Thursday, December 27, 2012

Out to Pasture

This is an old farm tractor painted on a heavily gessoed canvas. It still needs to be refined but I'm thinking that I shouldn't over do the refining. It almost looks good as it is. Ahh . . . to refine or not refine . . . that is the question!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wet-On-Wet Watercolor

These are some aquatic creatures I water colored last spring of 2012. Parts of them were painted wet-on-wet to give an extra sense of depth of surface smoothness. Wet-on-wet can be a scary way to paint, but with practice, less so and oh so, so worth it! If you belong to a water color group, and would like to hire me to teach a wet-on-wet water color workshop, please let me know. I am booking for the summer of 2013 and 2014. My studio phone is 916-737-2311 in California, USA. By-the-way --- HAPPY NEW 2013!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

D Oldham Neath - a watercolor portrait

This is a 16 by 22 inch watercolor I just completed of D Oldham Neath, a prominent art gallery owner here in Sacramento. She commissioned me to do her portrait, and I will be doing another one of her tomorrow during an interview and video shoot with Rob Stewart, a PBS (Public Broadcasting System) television personality.  The interview will be part of a series about local and national artists. I'll get more details on all this tomorrow after the shoot and will be getting another post out on this blog and my Facebook page soon. I am interested, dear readers, what you think about this first watercolor. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Two posts ago, I showed the progress of an urban street scene that I was painting with another art teacher that was taking private lessons from me in order to paint in a losser style. Here is his painting (top) and mine (bottom). It is always interesting in seeing how painters doing the same scene differ in their approach. I'd love to get your take on these two renditions, dear readers.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Next year during the Spring semester at Sacramento City College, I will be teaching a pen and ink drawing class. This has never been a medium I work in, but I do like to teaching it. I'm not sure why! This is a self portrait I did in india ink in my pen and ink drawing class, circa 2006.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Early Morning Street Corner

This is an acrylic on stretched canvas painted mostly with flat brushes over a five day period. It was a great exercise on how to take a rather prosaic scene and turn it into an engaging painting. I started the painting with an art instructor at The Art Institute, Sacramento who is taking lessons from me to loosen up his painting style. We worked from a reference photo I snapped about two years ago. I played with light, color, added graffiti and telephone lines to help engage the viewer. This was a challenging exercise for the both of us!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I followed my nose.

Yep, I followed my nose. A few posts ago (in October) I was at the stage in this watercolor when it was a relatively simple portrait of a young Hmong girl from Vietnam. I had no idea where to go with it next except to keep going and as my father used to say when he didn't want to look at a road map (remember those?), "I'll follow my nose". I followed my nose my working on it throughout October and this month . . . just a little bit each day or so.  My nose lead me to this final stage. Hope you like it dear readers.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Hurler friend is now a World Series Champion!!

He's the young guy on the right in case ya didn't know. That's my watercolor painting of him on the wall in case ya didn't know. SF Giants rule.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Some of my favorite food comes from this young lady's neck of the woods.

I stumbled on some striking photos of southeast asians on the net and decided to watercolor one of them. This is only half way completed . . . way more to go. I'll post the finish soon. As my friend Nicholas Simmons  (internationally renowned watercolorist) says, and I paraphrase him, "watercolor should be allowed to do what it wants". Permit me to also quote David Lobenberg (that's me), "watercolor can be described as controlling the flood". Watercolor just loves to flow and move about. Don't fight it . . . go with the flow (bad pun, but oh so appropriate!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A little drawing never hurts.

Drawing from life is the best way to see a heck of a lot deeper than one normally does. You are drawing for god's sake! You need to see those contours, shapes, values, hues, angles, and proportions otherwise those details are simply lost. Bottom line . . .  exercise your visual perception, and you will paint better. I like that since I paint in both acrylic and watercolor. I teach drawing and painting at the college level and in my many workshops here in California and out of state. I present to you a quick charcoal gesture (the things at the end of the figure's upraised arm are charcoal sticks), a more detailed rendered nude in lovely charcoal as well as a very jazzified line and ink wash of my left hand (I call my left hand "Handsome Hand"), and a student busily toiling his easel (also done with ink and wash). All four are from life. I was going through some of my drawing files and thought these might amuse you. You are amused, I hope??

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rough to finished

This is a commission I have from a Catholic church (I'm a pagan, hard drinking, foul-mouthed artist by the way). The nun started out cruder than this, and at this stage, I still have a lot of work to do with color variations and values. One starts rough and ends at whatever refined stage is appropriate to one's style. The priest is finished and reflects my loose style of painting. The medium used for both paintings is acrylic painted on stretched canvas. You can see in the priest photo the small black and white reference photo I had to work with. Sometimes I think it is better NOT to work from a color ref. photo so that you must exert your own personal color scheme . . . good practice! These canvases are 18 by 24 inches in size.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pacific coast cypress tree in acrylic

This was painted on an 11X14 inch stretched canvass from a color reference photo in about 3 hours. I painted this scene with an art instructor from the Art Institute, Sacramento who is taking private painting lessons from me and who wants to paint in a looser manner. I will be posting our side-by-side painting progress at a later date when I get the time. My palette colors were titanium white, magenta, lemon yellow, cobalt blur, and phthalo blur. I love working with a limited color palette.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Got Blubber?

