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Simi Valley, CA
Veteran animation guy, creator of Darkwing Duck, retired.
Interests: learning gouache painting, podcasts, writing, comics, the paranormal, radio drama, his family and the creative process.
Recent Activity
It's April 23, 2022. The only "paintings" I've done this year were watercolor and ink pieces of my animated characters. Some were sent out without being scanned. Here's a few of them. Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2022 at Just a Tad
Once again, I've let months go by without posting. It's not like I've been painting up a storm. In fact, it's quite the opposite of that. I had a photo of my granddaughter making an extremely ugly face. I thought it would be a fun painting but in the end it made me question what I am doing with my painting. I've noted that I need to paint more in order to improve. That remains both true and undone. The cloud piece above was done August 19, 2021. The street scene below was done August 30th. That's not too bad... Continue reading
Posted Dec 26, 2021 at Just a Tad
I gave myself a couple of assignments. The best clouds in my paintings were complete accidents, so I tried a painting of just clouds. It would’ve been easier if I had chosen a single thunderhead over a desert. Instead, I chose a photo I had taken myself just down the street. Of course, I’m deluding myself. I’m sure the thunderhead would’ve brought its own headaches. However, you can see from my process shots how much I was flailing around. It was the opposite of the experience of my last painting. The sun was behind the hill. I especially wanted to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2021 at Just a Tad
The two biggest positives about this piece is nothing you can see. Number one, due to a planned power outage in my neighborhood for maintenance, I use the time to paint and completed a painting in less than a week from the last one. That's a big step toward improving by painting more often. Number two, I made a plan on how to approach this painting and actually followed it which made the process much less maddening. I rescued some old photos from being tossed because I need to work on my control of values. The photos were great examples... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2021 at Just a Tad
The more time passes, the more I appreciate the mood of this painting. The mood was intentional. The pathway to getting it was a mix of blind luck, frustration, and pushing through the ugliness. And there was a lot of that at the beginning. We have this big ceramic jack-o-lantern that we use as a porch decoration at Halloween. After that I drag it into the backyard where it sits through several other holidays before my wife insists I move it into the garage. One night, well after Halloween but not yet Christmas, I looked out at the pumpkin which... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2021 at Just a Tad
The March Hare never answered it in the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland. It was just a set up to, "Careful! She's stark ravin' mad!" A quick google revealed that Lewis Carroll had no answer in the original editions. But he was constantly pestered about it and added an answer to later versions, "Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is never put with the wrong end in front!" Others have produced more clever answers over the years, although it's absurdity and not cleverness that is the point of that scene. None... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2021 at Just a Tad
This blog is an examination of my creative process, sorta. In the last year plus it's become a journal of my struggles with learning to paint. I say "learning" because it's the first time I've taken a course, read books, generally studied the basics. I have painted in the past and have actually been paid for my work. I just sort of bumbled along. I have to remember that when I drop into a defeatist attitude as I squeeze out fresh blobs of gouache. I've actually done three more paintings since my last update in April. I have scans of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2021 at Just a Tad
There are a million excuses why I don't paint more often. They ricochet off the walls of my skull, streaking through the lobes of my brain leaving trails of guilt because I know they're false. I just have to prioritize my painting over my staring at a half finished painting, moaning about what isn't working, or worse, staring at my sketchbook thinking I should paint. "Isn't that supposed to be fun?" is something my wife said to me a few months ago. Yes. Yes, it is. At least enjoyable. And it is, kinda. At this stage, painting is like a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2021 at Just a Tad
It's been more than a month since I've tried painting. Just lots of paperwork and organization going on, mundane stuff that just gets in the way. But you learn to paint by painting and I felt the stagnation setting in. These are just small paintings in my sketchbook. The little shack is only three inches across, the bridge just four. Both were painted from images pulled off the internet. It's not that the end results are striking, but both taught me lots about planning. The hut was an attempt to think through the composition of shadows. The dark colors of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2021 at Just a Tad
This was a challenge. I've never tried a serious portrait, but a face is just another object. You look at shapes and their relationship to the shapes around them and just put them down. But we all know what a human face should look like and I'm especially familiar with this one, albeit its mirror image. There are sections of my face that seem spot on, other areas not so much. Still, I give myself kudos for trying and the overall lighting looks good, especially since it wasn't very dramatic. Instead of taking a photo with a strong shadow, I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2021 at Just a Tad
Gotta admit to a big screw up right up top. I added a darker blue pastel pencil to vignette the image. However, when I went to put wax on the painting, I was thinking "watercolor pencils." The difference is that you can smear protective wax medium on watercolor pencil, no problem. When you do that to pastel, it makes a huge mess. I corrected it a bit in photoshop in the above version. On the plus side, by not coating it with wax, I was able to go back in and reactivate the paint to make corrections, mostly for the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2021 at Just a Tad
My palette was a bit messier than this after I finished some tinting exercises. Actually, not exercises really, just answering my own questions about how certain earthtones looked as they were mixed with more and more white. But painting little squares takes very little paint which left a lot untouched. Even though I paid for my paints from the money I earn at cons, my "fun money" if you will, I hate to waste paint. So I decided to try a painting or two using along with permanent white. I think I add some Cadmium Red to the second image... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2021 at Just a Tad
