Cultivating the Sketching Habit: Figure V2.0

Adding the images from our previous session. We meet and sketch and drink again, this October 24th.




Study, female figure, graphite on paper. (The note, right is a reminder for me to recreate this image in a series of works done in wet gesso and acrylic paint)


Study, back, male, graphite on paper


Study, female figure, Prismacolor marker


two studies, female figure with lap-harp, right, study of arm and clasped hands.


Dancing, interactive pose, graphite on paper


Back, female, graphite on paper


interactive pose, graphite on paper


graphite on paper


Interactive pose, Casein paint, on paper

Thanks to everyone who attended, and special thanks to the models. Let me know if/how you would like your attribution to appear here). It was a great night for me and a great first night for the event.

Also, I came away with a lot of useful studies and sketches which might serve as jumping off points for other works down the line.

Enjoy the sketches, and keep reading below.


figure studies, female and male, standing graphite on paper



Female standing, male seated, figure study, graphite on paper



Figure studies, female and male, standing, back view, graphite on paper



Male, standing, study with figure aids (was explaining a concept to a class attendee) pencil on paper.


Study, female figure, kneeling, graphite and casein paint on paper


Male figure,seated, graphite and Casein paint


Male figure, standing, graphite and Casein paint on paper



Interactive pose, figure study, graphite and Casein paint on paper.

[continued below]

As many of my readers know, I am getting geared up to start a sketch and sip event at a local club. Since I am the host, it’s not like I can let my sketching game get slack. Nope. It’s time to get to work and pick up some graphite and brushes.

I booked a room at the Albany Barn, and scheduled a session with model, J, who is going to be one of our figure models for the event.

Before I scheduled the session, I talked with my model and I wanted to have a theme or an idea to build the session around so I might then have some images to work into a later piece. I decided on a post apocalyptic theme, and borrowed a Kukri (a type of machete) from a friend.

One of the things that is challenging at first, to learn about drawing figure is you simply do not have time to work in great detail. The key here is make each image a study of gesture, –the shapes you see in the body, light and the pose of the body. The images here are presented out of the order in which I did them. I began with a few short (5 minute) poses in graphite, the sketches done in Molotow acrylic paint markers were slightly longer poses (10 minutes) and the poses in which I used a mixture of graphite and Casein paint were 15-20munte poses.


Pose 1, graphite on paper, model -J



Pose 2, graphite on paper, model -J


Pose 3, Molotow acrylic marker (sadly, the marker, which is metallic and reflective, does not show up well in photographs)


Pose 4, graphite on paper


Pose 5, graphite on paper.


Pose 6, Molotow Acrylic paint marker



Pose 8, graphite and Casein paint


Pose 9, graphite and Casein paint.


The Punk Rock Sketch and Sip

punkrocksketchandsip-copy-pages-copyA different kind of art event.

Let me introduce myself, I’m Rob. I’m a local artist.

Something that bothered me: the best way to develop great paintings of the human figure is with an actual live model in the room. I could very well ask any number of friends and they may pose for me at no cost to me, but I am an artist and expect to be paid for my work. Models should be paid for their work, too.

So this is where the punk rock comes in, and let’s just get great people in the room with a desire to draw.

So, I book it, we all just split the cost while we listen to some great indie, punk and electronica music; and we have a pint on the house and we draw from some great art models with tattoos and dyed hair, –and they are just cool people anyway.

So, the Punk Rock Sketch and Sip was born. Sounds great already.

We’re at the Low Beat, 335 Central Avenue, Albany NY 12206, –in one of the best rock clubs you’ll find in the area –or anywhere, really. Come in, draw, drink, and I’ll use my decade of teaching experience to walk you through drawing figure –if you’re still learning it for the first time.

Professionals, and any other skill level welcome: if you can make a line I will teach you. If you’re a working artist, I’ll just be at my easel, drawing, and I’ll let you do your thing.

Its a low-stress, casual way to practice figure, –or learn it for the first time. We give a discount for students with a valid college ID.

We have some materials, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own. Bring an easel if you have one. The bar might fill up quickly. Bring a sketch book and go at it.

Our next event is Wednesday, October 24th at 7:00pm.

$15 general/$8 with a valid student ID.

Cultivating the Sketching Habit (V)

Again, at the library with my son, I fit in sketching where and when I can, even if I am only sketching for twenty minutes at a time. A lot of people think you have to set large blocks of time aside to draw or paint. This can seem daunting to most people (self included) but if you set aside shorter intervals (15-30minutes) you loose the excuses that keep you from being creative:


reproduction “Bamboo Groves in Mist and Rain” Guan Dausheng (1269-1319) Molowto Acrylic Paint marker (metalic silver)

(Author’s note: I have been fascinated with traditional ink painting as a form since discovering Gao Xingjian’s novels. –the author makes his principle living as a painter of traditional Chinese art). As a white artist I am sensitive to the idea of cultural appropriation, so I generally have shied away from trying to study or re-produce the form. As a general rule, I feel artists ought to be thoughtful about how their work borrows and is influenced by cultures outside their own. I may ultimately color this or tint it, since most of this type of painting was in color.)



