but fun. We're staying in the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills so there will be a pool and people-watching opportunities to help us relax. More later.....

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Back to work!

After taking it easy for a whole week I'm starting to think about my next painting. It's going to be another LONG piece which will incorporate images I see on my daily commute between Mill Valley and my studio in San Francisco. (You can see a previous painting called "Tony's Journey" on my post of September 13th - that one was 20 feet long!)
I think this new painting will be called "The Commute" but that could change. Watch this space.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Leisure Time! Day # 2....

I found some energy and went exploring on my bicycle, ending up at Fort Baker at the very southern tip of Marin. This is the view of the Golden Gate Bridge from behind the hotel at Cavallo Point.

I then cycled on the road which takes you under the bridge. Looking up I saw something my friend Roy had told me about quite a while ago: this lovely grid of faded, stained plywood panels. They cover an area the size of a football field - it's the underside of a work platform beneath the bridge approach. Thanks Roy!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

At last - Visa paintings are done!

Here are the paintings packed up and on my cart ready to go downstairs to the loading dock.

By the middle of this week my paintings for Visa's new San Francisco offices were finished and ready to photograph. They are too big for me to carry around so Don came to my place and set up his own photography studio there with enormous white panels to bounce the light. He took some great images.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Story of a Painting.

Here are some of the development stages of a recent painting. Read from the bottom up.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Demolition Site

I stumbled across this almost-demolished building while visiting some Open Studios yesterday. By tomorrow evening it will probably be gone. The layers of graffiti make the concete walls look like a tapestry, and the fragmented, colorful effect of the few remaining panes of glass hanging against the sky was lovely. One of my ambitions is to be an "artist in residence " on a demolition site, recording things revealed as layers are peeled away. Any demolition contractors reading this?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sausalito Houseboats

I went to the Headlands Center for the Arts on Sunday where the studios of the resident and affiliate artists were open to the public. I love going there - the light, the hills, the view of Rodeo Beach, and of course - the art. I had an interesting afternoon and felt the need to create some art of my own so on the way home I went into Sausalito to sketch some of the houseboats.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

View from studio window

This is the view from the window of my studio yesterday as the sun was going down and the last rays were hitting the bus depot on the other side of Bryant Street. What I haven't shown is the small plane which just flew past dragging a large banner which read "I'm sorry". Who? What did you do? Were you forgiven? I'd love to know. I love this urban energy and am so glad to have my studio in this part of San Francisco.

Figure Drawing

This week I started drawing from the figure again after a break through the summer. It was fun as always. Nice group of people and we now get together at 1890 Bryant St so I just have to stop work and walk downstairs. Couldn't be more convenient!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Open Studio

I'm opening my studio to the public on Sunday 11th October between 11.00 and 6.00. All the artists in the building (over 40 I think) will be opening so it will be an exciting vibe at 1890 Bryant Street! (Check out the other artists on ) This is the first time I will attempt to do some work while people are wandering in and out of my studio - don't know how successful that will be!
I am working to a deadline at the moment (I still have 3 pieces to finish for my Visa commission) so I decided not to do the usual make-studio-clean-and-gallery-like and wear-nice-clothes event. So if you do come, and you drop something edible on my floor - DON"T pick it up! I haven't cleaned.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Port of Oakland Adventure

I went to the Port of Oakland with my friends Teresa and Michael this week. Michael was training with his bicycling team while Teresa and I were exploring. The light was fading but I saw enough stacks of freight containers and loading cranes to know that I would have to return in daylight with a camera and my bicycle (the place is huge). The photo above shows some of the yard tickets I collected which were blowing around on the sidewalks and caught up in the chain-link fencing. I love the faded numbers!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Old Stencils from Greyhound Bus Depot

A while back my friend Bob was clearing his basement and found a load of old hand-cut signage stencils which had come from the Greyhound Bus Depot at the bottom of Potrero Hill - now the San Francisco campus for CCA. He handed them all over to me - naturally! I've been using them for a while but have only recently noticed the backsides of some of them. They have been cut out of old advertising panels. I love the interaction of the printed text and the reversed cut-out text. The top cut-out says "no steam cleaning in this section", and the lower one reads" keep out".
Thanks Bob!

