Monday, November 20, 2017


am continuing to work on the Highlan' Coo painting I posted about last month. It is just about finished, and would be finished now, except for the fact that October was  an unusual month and I had some unexpected travel.  The work I have completed thus far can be seen in the following image.

Highlan' Coo's

      Those that know me well, know that I have spent some time in Scotland. This travel left a huge impression on me, and it is my desire to travel back there one day. The Scottish influence can be seen in several pieces I have created in the past, and I have been reflecting on those images and my time in Scotland recently. This image continues the current trajectory of my work examining faces, and the character of those faces. I think it's interesting that animal faces can have as much characterization as human faces, and this particular image reflects that idea. One familiar with highland cattle can see this work and immediately respond to it. But, for those who have not seen these uniquely shaggy beasts this image could be seen as a curiosity, and that is one aspect that one feels when looking into faces. I should have it finished in a day or two.   

      This month I also want to highlight some of the fantastic work being produced by the students at the college in which I teach. This past week featured an annual event entitled "International Festival," which highlights different cultures and the ties Baton Rouge has to those cultures and the world at large. The art I'm sharing here was part of a display put on in the main gallery on campus.

Ceramic pieces on display for "International Festival"  

      Most of the pieces are tied to a specific culture, or country. Here, I am featuring ceramics works, but there were also prints and other images as well. Incidentally, as part of the festival, the ceramics department featured an event called bowl-a-rama. Participants were invited to throw or decorate bowls to be given out as soup bowls for the needy. It's a great way to get students more involved with their community. I assisted with this, and had time to throw a bowl. It felt great to be working with clay again. I haven't had the opportunity in quite a while. I was invited to open studio on Friday afternoons, and I definitely plan on going back. 

Monday, October 30, 2017


almost forgot to post for October! It has been very hectic lately. I am still preparing for my show in February, and I have been busy framing and selecting works to show. But I have also been working on new paintings. This is what I currently have on my easel:

Highland Coos

  I could write about how I have been reflecting on my time in Scotland. I could write about how I have carried this image of highland coos in my head for quite a  while. I could even write about how this image, seen in a coffee shop earlier this year:

Seen in a coffee shop recently
 reminded me that I should go ahead and paint that image of the highland coos that's been rolling around in my head. But honestly I'm tired. I don't want to write about those things. I'm just going to leave this post as is.

As an aside, did you see the interview last month? I thought that was pretty fun. I would like to interview more artists about their work. Wanna be featured? Drop me a line, we'll set something up.

Monday, September 25, 2017


Unfortunately I missed posting in August. There was quite a bit happening including securing a solo show in February. I'm still working out the details, but I have already begun framing pieces that I plan to show. I'm actually speaking to other artists to share the space with. It's a large gallery and I could never fill the space by myself. Plus, I like working with other artists. I would like to collaborate on a joint project one day as well. For now though let's focus on the show! Only five months to go.  

Loch-Elvert with her artwork.
 recently had the pleasure of attending a show of recent works by Baton Rouge based artist Regina Loch-Elvert ( Her paintings are full of color, and energy, and are very expressive. I got the chance to talk to her about some of her work, and here is what she said:

PK: Who are you and what do you do?
RLE: I am a painter, who occupied herself since early childhood creating art mainly painting and drawing. I also teach studio classes. Besides that I am a big animal lover.
PK: Why do you do what you do?
RLE: It is essential for me to create and express myself through art.
PK: How do you work?
RLE: I paint continuously in my studio, constantly trying to improve my art, to become more universal. I overpaint a lot, my paintings are always changing.

The idea of overpainting was interesting to me. I had interpreted this to mean she had a tendency to overwork a painting. Something that I have found myself doing from time to time. However, when I asked for clarification she responded:

RLE: I mean to paint over existing colors and shapes. Oil paint is easy to use and paint over or even mix on the canvas with other paint. I cannot see the 2 images.
PK: What themes do you pursue?

RLE:  I try to express spiritually through compositions of color combinations and shapes, creating spaces, athmospheres. My themes are expressed visually and therefore it would not be the same to express them verbally. I hope my art speaks to others and evokes emotions and making sense to the viewer. I like to express something sublime.
PK: What’s integral to the work of an artist?
RLE: I hope I will always be able to create art, paint, to have a space, and can afford to rent a space and material.
PK: What art do you most identify with?
RLE: . I admire a lot of different artists from different time periods, from the Reneaissance to the Classical Period to Abstract Expressionism (e.g. W. Turner, J. Constable, de Kooning, Arshile Gorki, Hans Hoffman, and also admired Romaticism.
PK: How has your practice changed over time?
RLE: My themes have changed over time from figurative to landscape to abstraction.
Originally influenced by German Expressionists while growing up in Germany.

      I extend my thanks to Regina Loch-Elvert. It’s good for artists to interact with one another and see some of the similarities and differences in how they practice and in what they are thinking about. I was particularly struck with how Loch-Elvert responded to the question of why she does what she does. She said that it was “...essential for me to create and express myself…” a feeling that I also share. As an artist I often feel like I have to create, it is a part of my being and not something that I could give up. I don’t feel right if I am not working on a painting, drawing, or a sketch of some kind. And it is very reaffirming to know that there are those out there who share this same experience.

      My favorite piece from her show follows.

"Old Woman"-2016

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

July 2017


    Whew! July has flown by! I've been meaning to update this blog all month, and have only now, at the end, found some time to share my thoughts for this month. First off, I would like to share the completed painting that I posted here last month.