Study: Old Farmhouse, pencil on paper. From the book “The Photographer’s Mind, by Michael Freeman 

Did a bit more sketching today while I was at the library with my son.



” Birch Trees” pen ink on paper.


There’s only 3 images here, I was out at an event promoting the non-profit class and showing a few pieces at a vending table. So, I was sketching between interacting with people. The perfectionist in me would like to try and clean these up once I am back home –but I try not to let myself do that. Instead, I let these images simply be what they are: imperfect, incomplete, unfinished. They’re studies that might inspire further drawing or painting, but all in all, they’ll likely sit in a sketch book.

I try to encourage students to always be drawing. The practice keeps up your skill so it is there when called upon when you do commissions and your own studio work. My recommendation is you should match a twelve-to-one ratio of sketches and studies that get tucked away in your portfolio, to ever finished piece intended for a gallery or sale.

A higher ratio is better, but 12:1 is about what I aim for.

The first image is a composite:


sketches, graphite and Molotow Gold Metallic Acrylic Marker

Image: (above) clockwise from top left:

1. Tree, Dana Park

2. Sofet detail, abandoned building, Lark Street, Albany.

3. Commercial building, Delaware Ave., Albany.

4. Mobil Sign, Madison Ave, Albany.


After that I did a couple quick studies of attendees in the crowd.



Molotow Acrylic Paint Marker



study, graphite


En Plein Air (open air) Painting

I have never considered myself a water-colorist, to me that was always my mother’s medium and she still owns the title family water-colorist –so far as I’m concerned. However, since the weather has been lovely as it has been, I have decided to do a series of watercolor paintings painted around Albany En plein air. Early in my teaching, I finally got past the fact I thought I wasn’t good in the medium. As I had to teach other people to use watercolor, I quickly taught myself and have greater comfort in the medium.`As the summer progresses I will probably do a lengthy series of watercolor.

Currently, I am intending to incorporate Eleven Images as a 501c (non-profit) in the very near term, and I also need a passport to begin traveling overseas. So, sales of this series will likely be used towards those purposes. I can ship these, and I accept paypal. though they would probably be most meaningful to someone with ties to the area.

Today, I was in Washington Park, on the west side of the lake there. The images are looking east over the lake. (all images watercolor on paper, 11″ x 14″)

I could sell these as a series (3, make offer), or $30 each.



Sky, Washington Park



Stones, Washington Park



Lake and Trees, Washington Park


6/24/16: I returned to Washington Park today to paint a few more images. I think I will begin, next time, moving my easel around the city, and also, perhaps, into Troy and Schenectady. So if you happen to see me out and around, feel welcome to say hello and peek over my shoulder.



“Washington Park Lake, Bridge” watercolor on paper 11″ x 14″



Washington Park, flower beds, watercolor on paper, 11″ x 14″

Industrial Strength New Years Eve @ Broadway Joes, Buffalo NY, 12/31/1015

It was a bitterly cold end to the year, when Destroy Eleven joined Soul Reactor, Burrangels, Petals and Thorns, and Standard Issue Citizen for Industrial Strength New Years Eve. I didn’t get a lot of photos, but there were a few.

All and all, some fantastic performances…

Soul Reactor:


















Petals and Thorns:




Man Woman Machine:





Also, (not performing, unless you count lulz as performance) NDru Virus:


Thanks everyone who was a part of the night, whether I was meeting you for the first time, or we’ve worked together previously.

Eleven Images: New Work, 2016

First post of the new year. So, hey!

The older, recent works can all still be seen here.

Find my e-mail in the about section and contact for details.

To finish off the last of old business, the last image I started in 2015 was a little canvas I shortened the name to “Starvation.” After a second sitting, it came off a little too flat and blended. So, I darkened the image up slightly with some Burnt Sienna, and I think this one’s ready to take off the easel and let dry.

Here is the final image:


“Starvation” 11″ x 14″ oil on canvas, $60


Began color-blocking a new piece today, this one already ended up with a name. The end result will likely be much less representational, also, the panels will be suspended in a manner similar to “There is No Gentle Way Down from Here.”


“No One Got Left Here” color blocking, acrylic on 2 8″ x 10″ canvas panels.


New work, did this one quickly. In acrylic, which is unusual for me.