San Francisco Skyline

For a couple of weeks now I've been aware that I needed to get an image of the San Francisco skyline to work into one of my paintings. I was even thinking I would arrange to come into the city from Marin on the ferry to get a good photograph. And then I had to go to the dentist. This is the view from the window of my dentist's 19th floor office - luckily I had my camera with me! The skyline is now on a painting in my studio. Come and see it at my Open Studio on 11th October. (More information will be posted nearer the time.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Notes from New York - The High Line

I walked the length of the highline twice - once during the day and once at night. It has "grasslands"(shown above), trees, seating areas, sun decks - with rolling sunbeds on the old train tracks, and covered spaces as it takes you through old buildings. After dark the lighting makes it a completely different experience. At night my friends and I used it as a vantage point to watch the Fashion Week melee in the streets of the Meatpacking district below us.

Notes from New York - Show at Stricoff Fine Arts

It's amazing how much smaller my paintings look when they are in a gallery space. This is the view as you enter the Stricoff gallery. The opening was hopping! It happened to coincide with all the other start-of-the season art openings in Chelsea and the opening of New York Fashion Week which was happening in the nearby Meatpacking district. There were people everywhere, gallery included. I had a lot of fun!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New York - here I come!

I'm traveling to New York tomorrow to attend the opening of my show on 10th September. While I'm excited about my show, I'm really excited about being able to walk on the High Line which opened to the public in June 2009. The High Line is a new City Park built on an elevated 1930's freight rail structure on Manhattans West side. I've been aware of it for over 15 years since I saw an article about how tenants in adjacent buildings were climbing out of their windows onto the tracks and planting secret gardens above the Manhattan streets. At last I will be able to walk along it!
Check it out at:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Studio floor...

Don't you just love the lines painted on the floor of my studio! The building used to be the Best Foods factory (they made mayyonaise here) and the lines were for the fork-lift trucks. It feels like the urban environment has crept into my studio.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wharves and Warehouses - New York show

My paintings have arrived in New York so I can now announce my upcoming solo show:

"Wharves and Warehouses"
10th - 22nd September.
Opening reception: Thursday September 10th 6-8pm
Stricoff Fine Art
564 W 25th Street, New York, NY 10001.
Also, my wonderful friend Teresa has updated my website. Check it out:
Thanks Teresa!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Inspiration Stroll - Urban Laundry

This is a local building which fascinates me. It's a commercial laundry. The bags of sheets/tablecloths are unloaded onto the large red hooks and they then glide into the cavernous interior. Today the bags looked like carcasses. I've painted this building several times already and I can feel another painting coming on. Monet had his Rouen Cathedral so I guess I can have my Urban Laundry!

Inspiration Stroll - Grafitti

I went for an "inspiration stroll" this morning and saw this within 30 seconds of leaving the studio. It's on the grafitti wall on Florida between 17th and Mariposa. Beautiful!

Empty Studio!

Having taken a few days off to re-charge my batteries I've returned to an empty studio. The floors are clean and the walls are blank. Now it's time for inspiration.......

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Paintings ready to ship to New York

After months of work (and very little play) I am finally shipping 12 paintings to my gallery in New York. My solo show at Stricoff Fine Art in Chelsea will be opening on September 10th 2009. For a preview of the work visit . Now I have to start work on my comissions for Visa - more later.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

New Mission Theater finds new home.

One of my favorite paintings from my "Urbanambulations" show of December 2008 has just found a new home. It now lives with my friend Kirsten in her fabulous new apartment with it's high ceilings, picture-rail moldings, and LOTS of natural daylight. It looks amazing!