Friday, March 4, 2016

Watercolor Techniques is on the Shelves

Photo by Gail Brassesco

Photo by Tim Oliver
My new book, Watercolor Techniques, hit the shelves a couple of weeks early. I've been quite gratified that many people have ordered and received their copies. Thank you all!

Here are a couple of photos from Facebook friends that shared photos of their copies. The left photo is from Gail who is matching a page in her book with her original on the wall. To the right, Tim has been quite enthusiastic in his pleasure at receiving his copy.

If you would like to order a copy of your own, North Light has the best deal at the moment. Click here to go to their site.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble also have it, as well as many of your local independent bookstores. It's also available on Amazon Europe and Canada, for those outside of the US. I just learned that it has been translated into Chinese, so it might be available in China soon.

I have two book launch events scheduled. The first is at Diesel Books in Oakland on April 3. The second is at Studio Gallery in San Francisco on April 10.

Once again, thanks to everyone for their support, encouragement, and great reviews. I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Quick Preview

Needless to say, I was quite excited to receive two advance copies of my book this past week It's a bit hard to believe. Many, many thanks to North Light Books and my editor, Kristy Conlin, for making this happen. The release date remains February 29.

Forgive this shameless promo: it is now available for pre-order from North Light Booksand Amazon. It will also be available after the release date at Barnes and Noble and other bookstores possibly near you. North Light will have the book available on February 29th. Amazon's release is March 29th. Right Now North Light is also discounting it 15%.

It's been a very long endeavor and to see the final product feels great. After viewing it on a computer screen for so long it's at first a bit disconcerting to see it "in the flesh". It didn't take too long to get used to it.

This endeavor started about 3 1/2 years ago when I sent my proposal to North Light Books. It took a couple of years to have the proposal accepted, then another year and half to write it, design it, and print it.

This all started after I had been teaching workshops for awhile. It seemed to make sense to write down all of the stuff I had been teaching. Luckily North Light agreed, and here is the final product. For those who have taken my workshops, you will recognize much what is in here, only done in a very organized way.

I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 Reviewed

Wow, did that year go fast or what? Nonetheless, 2015 was an enjoyable and relatively productive year. There were some terrific workshops with great painters, humor, and inspiration. My book was finished, designed, and sent to the printer. And throughout the year I made time to paint, experiment with new paper, try a few new pigments, and create both imaginary and representational work. Perhaps 2016 will be as fruitful.
Here are most of my paintings that I did since the end of last year, in no particular order. I've never done such a compilation before. I hope you enjoy. I realize they are a bit small, but Blogger won't allow me to make them bigger. If you would like to see one or more larger, let me know and I'll show them singly.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Holidays

Wishing everyone the best in 2016.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Final Proofs

Over the years, I've had mixed results when reproducing my work. Poor scans, uncalibrated monitors, and problematic printers have often led to completely unsatisfactory results. Sometimes I would luck out. More often than not, I wouldn't.

However, I just received two amazing proofs of some of the images that will be in my book. Needless to say, I'm wowed. These are some of the best prints I've ever scene. If this is the quality in the book, I will be very pleased. The quality of this scan doesn't do them justice.

When I started out as an illustrator many, many years ago, reproduction of color work was quite rudimentary. Usually you sent your work out to a photographer to get a negative. Then a print would be made. If you remember some of those bad Kodachrome photos you got from the local photo place, then you may be able to picture how bad these prints were. Green? forget it. Color reproduction has come a very long way. The images above are testament to that.

The book was sent to the printer this week. It's been a long yet rewarding process. It's an understatement to say that I'm really looking forward to seeing the final product.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Two More

I just noticed that I haven't posted since July. No real excuse, other than summer plans and then a series of workshops. I have thought of a few ideas, but never got around to it. 

So, given that my last post was about imagined landscapes, here are two more that I've done over the last couple of months. I've always enjoyed painting water, so I decided to feature it in these two views. I call the top one, Corfu, and the one to the left, Placida.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Imagined Landscapes

Imagined landscapes are one of my favorite painting subjects. Untethered to reality, I can invent any landscape I want.
During my many years as an architectural illustrator, I worked on numerous projects that were almost purely imaginary. One of my last clients, a sheik in Dubai, rarely sent me plans and elevations. Almost always, his architect sent images and a visual description (usually all in one Photoshopped conglomeration) and let me go to town.

I found this way of working so satisfying, that I began to use my imagination in my own paintings. My approach was influenced by an accomplished painter and illustrator, Ron Love. Ron's way of working was described in an article in the newsletter of the American Society of Architectural Illustrators. After making very small abstract thumbnails he transforms them into something that resembles reality. Intrigued, I tried this for myself.

I made a grid of 1" x 2" rectangles and started to draw abstract shapes, trying not to be mindful of their pictorial possibilities. Each one takes about a minute or so and often leads to other ideas.

I then choose one that appeals to me and double it in size and begin to sketch architectural ideas that might lead to a picture. I typically use Italian hill town imagery. As an illustrator, I did a lot of "Italianesque" work for my resort clients and was quite comfortable with this look. Besides, the orange/red tile roofs were a nice counterpoint to the landscape color scheme.

For "Elica", above, I chose the thumbnail on the left. You can see it in the lower left of the Thumbnails grouping. I was primarily attracted by the white curve. Wanting to increase the horizontality, I lowered the bottom of the frame a bit. While sketching, I noticed the shape of a  helix, hence the name (elica is Italian for helix).

I also stayed mindful of compositional elements, such as background, middle ground, foreground, and focal point.
I did stray from my thumbnail and changed the road at the bottom. Too much thinking.

When I enlarged this to the final size, 25" x 10", I changed the road back to its original layout. At the final size, I added details and made any necessary adjustments. I then transferred it to the watercolor paper and painted.

Below left is my first imagined landscape from 2005, entitled Toscana. Since then I have done around 15-20 of these. After a brief hiatus, I started a new series this year. You can see a couple of them, Gubbio and Le Vieux Pont below right.

I had forgotten how enjoyable they are to do.