“Irreconcilable Indifferences” acrylic paint on canvas, 16″ x 20″ $85

Started two new canvases, but these are begin with unusual (for me) ideas.

This one is called “sleep” or “rest.”


“At Rest” color blocking, oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″


“At Rest” second sitting, oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″


“At Rest” third sitting, oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″ It’s close, but this is going to need another sitting.


Body at Rest, 12″ x 12″ oil on canvas, $205

And this thing, I just have no idea at all:


“The Quiet Area,” oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″ first sitting


“The Quiet Area,” oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″ second sitting.


“The Quiet Area” third sitting, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″



“The Quiet Area” final, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″ $280


Both these pieces are going to need further work. I am challenging myself and varying my technique more.These are different pieces for me, so I am using a mix of under-painting/glazing, and some palette knife. Keeping on working I suppose.
[update, but have final versions, both took a good deal more hours than I anticipated]


I’ll have to start tallying up to see how close I came to hitting my goal over the past couple months, (I’ll do so when I photograph all my new works for my catalog and put wires in the back). It’s now a new year, and I don’t see any reason to slow down on what I am doing. With that in mind I did some color blocking on two new, yet untitled canvases.

Began color-blocking a new piece this morning:


Color blocking, first sitting, oil on canvas, 8″ x 1o”


“Something like Purity,” First sitting, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″


“Something Like Purity”oil on canvas, 8″ x 10” $45

Touched this last on up a little as well.


“Something Like Purity” oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″ final $45

Some new pieces, drying:


An entirely new piece, this came together in a single sitting:


“An Appearance of the Apparition,” oil on gessoed wood panel, 11″ x 16″ $205

Second sitting, Still not quite closing on what I want with is image:


Untitled, (second sitting) oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″



“An Elemental”final, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10” $75

Began color-blocking a new piece, after I finished the last one (Vine), here is it after a first sitting:


Untitled, first sitting, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″

The newest finished work. This is going to be another installation, like “There is No Gentle Way Down From Here” (see below).


Dead on the Vine, finished panels, oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″

The idea I have for this piece will incorporate two metal sheets, one attached to each canvas, and suspended in a manner like the weights in old grandfather clocks.

I need to buy supplies to realize this. A purchase of one of the works for sale would help me get that done.

Color-blocking this morning:


“Dead on the Vine” oil on canvas, 2 12″ x 12″ panels, first sitting.

5.23: color-blocking on two new pieces

(the triptych I have talked about)

The Triptych is done!

Here are some images of the finished piece:


As as I was working on it, I got the idea to suspend the panels by eye-hooks and chain, so the triptych would hang together as a single installation. Here I am cutting the chain and assembling the parts.


Finished work, “There is No Gentle Way Down From Here,” Oil on canvas, (3 8″ x 10″ panels, total dimensions: 10″W  x 48″H) chain and brass eye-hooks.  $295


A close shot of the chain and eye-hooks.


Panel 1


Panel 2


Panel 3


New work, color blocking, oil on canvas, 3 vertically stacked 8″ x 10″ panels.


Untitled work, second sitting, oil on canvas, 3 vertically stacked 8″ x 10″ canvases.



New piece, color blocking, 12″ x 12″ oil on canvas, first sitting.


Untitled work, second sitting, oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″


“No Lover isn’t a Noose in Time” oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″ $90

First sitting with two new pieces:


Untitled, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″ first sitting.

Worked for a bit on both these pieces (8, May):


Untitled canvas, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″, second sitting

Two images of the finished work:


Lullaby for a Cast-away, (finished) oil on canvas  8″ x 10″, $75


Second image, drying on my wall, “Lullaby for a Cast-away” $75.


Untitled, oil on canvas 16″ x 20″ first sitting.


Untitled, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″ second sitting


Untitled, 3rd sitting, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″



“Either a Swan-dive, or an Invitation?” (drying on the wall) oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″ $215

First sitting with two new pieces:


Untitled work, first sitting, 10″ x 14″ oil on canvas


“Tendrils, rivulets”oil on canvas, 10″ x 14” $145

With the both of these pieces I am experimenting with working a little differently. The second image here, I aimed to do this one with very thin washes of paint over each other, slowly building up the color’s intensity.  I also plan to use a very limited pallete, I may eventually involve a shade (to create more contrast) but so far, this images is using only Yellow Ochre, Medium Yellow, and Permenant Green Light.


“Prozac Listening Party” oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″ first sitting


“Prozac Listening Party” oil on canvas 8″ x 10″ $75

Life got real busy with other things, but I briefly got back to my easel today. This is the second sitting on this piece, I had blocked out shapes and colors previously. Where the yet untitled piece stands now:


Untitled, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″, second sitting

Sat down and worked (third sitting) on the newest canvas. I may revisit it in the morning, but I think it is done:


“Flesh Cathedrals”oil on canvas, “18 x 24”, third sitting, final $245.