More painting from life, albeit just another spot in the backyard. This is a wind mobile in the garden, a pair of very rusty birds balanced on a simple cup at the top of a pole. Why not? The point was to get out and do something. I have to say that I didn't like this painting for most of the time working on it. I don't have any process photos so you'll have to take my word for how messy and mediocre it was. But ultimately I embraced the idea that the artist is not a camera. Yes, the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2021 at Just a Tad
Maybe it's from a career of sketching character designs, storyboard notes, and outlining story ideas on yellow legal pads, but I find it hard to draw on an easel when out looking for things to paint. Or maybe it's because I'm mostly stuck in my house and find my backyard boring, but I've done most of my paintings from photos. Even two of my "glow" paintings, the rose and the backlit trees, were practically outside my door, I took pictures of them and worked inside. But I know I must get out and paint things out in the world to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2020 at Just a Tad
In the last post I said that if I was smart I'd space out the posting of my paintings backlog. I'm not that smart, just distracted. Anyway, the above are two parts of the same gouache painting I did in the last week of November. I kind of like each on their own. I wanted to try rocks again, ideally with some transparent water to show the rocks below. I grabbed a frame from a high-rez YouTube video and ended up cropping all but a little bit of water out of it. I was working with a limited palette at... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2020 at Just a Tad
I'm behind in posting the few paintings I've done. If I was smart, blog-wise, I'd post these over a couple of weeks. But I'm not seriously trying to build up numbers. This is sort of a creative diary for myself. Plus, seeing the creative struggles of someone who has successfully created art and entertainment, might help young people who are struggling themselves. I also make similar notes in my sketchbook. So, instead of retyping my notes, I'll just show you what some pages look like. Stay safe and healthy. And keep creating! -- Tad Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2020 at Just a Tad
I live in Simi Valley, California, a small valley to the west of the much larger and more famous San Fernando Valley which pop culture has designated The Valley." It's not wilderness by any means. The Toobe Hooper/Speilberg "Poltergeist House" is just a mile or two away from me. It's suburbia. But my house is backed up to a mostly undeveloped hillside. The shrubbery is home to many birds, squirrels, rabbits and the like which draw predators like hawks, coyotes and, making an appearance for the first time, bobcats. There are mountain lions in the hills but I've never seen... Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2020 at Just a Tad
James Gurney put out a new "Color in Practice" video about Triads. Although it sounds sciencefictioney to me, it's simply a way to understand and practice the possibilities of a limited palette. Gurney puts out a ton of informational videos on YouTube but this series is the closest thing to having a formal course with him. There's also a Facebook group where you can share your painting struggles/adventure with others. James also pops in from time to time with a challenge and even awards prizes! Go to YouTube, visit his website, or best of all, buy his book Color and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2020 at Just a Tad
In the previous post, I talked about the last painting in my sketchbook. I was excited about the idea. I almost did it before the last page but stopped myself in favor of sketchbook symmetry. This is going to be one of those "Just how messed up is your brain and do many artists go through this?" posts. I painted that last piece on August 12. I painted the carnival piece about a month later. Why couldn't I get myself to pick up the brush again? As near as I can figure, it was three things. First, the idea of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2020 at Just a Tad
Somewhere along the line, I decided to use the last page of my sketchbook to revisit the subject matter of the first page. It would be the clearest way to demonstrate to myself what I had learned since I started the sketchbook on September 22 of last year. I did the painting above on August 12, so around 11 months of painting, reading, taking online classes and fighting my fears, ridiculous as those may be. So here's the photo. It's a storefront in Durango, Colorado. Obviously, not taken with any thought of artistry. It was taken to document the place.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2020 at Just a Tad
This came out much better than I thought it did at first. I was trying to capture the patterns of light and shadow from the reference photo. I finally gave up because, at a certain point, if you keep reworking gouache, the water lifts the layer below and colors can easily get muddy. But then I posted it and people really reacted positively. Some I can take full responsibility for, but some comments were based on "happy accidents" that I didn't realize were happening at the time. But I definitely started with a plan this time. I should get out... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2020 at Just a Tad
I thought I was just a single post behind. Whoops. I'll start with something in color (barely), cover more black and white classwork, some color classwork, and two sketchbook pages. One I gave up on and the second that people declared a "Zip-a-Dee Doo-Dah" piece. The seagull is from a photo from a very foggy pier up the coast. I tried adding interest with subtle clouds but I wasn't deliberate enough. Clouds should be taken as seriously as any other object in a painting. Here, the vertical brush strokes up and down the right side look like anything but clouds.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2020 at Just a Tad
As I mentioned in the previous post, I bought a year of Schoolism which lets me watch as many of their video classes as I want. I'm starting out with Landscapes in Gouache and Watercolor by Nathan Fowkes. It's the course the led to his book. It's nice to have the book which is packed with many more examples of his own work than the class contains. My intention is to actually work through the course, doing all the assignments, although I may tweak them a bit to make it more enjoyable. Although I don't want to change them so... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2020 at Just a Tad
Whoah! I knew I was behind in tracking my progress with gouache painting here, but I thought I was just one or two behind. Maybe I don't have the drive to document if I think things are going well. Not that it hasn't been a roller coaster. In my opinion, the above is one of the best paintings I've done. I went out on a late afternoon scouting trip to find painting subjects. My idea was to take a picture then return home to draw the scene. If you haven't picked it up from reading this blog, I'm rarely confident... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2020 at Just a Tad
So in the spirit of "STAY SAFE, STAY AT HOME" during our battle with the virus, I now return to the backyard, that infernal lamp, and a desire to capture the changes of light and color. Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2020 at Just a Tad