I finished this image in late June. I have already started another, but for now it is in the planning/sketching phase. The sketches are not much to look at. They are really just notes for what I am planning to do. So, I won't share those here. But, I'll post an image once I have begun in earnest. I have a ridiculous schedule right now, and haven't devoted the time I'd like towards art. That should change very soon.

One of the things I did this month was visit New York City. While I was there I spent some time at the  Guggenheim. A part of their collection features some paintings by Amedeo Modigliani. I respond to his figurative work and look for inspiration for my figures in what he has done before me. In the image below, taken while I was in New York, you can see what ideas I am working with. I love the eyes, and the colors used on the figure. I have adapted that to my figure, and built on what Modigliani has dome. There are many other artists that have also inspired my work, But, for this post I just want to focus on what I have seen recently. Looking at other art is as important to the art making process as physically sketching/painting, and it's nice to reflect on how what I am seeing shows up in my work.

      One of the things I struggle with, is what to include in this blog. I'd like it to be about my thought processes, my ideas, and my responses to art. I would like this to include both my work, and the work of others. To some degree, that is exactly what this blog is about. But, much as it is important to look at other artworks when making art, it is important to look at other writings about art when blogging about art. There are a few art blogs, and sites that follow pretty regularly. But, a recent write up on Artspace examined 8 blogs written by artists. It's a good read and has given me some ideas for my own blog. If you are interested in art, and how artists think, I would recommend looking at this article. And definitely take a look at some of the blogs mentioned.

That's it for now. August is right around the corner. So the next update may just come next week.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

June 2017

      This is the painting that I am currently working on. I have been thinking about Expressionism lately, and Ernst Kirchner in particular, with this piece.  One of the things that draws me in to Expressionism is the use of color. I have always been sensitive to color, and can often perceive colors that others cannot. One need only look back to the recent blue dress controversy to see how important color and perception are to people. I also enjoy images that pop with color and seem to use the element of color to help convey thoughts. We'll see how these ideas continue to shape my work as I go forward.  

      It's also interesting to me that I am drawn to Expressionism now, almost 100 years after it was taking off as an art form. But, the ideas that drove this artistic movement in the early 20th century could arguably be said to be reemerging now. Emotions are high across all spectrums of society, and there is a general feeling of angst as well. I can't help but wonder if it is these feelings that are helping to drive me as well.    

Monday, August 1, 2016

July 2016

      Greetings! Although it is August 1st. I am posting my July blog now.

I completed the painting for my sister. I think it turned out alright. That's not to say I like it. I am still very much against it. But I told her I would do it, so there you go. While I was working on it, I found out about a large format art show. I submitted this work. You can go here and vote for it, if you are so inclined:

Last week was also the Art Melt Show in Baton Rouge. This was a very good event. The tone was more subdued compared to years past, but I think that is only appropriate for what this city has been going though lately.

My favorite painting somewhat relates to the issues that Baton Rouge has been grappling with. It is called Brave Little Girl and it is by Kristen Downing. More about her and her work can be viewed here.

Brave Litttle Girl by Kristen Downing

I also realized that July is the 10 year anniversary for my very first solo exhibition. It was held in July of 2006 in Falls Church, VA outside of Washington, DC. Putting on that show was fun, and really got me started in trying to get my work out and seen. Let's hope I can get more work out there.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

June 2016

      I thought it would be appropriate to update my post from last month. Above is the completed image that was submitted for exhibition in Louisiana. It is titled Mr. "Babbineaux." Like most of my figurative work, I begin with a sketch of an actual person. The finished work however is not meant to be a portrait. There are a lot of interesting things that happen while painting, and one of the things I really like, is the way a painting can take on a personality and life of its own. I think this is particularity true when creating a work based on the figure. The end result of my images of people is something that I call a character painting. It no longer represents the person on whom the original sketch was made, and the figure projects a personality all his/her own. This personality developed during the creative process, and is different each time.

     For this painting, I started with a photograph of a convicted murderer on death row. New evidence was found, and it turned out he was innocent. He was cleared of all charges and released. Something about his eyes appealed to me. In the photograph he seemed to harbor no malice, despite the years of his life unjustly taken from him. Some of these ideas transferred from the photograph, to the sketch, and ultimately to the painting. The figure still has a haunted, tired look. But, overall he seems pleasant. Like an old man sitting on a park bench enjoying the day. All this came together during the act of painting.

     No word yet on if this work has been accepted for exhibition. The drop-off day for accepted works is July 15. So, I should hear something very soon. Given the time frame tough, I'm not overly optimistic that it has been accepted.

      This is the latest painting that I am working on. It is for my sister and I have put it off for a long while. She wants a Buddha picture. I resisted painting this picture for a variety of reasons, including cultural appropriation. Ultimately, I decided to do the image because my sister requested it. I would normally not do a work of this sort. I will post progress on this image as I work on it.    

     Finally, I want to close with this video. It addresses issues of artists, galleries, and the way that nobody likes to discuss art-selling as a business. I don't enter as many shows as I used to, and part of the reason for that is that it's a huge investment of time, energy, and money with very little return. This video exemplifies how this can sometimes come to be. From my perspective, I sometimes  wonder if this undisclosed financial structure within the art world exists to weed out artists. I don't know. It could also just be sour grapes on my part because my work is not well regarded. Anyway, see what you think.