An eight inch by ten inch watercolor painting of a P.B. on ice in my Wednesday (two weeks ago) watercolor class at my studio. I added the sketchy graphite lines AFTER I finished painting the bear. Gives the watercolor more energy. What do you think, dear reader?

Pissed of Pachyderm!!

This is a 10 inch by 18 inch watercolor I did last week in my Wednesday watercolor class that I teach at my studio here in Sacramento. Wet-on-dry for the elephant and wet-on-wet for the soft dusty background. Get that Safari Wagon in gear, fast!!!!!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy's going to be almost 100 degrees today in Sacramento!

Typical weather here in our Mediterranean climate zone. Most likely by the end of October it will be getting a lot cooler. The Donner Party wagon train got stuck in the Sierra Mountains at Donner Lake end of Oct. Enough meteorological and historical info and on to watercolor art by yours truly. These are two studies I did for a recent watercolor workshop here in toasty Sacramento. Both were painted wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry on 140lb. Arches cold press paper.

Friday, September 14, 2012

More Hogmen

Looks like Harley's are selling well in China. These are two more watercolors I did without the benefit of the full color spectrum. These are American-made riders.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hog Man

I painted this mono-color watercolor a few years back, and am always drawn to it because of my love of Asian brush/ink painting. Mono-color painting is a GREAT way to exercise your control over value. Value control is part of the foundation for most all art mediums. I have an hour and fifteen minute DVD where I paint and talk about portraiture watercolor techniques and value control. Internationally renowned Nicholas Simmons wrote an endorsement of this DVD that is printed on the back cover. It sells for $50.00 plus postage. Email me at for particulars. By the way, I had the pleasure of meeting Nicholas Simmons about a year ago when he came to California to conduct a workshop for the California Watercolor Association. The handsome guy with the beard is me :-)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Surfaces reflect colors

I might have exaggerated this slightly, but the white fur on a polar bear will reflect colors surrounding the bear. Most all surfaces will reflect surrounding colors. This is a small 5 inch by 8 inch watercolor I did for a demonstration in one of my many watercolor workshops. Painted on 140lb. Arches cold press. I hardly ever tape down my paper. It just lies on whatever surface as I am painting.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Watercolors and acrylics of the same subject

I haven't posted in awhile. I'm getting ready for the fall semester at Sacramento City College where I teach in the art department, and I just got back from a watercolor workshop that I conducted for the Peninsular Art Society at beautiful Gig Harbor in the state of Washington. During the summer season, when I'm not teaching, I love traveling to teach what I know best - drawing, watercoloring, and acrylic painting.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Another window study

I think the composition in this ine is way better than on my previous post's watercolor study.

Acrylic Portrait

12 inch by 16 inch on canvas board.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Where's the road?

This weekend, I am conducting a watercolor workshop at my studio (Studio L). We will be painting this lovely window with a cascade of flowers. Of course, I always paint my workshop scenes before the workshop date so as to make sure I can demonstrate and teach with all due authority. We will be working from the reference photo you see here. Like most all painting interpretations, whether from real life or photo references, the goal is not to copy. I like to simplify and make the image painterly and let the viewers eye fill in the rest. I'll get back to my road interpretations after my three day workshop gig this coming Aug. 9 at Gig Harbor in the state of Washington and out in the Puget Sound. I am really looking forward to it! By the way, this window/floral watercolor was painted on non-stretched (I never stretch) 140 lb. cold press, Arches watercolor paper . . .  14"X18".

Thursday, July 19, 2012

RR Embankment Road at Sunset

Railroad embankment roadway at sunset was painted on 140lb. cold press, 11"X14".

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"Straight down this country road . . . can't miss it."

Can't miss what? A quaint cottage at the end of the road, nestled amongst the forest trees with the occasional hoot of a night owl? . . . or . . .  a county dump with the rumble and clatter of diesel trucks? We are left only to guess, but one thing I am sure of is that I painted this scene on 140lb. cold press and added light embellishments with color conte crayon. The painting is 11"X14".

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

This is the last painting of a road curving to the right . . . I promise you!

11"X14" watercolor on 140lb. cold press. This is a demo painting I did during my Tuesday watercolor class at my studio. I have eight very enthusiastic students.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Journey of a Thousand Miles begins with the First Step

11 inch by 14 inch watercolor on Arches rough 140 lb. cold press

Sundowner Road study # 2

11 inches by 14 inches on Arches 140 lb, cold press. This scene is a challenge, and I'll most likely be publishing more studies.

Into The Light

11 inch by 14 inch watercolor on 140lb. cold press Arches.

Monday, July 9, 2012

One and Two

If the first one doesn't get you, the second one may.  Drive carefully and no texting! Watercolor on Arches 140 lb. cold press. 11 inches by 14 inches.