Started another canvas too, not very interesting yet, just blocked color.


Started new pieces (one is a commission, so I will share images of that when it is delivered). When the commission was done, I used some paint that was left on my pallette to start a new small piece.

New work, this one likewise came together quickly and in two sittings (I did not photograph the original sitting/color blocking for whatever reason):


“Schism” oil on canvas, 11″ x 14,” $125

First, there was this image:


“A Rest for Troubled Waters” first sitting, color blocking. oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″

Third sitting (normally, I am better about photographing my progress, but I worked on this piece of and on a couple days ago. I did not get a photo at the intermediate stage. Here is the final piece, however:


“A Rest for Troubled Water” oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″, $235

And, I blocked color (with a palette knife) on a new small piece:


Untitled, first sitting/color blocking, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″ work in progress.

Second sitting. I would still like to have one more go at this:


Untitled work, oil on canvas, 8″  10″, second sitting.

Worked on this piece again. I set it aside to develop it more, but I decided I like it as is. Sometimes, I don’t know:


“A Close Reading of Tea Leaves” (final), oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″ $70

Another image of the same:


A Close Reading of Tea Leaves, oil on canvas, $70

New piece:


“for this moment, everything is mine” oil on canvas, 18″ x 24″ $135

Came together in one sitting, but I had a very specific idea about it.

These two with be the first pieces this year.


Untitled canvas, 11″ x 14,” oil on canvas, first sitting.

Second sitting:


Lick the Wound (Until My Tongue is Gone), oil on canvas, 11″ x 14″ $185

And the other:


Second untitled canvas, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″ first sitting.

Second sitting:


“A Masque is for Truth-telling”, oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″, $75.

Will be updating with more images as the pieces and others come together.

Best wishes to my readers for the new year!

Quick Lessons: Get Some Perspective!!!

One of my current students has expressed an interest in architectural drawing. I am probably going to be bringing several source images to class for architectural studies. One thing I have not been shy about in my career as an art teacher, is directly addressing where I find gaps or a weakness in my own knowledge of my craft. I am primarily a figure/portrait and color guy, so this morning I busied myself finding, and then doing, a basic study in perspective. While my result today is by no means flawless, I did find the work relatively natural, and I remember more than I think I do. It’s been years since I’ve done many exercises in perspective, even if in my work it gets applied frequently.

The simplest exercise is multiple-point perspective is a cube. I found this image on a web-forum for game design, and you can see the image I used here.

I find it helpful with these studies to give yourself space to work. The largest paper I have readily at the moment is 11″ x 14,” so to create my horizon line, I worked with two pieces of paper taped together.

The original image is here (on the forum, scroll down) is here:

My study is here:

Study, cubes, exercise in perspective

Study, cubes, exercise in perspective

Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to add to this in coming days. If you do your own study, you can share your results in the comments. As this page gets rolling we’ll be taking on perspective studies of more complex architectural drawing and buildings. If you line a series of cubes up, larger and smaller, all meeting at 2 points relatively close on the horizon, you start to get what looks like a city street, that may be one of the places I choose to go in the coming class. Space them at far ends of the horizon, like in the cube exercise, that’s the basis for blue-printing a structure. Try it, see how yours comes out.

Wednesdays and Thursday afternoons I usually take my son to one of Albany’s public libraries. Today, I took off the shelf a book quite familiar to me (I’m sure I have checked it out multiple times by now) “Albany: The and Now” by local historian and author Don Rittner.

I have something of a fondness for art deco commercial buildings and design. The image I am using here was formerly the 1928 facade of the South East Corner of State Street and Pearl Street –then a restaurant and jewelry store. There currently sits in that corner a high-rise tower which is presently occupied by an M&T Bank on the ground floor.

Here is a 2-point perspective rendering of the 1928 building:

architectural study, Pearl Street and State Street Albany, from the book, Albany, by Don Rittner, used with permission.

architectural study, Pearl Street and State Street Albany, reproduced from the book, Albany, by Don Rittner, used with permission.

I have alternatively heard small-scale art-deco commercial buildings of similar style called “Moderne,” so that term may be more appropriate, but there does seem to be areas of overlap within the two design schools. This structure also is much larger than most examples I have heard described that way apparently without a great deal of the the decorative chrome heavily associated with the style. (An example is the former White Tower building on Central Avenue I have described in the commissions blog).

In coming days I will hopefully be adding a few more examples of particular buildings, and perhaps moving into street scenes.
Happy sketching.